Town Square

Post a New Topic

Editorial: Vote YES on Measure N for libraries in our lifetimes

Original post made on Oct 3, 2008

For decades a debate has raged in Palo Alto about whether the branch-library system should be abandoned in favor of "one really good library" to replace two half-century-old large branches and two (formerly three) small branches.

Read the editorial here Web Link posted Friday, October 3, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (145)

Posted by No on the library bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2008 at 8:55 am

Thanks, Weekly, you have more than ever convinced me to vote against measure N.
Why? Here are some parts of your editorial:

"The decision of eight-plus decades ago should have been to concentrate on a single branch. Every head librarian since the 1960s has complained of costs and difficulties of staffing and equipping multiple branches.
But community advocates of "neighborhood libraries" have prevailed repeatedly. "

"The city's Library Advisory Commission recommended closing the Downtown branch, but the idea was trounced by a barrage of defenders."

"The last resurgence was under embattled Library Director Paula Simpson, who in 2004 pushed hard to close College Terrace and Downtown branches to improve service at the two larger libraries. But the City Council unanimously rejected the plan on Dec. 13, 2004."

and finally from your companion article in today's issue:

Web Link


""It would be my hope that the City Council starts thinking long range instead of short range and stops listening to the same people who are, frankly, defending their turf at the expense of the entire community," said John Kagel, a former library commissioner who decided not to reapply for the commission when his term expired, out of frustration."

It is clear to me more then ever that the branch system in PA needs to go. Voting for the bond will just prolong this inefficient system.

Also do not forget that much of the money goes to re-doing the Community Center at Mitchell Park--not exactly library related. This bond is all smoke and mirrors pushed by FOPAL.
Check out the mailing you got from Better Libraries for Palo Alto and look at the people in that group--the usual suspects who have been running PA into the ground with their lack of leadership and failure to properly manage our money.
Also remember that Alison Cormack and Bern Beecham, two members of this group, have stated that we do not need 5 branches.
Vote no on N


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 3, 2008 at 10:09 am

I agree with the above poster. If we vote No on the bond, it will finally give our Council the backbone to do what so many, including the editorial know is right and stand up to the vocal minorities who demand their local perks. We can fix this problem any time we want - but if we pass the bond, that time will never come.

Let's do what it is right for the City, the WHOLE city. Vote No on the bond.


Posted by Council Watcher, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 3, 2008 at 11:49 am

Voting NO sends no useful message to City Council that they have the power to act on. It simply ignores unfortunate legal constraints that Council is required to adhere to at a time when they must also build a new public safety facility.

A 2/3 majority is required to approve any bond meaasure for a library. Polls have shown that we can't possibly get that majority if we close neighborhood branches. Like it or not, if we move away from a branch system, we will get NOTHING...for a very long time. That would be very bad for Palo Alto. Our current libraries fail to meet the needs of our current population, much less the needs of our growing population.

That aside, Council looked at multiple potential solutions. This proposal was carefully vetted. As a concerned citizen in favor of strong libraries with no original preference for a neighborhood or centralized system, I observed many of the meetings, and I have to say that I was pleased to see Council rigorously analyze the viability of all options, including a more centralized system (though it became clear to everyone who was paying close attention to the full set of information that a more centralized system was not politically viable).

This time around I carefully watched the process because I am very concerned about the current poor state of our Palo Alto libraries. I believe Council got it right this time. A branch system serves this community well. Especially when you consider a branch system in context of the architectural structure of our neighborhoods and city land use design, it makes sense.

I did a little research on branch library systems and I have been giving this a lot of thought as I considered what might work best in Palo Alto. The branch system is a concept that is resurging around the country in communities that have embraced the walkable/bikable concept, which really is the original visionary brilliance of the Palo Alto land use plan. It's part of what makes this community so livable. Our children can walk & bike to school. We can walk and bike to retail. Most of our neighborhoods are built around one or two community-serving facilities, like a school, library, retail center, community center, or park. One of the things that makes Palo Alto special, from a land use and transportation perspective, is that the distribution of these resources is designed to serve neighborhoods, making each one a more vibrant community that people of all ages can navigate independently (including residents who can't drive either because they are too young to drive or old enough that driving is something they've had to give up).

As I have watched some of my neighbors age, I have noticed that this neighborhood design allows them to remain connected to our community and continue to maintain a level of independence they might otherwise have lost. It is a blessing that they live in a place where they can walk to the store or a library.

My children are ravenous readers. To feed their habit, we bike or walk to the library (about 1/2 mile each way) once or twice a week. We exercise our bodies and minds and run into neighbors. Again, it is a blessing that our community is designed so that we can do this.

I moved here from a community with a centralized library. I visited that library less frequently, was annoyed by the car traffic around the facility. It was less expensive to run, but it was not nearly as well used as Palo Alto's branch system. It was not the vibrant community center that our libraries are. It was a storehouse for borrowing books.

