Posted by Marvin, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 11:13 am
I am sick and tired of hearing this "latte a week" garbage. we need a single main library. Even Ms Cormack has admitted that Palo Alto does not need 5 branches--others have shown that 5 branches are inefficient and a waste of money. Why, then, should we vote for this bloated bond--so that FOPAL and the small, vocal "5 branches at all costs" crowd can have their way? well,now is the time to draw the line in the sand--vote no on N
Posted by Not embarrassed, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 11:24 am
I am tired of Ms Cormack's embarrassment when her rich friends visit. She needs to read a book about renovation and repair instead of demolish, demolish, demolish. I wouldn't be surprised that a beautiful renovation could be done for half the price.
BTW she is not connected to FOPAL but is the head of the Library Foundation.
Posted by pat, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 11:41 am
>“We've got Sputnik-era libraries in the age of the iPod and Google.”
Without a technology plan, we could still end up with Sputnik-era libraries.
>“The Palo Alto Library Foundation is laying the groundwork to spearhead a private fundraising campaign to fill the library with the books, furniture and computers we will need.”
Can anyone guarantee that private donors will pay for ALL the costs that the bond won't cover--especially when we don't even know what those costs will be? Without a technology plan, can anyone guarantee that donors will pay for 21st century technology—including upgrades and support, consultants and staff over the next 10, 20, 30 years?
>“The City Council will use general funds to pay for the staff and utilities costs. The Council understands this budget challenge and has repeatedly supported this plan unanimously.”
Just what budget challenge does the city council understand? Consultants hired by the city reported that “further evaluation and analysis” is needed to determine actual staffing and operating costs.
We already have a $550 million infrastructure backlog and the city is scrambling to find $5 million/year to pay for a police building we didn’t get to vote on.
Where will all this money come from? A parcel tax? More increases in our utility rates? Cuts in other city services?
Posted by Agree - Rationalize the Branches, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 11:54 am
I agree with Alison - it is long past time to rationalize our branches and our spending. Soon as we do that, we should improve our facilities too. Right on - let's stop the bond and clean up our operations.
Posted by foreclosure, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 11:56 am
"Across the nine-county Bay Area, 12,093 homes fell into foreclosure, up 273 percent. Contra Costa County saw the most foreclosures, 3,662, and Santa Clara County experienced the biggest increase, 428 percent." Web Link
Save my money for a rainy day or spend on a $76 million folly....hmmmm....
Posted by Save our libraries!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 12:01 pm
I'm voting YES on Measure N because we know that if Measure N fails it will be the beginning of the end for our library system.
We ALREADY KNOW that the vast majority of Palo Altans want this bond to pass, and the only reason we're seeing so many sock puppet posts against the bond in these forums, and in letters to the editor (just look at those letters; they're from the same 5-6 people) is because they know they only need 33 and 1/3% of the vote to "win".
This is a clear attempt by a small minority of dedicated anti-bond citizens to destroy our library system as we know it.
They want the branches to close.
What's startling about this is that of Measure N fails, and we end up with just one library, we will have to CLOSE Mitchell or Main - AND the cost of the new library will easily be MORE than the current bond.
Does anyone really think that they will support a MORE EXPENSIVE bond then? If you do, I have a bridge to sell you.
Posted by Save our libraries!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 12:07 pm
All this talk about hard times is another fear technique. Who do these peopel think they're kidding? Contra Costa County foreclosures? Duhhh - this is PALO ALTO, where there have been almost NO foreclosures of homes, just investment condominiums by outside investors.
Don't bee fooled by fear. If you want our libraries to stay open, vote for Measure N.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 12:12 pm
Yes to branch libraries!
For more than 150 years, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America with revolutionary ideas and famous firsts. Established in 1848, the BPL was the first publicly supported municipal library in America, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library and the first to have a children’s room. Today, the BPL boasts 27 neighborhood branches, free Internet access, and an award-winning website www.bpl.org. All of its programs and exhibits are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning! Web Link
On Nov. 3, 1998, Seattle voters overwhelmingly approved the $196.4 million “Libraries for All” bond measure to upgrade The Seattle Public Library with new facilities, technology, and books. The bond measure, which could be used only for construction of libraries, funded a new central library and new and improved branches. Web Link
The San Francisco Public Library operates twenty-seven (27) branch libraries spread geographically throughout the City. In the book A Free Library in This City, author Peter Booth Wiley provides a detailed history of the development and growth of the San Francisco Public Library. Branch libraries have been a part of the fabric of the communities in which they are located from their inception. In addition to bringing much needed library service to the city’s far-reaching neighborhoods they also serve as community centers and in some cases came to be part of a larger complex of community buildings. In 1988, voters approved a Library Bond Program to construct a new Main Library and to renovate branch libraries. From 1990 to 1998, the renovations of five (5) branches were completed: Mission, Park, Presidio, Sunset and Chinatown, which also expanded. Proposition E was passed by the voters in 1994 to increase library hours and ensure a stable funding source for library operations.
In November 2000, San Francisco voters passed the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP), totaling $106 million. This bond program provides funds for the renovation of nineteen (19) branches, replacement of four (4) leased spaces by City-owned facilities and the construction of a new branch (number 27) in the emerging Mission Bay neighborhood. Updated information on the revitalization of the branch libraries is available through the Branch Library Improvement Program
The Houston Public Library is a place to learn and to have a lot of fun. You can do both by taking part in the thousands of events and programs that we provide throughout the year. Browse this section of the HPL website and plan your week of activities with friends and family.
“Books with Bite” – 2008 Teen Read Month. Web Link
Boise City Council Votes to Fund Branch Libraries.
Boise, ID – February 21, 2007) Boise Public Library received the go-ahead for branch libraries last night at the Boise City Council meeting. Council members voted unanimously to approve the most recent version of the Master Library Facility Plan, and to allocate $2,519,670 for the first stages. They also directed the Library to proceed with lease negotiations for two leased “storefront” facilities, which would open this fall.
Suitable branch sites have been identified in the Hillcrest and Collister Shopping Centers. Lease negotiations and preliminary design are expected to take about four months, with a final lease recommendation to be presented to Council for approval in June 2007. Construction would follow, with a grand opening anticipated in October 2007. All four branch libraries would be full-service libraries, offering nearby neighborhoods adult and children’s programs, community meeting space, computers and Internet access, books, movies, music, magazines & newspapers and information and reference services. Web Link
Don’t children and the public at large suffer, though, when bureaucrats and politicians fixate on downtown library palaces at the expense of neighborhood branches within walking distance of many students? Web Link
Posted by Feel Bad, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 1:42 pm
I actually feel bad for Alison - she dearly would love to see a nice library built (and would we all) but (1) is in the mindset of "it doesn't matter what we spend, this is Palo Alto and (2) she is a victim of the politics that keeps branches open at all costs.
Her heart is the right place; but in terms of the overall good of Palo Alto, her approach is dead wrong.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 1:59 pm
I do think Palo Altans need to be a bit more concerned about the current global market conditions. While Palo Alto may not be impacted as severely as other parts of the world - we are already beginning to feel it and will continue to feel it. Local companies continue to announce cutbacks and layoffs - Tesla just announced today - can't get the credit to continue its expansion.
Posted by Save our libraries!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 3:35 pm
""Santa Clara County experienced the biggest increase [in forclosure], 428 percent.""
But Palo Alto showed no increase in home foreclosure by _local_ owners. You need to do your research!
Please vote YES on Measure N and keep our libraries open.
Remember, Mitchell Park is a BRANCH library. Read what the anti-N posters say about branches, and you'll get a good idea about what their agenda is - i.e. to CLOSE the branches (remember, Mitchell is a BRANCH!!)
Posted by Love our libraries, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 3:49 pm
Palo Alto Library branches are open for more than 200 cumulative hours, providing service to dozens of neighborhoods. Neighbors, children, seniors and students can easily walk or bike to libraries.
Palo Alto library staff, based on the above statistic, is 2.5 times MORE efficient than neighboring library staff.
That said, the buildings that our staff and patrons are working in are beyond obsolete. Every other community has renewed it's library system, why haven't we. We can't even update our collection because there is no more room for books and media. We MUST pass Measure N to guarantee library sustainability for the next 50 years.
Posted by NO on N, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm
Every other community has a modern library system, this bond doesn't give us one. Our libraries operate at twice the cost and provide half the services of those in our neighboring cities. The annual budgetary increase required to support this bond only exacerbates this problem.
Please vote NO on N so we can get a modern library system.
Posted by libraries are a great investment!, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 4:22 pm
"Our libraries operate at twice the cost and provide half the services of those in our neighboring cities"
A complete fabrication. IN fact, our library operates at 2.5x the efficiency of neighboring libraries. This bond will actually pay back our community in real dollars at a rate between $1.30 and $4.60 for every dollar invested in the library. This is clearly demonstrated by 25 municipal studies!
Posted by theAuditor, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 4:32 pm
"IN fact, our library operates at 2.5x the efficiency of neighboring libraries. "
This is complete fabrication. The audit report clearly shows we pay twice as much per capita as neighboring cities and have twice as many staff per 1000 cardholders as neighboring cities. Annual reports Palo Alto and Neighboring cities show Palo Alto provides no additional value to explain this extra cost.
Posted by did you know?, a member of the El Carmelo School community, on Oct 24, 2008 at 4:58 pm
"Did you know?
1. Palo Alto library staff is 2.5 times more efficient than neighboring libraries, based on staff cost and cumulative hours open?
