Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Library Update: Library Outsourcing Opponents Announce New Actions

The most recent update from the Save Our Escondido Library Coalition.  Please sign their library petition!

Library coalition outlines to continue campaign to restore Escondido Public Library to public control.

January 15, 2018, Escondido: On the day the Escondido city council handed over the Escondido Public Library to an out-of-state corporation to operate, library outsourcing opponents announced new initiatives geared to restoring the Escondido Public Library to public hands and to help other communities defeat Library Services and Systems (LS&S) from taking over other libraries.

“While we were disappointed that the judge failed to allow the temporary restraining order, the lawsuit is still viable and we hope it will prevail,” stated frequent library user and Escondido resident Victoria Tenbrink , “We take heart in the news from Santa Clarita which just ousted LS&S from their library.  It is interesting that the Santa Clarita Council estimates they will save almost $400,000 in doing so,”  in reference to the news that the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted to end the LS&S contract last week.  Santa Clarita Votes Unanimously to Take Back Library. Another recent news report found poor performance by LS&S led to their ouster, a sad harbinger for Escondido’s library.  As Escondido prepares to outsource, another city drops firm.    

In response to the transfer of the Escondido public library into private hands, the Save Our Escondido Library (SOEL) coalition announced five actions in response to the transfer of management from the public to a private corporation

LIBRARY DISTRICT PETITION DRIVE: No Bond without an Independent Library District.  Building on the success of the petition drive to oppose privatization of the library, which garnered over 4,000 signatures and mobilized residents, a new petition drive has been launched.  The petition reads, We, the undersigned, are calling for the creation of an independent library district that would remove all control of the library from the Mayor and City Council. Further, we will oppose any library bond until management of our library is returned to public control and a plan is in place to re-open an East Valley branch library.” Save our Escondido Library Coalition is urging all residents of Escondido to sign this petition.   Escondido Library District Petition 

COMMUNITY LIBRARY MONITORING PROGRAM: SOEL announced a program of community library monitors. These volunteers will visit the library regularly and evaluate the operations of the library. Visits will be unannounced. 

COMMUNITY LIBRARY COMPLAINT SYSTEM:  A particularly revealing exchange during the October contract hearing at city hall was when city staff could not answer the simplest question from Councilmember Olga Diaz about how complaints will be handled.  It was clear to SOEL that the city did not know how complaints would be addressed.  Slow response to problems was also cited in the reasons LS&S was dropped from Santa Clarita. SOEL will also encourage people to report any complaints to the city and to SOEL so that resolution of them can be tracked. Complaints can be filed here Community Library Complaint Form

STOP LIBRARY OUTSOURCING WEBSITE—A Community Guide to Protecting your Library from Privatization.  Sadly, the story of the hostile takeover of the Escondido Public Library is not an isolated one.  SOEL fully believes that LS&S will use the Escondido takeover as a launching pad to attempt to control other county and state public libraries. This new website shares information SOEL has found during our fight and makes it available for other communities who will be forced to fight to keep LS&S from taking over their library.  “I wish we would’ve had access to information in a website like this when we began our struggle, so we hope it will help other communities.” stated Escondido resident Christine Nava.  The website can be accessed here:  Stop Library Outsourcing: A Community Guide for Saving your Library

VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE:  SOEL will be initiate an Escondido voter registration drive. “It is now obvious to everyone, Mayor Sam Abed and Councilmembers Ed Gallo, John Masson, and Mike Morasco do not listen to the public and are not worthy to care for our public services, said Brenda Townsend, a long-time Escondido resident.  Abed, Gallo, and Masson are up for re-election in November, 2018.  SOEL is urging all eligible residents of Escondido to register to vote. (click link) Voters can also check their status here.

While we are disappointed in failure of the TRO,” stated Laura Hunter, an organizer with Escondido Indivisible, “we are even more energized, committed, and focused on Election Day, November 6, 2018 to achieve a new mandate for change in Escondido.”

Please email saveescondidolibrary@gmail.com  to be added to the Save Our Escondido Library Coalition information list.  You can also visit Stop Library Outsourcing for more information.


