Ballot Initiative to Invest in Libraries and Parks Launched

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Community members made the announcement of the new Libraries and Parks for All Initiative in front of the Clairemont Library, an aging building constructed during the Eisenhower administration that is currently closed due to staffing shortages. Photo: SanDiego.Gov

Grassroots effort aims for Nov. 2022 vote; libraries and parks need at least $250M in repairs and upgrades, per recent reports

Voice & Viewpoint Newswire

Local community leaders gathered on Wednesday, November 17, to launch a ballot initiative that will improve City of San Diego libraries and parks. The Libraries and Parks For All community initiative will invest in San Diego’s deteriorating public facilities by fixing long-standing issues and historical inequities that have resulted in some communities having access to fewer educational and recreational opportunities.

The grassroots effort to put the measure on the November 2022 ballot will be led by the San Diego Public Library Foundation and the San Diego Parks Foundation.

“There is an urgent need to ensure funding for parks and libraries. These public spaces belong to the public, they belong to you and me, and the public deserves better,” said Michel Anderson, chair of the San Diego Parks Foundation.

The measure will use a parcel tax to create a permanent funding source for libraries, parks, recreation facilities, and City-operated pools that is protected by law from being used for other purposes. It will provide revenue for academic programs, homeless outreach at parks and libraries, technology and free public Wi-Fi, safety and security improvements, rehabilitating aging facilities, and expanding libraries and parks in communities that need them most.

“Thousands of San Diego children and adults rely on libraries for free academic programs and internet service, but there is not equitable access to technology if you live near an older branch,” said Patrick Stewart, chief executive officer of the San Diego Public Library Foundation.

The new proposal comes as recent reports show inadequate investments in the local park and library systems. The City of San Diego has the second-largest urban parks system in the United States, but parks funding from the City’s operating fund declined by nearly 33 percent between 2005 and 2019.

The group announced that it opened an official ballot measure committee, the first step in placing an initiative on the ballot. The committee will now start fundraising to pay for a signature collection drive to put the plan before voters in the 2022 general election. The measure’s text is being finalized, and will be published when the group begins collecting signatures in the near future.

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