May 31, 2002

Editorial

Friends of the Library in San Ysidro didn’t stand a chance!

With broken hearts and profound frustration members of the San Ysidro community who, for the past four years, have worked toward bringing a new library to the center of the San Ysidro community, left the council chambers of the City of San Diego dejected after seeing their vision and hard work deemed insignificant by Councilman Ralph Inzunza, Jr.

Friends of the Library, a group of San Ysidro residents, had worked for the past four years and had the full support of the City of San Diego, the support of the San Ysidro School District, the parcel of land selected, and even had the architectural plans drawn-up, at a cost of $25,000 paid for by the city. Everything appeared good-to-go, that was until District Eight Representative, Ralph Inzunza, Jr., sold out the community to businessman Samuel Marasco at the eleventh hour, catching the Friends of the Library and most of the San Ysidro community by surprise.

On the surface the donation of space at Las Americas shopping mall would appear to be generous. But with just a little digging it is obvious that Marasco is not actually donating anything. According to an agreement with the city, Marasco was obligated to donate a total of 50,000-square-feet of cultural space to get the mall built in the first place. To partially fulfill this obligation he has offered 25,500-square feet of second floor space. The scenario is pretty simple to follow, Marasco needs to attract more visitors to his shopping center and fulfill his end of the contract, and Inzunza, Jr., needs to endear himself to wealthy campaign donors, and so a marriage is arranged.

Accomplices in this whole charade were the other seven council members who followed Inzunza, Jr.’s, lead. Elected to represent the whole city they allowed Inzunza Jr., and Marasco to rip-off the community.

For the supporters of the library their feelings were best expressed by one who said, “It didn’t matter what we said in there. They already had their minds made up, despite all the information we brought in to address their concerns. We didn’t have a chance.”

So instead of having a library in the center of town that helps to revitalize a community with pride, that offers a safe haven for young learners, they will now have to drive to a mall, fight traffic congestion, traverse all the attractions that would draw any young person away from their intended goal, deal with all the problems that malls present (see Plaza Bonita mall), to visit a library that sits atop some store in Las Americas – not much of a vision there.

In this case the best interest of the community were bested by the needs of a businessman and the community has one person to thank for that – Ralph Inzunza, Jr.

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