No plan is perfect, but this one is really good, and it is our best bet to improve our libraries so they can adeqautely serve residents' current and projected future needs.

I am voting YES on Measure N. It is the right plan for our growing community.


Posted by Yes on N - the smart thing to do, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 11:52 am

"The politics of the campaign are especially tricky, because proponents of the bond measure can't afford to alienate the strong supporters of the branch libraries in College Terrace and Downtown, even though most agree they are not essential elements of a successful system."

I agree with the Weekly's editorial, YES on Measure N is the way to go, but the editors at the Weekly continue to get the above part wrong.

How is it that the benefits of a branch library system - i.e. the branches - not an essential components of a successful branch system.

What is either continually missed, or glossed over, are the _benefits_ of the branch libraries _to the entire community_.

I keep asking myself why Measure N opponents never address the branch benefits trope in any rational way. They simply deny that there are _any_ benefits.

Our branch library system (remember, Mitchell, too, is a branch) _enables_ walkable neighborhoods; senior access (35% of Palo Altans are senior citizens; a safe and educational place for children to access after school; multiple, simultaneous library programming for all sectors of the citizenry; a decrease in carbon load, because most people don't have to drive to the library; easy access for daytime professional workers (remember, our population doubles during the day).

These are only a few of the benefits that our branches provide. They help make the sum of our wonderful library parts greater than the whole. Vote YES on measure N to keep out libraries open!


Posted by jls, a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 3, 2008 at 11:55 am

I am telling all my friends to tell their parents to vote yes on N


Posted by Katie, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 3, 2008 at 11:57 am

Agree! Let's say NO.


Posted by Disagree, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 3, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I disagree with you, Council Watcher. The Council has the power to close down branches at any time. They just don't have the will. Voting NO will show that pandering to the branch supporters doesn't work - so they should just shutter the branches and then try again with the bond in a year or two. Just as with Terman branch, the past will be past and the bond will then pass easily.

Given that city sales tax revenue is going to crater in the deep recession we are heading into, and the cost of the public safety building COPS will need to be paid, we'll likely have to close the branches anyway and our budget gets slammed. In that case, the bond makes even less sense.


Posted by Vote NO, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 3, 2008 at 1:38 pm

If the council closed the branches, as they did Terman, and then came back with a bond, would the pro-branch lobby still vote it down?

Voting no gives an option to go forward and create a decent library system, voting, yes closes that option.


Posted by lol, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Interesting, even the media in Palo Alto kow-tows to the special interest groups. Vote "Yes" because if you don't the 10% that want branches will never let you have anything.

Nice one, Weekly!


Posted by Yes on N - the smart thing to do, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:30 pm

disagree: " they should just shutter the branches and then try again with the bond in a year or two."

It would take at _least_ three years to put a bond back in play. Add to that more design fees. Add to that construction inflation on the whole deal at roughly 10-12% per year.

Remember, 90% of this bond goes to Mitchell and Main, _not_ the branches.

So, if we have to wait even 2 more years, we're looking at roughly the same size bond we have today + 20%-25% MORE for construction inflation!! Will you vote for a $95M bond in 2 years, if Measure N fails? I think I know the answer to that question.

If we don't pass Measure N, we stand a very good chance of losing our entire library system! Please vote YES on Measure N, to save our libraries, and make them sustainable for the next 50 years.


Posted by 2004 re-visited, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:33 pm

"It would be my hope that the City Council starts thinking long range instead of short range and stops listening to the same people who are, frankly, defending their turf at the expense of the entire community," said John Kagel, a former library commissioner who decided not to reapply for the commission when his term expired, out of frustration.


Posted by Maybe that's a good thing, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm

"If we don't pass Measure N, we stand a very good chance of losing our entire library system!"

If that's the case, then perhaps Palo Alto shouldn't be in the library business.


Posted by No on the library bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2008 at 2:50 pm

There he goes again under a different guise with the same "If we don't pass Measure N, we stand a very good chance of losing our entire library system" scare tactic. Never provides proof for this nugget, just parrots over and over on every library thread.
Let's see some real proof for that claim.

Also remember that of the 90% going to Mitchell is going for a Community Center and not the library.
Bad bond. Also remember that Alison Cormack and Bern Beecham, two members of this group, have stated that we do not need 5 branches.
Vote no on N.


Posted by San Antonio Mom, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 3:26 pm

I have two lovely children. We live on the San Antonio border. I can't wait for Measure N to pass so that we can get on with expanding our library's collection, and making sure that our library is finally upgraded to meet the standards of all our neighboring communities.

I don't think most people realize that our libraries haven't been repaired in almost 50 years - that's unheard of!

