Approximately 50 people — many of them angry — gathered in front of Escondido City Hall on May 4 to protest budget cuts the city council may make to recreational services. Under the proposal, popular programs and possibly the city’s pools and skate park would be closed.
At 4:30 in the afternoon, the council chambers were jammed with signs and protestors as seven speakers urged the council to reconsider the cuts.
According to the North County Times, a petition drive began in early April. Residents contend that the cuts, which aim to reduce the city’s annual recreation subsidy from about $1,000,000 to roughly $200,000, would rob the city’s poor of vital programs.
“I’m here to express my frustration with the city council and the direction that they’re going,” said Eric Sarnoff, a 15-year Escondido resident. “The priorities really seem to have strayed away from the citizens of Escondido. My belief is that the city council was hired by the citizens of Escondido to find solutions, not to throw in the towel when it gets difficult.”
Another resident, Roy Garrett, presented the council with 2100 signatures on petitions opposing the recreation cuts.
“And petitions are still being circulated,” he said. He also read a letter by Bob Wilson, a former Escondido resident, who sent a check for $100,000 to help the facilities stay open.
“While I realize the enclosed check will not cover the shortfall,” said Wilson in his letter, “perhaps it will provide enough incentive for the [the city council] to realign their priorities."