By Anna Daniels
Weekends in San Diego are always chock full of events that provide often competing opportunities to be entertained and informed and to spend time with friends and family. Two upcoming events on Saturday April 30 are particularly noteworthy because of the diverse topics and the venues–two City of San Diego public libraries in two unique communities.
Frank Gormlie, local political muckraker and gadfly, editor of our sister publication OB Rag and editorial board member of SDFP, will lead an hour discussion about Ocean Beach Hippies and how Ocean Beach became San Diego’s Haight-Ashbury, circa 1967.
Frank’s deep dive into the counter-culture movement in OB draws upon his personal involvement not only as observer but as one who played a seminal role in shaping the way that movement has manifested itself and continues to do so.
Ocean Beach became recognized as the capital of the counter-culture – and it still is even today. OB became the symbol of a community resisting the mainstream culture and politics, with its conflicting aspects such as its “laid-back” characterization juxtaposed with its “in your face” reputation. Mainstream media loves to laud OB this way, and every now and then, the local press will publish fluff pieces about OB.
In fact, for the last half century, Ocean Beach has been in the forefront of most social and political issues confronting the country.
Ocean Beach Hippies: A Discussion- Free
Saturday April 30, 2-3 pm
Ocean Beach Branch Library
4801 Santa Monica Avenue, San Diego 92107
On the other side of town, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, City Council and Mayor Kevin Faulkner have declared Saturday April 30, 2016 City Heights Law Day. It marks a day long event that will include presentations by prominent San Diego attorneys who will provide information that includes Employment Law; Civil and Small Claims; Landlord-Tenant Law; Bankruptcy Law and Immigration Law.
The attorneys will be available to provide personal 30-minute consultations free of charge in their area of expertise. San Diego Public Safety Law Enforcement Departments and the San Diego City Personnel Department will be recruiting volunteers and employees for public safety positions.
This all day event is the culmination of months of planning and coordination among Friends of the City Heights Library volunteers and library staff and the San Diego County Law Library. City Heights resident, attorney and SDFP contributor John Stump has provided oversight of all of the moving parts required to make this event a success.
The day will get off to a rousing start at 10am with the World Beat Drum Corp, a distinctly City Heights touch. It will culminate with a City Attorney debate which all five candidates for City Attorney will attend. There will be a meet the candidates reception following the debate.
City Heights Law Day- Free
Saturday April 30, 9:30 am to 4:45 pm
Weingart City Heights Library
3795 Fairmount Avenue, City Heights 92105
City Attorney Candidate Debate- Free
Saturday April 30, 5:30- 9 pm
Church of the Brethern/Peace Resource Center
3850 Westgate Place, City Heights o2105
The relationship between these events in two different San Diego communities is that they take place at public libraries. The events reflect input from the community about what residents would like to see happen at the library, support from library staff and access to the public space. These events are free to the public and they are open to all residents.
Free and open access to public spaces and responsiveness to the unique needs and interests of discrete communities are hallmarks of how our public library system operates. When they are flourishing, our libraries are constantly reinventing themselves in often overlooked ways.
Libraries are more than the sum total of their parts—materials, professional staff and a physical location. They are essential to any conversation about public safety. We are short-sighted if we define public safety solely as police and fire protection.
Human lives and property are indisputably important and worth protecting. And so is our democracy. A literate and informed citizenry are the most basic requirements of a robust democratic society and our public libraries exist to meet both of those requirements.
Over the course of Saturday April 30, the public can hear a first person historical narrative that connects listeners to a specific place at a particular time in Ocean Beach while experts in City Heights help residents navigate legal issues that affect their lives today. The City Attorney candidate forum is the fertile ground of civic engagement. And these are only two events in two library locations.
Mayor Faulconer has released his proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Our library system will receive a paltry 4% of the General Fund budget if it is approved. The city’s core services have traditionally been defined as Police and Fire Protection (public safety) and Parks and Recreation and Libraries. What do the following percentages of the General Fund tell you about the values ascribed by the Mayor’s office to these services? Do you agree with this allocation?
Police budget: 33%
Park and Recreation: 8%
Public budget hearings will be held in May. This is the time to call, email or attend a hearing to express your support for libraries. There will be more to come on this topic.