Everyone else has brand-spanking new buildings, and we're stuck with dilapidated structures that get so hot in the summer that sometimes we have to close them for patron safety!! That ridiculous! In Palo Alto??

I've been reading these library threads on and off for quite some time and i can honestly say that having to drive to Mt. View's library is a real pain. I would rather bike to Mitchell, if only they had enough room to expand our outdated book collection.

How can anyone suggest that our library fail? I just don't understand thinking like this? Have the people who say these things ever visited a public library? My neighbors and I are voting YES on N because we don't want our public library to fail, and because we want an expanded collection.


Posted by jls, a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 3, 2008 at 3:29 pm

We do have computers at school, but the labs close when school closes. I finish my website class study at Mitchell Park this afternoon, and tomorrow. If Mitchell closes, where are my friends and I going to do our weekend research and projects? Tell your parents to vote yes on N


Posted by prarental guidance necessary, a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Oct 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm

You stated in another thread parents allow you to use the computer at home for school work. Since they aren't allowing you to use the computer for this work, one can only assume that you are accessing sites your parents deem inappropriate for your age. You are now asking others to fund activities your parents do not want you to do.


Posted by Mike is funny, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by NO on N, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:23 pm

With the financial crisis Wall Street is in voting NO on Measure N is the only way to go. Borrowing more money and creating more indebtedness for Palo Alto at this time is utterly irresponsible.


Posted by Katie, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:34 pm

The Yes on N campaign is being intensified. The NO on N doesn't seem doing anything except some comments. So the measure is likely to be passed.


Posted by Kathy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:47 pm

I think it's crucial to vote Yes on N. We're letting key community assets completely degrade by tussling over a branch system. Please, let's come together for the good of Palo Alto and its citizens who rely on libraries. Vote yes on N!


Posted by A Mom voting No, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Dear JLS student - have your parents vote no and with the money they save your family you can buy another computer!

Now is not the time for more debt! Have any of you Yes people taken a look at the financial condition California is in? How about the rescue bill? Where do you think the money will come from?

I will vote no!


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:54 pm

"We're letting key community assets completely degrade..."

There is nothing wrong with 50 year old buildings in general. If these are really in such disrepair then it's because the city did not take care of them. If the city did not take care of these buildings, why build expensive overpriced new buildings for them to not take care of?


Posted by No on N, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 3, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Unfortunately No On N doesn't need much of an organized campaign - our cratering economy, near collapse of the state budget, huge job losses, etc., make a powerful statement. The idea that PA would invest in and maintain branches that just about everyone agrees are unneeded - it is very hard to swallow. Our sales tax revenue is going to dive; our city budget will be slammed; individual home owners will struggle.

This wouldn't be a good bond at any time; but in 2008, this is a terrible idea.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2008 at 6:02 pm

We can settle this once and for all with two measures.

Measure N as written.

Measure O to shift all the money back to one site.

Like branches? YES on N, NO on O.
Want a strong central site? YES on N and O.
Happy with the status quo? NO on N and O.

Let's let the community choose and move on.


Posted by alternate solution, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 4, 2008 at 12:50 am

If N doesn't pass, maybe the city will decide they really DO have the authority to make some financially responsible decisions and close the ill functioning branches or repurpose them to address a more pressing city need. What do people in this city think happens elsewhere? Small cities don't have library branches in every neighborhood.

Lay the data out for the community, listen to community input, and then ACT in the best interest of the city and it's future. In this community there will always be some disgruntled folks. Listen to them, address their concerns and let them know there are alternate solutions to some of their issues in the new plan and move on!

It is fiscally irresponsible for the city to have supported the number of branches it has for this long, It was a bad move to fire the former head librarian who had the common sense to lay it out there and collect data knowing her recommendations weren't going to win a popularity contest but they were in the best interest of the library system and this city.

If N passes, good luck getting another bond passed down the road. I'm frankly surprised at how chummy some parent school groups are on this measure. By supporting a bad bond, it dilutes the message they will have down the road for school support which is a shame because our schools really do need more infrastructure and funds. Home owners in a bad economy will look at their tax bill and enough will be enough and then NOBODY else will have a chance in passing a bond.

Besides, imagine the level of damage both the schools and the libraries (old and new) will face if we don't get on the ball and address the fundamentally flawed infrastructure. One flooding of the creeks and neighborhoods and having five library branches will be the least of our concerns. Actually, I think the city would have better luck passing a more modest bond to deal with the city infrastructure needs. I'd actually support that one.


Posted by Yes on N - the smart thing to do, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 2:45 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:18 am

Re "distortion tactics."

CLAIM: Those of us against Measure N "want our library to close and have the County take over."

FACT: We absolutely support libraries, but we don't support 5 branches. And we don't support a bond with no technology plan and unknown annual operation and staffing costs. As for the county taking over, if it improved our library service, why not consider it?

