San Diegans react to drastic budget cuts

San Diegans are angry and sad over the dramatic cuts to libraries and park and rec centers. It's a quality of life issue say residents. For such an expensive city to line in, shouldn't we have some expectation of services that include libraries and recreation? KUSI's Ed Lenderman reports on the latest details for this story.

It's story lady time at the Allied Gardens branch library and the audience of kids and parents includes 4-year-old Sarah Pritchett and her mother Joyce.

“(It's) just a fun time to get out and reading is so important at this age, you know to not have a library is a very scary concept for us,” said Joyce Pritchett.

And do not make the argument that the internet is a good substitute for much of what you can find in a library.

“It really helps the kids learn the stories, the great old stories, we learn books and songs, she lets them see the books and touch the books you can't get that at home,” said Pritchett.

Residents will tell you that our branch libraries, with their meeting rooms and activities including fitness programs and how to instruction, serve a vital purpose as a neighborhood's hub.  

But “reading” is why Valorie Matthews is so passionate about her library, “reading is the basis of Democracy, illiterate morons don't usually go out and start fighting for freedom.”

We first met Matthews back in 2008 when the mayor proposed cutting 17 libraries and rec centers. She set up a table at the library's front door and began collecting hundreds of signatures. She followed suit a year later when hours were being cut.

“Children don't vote, they don't make large campaign contributions and they don't host sky box parties for corrupt politicians with a price tag around their neck,” said Matthews.

There was similar sentiment over at the Allied Gardens Rec Center, albeit not quite as harsh.
“What about the children” said several residents, noting that the center used to be open in the morning, it now opens at 2 PM in the afternoon, except Saturdays. It's closed on Sunday.

Quality of life—butting heads with a city's continuing budget crisis. Residents are once again asking, where do our tax dollars go again?

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