Town Square

Post a New Topic

Council is manipulative in combining library, police station bonds

Original post made by Diana Diamond on Mar 8, 2007

Separate them out, please! Palo Alto residents should be able to vote on two individual ballot measures: one for improved libraries and the other for a new police station.

Right now the Palo Alto City Council wants to combine the two proposals into one $95 million bond measure ($45 million for libraries and $50 million for a new police station). Council members are hoping residents will want one of these enough to agree to the two projects.

That's manipulative.

In fact, in watching Monday's city council meeting, council members debated how they could best get people to vote for both. No council member mentioned separating the two proposals. No one asked which is the more ethical approach. Their agenda seemed to be what's the best method to manipulate the voters to get approval for both measures. Council members obviously fear that one of the proposals might lose (the police station), so they kept on asking the consultants how they can best bundle the two proposals together and get voter approval.

Council members want to choose the ballot measure(s) we vote on. That's manipulative — or simply politics.

The council authorized a poll of residents to see whether each proposal could garner the 66-2/3 percent majority needed to approve the bond measures. Unfortunately, the survey results discussed last Monday found that the support for each and both was well below the two-thirds majority. The library garnered an initial 63 percent approval rating for the $45 million proposal, while the $50 million police station got 57 percent approval, which consultants said was too low for ultimate voter approval. And when the two were combined, only 29 percent gave a "definite yes" although a substantial number said probably — but far less than the needed two-thirds majority. No surprise there.

We're talking about big tax dollars here that residents here will have to pay. The $95 million would result in a $42 tax per $100,000 assessed valuation. So if you have a $600,000 assessed valuation, passage of this bond measure would mean you would pay $252 in additional taxes/year for the next 30 years. And if you have a $1.2 million assessed valuation, that's another $504 a year. That's a lot of $$$s.

Some of us want renovated and expanded libraries. Others of us want a new police station. You may want both — or neither. I think we should be able to vote for which one or two building proposals we want.

My memo to our city council: Please don't try to frame the bond measures to get what you want. These are our tax dollars. Let us decide what we want. Separate out the measures.

Comments (154)

Posted by SW, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2007 at 9:23 pm

I hope the council will listen. If they combine the two projects into one bond, I will vote no. If they separate them, I will vote yes on the library. We are newer residents and our assessed value is high. These bonds take a big chunk out of our money. Is there any chance the bonds could be repackaged as parcel taxes so the cost would distributed more evenly among property owners?


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2007 at 11:55 pm


...And we are older residents, and our income does not keep up with all the new taxes from the repeated bond and parcel tax measures that regularly come our way (city, school district, county, state...).

Let us find a way to fund our needs (or wants) other than bonds...


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2007 at 1:46 am

Neighbor, There are ways that we can help those on fixed incomes, or those otherwise fiscally challenged. It's our responsibility as compassionate citizens to see that we - in cooperation with policy makers and private funders - solve that problem. We should get busy and find ways to ameliorate the burden of those who _legitimately_ can't afford more (vs. those who can afford to pay, but for their own reasons choose to vote against this measure)



Diana says:
"We're talking about big tax dollars here that residents here will have to pay. The $95 million would result in a $42 tax per $100,000 assessed valuation. So if you have a $600,000 assessed valuation, passage of this bond measure would mean you would pay $252 in additional taxes/year for the next 30 years. And if you have a $1.2 million assessed valuation, that's another $504 a year. That's a lot of $$$s."

Diana, what's the cost to our community (real, and potential) of Palo Alto NOT making these investments? How much will that cost every resident?

How about 23 studies in just as many communities - as pointed out recently in a Weekly op-ed - showing that cities receive from $1.30-$4.00+ in benefits for every dollar invested in libraries, with most cities receiving benefits toward the higher part of the stated range? Why aren't you also mentioning _investment benefits_ in your critique?

I have yet to see a balanced, fiscal cost/benefit argument coming from _anyone_ who has announced their opposition to either project, or opposition to a combined bond.

Instead, naysayer opinions seem to only focus on cost, and burdens - not one word about investment. What private or public entrepreneur would measure potential risk that way? Not anyone that I know, and I know a lot of them.

Please provide a fiscal rationale that includes opportunity costs (of not making the investments), or at the very least a sensitivity analysis. This is what any private or social entrepreneur would do, at the very least.

Please show us why the Public Safety Blue Ribbon Commission's conclusions don't make sense, from a long-term sustainability and near-long-term fiscal risk perspective. Same goes for the library.

Please explain from a _balanced_ cost/benefit perspective why these infrastructure builds are not good investments - investments that would help take to a sustainable fiscal and social future in Palo Alto?

How much will it cost each one of our households if Palo Alto is sued for $10's of millions because it doesn't have the proper facility to handle evidence, and many other _legally_ required public safety functions?

We know that the vast majority of our citizens want to improve the library. We also know that most citizens take public safety for granted. The Blue Ribbon Commission was set up to deal with this lack of knowledge, and make sure that our Public Safety needs were accurately gauged. They did a fantastic job, looking at everything, and identifying _base_ needs, going forward.

Why should we pit these necessary infrastructure projects _against_ each other? That's the subtext and implication of what you're suggesting. We know what would hapen if these projects went to the polls in successive years; they would most likely fail, because we both know that there is a relatively small group of individuals in Palo Alto who will do their best to defeat _both_ bonds, or use negative innuendo to reduce the size of already size-compromised projects, and last minute electoral distortions to increase the odds of defeat at the pollls. In other words another "tyranny of the minority" experience.

If we went separately, which one would be vote on first? How would our city ramp up for two bond measures, back-to-back. the naysayers would really love this; they'd have a "negative innuendo feast".

If we went for separate bonds, one project would be delayed for at least a year. that means that when we did get to the second project, that project would cost at least 15% more, due to construction inflation. For the police building, that's roughly $7.5M; it's almost that much for the library. It woudl be twice that if the delay was two years. How many citizens are aware of that?

The current City Council is not being manipulative; rather, it's being very smart about providing a real choice for our citizens. In fact, _separating_ these projects would be caving to those who want to manipulate political process here.

In fact, if many of the people who - in the recent poll - were _against_ either one of these projects were given balanced information on the alternative costs (opportunity costs) of NOT making these investments, and what NOT making those investments would very well cost them, they might think verydifferently than they do now.

If this same group was made aware of the deep benefits of these infrastructure builds- including a POSITIVE fiscal and social return on their taxpayer investment for libraries and public safety infrastructure - they would very well have second thoughts about how they cast their vote.

If we authentically engage those (in the minority) who are against these projects, and present them with cost AND benefit information, I think many would change their minds.

If we don't pass this combined bond, our community will end up paying more than these bonds cost in the near-long-term, by quite a bit. Or, if we give in to a few vocal naysayers (who consistently provide skewed fiscal critiques on these projects), and reduce already leaned-out projects to satisfy their unbalanced critiques, we will find ourselves requiring additional bond measures in the near-long-term to make up the difference - - **with the additional cost of 15% per annum for construction inflation_ to supplement the aforementioned compromised projects - projects that should have been built right the first time. Is that what we want?

Further, I think it's important that our citizens are given straight talk about what we're facing. If we don't fund these projects we are setting ourselves up for large legal settlements (or worse), and the eventual loss of our heralded branch library system. Do we want that to happen? I don't think so; nor do the _vast_ majority of people who voted in recent polls.

On a final note, the average assessed valuation here is more like $300K; thus, you're overstating the costs to most taxpayers here. That's a minor issue, relative to the challenges we're going to face if we fail to make these very prudent, necessary, measured, and juducious investments in our future, whose benefits FAR outweight their costs.


Posted by Publicus, a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2007 at 8:31 am

A tremendous post/rebuttal, Anna, well-informed logical, and clear!Its great to read an affirmative, enlightened Palo Alto perspective. You should consider doing your own blog on PA Online.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 9, 2007 at 8:51 am

Anna has a nice screed indicating why she supports these bond measures. I'm sure she'll have plenty of opportunity to make her case when the campaign begins in earnest.

However, Anna seems off topic to me in this thread. Diana asks, not whether the bonds are a good idea, but why the council seems to be manipulating the process by placing these bonds before the voters in a package after hearing from pollsters they hired. One might reasonably ask the more general question of why the Council should be hiring pollsters and campaign consultants with tax dollars to work on one side of the argument.

The council may be of one mind on this issue, but the feeling in the community isn't. That's why we have an election. So why should the council spend tax money on what are essentially campaign expenditures on one side of the argument? In essence, they're placing their thumb one side of the political scale before the election begins.

I'm sure the other side would love to have data - paid for by someone else, like taxpayers - indicating what will be the most effective arguments against the bonds.

While council members should free to campaign for the bonds on their own time, and donate their money to the cause, it seems to me that they have a duty to remain more neutral in their official capacities as council members - at least when it comes to spending tax money to promote only one side of the issue.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2007 at 10:02 am

Chris, I was very clear about why those bond measures _should_ be on one ballot. It's quite clear that the bonds are on one ballot because they're a good idea in the minds of the majority (maybe a unanimous majority) of the Council.

What you're attempting to do is take the Council's clear preference for these projects, and use that to make Council appear disingenuous. Please prove what you say, instead of making unfounded accusations.

The poll was not performed "in support" of anything other than simply providing more information to our community. Nothing in the poll results is being kept secret.

You continue to prove someone else's point on another thread - namely, that those who are rabidly against these projects, or want to downsize them to a point where they're hardly functional - will create arguments that have no merit, but resonate because of their emotional content. That's not going to fly this time.

For instance, you are making unfounded accusations about the Council spending tax money to support the bonds. That's nonsense and you know it.

The data is there, in black and white, for _all_ (those for and against) to use in any way they see fit. As you're against these projects, you will use the data to your argument's benefit; you've already begun to do that, as did Diana.

Based on the latter statement, and using your rationale, one could _also_ say that Council funded a poll to obtain information _against_ the projects. So, the fault in your emotional argument ALSO makes your accusation against Council an accusation that holds for you (and those who agree with you).


Posted by Chris, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 9, 2007 at 11:02 am

There's another guy on PaloAltoOnline floating the idea that a few clever "naysayers" are fooling the voters in the most educated city in California with meritless and emotional arguments. Those with weak substantive cases almost always resort to that kind of fulmination.

As Diana pointed out, anyone watching the council meeting at which the pollster's data was discussed could see that the whole tenor of the Council's inquiry was "what do we have to do to have the best chance of passing these bonds?" Nothing about the merits of the proposals themselves, and certainly nothing about ethics. Only, "how do we get them passed?" They shouldn't be using tax money to conduct that kind of strategizing whether in the open or in secret.

The pollsters and consultants that the Council (and the School District for that matter) hires for these "studies" are exactly the same people everyone in a political campaign hires before an election if they can afford them. They aren't hired to provide some sort of neutral information. They're hired precisely because they claim to be able to find the best spin for an issue or cantidate to win an election.

It's fine to put these bond issues before the voters. There are many people in town who think we can't solve our budgetary problems without taxing ourselves more. (Although one might reasonably ask why the Council thinks its ok to come back for a second bite at the Library apple when they were rejected on a similar proposal such a short time ago.)

But the council's official action, in my opinion, ought to be limited to drafting a proposal for the bonds and taxes - and then letting the citizenry debate the issue. If council members want to campaign or give their own funds to one side or another, that's fine. They shouldn't be using tax money in attempt to rig the process in a way that's favorable to one side. It is quite clear to me that's what they were attempting to do the other night.


Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2007 at 12:33 pm

I really take strong exception to anyone who has lived here for more than 20 years, has a very low property assessment, and has enjoyed the low property taxes that came about due to Proposition 13, cry "poverty" and "we are cash strapped seniors" and they cannot afford a few hundred dollars a year more to live here.

Low property taxes and low assessed values have meant that folks like this have not been required or asked to put money away for this "rainy day" now that our old and obsolete infrastructure needs to be re-built. They have saved thousands of dollars over that time, and I don't begrudge them for that.

This community and similar communities all over the state are now facing the need to upgrade old, obsolete infrastructures, and since we did not create lock-box type revenue streams and reserves to cover these requirements over the last 30 years, we now have to pay for them with financial instruments that we will be paying down over the next 10-30 years.

For people really "in poverty" there are ways that they can be given relief from these types of payments. For the rest, if you really cannot afford a few hundred more dollars a year in order for our city to be safe and to provide services efficiently and effectively, your circumstances are going to become more dire if you remain here, as other costs for living around here, controlled by the private sector, go up by hundreds year after year, over which you have no vote. Whether these bonds pass or not.

I don't want to sound mean spirited, I have an elderly father under my care who lives in this area, so I see first hand some struggles people face. But this is a small amount of money each household is being asked to consider, compared with all the other things that we must pay to live around here. How much more will you spend in gas money each year when it hits $4/gallon in 2008? What will your next car payment look like when it is time to trade in the heap? What happens when your prescription co-payment is raised by $5/prescription? What will you do if your 15 year old roof leaks? Put this amount of money into perspective, particularly when we consider what it brings to the community as a whole and many, many individuals of all backgrounds that benefit from the proposed initiatives.


Posted by Periwinkle, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 9, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Chris, looks like you're repeating yourself again, in an attempt to make an argument stick. It's an argument that sets up a straw man who is "manipulating the public". It makes a nice headline, but it's not going to float this time.

Please tell us how the information in the recent poll could _not_ be used by opponents to the projects. If you can't do that, then your argument has no merit, just as Diana's doesn't.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2007 at 12:58 pm

I agree with Chris and Diana and completely disagree with Anna.

The costs of the bonds are unequivocal, but the benefits are variable, subjective, and can only at best be estimated. Stating that the benefits of every dollar spent on libraries is between $1.30 - $4.00 is just silly.

Anna, you say that Neighbor must determine the costs of NOT making these investments. But we obviously need to prioritize our spending. Therefore, you should determine, for each possible investment we could be making, the costs of NOT making that investment. There are thousands of "investments" we could be making. Please get busy and analyze all of them so we can prioritize our spending. I think you should start by determining the potential costs of not fixing our roads and not implementing flood control.

The argument that the two proposals should be on one bond "because they're a good idea in the minds of the majority" is absurd. By that logic, if most people think that both food and a drivers license are good ideas, we should purchase them together at the DMV.

The council's desire to ram the police station project down the throats of the electorate has been obvious for some time. They know that, in the minds of the voters, the police station project is not worth the money. Therefore they have chosen slimy strategies such as this joint bond, which amounts to saying "You want better libraries? Not unless you fork over some money to the police." The word "extortion" comes to mind. One would think the goal of the council would be to help the citizens get what we want, as opposed to coercing the citizens into funding what the council wants.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Resident says "Stating that the benefits of every dollar spent on libraries is between $1.30 - $4.00 is just "silly"."

Really? Very "scientific" of you, Resident. Sounds like all those people who refute the evidence of global warming - calling it "silly". Lot's of peopelp think that evolution is just "silly". That's the lowest for of pejorative argument trotted out by those who disagree, with no evidence to back up their disagreement.

Go look at the studies; they've been done. Go ahead; I'm waiting for your critiqued analysis in rebuttal to those studies. Be careful; they were modeled by skilled demographers and economists, with the intention to get to the bottom of the question of whether public libraries were worthh the investment. Even they were surprise by the results, but they stand by them. Until now, all you have is your "silly" rationale. Pease produce your own studies (23 of them) refuting the 'silliness' yuo claim to be truth. Until you do that, your refutation has no substance, and is itself living in the "Land of Silliness".

Bringing forward an old tactic here, used by our small, core group of naysayers, "Resident" trots out the fact that we need some road maintenance done, and how that should preclude things like public safety - all in an attempt to throw the baby out with the bath water. Clever, but no cigar. Resident wants our citizens to prioritize their spending, according to _his/her_ priorities. S/he doesn't see the connection between sewers and public safety, or roads and public safety.

Resident, We know you beg to differ with the VAST majority of community sentiment on these infrastructure builds. We also know you will do your best to scuttle the progress that they represent; it won't work this time.

Please do attempt to answer the challenge to doing discovery on the cost of not doing those infrastructure builds, instead of coming up with arguments like "they're silly". Otherwise, you're just whistling Dixie.

Next, we see Resident conflating driver's licenses and food with a revenue bond for public safety and libraries - clearly an "expansus ad absurdium" argument that any high school kid would see through. Using Resident's own logic, one could conclude almost any two things on earth are analagous to the public safety and library bond.

In all this, especially in his final coments, Resident seems intent on concocting the same old "City Council is involved in a conspiracy tactic" that Chris and Diana have come up with - which, in reality, is *their* attempt to manipulate the debate by presenting a straw man that they can stand up and challenge.

Resident, you're going to have to do better than that to keep our citizens from hearing and seeing the benefits that will derive from their tax dollars, as opposed to what _not_ spending those tax dollars will cost them, and what following "Resident's" priorities will cost them.

"Resident" hasn't convened his/her own version of the Library Advisory Commision, Parks and Recreation Commission, or a Blue Ribbon Public Safety Commission to determine need. Our citizen's representative - the City Council - did.

Who are we going to listen to, "Resident" with his/her exhortations of "silliness", or those who would use specious arguments that invent mythical City Council conspriacies; or, the diligence of dozens of informed citizens, pollsters, and elected representative that have gone through exhaustive processes to determine need AND priorities?

btw, "Resident", the roads will get fixed, too. Enjoy them as you drive by the new Mitchell Park library/Recreation Center, and the new Public Safety Building.