2. Your cost will be less than the $139 per household per year that Beter Libraries for Palo Alto site quotes.
3. City Council members decided on a bond only after several polls and surveys said that Palo Altans wanted it.
4. PAUSD's value is greatly increased by our public library.
5) Unlike neighboring cities, most of our students can walk or bike to a library after school.
When the last branch library closed, the Friends of Palo Alto libraries (FOPAL) threatened, in an open letter to councli, to reduce funding to offset any saving made by the closure. This is at odds with the most recent survey showing 58% of Palo Altans agreed that focusing our res
6. If the bond passes the library budget and annual costs will DECREASE due to the implementation of labor-saving technology.
7. If Measure N fails, our public library stands a good chance of being closed. This includes Children's Library.
Posted by we ARE 2.5 times more efficient, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm
Here's the data
Spending per capita Library Spending Per Capita FY 2005-06, with per capita efficiency ratings for each city based on cumulative library hour service return for per capita investment (i.e. per capita spend[PCS]] **divided by**cumulative service hour [CSH]. PLease note that *the lower the number, the higher the library staff efficiency in terms of total amount of service hour delivery accomplished*)
Palo Alto's $97.01 per capita spend results in 238 cumulative service hours at 5 branches per week PCS/CSH = .41
Santa Clara $57.70 per capita results in 73 hours of cumulative service hours at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .78
Mountain View's $55.19 results in 56 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .98
Menlo Park $61.68 per capita results in 57 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .92
Sunnyvale $49.97 per capita results in 57 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week. PCS/CSH = .88
By this reckoning, Palo Alto library staff is 2-2.5 times *more* efficient than its municipal neighbors.
Posted by GIGO, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 6:31 pm
You know, I don't care how many branches are open because all of them s*@k. I'd rather save my excessive bond money and spend it on gas to neighboring libraries with decent collections. I won't support N because it's an outrageously exorbitant expense with a solution that will still leave me driving to the better libraries around us. I can wait until the economy picks up and the city proposed a better solution.
Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of the Palo Alto Orchards neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm
" I'd rather save my excessive bond money and spend it on gas to neighboring libraries with decent collections."
That's just the point. Oure dilapidated and crowded library buildings don't have room to increase and update the collection. Please vote Yes on N so that we can increase and update our collection, and keep all of our library space open.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Oct 25, 2008 at 2:57 pm
A couple facts-
We already pay more per capita for our libraries than any neighboring town. I can only be at one library at a time, so adding the hours of all the branches makes no sense. I still can't got to any PA library on Thursday morning.
Many parents use the Mitchell park library as after school care for their kids. If you don't believe me, get there between 5:30 and 6 and see how many parents are picking their kids up. I believe children should be welcome at the library to do research, homework, etc. The librarians should not be responsible for the same group of kids, every day after school.
The Mitchell Park Library/Community Center will cost over 1000 per square foot.
Many of the working people who will be affected by the layoffs I'm sure are coming will be paying more like 300-400 per year, not 139.
Posted by Martin, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm
Sure we pay more for libraries, but efficiency like we have costs money. In fact, the posters above who tout 2.5 x efficiencies actually understate the advantage of our multi-branch system. When you figure in the tremendous non-allocated personal time saved by individuals who don't have to travel long distances to get to a library (a figure not in well evidenced calculations for efficiency used nationwide), the efficiency gains TO THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE are as much as 38.3 times greater than neighboring cities.
This 38.3 figure makes the case for neighborhood libraries and for the bond virtually air tight.
And the poster who mockingly referred to 10 libraries actually doesn' know much economics. In fact, if you put 5 additional libraries into the calculations, and assume the same operating cost ratios as our current system (supplemented by the bond income), then you will see that the potential efficiencies are 74.4 x the inefficient single library systems of neighboring cities.
Though I am not recommending it - at least until this current bond passes - a pretty good case could be made for a 10-branch library system in town.
All of this of course is not news to anyone familiar with the *23* studies nationwide that prove the positive return to library spending.
Posted by Funny, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 25, 2008 at 4:15 pm
Gosh, I hadn't seen the *23 Studies* in a while. Must be a slow weekend.
It is a shame we overpay for our libraries, and even more a shame that we are being asked to pay much more now. And it is unfortunate that it will take a financial crisis for us to address these issues, but at least it will finally get done.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 26, 2008 at 9:46 am
The last measure failed because of tennis courts.
Most people I know who drive to libraries do so as part of an errand run, so it is nonsense to think that a local branch will cut down on car trips.
Most seniors I know won't walk anywhere, they can't carry books, they are afraid of falling or being mugged, and they are the one group that is doggedly attached to going everywhere in their cars. Have you noticed that the library disabled parking spaces are always full? It is surprisingly easy for the elderly to get disabled parking stickers and they do not want to give up their driving.
Posted by library supporter but NO on N, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 10:45 am
We need one library not 5 and I will bet my $2 million home that the library system will find another way to renovate ONE library and Not all and it will be better for us all... We don't need more space for books as indicated... we might even need less if you look at children no adays they use the internet and NOT books the way we use them... Think ahead and not be selfish.... NO on N
Posted by Which library?, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 11:44 am
For everyone who is saying one library, would you please tell me where this one library would be. Would it be at Main - at the north end of town? Would it be at Mitchell Park - at the south end of town? Would it hover over Page Mill?
The vast majority of the money in this bond pays for Main and Mitchell Park. The savings from closing branches is miniscule unless you get rid of one of these. Do you really propose closing one of these which would put a library out of walking/biking distance for half of Palo Alto?
Posted by No on the library bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 11:55 am
Yes, I propose closing both of these branches and building a central library, so that we can move into the 21st century, like our neighboring cities have. I also propose closing those branches so that finally FOPAL and it's acolytes will stop holding PA hostage with their "branches or else" mantra. time to move on--time for our city council to stand up for the entire city, not just the vocal minority called FOPAL.
Posted by more FACTS, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:07 pm
$11,000,000 for DT & CT renovations. And they're asking you to ignore this money let alone an additional $1,100,000 annual budget required by this bond. Small wonder they are asking for $76,000,000 and call it reasonable.
Posted by Charlie, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:17 pm
"How much does it cost? The median assessed home in Palo Alto will pay $139 a year. After the federal income-tax deduction, that's about a latte a week to bring all of our libraries into the 21stcentury. (The tax is assessed at $28.74 per $100,000 of assessed value). It is a 30-year bond to raise up to $76 million, and works just like the school bond passed in June or a home mortgage."
I just don't get the math. That means the median assessed home price is under $500,000. My home, hardly a castle, would appraise at 3x that (at least last year!) so my piece of the pie would actually be over $430 per year. To keep saying this is the price of a latte a day seems dishonest.
I would be more likely to vote for this if it didn't have meeting rooms and other things in there that we don't really need. And I agree about the free babysitting service Mitchell branch seems to provide for parents. That is not where I want to spend my hard-earned cash.
I haven't decided one way or the other, though. Because I am a frequent user of the libraries and like the five branches. So those of you supporting N, how do you answer my questions?
Posted by FACTS, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:18 pm
"No answer on the city services that are going to be trimmed to fund the budget increase for this bond."
No city services are going to be trimmed. PLanned revenue gains will be taking up the slack. Listen to the City Council meetings.
To "library supporter": The FACT is that book use and circulation are UP 30% since the Internet came along. We can't increase or properly update our collection without this reconstruction of buildings that are now dilapidated (according to our own auditor).
"more FACTS" is LYING. DT is receiving $6M, and CT Tis an historical structure that has been budgeted for renewal for YEARS. NO BOND MONEY IS BEING SPENT FOR CT! Even if the library wasn't housed in that building, the city would be renewing its infrastructure.
btw, 75% of the space at that location is NOT used by the library, it's used by PACCC, which means that those who decry the renewal of this badly outworn building would rather see our children's day care center housed in a dilapidated structure
A central library will EASILY cost more than $100M. These same, determined anti-N forces will come out against that bond, too. They do not love the library; they hate government spending; they ALWAYS oppose EVERY bond - schools, libraries, roads, you name it.
We need to PASS MEASURE N TO KEEP OUR LIBRARIES OPEN!!
Posted by Which library?, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:22 pm
Under Prop 13, taxes are assessed based upon what you paid for your house (plus 2% annual adjustment) NOT what it would appraise for. Many of my neighbors homes are assessed on a value of less than $100,000, even though they would appraise for well over $1mm.
You have to look at your property tax bill and see what the assessed level is - not what your neighbor just sold their house for.
Posted by Which library?, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:30 pm
A short cut way of figuring out your cost is to take your annual property tax bill and multiply it by 3%. If you pay $5,000 year now (typical in Palo Alto) - you would pay $5,150 if this passes. Seniors who usually have low bills will see very small increases - on the order of $25/ year. If you just bought you will pay more - Prop 13 taketh and giveth.
Posted by Which library?, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:34 pm
Where is the $11mm number for DT and CT coming from?
Downtown is the only one in the bond - the projected cost is $3.1mm plus contingencies.
College Terrace is not in the bond at all and anyone getting upset should keep in mind that this building has been on the needs fixing list for 12 years because of seismic issues - most of the building is actually a childcare center.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:45 pm
Which library? asks where we would put "one massive library and the required parking" making this sound like a huge problem - I would suggest that either the footprint of Main or Mitchell would work just fine. I don't think is is unreasonable to have one main library along with Children's.
