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Instead of "N," why not private fundraising?

Original post made by GMC on Sep 18, 2008

Instead of a proposal that would force many to residents to pay hundreds of dollars a year that they can't afford, why not have a fundraising campaign? I'm sure many library supporters would give much more than they would have under the bond measure, especially if they bought into PA a long time ago, and have a below-median assessed values and a much higher level of disposable income. Other people, like me, could give less, or defer giving until we can afford it.
According to the website "zillow.com," many of my neighbors who have "yes on N" signs pay HALF of what what I pay in property taxes, yet use the library as much as I do. Many people's salaries have not increased at the same rate as home prices, and we are paying a much greater share of our incomes to afford to live here and send our kids to school here. Please don't punish us.
I will be voting "no" on "N." and I encourage others to do the same. We all need to have some perspective here - we have libraries in Palo Alto. We will continue to have libraries here without N. The Children's library is very nice. In a perfect world, I would love to have the kind of state-of-the-art facilities that N proposes. Watch the news, look at your stock portfolios, your retirement accounts and your home values and you will realize that we do not live in that perfect world, and this is not the time to embark on such an overly ambitious plan.
If you have the extra money, by all means give and give generously. I bet you can accomplish a lot. You have my support.

Comments (30)

Posted by h, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 7:42 am

100% agree with GMC. More property tax, not now! Vote No on N!


Posted by S.PA Resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2008 at 7:58 am

GMC I agree with you. However, I would like to correct one thing you said. You inferred that those with lower assessed values who bought their homes at an earlier time will vote for Measure N. Seniors in my neighborhood who are on fixed incomes can't afford any increase to their property taxes. Many will vote "no" even if they have a low assessed value on their homes.






Posted by GMC, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 8:15 am

Forgive me S.PA - you are absolutely right. People on fixed incomes have to be really careful how they spend their money. What might you have to give up? Prescription drugs? A doctor visit? Holiday or birthday gifts for grandkids? Seriously! Every single dollar has a huge impact on many of us.
Again - we will still have libraries with an "no on N" vote. Private fundraising can address the most crucial needs.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 8:59 am

And why can't we get corporate sponsorship for a library? I am sure that I would have no problem going to the Facebook library, or the HP library, or the ..... library. I would rather that than honoring someone in PA history with the title and I would rather that than the present bond.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:12 am

About 8% of your property taxes goes to the city. Property taxes is about 16% of the city's operating budget.

Property taxes have a greater effect on the schools, with 46% of your property tax dollars going to the schools (Palo Alto is a basic aid district; most other school districts give up their property tax dollars to the state in return for a per student funding from the state).

Perhaps an alternative would have been to structure the bond around structured a flat, "per parcel" tax. This would work out to around $210/parcel.


Posted by GMC, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:58 am

Resident makes a good point, and of course it wouldn't have to be like a stadium where you have naming rights, though that makes for a humorous idea. Companies make donations like that all the time - isn't the "bat cave" at the Children's Museum presented by Wilson Sonsini? Its not the Wilson Sonsini Bat exhibit - its a bat exhibit with a plaque acknowledging the contribution.


Posted by MidtownMom, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 10:39 am

I am interested in knowing the usage statistics of the library. For majority of the documents where we need the latest information, Google search is a much better alternative.

I value a library; it is essential for the society; my kids enjoy going to the library and checking out books .. however, at this point in time of the economy and not knowing where it is going .. forcing the total population to cough up additional money is just wrong. If the economy goes further south, a lot of us stand a chance of loosing our jobs and in the situation the additional hundreds of dollars will go a long way to putting food on the table.

I totally support the fund raising option. I am sure a big chunk of population wants to support the library - let people decide how much they want to donate in terms of money. Get corporate sponsorships as someone suggested .. Google Library sounds interesting.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 18, 2008 at 11:16 am

I agree with GMC in principle - that many of us are overtaxed in Palo Alto.
On another note, you mention a website and I would caution that such sites are not always accurate, I know that for certain in terms of property valuation there are mistakes out there on such sites.


Posted by loves schools and libraries, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm

"We all need to have some perspective here - we have libraries in Palo Alto. We will continue to have libraries here without N"

This is a completely wrong assumption! If Measure N is defeated, we will probably lose our branch libraries, including Mitchell!

Then, we will have to wait for 5-6 years to get another bond going to fix Main.

By that time, we're looking at probably $100 MILLION JUST TO FIX MAIN!!! Construction inflation eats away our dollars.

Just look at what happened when Measure D didn't pass in 2002. That bond was $30M less, and now we're paying MORE.

We could very well lose most of our library system if Measure N doesn't pass. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.



Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:07 pm

loves schools and libraries--that is another reason to vote no on this bond--we will finally get rid of the branches.
Why do you think it will take 5-6 years to get another bond put on the ballot? True the council may have to then make tough decisions that will upset some people (FOPAL). AS usual your post is chock full of fuzzy math (i.e. 5-6 years, $100 million etc). Where do you get your numbers from or are you posting these numbers in an effort to scare people.