Posted by Wolf, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 9, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Seems like Anna refuses to listen to what she's told. The issue is not the intrinsic value of each proposal, the issue is bundling them. Please try to address *that*.

In any case, I personally would positively consider the library if its high costs e.g., as compared to San Jose, would be clearly explained. I would definitely vote no on the combined bond. So much for "who will I listen to."


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2007 at 10:04 pm

Anna:
If you have "data from 23 studies," and

If, as you say, the "naysayers" "were given balanced information on the alternative costs (opportunity costs) of NOT making these investments, and what NOT making those investments would very well cost them, they might think very differently than they do now," and

If "the data is there, in black and white, for _all_ (those for and against) to use in any way they see fit,"

Why do you not simply provide us all with this overwhelming evidence so we can put an end to this discussion?

Your emotional postings accusing all those who disagree with of wanting to "scuttle the progress" is not helping your cause.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Wolf, I already addressed your concern. Perhaps a careful reading of past postings will help satisfy your curiosity. There are multiple reasons to bundle these infrastructure builds. It's all written for your reading pleasure, above.

Pat, the data is in the studies, and their conclusions. Disagree with those conclusions if you like. You will be in the vast minority of those who disagree. If you want the raw data, so that you can draw different conclusions, perhaps you can hire a team of economists and demographers like St. Louis did, and conduct your own original study. If you do, I would love to see the study design; have you ever conducted a $250K study of public service infrastructure? I think I know the answer to that question.

As far as "helping my cause", I couldn't possibly have a better helper than you, seriously.

Rather than asking "where's the evidence", perhaps you might start with a review of the first study. Google "St. Louis, library study"; after you've spent some time with the conclusions of that study, please provide evidence about why those conclusions are wrong, with something more than a basic opinion. I want to see *your* data, brought to conclusions that soundly refute the designers and results of the St. Louis study, and 22 others that have followed in its wake - all showing positive benefits in a better-than-one-to-one ratio for tax dollars spent on library services. To be exact $1.30-$4.00+ in benefit for every tax dollar spent on public libraries. That's a pretty good deal, if you ask me.

When you're done with that, please provide Palo Altans with conclusive evidence that definitively establishes that the long-term cost of _not_ building the police building and library would be less than the benefits of building them. While you're at it, please refute the additional points I've made above, in my first post.

Here's what I thnk you're going to do: You'll ask: "Where's the data?". From there, you will deny the validity of the study conclusions, because you haven't been able to gather the raw data from the studies (not because it isn't available, but because you don't want to work to get it. After that, you will claim that the studies don't prove anything, because you haven't been willing to go get the data. Circular arguments, anyone?

Why I think you're a great - even though unwilling - supporter of this bond effort, is because you will only have *said* yuor refutations, and not *shown* anything to back them up. Where's *your* data, Pat?

Unlike those who have put in the sweat, and made it their business to prove the benefit of these infrastructure builds, a small coterie of naysayers will continue to try to bring this bond down; they will bring forward all sorts of distortion; they will challenge studies, polls, various commission conclusions; they will bring forward last-minute maiilings meant to stimulate emotional reactions; they will use a structural flaw in revenue election law to continue their attempt to impose a "tyranny of the minority" on Palo Alto politics.

Many of these naysayers are people I have spoken with in depth. They're mostly good people, but very misguided. More than one has told me that they don't even like Palo Alto, or Palo Altans. Given the latter, is their resistance to improving our city, thus denying Palo Alto and Palo Altans a sustainable future any surprise?

btw, Pat, all postings are emotional, _and_ rational - including yours. Counterintuitive, isn't it? There's an easy way to prove this, but that's another thread.

This thread was begun by Diana Diamond, a person I respect. She occasionally gets it wrong, and sometimes gets it really wrong. This is one of those times.

Diana, I would love to hear how yuo rationalize thhis blog entry as any less a manipulation than you claim the City Council is attempting. It's not news that you're opposed to the current Blue Ribbon Commission, LAC, and PArks and Rec findings. As your argument about these infrastructure builds becomes less relevant, the only thing left is to accuse the City Council of attempting to manipulate Palo Altans. The great irnoy is that you're using an unfounded, emotionally laden accusation to manipulate citizen opinion in a way that brings the latter closer to yuor views on this matter. Not this time. :)


Posted by diana diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger
on Mar 10, 2007 at 9:04 am

diana diamond is a registered user.

Anna -

The point in my blog entry here, which you have misrepresented, is simply to have the council put two separate measures on the November 2008 ballot (one for the library, one for the police station) rather than one combined measure. Period.

I have not taken a stand in support or opposition to these measures, and that was not the point of my blog. Please do not assume what my point of view is.

I do worry that if the two measures are combined, both will be defeated. I think each or perhaps both have a better chance of passage if there are separate measures.

Rembember what happened last November when the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors decided to combine their half-cent sales tax increase with the BART proposal? That went down in defeat, much to the surprise of the board of supervisors.

I would think the library commission, who has put so much time and effort into plans for an expanded Mitchell Park library, would want to see separate measures. It would be in the library's best interests.

Diana


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 10, 2007 at 11:12 am

Anna,

The public safety building and library remodelling are important infrastructure issues; but why not prioritize some money from the existing budget/revenue to address these issues?

I think if the city were to show how they would do some partial funding of these projects out of the existing budget, many citizens would vote for the a smaller cost bond issue.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Diana,

In fact, your headline said it all. Your claim was that the Council was manipulating the public; I think that said it all. In fact, your disparaging claim was itself manipulative, abnd created an idea about Council intentions where there was none, prior. Claims like that should not go unanswered, or be called anything other than what they are - manipulative.

Rather than repeat what I've already said above, I would like to see your answers to my substantive claims about why it _is_ important to place these measures on the same ballot. There are many reasons - stated above - as to why. Please respond.

Lastly, to conflate the the Santa Clara bond issue with the one currently in question is mixing apples and oranges. The Santa Clara issue was poorly thought out; the people who thought it up and placed it on the ballot the way that they did should be called on their strategic blunder.

The Palo Alto bond issue, if it comes out as a combined bond, will be much more carefully wrought. The need for both projects is clearly there - it has been established with great diligence. Why should we cost ourselves - at minimum $6-7M to separate them by a year, or more?

As far as the library commission goes, it seems to me that all Commissions involved would want to do the best thing for their city as a whole, instead ofo a piecemeal effort that would most likely result in forced compromises on already-compromised projects.

Again, my objections to your opinion are above.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2007 at 12:26 pm

curious, the city has a lot on its plate. Maybe our city officials (policy and staff) will come up with a new funding combination, or permutation. That's their purview. If they do, fine. If they don't (or can't, due to other priorities) we shouhld float these bonds in 2008.

That said, both of these projects have great merit; the need has been established. From this point on our job is to educate our public about the great benefits of the proposed investment, and get both projects built - the sooner the better. Delay will cost us even more money.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2007 at 3:56 pm

"Anna" --
As it happens, I HAVE the St. Louis study, which I obtained from the St. Louis Library. The only thing it "proves" is that library users benefit from a good library.

If you have irrefutable data on building libraries vs. not building libraries, why are you unwilling to provide it -- instead of telling us to go find it ourselves? Seems that would be a powerful selling tool to get the library bond passed.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2007 at 8:53 pm

Pat,

Since you claim to have a copy of the St. Louis study, please tell us HOW does the St. Louis study shows benefit? Also, please do tell us more about the St. Louis study, and how what it says does not agree with what I have written above.

btw, there is no such thing as irrefutable data. That said, some data is more reliable than other data. Given the latter, I would also like to see any data that you have that might have collected that refutes the cost/benefit claims in the St. Louis and **22** other municipal library studies - all showing similar results.

I await your detailed response.


Posted by wasteof time, a resident of The Greenhouse
on Mar 10, 2007 at 9:55 pm

Anna,

You referred to the 23 studies, and PA Weekly article to support your argument. You should not need someone else to tell you the details of your reference.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2007 at 10:38 pm

Waste, I know othe details - there are hundreds of pages involved. They're summarized all over the Net, with raw data available to anyone who wants to dig into it.

I know it's difficult to accept conclusive data from an overwhelming number of studies that refutes your position, but that's what pat and yuo are having to deal with. I'm waiting for a substantive response.

Go read the studies, instead of wasting your time hopelessly trying to refute them with your own data, which doesn't exist. The web links and studies are there. You do have an Internet connection, right?

In case you don't, here are some stats for you, based on the study conclusions:

"Annual local taxes spent for library operations yield substantial direct benefits. Each library returns more than $1 of benefits for each $1 of annual taxes. Baltimore County Public Library returns $3-$6 in benefits per tax dollar. Birmingham Public Library returns $1.30-$2.70 in benefits per tax dollar. King County Library System returns $5-$10 in benefits per tax dollar. Phoenix Public Library returns over $10 in benefits per tax dollar. SLPL returns $2.50-$5 in benefits per tax dollar.

"Each library studied yields a good return on invested capital. Baltimore County Public Library returns a minimum of 72%. Birmingham Public Library returns a minimum of 5%. King County Library System returns a minimum of 94%. Phoenix Public Library returns over $150%. SLPL returns a minimum of 22%.

Have you conducted studies that refute the above conclusions? If so, Id be interested to see them.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2007 at 11:14 pm

Folks, here's something from one of the studies. Hope this helps.
Web Link

I'm really looking forward to seeing if someone else has conducted other studies that refute the findings of this study, and others like it - namely, that public libraries return more than $1 of benefit for every $1 of texes invested in their construction and maintenance.

Note the conservative nature ofd the model, and the measurement modalities. Many benefits are not even measured, in addition to intangible benefits that are priceless - many of the latter having to do with the creation of community, effect on reductions in crime in a community, and so on.

Are there studies refuting this information? If so, please show them to us.

Now that all this inofomation has been provided (and there's more where that came from), including rationales for why both projects belong on the same bond, it's only fair to ask those who disagree with these projects being built to provide something other than their simple opinion as to why they shouldn't.

Where is the data that refutes what has been put into this forum, including substantive reasons why it would be better to place these two projects into separate bond offerings?

Where are the cost AND benefit summaries applied to all summarizations that oppose these projects? One can oppose these projects all day, but where is a rationale other than "it cost too much" (with no countervailing benefit data provided)? There hasn't been one - in fact, far from it.

Until someone can do all thise things in a substantive way, the case against these projects is weak.

Hopefully, we;ll be abble to begin to educate busy Palo Altans about the benefits of these projects - both short run and long run - including what it will cost our great community if they are not completed as soon as possible.


Posted by Bill Bucy, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 11, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Paging through the comments to Diamond's post I see too much hair-splitting over details and too little anger at the council for even considering such a manipulative move.

The real issue before council members is whether honesty and respect for the people they represent requires two separate bond measures.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2007 at 10:14 pm

"Anna"

When I am trying to sell someone a product or an idea (and I've done a lot of that for various companies), I do NOT say, "*I* know the details. There are hundreds of pages of data that prove my point. If you want to dig into it, go fish on the Internet and figure it out for yourself. And if you want to refute what *I* know (but am not willing to tell you), go do your own studies." Frankly, it doesn't sound like an effective approach to win people to your cause.

My approach is to do some homework, investigate the competition and then broadcast information – in whatever form is appropriate – that extols the benefits of my product/idea. Knowing that people are skeptical, I show how I derived the benefits so that people can convince themselves.

The website from which you quote does not provide any data nor algorithms to show how the "substantial direct benefits" were obtained. Having been trained in science and engineering, I tend to look for that kind of information. It's not that I assume someone's trying to mislead me. I just like to understand how conclusions are obtained.

Since I couldn't find any data online, I got a print copy of the 2000 St. Louis Study directly from the St. Louis Library. I didn't find anything deceptive in the study, nor did I expect to. Everything was easy to follow. Data was provided. However, I discovered that the study uses different definitions for ROI than what I have used in business.

The St. Louis study calculates ROI as Benefits/Operating Budget. "Benefits" are calculated by adding all individual library service benefits, e.g., books for adults are used by 81% of the patrons, cost of a book is estimated, multiplied by number of users.

Please note that "Benefits" is defined as benefits to library USERS, not to the general public or investors (taxpayers in this case).

The business definition of ROI that I'm familiar with is Earnings/Total Capital: the amount, expressed as a percentage, that is earned on a company's total capital calculated by dividing the total capital into earnings before interest, taxes, or dividends are paid. www.wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

I want to be very clear that I'm not challenging the St. Louis Library algorithm. If that's the way it's done in libraries, so be it. I just think it would help the quality of the debate if we all understood the terms and definitions. I find it misleading to read that "no less than 23 well-designed studies have clearly shown that public libraries actually pay back a profit to municipalities, based on real benefits received for tax dollars spent." (See GO in the Palo Alto Weekly at; Web Link )

If I have missed something in the St. Louis Study, I hope "Anna" will set me straight and point out page references to correct me.

I absolutely believe that libraries provide tremendous benefits. I would love to have a new library system in Palo Alto because we deserve better than what we now have.

"Anna", are you by any chance a member of the LAC?


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2007 at 11:55 pm

"Pat"

The library studies quoted _clearly show_ a surplus benefit relative to tax investments made in public libraries. the studies have been repeated 23 times. That's a fact. Read the studies, read the valuation rationales. It's all there; there's no mystery.

Based on the above, the Weekly GO you quoted is correct - i.e. "no less than 23 well-designed studies have clearly shown that public libraries actually pay back a profit to municipalities, based on real benefits received for tax dollars spent."

Anoter thing I find intruiguing is your assumption that libraries only profit library users.

Does a parent's library tax benefit increase when her child uses the library to do research, even if that parent is a non-library user?

How about that parent's neighbor, who profits from a more well-informed student that is less likely to get into trouble, thus saving public safety dollars?

How about a senior citizen who is included in an oral history coop with high school students through a library/school program - does a happier senior citizen make for a healthier senior citizen, and all those persons she engages, even if those persons don't use the library.

Does it benefit a non-library user when a member of her community uses a library to improve her earnings potential, with the resultant effect that that library user spends more money in the community, thus increasing sales and property tax revenues?

I could go on, and on, and on...the evidence is right there, so obvious that it's painful that more residents don't see these self-evident truths.

btw, when one receives more benefit in dollars from one's tax investment, that that is a profit to the citizen and her community. How can you claim the opposite? If yuo are claiming the opposite, I would liek to see the algorithms you're using.

One can parse these studies to a faretheewell, but there's no denying that they _clearly_ show that citizens receive a positive return on their tax dollar investment for libraries.

Citizens and residents are the "shareholders" in community. A positive return of benefits for tax dollars invested results in a positive return on taxpayer investment for that community. Everyone wins. There's simply no other way to say it - unless, of course, one wants to change the subject to serve one's own ulterior ends.




Posted by Geoff, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 12, 2007 at 6:37 am

All this talk of libraries returning more than a dollar for each dollar invested is really beside the point.

All the benefits cited above are speculative, diffuse and not recaptured back by the libraries themselves, or by the city in any meaningful way.

In an accounting sense, and in every way that matters for budgetary purposes, money spent on libraries are an unreimbursed cost (except perhaps for the insignificantly small amount in fines that are returned to the system.)

If the money we spent on libraries really offered such a positive return, we wouldn't even need a bond to pay for them. They'd pay for themselves, and we could use the extra money that some of the posters here say we'll get back from them to pay for the police station.

Maybe we should have new libraries in town. They're something cities should do for their residents after all. But please, make your arguments on the merits. Don't try to sell us on the fatuous notion that they "pay for themselves."


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2007 at 10:36 am

The monster bond is news to me; whose suggestion was that? The Palo Alto Weekly has given editorial support to both projects, but they have also "unpacked" the bundled costs, and criticized them. (Diana Diamond has criticized the library costs, but supports a separate library bond.)
Does anyone know how some of the "extras" fared in the "poll"?

I'm particularly curious about two: the large new Community Center to be built on the site of the old Mitchell Park Center, and the new construction at the Main Library, adding two meeting rooms and (presumably) parking?

Does anyone know how large these two projects were to be (in cubic feet)?


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2007 at 10:39 am

I too wouldn't vote for the police bond, separate or bundled with the library bond, but that's because I want smaller, separated functions. All in one huge building is poor disaster preparedness, and inflexible.

I'd vote against it if it were free.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Of course, we will, as in the last two posts have those who will simply not vote for the bond under any circumstances. There's not changing their minds, nor should we try. This group is comprised (on this forum) of a miniscule fraction of 1% of Palo Alto's residents.

I have spent some time on these boards and have noticed Geoff and Carol railing against one infrastructure project after another, so I'm not surprised at their responses here.

Not to worry. Almost everyone I've spoken with, once having had the opportunity to hear the arguments made above - in favor of - the combined bonds, and the long-term benefits that accrue, begin to tilt toward supporting them, or outright supporting them. I've spoken to almost three dozen people in the last week about this; it's an interesting excercise, as many were against these bonds -or the idea of a combined bond - to begin with.

btw, Geoff, who said that libraries pay for themselves? Nobody said that, so why try to change the subject, or put words in other people's mouths.

Like "Pat", and Diana, you appear determined to change the subject from the following _fact_ proven in 23 municipal studies (with more coming) - i.e that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAYY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT". I'm using caps here to make a point, and to ask those who disagree to come up with their own studies (just one or two will do) disproving this.

I await a substantial rebuttal.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Maybe the packing itself is what's being concealed? The unexpected loss of the last library bond was blamed on the includsion of tennis courts,etc.
Anna's scribs sound like professional handout.
Someone may be paid to track Diana Diamond, who does have quite a bit of influence.
It wouldn't make sense to idly prowl Town Square.
Anyone who actually knows about the polls willing to reveal why they said the bonds would fail?


