Over 100 residents packed into the Escondido Library Trustee meeting to oppose the privatization of the library services!
Dozens of residents testified against the idea of handing over our library services and programs to a corporate interest. Not one speaker was in support of the misguided idea of Mayor Sam Abed and three other Escondido City councilmen.
Councilmember Olga Diaz was brilliant in her defense of the library and is the only reason we even knew about the meeting and the secret plan.
The public was eloquent in their defense of our incredible library which, all agreed, is a jewel–professionally and caringly operated by a fantastic staff and volunteers. They reminded the trustees of ‘the ethical imperative of a library is to present diverse points of view’, something that a one-library-fits-all corporate model does not accommodate. Others pointed out that a ‘library is an elevation of a city’ and that a corporation from Baltimore ‘does not care more about my library than I do’.
Jeff Epp, the City Manager (making over $280,000 base pay) complained that it was the pension costs of our librarians that were making the city look seriously at this. His recent $50,000 raise and the over $100,000 annual losses of the Reidy Creek Golf Course were mentioned by speakers as less damaging to our young people and families and were better places to start saving money. He was reminded by several speakers that the city council is not trusted after having permanently closed the East Branch Library in an area needing it most.
The corporation, LS&S has a sketchy reputation. There was precious little information in the PR presentation given. Attendees asked especially about what the corporate profit margin was because that represents the amount of our tax dollars that will be leaving our city for shareholders elsewhere. This company is well-advised that this buzz-saw of opposition will only get worse.
This is yet another bad idea trumped up by Mayor Sam Abed and his supporters on the Council—Gallo, Masson, and Morasco.
This is a call to action! Here is what we can do.
- ATTEND OUR ORGANIZING MEETING: Monday, July 24, 6:30 PM (social and snacks start at 6PM) at the Chalice Unitarian Church, 2324 Miller Ave, Escondido, to learn more about this issue and plan our next steps to defend our public library.
- Write a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union Tribune and let them know how despicable this effort by the Mayor and other council members is. 150 words or less and send to firstname.lastname@example.org include your name and city of residence.
- Plan to attend the next Library Trustee meeting: Tuesday, August 8 at 2PM at the Library where the Trustees will discuss what will happen next.
- Learn more about this very important issue. Here are some links: News articles: Times Advocate and San Diego Union Tribune
American Library Association publication on questions communities should ask when considering privatization of libraries:
Last, E-mail or call city council and library trustees to voice your concerns.
City Council: https://www.escondido.org/city-council.aspx
Library Board of Trustees: https://library.escondido.org/library-board-of-trustees.aspx