I think some need to get over their fear of two-story buildings. Palo Alto is putting in tons of multi-story complexes like the new Campus for Jewish Life, why can't we do this for our library?
They also need to get over their fear of underground parking.
Check out beautiful, successful area libraries like Santa Clara (multi-story with underground parking), Mt. View (underground parking, can't recall if it is one or two story) and Cupertino (multi-story with pleasant surrounding surface parking). These cities are not vastly different in size and scope from Palo Alto.
Posted by more FACTS, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:50 pm
"9)% of the bond will go to Mitchell and Main. $6M to DT, and NOTHING to CT"
See, they're trying to hide the amount of money they are spending on the branches. $5,000,000 spent on CT is nothing to them. Heck, the additional $1,100,000 in operating costs was brushed off as unimportant by the main proposer of this bond.
Posted by Paly student, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 12:56 pm
My whole family uses the College Terrace library several times a week. There are always older people in there who love to walk to this library, and the story times are great. Sometime the crowd overflows out of the building. We have to save these libraries! Please vote for the N Measure
Posted by Which library?, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 1:06 pm
The footprint at Mitchell Park is maxed out - and it is a two story design already.
Main is a historical structure which creates other kinds of issues.
I am seriously asking if everyone asking for one library understands that it means that whereas there is a library within walking/biking distance of most people today 50% of the town would have to drive.
I am also seriously asking if people want to fundamentally change the character of town which is differentiated from its neighbors by being walkable/bikable. People pay up to live here for the schools and for nearby amenities.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 1:20 pm
Right, now I have heard it. Main is a historical structure? Main is a hysterical structure, a dump, an eyesore. You sound like the same people who want to keep Edgewood open.
I can see it now. In 50 years' time, practically all Palo Alto will be classed as historical structures and there will be no chance of getting anything fixed.
Come on, grow up. We are talking about a 50 year old worn out building. Build something practical that will last, but please do not call something as young as 50 years old historical. If you want to see some history, go to Egypt, or Stonehenge.
Posted by Easy, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 1:23 pm
Which - it isn't that hard. Close DT and CT - should have been down a long time ago. Invest in Mitchell, much less in Main. Overtime, see if Main's usage goes down; if it does, just ratchet it down over time; if not, keep it. Children's makes no sense (ask any librarian what they think of the idea of a standalone children's library) but what can you do. It isn't a one bold stroke solution; we get where we are going in stages.
But step one is say no to the bond - have the Council grow a spine - and start doing what's right for the city as a whole - which includes managing on a budget.
Posted by Vote No on the bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm
i do not trust our city council to manage our money or our city as whole. they like to give out bonuses to everyone, they waste money on tunnels to nowhere, they cover up financial malfeasance at the children's theater and the list goes on and on.
What is really funny is that they got the mayor to write the argument in favor of measure N!!!! If there ever was a reason to vote against measure N, it is our mayor and city council. Vote no on N.
Don;t listen to the FOPAL sock puppet who is posting under many different names on these threads. Al of his info is either misinformation or out and out lies
Posted by Which library?, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 1:34 pm
You should like Measure N. It invests 3x as much in Mitchell Park as Main. Yes, it does have a small amount for Downtown which you disagree with. We are never going to come up with a plan that makes every single person happy. It was very clear from polling and from library usage data that excluding downtown made more people unhappy than people happy so hence the plan that the city came forward with.
Posted by Marge McCallister-Ohmari, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 2:23 pm
Measure N is our last chance to keep our library system. I was at Main yesterday and learned that there is a serious issue with water leakage into the archive. How can we not fix these things? How can we let our libraries continue to deteriorate.
PLease join me and my entire family in supporting Measure N.
Posted by There is no Marge McCallister-Ohmari, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm
For everyone's information "Marge McCallister-Ohmari" is a non-existent person--made up by the troll who is posting on all these threads under many different identities but with the same bogus message.
Posted by Marge McCallister-Ohmari, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 2:30 pm
We are graduate students at Stanford; we have two children, and live for the next 7 months in Palo Alto. I cannot believe the level of rudeness in these forums, nor can I understand the gall that would make an accusation like the one you just did. Shame on you.
Posted by There is no Marge McCallister-Ohmari, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 2:50 pm
It is now more clear than ever that "Marge McCallister-Ohmari" is one of the identities of the "Yes on N" person who continuously bombards these threads with lies and misinformation. "Marge McCallister-Ohmari" claims that she is a graduate student at Stanford--she does not show up in the online directory for Stanford.
This person does not exist. See how far these pro-N people will go to try to get you to vote for this wasteful bond? Is there any more reasons to vote no on N? I don't think so.
Shame on you "Marge McCallister-Ohmari" for using so many phony identities
Posted by Seniors AGAINST, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 5:14 pm
I'm so offended I had to say something. All these lies! Everyone I know - I mean EVERYONE - is voting against measure N. How could they vote for such a thing? With our economy in shambles and my retirement account down by half, they want to raise taxes for a prettier building!!! I've been in Palo Alto for nearly 50 years, and believe me, we have never closed a library. But these taxes are too much. I can't imagine how it will pass - there is not a single senior in Palo Alto who will vote for such nonsense.
Posted by vote YES on Measure D for Our Kids, Students, Seniors, Adults, and Working Professionals, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 6:31 pm
I don't know who you're speaking with, but everyone in my neighborhood, and literally every single senior citizen except for one I've met says they're voting for Measure N. This isn't about "pretty buildings" (what a crock that is!); it's about REPAIR and rebuild of structures that are falling apart at the seams. You may not have seen libraries close in your time, but mark my words we will close libraries if Measure N fails. I'll bet your house, if yuo've been here for any length of time, is assessed so low that your payment would be well under $100 per year. And you're whining about cost???!!!! How much do you think it will cost to fix what's left of our library system , piecemeal, if Measure N fails?
Posted by cblasey, a resident of Stanford, on Oct 27, 2008 at 8:18 pm
We are voting yes on N and are willing to pay the cost to improve the community. Our libraries are pathetic compared to our neighbors. We end up going to bookstores and would prefer to go to a community location that benefits many many people. We also feel that it is a good investment in the children of our community, and want our neighborhood kids to see how much we value their education.
Posted by Support our library: vote YES on N!, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 27, 2008 at 10:15 pm
"This bond doesn't bring Palo Alto up to Mountain View's standard."
Mt. View doesn't even come close to approaching the standard of service that our libraries deliver. We have a branch library system that serves many, many neighborhoods. In fact, branch library systems are becoming more the vogue, with the new emphasis on urban walkability and health. These are benefits that Mt. View can't come close to matching, among others.
Vote Yes on N to keep our libraries open and healthy.
Posted by libraryfan, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 6:32 am
Excuse me??? The notion that the Mountain View library is in any way inferior to the Palo Alto library system is simply absurd. Mountain view has a beautiful library at a significantly lower cost than what PA residents pay. Anyone who is thinking about voting for Measure N, but has not visited the Mountain View library, should go visit and see what you will not have if N passes. As for the seniors who already voted for N, now consider how a bookmobile could serve Lytton Gardens and bring the books directly to seniors who cannot walk to any library. If we had a single large central library and a bookmobile, as Mountain View does, we would be far better served than by our expensive, inadequate branch system -- which will not be much better after we spend 76 million dollars on it.
Posted by JA3+, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 9:38 am
I voted 'No' on N.
Measure N is clearly a profligate approach. Crafted without clear concern for costs, it is simply far too expensive.
The burden is placed solely on the City's taxpayer; it's an approach not routinely copied elsewhere. San Mateo, for example, tapped into State monies and private donations when building its new main library downtown.
Posted by RS, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 9:53 am
"As for the seniors who already voted for N..."
Note, Previously someone claimed to represent voting seniors on this forum. He also claimed they had already voted in mass. Trouble is it was a week before vote by mail ballots were even distributed, so voting would have been very problematic for them.
I believe we have just one over zealous Measure N proponent that misrepresents information about this measure, its impact, and its support. The problem is that few people actually read these threads, so his impact and anyone else's is minimal. I also agree with JA3+ analysis of who this one person is, I just dont undestand what he gets from doing this.
Posted by Seniors for Measure N, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 10:31 am
" As for the seniors who already voted for N, now consider how a bookmobile could serve Lytton Gardens and bring the books directly to seniors who cannot walk to any library."
This is insulting to seniors, most of whom are mobile and USE the branches. Why should I settle for the limited resources of a bookmobile? How about YOU waiting for the bookmobile?? How about THAT? I want to walk to my branch downtown and participate in librdary programs and read a newspaper or two. Taking out the branches would mean a big loss to many of us seniors.
Posted by Mo, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 10:52 am
> I dare you to take a poll of Channing House
> and Lytton Gardens voters.
As it turns out, both Lytton Gardens and Channing House are exempt from property taxes--so these people will be voting taxes on other people, without paying one thin dime themselves. There are millionaires living in Channing House--paying no property tax as a part of their fees.
Not a very moral thing to do.
It time to revoke their tax exemption, and see how they vote.
Posted by Marty, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 12:29 pm
"we already have a team of lawyers on contingency"
There you have it folks, "Democracy in action". If library haters don't win at the polls, they sue to close libraries.
This is one more reason to vote YES on Measure N, to insure that the majority finally wins.
btw, I noticed a very nice endorsement from someone in the Post today, and that's why these library haters have labeled their so-called legal strategy the way that they have.
oh, and btw, "Mo" is wrong. Library use has climbed 30% since the onset of the INternet, both in media AND book circulation, not to mention increased programming for schools, teens, kids, seniors, ,and working professionals.