Posted by Geoff, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 12, 2007 at 1:46 pm

I don't know Anna, on one paragraph you say, "btw, Geoff, who said that libraries pay for themselves? Nobody said that, so why try to change the subject, or put words in other people's mouths."

And then in the very next paragraph you say, (with emphasis), ""NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAYY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

Hard to imagine libraries making a profit without paying for themselves. So which is it? Do they pay for themselves and return a profit? Or not?


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Geoff: it's hard to imagine a real person with an interest in libraries, living in Palo Alto, and not knowing that it took an attack on the branch libraries to split the pro-library vote. Also, this "Anna" doesn't appear to know that there's never been enough support for a large police building for Council to consider putting it on the ballot.

Do you know any of the details of the poll reported in the Weekly? I know that we probably don't agree with each other on the library - if it were just Mitchell, I'd support it - but aren't you curious?

Sometimes Diana Diamond seems very logical. It does seem unfair to the people who volunteered to work for a library to keep their proposals tied to other projects.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Geoff, Nice try, but no cigar. :) Again, you are trying to change the subject.

Here's the quote, again:

"NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT"

That's what the studies say. If you want to parse the studies to your own ends, so bit it. If you want to continually try to change the subject to suit your own ends, I can't stop you. IN fact, your doing so weakends your position, so, please keep trying.

What I know for sure is, that on hearing about these studies, that most people, on hearing about these studies, have their minds changed forever about the value that library services provide, as they are clearly shown that a _quantifiable_ benefit that that _exceeds_ their tax investment accrues to them, and the rest of the community. Yes, taxpayers DO profit from their investment in libraries.

I eagerly await your susbstantial refutation of the data and conclusions obtained from the 23 above-mentioned studies. So far, you and others have failed to provide that.

Carol, I'm not surprised that you would trot out the old, long overcome argument that favored eliminating the branches, as your position doesn't consider the cost to our branch system if only Mitchell was funded. Our community (in two polls), the City Council, and the LAC have overwhelmingly stated what they want for libraries, and our public safety infrastructure.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2007 at 5:34 pm

First of all, why is City Council calling it a "public safety building"? It's a police station. This name game must be something that the pollsters and consultants concocted. I have a partial solution to propose. City Hall is enormous. It's certainly larger than most of the city halls in surrounding cities. We could reduce the size of city government by reducing the number of city employees. This is long overdue anyway. Hand over the evacuated offices to the police department, so that they have additional space and no longer need a new building.

In any event, I agree with Diana. The bonds must be separated. I also agree with others on this list that City Council should not be hiring pollsters and consultants to push through their desires for the city. If you believe that bonds are inevitable, separate the bonds. I don't think Anna's assertion that it will cost 6 to 7 million more if we do so is credible.

Lastly, I think the pollsters got their answer from the public during the course of their "survey". They do not have enough public backing for either project at this time. If Council wants to sell the project to everyone (using lots of money provided by residents of Palo Alto) and thereby hope to increase the number of residents supporting their side of the issue, then I think that type of behavior can accurately be called manipulation. That's not how Palo Alto should be run.


Posted by aw, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2007 at 6:36 pm

Anna,

Thanks for the pointer to the St Louis study. To summarize for those who haven't read it, its research methodology is to ask library users what they'd be willing to pay for what they get at the library. Valid methodology that measures benefit to users (not profit to community). The study shows that library users willingness-to-pay is in excess of library spending.

The study shows that the highest value item is adult books (no jokes here) at 35% of total, followed by staff interaction at 30%, children's books at 20%, and technology 15%.

Looking at the 2005/2006 Palo Alto Library Annual Report, budget is $5.9M. Books are under 10% of total budget and staffing is 90%. No reporting on total number of library users - there are 37,768 cards issued, but no information on how many distinct users visit the library each year. It's hard to directly connect the dots between a new building and the report's benefits, but I'm open minded...


Posted by pete, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2007 at 7:18 pm

aw has hit upon a great solution: have the users pay for what they get. If as he says, the users' willingness to pay is in excess of library spending, we suddenly have libraries as a profit center for the city - returning money to the general fund. And we can forget all this divisive bond stuff because there's no need for it.

Actually, I know something about studies that ask people what they're willing to pay for something. And they're a very poor proxy for what people actually WILL pay for something when it comes time to shell out the cash. Marketing departments don't even use them much anymore because of their unreliability.


Posted by Geoff, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 12, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Maybe some have a different definition of "profit" than its meaning as conventionally understood.

When I say "profit", I mean that the investment returns everything invested (I.e., it pays for itself), and then returns a little more (the profit).

Seems like kind of a simple concept.

But I guess Anna means something else, since she quotes all kinds of studies she says show libraries return tremendous profits...but then denies she's saying they pay for themselves.


Posted by aw, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2007 at 9:36 pm

Geoff is exactly right. The St Louis study refers to "benefits" but not "profits." Pete is right as well about willingness-to-pay studies.

I'm on the fence here: I'd love to have a great public library, but the St Louis study seems to indicate the best return comes from a strong collection. Hard thing to do with a branch-based system. The St Louis study doesn't provide much endorsement for branches over a strong central library... but I remain open-minded and hopeful!


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2007 at 9:42 pm

I thought about Kate's question: why do they call it a "public safety" building, not a police station? Perhaps this represents the final failure of all that emergency planning.

In a real emergency a lot of Palo Alto employees won't be able to get here. Others will choose their families and their communities.

I hope Stanford has more workable contingency plans of its own, preferably right on the medical center grounds, where emergency response might save lives.



Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 12, 2007 at 11:59 pm

We're still waiting for a substantive response to the studies posted. There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

Now, on to critiquing some recent comments:
AW's analysis of the study posted in incorrect, on its face. There were a number of variables used to determine library benefits to taxpayers; aw mentioned only one of them.

Based on this, Pete's follow up comments, which were premised on AW's analysis - are also incorrect.

Also, "aw", can you provide a reasonable explantion for your claim that only users, and not non-users receive real benefits? Before you answer, read this:
Web Link
There's a LOT more where that came from, btw - showing additional positive variables, proving that public libraries MAKE MONEY, and SAVE MONEY for municipalities.

I would also like AW to explain why a branch system cannot have a strong collection. Who says? Is that a universal truth, or an mini-extrapolation from your (partial) analysis of the St. Louis and other studies, as described above?

Geoff keeps wanting to wish away the results of the studies, by changing the very language used to describe the study results; this is, unfortunately, a weak argument. We keep waiting for Geoff to come up with a substantive challenge to these studies, other than trying to sneak in text changes that alter the meaning of the results. Where are the contervailing studies, Geoff, and why aren't you out there conducting a study of your own, modeled by top-notch demographers and economists, and then distributed to the same 23 municipalities that showed the results stated above?

To Carol and kate; it's called a "Public Safety Building" because many public safety functions operate from or with the building, in addition to police activities.

I'd also like kate and Carol to let us know how they - if they were City Council members 5 years hence - would explain to local residents why Palo Alto had just been sued for $25M by a defendant who's trial evidence was destroyed for lack of a safe place to store it, preserve it, or classify it. Or, how about several multi-million dollar lawsuits once regional litigation attorneys start to smell blood (money) after the first successful legal action of this kind against Palo Alto. We needed a new Public Safety Building _yesterday_!

Also, perhaps kate and Carol can describe for us how it is OK for police officers, with one of the highest stress jobs in the nation, to go without having a small, working gymnasium to keep themselves healthy, so that they can better do their jobs - and not have to take personal leave due to stress or injury. Which one of them will announce to a police officer's relative that that police officer was injured on the job (god forbid!) because they didn't have the very best facilities and equipment.

How about kate and Carolyn explaining to us why many other police departments have job drawing power superior to Palo Alto's? Could it be the facility, pay, and benefit profile that doesn't quite match up to some other regional communties? Are kate and Carol willing to compromise getting the very best police personnel in Palo Alto, and thus our community's public safety?

Perhaps kate and Carol would be willing to project for us how much it will COST Palo Alto if it DOESN"T build this necessary infrastructure. Have they read the Blue Rinbbon Commission reports? I suspect not.

We will see a LOT more manipulation from a vast minority in the press, and obfuscation from a vast minority of arelative few naysayers about these infrastructure builds.

If we stay focused, and rigorously inform our citizenry of benefits - while persistently answering the incorrect and naysaying FUD - we will succeed in building these very important infrastructure projects, helping to bring our community into the 21st century as concerns library and public safety services...services that benefit citizens in ways that are beyond measure.




Posted by annette, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2007 at 2:47 am

The Council is trying to get the job done once and for all.

One infrastructure bond, two projects- do what needs to be done to get it to pass. Deteriorating libraries and police buildngs- let's vote. The end- move on and start building.

Otherwise we continue on the path of "death by a thousand debates,discusaions, commissions, task forces, studies, expensive unnecessary additional elections, opinions etc.".

It is not manipulation- it is efficiency.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2007 at 9:49 am

Anna,

How many criminal lawsuits involving damaged evidence have been filed against the City of Palo Alto in the past twenty years? None that I know of. Also, I've never once, over the past 15 years, heard anyone refer to the police station as a "public safety building". It's a new term for me personally.

The public safety functions that operate from City Hall can all be upgraded at the current building. There is no need to build an entirely new building from the ground up to obtain those functions in Palo Alto. It would certainly be more pleasant for the Police Department to have better digs, but then who wouldn't want better facilities to work in? Ask the Planning and Transportation Department. They got the new facility across the street from City Hall a few years ago and are costing the residents a small fortune for the space. City government must reduce its size and waste. It needs to operate like a real business is forced to operate.

As for your comment about the equipment used by the police....There are alot of stressful jobs in the world and they do not come equipped with on-site work gymnasiums. Most mortals have to go use the local gym if they want that type of workout. In the alternative, reduce the size of government and open up a space at City Hall where a few machines could be installed. They don't need a new building for that task.

I didn't know that we were losing alot of police officers to other communities? How many?


Posted by Donnie, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 13, 2007 at 10:15 am

The gym I go to has at least one Palo Alto police officer as a member. He seems to like it there, and is a nice guy to boot. Maybe the city could work a deal to give all the police officers membership in a local gym. Would save the city money...and the police would have nicer equipment than they likely could fit in their smaller city-owned facility.


Posted by Pete, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 10:17 am

Um ...Anna... "vast" minority? ... Is that like a "majority."

Just wondering.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 10:30 am

kate,

I would encourage you to take a tour of the public safety building; ask about evidence mantenance. I have taken two such tours. The Blue Ribbon Commission identified the improper maintenance of evidence as a high risk foro future lawsuits. The Santa Clara County Asst. Dist Attorney (a Palo Alto resident) has also worried mightily about this. Again, we are even *now* at risk for substantial lawsuits for this and other _legally_ mandated failings that the current facility does not handle. Go ask.

If you think that the Planning Dept wants to be where they are, think again. It's a cramped space that isi rented at a high premium, because the city has *rin out of room to properly house staff*. You may choose not to believe that, but it's a fact. In fact, once public safety has moved, ourcity will be able to save several hundred thousand dollars per year in rent, by moving Planning back to City Hall.

As for police hiring, ask yourself why Palo Alto police positions are not immediately filled, and often linger for quite some time before they are filled. Go ask arund to police officers - here and elsewhere. I have, and they will tell you that the employment deals and conditions are not the best in Palo Alto. They're not saying that this is a bad place to work, but that PA does not offer top facilities, and other necessities that best enable police officers. We have a way to go.

IN all, one can be forgiven ignorance about these matters; in fact, at one time I held a position not unsimilar to yours (in terms of infrastructure need). After looking around, and asking questions, it became clear that we DO have a drastic need in these areas.

If those who complain about the need for infrastructure fail to find out the truth, by actually going into our facilities and asking hard questions, instead of living in their imaginations, it results in a sad lack of public knowledge, with the further continuance of ignorance spread to others.

I challlenge you to do the work; go look for yourself. Ask the library and police straff about the shortcomings of the current infrastructure, in depth. Schedule some time, and see for yourself.

If you don't do these things, then you will continue to argue from ignorance, to the ultimate detriment of your well-being, and that of your neighbors.

I wish you well in your exploration.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 10:34 am

pete, only in your wildest dreams :) Look at the poll results; look at how close the last library bond came last time. A clear majoruty of Palo Altans want to bring their city up to date, to benefit all.


Posted by pete, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 10:36 am

Um...nevermind.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 10:36 am

Donnie, The relatively small cost of building a small interior gymnasium will SAVE money in the long run.

Many, many corporate facilities maintain on site gymnasiums for workers; they do this because it's fdar more efficient (reduces lost time going back and forth), and far cheaper in the long run in actual subscription cost.


Posted by Juliet, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 12:43 pm

As long as AnnaMike is the most vocal, visible proponent of the bond issue, the bond is in trouble. Our city leaders need to address this problem.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Juliet,

Thank you!

Your comment brings to mind a quote by Oscar Wilde:
"`Praise makes me humble, but when I am abused I know I have touched the stars.'"

Our city leaders have been doing a fine job of focusing on realistic goals, and have done an even finer job of sheparding these infrastructure builds to a place where private efforts can now be started to promote their funding via a bond.

Many, many others, including our city leaders - in future forums that are FAR more public than this one - will be working diligently to educate our citizens on the importance of building these worthy infrastructure projects.

btw, who is Mike?




Posted by Naysayer, a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2007 at 3:44 pm

pete,

I think maybe Anna was thinking about the vast right wing conspiracy.


Posted by Juliet, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Thank you for the quote from Oscar Wilde. I believe I understand better now.

"`Praise makes me humble, but when I am abused I know I have touched the stars.'"


Posted by Kste, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 13, 2007 at 4:37 pm

Unfortunately, many on the Blue Ribbon Commission are determined to have a NEW police station. What about retrofitting the current one and perhaps, dare I say, save some taxpayer money in the process.

If a Santa Clara County District Attorney knows that evidence is not being handled properly, he is under an obligation to inform the defendant and court of that fact. Your statements are putting him or her at risk for sanctions and possibly losing their ability to practice law. You better be certain of your facts before you put them in writing. Again, does this problem require a NEW building to fix? What kind of evidence problem could possibly trigger the need for a brand NEW building for the police department. Palo Alto throws alot of money around to various special interest groups. They need to reevaluate that decision and prioritize. If it is as you say, this is a priority and needs to be fixed immediately. There is no excuse to wait for a bond to pass, build a new facility and then address this urgent problem you decribe.

On another issue, the Planning and Transportation Department have gorgeous facilities. It's huge. Have you been in there?

I also don't think you have your facts straight about the police department. They only have three positions open: (1) under three year lateral police officer position that can pay up to $86,400 plus vision, dental, health, pension and four day weekends guaranteed every week. I don't think that sound too bad for someone who want to be a police officer. (2) A trainee police officer which pays $64,776 plus all of the benefits listed above and (3) a dispatcher position. If I wanted to be a police officer, I'd look long and hard at Palo Alto.

I don't think you should allege ignorance on the part of anyone. It's called an opposing opinion and should be encouraged. I respect your opinion, but I do not agree with it.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Renting space in Stanford's Industrial Park is a good idea, for a police station. Someone suggested that, earlier in this thread, but I was focused on the library. I'd already made up my mind about the police station.

Renting another police station would be better for the taxpayer than building; much more flexible. If there's vacant space in the Industrial Park, it probably doesn't need to be retrofitted, but in any case that's only difficult in older masonry buildings.

Disclosure: Utilities rented office space from me, tne years ago or so. I've forgotten the date.

They're renting space for Planning now; they've gone into the landlord business downtown. Utilities negotiated a ten-year lease for the top floor of the Washington Mutual building. They wanted to remain close to the City Hall for administrative convenience. Most landlords will write them a very favorable deal, because their checks are always good. The leases are matters of public record; everyone can read them before Council gets to approve them.

Now that they're given up on downtown for the police station, if they really need space and the bond fails, they'll rent the space.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 13, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Nice idea Carol!

Maybe they should just rent the space now, save us another divisive bond election, and use the money saved to start working on the street maintenance backlog.

The Auditor's report said a year ago that we were $29 million behind in street repairs, and falling further behind causing more deterioration and accelerating the need for expensive replacement of much of our street infrastructure. The city has NO plan for dealing with this. You may be sure, that whether the bonds pass or not, we will soon be hearing of the need for a big bond to repair the streets. And given the lack of current resolve and direction on the issue right now, they'll be right.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 9:36 pm

kate, I asked you to investigate for yourself; instead, you continue to imagine solutions that have already been suggested, analyzed by professionals and citizen volunteers, and rejected. It's your choice to stay poorly informed. Yes, we disagree, but only one of us has done his homework.

Carol, The public Safety Building "fail-safe" requirements are not met by any standing building in the Industrial Park. The only way that *might* be possible would be if the communications center was kept separate from the rest of the building - in a small building of its own. That idea was floated and turned down for sound reasons.

Chris, you're suggesting we trade repair on roads that are mostly adequate for public safety and libraries. I wonder how far that platform would get you in a City Council race.


Posted by Gina, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Anna,

How do you know that the public Safety Building "fail-safe" requirements are not met by any standing building in the Industrial Park. The only way that *might* be possible would be if the communications center was kept separate from the rest of the building - in a small building of its own. That idea was floated and turned down for sound reasons?

Do you work for the city?


