Escondido, CA
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If library is privatized, say goodbye to bond approval


John Wayne is quoted as saying that “Life is tough. It’s even tougher if you are stupid.” It’s one of the great ironies of history that highly intelligent people can do stupid things. The difference between the stupid things that not so intelligent people do and the stupid things that highly intelligent people do is that intelligent people have reams of facts and figures to back them up.

And so, they march into disaster in the full knowledge that history is on their side. However, it’s cold comfort (something I could use right now!) to know that history backs you up when the present is biting you hard on the end of your nose.

But, Ross, but Ross, I hear you saying, what could possibly be stupid about doing something that facts and figures mandate you to do?

A course of action can meet the facts and figures of the moment and still be politically suicidal. The perceptive reader might have guessed by now that I’m talking about the current headlong rush into privatizing the Escondido Library.

Moreover, even if privatizing the library doesn’t spell the end of some council members’ political ambitions it could do something far more important and far reaching: sour enough people so that plans for building a new library at Grape Day Park will, ahem, die on the vine.

Please note that I’m not in any way passing judgment or rendering an opinion about whether privatizing the library is a smart fiscal choice. I’m talking politics here.

The city council earlier this year unanimously and very enthusiastically said they want to modernize the library and build and new and beautiful facility on the campus that includes City Hall, the California Center for the Arts and Grape Day Park.

Want to take odds on that happening now?

You can survive as a city council member if a significant portion of your district is annoyed at you. As long as it’s not the majority. Passing a bond issue is a different animal entirely. No one ever passed a bond with a significant segment of the electorate opposed to it.

As popular as the library is, and there is evidence to suggest that it is the most beloved institution in Escondido, the poison created by forcing a corporation down the throats of Escondido’s library users will create a large segment of voters who will, at best, stay home when the bond issue comes to a vote, and at worst, campaign against it.

I’d make book on it.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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