Let's keep our libraries open. Vote YES on N!
YES on N! for all of our citizens, and our community.
Posted by Vote No on the bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 12:41 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
No one hates the libraries--people do not like this bond, do not support the branch system and/or do not trust our city government when it comes to financial matters. Labeling these people as "library haters" is wrong and counterproductive.
BTw, there is a letter in today's PA Daily News from Ray bachetti. one of the big pro N cheerleaders, attacking those that oppose the library bond because they are unhappy with the city and it's government. He does not get it--our city wastes money on frivolous matters, does not properly care for our infrastructure, aids and abets financial scandals in city organizations and awards big bonuses to employees for just showing up--but Bachetti thinks we should just ignore that and follow our mayor and the council blindly and vote for the bond because they say so.
We need a single modern, main library and fiscal responsibility in our city.
Posted by Save our libraries!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 2:04 pm
JA3+ said that Measure N is "an approach not routinely copied elsewhere."
That's a clear distortion and really, given the kind of time that JA3+ gives to defeating library bonds, one would think he or she would know more about.
Most public libraries are funded by bonds. San Francisco just passed a bond with 75% approval rates, during a time of fiscal crisis. They did a study that showed the full value of the library, and it really impressed the voters while at the same time putting the terminal library opponents in place, with nothing but fuzzy complaints to hang onto.
I see us getting close to 75%. And, one way or the other we will get our library built. The City Council will no longer ignore majority votes.
Posted by yes on the library bond, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 2:08 pm
I am very tired of all the back and forth on the bond measure. I just wish that we could all agree on what our city auditor said. She said that our library is the worst one on the Peninsula! Can you imagine that. I couldn't believe that ouir own city auditor would say that, but she did, How can we fix this mess. I know some people don't like branches but most do, and they don't use up very many resources, and the bond is not really going to the branches, so why are all these people in here complaining? I am going to vote for this bond and so will my husband and almost everyone I know and we'll do it in a heartbeat.
Posted by vote YES on Measure D for Our Kids, Students, Seniors, Adults, and Working Professionals, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 4:43 pm
someone said: " CT and DT dont carry their weight in terms of visits."
This is not correct, because CT and DT are responsible for almost 17% of total visits - something like 140,000-150,000 per year. They are well used branches; they serve seniors, students, children, working professionals , etc.
another poster said:
"MV is open more hours, has more square footage and offers more services."
This is complete distortion, and inaccurate. MV is only open for about 25% of the cumulative hours that Palo Alto's system is open. PA has more square feet of library space, and PA offers far more services. MV in no way offers the depth of services ofo Palo Alto's Library.
btw, many peoplelp who vote against this bond have legitimate reasons for doing so. It's only the 2-3 posters on this thread, with their multiple sock puppet identities, who hate libraries. I wish they would go somewhere else and spread their venom. The vast majority of Palo Altans want to pass this bond. We want a 21st century library that will permit us to expand our collection, and serve the people. YES on Measure N.
We're at risk of losing all that if Measure N fails. That's why it's important to pass Measure N, so that we can keep all our libraries open.
Posted by Paly Parent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Oct 28, 2008 at 5:05 pm
My Paly junior has just come home from school with a long term research project just assigned and has been told to go to Stanford library to do the research (they can get in with their Paly id) as both the Paly and city libraries are not good enough.
Posted by pat, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm
All libraries combined had a total of 881,520 VISITS/year in FY 2007. NOT 881,520 VISITORS.
CT got 6.31% of those VISITS. Downtown got 9.83% of visits.
It’s annoying when “YES” denigrates anyone who votes NO (calling them sock-puppets--whatever that’s supposed to mean) and by discounting and misquoting easily-available statistics. Perhaps it's from a sense of desperation.
As in any election, don’t believe everything you read.
www.paloaltansforcommonsense.com provides a lot of information gathered from CA state library statistics, our own library director, city staff, and city consultants. It’s all information you can verify for yourself.
As discussed therein, Measure D was notable for several reasons: (i) the bond was a continuation of an earlier measure approved by the voters, and (ii) the bond principal allowed under Measure D was $45 million.
In November 2007, San Francisco had already renovated several libraries; the City had used State funds to partially remunerate the costs of one such renovation; see here:
The City used prior results to bolster its case for a bond; in particular, the City had previously built a large main library to wide acclaim.
Last year, San Francisco asked for $45 million; the population of the City is roughly 765,000.
Perhaps, "Mike" is correct; perhaps 75% of Palo Altans will vote Yes on Measure N.
However, I think not; here's why:
Palo Alto has not sought any other source of funds; in particular, Palo Alto did not apply for State funds, a tack taken by a number of other municipalities; in addition, Palo Alto has not raised significant private funds, an approach taken by two other local cities.
Palo Alto has not made a strong argument for fiscal prudence with Measure N; Palo Alto chose a design without clearly stating why such alternative was fiscally wise.
In the past, bond measures fare poorly in times of economic uncertainty; perhaps "Mike" knows more than I here but I sincerely -- and respectfully -- make the argument that current economics do not work in "Mike's" favor here.
In the past, bond measures fare poorly in economically-troubled times; today's news may be a good read here; in particular, consumer confidence plunged to quite a low figure.
Palo Alto's population is roughly 61,000; Measure N permits bonds with principal value of roughly $75 million. Bond principal for Measure N, therefore, is roughly $1,230 per resident. Such amount compares unfavorably to Measure D in San Francisco which permitted bond principal of $59. It's tough to draw comparisons when N's bond principal is roughly 21x -- that's right, 21 times -- D's bond principal. In other words, the comparison of last year's vote in the City to this year's in Palo Alto is highly suspect.
Posted by Save our libraries! Vote YES on N!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 8:09 pm
JA3+: "Palo Alto did not apply for State funds, a tack taken by a number of other municipalities;"
Not so. Palo Alto did apply, but the demographic here mitigated against any awards being made.
JA3+: " Palo Alto chose a design without clearly stating why such alternative was fiscally wise."
Nonsense: Three city-wide polls, multiple surveys, dozens of open, public community meetings, and 100's of subcommittee hours over 4 years determined the scope of this project. The level of diligence on this project is unparalleled. What's telling is that the core opponents of the library in this thread are presenting many of the same arguments that they presented in 2002. Bottom line: they want to CLOSE libraries.
JA3+: "current economics do not work"
Libraries are even MORE important in constrained economic times. Libraries create possibilities. Libraries save citizens money. When consumer confidence is low, libraries become even MORE popular. we NEED libraries in hard times. We don't want to CLOSE libraries on hard times.
JA3+: "It's tough to draw comparisons when N's bond principal is roughly 21x -- that's right, 21 times -- D's bond principal"
Not so. San francisco has at least 15x the investment in library infrastructure that Palo Alto does, AND San Francisco heartily supports branches. You're talking about apples and oranges.
Posted by Libraries are valuable - vote YES, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 8:26 pm
Restored library infrastructure will enable more PAUSD/Library cooperation. Just look at the "homework help" program and teen and child reading development program. Measure N will reduce the need for supplemental moneys spent on school programming.
About branches, all the polls say that Palo Altans are vastly supportive of our library system AS IT IS - with branches.I don't know where the above distorted numbers are coming from. It's also true that Palo Altans would defeat a bond that didn't include branches.
Redwood City built ONE small branch - i.e. it ADDED a branch at a time when opponents to Measure N in this forum claim that branches are no longer popular. the Redwood Cit, San Jose and San Francisco (and other community) examples of ADDING branches disproves what they say.
Also, there is no cafe planned - none. Go look at the videos and the plans. No kitchen, no sinks, only a space for vending machines.
Posted by OlhonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 8:27 pm
I agree that it's not time to expand the library system. But the fact is we already *have* five branches. And they're well-used. College Terrace, the smallest of them, is one of the few west of El Camino city facilities. Getting to the other branches is a cross-town trek for College Terrace and Barron Park families. It has been a real community gathering place--plus, it's a sweet little building, frankly.
The downtown library seems to cater mostly to senior citizens. It is the only one in walking distance of the senior centers. Many seniors can't drive. Again, a beloved, used library.
Mitchell Park and Main, I think, speak for themselves.
The libraries aren't underused, they're crowded. I don't use the library much right now, but there have been times when the library was a real sanity-saver--between jobs, for one.
Shutting down branches doesn't make a lot of sense given how heavily our libraries are used and the cost involved in building a big main library. It would be less convenient for most people and still cost an arm and a leg to build. It also wouldn't be available for several years, causing a major disruption to the system.
Posted by soccer mom with errands to run, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 8:29 pm
I love our branch system because I can do my library business from almost any part of the city. The branches are really small and don't cost that much money to run, and our kids use them after school and on weekends. I can't imagine closing them down. PLease vote for Measure N.
Posted by Vote NO on N, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 9:20 pm
Work out how we can run our branches at the same cost of our neighbors and I'd vote for it. If yo continue to want us to pay twice as much with a further increase of $1.1m and loss of corresponding services to fund it, them I'm voting no.
"It also wouldn't be available for several years, causing a major disruption to the system."
It would be no more inconvenient to the current plan.
Posted by reader, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 9:53 pm
I am undecided on N; I had hoped this discussion would be more help.