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Gina, the information I presented about the public safety building is common knowledge, and has been brought forward more than once in public testimony, as well as commission discussions. It should be part of the public record.

btw, I am not a city employee - just an interested citizen who has taken time to learn the facts.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 14, 2007 at 6:56 am

Anna - I considered all of the FACTS and have concluded that Palo Alto does not need a NEW police building. Upgrades, yes. NEW building, NO. I have done my "homework", Anna, and we do indeed disagree. However, I will not stoop to your level and call you "ignorant" because of your views.


Posted by civic responsibility, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2007 at 9:56 am

quoting kate "On another issue, the Planning and Transportation Department have gorgeous facilities. It's huge. Have you been in there?" ............and "What kind of evidence problem could possibly trigger the need for a brand NEW building for the police department. Palo Alto throws alot of money around to various special interest groups"

I think Anna's right because the statements you make are basically opinion, but not based on anything else. Anna said we could save money by returning planning to the old police building, and other idea, butyou didn't say anything about that. It's ok to have your mind made up, but please don't represent it as anything but that........


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 14, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Civic responsibility: if only there were civic responsibility in the City Council and Staff, we would have the information we are legally entitled to have.

There's nothing wrong with "opinion" except when it is dishonest.

It should not be necessary to exchange "opinions" about what is contained in a bond issue, but if there is no solid information available, that is the fault of those guilty of concealing the information when drafting the bond language. Such projects should not be presented in a black box labeled "trust me."

Kate's done very well, applying logic, to explain the absence of facts being offered by the City.

As for those trying to support these mysteriously mushroomed projects, there's a delightful little book you should read. "On Bullshit" by Professor H.G. Frankfurt.

I particularly recommend this book to those of you who think you know what other people want. I also recommend the book to the person who said that "the Council is getting the job done."


Posted by aw, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 14, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Lots of sound thinking from many sides on this thread sometimes framed up a bit polemically. I think Diana Diamond started this thread making a point about trusting the process, not about debating the merits of these particular items.

So here we have a bond discussion for two items that are probably Good Ideas. Personally I wouldn't pick a branch library and a police HQ as our first moves to clear the infrastructure backlog, but I'd quickly support the bond if a few things happened. Acknowledge that these are just first steps toward rebuilding our community infrastructure, and lay out a 20 year plan for the rest of what needs to be done. Describe the urgency about these choices: if evidence custody is a problem, lay the problems out factually and explain why they haven't been addressed. Put some accountability in place: I don't believe our current Police Chief's operational priorities make her a very persuasive advocate for a new building. I've heard people say we ran a competent Library Director out of town on a rail for suggesting we fully fund - or close - the branches. What lessons have we learned since then about operating libraries?

As a community we are paralyzed by disagreements between people who claim that our current, decayed infrastructure is good enough, people who claim that City staff waste and inefficiency is our main problem, and people who oversell the community benefits of individually optional projects. Suppose we had a study that showed FTTH creates more economic value for the community than branch libraries? Would that compel us to prioritize fiber over libraries?

With very few exceptions City staff are smart, pleasant and responsive. City management: cynical, unfocused and evasive. I have found City Council to be - let's be honest - more of a regency than a representative democracy. I'm not demanding charter reform and a clean management sweep as prerequisites for action, but if I support two things I don't particularly care about, what are the odds that 18 other important items will get addressed as well?

Perhaps someone will respond with "Who are you to question the wisdom of our Blue Ribbon Commissions, etc," but I don't remember seeing a comprehensive community infrastructure inventory and status. Items keep popping up out of left field - did anyone anticipate $22M for water storage before last Monday? Again, I suspect it's a Good Idea, but what's the overall plan for utility service continuity in an earthquake? Are we buying 30 days of water-in-a-tank-in-the-ground or are we buying tapwater service continuity across a Hetch Hetchy outage?

But staying on topic, this whole thing is a matter of trust. I'll hold my nose and support this bond if there's an overall plan to restore our fading community amenities, and if City management are held accountable to operate the stuff they're responsible for.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 14, 2007 at 5:25 pm

aw: if you've any ideas about how to get some assurances that these bonds won't make matters worse, please share them.
I have some very specific fears: re: Mitchell Park - I wanted them to double the library, but with minimum damage to the Park. I don't want Mitchell paved over. re: Police station: I could see a separate, small station for emergency plans and records: it's clear that they want the existing police station for more City Hall space. The turmoil involved seems counterproductive, from a public safety standpoint. I will vote "no" on a combined bond.

Also, I do dislike being manipulated, and having to dig for information that should be public.


Posted by aw, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 14, 2007 at 6:04 pm

Carol,

It's quite likely the bonds will make things better for specific constituencies: Police and branch library users. What they do for everyone else is more speculative, and I'll decide how to vote when I get more facts. Many of us do perceive a City credibility gap that will take more than a few mailers to overcome.

Thanks for laying out your specific fears and correctly pointing out that we're mostly discussing the merits of these projects on hearsay.

My specific fear is that if we approve this bond, we'll consider ourselves done for a decade. No money for school replacement, San Francisquito Creek, main library, community centers, etc. And to be honest, the community probably doesn't want to think about the entire infrastructure backlog and bill.

My hope is we can all have a rational discussion of what community and services we want to build for 2025 and start working on it now.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 14, 2007 at 6:23 pm

When the Council was considering a public-private police station with Chop Keenan, the plans to revamp the old police station for City Hall use were part of the package.

The plans for a new,large Community Center at Mitchell Park and a large library and expanded parking were published in the Weekly.

Those aren't hearsay or speculative. So two of your wishes are actually in this bond. For me, Mitchell Park is irreplaceable. I'd rather see the old Community Center sacrificed.

The other bond you want wouldn't be the province of the City Council. You should address the school board on that. The Council creates the needs for new schools with zoning upgrades, but it has no responsibility for how the BOE handles the influx.


Posted by aw, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 14, 2007 at 9:27 pm

Understand schools are a different category, but the same taxpayers will weigh in.

Perhaps I misunderstand what's going on with the proposed Mitchell Park Library - but I understand it to be a branch. A large branch, but still a branch. Forgive me for being out of step, but I'd still prefer to have a strong collection in a single location.

It would be great if you could describe what you find irreplaceable about Mitchell Park. My relationship to Mitchell Park is a bit different: crowded tennis courts, dirty dog park, center field with bad drainage, funky play structures, muddy walking path. I can imagine a wonderful park in the space and can appreciate the idea that we could do better there, but it's not what I've seen on the site. Same thing with Rinconada Park. All easy to fix if we develop a plan for our parks. Also curious, when you say the old Community Center do you mean Lucie Stern?


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 14, 2007 at 11:02 pm

aw, we mostly know what our infrastructure needs are. In fact, we have known for quite some time, but we ignored infrastructure in the 80's and 90's. Now we're having to make up for lost time.

The Public Safety Building and Library/Rec Center bonds have been intoduced with 2025-2030 in mind. They are first steps toward sustainable municipal service infrastructure.

That said, we can further anticipate more projects coming on line as our city ages, or for added security (like the water reserves). Why should one assume we get "caught by surprise" every time we discover a *new* need. I would agree that roads were a surprise, but again, I would challenge anyone to find roads in ANy Peninsula community in better shape than ours, in general.

We need to act, and act soon on the proposed builds. Regardless of what a few say about not trusting the process.
Everyone who is angling for more time to do more comprehensive studies, or infrastructure inventories is also - by default, if they have their way - costing our city millions of dollars in construction inflation fees.

We all have the right and duty to question process, but how much more open does a process have to be than what the public safety building or library/rec center has just gone through? The need has been clearly established

Just review the last 4-5 posts; even though you and a few others are in essential agreement in questioning the current, slated infrastructure builds, all of you have VERY different ideas about how to resolve the public saftey, library and other problems. Can you impagine how much time it would take to compromise just THOSE differences.

Whether one trusts, or agree with, the process that has led up to the current proposal or not, a LOT of people - citizens, commissions, policy makers, consultants, staff, have given a lot of time and thought to what the best way to go is. There has been a LOT of compromise from first visions. We need to act on what we have, which is very good compromise, indeed. There has been a TON of public input, not including polls, surveys, consultants, etc. Both of these projects have gone through multiple iterations.

If ANYTHING is abnormal and inefficient, it's the all-consuming process towards a mythic sense of perfect agreement and consensus.

Last, let's be very clear about Diana's blog post. She is either not in favor of one or another of these projects, or some part of eiether one or both of them. Her claim is her opinion, but nevertheless is a fiction - unless she can read City Council person's minds.

Diana knows very well that if these projects go out as distinctive offerings, one or both of them will fail. Diane hasn't even computed the additional costs of construction inflation if one of the projects has to wait one or two years to go out for a bond. This is uncharacteristic for Diana, who is usually prolific with numbers and alternative costs in her writings.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2007 at 12:00 am

Anna,

These are projects that appear to have a serious need; but why is it that the council & city management staff then not reprioritize current spending to at least shift more money into these needs:

- why spend the $300,000 on a lawsuit for the "preservation" of Briones house?

- why spend all money on the Fiber to the Home trial and subsequent "outsourcing"

- why spend all the money on "public art"

- why spend all the money on publishing "City Works"

- etc, etc.

It all adds up to where the city could probably squeeze a few more million dollars out to help service the bond issues - it may not cover the entire cost servicing the bonds, but it lower the cost per homeowner to where they would pass.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2007 at 1:24 am

There's no way that everyone can agree on how ancillary funds are spent. Some of the projects you mention are worthy, some not, depending on what that person's interests are.

FTTH _might_ be a boon to the city; then again, it might not. btw, much of the fiber trial paid for itself.

There are many strong advocates for public art, yet some people think it's a waste.

In all, there are larger fish to fry.

I hear frustration with programs that may seem frivolous to you, but I think we all have to be careful not to paint policy makers with a broad brush because they're not spending money according to the way we would like to see it spent.

Palo Alto is in a bind; there's no way around that, but this doesn't mean that focused effort and executable innovations can't turn things around. We can do this!

We're finally on a track where some proactive things are being done to build sustainable services, and futures. What I would like to see more of is people pulling together to build these projects; that's already begun. We live in a great city, with so much potential.

We need to support our policy makers in their attempts to turn the corner. btw, that doesn't mean unquestioning obedience; rather, it means "letting go" once one or two levels of process suggest a direction. We can't all have our way. We have to stop delays caused by an overindulgence in process; it's costing us a LOT of money (probably more than the programs you listed above)

It's not going to be hunky-dory, going forward; we will stumble and recover, but I'm confident that our citizens can make long-term, sustainable change happen without doing dire things to our service base.

Imagine how much more livable and sustainable Palo Alto will be once we have a library system and public safety infrastructure that are prepared to help us into the future.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2007 at 7:45 am

Anna,

There are 40 - 50% of the voters who will judge this issue not only on its merits, but also on if the city is spending its existing budgets on services that they feel are equally or more important.

That's why it will be important for the council & city management to make a demonstrated effort to show that they are willing to sacrifice some of their "special interest" projects, if they hope to get the required votes so that citizen will tax themselves on average $300 - $500 per year.


Posted by Diana Diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger
on Mar 15, 2007 at 8:04 am

Diana Diamond is a registered user.

Anna --

You wrote: "Last, let's be very clear about Diana's blog post. She is either not in favor of one or another of these projects, or some part of eiether one or both of them."

I think the reverse is true. The only reason you want to see both measures wrapped into one voter package is because you fear that one of them will fail -- probably the police station.

But don't you think that is up to voters to decide how they want to spend their own money? Isn't that the more democratic way to proceed? Perhaps voters will decide that they do want both a newer library and a new police station. But let us decide, please.

I think this has been a great community discussion!

Diana


Posted by Kate, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2007 at 11:34 am

Civic Responsibility - At least quote me accurately if you're going to do that. Don't pick and choose from different paragraphs and neglect to indicate that you did that. It's misleading.

Do you really believe that Anna is correct in saying that we could save money by moving Planning and Transportation back to City Hall? You understand that according to Anna's plan, we also need to build a brand new police station to be able to do that. Planning and Transportation must be paying a whole lot of rent in order to make that scenario work.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Diana,

On the contrary, I'm confident that both with pass - if properly promoted and explained to the citizenry.

In fact, I'm confident that once the real benefits of both projects are properly elaborated in the press, and elsewhere, a sufficient majority will rise to the occasion to improve community infrastructure, and vote "thumbs up" with a combined bond.

btw, both projects would also pass separately. they're placed in the same offering because 1) there's a constuction inflation efficiency; and 2) they're both absolutely necessary - i.e. need has been established.

Instead of splitting our community over these issues (which would happen if they're artificially placed on separate ballots), why not explain the benefits of having both of them pass at one time. Can you refute those benefits?

I respect your diligence, and passion for Palo Alto. That said, there is another side of the sword that you're swinging.

Would you be happy to live with the extra $7M-14M+ is would cost our city if both issues passed 1-2 years apart?

How about if the first issue - whcihever one it was - failing, and then the second passing. That would cost us roughly $7M more than current estimates, due to construction inflation, just because we put the wrong project forward first.

I would like to hear your substantive arguments against either. Not having heard them, you can imagine how one might be suspect of your intentions. Until we hear those arguments, anything similar to what you wrote in this blog will itself be seen as manipulation.

Can you substantially refute any one group of benefits claimed for both projects, beased on anything other than opinion?

In other words, where's the beef?


Posted by Pete, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2007 at 11:09 pm

AW makes the most sense to me - and does it in fewer words while covering a lot of ground. Whether there should be bonds for either project should be based upon the merits of the needs for them. (I relize Diana's point was the question of council manipulation, but the discussions seem to have drifted to bonds.)

Libraries: Improvements are needed. The Library commission made their recommendations based upon inputs from those concerned enough to participate in the discussions. I have not seen anyone refer to their conclusions and either agree with or refute them.

Public Safety Building: The Blue Ribbon Commission examined all of the suggestions made above and rejected them. Their recommendations and the reasons for making them are given in its report. Please read it. Again no one has referred to this report and either supported it or refuted the reasons for its conclusions.

City Hall does not meet the seismic criteria for survival in a category 7 or greater earthquake. We would be without emergency communication or direction since it is expected the Level A dispatch center would be pancaked in such a disaster. (The title Public Safety Building is not a misnomer - all capability for safety actions during a disaster is centered there for both Palo Alto and Stanford.)

I am not a city employee.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2007 at 11:59 pm

pete,

The public has weighed in mostly in support of the library. Polls and public utterances support this.

The Public Safety Building is what you say it is - i.e. an accident waiting to happen. Since that's an established fact - doubters should tour the place and see for themselves - implicit support should be assumed, as whatrational citizen would not want to guarantee integrity of its police infrastructure?


Posted by Bill, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 16, 2007 at 8:02 am

The issue is simple for many. I do not want to pay $500 a year for 30 years (based on my home assessment) for a new police building or a new library. This is my choice. I am a voter. I do not understand for a moment why a police building needs to cost that much. I also do not think this community can afford or sustain 5 libraries, and some new huge 'award-winning' Mitchell Park library. The world has changed. Much of what the average citizen needs can be found over the internet. What can't be found there can be found in my children's school libraries, or the existing stable of libraries in Palo Alto.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Neither of these measures will pass, whether together or separate. For many, many years, these people have been strident and unwilling to compromise, and so in the end reasonable people like me (who did contribute substantially to the Children's Library renovation), just throw up our hands on these grandiose and 'non-negotiable' plans and say forget it.

I don't need to be scolded or lectured about why I should part with $500 per year.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2007 at 2:11 pm

There will be some small percentage of persons who choose not to vote for these projects; their rationales for not voting are their own, and to be respected.

That said, the large majority of Palo Altans favor these infrastructure projects; the vast majority of Palo Altans want a branch library system; the large majority of Palo Altans perceive the need for a public safety building that will help keep them safe (in addition to being immune to multi-million dollar lawsuits due to an inability to perform certain _legally_ mandated functions (like properhandling and maintenance of evidence.

In the end, it's not those who support projectcs like this - like Bill has, in the past - who have been uncompromising. Rather, it's been a small fraction - probably less than 1% of our resident base - who have used last minute distortion and outright lies (like delivering distorted lies and innuendo on voters doorsteps the day prior to an election) to garner enough _minority_ to defeat what the _majority_ of Palo Altans want.

btw, Bill, there is no bullying here. in fact, it's just the opposite. Palo Altans have been polled _twice_ on one of these issues, and clearly say in the large majority that they agree with what's been put forward. if the polls said otherwise, then we wouldn't be seeing a unanimous show of support from Council and otehr representative bodies.

Bill, have you taken the time to read studies that indicate your annual donation to the bond - should you change your mind and vote "for" it - would pay you back benefits that equal anywhere from $1.30-$4.50+ for every tax dollar donated from the bonds toward the library? These benefit shown are_in addition to_ many other iontangible benefits that librariues bring to community (lower crime rates; correlated success in school; etc. etc.

About the police building, how much will it cost _every_ citizen if, over some years following a failuer by our comunity to pass these bonds, our city is sued to the tune of 10's of millions of dollars by plaintiffs, defendants, and/or public entities foro the improper carrying-out of legally mandated requirements.

About both projects: at some time in the near long term, both the public Safety Building and the Library are going to need updating. Figure 12-15%+ **per year** for construction inflation costs to add on to any further construction that we have to do to (by then) even further degraded infrastructure. What will it cost you then?

Rather than a cost that will burden us, it's plainly clear that they can be seen as an *investment* in our community, that _pays back benefits_ greater than the absolute number of taxpayer dollars expended. The latter statement is true for anyone who simply takes the time to look at the factual diligence that has been aquired about both projects.

