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Letter to the Editor: LIBRARY OUTSOURCING VOTE IS AN OUTRAGE

Editor, Times-Advocate:

As senior librarian at the Escondido Public Library I wish to thank the citizens of Escondido who have opposed Library outsourcing. Your dedicated, courageous and unwavering support of the Library and its staff in this ongoing struggle to keep the Library a non-profit, government institution is very much appreciated. Although city council voted to outsource the Library, the supporters did not lose. A very few narrow-minded city officials, pretending to be leaders, “won” a biased, unfair vote in council chambers, but they lost in life.

They lost because in order to rationalize their poorly researched decision they had to present biased, inaccurate and one-sided information. They had to bully and intimidate the public and staff. They had to dismiss documented facts and statistics presented by professional librarians, library directors, independent outside experts and the Library Board of Trustees, and blindly accept the LSS sales pitch. Yes, they sold their soul and the soul of the community, the Library, to LSS for money. A truly despicable action for those who are supposed to be servants of the people. And by disregarding the will of the people they shamed themselves and dishonored our Constitutional rights and democratic principles of free speech and open and honest government. Yes, indeed they lost in a very big way.

On the other hand, to those who have opposed Library outsourcing, you can take both pride and comfort in that you have supported the Library and staff during a time of great stress. Your opposition to a dictatorial government “process” has supported the best of democratic ideals and principles. You have won in the hearts, minds and souls of the people and that is what matters most.

And it must be said that while the decision to outsource to a low quality, poorly managed and unethical company like LSS is bad enough, even worse has been the closed minded “process” by which this decision has been pushed by a few political bullies in city government. This “done deal” from the very beginning has been disgraceful, dishonest and disrespectful of due process, ignored objectivity in decision making, as well as openness and transparency in government.

As a Library staff member it has been difficult to watch the negative effect on staff morale this “process” has had as staff have been dismissed, disrespected and even intimidated from speaking. The suggestion that a poorly run company like LSS, that dispenses library services “on the cheap”, can provide better quality service is insulting to current Library staff and flies in the face of California library statistics that show LSS libraries in the lowest 10% of every measure of library quality.

And as a citizen of Escondido it has been extremely disappointing to see how a very few bullies in city government have disrespected democratic principles and disenfranchised the people of Escondido by pushing a proposal that no one outside of city hall supports. Fortunately, our democracy is strong and as it has many times in the past, will survive the narrow minded decisions of those few who do not understand how to be true leaders in an inclusive and open democracy.

JOHN DONEL, MLS, Escondido

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

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