The vote isn't just to pay for libraries, it's also for a community center at Mitchell Park. We really need a good community center with public space on the south side of town, especially since cubberly will probably revert to being a school again at some point. We also really need a good library on this side of town.
I personally think we should drop to three libraries: mitchell, main, and children's. I think the main library should be converted to some kind of public meeting and performance space. I wish at least one of the libraries would develop some more unique research archives for writers, since we have so many writers in this area - something to complement what is available at stanford but more geared to the general public. For example, I'd love to have access to old encyclopedias going back every decade as long as they can be had. If you really want to understand what knowledge in a given era was like, if you really want to get a handle on life in certain decades, you really can't get the same quality of info (or at all) using the internet. Old encyclopedias are disappearing, libraries should stock them, among other research materials. I'd rather see money go into something like that than an extra branch. I'd love to have a reading room with really old, out of print books that you can't get anywhere else anymore. But please don't flame me, my ideas are no threat to ever becoming reality. I'm sure throwing that out there was little better than talking to myself.
But, given that what I would really like to have will never happen, do I vote for or against the proposal at hand? The property tax increase for this project is a significant deal for my family. What we live on after housing, property tax, and major medical is less than when I was a fresh-out of college. To be honest, we use the Los Altos library because they have better lending policies and I don't constantly end up with fines I can't afford like in Palo Alto. So I don't even really use the Palo Alto libraries anymore. But, I think building a new community center and libraries would be a good investment in our city.
I'm leaning toward voting for it for the community center, my husband is leaning against because of the cost. I am open to any reasonable arguments.
Posted by Save our libraries! Vote YES on N!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 11:21 pm
"CT is convenient to CT"
CT is convenient to CT, Evergreen Park, Southgate, parts of Professorville, and Stanford. It has heavy use by daytime professionals in Stanford Research park (according to a study completed about 3 years ago by the CT working group). It also reveives use by many Palo Altans and out of towners who are passing near the library, or staying at nearby hotels.
CT has great storytimes, and also acts as an after school study space for kids coming from Nixon and Escondido (they go with their parents), and Jordan and Paly.
It's also an important community meeting place.
Look at all we would lose if we closed this branch. And CT isn't even on this bond! Yet if the bond fails we will probably end up closing CT!
Posted by Library booster, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Oct 28, 2008 at 11:26 pm
"I'm leaning toward voting for it for the community center, my husband is leaning against because of the cost."
There will be significant long-term cost efficiencies that result from teh Community Center and Mitchell combining programming, in ways that coordinate with PAUSD and adult education classes. Also, Mitchell's design will permit labor saving materials handling technology that all the other libraries around here use. We don't have it because we don't have building infrastructure capable of handling it. So, if it's a cost issue, please consider that the library will be even more efficient going forward.
Also, please tell your husband that library taxes actually result in a positive return on taxpayer investment Web Link
If we fail to pass Measure N, we will continue to lose revenue to inefficient spaces that don't optimize the intellectual capital of librarians and others who use the library.
Posted by This bond entrenches branches, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 7:20 am
The problem with this bond is that it entrenches branches. Measure D gave us a main library, Measure N gives us branches. If this bond passes there will never be a main library and we will forever continue to pay 2x the per capita costs of other cities.
This bond is the only chance you will have to vote on branches vs. main. You need to take note, this is your last chance to tell Palo Alto what type of library system you want.
Posted by RS, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 7:21 am
Please show me anything from the library that confirms your premise about the importance of CT to people that live in Palo Alto.
Please show me on the calendar dates when story times take place at CT. According to Diane there are not regular story times at CT and she confirmed that the facility is not large enough for the hundreds of children you have claimed in the past attend.
"Mike", I get you want CT to survive, since its local to you, but it would make more sense to have a location in Barron Park the would serve the community better. Maintaining CT isn't about whats best for the community, its about whats best for CT.
Posted by Vote No on the bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 8:26 am
former council member bernard Beecham also has a letter in today's PA Daily News--he states that our libraries "are the worst in the area". Well, who is to blame for that--for years our council has ignored infrastructure issues--Bernard Beecham served 8 years on the council and is responsible for the fiscal irresponsibility during that period. Instead of fixing the libraries, he was busy building the Homer Avenue tunnel!!!! Now he wants us to okay this ludicrous bond.
Posted by pat, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 9:16 am
To “reader” who is open to reasonable arguments:
The argument that ”library taxes actually result in a positive return on taxpayer investment” has been floated around every library blog on Town Square. There is no return on investment to taxpayers. There is a return to library USERS in that they get materials free that they would otherwise have to pay for. This is what “free public libraries” are all about and why they benefit communities. However, there is no financial return to the taxpayers.
Another economic argument is that the bond only pays for buildings. Where will the money come from for additional staffing, technology, and all the other things the bond can’t pay for?
In June 2007, consultants hired by the city to do a bond survey, asked if voters would pay “an annual tax of 99 dollars per parcel to expand library collections, increase library hours by twelve percent, improve cleaning and maintenance of all local libraries, and expand library programs for children, teens and families.”
This question was NOT on the 2008 bond survey. Perhaps it was omitted because the Palo Alto Library Foundation says it will raise money from donations to pay for books, furniture, etc.
Can anyone guarantee that private donors will pay for all the things the bond cannot? Without a technology plan, can anyone guarantee that donors will pay for 21st century technology—including upgrades and support, consultants and staff over the next 10, 20, 30 years?
The city council has promised to pay for additional library staff and utilities from the general fund, i.e., from our tax dollars. Yet even consultants hired by the city reported that “further evaluation and analysis” is needed to determine actual staffing and operating costs.
Meanwhile, the city has a $550 million infrastructure backlog and is looking for $5 million/year to pay for a public safety building we didn’t vote on.
Where will this money come from? A parcel tax? More increases in our utility rates? Cuts in other city services?
The city council was irresponsible when it put Measure N on the ballot without knowing all the costs.
Posted by A plea for Measure N, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 10:06 am
Let's look at some facts. Pat likes to say that libraries only benefit users of the library. Not so. There are solid studies that indicate a direct correlation between public library presence and the lack of teen crime, in addition to more success in school. That's money in your pocket, when you consider the alternative costs of putting more cops on the street to battle crime, and the terrible price we all pay when young people don't succeed in school.
In fact, Pat has NO studies to the contrary, showing that library tax dollars pay back real dollars to communities, whether people use the library or not.
About the Foundaltion's and FoPal's promise to find furniture and collections. Pat conveniently leaves out the massive contributions made by the Foundation and FoPAL in the past, and their key roles in getting Children's complete. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Pat ALWAYS forgets to mention that materials handling will REDUCE the number of staff necessary as our library grows, but that we can't deploy materials handling until we have a building that can properly hold them. That's one of the reasons for Measure N.
Pat and the others want to make this about the branches, but they continually gloss over the FACT that the branches see almost 160,000 patrons per year (and that DOESN"T include Mitchell and Chidrens).
Pat and her cohorts want to CLOSE branches. Remember, MITCHELL is a branch. They don't think that Children's is necessary; they think it should be privately run.
So, if we fail to pass Measure N, there's a significant chance that we will close all our libraries but one. THEN, we will have to go into redesign on how to expand that library to take up the slack. Price tag? Try on $100M+ for size. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Our library has not been renewed in 50 YEARS! Every other library on the Peninsula has, but ours. Whose fault is that? Certainly not Bern Beecham, who lobbied hard for Measure D.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Palo Altan's WANT our branches; they serve the entire city. There is hard evidence to prove that. Story times at CT DO sometimes have hundreds of kids; they spill out onto the lawn; I've been there to see this.
Posted by No on Measure N, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 10:25 am
"There is no argument in this thread more powerful than the 62% of Palo Altans who voted for Measure D in 2002"
I voted for Measure D, I am voting against Measure N. Measure D was a sensible bond that gave us a main library and the possibility for discussion on branches. Measure N locks us into branches with no possibility of change.
Measure D got 62% precisely because it didn't include branches. That is how powerful this argument is.
"or the over 60% who say in polls that they want this bond to pass."
In the survey 58% said they didn't want branches. Again, you have the majority of Palo Altans telling you over and over in ballots and surveys that they don't want branches yet you put together a bond that locks us into branches. Not very clever.
Posted by New to Palo Alto, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 11:32 am
I have read the posts on this thread and other similar threads and still do not understand why there would be any library closings if this bond fails. Were there any closings when the last bond failed? If the operating budget is a separate issue then why would there be any closings.
Could someone please explain this in a rational way - not with simply saying they will close! That statement proves nothing.
Posted by Vote NO on N, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 11:34 am
"In the survey 58% said they didn't want branches. "
"This is simply wrong. The polls said no such thing."
This is simply correct, read the survey results since you obviously haven't. Check out the survey, 58% said we should concentrate our resources on one or two libraries rather than branches. That's right, 58% and you still try to force this bond on us that locks us into branches.
