ABOUT

Every San Diegan deserves access to quality public spaces. Parks and libraries are essential to creating safe, strong, and thriving communities.

 

The Library and Parks Investment Act of 2024 is a community-led, citizens’ initiative to improve San Diego’s libraries and parks.

 

The measure, if passed, will provide a permanently restricted revenue source for libraries and parks that will be protected from the political whims of elected officials.

 

The measure will be funded by a modest 2 cents per square foot parcel tax on select City of San Diego parcels (residential and commercial, not to exceed one acre, and not to include certain senior and low income housing). Click here to see what your parcel will pay: howmuchwillitcost.us

 

This measure will invest in our local libraries and parks, and benefit our entire community by providing funding for (download the Libraries and Parks Improvement act):

  • Rehabilitating and Modernizing Aging Facilities

    Essential repairs to bring libraries, parks, and recreation and aquatic centers up to current health and safety standards – including repairing restrooms, playground equipment and sports fields, and ensuring access for people with disabilities.

  • Enriching Arts, Library Materials, and Recreation Programming

    Enhanced arts and cultural programming in parks and libraries with sufficient staffing and operational funding to focus on fitness and wellness, senior and youth activities, hiking and nature-based learning, and funding for needed library materials.

  • Educational Programs

    Quality afterschool and early educational programs that create safe and enriching environments for children and youth.

  • Improving Safety and Security at Libraries and Parks

    Additional security lighting, park rangers, and additional staffing to create a more welcoming and safer environment for children and families to enjoy.

  • Expanded Access to Technology and Free Public Wi-Fi

    Internet access for all via funding to install Wi-Fi at public parks and libraries, and improved technology resources at libraries such as printing services, makers spaces, and more reliable internet and technology services.

  • Constructing Libraries and Parks in the Communities that Need it Most

    Expansion of new libraries and parks in the communities that need them most.

  • Homeless Services

    Expanded employment and housing opportunities to individuals experiencing homelessness through additional library programs, resources, and outreach in parks.

The Library and Parks Investment Act includes strict accountability measures and citizen oversight to ensure the revenue is spent efficiently and effectively and is restricted to library and park uses. 

WHY

SAN DIEGO’S PARKS AND LIBRARIES ARE IN DIRE NEED OF REPAIR AND RENEWAL

The Library and Park Investment Act is a long-needed solution to improve San Diego’s most beloved public facilities – its libraries, parks, recreation centers, and city pools. Many of San Diego’s libraries and parks are deteriorating, unsafe, and in need of investment and modernization due to a failure to invest over multiple decades.

These are essential public spaces that provide critical support to our communities. Libraries and Parks provide invaluable support to residents in our community.

  • Programs within the library provide social connections and resources for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, individuals experiencing homelessness, and individuals with disabilities.

  • The San Diego Public Library is the region’s largest provider of free educational resources, workspaces and resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and critical access to necessary technology for educational and professional advancement.

Many branch Libraries are in desperate need of repair, expansion, and modernization.

The Library Master Plan revealed that:

  • There are more than $50 million in capital and maintenance backlog needs in San Diego’s libraries, and this backlog does not even include costs for bringing older facilities into full compliance with current codes (e.g., seismic, accessibility, sustainability), modernizing power and data infrastructure, or updating and expanding space to support the community’s library service needs.

  • Several branches are in poor condition including Kensington, Normal Heights, Linda Vista, Logan Heights, Ocean Beach, Paradise Hills, Rancho Bernardo, San Carlos, Serra Mesa, Skyline Hills, and University Heights.

  • Many neighborhood branches are much smaller than recommended by national best practices, limiting the ability of branches to provide much-needed community rooms, technology, and educational programs and services.

  • There are significant discrepancies in access to technology. Smaller, neglected branches do not have access to basic technology because of the age of facility.

Read the Library Master Plan Framework

San Diego parks need more than $200 million in basic repairs, and many community parks have suffered from years of neglect.

