People’s Reporter: Council Won’t Cut Libraries, Rec Centers

 

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is planning big reductions to branch libraries and recreation centers in his proposed 2012 budget. The City Council is planning to say no.

Not one of the six council members who responded to my questions said they would vote to make the library and rec center cuts. (Councilwoman Lorie Zapf declined to give her opinion and I haven’t heard back from Councilwoman Marti Emerald’s office.)

Council members responded to my questions with varying degrees of definitiveness. Three, Councilmen Kevin Faulconer, Carl DeMaio and David Alvarez, said they wouldn’t support any cuts to libraries and rec centers. Three others, Council President Tony Young, Councilwoman Sherri Lightner and Councilman Todd Gloria, said they were planning to find ways at least to lessen the cuts.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to minimize, if not completely eliminate, cuts to libraries and recreation center hours,” Young said in a statement.

Under Sanders’ plan, branch library and recreation centers hours would be cut almost in half to 18.5 and 20 hours a week, respectively. These reductions would save about $11 million combined.

The council members were less specific about how they’d make up the savings. Lightner said the mayor didn’t incorporate all of the council’s cost-saving ideas into his budget.

Young said the council would leave “no stone unturned” in trying to save the libraries and rec centers.

Students of city budget history should recall that Sanders tried to shutter some branch libraries and rec centers in late 2008, but the council rebuffed him. The council filled most of that mid-year budget gap with one-time solutions.

Please tell Liam Dillon what to do directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663. You can also tell him what to do on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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14 comments
Philip Ellsworth
Philip Ellsworth subscriber

eguard stations and preventive mainteance that hasnt been done to city buildings in the last 10 years.

pcell61
pcell61

eguard stations and preventive mainteance that hasnt been done to city buildings in the last 10 years.

David Cohen
David Cohen subscriber

In a more ideal world (like SD five years ago) this would not be necessary, but I think it is worth considering if it can be administered without cutting too much into the fees it would generate and not significantly impair access to materials.

fryefan
fryefan

In a more ideal world (like SD five years ago) this would not be necessary, but I think it is worth considering if it can be administered without cutting too much into the fees it would generate and not significantly impair access to materials.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

In addition to cutting mayoral and council budgets, that's my list. Where's yours?

toulon
toulon

In addition to cutting mayoral and council budgets, that's my list. Where's yours?

David Crossley
David Crossley subscriber

So, with all the talk of budget cuts, how is the city planning to fund the 9th council district? It would seem to be so simple--just cut from all other council districts and mayor's office enough to fund the new district. Here's a novel idea--how about cutting more than is necessary; the districts won't have as many constituents in them. Besides, why are there so many people working for each councilmember? Why are their staffmembers making more than the councilmember (or mayor, for that matter) that we voted for?

aardvark6
aardvark6

So, with all the talk of budget cuts, how is the city planning to fund the 9th council district? It would seem to be so simple--just cut from all other council districts and mayor's office enough to fund the new district. Here's a novel idea--how about cutting more than is necessary; the districts won't have as many constituents in them. Besides, why are there so many people working for each councilmember? Why are their staffmembers making more than the councilmember (or mayor, for that matter) that we voted for?

John Pilch
John Pilch subscriber

Agree with the comment above about the highly paid positions in the Mayor's office that provide questionable or little results. Maybe the Welfare State on the 11th Floor needs to be inspected and audited by Eduardo Luna, our City Auditor, who does a great job and independently protects our interests. Think about that folks and tell the Mayor and City Council that "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore."

John in SC
John in SC

Agree with the comment above about the highly paid positions in the Mayor's office that provide questionable or little results. Maybe the Welfare State on the 11th Floor needs to be inspected and audited by Eduardo Luna, our City Auditor, who does a great job and independently protects our interests. Think about that folks and tell the Mayor and City Council that "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore."

Gerald Hosenkamp
Gerald Hosenkamp subscriber

Good approach tolerant1. Various UT articles have said that most of the city personnel cuts have been in "unfilled positions". So the question remains, before we start impacting the taxpayers with cuts, has the fat been cut from city government?

GBH1
GBH1

Good approach tolerant1. Various UT articles have said that most of the city personnel cuts have been in "unfilled positions". So the question remains, before we start impacting the taxpayers with cuts, has the fat been cut from city government?

Brian Flynn
Brian Flynn subscriber

Lori Zapf doesn't have a comment because Demaio hasn't told her what to say yet. My question is, when is the Mayor going to cut his own staff and lots of other highly paid unclassified employees? He's cut most of the employees that actually do the work, so why do we need all the management positions when there are fewer people to manage? These are the folks that make the 6 figure pensions. Cut a third of them, then we'll talk about libraries and parks.

Tolerant1
Tolerant1

Lori Zapf doesn't have a comment because Demaio hasn't told her what to say yet. My question is, when is the Mayor going to cut his own staff and lots of other highly paid unclassified employees? He's cut most of the employees that actually do the work, so why do we need all the management positions when there are fewer people to manage? These are the folks that make the 6 figure pensions. Cut a third of them, then we'll talk about libraries and parks.