Posted by Anotehr library supporter, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 12:29 pm
"58% said we should concentrate our resources on one or two libraries rather than branches"
That's correct, but that was the answer to a polling question that asked what taxpayers want to do with the BOND money. There was NOTHING in that question that asked whether those polled wanted branches or not. IN FACT, there IS a question in prior polls that asks whether those polled are happy with the structure and administration of the library - 87% percent said YES!. 90% of this bond is devoted to fixing the two libraries requested in the polls. They want a library with branches, ,like Redwood City, San Jose, Menlo Park and thousands of other communities in America (branches are making a comeback, btw), AND they want the dilapidated structures that haven't been fixed in almost 50 YEARS repaired. Also, since the opponents of Measure N have made this bond a referendum on branches, AND they have publicly stated that they want branches to close, there will be little political will to keep branches open if Measure N fails. Measure N opponents say this, and they KNOW (form polling) that most citizens favor branches. So, they will continue to deny the reality that it will be exceedingly difficult to continue to operate branches (even though they use a miniscule part of the library budget). [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by JA3+, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 1:03 pm
Passage of Measure N will not ensure Palo Alto's libraries stay open; instead, N may saddle us taxpayers with a rise -- perhaps significant -- in operating costs; how will we pay such costs?; there is reasonable cause for concern here, in my opinion.
Voting No on N will send a clear message to the few proponents of the bond measure; with recent economic events, the time for fiscal prudence in managing all City affairs is upon us; it's time to use City funds wisely; a profligate plan such as the one underlying Measure N has no place in Palo Alto.
Posted by Another library supporter, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 5:45 pm
"I find no mention of 'long-term strategic plans in the making' linked to passage of Measure N."
From impeccable sources: these plans have been discussed during Library Advisory Commission meetings and City-PAUSD meetings. I saw a discussion about this during a televised LAC meeting several months ago. It's important to pass Measure N because our library's infrastructure has net been not renewed in almost 50 years. All of our neighbors have renewed their libraries, and Palo Alto hasn't. There is no proof that library operating costs will rise UNLESS Measure N fails. If Measure N fails, our library will not have the physical infrastructure necessary to deploy labor saving materials handling technologies. That will result in having to hire more staff than otherwise as library circulation increases.
Measure N opponents would have us believe that there are hidden costs in Measure N. The ONLY hidden costs lie within Measure N deception. If we don't pass Measure N, the cost to our community will be closed branches, and the loss of an opportunity to deploy taxpayer saving technology. This has all been discussed ad nauseum in meetings, within polls, and so on.
As others have asked, please vote YES on N to keep our libraries open and sustainable.
Posted by 8 votes for N, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 6:00 pm
A neighboring municipal librarian lives next door. She told me last night that Palo Alto's library system is extremely well run, but that the buildings are in such poor shape she wonders how the librarians do it. She also said that she doesn't understand why there is even small opposition to Measure N because (her exact words) "no library system needs or deserves a rebuild more than Palo Alto's". That's all I have to say. She said this at a small pot luck we had at our place. All 8 of us who heard her comments were amazed at the small sad, details of our library's condition. We're all voting for Measure N.
Posted by Hadri Bevolja, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 6:10 pm
I just walked my 6th grader back home from Mitchell Park Library. She was working at the library after doing some volunteer work at the Community Center. There were at least70-80 library patrons in the small Mitchell space...it's really overcrowded. I hope our neighbors realize that Mitchell Park Library is running out of time, it's in very bad shape. I hope the roof doesn't leak like it did last year. Main has a roof leak problem last year, too. We really need to fix out libraries.
Posted by Save our libraries! Vote YES on N!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 6:57 pm
"a bill for roof repairs of $76,000,000"
90% of the bond is for Mitchell Park rebuild and needed repairs and restructuring at Main. We haven't done a THING for our library in almost 50 YEARS! The library is an embarrassment to a city that prides itself on high standards and a great school system. Libraries and schools are inextricably intertwined. We must pass Measure N in order to keep our libraries open.
Posted by Dad from Evergreen Park, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 8:04 pm
1.It is more than “warm and fuzzy” for the many senior citizens in Palo Alto to be able to go there and take out BOOKS TO READ. Many of them have no way to get to the main branch.
2. People should not listen to Measure N opponent's argument that library cuts are the only possible cuts the city can make. Our City Council and most citizens see the matter otherwise, and are carefully and closely examining many other ways to save money.
3. Libraries are part of what makes communities vibrant, well-informed, lively places, in other words, a crucial part of civilized society. The branches SERVE people who can’t get to the main branch. We’ve been fed this “climate of fear” from Washington for the past seven plus years, let's not catch that virus here, OK?
Posted by all you need to know, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 8:52 pm
"Did you know?
1. Palo Alto spends twice as much as other local libraries in a survey by the city auditor.
Palo Alto library budget at $97.01 per capita already far exceeds those of our neighboring cities. The closest is Menlo Park at $61.68 with Sunnyvale only needing to spend $49.97 per capita to offer a superior service.
2. Palo Alto libraries require nearly twice as many staff per 1000 card holders as other local libraries in a survey by the city auditor.
Palo Alto library system needs 0.95 full time employees (FTE) per 1000 card holders. The maximum required by our neighboring cities is 0.59 by Santa Clara with the lowest being Mountain View at 0.55. All neighboring cities require less than 0.60 FTEs per 1000 card holders. Since the audit, the number of Palo Alto libraries employees has increased from 104 to 109.
3. Your cost will be far higher than the $139 per household per year that Beter Libraries for Palo Alto site quotes.
The better libraries for Palo Alto site continues to say that $139 per homeowner as a reasonable average annual cost estimate. This is *not* a parcel tax and the actual cost of the bond is $28.74 per $100,000 of assessed value. There may be a lot of people who will be paying only $20 a year but there will be also be an awful lot of people paying over $400 a year to make up for that.
4. Pro-bond council members wanted to use to city's contingency fund to futher increase the library budget.
Even though Palo Alto requires far more employees and has a far higher budget than those of other local libraries, pro-bond Councilman Greg Schmid wanted to dip into the council's $175,000 contingency fund for general support for libraries. He had to be reminded that the contingency fund is usually needed for unexpected projects or needs that come up during the year.
5. The 2008 bond plan is the result of a special interest group pushing its own objectives.
When the last branch library closed, the Friends of Palo Alto libraries (FOPAL) threatened, in an open letter to councli, to reduce funding to offset any saving made by the closure. This is at odds with the most recent survey showing 58% of Palo Altans agreed that focusing our resources on one or two full-service libraries instead of spending money to upgrade 5 different libraries was a convincing argument. FOPAL failed in its attempt to force the branch to remain open. In a recent PA Weekly article Senior Staff Writer Dan Kazac stated, incorrectly, that Palo Alto had a decades old 5-branch library policy completely forgetting that Palo Alto had only recently closed a branch without any issues.
6. If the bond passes the library budget and annual costs will only further increase.
Diane Jennings stated she would examine staffing but said it would be challenging to staff a larger facility for additional hours with the same number of people."
And one thing more...
7. This bond reduces city services by $1.1million
Between $750,000 and $1,100,000 increase in the library budget will be required to support the changes introduced by this bond. This is $1,100,000 that needs to be taken from other city services with no discussion as to the city's priorities.
Posted by Voting No, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm
I like libraries, but I'm voting No on N for the following reasons:
1) Many of the posters who are in favor say we haven't done a thing for our libraries in 50 years. That shows me that the city doesn't know how to manage their assets; it's like buying a new car and not doing the maintanence on the car. The language in the bond clearly states that there is not money allocated to maintain the existing city infrastructure, let alone these new buildings if they are built.
2) Compared to other cities, our library costs much too high. This needs to get straightened out
3) The city spends money on alot of other projects, many that I would say have less priority than rebuilding the library; they never seems to have the money to focus on the fundamentals, like rebuilding the libraries. They need to prioritize this higher and pass a bond to support their other projects.
4) Economy is bad, and this is not the right time to adding more tax burden on people.
Posted by Did you know?, a resident of the Esther Clark Park neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 10:31 pm
"Did you know?"
1. That Palo Alto library staff is 2.5 times more efficient than other library staff on the Peninsula; and that they manage to keep our libraries open for a total number of 234 hours per week (for all libraries), compared to less than 70 hours per week for most of our neighboring libraries?
2. Palo Alto libraries require nearly twice as many staff per 1000 card holders as oth
3. Your cost stands a good chance to be less than the $139 per household per year that Beter Libraries for Palo Alto site quotes.
4. The 2008 bond plan is the result four years of diligence and several community polls that show a decided preference to repair our library and keep our branch system. 62% of our community already support this bond. Please join us.
5. If the bond passes the library will finally be able to install labor-saving technologies that will keep our costs down.
6. Diane Jennings has made several adjustments of library staff recommended by the city auditor, to make our library run even more efficiently.
7. That if Measure N fails, we stand an excellent chance of losing our libraries?
Posted by pat, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 29, 2008 at 11:50 pm
An interesting coincidence……
“A plea for Measure N”, the poster who likes sock puppets, wrote, “Pat is a fierce and perennial opponent of every school and library bond in memory, …..”
In today’s Daily Post there is a letter from Sanford Forte, who is a member of the Library Advisory Commission, writes about “a fierce, perennial opponent of every Palo Alto library and school bond in memory, …. “
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 8:03 am
While that info has been posted before, that's a real smoking gun. That's quite a black eye for the LAC and those that appoint them; really it is scandalous. He should resign or be forced too. It is really just not appropriate.
Posted by Vote No on the bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 8:05 am
There is yet another op-ed in today's Daily Post from Alison Cormack--the point person for FOPAL--arguing once again to vote yes on N. At least this time she doe snot include the tiresome "latte a day" claim!!!
She states that closing branches is not the answer--yet previously she has stated that we do not need 5 branches--clearly she is afraid to stand up the "5 branches at all costs" gang. So if she says we do not need 5 branches and then states that closing branches is not the answer, how can we believe anything that she says????