These projects are about making this community more sustainable. This bond is a good first step toward keeping Palo Alto sustainable in the long run. How can we deny our residents - including senioirs, and kids, that opportunity?


Posted by Mary, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 17, 2007 at 1:11 am


I, for one, agree with Bill. We have had bond after bond, after parcel tax measures thrown at us over the years. Enough is enough. Also, how wasteful to raze the library building and the community center at Mitchell Park and start from scratch.

We could make a reasonable ADDITION to the existing library at a fraction of 45 or 50 million dollars envisioned here. There is nothing reasonable in the current project.

I also agree that we do not need a new police building.

I will vote no.


PS: "Anna" here, and "Mike" elsewhere, keep repeating that we will get a "return" on our "investment". I beg to differ. We'll foot the bill, but if anyone actually gets money from this $95 million pork it will not be us, it will not go into the pockets of the average Palo Alto taxpayers.


Posted by civic responsibility, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2007 at 1:53 am

Dear Mary, In spite of what you "believe" there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Another poster said that most opposing the projects have opinions, but no data to prove their points. I think you have just helped to prove that poster's point.


Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2007 at 4:20 pm

What I find objectionable about comments like Bill's are not his views on the merits of the Blue Ribbon Task force's recommendation on a new public safety building, nor his views about the efforts, after multiple previous attempts, to come up with a library strategy for Palo Alto that the community as a whole can support. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he has thoughtfully reviewed the work products of both, and reached different conclusions about how to solve the two problems these groups of citizen proposed as solutions to the problems.

Bill's relucatance to spend $500/year to help solve these two problems is what I find objectionable. This is chump change for people who choose to live in this town, and for those who have been here a long time, is a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands of dollars that have been saved over many years as a result of controls in property assessments from Propostion 13. There were some understandable reasons why Proposition 13 passed in 1978, but the simple fact of the matter is that the things that need to be replaced or significantly upgraded--and it goes beyond the libraries and public safety bldg--are at a point in their normal "life cycle" that call for new additional spending. The stuff we are talking about is from 30 or more years ago, and have had bare bones capital improvements over that time, because we taxpayers restricted our local and state government from taxing us to pay for such routine improvements or put money into a reserve so that they could be upgraded and replaced after a reasonable period of time--30 years is more than reasonable.

We are not the only long built out community facing these issues, but people who refuse to believe that these are serious problems that require spending above and beyond what our current local revenues can provide are just kidding themselves.

What does $500/year get us nowadays? What does $45/month get us nowadays? What does $1.50/day get us nowadays? Knowing it all is for local benefit, not going up the food chain to a higher level of government or a private enterprise not based here?

Go ahead and dispute the specifics of what these two groups of very civic minded people came up with as recommendations for libraries and public safety, but I challenge anyone to find a better place to park $500 into the community than initiatives like this. And if you don't want to park your $500 into the community, I have some genuine questions about how much you really care about this place, and whether there might be another location that better suits your attitude toward local governance.


Posted by Gerff, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 17, 2007 at 5:54 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The fact is that Bill, like a lot of others in Palo Alto, apparently feels that we're not getting value for the money the City already spends on our behalf. These people wonder why Mountain View, for example, which spends much less per capita than we do, can put in a brand new library and performing arts center without extra taxes or bonds. They wonder why the city always seems to have lots of money to spend on wasteful infrastructure like a $6 million Alma street tunnel that can't be used to it's fullest extent because it was poorly planned, but has a $29 million street repair backlog. They wonder why our staff, which numbers much more than any other nearby city per resident, gets raise after raise without much in the way of serious negotiation by the city.

And they figure the only way to send the city 'leaders' a message is to tell them no more money until they start spending the funds they have with a little more accountability.

Now Boomer might not like this reasoning, and he may disagree with it. But to tell his fellow Palo Altans that they need to move unless they toe the establishment line goes beyond the bounds of legitimate civil (and civic) discourse.

Do we have litmus tests for residency here?


Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2007 at 6:21 pm

What I question is people's reluctance to spend a fairly small amount of their money to upgrade and replace things in this town that have served their useful life.

Putting the Homer Tunnel in the same category as libraries or a public safety building is a false comparison, and the tunnel was not vetted by recognized and respected groups in Palo Alto the way these two projects have been.

There may be some lessons to be learned from Mtn. View, but they have had the advantage in the last 15 years that they were in the process of building themselves out, and getting the development fees that go along with that--Palo Alto was built out long ago, and the level of development fees that were available by comparison were much smaller.

And I agree that the way employee compensation is structured is a problem. The sooner the City starts to develop an approach to compensation that is fair, attracts and keeps quality employees, and is in keeping with today's economy, not the 1960's approach, the better. Our infrastructure is worn out--over 30 years old--and our compensation structure, more than 30 years old, also is worn out.

There has been a lack of leadership over many years in Palo Alto, as there has been in many communities, and we now face the consequences in such things as the $29 million backlog in infrastructure. We cititizens chose to not be taxed over time and have money put into a reserve to deal with these things only. Now is a different time.

We should not cut off our nose to spite our face. There could well be some more improvements in how our spending is managed, although I perceive more "talk than walk" about where those savings can be achieved and keep Palo Alto the kind of place that attracted people here to begin with. We should do the right things, and make sure they are done right by holding officials accountable. These are the right things to do, and we are capable of finding the right people to do them in a financially sound manner.

But to not agree that we do have these problems, or worse yet to agree that we have them, but not be willing to spend a relatively modest sum of money per capita to get them fixed is a recipe for disaster.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 17, 2007 at 7:47 pm

Boomer,

The city has a $127 million budget, yet they have a hard time finding even $3 million reprioritize into the infrastructure fund. Based on recent articles, "art" is more important, for example then fixing the roads.

Quite a few of our seniors main source of income is the social security payments they receive; many receive $700/month; take out money for utilities, food, and other necessities, and $500 is a big percentage of their discretionary money.

Why can't the city prioritize some other items in the budget lower to fund the bonds? let's look at this another way; let's assume everyone agrees that the police and library project are a very high priority, and they get first funding out of the budget - then let's see how many citizen would vote in favor for a ballot on the public art, historical preservation, etc.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 17, 2007 at 9:49 pm

curious, Clearly, we differ. I've offered the challenge several times in this thread. Please indicate a Peninsula city with roads in better repair than Palo Alto's.

I'm waiting for just one person who keeps throwing this example out to show how we're worse off than anyone else. Of course, this doesn't mean that the roads don't need to be upgraded - they do, but they're _not_ in dire condition, or putting our city at risk for millions of dollars in future lawsuits if they're not repaired immediately, like the public safety building.

Seniors? We need to find a way to assist seniors, or exempt those with low or fixed incomes from having to contribute to the bond. As mentioned earlier, perhaps this is something a private fund could help out with. That's just one idea; there are many others. Certainly, this restraint isn't sufficient to rationalize the "we can't" mantra heard from some.

Art? Tell me, whay teeny-tiny fraction of the budget is devoted to public art? It's practically non-existant. btw, given the facts, citizens _will_ vote this bond up, inadddition to supporting our city's efforts to create new municipal revenue streams.

The budget doesn't have to be a zero sum exercise.


Posted by David, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 17, 2007 at 10:33 pm

If those making wild statements and boorish challenges will bother to read the readily available evidence, this forum will be much more useful and a lot less contentious.

In fact the City Auditor's Report on Street Maintenance compares the maintenance of Palo Alto's streets to other cities on the Peninsula. Palo Alto's come out at or near the bottom, depending on which metric is being compared.

Challenge to "indicate a Peninsula city with roads in better repair than Palo Alto met".

And Anna/Mike know this because a similar colloquy went on in another thread last week. The Auditor's report was extensively quoted by other posters.

Let's be direct. The point isn't that the streets "need to be upgraded". It's that the city has let maintenance slip to a degree that the streets are in danger of costing even more to repair or replace than they would if they were properly maintained. And the city has NO plans or money in place to address this. This is all clear in the Auditor's report.

Maybe we need these bonds,and maybe the city just can't build libraries and police buildings without them, but it doesn't help their cause when supporters pooh-pooh documented arguably more urgent needs in their fervor to convince doubters.






Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 17, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Anna,

Public Art is just one example, and you miss the larger point - fund the new police station, fund the library upgrade, but put some other budget items up for a vote.

Since you want to compare the roads of Palo Alto with other cities, you should also want to compare the budget of Palo Alto as other posters have pointed out, there should be plenty of money in the budget based on per capita spending to fund these issues.

Just as you say "there are many ideas to help seniors", there are just as many ideas on places reallocate budget dollars to fund these needy projects.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2007 at 10:48 pm

Is it just my imagination or has the City gone mad doing road repairs over the past week or so. I have noticed many major types of work being done as I drive around. The most disruptive has been on Loma Verde which involves big holes being dug and the road completely closed between Ross and Louis during the hours of 8 and 5 and heavy equipment left in the bike lanes overnight.

Maybe they are just trying to justify their existence, but I don't think it is a actually road repairs, just maybe making us feel that they are doing something to justify our taxes!! Either that or they are really leprechauns in disguise.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2007 at 12:03 am

A Boomer, there is something else you don't understand.

We bought our house in Palo Alto in 1993. We paid about 7 times what people paid in our neighborhood for similar houses in 1978. To buy it we had to really scrape by, and we still do! My husband is a civil servant (works for the federal government), and for us buying into Palo Alto was a financial sacrifice. We are STILL scraping by! My husband income has not gone up enough for us to "save" the money you are talking about. Granted houses are now worth 3 times or more what we paid for ours, but our income has not increased by this much!

To assume that, because we bought into Palo Alto a number of years ago, we are replete with cash, is simply wrong.

Note that very soon after we moved into Palo Alto, people like us were priced out of this town. There is no way we could buy a house in PA now.

I repeat we cannot afford all of these bonds and parcel taxes. And I don't know why that should make us be people that ought to move out of here.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2007 at 3:55 am

David, It would also be helpful if one didn't distort the results of the audit to make one's point about infrastructure here. In fact, Palo Alto is in the 52nd percentile in road satisfaction, compared to other municipalities. That means about half of the other municipalities are happier with their roads, and half not. We're in the middle in satisfaction, NOT neat the bottom as you claim.

Also, we spend just as much on road repair as many of our near neighnbors.

That said, challenge you to show me a nearby regional municipality with BETTER roads than Palo Alto. Following that, you might note that there are quite a few municipalities with more up to date public safety buildings and libraries. It's time to get busy, and fix this.

Curious, why the emphasis on reallocation? Why not emphasize the growth of municipal revenue streams?

In all, I have yet to see even _one_ rebuttal of the benefits that have been listed above. Instead, there has been a lot of "we can't", "it's tooooo (sic) hard"; "it's impossible", etc. etc.
Is this the ethic we want to drive our city's future, going forward? I hope not.


Posted by David, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 18, 2007 at 7:14 am

As is usual, when Anna is caught flat-footed she changes the argument. Her first 'challenge" was:

"I've offered the challenge several times in this thread. Please indicate a Peninsula city with roads in better repair than Palo Alto's."

Then when clear and documented evidence of this is presented, she starts talking about "satisfaction with the roads". She presents NO documentation or citation for this. But we will assume she's referring to the satisfaction survey of residents.

Note that this survey compares Palo Alto not to Peninsula cities (the basis of comparison for her initial "challenge", but to cities nationwide. And yet she accuses others of "distorting" the evidence.

This is quite tiresome.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 18, 2007 at 7:21 am

Anna,

Since you haven't bought up any revenue enhancing ideas, it appears you don't have any that are practical. The council has devoted many years to try to improve revenues, and we are where we are in terms of "revenue enhancement". That leaves reallocating about 4-5% of the $127 million budget to fund the bonds.


Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2007 at 10:27 am

Mary,

So you do not want to put $500 a year into the community or you do not have $500 to put into the community? Those are different matters.

Perhaps I could have phrased my point a different way to make clear what I am contending--people choose to live here because it offers very high quality services and other features. People over the years have come to expect this from Palo Alto on a number of measures which I will not enumerate here. That is the sort of local governance that people here expect to get when they choose to live here.

We get what is paid for, and to continue to get some of the things that are part of what Palo Alto has become, it is necessary to put some new money into the community to provide the buildings and other infrastructure that are needed to provide those things. We have not had to do this for quite some time, and it now is time to do it again.

An alternative governance approach is for the community to put as little money as possible into support of local governance responsibilities, and to get very little back in return. I believe that is the sort of governance we are creeping toward when people state that they do not want to consider putting additional funds into the community at a time when things that have served us well for many years are worn out and need to be replaced.

I would move out of here if this latter sort of low/no spend governance approach is what the preponderance of current members of the community want. Not the kind of place in which I wish to live. I happen to believe that most people here want our long-standing form of governance, tarnished as it may be, to continue. I am prepared to pay my $1.50/day to get the tarnish off and put in place those things that will benefit the community for the next 30 or more years. And my hunch is that most of the rest of community will come to that point of view as well.


Posted by Arthur, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 18, 2007 at 10:34 am

David is right. There is a lot of misdirection and flim-flammery masquerading as argumentation on this thread.

Supporters of the bond issues argue that their projects are the highest priority the city has. They issue challenges and "prove-it" demands to opponents to show otherwise. When this is done, they move blithley along to something completely different.

Part of Anna's argument for the bonds apparently is that the other infrastructure projects like streets can wait because they're not in that bad shape - certainly no worse than other Peninsula cities. She issues a challenge to show that other nearby cities have better streets. When this happen, she switches to some vaguely described "satisfaction" - something completely apart from her initial bluster, and something she apparently misrepresents in any event.

What will we have next? That the real issue isn't streets, but parking lots?


Posted by John Barton, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 18, 2007 at 12:23 pm

The central premise of Ms Diamond's piece is that the Council has determined the ballot structure for the bonds. As a member of the City Council, I know this is utterly and completely not true. The Council has not discussed the ballot structure in any way, shape, or form.

Once again Ms. Diamond has decided to make an issue where one does not exist. This is the kind of jouranalism that the Weekly has opposed in the past. I do not understand why they tolerate it now.


Posted by Ryan, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2007 at 12:31 pm

I don't understand John Barton's comment. I watched the council meeting to which Ms. Diamond refers, and it surely appeared to me that the Council was attempting to decide whether to put the bonds on the ballot as a package or as two separate issues.

Perhaps, if Mr. Barton still is reading this, he will tell us how the bonds get on the ballot if the Council does not decide? Does some unelected bureaucrat decide?


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2007 at 1:47 pm

The City Council has not definitively decided to combine the two projects into one bond. Where in last week's City Council meeing was there any statement claiming that that was the intention?

My preference is for a combined bond, for all the reasons stated prior.

Also, as stated prior, Diana's article *did* create a straw mann, where none existed prior.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 18, 2007 at 1:58 pm

John Barton and Anna are hair-splitting. It is quite true that the Council has not "definitely decided" or "determined" the ballot structure. However it is very accurate to portray the council members as considering seriously the question of what form would best put the ballot issues to garner maximum support.

This is the gist of Ms. Diamond's original post. To suggest otherwise is misleading and smacks of the same dissembling and misdirection the posters attribute to Ms. Diamond.

It is they who create an issue where it does not exist - perhaps in hopes of distracting from a discussion they are otherwise on the short end of.


Posted by aw, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 18, 2007 at 4:36 pm

It's great to know the Council is reading these forums. To John Barton: please don't blame the Weekly! It's worth following the posts because there are good ideas in many of them.

The discussion keeps returning to the same arguments.

Anti we have::

1. We can't afford it, i.e. my taxes are too high
2. We already pay for it with our $127M per year operating budget
3. We don't need it - (Police can run emergency center from a tent in the parking lot or dial in from Orinda)
4. Low priority choices that we can have after we do [roads, sewers, etc]

Pro we have:

1. We can afford it, i.e. it pays for itself and it'll cost more later
2. City Staff work hard so throw them a bone
3. We need it - (Police need a military grade communications bunker)
4. Highest priority choices that have been studied to death or required by State

It's hard to find middle ground and compromise. I'd still like to find a way to make up our 30-year backlog of community infrastructure. We're on the cusp as a community. Our budget is way too big for us to be the low-price spread. Could we perhaps agree to only fund amenities that rank #1 or #2 in Santa Clara County? Can we collaborate better with neighboring communities? Do we have underused fixed assets we can sell off? Can we reform City management to rebuild trust? Can we fix the paralyzed Palo Alto Process? A bit of straight talk and leadership from the Mayor and Council could go a long way, describing our current situation, acknowledging the good and the bad, and proposing a policy vision to move forward. Put everything on the table and who knows where we'll end up.

My position is still I'll support one or both bonds if they're committed first steps toward rebuilding our community infrastructure, but won't support them as standalone initiatives.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 18, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Councilmember Barton: The Weekly reported the combined bond as the recommendation of Metz, the consultant who had surveyed residents for propensity to pass either/or library/police station. These consultants' reports do alarm residents: we assume there is some risk that Council will follow the recommendations.

In this case, it appears that Diana Diamond has done the same service (or better) for free.

Amorphous as the proposal for the library/community center now is, the low poll numbers might simply reflect support available even to a badly designed project. If Council comes up with a proposal that builds better, larger buildings on the existing footprint, I think you will find the poll numbers rise. If the final design may encroach on Mitchell Park, they may sink. Wouldn't it be prudent to assume that at least 10-15% of voters will read the specific language before marking their ballots.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2007 at 10:56 pm

First, David, please reand chapter 7 in the audit; the document that you have misrepresented in prior posts. There you'll see the quantitative information that I pulled from; there you'll see that Palo Alto is in the roughly 50th percentile of satisfaction whn it comes to road maintenance.