Posted by loves schools and libraries, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Marvin, the bond went from $45M in 2002 to $75M today. MOST of that is for just one building. Do the math. I think you need to do some remedial arithmetic!

YES! on N!


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:18 pm

loves schools and libraries--That is fine. I can wait for a $100 million bond once the city council decides to do it right.


Posted by S.PA Resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:29 pm

If the new Public Safety Building can be financed with Certificates of Participation (COPs) why can't the proposed Mitchell Park Library/Community Center?


Posted by GMC, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:42 pm

How will we "lose" any of our libraries? Are the buildings that old that they will literally crumble to the ground? If so, please cite some evidence.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 5:51 pm

The local jewish community have money to build their community center and the local muslim community have money to build their mosque. Perhaps one or other can donate money to build our library.


Posted by oh come on, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Resident, maybe one of the local Catholic or other institutions will step up. After all, they hvae the money to build churches, right?

Fundraising for one thing does not mean footing the bill for the entire community. What the heck.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2008 at 12:36 pm

We should have line items in the city budget to fund library health, safety and upkeep issues and community fund raising for specific projects at each branch. We don't need gigantic buildings at Michell Park (and we don't need huge housing developments). If measure N funded what it needs to fund, I would vote for it. I want to take care of our existing libraries, not build super-structures.


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2008 at 12:49 pm

We are not building super structures. Mitchell Park's proposed library is small by most Peninsula standards. We're 10-20,000 sq feet below most so-called large libraries. So that's not even an argument.

If Measure N fails, we will lose our branch libraries within 2-3 years. IN addition, we may lose Main or Mitchell, with a great possibility that private donations will be required to run Children;s Library.

Vote YES on Measure N to save our library!


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 23, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Mike,

If the bond is voted down, clearly the super majority were not on board with the plan and want something different to happen. However your speculations of the future outcomes are just that.

There is no reason we could not build this by fundraising, and if that does not succeed then perhaps the community does not really want this proposal to succeed.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 23, 2008 at 1:24 pm

It would make sense to me to do some fundraising. The tongue in cheek comment was not a serious suggestion, just showing that there is money available in the community somewhere. If certain groups are able to build their facilities, then it makes sense to think that there could be donors around who would want to contribute to a library fund.

Forcing those of us who think the branch system is outdated to pay for what we don't want is not only unfair, but putting hardship on many residents who just can't afford it. The benefits of a library is that it provides free materials. If we are being forced to pay extra for these free materials, the materials are no longer free, but very expensive. If we are going to be forced to pay for library updates, then we should at least pay for what we want.

Since the city budget can't fund the updates, it would make sense to find some donor or donors willing to pay. What is being proposed is in reality an extra tax.


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Private fundraising? This is a fantasy!

When ever in the history of Palo Alto has private fundraising been able to generate $75M? Never, not even close.

Vote for Measure N to keep our libraries open!


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 23, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Other communities do it, it would be a good thing for PA do know how to do.


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Name one community our size that has ever raised that kind of money for a public library. Just one.

Vote for Measure N to keep our libraries open!


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 23, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Like you are fond of saying Mike, why should I do your homework for you? My hometown.


Posted by calling your bluff, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 23, 2008 at 6:17 pm

C'mon, where has ANY city of 60,000 in America raised $75M in private donations for a public library? Humor me...just one...C'mon....how big is your hometown, and how much did they raise in private donations? I'm especially interested to see if it came from one or two big donors, or lots of little donation - assuming, of course that it ever happened... :)

If it DID happen, I would REALLY be interested in knowing if it ever happened again? You know that saying about lightning? Hold 'em of fold 'em



Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 23, 2008 at 7:42 pm

perhaps if we were privately fundraising - and using the out-of-the-box thinking Palo Alto entrepreneur are so good at - we would need FAR less then 75 million. Pretend you are on a start-up budget (like many normal people) instead of being microsoft or google. Think innovation - not throw money at it. Lets use more of what we already have, rethink our space, build what we need and can afford, not our pie-in-the-sky dream.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 23, 2008 at 8:44 pm

I dont bluff.
The donations were from individuals.


Posted by still calling your bluff, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 23, 2008 at 8:58 pm

........................


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 23, 2008 at 9:48 pm

I dont bait either.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2008 at 11:12 am

I don't want to increase the size of any of our branch libraries, I want line items in the city budget to fund library health, safety and upkeep issues and community fund raising for specific projects at each branch. Perhaps we could bring in outside funding. Maybe one of our civic leaders would adopt a branch library and help with fund raising. Because we are entering a period of severe water shortages and continued expensive power, we should not increase the size of our public buildings or allow the building of huge houses or developments. We need to do take good care of what we have.


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