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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.
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