CLAIM: From the Yes on N flyers in your mailbox: "More people use our libraries every year than go to the 49ers and Stanford Football and Basketball games combined."

FACT: Statistics show that 544,226 people attended 49er games last season, 265,448 attended Stanford football games and 151,737 attended Stanford basketball games (men's & women's). That's a total of 961,451 attendees—just for home games. If away games are considered, the total attendees is almost 2million.

FACT: The door counters at the Palo Alto libraries show that for FY 2007 there were 881,520 total visits to all 5 branches.

CLAIM: It is a "funny and absurd conclusion" that "… DVDs are smaller and don't need as much shelf space."

FACT: According to state library statistics, 40% of Palo Alto library circulation is in "non-books," e.g., CDs/DVDs. Last time I looked, electronic media requires less shelf space than print books, and downloads require no shelf space at all. Yet, the library does not have any information about the impact of electronic resources on future circulation.

FACT: Space for the new Mitchell Park complex is estimated at $1490/square foot.

CLAIM: Residents overwhelmingly support 5 branches.

FACT: Only 9.8% of library visitors in FY 2007 went to the Downtown branch and only 6.3% visited College Terrace. (From door counter data.)

CLAIM: If we close branches, "imagine all the people who now walk to our libraries having to get into their cars."

FACT: There are no statistics showing how many people walk or bike to libraries.

FACT: Our former library director said that if we wanted walkable libraries for all residents, we'd need 30 branches.

CLAIM: 92% of Palo Altans use our libraries.

FACT: In a June 2008 survey of 600 likely voters (not 600 residents), 85% said they visited one of the branches in the past year.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:43 am

> In fact, Martin has used his usual distortion tactics in a
> recent letter to the Daily Post in an attempt to show that
> only 2000 Palo Altans use the library

Unfortunately, there is never enough space in a letter-to-the-editor to say what you want. The 1920 number in the paper is for the number of Palo Altans a day that enter the library buildings--not total.

Having spent over 200 hours in the various libraries over the past couple of years, observing use of the facilities, and counting the number of people using the libraries--there are some who show up every day to use the Internet, sometimes more than once a day. So the actual number of unique people who use the libraries is actually lower than the foot count on the doors would lead one to believe. I've also seen Staff walk between buildings, using the door with the foot counter--driving the number up.

One of the most telling numbers which I obtained from the Library is the number of unique library cards used during a given year. The number was about 16,500. Given that traditionally about 20% of the library use is by non-residents, this reduces the number of unique Palo Altans to about 13,500 (or so).

Numbers taken from a survey of 600 likely voters about library use is not all that reliable.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:45 am

> the anti-N crowd wants our libraries to CLOSE.

This is simply not true. There is nothing in any of our literature, or public statements to back this claim up. It's a shame the Weekly allows this sort of distortion to be posted on its Blogs.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:47 am

> The NO on N doesn't seem doing anything except some comments.

We have put a WEB-site online:

www.paloaltansforcommonsense.com

and are now walking flyers.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:54 am

> imagine all the people who now walk to our libraries having
> to get into their cars

Observing the libraries for quite a while, it's my opinion that a goodly number of people use their cars for library use now:

Web Link

It would not be hard to estimate that possibly 700,000 lbs of CO2 are produced by people using the current branch system.

Others are beginning to look at the CO2 produced by the publishing industry as a whole:

Web Link

Some estimate that 6-8 lbs of CO2 are produced for each paper book.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 5:24 am

> such as Mountain View, have created shiny new libraries and
> stocked them with rich collections of books and materials.

The reality is that Mountain View put a Bond Measure on the Ballot around 1994, which did not pass. The City Council decided to sell some land, and cobbled together the necessary funds to build the current facility (about $24M) in the late 1990s. The collection size is about the same as Palo Alto (MV:228,000/PA:240,000), and there is no evidence that the collections in MV are "rich" compared to Palo Alto's. One would have to have compared the holding inventories between the two organizations. I do not believe that the Weekly Editor has done this.

Mountain View is actually showing the same shift in use--its Video/Audio circulation is also 40%, the same as Palo Alto. By 2012--the Video/Audio circulation for both of these libraries could well be 50% of the total circulation, unless it declines because of availability of audios, videos, TV, Movies, magazines and newspapers over the Internet. (Apple has sold almost 5 billion tunes over the Internet in the last couple of years--at now cost to the public. Virtually every TV Network is now "web-casting" premium content over the Internet. Many new players ave joined the fray, with new ventures being announced daily.)

Palo Alto could sell some of its assets. Its long past time considering better asset management of its $20B-$30B land holdings.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 5:37 am

> The Weekly has long been concerned about inherent inefficiencies
> and costs of operating multiple branches.