Next, AW's willingness to commit to these infrastructure projects is laudable. It's a good thing that aw is asking that the builds be considered part of an effort to rebuild worn infrastructure here (that's the intention, btw). As far as aw's comments about compromise, s/he should realize that the projects are *already* compromised from first visioning. They are both scaled back projects, currently at a minimum to satisfy the operational mandates that will meanate from them.

As for aw's other prerequisites, selling off underused assets is probably something the Council is always pondering in one way or another; city management is trustworthy; to suggest otherwise is disingenuous and to cast unproven aspersions; the Palo Alto Process is beginning to be challenged, which is threatening to some who have profited from it; the Mayor and Council are doing their best to deliver straight talk - some may disagree with that straight talk, but that's the way it goes; and, finally, putting everything on the table will start the Palo Alto Process up again, in spades. We don't want to go there.

Carol, the current size of the Mitchell proposal was arrived at following two years of public input, polling (twice), LAC deliberations, dozens of hours of sub-committee meetings, more public and staff input, consultant input, etc. etc. That's about enough. This process has now cost our city *two years* of time, adding an other $15-20M to the construction costs of the proposed projects. That's right folks, delay costs money. Are those who use a lack of factual data to crimp the vote on this kind of project held accountable for the added cost to build these projects in future years? Of course not. Thus the motivation to needlessly demand "transparency" "open public process", etc. etc. ad infinitum. Essentially what we've been seeing for the past 10 or so years is a minority abuse of public process that was enabled by overconfident policy makers. No more.

Carol, How is the current library option "3B" in the LSMAR not big enough for you? Please be specific as to it's impact on collection (and distribution of same) to the entire system, it's ability to scale at less cost than a smaller building; its flexibility; its enabling of effciiencies between P&R and the library (thus maximizing tax dollars on programs, and saving money on construction). These are just first questions. I await a detailed response.

In the meantime, City Council should realize that the LARGE majority of citizens in Palo Alto want these infrastructure builds, and that kow-towing to a determined core fraction of the "no on everything" minority, and compromising these already-compromised infrastructure builds will not sit well with those who want these services to be updated to sustainability.

I hope the Council notes that most of the objections to the infrastructure builds on this thread are objections based not on fact, but opinion. The proof in this is that NOT ONE of the persons objecting to these builds in this thread (including the thread's author) has shown that s/he understands the comprehensive mandates and positive community and fiscal multipliers that public safety and library bring to community.

Instead, they mostly cajole, threaten, create diversionary arguments, accuse public officials of incompetence, poor-mouth the future, and so on. It's a SAD state of affairs that this kind of objection, shouted in front of Council, and unfortunately posted without merit in the Weekly's blog shuold be considered for anything than the short-sighted policy meddling that it is.

Our City Council *will* create compromises necessary to get these infrastructure builds passed, but they will hopefully NOT be based on most of the unwisdom pointed to above.

The tiny core minority; the relatively *few* individuals who yell the loudest should be listened to, but not heeded. We need to educate the enthusiatic *majority* of residents who support these projects. We're already compromised. It's time to meet the future head on, and build our city.

The City Council will absolutely need to lead on this issue. So far, it has done a great job; Palo Alto's forward-looking citizens look forward to more of the same.


Posted by Tulip, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Anna is right on. Any argument that we don't need or can't afford these bonds for a brand new public safety center and a great addition to our library is completey bogus.

Look at the facts. All the naysayers keep writing that the streets are in bad shape so we can't do the bonds. THis is not true. The streets are in good shape as verified by over 50% of the median residents. Anna has the proof and caught the naysayers napping. And besides, it we really ever do need some streets repaired, the Council can easily put another bond on the ballot to do it. This is all just a tiny few trying to make noise about streets to keep us from focussing on libraries and the public's safety - which is what the vast majority want to IMPROVE!

Then the minority talks about our dedicated city employees as if they were the cause of any tiny financial problems the city ever has and use this as a reason not to pass the needed bonds. This is also not true and false. First our city workers are very dedicated and hard working. This is the reason our wise city council voted to give them their much deserved 3% (tiny!) raise, when they deserved even much more but sacrificed for the good of the city. THis is a very enligtened contract: We don't need to talk about "structural defects" in employee compensation. This contract allows us to have workers survive unlike the workers employeed in the short sighted private sector where they TAKE AWAY PENSIONS! How could our workers survive in retirement if that were to happen here?! The majority will never stand for this.

And then the naysayers alledge that they want to outsource some of the work that our dedicated and able city employees do in the hopes of "saving" a few dollars. Think about this. Do we really want low paid angry workers who are denied even pensions and healthcare by private corporations who only want to make as much as possible off the sweat of their backs working in our parks? Some might not even be legal, but the private corporations hire them anyway without heed to what it really "Costs" our great city. Do you really want the crown jewels of Palo Alto (our parks) worked on by these people who really don't care about them the way our own workers do? I think not! And what about the public safety issue? I wish some of those who thik it's such a good idea to fire our city workers would answer that. But they won't. THey only want to obstruct the will of the majority.

I also agree with Anna and Boomer that anybody who can afford to live in Palo Alto can easily afford the tiny $500 or even $1000 that the bonds will cost each year. THink of it: it's only a few dollars for each month! Those who don't want to pay that don't have the interests of our children and crime victims at heart. They think only of themselves. They are a tiny minority and we will not let them strangle the will of the majority who want these projects!

And nobody has answered Anna's DOCUMENTED proof that the bonds actually will earn the city more than it costs BY FAR! These are _DOCUMENTED_ SAVINGS! We will get back much mnore than we spend in DOCUMENTED savings alone. And with the MANY UNDOCUMENTED savings, the bargain is even better. This is a big WIN/WIN for us. Let's pass the bonds against the determined minority who want only to set us back in their ususal no-compromise retro way.

It will cost us plenty to NOT build these needed projects now. Costs are rising too fast right now. If we delay for a few years, these will cost TWICE as much as now. And then we'll all be paying more for them. ANd we will take the risk that some criminal will sue us because the police building is not set up to maintain his evidence. THen what will all the naysayers say?

NO one can refute that we need these bonds. No one can refute that not passing the bonds is more expensive than passing the bonds. No one can come up with anything better.

Let's all get behind the great job the City Council has done on these bonds and pass them for the sake of our Palo Alto - the city of the future today!


Posted by Banana, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 19, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Do you all feel that Anna, Mark and Tulip is the same person. Languange structure and flow is the same. Its is fun to watch Tulip vouching for Anna.

Mark please give up your day job of a debate couch. Trust me I am about to fire you.



Posted by diana diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger
on Mar 19, 2007 at 8:57 pm

diana diamond is a registered user.

Council member John Barton --

If you review my blog, I did not say that the "Council has determined the ballot structure for the bonds," as you said. I did say the city council was considering these two ballot measures (library and police station) combined into one. That was my conclusion after watching the council meeting, which you attended and also heard, since you were on the dias. At that meeting, all the questions were directed to the consultant that, in essence, asked,"How can we best assure the passage of the funding of both buildings?"

The answer from the consultant: Combine the two ballot measures. When you have one that is popular and one that is less popular, then combine the two, he said.

I saw council members nodding in agreement.

Did anyone on the city council ask what is the ethical approach in asking our citizens for one $95 million bond measure instead of two separate bond measures ($50M for police and $45M for library)?

That is the essence of my argument.

I did not represent the council's interest, but I do believe you have misrepresented what I said.

Diana


Posted by pete, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 19, 2007 at 10:59 pm

Kate, You say, without anything to support your statement, that the current police bldg. can be upgraded to meet the needs of the police and the city. It can't. If you have the FACTS as you claim, you obviously disagree with the Blue Ribbon Commission report. That is your right, but you should be able to refute its conclusions and recommendations instead of stating opinions - unless you haven't read it.

The authorized sworn officer authorized limit is 93, down from 96 two years ago because of budget/revenue problems. Last year the number of officers was as low as 83. At least 6 left for the sheriff's dept. in San Mateo and a better facility.

There is a great deal more to the need for a new building than a safe emergency dispatch center and a new gymnasium. Please tour the present facility, learn its weaknesses to serve the citizens, and meet its state mandated requirements.

AW. You make good points, but your PRO argument for a Public Safety Bldg, no. 3 - "police need a military communications bunker" - calls into question the seriousness of your statements. Of course that may have been done with tongue in cheek, for you probably know a safe dispatch center is not a military bunker. But it should be protected against the eventual destructive earthquake.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2007 at 11:37 pm

Diana asks: "Did anyone on the city council ask what is the ethical approach in asking our citizens for one $95 million bond measure instead of two separate bond measures ($50M for police and $45M for library)?" and then "That is the essence of my argument."

It's noteworthy that Diana uses the word "ethical" to take the "moral high ground" in her straw man argument. To take this high moral ground IS really the essence of her argument. The irony is that by creating the "disingenuous Council" straw man, Diana unwittingly impugns her claim to objectivity.

The double irony is that what results is her "manipulative" blog entry - a blog entry that attempts to impun a well-meaning Council that HAS DONE ITS HOMEWORK. All Diana has is an emotional argument, period. Diana protests too much".

As stated earlier, those who are against both these projects going forward, are trotting out any "moral" argument that they can. Why? **Because that's the only kind of argument they can make**.

Straw men are always a handy thing to trot out when one is losing the debate, especially here when one senses that the large *majority* of Palo Altans impacted by these projects *want* them built.

That these projects have made it this far, following compromise after compromise from first visioning, has some people in this town hopping mad. This latter group - a tiny minority of Palo Altans who have whined about these projects since day one - is represented in this thread by some of its more hard core proponents.

Diana attempts to impart a sense of balance in argument - but her zero-sum arguments, "ethically" charged arguments (without facts to back them up), clever use of innuendo, attempts to plead moral high ground, and implications that there is dishonesty afoot among City Council members, etc., etc. give her real intentions away.

Her tactics represent *just* the sort of thing that used to fly here in the "good old days". No more.

Diana looks to trump John Barton, claiming that she (to paraphrase) "heard the whole thing". What thing? That our City Council wants to find a way to make these projects pass community muster in one shot? Gee, why would they want to do that?

Could it be that combining these projects would result in less of an opportunity for naysayers to try to pick each one off individually?

Might it be that it's just cheaper in the long-run to do it that way? Might it have to do with the fact that those infrastructure projects will have to be built sooner or later, and that Council does not want to create *additional* design and construction inflation costs by delayig the inevitable?

Diana just doesn't get it, because she doesn't *want* to get it.

There's no denying that Diana cares deeply about Palo Alto's future. There's also no denying that George Bush and Dick Cheny care deeply about America's future. Oftimes, good intentions just aren't enough. Like Bush and Cheney, Diana and her charges are operating from a base of inaccurate information and assumptions.

Diana has yet to make a case for why both of those projects should't be built. She has yet let us know how *her* plan works better than what's out there right now (in detail, please, with metrics for ALL variables, including comparative benefits [not just costs, which is the local naysayer's favorite whipping boy metric] - not just top-line penciled in napkin data, or diversions to road maintenence...let's see the *whole plan* in detail (including yuor own poll data).

We have NOT seen even ONE documented metric that shows Palo Alto will be better off in the future if these projects are _not_built. Instead we experience that same tired mantra of emotional arguments that threaten, cajole, attack city employees, poor-mouth our future, and so on. Are these the kind of arguments the we want to largely impact our city's future?
Is this the kind of thinking that we want to lead our city?

While I understand Council member Barton's frustration, he and all the rest of the *majority* of Palo Altans who hwant these projects to happen, we must all realize that the hard core naysayers are going to come out in force against *both* of these projects, even though they are completely unable to clearly show the benefits of doing without them.

It's time to take our city forward, past the naysayers and straw man hobbyists; past those with well-meaning, but short-sighted vision; past the tiny hard core "against everything" contingent of residents; past all the usual negative innuendo and naysaying, to a positive future kickstarted by building these necessary projects, and all the multifarious benefits.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2007 at 12:07 am


"I also agree with Anna and Boomer that anybody who can afford to live in Palo Alto can easily afford the tiny $500 or even $1000 that the bonds will cost each year."

Tulip, would you please give me the facts that support this opinion of yours? It is simply untrue in our case. My husband is a government employee (not working for the city of Palo Alto, sometimes I wish...) who is basically on fixed income. We have two children that we are raising, including one that we are putting through college right now, running up big debts to do so. We do not have $500 to spare, and even less $1000. That is a simple truth. I can show you my yearly budget if you wish.

In the past I voted yes on the bonds. However, almost every year there have been new bonds and parcel tax measures, with seemingly no end in sight. I do not believe one second that there is a master plan of what needs to be fixed on a prioritized basis. I fully believe that we are not close to seeing the end of these bond measures. And my family simply cannot afford it any more.

For you to deny it is uninformed and very arrogant.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2007 at 1:14 am

Mary, You may not be able to afford the bond, so you will legitimately vote against it. that said, can you deny the established need for this infrastructure? If so, I would like to see a detailed rationale.

Inabilityt to pay is one thing; denying reality in another thing altogether. I respect your constraint, but deny the validity of your wanting to project your own fiscal situation to the rest of our citizens.

These bonds will pass, because the majority wants them to pass.

And for those wishful thinkers who think that I am writing under any than my own moniker, think again. There are LOTS more where I come from. Most don't read these forums, but our citizens will pass these bonds because they want a real future for our city.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 1:36 am

Anna,

To use your line of logic:

You haven't shown yet why the city can't pay for these projects out of their current budget of $127 million. Until you do, these bond measures won't get the required votes to pass. Enough citizens believe that a $127 million budget can pay for these projects. Show us where this is wrong!


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2007 at 3:02 am

curious, As you try yet again to impose your "we can't" philosophy in this thread - this time with an attempt to substitute your "we can't" philosophy and logic for mine, you have STILL not come up with a way to refute the obvious benefits of the proposed infrastructure builds. For that matter, neither has the author of this blog entry, who this time seems uncharacteristically short on statistics to show the superlative benefits of *her* plan.

We're waiting, and you keep dodging.

When are you and others going to show the benefits of *your* plan to help repair Palo Alto's infrastructure, and at the same time compare it to the *benefits* raised in the current proposal? We're waiting.

Your argument - this thread's argument - is a straw man; it struggles to invent mythic, hidden municipal inefficiencies, even as you and yours desperately pour over the budget looking for miniscule ways that you and yours can "do it better" - and, until those itsy-bitsy inefficiencies are found, by gosh, by golly, you, the the rest of othe naysayers on this thread will refuse to pony up for Palo Alto's future. Your "logic" amounts to nothing more than reductio ad absurdum; it's an infinite regress to political paralysis; a never-ending, never satisfied questioning of government officieals and their intentions.

Past policy makers once had the luxury of listening to your logic - no more.

We know there's no changingn your mind, but it has been rather instructive to watch you, the author of this blog, and others use every old "Palo Alto Process" argument, every "we can't" rationale, to hold up progress. This time its "why can't we pay for it out of the $127M? We've been through that, curious - haven't you been listening these last two years? Have you reads the polls? Have you watched the LAC, P&R, and Public Safety Blue Ribbon Commissions and our City Council vote *unanimously* on these infrastructure builds? Where have you been?

The large majority of Palo Altans, in polls and on the streets, are talking these projects up. Everyone who hears about the benefits of these projects gets excited 9with the exception of the 1% hard core group of naysayers).

Everything I hear on the street is positive. They say "it's about time", and I can't wait", and "we need to give our police force the tools they need to fight crime", and my kids want a togather, up-to-date library. THAT's what you're trying to stop, "curious". The majority of the citizens who want a better city, and are willing to pay for it.

At this moment, hundreds of people are mobilizing for our city's future; they want to help our city's majority get what it wants. You may soon to have to start shouting to be heard.


Posted by Orange, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 20, 2007 at 3:10 am

Banana, you've got it right. Not only do Anna, Mike and Tulip sound remarkably alike, but you can add RWE, Periwinkle, JL, Barb and Jeremy Loski into the mix. If they all go to the polls, the machine will only be able to record one vote.
By the way, Anna, you were asked above if you were on the LAC. I take it the answer is yes.


Posted by Tulip, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 20, 2007 at 7:27 am

Anna is right once more. For too long have the tiny minority (less than one tenth of 1 percent) had their way with our city. They always have one artument or another why we cannot move our city forward to the future. But each argument is based on innuendo, distraction and distortion. These naysayers have been able to fool enough of the policy makers to have their way before. But no more.

People are not fooled, and you can no longer control the council with your naysaying. The people are on the march to get what our seniors and children need. We will not be thwarted once again.

We all know the argument, but it is crystal clear as daylight what is going on. It is nothing but circular and false logic that the minority uses. First they say that we don't need the bonds. Then after that argument is *conclusively* refuted, they change to we cannot *afford* the bonds. Then they say that we can *aff0rd* the bonds out of our current resonable taxes. Then when they think the first point (even if is is refuted) justifies the second, they think they have proved their case. This has all been very sly and effective in the past, but the majority is onto the tricks now.

We will not follow the so called "logic" of such arguments any longer. Circular logic is what it is: circular. Regression after regression only leads to more absurd regression in the hands of the minority.

Look at the poster of this topic. Sure, she has had her time in the sun opposing everything the city needs in the past. And she fooled enough of the true majority in addition to her tiny coterie of minority to have her way. But sunshine is the best disinfectent. And now she's exposed and the charges she has directed are running for cover too as they see the will of the majority reflected in poll after poll and by the brave votes of our city council to put the bonds up for approval.

