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Library bond campaign to hold kick-off event

Original post made on Sep 21, 2008

Supporters of Measure N, the $76 million library bond measure on Palo Alto's November ballot, will hold a formal campaign kick-off event on Sunday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 4, 2008, 2:25 PM

Comments (18)

Posted by Erik
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2008 at 7:36 pm

A bond measure funded by a tax based on the valuation of homes in California is unlawful if it exceeds 1%. If you want to fund library improvements do it equitably and legally. I wonder what the support would be if everyone had to pay their fair share of the $76M.

PROP 13 SECTION 1. (a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed One percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The one percent (1%) tax to be collected by the counties and apportioned according to law to the districts within the counties.


Posted by silly guy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2008 at 7:42 pm

All citizens profit from public libraries. Don't be silly. :)


Posted by Proud of our City!
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2008 at 7:44 pm

The kick off event was great! There were hundreds of people their, all excited about rebuilding our library and expanding the collection! Thanks so much to the many hard-working members of the Library Foundation.


Posted by Erik Stewart
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Erik Stewart is a registered user.

Thanks for the mature response Mr. Guy.

All citizens profit from many publicly run enterprises, that's not the point. The point is on the legality of funding. Happy to support they library, just make it equitable, as we do for our PAUSD tax for example. How about $200 each, rather than $38 for on neighbor and $500 for the other? Or does that start to make you question the profitabilty??


Posted by Proud of our City!
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Again, all citizens profit from library service. Trying to create dissension in the community based on the structural inequities of Proposition 13 is a very dangerous thing to do. Apparently, some in Palo Alto would rather see our library close, rather than fund the improvements necessary to keep it open, operating, and sustainable. Most taxpayers here will have a tax payment less than $120 per year. When you tally the services to the community, students, PAUSD, seniors, business professionals, etc. this is a great deal!

Also, every tax dollar invested in libraries returns a literal profit to the taxpayer. That's been clearly shown by 25 municipal studies.

Yes! on N


Posted by Resident
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 21, 2008 at 8:38 pm


I really wish the Yes-on-N folks would quit claiming that a failure of the bond measure would lead to the library being closed down.

This is inaccurate scare-mongering. The funds from the N bonds would go to capital improvements, not operational funding. The city funds ongoing operational expenses out its operating budget, which is totally different.

And your bizarre, non-intuitive metrics (claiming that the PA Libraries are 2.5 times more efficient even though we spend vastly more per resident) really don't help your case either.

Stop lying folks!


Posted by too expensive
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Be very aware. Your property tax bill will be increasing by $500 a year! You would have received your recent property tax bill in the last couple of days. Do the math.


Posted by B Fenestra-Mills
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2008 at 10:23 pm

"I really wish the Yes-on-N folks would quit claiming that a failure of the bond measure would lead to the library being closed down."

This is what the minority, hard-core anti-N posters on this board want citizens to believe - i.e that voting no on Measure N will leave everything as it is. Not So!

We are at the end of the rope in terms of physical infrastructure; our own auditor said that our infrastructure is near complete failure, and should be upgraded.

The current bond is $75M to make the necessary infrastructure investments to sustain the library for the next half-century.

If N doesn't pass, the entire system will be thrown into turmoil, with more than a few years of more diligence that will make even the repair of a single structure untenable. We'll end up with a bill for one library that exceeds what we're paying now for the entire system.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Also, the last poster is wrong about the $500. That amount is not "added" to your tax bill. A significant 80+% of voters voted to *continue* a bond that was put into play some years ago, to repair our badly outworn school plant.

The core library opponents were *also* against this very badly needed school bond years ago, and its continuation, as passed by voters recently. That should tell you something about who we're dealing with, and their vision for community - i.e. poorly funded schools, and no libraries. That's not the city most of us want to live in, or paid premiums for our houses to live in.

Imagine Palo Alto without a library for 1-2 years, as the County angles to take over our library operation. Is that what you want? How about Children's Library closing once the anti-N folks start to work on getting its budget closed off. They've already tried that a few times.

Please consider these facts as you think about your vote, and think about our children, seniors, students, disabled population, teachers (library homework help is a godsend!), and so on. Let's keep our libraries sound for the next generation.

Vote YES on N. Thank you



Posted by Cantlgiveanymore
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 21, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Lady and Gentlemen: It's going to be another wheel of fortune spinning event coming up in November. The jackpot this time is only 75 million. The org has already spent 1.5 mil (BTW who authorize ???) preparing for the showdown. So watchout!!!


Posted by B Fenestra-Mills
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Vote Yes on N. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

We must pass Measure N to save our public library. This is our last chance!