It would be nice if the Weekly actually believed what in it wrote. It has been over four years now since I first wrote about RFID/AMH labor-saving equipment being installed in the library system--yet there has never been one word of support for reducing the cost of labor in this system through RFID/AMH by the Weekly.

During the last two years, Mountain View has managed to acquire and install an RFID/AMH system, without any rancor. Other cities across America have done the same:

RFID Automates Libraries:
Web Link
Web Link

All of this RFID equipment should have been designed into any new library buildings from the bottom up, and the top down. This is not the case for this large expansion.

It's a shame the Weekly hasn't taken the time to research what is going on in the world of libraries, rather than rubber-stamp the next large spending proposal that comes out of City Hall.


Posted by TIM, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2008 at 7:37 am

FIVE LIBRARIES- NO WAY VOTE NO!!!!!!!


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 9:00 am

2/3 of people in Palo Alto strongly favor the branch system. They told pollsters that, they said so in community meetings and an analysis of library usage clearly showed that people choose a crummy library open only a few hours a day near their house rather than a good one they have to drive to.

People choose to live in Palo Alto because they like the schools and they love the walkable/bikable values of our community.

The city council made the right decision. Let's move on.

Anyone who loves libraries and is considering voting no because they want one central library should understand that what they are voting for is crummy libraries.

I went to almost every council meeting on this topic over the last several years. They were once bitten, twice shy. And this is a much better, well-considered proposal.

The choice in November is clear. Vote yes - a vibrant library system with the right number of books and space. Vote no - more of the same for another generation.

There are people in this town who oppose anything that costs anything. Don't take their bait.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 4, 2008 at 9:32 am

Elizabeth, not sure where you get your facts. 58% of those polled said we should put our resources behind one or two libraries, not five. If the Council didn't kowtow to those who would deny the whole city to preserve their own branch, we'd have resolved this years ago.

This is bad politics and a bad bond. Unfortunately until the Council actually finds a spine, we have to keep saying no.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 9:47 am

"2/3 of people in Palo Alto strongly favor the branch system. They told pollsters that, they said so in community meetings and an analysis of library usage clearly showed that people choose a crummy library open only a few hours a day near their house rather than a good one they have to drive to."

Elizabeth, could you provide data to prove your assertions? The information I posted about only 9.8% of library visitors going to Downtown and 6.3% going to College Terrace came from our library director.

If people really "choose a crummy library," why spend money to build "a good one"?


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 11:39 am

CLAIM: "we don't support a bond with no technology plan and unknown annual operation and staffing costs"

FACT: The library has a technology plan, and knows its operations and staffing costs. In fact, those making claims to the contrary know this.

CLAIM: That not a sufficient number of citizens visit our libraries, and thus they shouldn't be funded.

FACT: The door counters at the Palo Alto libraries show that for FY 2007 there were 881,520 total visits to all 5 branches, but the door counters don't include the many, many thousands of times citizens use the library remotely, to order books, do research, for homework help and so on.

CLAIM: "the library does not have any information about the impact of electronic resources on future circulation."

FACT: the library has had two technology reviews, a technology plan, and a citizen-volunteer technology committee that consists of 5-6 highly accomplished local technologists who are working with the library and the community to do what the above claim says is not happening.

CLAIM: "Space for the new Mitchell Park complex is estimated at $1490/square foot."

FACT: Building costs for the Mitchell Park Complex are under $500 per squaure foot, and near the middle of the pack when compared to other local library construction.

CLAIM: "Only" 9.8% of library visitors in FY 2007 went to the Downtown branch and only 6.3% visited College Terrace. (From door counter data.)

FACT: When translated into a number that means something, this means that well over 100,000 Palo Altans visited DT and CT. Many of those visitors are senior citizens, children and students. Also, circulation from DT and CT represent just under 20% of the entire system; this indicated exceedingly high use.

CLAIM: "There are no statistics showing how many people walk or bike to libraries."

FACT: An independent survey performed by College Terrace residents and the Library showed that nearly 50% of all visits were by foot or on bicycle.

CLAIM: "Our former library director said that if we wanted walkable libraries for all residents, we'd need 30 branches."

FACT: The College Terrace statistic, above, and the further fact that most Palo Altans are able to walk or bike to a library.

CLAIM: " In a June 2008 survey of 600 likely voters (not 600 residents), 85% said they visited one of the branches in the past year."

FACT: Everyone who votes, by law, must be a resident of Palo Alto





Posted by Real Numbers Guy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 11:43 am

Wayne Martin: " observing use of the facilities, and counting the number of people using the libraries--there are some who show up every day to use the Internet, sometimes more than once a day. So the actual number of unique people who use the libraries is actually lower than the foot count on the doors would lead one to believe"

How can anyone believe this nonsense? No one person can be in 5 library branches at once. Mr Martin is always priding himself as a "numbers man", but he wants us to believe his presence in one library can tell us what's happening in all the others, all the time? Absurd.