 

As the second-largest urban parks system in the United States, the City currently operates and maintains over 400 parks, three National Historic Landmarks, more than 200 miles of trails, and over 42,000 acres of parks and open space areas.  The Parks and Recreation Department is not currently able to meet the maintenance and staffing requirements to sustain this vast system with its current level of funding.

 

A recent report commissioned by the City of San Diego showed that San Diego needs to invest a minimum of $200 million to make the repairs required to meet basic health and safety standards. This sum does not incorporate the millions required to meet current building code requirements, including upgrades that would modernize facilities so that they are universally accessible to individuals with disabilities.

 

Read the Park Assessment

The Parks Master Plan showed stark inequities in park access across the city.

 

In August 2021, the San Diego City Council approved the Parks Masterplan which was developed with extensive community input and feedback. The plan revealed that many communities in San Diego remain park deficient, and the Parks and Recreation Department currently has inadequate funding to ensure every community has access to quality green space. Park operations and maintenance are funded through General Fund revenues. From 2005 to 2019, the General Fund budget for parks declined nearly 33%.

 

Read the Report

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Library and Parks Investment Act?

The Libraries and Park Investment Act of 2024 was developed by a diverse, non-partisan group of San Diego residents who believe that safe, quality, public spaces are essential to the health, safety, and overall quality of life of our community. The citizen-led measure will provide a guaranteed, local funding source for our parks and libraries through a modest parcel fee that is capped at one-acre. It will raise an estimated $45 million per year.

 

Who is the Measure Sponsored by?

The measure is sponsored by the San Diego Parks Foundation and the San Diego Public Library Foundation. Both organizations have sponsored the creation of a ballot committee named Libraries and Parks For All.

 

How much money is anticipated to be raised?

Our projections show that the measure will raise between $40 million – $45 million annually.

 

How will the funding be spent?

The Library and Park Investment Act includes strong provisions for fiscal accountability and citizen oversight. This oversight will ensure the funding raised through the measure will only be spent on the intended purposes and stays local. Funds cannot be taken by the state or spent on other things. The funding is restricted to be spent on library and park projects and priorities outlined in the Parks Master Plan and Library Master Plan. The Library Commission and Parks and Recreation Committee will meet annually to consider project priorities at a public hearing and with community input and provide recommendations to the City Council. An oversight committee will meet quarterly to monitor program expenditures, and the City Auditor will perform an annual audit of the program.

Where can I find more information?

  • Text of the Libraries and Parks Improvement Act is HERE.

  • Libraries and Parks Improvement Act statement of reasons is HERE.

  • The Notice of Intent to Circulate Initiative Petition is HERE.

  • Official top funders are HERE.

  • How much would I expect to pay is HERE.

Will this increase library and park spending or just replace it?

The measure has a strict maintenance of effort provision that will ensure the library and parks department budgets are increased and not supplanted. Funds strictly prohibited from being diverted to other departments.

 

Is there a sunset provision?

The parcel tax would expire in 30 years.

Sign

Looking for a place to sign so we can place the initiative on the 2024 ballot? Look for volunteers here:

Monday, December 5 

  • 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. / Tierrasanta Library @ Friends of Tierrasanta Library Book Sale
  • Noon to 2 p.m. / Clairemont Library
  • 5:15 to 8 p.m. / Mission Valley Library @ Library Master Plan Meeting

Tuesday, December 6

  • Noon to 2 p.m. / Logan Heights Library
  • 2 to 5 p.m. / Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox Library
  • 2 to 5 p.m. / North Clairmont Library
  • 4 to 6 p.m. / College-Rolando Library
  • 5:15 to 8 p.m. / Mira Mesa Library @ Library Master Plan Meeting

Wednesday, December 7

  • 10 a.m. to Noon / Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox Library
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. / Mission Valley Library
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. / Allied Gardens/Benjamin Library
  • 1 to 3 p.m. / University Heights Library