Posted by Marie
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2008 at 11:41 pm

I've been reading these posts and don't understand the controversy. Of course we're voting for our libraries. Who would even think of not doing so. We're an intelligent community.


Posted by harry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2008 at 7:16 am



N is a gross waste of money, the Downtown branch is a haven for the homeless, college terrace should be closed, the whole public library concept is antiquated and outdated.

Prop N is just throwing money away to preserve the horse and buggy in an era of electric cars


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:02 am

"the whole public library concept is antiquated and outdated."

Why then do hundreds of cities, large and small, like Redwood City, San Jose, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and so on, maintain branch libraries?


Posted by harry
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:15 am



"Why then do hundreds of cities, large and small, like Redwood City, San Jose, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and so on, maintain branch libraries?"


Why do people continue to smoke?

Because some people are irrational.

If you want to keep an outdated system then charge membership fees for use of these museum/libraries.

Do not expect others to pay for your nostalgic attachment to outdated knowledge management systems.


Posted by anonymous
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:35 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

THey want Measure N to fail because they don't like libraries. They don't like branch libraries. They don't like Main libraries. They say they do, but they work against library bonds.

Vote yes on Measure N and preserve our wonderful library system- for our kids, our students, our seniors, our schools, our neighborhoods!

Yes on N


Posted by Number cruncher
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:42 am

"Further, clear metrics that show Palo Alto's library running 2.5 times more efficiently are dismissed as "bizarre", just as many municipal studies that show library value are labeled as the same. "

The "efficiency" argument all depends on how you define efficiency. Do Palo Alto libraries cost less per hour of operation? Yes. Do they cost less per capita? No. Both of these metrics can be construed as "efficiency." Personally, I think a better measure of efficiency would use a combination of circulation and patronage. I'm not saying that the libraries are efficient or not, I'm just saying that we don't really know.

The library value question also needs to be properly defined to be understood. Do libraries return "added value" to communities based on operating expenses? Absolutely. Unfortunately, that has little to do with this bond since it's mostly for capital improvements. Are the capital improvements needed? I would say so, but that should be it's own argument.


Posted by Me Too
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:44 am

It seems funny to use San Jose and SF as models for Palo Alto; they are >10x our size and population.

Here are some other local comparisons:

Menlo Park = 2 branches; Mountain View = 1 branch; Los Altos = 2 branches; Cupertino = 1 branch; Sunnyvale = 1 branch; Santa Clara = 1 branch; Saratoga = 1 branch; Los Gatos = 1 branch; Belmont = 1 branch; Burlingame = 2 branches; Millbrae = 1 branch; San Bruno = 1 branch; San Carlos = 1 branch; San Mateo = 3 branches; Woodside = 1 branch.

Redwood City (mentioned above) and Daly City have 4 branches.

For a slightly broader perspective, here are the cities used in the PIE school benchmark study last year:

Wellesley MA = 1.5 branches (1 branch open 14 hours/week); Scarsdale NY = 1 branch; Edina MN = 2 branches; Chapel Hill NC = 1 branch; Wilmette IL = 1 branch.

So we are an outlier, both among our neighbors and against our national peers. Of course these comparables vary by size and population, but we have more branches than any of these (some larger, some smaller, some richer, some poorer).

For those who want to look on their own, here are the links to the Santa Clara County libraries Web Link and the Peninsula Library System Web Link


Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 22, 2008 at 8:52 am

GMC is a registered user.

First, I would like to ask people to discuss this measure in a more mature way. The first several posts after Pat Mariott's article are a good example of how we should discuss this.
Its pretty natural to take everything said on here personally, but calling another person's viewpoint "hate and vitriol" isn't exactly constructive. Also, I don't think that pointing out potential legal issues with Prop 13 is trying to create dissension, I think its trying to point out legal issues! Personally, I'm not convinced that a no vote will cause the imminent end of libraries in PA. I think a lot of hypberbole is being used to describe the current physical condition of the buildings.
Personally, I don't want the county to take over our libraries. I don't want the libraries to close - even the branches.
I do have some serious concerns about the structure of this propsal. I think Pat Mariott pointed out some serious issues with it. From my perspective, I think its unfair that its based on assessed value. For my family, four hundred more dollars a year in taxes is really going to hurt.
Please keep this in mind when you vote in November- for people living on a budget, every dollar counts, and every dollar that goes out is one less to be saved or spent on something else. I am left wondering what I'll have to give up.
Its obviously too late to amend "N," but I wonder if there would have been a way to possibly do a little less - make the libraries a little less fancy, find some ways to shrink that budget, etc.
I will vote "no" on this proposal. Before you enthusiastically support it, please consider its effect on your neighbors.


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