Library Update: Residents file lawsuit against Escondido City Council for Outsourcing Library

Important update on library fight.  If only the Mayor and Council would listen to the public all this could avoided. Thank you Alan Geraci and Roy and Mary Garrett and everyone who has worked so hard to try to save our library. 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November
28, 2017
                       
Lawsuit filed against Escondido City Council for
Outsourcing Library 
Local consumer advocate files suit to stop contract
with LS&S
Escondido – 
Today, consumer champion Alan Geraci, who
successfully fought big banks on behalf of hundreds of homeowners during the
foreclosure crisis, filed a lawsuit against the City of Escondido for entering
into an improper outsourcing agreement for the Escondido Public Library. 

Geraci and local library
activists announced the lawsuit in front of the Escondido Public Library,
downtown, along with fifty library supporters who were on hand to support the
legal challenge.

“The City of Escondido has
broken the law. By forcing privitization of our library, the City Council
failed the community, failed the library workers, and failed to follow the
law,” said consumer attorney Alan Geraci.

The suit claims that the
contract the city entered into with Library Systems and Services of Maryland
(LS&S) was improper and must be rescinded. 
The legal action was brought on behalf of Roy and Mary Garrett of
Escondido, 46-year residents and library supporters, who spoke at the event.

Roy Garrett said, “The council majority
destroyed our branch library in the face of virtually universal local opposition.
Now the city manager, the mayor and City Council majority have broken faith
with all the Escondido residents, taxpayers, volunteers, library employees and
donors who created and nurtured this heart of our city, our 100 year old public
library, and turned it into a profit center for a corporation. Neither the
law nor the citizens of Escondido can allow this to happen without challenge.”

Save Our Escondido Library
Coalition spokesperson Debbie Resler told the crowd, “Our community has been
consistent and clear; we do not want a private corporation with a bad
reputation ruining our library.  Thank
you Roy and Mary Garrett and Alan Geraci for standing up for the people of
Escondido to help us legally stop this unconscionable action on the part of the
Mayor and the City Council majority.” 
After the news conference
announcing the lawsuit, library activists marched to City Hall to serve the
lawsuit to the City, Mayor, and City Council. 
The contract with LS&S was
adopted by Mayor Sam Abed and Councilmembers Masson, Gallo, and Morasco, with
Councilmember Olga Diaz voting no, after a long and bitter hearing on October
18, 2017.  The outsourcing was opposed by
over 4,000 petition signers, the American Library Association, and the
Escondido Library Board of Trustees.

Since the decision to move
forward with the LS&S outsourcing, many experienced librarians have quit in
protest. 
John
Donel, a senior librarian who submitted his resignation last week, effective
December 2, spoke at the news conference. “
As a lifelong public employee who has always worked to meet the needs of
the public, I cannot in good conscience continue to work for a city government
that has dishonored what it means to be a public servant,” Donel said.
            
Donel continued, “The decision to allow a poor-quality company with non-transparent
management and financial practices, like Library Systems & Services
(LS&S), to make a profit from a free public library, has already had a
negative impact on library staff and services, as nearly 100 years of
professional staff experience has been lost since the process of privatization
began.”
Brenda Townsend, a life-long
resident of Escondido and frequent library user said, “We will continue to
fight as long and as hard as we have to, to make this Mayor and Council
accountable to the people of Escondido and give us back our library for the
public good.”
The Save Our Escondido Library
will continue their efforts to save the Escondido library and help other
communities protect themselves and their libraries from LS&S.
###

About
Save Our Escondido Library Coalition:
The coalition was formed by local Escondido community groups and
residents in response to the City of Escondido’s move to consider outsourcing
of the Escondido Public Library.  

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