Thursday, December 8 

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. / Point Loma/Hervey Library

Friday, December 9

  • Noon to 2 p.m. / North Park Library
  • 12:30to 3 p.m. / Otay Mesa/Nestor Library @ Library Master Plan Meeting

Monday, December 12

  • Noon to 2 p.m. / Clairemont Library
  • 5:30 to 8 p.m./ Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox Library @ Library Master Plan Meeting

Tuesday, December 13

  • 5:15 to 8 p.m. / Carmel Mountain Ranch Library @ Library Master Plan Meeting

Or, sign the petition at the Library Shop at the Central Library (1st floor) during library hours.

OUR COMMUNITY AGREES!

Join local residents, business leaders, and community members, and add your name to our list of local supporters! To publicly endorse The Libraries and Parks Investment Act of 2024, click the button below and fill out the online form.

 

Steering Committee

Chair, Pam Hamilton Lester

Community and Civic Leader

 

Patrick Stewart

CEO, Library Foundation SD

 

Michel Anderson

Chair, San Diego Park Foundation

Mike Zucchet

General Manager, Municipal Employees Association

 

Katherine Johnston

Park and Library Advocate/Volunteer Campaign Manager

Organizational Support

The San Diego Parks Foundation

Library Foundation SD

Municipal Employees Association

Youth Will

San Diego Police Officers Association

AFSCME Local 127

MAAC

Thrive Outside San Diego

Outdoor Outreach

San Diego Seniors Community Foundation

Children First Collective

Friends of the San Diego Public Library

Community Endorsement

Bill Anderson

Retired, City of San Diego Planning Director

 

Courtney Baltiyskyy

Vice President, Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships
YMCA of San Diego County

 

Ann McDonald

Friends of the San Diego Public Library

 

Stacey LoMedico

Retired, City of San Diego Assistant Chief Operating Officer

 

Magdalena Pulham

Friends of the San Ysidro Public Library

Steve Schmal

Friends of the San Diego Public Library/North Park

 

Joan Reese

Friends of San Diego Public Library

 

Roger Showley

Committee 100/Retired Journalist

 

Pat Wilson

Friends of the San Diego Public Library/Clairemont Library

Mailing

444 W C Street, Suite 230
San Diego, CA 92101

 

Paid for by Libraries and Parks for All, Sponsored by The San Diego Public Library Foundation and The San Diego Parks Foundation. Committee major funding from San Diego Library Foundation, Protect Neighborhood Services Now, Sponsored by the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, and Pamela Hamilton Lester. Funding details at www.sandiego.gov/donors.

    We have issues at my branch that have been reported for over 10 years and nothing has been done about it! Our walls are dirty and damaged, the baseboard molding is coming off, the tile in the restrooms is so stained our patrons think it is dirty and unsanitary even after it has been professionally cleaned, the striping in our parking lot is all but invisible, the roof still leaks, the carpet has holes in it, the furniture is original from nearly 30 years ago. We should be able to have every dent, ding and broken thing fixed ASAP so our buildings always look in excellent condition. It’s embarrassing when our patrons ask if we have money problems or offer to fix stuff for us. As society evolves and our programming evolves to meet those needs, we must adapt and modify our buildings to keep up with the changes — it’s not sufficient to build a library and expect it to still be in satisfactory condition or configured adequately for current needs thirty years down the road.

    SDPL Staff Survey Respondent

    The community of Clairemont has three libraries. They are small. Our libraries do not have performing areas, outdoor spaces or meeting rooms. North Clairemont is listed as having a community room, but it is so small and in need of renovation that it is not adequate for most needs.

    Edem Yaege, President, Clairemont Town Council

    Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library will be 30 years old next year and it shows. The list of deferred maintenance issues is long and depressing.

    Community Survey Respondent

    Mira Mesa Library could really use refurbishing. The carpets, furniture, bathroom fixtures, and furniture are quite worn.

    Community Survey Respondent