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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Arts + Action | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Bernal Heights Mural Being Destroyed Tomorrow & Incognito Library meeting
A heated meeting about the future of San Francisco libraries and the Bernal Mural with the big wigs of SF Library
Last night at the Bernal Heights library branch there was a heated discussion with all the top library bureaucrats of the city and their well-dressed minions. This meeting was hugely important for San Francisco citizens, and only happens once every FIVE YEARS. Yes, every five years the library big wigs are mandated by LAW to ask the public what needs changing. So why aren't we told about it?
Doing some research I came across this:
Signs outside your local library saying this rare important meeting is happening? No.
Billboards anywhere in the city to tell people? Nope.
A big banner ad on the SF library website?? Definitely not.
A friend mentioned the meeting to me and I had to check it out simply because of all the secrecy. If nothing else I was very curious, so I went for the first one not knowing what would happen..
In recent local news, the library political goons are trying to "spend" $185,000 to *destroy* the 30-year-old political mural that covers all but one side of the Bernal Heights library. I've been upset about this since, as a local resident who goes to this library every week, I was never asked if I wanted that. The motivation for this is unclear...
Where is this money coming from?
Why pay $185,000 to destroy when a fraction of that could be used to repair?
Why do anything at all? Don't schools, buses, and a hundred other public works that need money right now??
I asked these questions and many more, as did others. The downstairs room at Bernal Heights Library is tiny, and a turnout of less than 50 people showed that only the library elite and their "volunteers" knew what was going on. When I walked in I felt completely out-of-place: everyone in the room was finely tailored with the kind of money you see at Montgomery & Market Street. Where are the people that go to the library in (gasp) blue jeans and a T-shirt? I never see anyone in the public library dressing in fresh pressed blazers and symphony gowns. If these people sat at a computer terminal in the public library they'd probably have a liter of Purell and and 5 other disinfectants while holding their noses from the smell of a homeless patron 200 feet away. Would make for some good comedy skits..
Well, there were about 4 local residents and they shared my concerns. I asked for cleaner bathrooms, longer library hours ("how can we shorten hours and meet your needs" one of the snide speakers asked in a deceptive power point slide), faster computers with flash updates (cmon, we're the tech capital of the nation and we have these super sluggish IE terminals), and of course keeping the mural.
Whenever the mural was brought up the bureaucrats turned their heads exorcist style and spouted out lies smoother than Jim Carey in 1997. If that didn't work there was the forced laughter of the "volunteers" to drown out local concerns. But we made ourselves heard.
If you listen to the recording, you will hear one of the most interesting parts at the end where one of the "volunteers" (read, 1% apologist snobs) talks about how EVERY meeting about the mural "somebody turns up and says 'I didn't know about it'" --straight from the horse's mouth. Someone yelled out "that's a problem!" and indeed it is...
Are you bothered yet? Maybe not, but I'll tell you my blood is nearly boiling. The fact that taxpayers give MILLIONS to their libraries only to get duped so that sharks like Luis Herrera can embezzle and cheat them in return is appalling. They have yet to explain why $16,800 of the mural replacement goes into their pockets or where a lot of other money trails disappear. And of course, they are keeping these meetings under wraps so that the public doesn't know what is going on.
Well, I plan to be active in the future and make sure the library does not go to crapola...we need it for our kids and our future.
Thanks for reading and PLEASE come out THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4th to Bernal Heights Library to speak out against the mural destruction. People will be there from 10a.m. onwards defending it with pots and pans ! :)
P.S. my friend gave me some interesting documents showing the early secret emails about the meetings between officials about the mural. These meetings were supposedly 100% open to the public and encouraged the community to be a part of them. Ummm...sure...