I do not mean to criticize Diana Diamond and her minions. As Anna has said, they love their city just as we do. But just as George Bush and Richard Nixon loved their country in their own ways, they were tragically wrong for it. And the minority is tragically wrong for Palo Alto too.



As Anna has warned, we even now mobilzing by the hundreds, if not thousands to expose the naysayer minority for everything they are: a closed minded misguided set of activists who only want to stop progress. This time, they will not still the voices of the majority.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 7:30 am

Anna,

I'm not refuting the benefits of the project! I still don't see you refuting the obvious - that the $127 million dollar budget can pay for these projects.

We keep waiting, and you keep dodging, to show how the budget can't pay for these projects.

You and and the few "more taxes, more taxes", "senior citizens have plenty of money" proponents refuse to address the core issue of how to pay for this with the current budget revenue.

Your "logic" amounts to nothing more than reductio ad absurdum; it's an infinite regress to "spend & tax", "I know how to use other people's money better than they do".

We know there's no changingn your mind, but it has been rather instructive to watch you use the arguement "every thing else is higher priority" We've been through that, curious - haven't you been watching these last few years? money spent on losing the Briones lawsuit, Homer tunnel, etc., etc. etc. Where have you been?

Everything I hear on the street is positive. They say "it's about time", and I can't wait", and "we need to give our police force the tools they need to fight crime", and my kids want a togather, up-to-date library. THAT's what you're trying to stop, "Anna". The majority of the citizens who want a better city, and want the city to pay for it using the current budget revenue.

At this moment, hundreds of people are mobilizing for our city's future; they want to help our city's majority get what it wants. You may soon to have to start shouting to be heard.


Posted by Tulip, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 20, 2007 at 11:32 am

curious, it seems as if the force of the truth has finally gotten to you, and put you back on your heels. All the negativity and *can't do* spirit of those who insist that Palo Alto can't show itself to be the leader it always has been has been exposed for all to see. It hurts to have the facade of confusion you've hid behind for so long shattered by irrefutable logic that cannot be ignored by anyone who cares about our city.

Those of us who represent the majority of residents who care about our city have issued challenge after challenge to the tired emotional arguments and anti-progress mantra of the naysayers to disprove the impeccable logic of our statements.

All we get is the same old has-been tropes about saving money from the $127 million budget when everone knows that this budget already has been cut to the bone, and everything left is essential expenditure. All the unrealistic, dangerous ideas that spew forth to cut the budget do nothing to add to the irrefutable force of logic behind our bonds. What would you do? Cut our hard-working employees salaries? Take away our pensions? Outsource to some unknown low wage workforce? And my favorite: cut the arts. As if people would stand for that in this town even if it would save money, which it won't.

So you drone on and on about these allgeded savings while you offer not a scintilla of refutation to the overwhelming *documented* case that the bonds will *save* money, not *cost* money for our city. Where is the proof to the contrary? Not one word to that have we seen here. Only more negativity.

Then you talk about the streets, which are not so bad as you say as if they were a reason to dispense with the urgently needed bonds for libraries and a police station. Anyone looking at the facts *knows* we can do both if it turns out we need to do both. The time for just saying "no" to everything, as the minority insists is over.

There is a lot of infrastructure work to be done because of the naysayers delaying tactics, and it's time to move forward not jut on the library and police station and streets. As the mayor's speech last night indicated, we also can move forward on giving every resident, children and seniors alike, fiber based internet access. We can do it if we just get the tired old roadblocks out of the way!

And a lot of this is about seniors and children. As anybody knows if you can afford a house in Palo Alto, you can afford the investments the bonds represent, so I almost laugh at the crocodile tears you hear shed for "families" and "seniors. It is as plane to see that the bonds will *support* the things families need most. The bonds will *help* seniors. And we all will be better off when they pass despite what the naysayers purport to say on their behalf. People who really care about families and children will vote *YES* on the bonds and yes for the future.

So, curious, the negativity spouters can continue to fulminate. But it is clear that they are increasingly talking only to themselves as Palo Alto moves ahead without them. What you hear from them is only sound and fury signifying nothing.






Posted by Kiwi, a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Hey Orange, you left out Not so fast and Justme. They have taken over today's forum.

Orange said
Banana, you've got it right. Not only do Anna, Mike and Tulip sound remarkably alike, but you can add RWE, Periwinkle, JL, Barb and Jeremy Loski into the mix. If they all go to the polls, the machine will only be able to record one vote.

By the way, Anna, you were asked above if you were on the LAC. I take it the answer is yes.


Posted by Banana, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2007 at 12:37 pm

I have no problem when one person posts with different identities, be it Tulip or Anna or whatever. My problem begin when Tulip says Anna ir right.

That is goofy debate. The kind of Debate/Debator is not straight.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2007 at 2:31 pm

It's quite amusing to see many of those in this thread who disagree that these projects should be built using the very critiques that blow wide holes in their rationales - that show that there is no "there, there" in their arguments - against ; and to hang their own arguments...even going so far as to try to make themselves believe that there is only one person in town who wants to see these projects built. It's very amusing, indeed.

In all of their desperate attempts at diversion from established community preferences and other facts, those on this thread who oppose these projects STILL have yet to show us how Palo Alto will be better off without these projects - STILL not one word about that. All they have left are emotional arguments and ad hominum that shows their "Emperor of theh Land of 'We Can't' " has no clothes.

The REAL irony here is that those who are so addicted to "no" (it may, after all, be a kind of civic addiction - the cure? "Just say YES!", over and over again!) are actually lobbying for a MORE EXPENSIVE long-term solution, as delay on these projects will cost our city plenty in future design and construction inflation dollars. STILL no word about that either. Where's the beef? Will "those who oppose" pony up the construction inflation difference when these projects are built some years hence, if they have their way? I think we all know the answer to that; itr's a word that this group is familiar with - i.e. "no!". :)

Instead, they'll be out there again, claiming this or that myth about city efficiencies as our citizens are sued for millions because our police have not been able to maintain evidence, and our heralded branch system closes for lack of funds. They'll blame the problems that *they* helped bring about on others, and come back with more arguments as a fix on their seeming addiction to stop our city from becoming sustainable.

They say "NO". They say "WE CAN'T". They say "THE FUTURE BELONGS TO SOMEONE ELSE".

We say "YES!" We say "THE FUTURE IS OURS!"


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 2:43 pm

Tulip/Anna,

It seems that to have gotten to you that the Public Safety Building and library updates may be more important than some of the other projects that are funded under the current budget.

All the negativity that Anna & yourself present is preventing progress being made in funding the Public Safety Building & library. After all if one of the arguements is that waiting only increases the construction costs, it would be better to reallocate the budget now, and then create a ballot measure to increase taxes for those items that are of lower priority. Its your attitude which is preventing the "Can do" of improving our infrastructure.

I think the reason that Anna and you won't name existing budget items that are of lower priority is the irrefutable logic that these these new projects can be funded out the existing budget.

So you drone on and on about how the budget has been cut to the bone, etc. According the mayor, in her State of the City speech, the budget revenues have increased by 6%? The budget hasn't been cut, it's been increased! We just need to apply the increased revenues to these very important projects, rather than the pet projects that Anna and you use to keep the city from making any progress.


Posted by Kiwi, a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2007 at 2:50 pm

No one said there is only one person in town. What several have said is there is only one person on this forum. Once again you misrepresent what others say.
I Googled the word bully and now understand better what is going on.


Posted by Tulip, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm

Banana, what's wrong with saying someone else is right when you agree with them?

The sad fact for you - a fact you apparently don't want to face is that the *MAJORITY* of people agree with us. You are in the tiny, fraction of 1% vocal *minority* that has had its petulant way for a long time and now is on the verge of losing its ability to have it your way on everything. It must be hard to take. So you come up with all these illogical conspiracy theories and ad hominem arguments to distract.

But the distraction won't work this time. Progress has been thwarted by a small group of single-minded zealots long enough. We in the *MAJORITY* know that delay will only cost us more. And we won't let you further your no progress agenda by driving up the cost even higher so you can use it as just one more part of your circular agrument that "we can't afford" these vitally needed infrastructure projects. It won't work this time because we are onto that old game, and we are mobilized in service of *truth*. Know the truth, Banana, and it will set you free.

curious, we also have heard the stale form of debate you are using over and over in this thread. It won't work anymore either. You have been challenged time and time again to come up with some "savings" from the budget. And all we ever hear is vague invectives about "inefficient" employees and unworkable schemes that the city council is smart enough not even to consider about illusionary savings through "outsourcing". It's a clever ploy to deflect attention from the tired argument about our needed infrastructure and blame everything on our hard working city employees. That is over too.

You will see when thousands of Palo Altan's vote *YES* on these bonds that we're leaving the past behind.

You have a choice, catch the train to the future with us, or get left in the station all alone, muttering to yourselves about "inefficiency".


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm

curious presents a curious argument WITHOUT - mind you - STILL WITHOUT coming anywhere near showing a better rationale than has been created for the necessary infrastructure builds that are the subject of this thread.

Instead, we see another weak attempt to make way out of losing a debate - i.e. "curious" changes the subject. What's new?

So, let's start again:
There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

THERE IS ALSO NO WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT PALO ALTO WILL NOT BE SUED AND PUT AT SERIOUS FISCAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY RISK UNLESS WE BUILD THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING.

Please, we want to her your rationales. Try to stay on topic.

Instead of addressing these pressing needs, head on, "curious" (an apt name) provides us will yet another means to delay. S/he wants to do a major revision of the budget. I wonder how long that would take, and wouldn't "curious" LOVE to watch the delay THAT exercise would cost.

"curious" proposed the most curious solution yet seen on thisi thread. Funny, that - as it would cost even MORE money in the long ruin that curious' last proposals.

Time to call in the lifeguards, I think the naysayers are finally beginning to drown in their own whirlpool of confusion, negativity, hopeless reduction in services and city employee moral, etc. etc. Is that all you have to offer?

The teeny-tiny minority here says "we're afraid" and "we can't!"

We say "we have courage" and "YES! we can!"


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2007 at 3:22 pm

curious presents a curious argument WITHOUT - mind you - STILL WITHOUT coming anywhere near showing a better rationale than has been created for the necessary infrastructure builds that are the subject of this thread.

Instead, we see another weak attempt to make way out of losing a debate - i.e. "curious" changes the subject. What's new?

So, let's start again:

There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

THERE IS ALSO NO WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT PALO ALTO WILL NOT BE SUED AND PUT AT SERIOUS FISCAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY RISK UNLESS WE BUILD THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING.

Please, we want to her your rationales. Try to stay on topic.


Instead of addressing these pressing needs, head on, "curious" (an apt name) provides us will yet another means to delay. S/he wants to do a major revision of the budget. I wonder how long that would take, and wouldn't "curious" LOVE to watch the delay THAT exercise would cost.

"curious" has proposed the most curious solution yet seen on this thread. Funny, that - as it would cost even MORE money in the long ruin that curious' last proposals.

Time to call in the lifeguards, I think the naysayers are finally beginning to drown in their own whirlpool of confusion, negativity, hopeless reduction in services and city employee moral, etc. etc. Is that all you have to offer?

The teeny-tiny minority here says "we're afraid" and "we can't!"

We say "we have courage" and "YES! we can!"


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Tulip & Anna,

What a state of denial you are in! Posting twice on this topic won't help your confused arguements. The bond wouldn't be voted until November 2008, while budget reallocation could have these projects started in July, 2007, and even then, the passage of the bonds may not happen.

It's too bad you both don't have the courage to do tackle the problems, instead of causing delay, after delay. Too bad you still haven't shown a better rationale. Instead we see another attempt to obscure and delay. Afterall, the mayor did say that the budget has increased by 6%.

Time for the lifeguards to come rescue you from your convoluted thinking. You are saying "we can't". It can be done - just show the courage.


Posted by Tulip & Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2007 at 3:59 pm

curious, once more you are issued a direct challenge and you can't do anything but talk about something else in vain hopes of distracting from the fact that you have no substance in your argument.

So when, for only the most recent of MANY times, you are asked to refute the fact that " that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT", you have nothing to offer. NOTHING AT ALL.

We are waiting. We are waiting. We are waiting. Instead you talkabout something else completely. As was stated, "try to stay on topic." Just for alittle while.

While you are at it please tell us what will happen when we are sued for *MILLIONS* of dollars because the public safety facility is too insufficient to hold evidence properly. No answer there either.

More delay. More non-answer. More naysaying. You say "no".

We say *YES* to the future. YES WE CAN!


Posted by Curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Tulip & Anna,

How nice that you both reply together. Where are the answers to my challenge? Now that the two of you are working together, you can develop the answers twice as fast. Or perhaps you can consult your third friend Sybil.

Please try and stay on topic. We are all waiting and excited to see the answers on the budget.


Posted by Sally L., a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 6:01 pm

curious, yawn...I'mcurious about the curious fact that you haven't been curious enough to come up with rationales and metrics that counter metrics that are *established*.

It's also funny that you choose to use the elegance and correctness of Anna's prose in an effort to make your baseless zero sum arguments and reductio ad aburdums meaningful. Good try.

again, to quote Anna and Tulip: please refute with other simple opinion, based on assumptions that themselves have no metric tied to them....

There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

THERE IS ALSO NO WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT PALO ALTO WILL NOT BE SUED AND PUT AT SERIOUS FISCAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY RISK UNLESS WE BUILD THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2007 at 7:17 pm

curious, it is very curious that you are able to write post after post on this topic without contributing anything *factual* to the discussion.

It is DOCUMENTED that there are *23* studies that show *CONCLUSIVELY* that libraries are not a "cost" to municipalities. On the contrary they show a *PROFIT* to the community. For every dollar spent, we get MUCH more than what we spend. Since you present NO data or metrics to support the established metrics of these studies, we must assume you agree with them.

If you are so concerned about the budget you should *support* the libraries instead of bashing them. Please stick to the topic!

Additionally, for at least the 5th time: Do you have a *guarantee* that we will not be sued and put our plans for the future at risk by a lawsuit if we do not pass these bonds? Please answer this instead of evading it, or we will know that you have nothing to offer on this either.

I have presented data and metrics and 23 well researched studies. What do you have? I think we all can see the answer now. 'nothng'

These bonds will pass because we have the facts on our side, you have only tired negativity.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 8:07 pm

Sally L

What don't you like about my facts? Why don't you accept the challenge? Why are trying to slow down these projects? Clearly if the city is at risk at being sued, then allocated the money from the upcoming budget starting in July. And since the libraries return a profit, they can be used to pay for all those items whose funding were of lower priority. What could be more simple?

By the way, when you were typing your post, your Caps Lock key got stuck.

Anna - congratulations on your latest purchase; I hope it was from a store in Palo Alto, so that the city could benefit from the sales tax revenue.


Posted by Sally L., a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 8:13 pm

curious, your facts? Sorry, I don't see any facts on your side, only stale opinion and illogic.

I type in capitals, because some people can't seem to get the point when it's not drilled into them.

You have been asked for *RATIONAL* on your side to support the DOCUMENTED FACTS and 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT.

You don't want to talk about that. You want to talk about purchases and caps locks. Read the posts prior to yours. How many times have you been challenged to present *FACTS* to support your side? How many facts have you offered? NONE!

We must assume you have no facts.

No facts, no logic, no reason, and no numbers on your side.

YES for our side!


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Sally L

That's too bad you can't see the facts; when will you respond to the challenge? do you have the courage? I guess you really don't want these projects done because you keep disavowing the facts that are put in front of you. I think you are pushing the bond ballot intentionally so that you can delay the projects, and then defeat them.


Posted by Sybil, a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 20, 2007 at 11:15 pm

I am so sorry that my many personalities - 23 of them in fact - appear to be showing up in this forum, as I desperately try to garner support for a city library and police building. These buildings will both be vital to my future - one as the only place all my friends and I can get together..

Sybil

aka
Tulip
Anna
Sally L
others yet to be discovered.....


Posted by Carny, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 20, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Come one! Come All! Watch in utter amazement as 'curious' inability to produce a cogent fact-based rebuttal becomes curiouser and curiouser. Watch 'curious' say "we can't" and "it's too hard" and "that's impossible" over and over again for the next two years - even as the VAST majority of Palo Altans rise up to build a new library and public safety center. Watch and be amazed at the diversions from truth that s/he passes off as good governance. Witness 'curious', as s/he hangs on every word written by Diana Diamond in criticism of these projects. Watch as Diana leads 'curious' and another 15% of Palo Altans to vote 'no' on these projects. Feel sorry, but not too sorry as 'curious', Diana and 100
others carry on at a "naysayer's lost' party, where they cry out loud as they view artist's renderings of the new public safety building and Mitchell Park Library/Rec Center. Qawk in wonder at how few Palo Altans join 'curious' in his/her quest to keep Palo Alto's infrastructure old and crumbling. Watch, and be amazed! It's free, too!


Posted by Banana, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2007 at 10:42 am

Moddy,
--- Tulip says: ---
You have a choice, catch the train to the future with us, or get left in the station all alone, muttering to yourselves about "inefficiency".
----
I was waiting for you to slip. And you did.
-Kerry (IIT-Delhi alumni)


Posted by Carny, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 21, 2007 at 11:39 am

I like this following ditty; it's from another thread, but really says it all. It seems Diana and what is essentially a very small minority of people have - for reasons that continue to escape most of us - endlessly oppose almost every improvement Palo Altans want to make. Why? It's hard to answer this, because almost everything they initially oppose, when built or formed, turns out to profit the community. They just like being "against stuff". That's the only answer I can come up with....Go figure.