Posted by Real Numbers Guy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 11:49 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Real Numbers Guy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 11:54 am

Wayne Martin: "Mountain View is actually showing the same shift in use--its Video/Audio circulation is also 40%, the same as Palo Alto. By 2012--the Video/Audio circulation for both of these libraries could well be 50% of the total circulation"

More deception. Mr. Martin cannot produce even ONE credible study that shows his projections to be accurate. He also forgets that most of the media available in public libraries is EDUCATIONAL. Book circulation has also increased dramatically since the inception of the INternet. Mr Martin consistently avoids this FACT.


Posted by Real Numbers Guy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 11:55 am

Wayne Martin: "It would not be hard to estimate that possibly 700,000 lbs of CO2 are produced by people using the current branch system."

Yet, Mr Martin fails to note that easily three times that is saved by individuals walking and biking to our branches. More distortion


Posted by Real Numbers Guy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Wayne Martin: "All of this RFID equipment should have been designed into any new library buildings from the bottom up, and the top down. This is not the case for this large expansion."

FACT: RFID has been studied and is planned for the new library. It has been discussed and voted on.

If Measure N fails we will not be able to build RFID into our buildings, and our library be become even more inefficient.

So here's Mr. Martin, talking out of both sides of his mouth again. On the one hand he wants to defeat the Library Bond, yet on the other says that the library needs certain labor saving technologies to be efficient. Which is it Mr. Martin.

Incidentally, I know from an associate who is an RFID expert and has listened to Mr. Martin wax on this technology. I have been told that Mr. Martin is not conversant with RFID technology in any way that qualifies him to comment on this matter. That should be noted.

Mr. Martin wants our libraries to CLOSE. He wanted them to close in 2002 when he worked to defeat THAT bond. Since then the cost to repair our libraries has climbed.

Mr Martin has actually COST Palo Altan's money. Is this the kind of person that voters should be listening to?

Please note that Mr. Martin NEVER talks about the benefits of our library system - to seniors , students, children, working professionals and many others. Why is that?


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Please vote YES on Measure N. If Measure N fails, our library system will CLOSE.

If Measure N fails, we will lose children's story times; 100's of programs for children and students; mentoring programs for seniors; professional services for our large working population; neighborhood walkability; a cleaner environment; and the pride that goes with having a library system that is equal to that of our neighbors, who have all passed library bonds and built libraries that will last for the next 50 years.

More than 60% of Palo Altans already favor this bond. Please, please, let's work together - neighbor-to-neighbor - to tell our friends and associates that we need 2/3 of the votes + 1 vote to pass this bond.

Opponents of this bond - the core 4-5 of them working in these forums, under multiple names, have taken incomplete information; made videos that exaggerate, distort,, and lie about the truth - they did this in 2002. They helped to stimulate a "no" vote in 2002 that led to our libraries falling into even further disrepair.

Where we are today is largely the responsibility of Wayne Martin's small group, who want our library system to fail. Don't let this happen.

Tell your friends and neighbors to check for themselves, and see if they can corroborate Mr. Martin's claims.

For the truth about our libraries, go here:
Web Link

In the above link you'll see all the reasons why we need Measure N to succeed.

YES on MEASURE N - for our schools, our kids, our seniors, and our community.



Posted by Wasted resources, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 4, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Reading stories to children is great. The many many other entertainments provided for kids is a waste of money and staff time. Why is the library holding programs on face painting, dancing, magic and stuff like that?
Maybe the librarians are bored doing routine stuff and like to play with children. I don't want to pay for it.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:32 pm

The Weekly said:

> While opponents have tried to make the bond measure a referendum
> on the branch-library system and its inefficiencies, supporters
> argue that the real issue is whether the community wants to rescue
> its two highly utilized major libraries from continued decay.

The Weekly has clear mischaracterized the message of the opponents of Measure N. Our views can be found most clearly stated in our flyer:

Web Link

The Weekly also seems to be myopic if it accepts the view that Measure N will "rescue the libraries from decay", since it is the Palo Alto City Government that has allowed these buildings to become in the state they are in. Until the Government can manage the assets which it has far better than it has done in the past, why throw good money after bad?

This broken light fixture, in front of the Main Library, so an signature example of what is wrong with the libraries, and the government managers responsible for doing nothing to repair/refurbish these buildings incrementally:

Web Link


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:39 pm

> Yet, Mr Martin fails to note that easily three times that is
> saved by individuals walking and biking to our branches.
> More distortion

Neither the library, nor the City, maintains any records of people who use bicycles, or who walk, to the library. The number of parking lot spots, on the other hand, is known, and from the number of cars parked in these lots some estimation of the people driving could be determined.

