Some people like to say that libraries are becoming antiquated and unnecessary. Tell that to the 61 people who came to the doors of downtown’s central library within 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon only to find them shut.
For the first time in 18 years, the library was closed for a day because of budget cuts. And not just that one day: the central library will be closed every Saturday, indefinitely.
Branches will be shut too: They’ll be closed every Monday, and only three are now open on Sundays.
On the typical Saturday, the central library is — was — a busy place. The lines to use the free internet-equipped computers often run to dozens of people. And some services that the library provides — such as microfilm archives of local newspapers — aren’t available online, so patrons who use them have no choice but to come in.
One mother came to the library hoping to find a textbook for a community college class she’s taking. Her two teenage kids came with her. “I keep telling them education is the way out. It’s kind of hard to tell them that when you can’t go to the library on a Saturday afternoon.”
You may be wondering about the plans for a new central library/charter school downtown. Will it be closed Saturdays? Not to worry, says a mayoral spokeswoman, that’s not expected unless the economy keeps tanking and city revenues keep decreasing.
“But no one expects that to happen,” she says.
We should have learned by now that “no one” has a pretty good track record at predicting the economic future.
In other news:
- In the San Diego neighborhood of City Heights, residents often walk because they have no choice: They can’t afford a car or a bus fare. But they face major risks: City Heights has the highest rate of pedestrian accidents in the city.
Now, a nonprofit group is working to figure out how to make the neighborhood safer for walkers. New sidewalks — some areas don’t have them — and curb ramps are on the wish list.
- Guess who just got a whole lot more powerful? The Lincoln Club, a conservative business group. As Scott Lewis explains, the group stands to benefit more than anyone from the recent court ruling crushing the city’s campaign finance laws.
That could explain why the Lincoln Club filed the lawsuit challenging them in the first place.
- At Sunday’s Floatopia event, partiers boozed in the water of Mission Bay and left one heck of a mess behind. We’ve got photos courtesy of the Police Department that show just how messy things got.
- In education: the San Ysidro elementary school district is “warning the state that it may not be able to cover its costs over the next two years as the state slashes its funding.”
- If San Diego’s downtown and southeastern redevelopment agencies ever see days like they did during their 2008 scandals, they might see more meddling from city officials. As we report, “the City Council voted 6-2 to approve more than two dozen reforms that draw the once largely autonomous agencies further under the council and mayor’s direct control.”
We’ve got more background here.
- Everything’s coming up wildflowers in the Photo of the Day.
- “Gen. James Mattis, one of the most revered generals in the Marine Corps, testified Monday that he was never improperly influenced when making decisions about the prosecutions of troops charged in the slayings of 24 civilians in Haditha, Iraq, in 2005,” the NCT reports. He testified in the first day of hearings regarding a Marine who’s trying to get the charges against him dismissed.
- The county might now only have two Fortune 500 companies. But, despite the doom and gloom of the local economy, more than 300 tech-related startups got going in the county in 2009, which created more than 1,000 local jobs. (U-T)
- The U-T reports: “Convinced public schools fall short in educating students on how to protect themselves from strangers, state Sen. Christine Kehoe will introduce legislation to establish self-awareness and self-defense programs in grades 7-12.”
- Also in the U-T: “The city of San Diego will make more than a dozen changes to an efficiency program that has awarded bonuses to 90 percent of water and wastewater employees, a decision that comes in response to an audit that revealed the program’s purported savings were overstated by nearly $11 million.”
- A man who was born in Tijuana to one parent who was a U.S. citizen and one who wasn’t, but grew up in San Diego, is testing the corners of immigration law all the way to the Supreme Court. Because children of American fathers face higher hurdles to citizenship than children of American mothers, he is suing on the basis of gender discrimination in his attempts to become a citizen. (AP)
- The gossip blog Gawker called it a case of local Rep. Bob Filner “being awesome.” Filner, one of the most liberal representatives in Congress, got the plaudits for being quoted in the NYT as saying “It is time to chill out, Republicans. Let this bill work. Let our constituents finally get health care.”
- Finally, a new study from the computer security firm Symantec ranks San Diego as the 14th worst city in the country for cyber crime. (No. 1 is Seattle, followed by Boston, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Detroit pulled up the rear.)
Personally, I think it’s a cyber crime that no one is buying me an iPad. Maybe they’ll include an incident report about this in the study next year.