About Save Our Escondido Library Coalition: The coalition was formed by local Escondido community groups and local residents in response to the outsourcing of the Escondido Public Library.   The Coalition now works to restore the library to public control.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Reminder why we need a Felicita Creek Cleanup Strategy

Urban runoff.  It's real.  Today's storm is just a reminder that storm water runoff is a large source of pollution.  If you were out today you saw the large amount of foamy pollution in Felicita Creek...and the poor egrets trying to feed out of it.
Escondido Neighbors United (ENU) has repeatedly asked for our creek to be prioritized for a comprehensive clean up strategy. So far, no success. These photos should make clear that this pollution is a problem and needs to be addressed. We will post more on this later.  These photos taken between 10:50 and 11:10 am, January 9th, 2018 at various points along the creek and in the park.  The white is soapy foam.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

DEADLINE extended: Comments on Safari Highlands Ranch due JANUARY 2. Please comment

Please Comment on the proposed Safari Highlands Ranch development  DEIR
Comments due January 2, 2018
The proposed Safari Highlands Ranch development, a sprawling 550 home development being planned for pristine biological habitat to the north of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and east of existing homes in the San Pasqual Valley. The land is presently undeveloped with steep slopes and rugged terrain and widespread riparian and coastal sage habitats.

A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has been released and needs your comments.

The quality of the habitat is so high that all of the property has a special designation from the County indicating it should largely be preserved due to its high wildlife habitat values. 

The habitat has been described as one that supports high concentration of sensitive biological resources “which, if lost, could not be replaced or mitigated elsewhere.”

It is also the location of significant cultural resources.  Surrounded by steep canyons, future residents would be living in a dangerous and inaccessible fire zone.

Because the County General Plan only allows 27 homes on this site, the Escondido city council is proposing to annex the land into the city.  As a sprawl development, it will worsen the city’s finances while devastating local natural resources.

Last, this project does not, in any way, meet the standards or requirements of the multiple species conservation plans.  Certification of this DEIR and adoption of this project would undermine regional habitat planning throughout the region.

Please add your voice to the concerns about this project by writing a letter/email by January 2, 2018 to: 
John Helmer Contract Planner, City of Escondido
201 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025
Letter or email must be received by 5PM January 2, 2018.
Put Safari Highlands Ranch DEIR # ENV 15-0009; SUB 15-0019 in your title.

Among many problems with the DEIR are the following:
  • ·         Does not include conservation measures to the maximum extent practicable per agreements with agencies and, in fact, recommends a project that will devastate hundreds of acres of biologically pristine habitat.
  • ·         Fails to avoid established oak trees resulting in loss of over 300 Englemann oak trees.
  • ·         Fails to preserve functioning wildlife corridors.
  • ·         Fails to implement many of the requests from wildlife agencies to protect sensitive wildlife.
  • ·         Fails to mitigate habitat impacts of 128-acres of ‘fire management zones’ areas.
  • ·         Fails to reduce or mitigate over 19 miles of urban interface that will have significant negative edge-effect impacts on habitat and species.
  • ·         Biodiversity of the region is under-assessed in the biological report and mitigations will not protect impacted species.
  • ·         Inadequate actions are required to offset and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • ·         Fails to meet requirements in Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) and other regional plans.
  • ·         Fails to evaluate reasonable alternatives to this project.
  • ·         Locates 100s of residents in high-fire risk zones with minimal protection or evacuation options.  A fire station will not even be constructed until half of the 550 homes are constructed.

Request that the city:
·         Withdraw the DEIR and require any future project to comply with the guidance from the natural resource agencies and MSCP criteria.
·        Reduce project size and redesign the project footprint to minimize impacts to on-site habitat especially oak woodland, chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and wildlife corridors.
·         Redesign the footprint to significantly reduce the almost 20 miles of edge effects on habitat in the current plan.
·         Avoid impacts to sensitive resources and require mitigation of unavoidable habitat losses.
·         Remove roads and from areas that impact wildlife and realign roads and trails that bisect and split habitat and corridors.
·         Require full funding and operation of fire station at the onset of the project.