Don Bauder 7:49 p.m., May 22
As expected, Mayor Sanders has proposed massive budget cuts in the face of the city's looming financial shortfall. While I undoubtedly agree with the Mayor that San Diegans must be willing to tighten our collective belts, I disagree with any budget cuts that take police off the streets, firefighters off the clock, and shutter numerous branches of a pillar of San Diego's cultural community, the library.
Being well versed in civic affairs, I am confident that both the Police and Fire unions will put up an aggressive fight regarding their individual budget cuts. Unfortunately, the libraries and rec centers that are facing closure don't have the power of a large union behind them - just the common folk who use them and the employees that operate them.
In the wake of this economic downturn, I have noted an increase in traffic at our OB branch of the San Diego City library. As working class people tighten their belts and close their wallets, the library has provided us with a universal media outlet for books, movies, and music - as well as internet access for those who do not subscribe to a monthly service.
On more than one occasion, I have waited on a long line of people for the doors to open. The closing of 7 branches of the library will severely limit the ability of average folk to access cultural materials for personal use - and in OB, I believe that even though we may not require a large facility, we are entitled to this service all the same. Most importantly, this will prevent parents who cannot afford to buy books important to the development of reading skills in their children from improving their childrens' comprehension. It is widely accepted that public libraries are essential as a supplement to public education in order for children to improve reading skills and comprehension - as well as instilling a respect and love for books that in today's technological society is severely lacking.
In response to this appalling development, I have secured a meeting space to discuss further actions and possible responses to this issue for Tuesday night of next week in Ocean Beach. If you are interested in joining me or would like to offer your support in this effort, please contact me using the Reader's message function and I will respond with my full contact information so we can coordinate activities.
UPDATE: A rally is being planned in front of the OB library for Saturday, November 15th @ NOON. Visit http://obrag.org/?p=1847 for more information!
In the meantime, assume the worst - with libraries and rec centers gone, what kind of message will we be sending children?