She even admits that a nice chunk of the bond will be used for the community center at Mitchell Park and not the library.
Any ridiculous argument from her is that if the bond fails, there is no plan B. So we should vote for this bond because the city has not thought this through and come up with a contingency plan. She has yet to present any reasonable argument in favor of this bond--which will keep our libraries in the 20th century.
With our tough economic times and the proven track record of our council and government in mismanaging our money (storm drain mess, infrastructure repair backlog)and/or wasting it (Homer Avenue tunnel, website, lavish bonuses for everyone) we should vote no on thisjoke of a bond.
All we hear now is the same tired arguments from the same tiresome people (alison Cormack, Bernard Beecham, Larry Klein etc)--those that have played a major role in our city being in the situation it is in today. And now they want you to trust them and vote for measure N. This despite the fact that some of them have displayed very questionable judgement in dealing with city related issues.
Posted by Me Too, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 8:35 am
I'm glad Alison has stopped using the "latte a day" line - that was the most insulting political motto since "let them eat cake." But it certainly shows the mindset of the pro-bond leaders - "we're rich, what's the problem?" And that's a root of the problem - people are so stuck on just spending money to get through the problem (more branches, more facilities, more more), they won't seriously pursue less costly alternatives.
Agree, that "there's not other option" is like having a gun to your head. That's a terrible way to make policy. Bad options = bad decisions. Throw them all out and start over; we all deserve much better than this.
Posted by Library user, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 11:46 am
I'm sure I'm not the only one overwhelmed by all the comments on this forum. The over-the-top statements by both pro-N and anti-N posters aren't truly useful to me, and I, for one, won't waste time on debating their positions. We've seen repeatedly that there are people who will oppose ANY and EVERY bond measure, because they are philosophically against any increase in taxes. And I'm sure there are people who would vote for ANY and EVERY library measure, perhaps because they have deep ties to our libraries. At best, these people probably make up only 1-2% of the voters in Palo Alto.
So, for the REST of us, what are we to make of Measure N?
First of all, we should recognize that Measure N is a political compromise. And ANY library proposal will be a political compromise. One library? 2? 3? 4? 5? Everyone probably wants his own local branch. And everyone might think that there's SOME branch that isn't used as heavily. The question we need to answer for ourselves is this: Can we accept the political compromises that have been made? Some people might want a more expensive solution, which provides more city services. Some might be focused on lowering operational costs. Some might focus on connections to other library systems. Some might want different hours of operations. Some might even want things that are currently impossible! Because we need two-thirds majority to approve ANY bond measure, and we won't ALL get EXACTLY what we want, we have to agree upon what's truly important to us.
So... what IS truly important?
It's clear to me that our existing facilities are too small for the people who use them. Look at peak usage levels. If there's no place to sit at peak, then the facility is too small. I think it's important to have a large enough facility for the people who want to use the libraries. Also, if we don't have space for the books/CDs/DVDs to be stored, or space to process holds and returns, we need more space. If we need to expand libraries, we have to decide which ones, and how much. A lot of people looked at a lot of options, and came up with the proposals in Measure N. I don't have the time or expertise to second-guess the years of work that went into that. Those who oppose Measure N because they don't agree that we need more library space probably don't USE the libraries, and don't CARE much about people who do.
Given we want more space, and Measure N provides more space, is there something wrong with the big picture of what Measure N will provide? Some people are so philosophically focused on a single library concept that they will oppose Measure N because of that principle. They MAY agree that we need more space, but they disagree about how to GET it. Since I was not involved in any of the planning meetings, I certainly don't know if a single-building solution was deeply investigated. I don't know if we have any location where a huge single library could be constructed. I deeply suspect it would cost much more than $76M, and we already have significant concern over the current pricetag. Overall, I'm willing to trust the experts here, that the Measure N solution is a reasonable compromise.
So, if we WANT more space, and Measure N provides more space, can we AFFORD it? As I understand it, we're looking at an increase in property taxes of 3%. I do not LIKE paying property taxes. But I can afford this. And I suspect most of our residents can too. Residents who have lived here a long time have low assessed values, and this will be a very, very modest increase. I understand that the economy is in bad shape, and this isn't a good time to increase spending in anything. But this bond measure is a long-term fix to a long-term problem. Waiting until the economy gets stronger would mean living with our library problems longer. If we HAD voted on this measure 4 years ago, would we want to RESCIND it today based on our economy? I believe we need to keep focused on the big picture. Ultimately, our property will be MORE valuable when we have valuable community assets. For people who are concerned about the value of their homes, this is a GOOD measure.
As far as I'm concerned, everything else is noise. I don't care who posted what on what forum. I don't care about placing blame for lies. I don't care about sock puppets. I understand that the City Council still needs to fund operational costs for the libraries, and that there are transitional details to live through while construction is going on, and that we would like to link our libraries into other systems to increase the number of items that we can check out, but Measure N is just about the FACILITIES, and it's a critical first step. I see that we HAVE made MANY improvements in the libraries over the years - our online catalog works well, our self-check systems are good, we have have lots of new books/CDs/DVDs to choose from, we have computers available for online searches - so it's clear that we recognize the importance of our libraries in our community. We simply haven't expanded the facilities themselves in a meaningful way. And we should do that now.
I love libraries. I hope that everyone else who loves libraries in Palo Alto votes Yes on Measure N. And, one more reason to vote Yes on N: If this DOESN'T pass, do we really want to wade through this AGAIN sometime later, over a DIFFERENT proposal?! I, for one, will be very glad when this election is over.
Posted by library user too, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm
"Those who oppose Measure N because they don't agree that we need more library space probably don't USE the libraries, and don't CARE much about people who do."
Totally the opposite. I do use the libraries and do care, that's why I'm opposing Measure N. It locks us into the branch system and the associated costs forever.
We should have a superb library system with the amount of money we spend each year. Instead we come dead last. After this bond, we will still come dead last. If it passes, we will be spending over than twice as much as our neighbors to do it and have wasted $76,000,000.
Palo Alto should be topping the library polls where we don't even get a mention. After this bond, we still won't get a mention.
This bond is much too narrow. It serves a single purpose, to entrench branch libraries and that this how it has been designed. It is the wrong bond for the wrong time.
At least we agree on one thing, I too will be glad when this is over but I will happily do it again to get Palo Alto the library system we deserve.
In Shifting Media Landscape, Print Publications Transition to Web
As print publications lose subscribers to the Web, some are making major staff cuts and one -- the Christian Science Monitor -- is axing its paper edition in favor of online-only content. Analysts weigh in on the changes and what they mean for the media world and readers.
A landmark legal settlement yesterday allows the Internet search giant Google to continue its years-long project to scan books and make them available on the Internet.
Google will pay $125 million to settle two copyright suits brought by book publishers
Posted by Sofia, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 1:50 pm
I'd vote yes on a plan that gives us one great library. I'd suggest that we use the main library space PLUS the art center space and make that our only state of the art library. The art center could be moved to the Mitchell Park space, and with some reconfiguring and combining, perhaps some community rooms and study rooms. Perhaps the remaining branches could be converted to community rooms or art rooms. I don't favor our current branch system, with the exception of the already upgraded Children's Library. I'll vote no on N.
Posted by Save our libraries! Vote YES on N!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm
"Palo Alto should be topping the library polls where we don't even get a mention. "
We do come near the top in the amount of use that a community this size gives to its public library.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Measure N is going to pass, because Palo Altans want to keep their libraries open. This plan has been vetted through years of diligence, in front of several hundred onlookers, in public, and through multiple polls and surveys. the same 3-4 people (with multiple names) keep coming in here to make the same lame points against the library, in the hope of scraping up enough *minority* votes to defeat this bond measure.
Posted by Wondering about sock puppets, a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm
I just read another rather challenged opinion by "pat" about how the digitization of content will replace libraries (or so implied). "Pat" needs to clue up on the FACT that library use - in terms of digital media AND book circulation, AND patron visits, AND community and school programming have INCREASED since the inception of the Internet and the widespread adoption of digital media modalities. Listening to some of these Measure N sock puppets makes one wonder if they ever leave their rooms long enough to examine anything but their own cloistered opinions.
Posted by library user too, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 2:30 pm
"We do come near the top in the amount of use that a community this size gives to its public library."
But we don't rate a mention in any poll on quality of our libraries. After this bond we still won't rate a mention. This bond forces Palo Alto to forever live with a mediocre library system when we could have the best. We are paying tons of money for our libraries that are completely inadequate and will remain inadequate even if this bond passes.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm
I also have a question.
What is in this bond to prevent the same thing from happening again in 50 years time? If we build again now, what will the future hold? I see no mention of preventing this happening again. If the life of a library building is 50 years, then what will happen? Will our grandchildren be pulling down these renovated buildings and building another set of buildings?
I would be a lot happier if I could see that there were some preventative measures included in this bond. There is nothing to stop this from happening again, and in the intervening years will the same thing happen to our city hall and other city owned facilities? We need another police hq and again I ask, how long is it going to be for these buildings to get into such a state of disrepair that future Palo Altans are going to be expected to cough up the funds to replace them? The city should be able to self finance the repairs and upkeep of its assets without needing to put these expensive repairs out as expensive bond measures to its residens.
Posted by Save our libraries! Vote YES on N!, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm
" If we build again now, what will the future hold? "
This is one of the silliest things I've seen in these library threads. Let's take your logic to the extreme. Why build new roads? Why build new schools? Why build new anything? Why build new houses? After all, we're just going to have to build them again, someday. !!!!!!!!