There was some traffic analysis performed for the Measure D library proposal, but it seems that the City decided not to do that work this time. Certainly the traffic increase which this building could generate would not have been well received by South Palo Altans, particularly along the Charleston Corridor.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:46 pm

> More deception. Mr. Martin cannot produce even ONE
> credible study that shows his projections to be accurate

The library reports that videos were introduced in 1983. Before that time, video had 0% circulation component.

The current circulation rate for Video/Audios is about 40%. This comes to an average yearly increase of about 1.75%. Some libraries in California are reporting over 50% of their circulation in Videos/Audios, although the average seems to be about 25%-27%. So, there is no point where the video component of circulation stops.

This is not rocket science--just add 2% a year to the current 40+% and see how long it takes to get to 50 of circulation is in Video/Audios.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm

(Reposted with a couple of typos fixed)

The Weekly said:

> While opponents have tried to make the bond measure a referendum
> on the branch-library system and its inefficiencies, supporters
> argue that the real issue is whether the community wants to rescue
> its two highly utilized major libraries from continued decay.

The Weekly has clearly mischaracterized the message of the opponents of Measure N. Our views can be found most clearly stated in our flyer:

Web Link

The Weekly also seems to be myopic if it accepts the view that Measure N will "rescue the libraries from decay", since it is the Palo Alto City Government that has allowed these buildings to become in the state they are in. Until the Government can manage our assets far better than it has done in the past, why throw good money after bad?

This broken light fixture, in front of the Main Library, so a signature example of what is wrong with the libraries, and the government managers responsible for doing nothing to repair/refurbish these buildings:

Web Link


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 5:03 pm

> How can anyone believe this nonsense? No one person can be
> in 5 library branches at once.

I never said that I was. I simply visited the branches over a period of time, so that I was in all of the branches during the hours that they were open.



Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm

FACT: The library has a technology plan,

Could you provide the CMR number, and a link to it on the City's WEB-site?


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm

> FACT: An independent survey performed by College Terrace residents
> and the Library showed that nearly 50% of all visits were by foot
> or on bicycle.

College Terrace sees less than 10% of the total visitation of the whole system. What about the rest of the system? And, "independent surveys" are not official, are they?



Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 5:50 pm

CLAIM: "we don't support a bond with no technology plan and unknown annual operation and staffing costs"

FACT ?: The library has a technology plan, and knows its operations and staffing costs. In fact, those making claims to the contrary know this.

VERIFIABLE FACT: If there is a technology plan, please point me to it. Read today's PA Daily. Web Link
" … the libraries commissioned a consultant to study the feasibility of implementing RFID. The consultant's report found it would be worthwhile at the Main, Children's and Mitchell Park libraries, though not at the smaller Downtown and College Terrace branches, Jennings said.

"However, it would cost about $1 million to implement. That's money that can't come from the Measure N bond, since by law such bonds can only pay for building upgrades.

"As a result, Jennings said, the library is waiting for the results of the rest of its technology study before asking the Library Advisory Commission to issue a recommendation on RFID. If it deems RFID a top priority, the libraries will then ask the city to budget money for the project."

CLAIM: "the library does not have any information about the impact of electronic resources on future circulation."

FACT ?: the library has had two technology reviews, a technology plan, and a citizen-volunteer technology committee that consists of 5-6 highly accomplished local technologists who are working with the library and the community to do what the above claim says is not happening.

VERIFIABLE FACT: Diane Jennings wrote in an email on 8/25, "The Library does not have any information produced about the impact of electronic resources on future PACL circulation."

CLAIM: "Only" 9.8% of library visitors in FY 2007 went to the Downtown branch and only 6.3% visited College Terrace. (From door counter data.)

FACT ?: When translated into a number that means something, this means that well over 100,000 Palo Altans visited DT and CT. Many of those visitors are senior citizens, children and students. Also, circulation from DT and CT represent just under 20% of the entire system; this indicated exceedingly high use.

VERIFIABLE FACT: Sorry, it doesn't mean that "well over 100,000 Palo Altans visited DT and CT." It means that 86,636 VISITS were made to Downtown. That could have been 1 person going in and out 86,000 times of 100 people or 1,000 people -- including staff.

CLAIM: "Space for the new Mitchell Park complex is estimated at $1490/square foot."

FACT ?: Building costs for the Mitchell Park Complex are under $500 per squaure foot, and near the middle of the pack when compared to other local library construction.

VERIFIABLE FACT: Per the City Manager's Report of July 21, 2008 (CMR number 321:08), the bondable cost for the Library/Community Center bond is $76M and the square footage is approximately 51,000 square feet, for a cost of $1,490/sf. This is not the "bid" or construction cost alone, but includes the cost of the design, building permits, inspection, materials testing, construction contingencies, construction management fees and inflation costs.

CLAIM: "There are no statistics showing how many people walk or bike to libraries."