Here's that cool little ditty - - -

With apologies, in advance, to Ogden Nash....

Ho-hum...yawn...here they come

Naysayers shouting again, all as one


(by the way, one's just shy of what they have

the polls clearly show they can't be saved)


"We can't" "we won't", they scream and yell

As they follow their fearless fiction-writer, Diana


"Watch out" they warn

Whoops! they exhort as slip on their very own rotten bananas


The naysayers say "The City conspires to make us poor"

What they forget is that their fading day is over; it's a bore


(can't they see that Palo Altan's want more?)

What Palo Altans want is a positive future -

not one that requires suture after suture


From vicious cuts and slashes made

as fading naysayers drink their kool-aid


So let them scream and let them shout

Let Diana help them knock themselves out


Soon our city will be fresh and new

With helpful city employees, and me and you


Living our lives in a city with hope

Instead of the naysayer's cries of "nope!"


Posted by Carney, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 21, 2007 at 11:57 am

And we *still* are waiting for curious or any of the other naysayers to produce one cogent fact that refutes the *23* WELL RESEARCHED *FACTUAL* studies that prove the coming investments in our libraries adn our public safety will be *PROFITABLE* to the city.

We're waiting.
They're delaying.
This Naysaying.
It won't work this time.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2007 at 3:14 pm

I'm late to this thread, I'm afraid. But aside from the large volume of posts, it is discouraging (and a little tiresome frankly) to read the sniping back and forth. It makes it hard for a "by-stander" to understand the merits either way. And also make one hesitant to join in, less one be caught in the cross-fire.

Maybe if we kept the tone higher, we'd get further in finding common ground.


Posted by Naysayer Slayer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Fred, thanks for joining.

If you've read through the thread, perhaps you found reference to the local polls, multiple studies, and other rationales that have been developed over years, showing that there is real fiscal and social benefit payback accruing from the proposed public safety and livrary/rec center builds.

Where do you stand on the benefits that these projects are *shown* to bring?

Indeed, there *is* sniping in this thread, because compromise has *already* been made over two ywars, on both projects. Some of that compromise has come as a result of those who appose these projects, including Diana Diamond.

However, keeping in character with the timy minority here who oppose *any* improvement in our city, the same group that has forced compromise form original visioning now want more (of their ultra-conservative) fiscal philopophy applied to municipal operations before they will "agree" with what's out there.

This tiny group of naysayers has held up progress in our city for *years*, by instigating lies and deceit just before polling time. They did it for the last library bond; they did it before the 2nd last PAUSD bond. they will try to do it again. They want to control this cityt from a minority position, based on leverage they obtain from an out-of-whack revenue bond rule that requires a 2/3 majority. They won't win this one, because they are going to be shown *exactly* for what they are, what they've cost Palo Alto in the past, and so on.

There are already *hundreds* of volunteers ready to take this public. What we will require is leadership from our Council to make this effort happen. Council has been very focused on these projects - with good reason. They are failing infrastructure that is *costing* our city and will *cost* outr city more if they're not built.

It's as simple as that.

I know one of the people involved in the effort to squash these projects; in fact, I know him quite well. He freely admits to *not liking Palo Alto, or Palo Altans, in general. THAT is the kind of person we're dealing with.

Are we going to let citizens who - for their own power-tripping reasons, their own selfish reasons, citizens who are in the VAST minority ehre, control debate and the future of our city? Is that what we want?

We simply aren't going to tolerate any more compromise from already compromised visions, period. There is FAR enough support for these projects to get them passed, with the right kind of community promotion.

Notice - and this is important - that noe ONE of othe persons who oppose these projects (in this thread) have yet to offer an alternate set of facts that sgows the following:

There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

THERE IS ALSO NO WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT PALO ALTO WILL NOT BE SUED AND PUT AT SERIOUS FISCAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY RISK UNLESS WE BUILD THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING.

Until we see a fact-based refutation of these *established* facts, all opposition is blowing smoke, or smoking something that alters consciousness.

the opposition is all about "we can't"; it's too hard"; let's do another study"; city officials are corrupt" etc. etc. It's old, and a tired argument. They're about "no"

We're about "yes", and a positive future for Palo Alto's pubic saftey, library, and recreation service infrastructure so that we can have a safe community with great libraries and recreation to serve the soon-to-be 36,000 seniors that will live here, and the growing number of kids who use parks, etc. etc.

Read the studies, the benefits are there - and vote YES.



Posted by Diana Diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger
on Mar 21, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Diana Diamond is a registered user.

Naysayer, Anna and some others -

My original blog simply asked the council to separate the two bond measures and let us vote independently for each -- the library and the police building. Period.

From that, some of you have not only inferred but stated directly that I am opposed to both measures. That is not the case and that is not what I was writing about.

I simply want residents to be able to vote for the measures separately. They may support one, they may support both, they may oppose both. They are entitled to decide how they want to spend their money.

Diana


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Diana,

That was a good try; in fact, it was your third try. Methinks you protest too much. It's a sad thing, because you're a smart woman, and someone who could could take the time to read up on this stuff, and find the truth that most Palo Altans already agree with - i.e. that the *majority* of citizens on our city want these projects to go forward.

What is the cost of not supporting both measures? You have yet to answer that question. Thus, your implied neutrality regarding the passage or failure of these measures is in serious question.

Furthermore, you have not stated whether you suuport or oppose eiether measure - as it is, or modified; this further impugns your stated intention.

I will repeat an earlier contention - i.e. that you have used suggestive innuendo to create a straw man (i.e. the 'manipulative Council') that you can rail against; that you have further constructed a moral argument of a populist nature against this straw man - a moral argument that helps you assume a lofty position relative to those who disagree with you(btw, your real intentions about these projects remain unexpressed).

In sum, you have been very *manipulative in your expression of feigned concern for the polis. Where is your FACTUAL input that refutes the already-mountainous amount of factual input that supports these projects? We're waiting.

Why is it that you want to raise concern about the transparent intentions of othe City Council?

How is it that you won't speak to the *advantages* of a combinied bond, because there are advantages, including fiscal advantages? I thought you were concerned about the city getting the biggest bang for its buck.

In a very real way, by writing about these projects in the way that you have, you are letting down many of yuor most ardent supporters, who would miss out on the many tangible and intangible benefits that derive from these infrastructure builds - in fact, the benefit profile FAR exceeds the cost of these infrastructure builds.

Frankly, I admire some of yuor ideas, but you are dead wrong, and skirting with embarrassment if you continue on this track, especially with all the evidence that has been gathered to what is certainly your implied stance against one or both of these projects. It's a shame, and quite surprising coming from someone who has influence.

Please read the evidence FOR these projects, and reconsider you position about how the vote should be organized, as well as your private position against one of both projects (the latter is something you simply can't deny, based on your own rather disingenuoous blog entry article and weak protestations)

Just in case you missed the challenge, here it is again:

There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

THERE IS ALSO NO WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT PALO ALTO WILL NOT BE SUED AND PUT AT SERIOUS FISCAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY RISK UNLESS WE BUILD THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING.




Posted by Kiwi, a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2007 at 6:21 pm

Earlier in this thread I suggested Googling the word bully to help understand the repeated unstoppable and overwhelming Tulip&AnnaSallyNotsofastJustme and many more names, and now escalating into Naysayer Slayer. This new signature is probably intended to be clever but it is a sign of increasing anger.
To reduce the number of responses from Google, search for "serial bully" in quotes.
Responding only seems to feed his blood lust.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Kiwi it is very revealing that when you have nothing of substance to say, you change the subject and use ad hominem illogical arguments to distract from the fact that your side has *NOTHING* to offer of substance.

To repeat (*AGAIN*) here is what we are trying to discuss - so far with no refutation from your side:

There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".




THERE IS ALSO NO WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT PALO ALTO WILL NOT BE SUED AND PUT AT SERIOUS FISCAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY RISK UNLESS WE BUILD THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING.


There must be *other* threads to discuss your psychologic theories, and your fascination with blood.

Here, please stick to the topic if you can.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Gosh, this is not good. There does seem to be hard-driving politicing here, not so much constructive debate. "Where do you stand" - I don't yet, since I don't understand all the issues yet. Witperh some posters pressing their points of view so hard, and criticizing and belittling their opponents, one fears that the info they present may not be objective or complete.

I hope the tone can moderate some to allow a fuller airing of the issues. Some have already made up their minds - hopefully they can share their facts in a fair way and let the rest of us benefit from their research and perspective.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2007 at 11:04 pm

If Fred had read through the issues here, he would see that *ONE* side of the debate has been handled with logic, sensitivity and *FACTS* Actually,*MORE* than just facts. One side has *23* WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES THAAT HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT.

And what does the other side have? Opinion, illogic, circular argumentation based on fanciful speculation: in essence, nothing but *NAYSAYING*

So Fred may be right about the tone of the "Debate" if it can be called such when only one side is truly debating.

But it is frustrating. Time after time, we have tried to compromise with the tiny, tiny fraction of 1% who have become used to getting their way and having the policy makers listen to their negativity without compromise.

No more. What you see, Fred, is the *MAJORITY* of reasonable citizens who want to move our city forward. What you see is the *MAJORITY* who want to *help* our children and our seniors have the kind of city they deserve. What you see is the truth coming out after so much distraction and distortion of facts by the naysayers.

So maybe you are right about the tone. Our side is frustrated that the minority naysayers will not listen to the truth and respond to everything with negativity while our side sticks to *DOCUMNENTED* facts.

And the naysayers have nothing to offer but their own sense of isolation and loss of influence that they have enjoyed for so long.

Go and read the 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES THAT HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT, Fred. Read and you will see the issues.

Then read how the naysayers have responded. And you will understand *BOTH* the issues and why the "Debate" really isn't a debate.

And then join the enlightened *MAJORITY* in Palo Alto who will say *YES* to the future.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2007 at 4:59 am

I will sign off this thread now. Anna, I must say, I think you posting rises almost to the level of spam, in terms of its rhetoric and repetitiveness. Too bad, I think, because you clearly have a strong command of the issues and a well-developed point of view.


Posted by Banana, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 22, 2007 at 10:40 am

I am delighted that the cover of Anna/Tulip has been revealed.
I am not sure what the agenda of this person was - but it was strong and completely distorted the truth. All of Anna's comments above have lost credibilty.
Aggressive debate without substance make you lose BIG.
Three cheers to the Jamba Juice Team: Banana, Orange and Kiwi


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2007 at 11:31 am

Fred, It's funny to hear you say what you say, especially as I watched you over in the thread about whether language instruction is a viable thing for students.
Web Link

All you did was take one piece of research evidence after another and question it with your own opinion, asking others who presented research-based rsults to "prove it" (essentially asking to prove zero, a poor debate tactic). All you managed to accomplish there was bring the thread to infinite regress.

My sense is that you oppose these projects. Am I correct? Regardless of the facts that have been established, what's yuor psoition? Or, are you one of those who waits for the "perfect piece of research", because "we don't have enoughh data yet". Ge re-read your posts on the above link, and think about what I just said.

Here, we're saying "YES" to Palo Alto's future. Looks like you'reprobably just another naysayer, with little to offer but ad hominum.

We have - as I thought we would from the very start - seen nothing from you. Where is your response to the research-based conclusions, fred? We're waiting...

So, here we have "fred", who most likely was another alias of the one of the core group of "We won't", or "I can't", and so on, who find one way or another to AVOID the following query.

There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

THERE IS ALSO NO WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT PALO ALTO WILL NOT BE SUED AND PUT AT SERIOUS FISCAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY RISK UNLESS WE BUILD THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING.

Everyone from Diana Diamond to all those who oppose these projects have failed to address the above query. Makes one wonder about their motives, doesn't it?

btw, fred, there are solid research-based results that show many developmental advantages to the exposure to languages other than one's own, especially in children - whether or not that language is learned in depth, or is learned at a lighter level. Please refute that, as well, with your own research, instead of saying "I don't think so".

The participants who engaged and more-than-politely put up with your infinite regress line of question and response would love to hear a definitive answer based on something other than your own opinion, but we all know you'll never satisfy them, either - right?


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2007 at 11:46 am

It is sad to see obviously smart people as Banana and Fred follow down the dead footsteps of their mentor as acolytes of Diana Diamond.

Both imply that they are disinterested neutrals on the bonds, when in fact this is only an implied cover for their fevered *OPPOSITION* to the bond issues. Just as Diana uses innuendo to disguise her *OPPOSITION* to the bonds, which she will not admit even after being challenged, Fred and Banana write about the process and spam to distract from the thin disguise of their *OPPOSITION* to the bonds.

We have seen this all before. When a known ideological newspaper columnist incites her followers on an issue, they respond in uniform chorous. We all remember the street maintenance issue. We know the drill by heart. First there are some columns by the leader. Then there are pathetic letter after letter to the editor miming the column. And then it becomes impossible to *DO* anything about the alledged problem because it has become so embroiled in populist posturing spewed by this tactic.

We *SHOULD* be having not two, but three bond issues. One for the streets, one for the libraries, and one for public safety. They all add MUCH more than they cost to the city.

But no, we have only two. So those who cry crocodile tears about our streets know they only have themselves to blame. We *COULD* have addressed all of our infrastructure needs as the naysayers feign is their desire. But thanks to they themselves, we are faced with *ADDED EXPENSE* as the interest and construction costs while they delay and distract.

We won't be fooled again. The *majority* of residents are now looking forward to the future. We will have *YES* votes against the naysaying minority on the bonds. And on the streets too when the time comes.

It's past time to listen to the "we can't" excuse makers.

*WE CAN* and will move Palo Alto into the future


Posted by Maria, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2007 at 11:55 am

Ms. Diamond does seem to be good at inciting others to comment, but not good at providing facts. I know this is her style of journalism, but the PA Weekly would do the citizins of Palo Alto more benefit by running unbiased articles about the many difficult issues facing our city. Factual articles not innuendo would be the responsible thing to do!


Posted by pete, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 22, 2007 at 12:07 pm

You're right Maria. This city is coming to a bad end when its weekly newspaper runs columnists who don't agree issue-by-issue with the received wisdom of the city establishment.

How do they expect us to develop the proper solidarity on the issues facing the city when these obviously mentally ill dissenters keep popping up on their pages? We used to have the proper comradeship here in Palo Alto. Now we have all this icky discussion about the issues.

Can't everyone just listen to our leaders and go along?


Posted by Susanna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2007 at 1:53 pm

Come now, Pete, that's not what Maria said. We all know Diana Diamond is out to goad others with invective and innuendo. If it gets people having a real dialogue, that's fine, but let's don't call what she does responsible journalism or unbiased reporting!


Posted by pete, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Sus-anna, I don't call what Diana Diamond reponsible journalism or unbiased reporting. I call it "opinion columnist". Kind of a different animal, and she does it pretty well since its prime purpose is to stimulate debate in the community....see the 100+ posts above.


Posted by Anna, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2007 at 11:44 pm

There is no getting around the FACT that *23* municipal studies ALL showed that "NO LESS THAN 23 WELL-DESIGNED STUDIES HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN THAT PUBLIC LIBRARIES PAY BACK A PROFIT TO MUNICIPALITIES, BASED ON REAL BENEFITS RECEIVED FOR TAX DOLLARS SPENT".

THERE IS ALSO NO WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT PALO ALTO WILL NOT BE SUED AND PUT AT SERIOUS FISCAL AND PUBLIC SAFETY RISK UNLESS WE BUILD THE NEW PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING.


Posted by Charlie, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2007 at 5:42 pm

Curious, As you may know our city manager, Frank Benest, has stated there are no easy places to cut expenditures to meet present obligations. To prevent other city services from being cut, Peter Drekmeier, city councilman, suggested reducing our recent $3 million increase in the infrastructure maintenance fund which didn't fly. Therefore I question if a $127 million budget can support building two or even one new public facilitie(s).

Sharon Erickson, Palo Alto City Auditor, in her Service Efforts and Accomplishments Report of February 2006, states the General Fund spending decreased to $118.0 million in 2006. So I'm no sure where your $127 million came from.

On page ii of the above SE&A report, per capita fund allocations to city departments are listed. Perhaps you can lead the effort to fund the new buildings by suggesting which services or departments should be reduced to free up General Fund money.


Posted by Concerned citizen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2007 at 11:24 pm

I'm against the new proposed police station for several reasons: Location is wrong. It's very isolated and under certain conditions it could be completely isolated, boxed in. It should be dispersed over the city like fire departments are. Palo Alto is in the top 3 spots as a place for terrorist attack. (New Yorker/PADaily article). Much lower cost locations. The owner of the land proposed dosen't want to sell. Long Litigation possible. And it could be the highest piece of land in the city after all is over. Talk about being sued the city could be sued because the police force does not do policing in many large areas of the city. They openly refuse to go after law breaking, criminal activites in certain areas of the city and have said they don't patrol those areas. Repeated requests result in no action. Apparently only the connected neighborhoods are patroled.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Veggie Grill coming soon to Mountain View's San Antonio Center
By Elena Kadvany | 24 comments | 3,525 views

Is HBO's Silicon Valley Any Good?
By Anita Felicelli | 23 comments | 2,335 views

Finding mentors in would-be bosses
By Jessica T | 0 comments | 2,000 views

A memorable Paly prom
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 1,173 views

Passover Joke
By Paul Losch | 6 comments | 396 views