Posted by please vote yes on N, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm
Libraries are the places where my children will start to learn and grow healthy curiosities and imagination.
As the father of a 14 month old, with another on the way, I look forward to sharing time with my kids at the library. The local branches offer a personal, quiet, and intimate environment that I think is invaluable.
There are intangibles here that outweigh everyone’s appropriate fiscal concerns. I am voting yes on Measure N.
Posted by library user too, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm
We come dead last and will continue to come dead last if this bond passes. The bond does not address any of the fundamental problems raised by the library audit.
Look at how our neighbors are leading the charge. How does Santa Clara county get to be the #1 county library system in the country? Why is Santa Clara City's library the #3 public library in the country? Web Link
This bond doesn't bring us up to their standard even though we spend twice as much on our libraries.
Get with the program, we can do better than N. There are none so blind...
Posted by Good Point, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 3:51 pm
Resident, that is a good point. We spend a ton on libraries, way more than others, but our libraries are dead last. Will giving them much more money make them better? The buildings for a time - but otherwise no - we will just continue to waste much of what we spend, and let things deteriorate again.
First, let's fix the operating expense problem. Second, let's get a sustainable plan. Then, let's build great libraries. Let's get it right.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 3:54 pm
Save our libraries.
That is what I want to see. You said it. I want to see some way of ensuring that the necessary repairs to all our assets are continuously funded. I want to know that in 50 years time, we will be in a position to say, "look how well we have looked after these buildings, see what husbandry we have to have maintained our buildings over the years". I want to see moneys budgeted into our yearly accounts for minor and even major upgrade of all city owned properties without the need to come back to get more from the residents. We need to build for the future, not to need to replace in 50 years time. The Egyptians built pyramids which lasted for longer than 50 years. The ancient Britons built Stonehenge which lasted for longer than 50 years. Even our neighbors in New York could build an Empire State Building, which lasts longer than 50 years. Why can't Californians build something with a lifespan longer than 50 years. I am not talking about roads - although I believe the Golden Gate Bridge is older than 50 years and there is no talk of rebuilding it, but even roads if kept continuously upgraded, can and do last longer than 50 years.
If I buy a car, I want to have the money in my account to be able to pay for this car without taking out a loan. A loan makes the car more expensive in the long run than it would be if I had the cash to pay for it. To prevent my need of taking out a loan on a car, I put away money regularly so that when I need to buy a car I can use it. Then, when the time comes I look at my finances, see how much I have and go out and buy a car that costs that amount, not x times that amount. Then I have a car which I own, is paid for, and can start saving again for when I need to replace it. That is called good housekeeping. That is being financially independent. That is called wise money management. That is what I would like to see happening here.
Posted by RS, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 4:18 pm
How will we do maintance to insure we are not doing another bond in 50 years. Buildings should last for a hundred years easy if taken care of. Part of what this bond is to fis is neglect, not obsolescence. I dont want to pay for something that will just be neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair.
So thats the future that is being talked about whats the plan to make sure future repairs arent allow to build up, so they become so huge that it requires another bond? Where's that plan?
Posted by reader, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm
I'm still undecided. You truly have a chance here to sway my vote.
I realize I made a mistake in my previous post - I said I was in favor of cutting back to Mitchell Park, Main, and Children's branches, and converting downtown to public meeting/performance space. But, I also realize I am losing the argument over cutting back on branches, and I don't want to see our libraries continue in this dilapidated state. I also think we desperately need a real community center at Mitchell Park. I wish I had the opportunity to just vote for that.
But I have a big nagging question - why do we not join the Santa Clara County library system, as Los Altos has? I ask this because I frankly mainly use the LA library. Are there financial advantages to doing this? Would we rethink Measure N if we did?
I used to ask the former head of libraries in PA why we didn't adopt lending policies more similar to Los Altos, which I find more friendly and realistic. She told me repeatedly that it was because the PA system did not have the resources of the Santa Clara County system. If that is so, why don't we join?
Does joining have implications to our facilities costs? What implications does it have to our operating costs? Would joining resolve some of those operating cost concerns?
Posted by Good Idea, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 5:51 pm
reader, joining the Santa Clara system is a good idea with nothing but upside. They buy and manage at scale, and do an excellent job. We would need to provide our own buildings and we would need to, as a town/taxing district, put in funds to support longer hours, just as Los Altos does. But like you, I see nothing not to like about the Los Altos library and Santa Clara, and nothing to lose in giving them our assets to operate.
That said, Palo Alto's exceptionalism runs very deep - people here like to think we are special and different. So it will be an uphill climb, even if it is a good idea.
Posted by Where are the developers?, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 7:00 pm
The reason the libraries are crowded is that the developers have built mammoth housing developments, mostly in south palo alto in the last few years. (they already filled up the north).
Why should we citizens pay for the strains on the infrastructure they are getting rich off of?
Look at the big supporters of this bond, the Big-development faction is prominent: Beecham, Klein, McCown, Hays, Jerome, Packer, Espinosa, Barton, Drekmeier, Baccetti (Stanford), Coe (Stanford), Burch, Byrd, and on and on.
The head of the 2 billion dollar Stanford development is supporting this bond! What contribution is Stanford making to our infrastructure? (Her current occupation is not disclosed, she is deceptively described only as a former mayor).
Posted by JSD, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 7:57 pm
If I might "riff" on your car analogy:
You also wouldn't buy a car until you knew that you had enough funds coming in on a regular basis to pay for insurance, gas, and preventive maintenance (not to mention occasional additional repairs) for the car.
I remain unconvinced that the city has the wherewithal or the inclination to properly maintain a $76M car. . .
Posted by just the facts, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 9:12 pm
From better libraries FAQ
Could Palo Alto libraries be part of the Santa Clara County Library system?
Turning the Palo Alto libraries over to the county would require the passage of a parcel tax and would not affect the facilities at all. A portion of the property taxes that now goes to Palo Alto would have to go directly to the county's system to fund operations. Even if the County library system runs libraries, the city is still responsible for the facilities.
Posted by More developers for N, a resident of the Meadow Park neighborhood, on Oct 30, 2008 at 9:38 pm
"Look at the big supporters of this bond, the Big-development faction is prominent: Beecham, Klein, McCown, Hays, Jerome, Packer, Espinosa, Barton, Drekmeier, Baccetti (Stanford), Coe (Stanford), Burch, Byrd, and on and on."
You left out Jim Baer and Roxy Rapp and Judy Kleinberg and Liz Kniss and Dan Dykwel and Vic Ojakian and the Chamber of Commerce. They all support the over development that has created this space shortage.
Posted by Vote No on the bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2008 at 6:06 am
Just got my latest glossy Vote for N flyer in the mail yesterday--the list of supporters is just chockful of present and former council members who helped get us in to this financial mess with their irresponsible fiscal policy and the ability to throw millions out the window (remember the Enron settlement???).
Besides them, there are a number of people who have held up development projects in this city to the detriment of our tax base and they also support this wasteful bond!!!
No surprises there and no surprise that I will vote no onN
There is a letter in support of N, written by a noted PA resident who has stood in the way of development in the city (to the detriment of our tax base) and has not been above using our legal system to file lawsuits when he does not get his way with the council.
These are the kind of people that are supporting N. Vote no on N
Posted by Marvin, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2008 at 8:09 am
I also got the glossy mailing yesterday--I noticed there is a special box that is titled "A Note About the Current Financial Situation"--where they state that the current financial climate doesn't change the fact that our libraries are 50 years old and in urgent need of upgrading.
I find this insert insulting and their comments extremely condescending. Basically they are telling us to ignore our financial problems and give our financially irresponsible leaders $76 million dollars. I noticed that the people that signed on this flyer tend to be the elite of the city--obviously they do not feel the pain and financial squeeze that everyday Palo Altans feel or else they feel that the keeping the inefficient 5 branches open are more important then the ordinary citizen being able to make ends meet.
Since these people are so rich, I suggested they pool their resources and fund the library repair privately.
Posted by Why?, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2008 at 8:55 am
Marvin, I agree, but not surprising from the people who thought "less than a latte a week" was a good rallying cry.
10-12% unemployment, 401K's cut in half, a recession longer and deeper than any in our lifetime - these don't seem to mean a lot to the pro-bond leaders. They want what they want and don't really care if other people can afford it.
It says something about our town, I'm afraid. But the best we can do is Vote No and try to get the message through - we need to be fiscally responsible.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2008 at 9:43 am
It is really expensive to be a homeowner in this city. On the one hand, there is this idea that the city should welcome wider diversity, on the other hand spending by the city seems to be astronomical...and there are still lots of potholes in the streets! The library is important, but "N" is way too costly for too little.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Oct 31, 2008 at 9:45 am
What I really mean is city government should focus on the basics first of all, and it is outrageous that basic maintenance on the infrastructure was avoided/not budgeted over for many years while, for example, excessive spending was approved on the tunnel that few use.
Posted by Vote No on the bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 3, 2008 at 9:18 am
I encourage everyone to vote no on Measure N. this is a bad bond, put forward by the city "leaders" who cannot manage our money properly and supported by the city elite.
They claim it will only be $130+ per household, first of all that is a lot of money in these times and how many homes in PA are only worth about $400K??
Our leaders have time and again squandered our money and we now have a $500 million infrastructure repair backlog. Now they come to us for this bond, plus they plan to float COPS for the police palace.