FACT ?: An independent survey performed by College Terrace residents and the Library showed that nearly 50% of all visits were by foot or on bicycle.

How can I verify that FACT? Where are the study results?

CLAIM: "Our former library director said that if we wanted walkable libraries for all residents, we'd need 30 branches."

FACT ?: The College Terrace statistic, above, and the further fact that most Palo Altans are able to walk or bike to a library.

How can I verify that "most Palo Altans are able to walk or bike to a library?

CLAIM: " In a June 2008 survey of 600 likely voters (not 600 residents), 85% said they visited one of the branches in the past year."

FACT: Everyone who votes, by law, must be a resident of Palo Alto.

ANOTHER FACT: Not every resident votes. And not everyone who votes has to be a resident of Palo Alto.


Posted by save our libraries!, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Wasted Resources: "Reading stories to children is great. The many many other entertainments provided for kids is a waste of money and staff time. Why is the library holding programs on face painting, dancing, magic and stuff like that?
Maybe the librarians are bored doing routine stuff and like to play with children. I don't want to pay for it."

Thanks. I'm going to quote this in my literature drops - the ones that tell the truth about how our libraries will close and kids services will disappear if Measure N fails. The core Measure N opponents on this board never cease to amaze.


Posted by Real Numbers Guy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Wayne Martin: "This is not rocket science--just add 2% a year to the current 40+% and see how long it takes to get to 50 of circulation is in Video/Audios."

This is laughable number manipulation by Mr. Martin, because BOOK circulation is ALSO climbing!!! How about that? Another convenient omission by Mr. Martin.


Posted by Ha ha, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:18 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Real Numbers Guy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Wayne Martin: "it is the Palo Alto City Government that has allowed these buildings to become in the state they are in."

This is absurd, on its face. In fact it was MR. MARTIN who worked his tail off to defeat Measure D in 2002. Prior to that, Mr. Martin criticized other efforts to fix library infrastructure.

If we had passed measure D, which mr. Martin opposed, we wouldn't be having this bond, now (as it is, Measure D garnered nearly 62% of the vote, indicating that Palo Altans clearly support library infrastructure by landslide margins.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Just look at Mr. Martin's missives above. He implies with every post that libraries are becoming irrelevant (even though use is climbing); that digital media is taking the place of books (but book use is growing), and on and on and on, as if trying to project his "municipal inefficiency" trope into every nook and cranny of government.


Posted by PTA parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Some comments I have heard from families in past weeks are worth sharing.

While many families value libraries they can walk to, story times, and other library related advantages, they admit that they enjoy them because they are available to them, but question as to whether they value them enough to pay a premium for. Some of these families are involved in sports and other after school activities as well as contributing to PIE. These families are looking at their own budgets and realise that they can't continue to fund after school activities and PIE and the increase in taxes that the Bond would produce. They do not see it as the cost of a latte a week, but as to whether they can continue to support PIE, and have their kids enrolled in multiple activities and pay for this bond. PIE and activities are voluntary expenses, but the increase in tax to pay for the bond aren't. Consequently, if they have a compulsory increase in Tax, then one or other of the others will have to be cut. For them, telling their kids that they can't do their activities because of the library bond is not going to happen. So, their only choice is to cut out PIE. Already they are waiting to see what happens before they send their check to PIE.

I predict that if this passes, the contributions to PIE will suffer. Either some families will eliminate entirely their contributions, or else pay substantially less than last year.

PIE is going to suffer.

Of course everyone would like to have the library with full services in their own neighborhood. But as those who lived near Terman when it was a library discovered, the family adapts. The cost of keeping the branches was never mentioned to those asked for a preference, and it would be very interesting to have asked this question at the time. But many are now saying that the cost outweighs the benefits.


Posted by Real Numbers Guy, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 4, 2008 at 8:43 pm

"> FACT: An independent survey performed by College Terrace residents
> and the Library showed that nearly 50% of all visits were by foot or on bicycle."

Wayne Martin: "College Terrace sees less than 10% of the total visitation of the whole system. What about the rest of the system? And, "independent surveys" are not official, are they?"

10% is roughly 80,000 people. I guess Mr. martin thinks that is an insignificant number. This will be a great missive for my CT drops.

Also, Mr. Martin's *opinion* about our library's costs are much further from official than a small local survey designed and analyzed by serveral business professionals.


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 9:11 pm

CLAIM?: If there is a technology plan, please point me to it. Read today's PA Daily. Web Link

FACT: The library's preliminary technology plan, designed to scale as the library and technology change, was presented at the last LAC meeting. Ask the Library Administration for a copy. This plan has been iterated and talked about for months - where have you been?


CLAIM?: Diane Jennings wrote in an email on 8/25, "The Library does not have any information produced about the impact of electronic resources on future PACL circulation."

FACT: A citizen-volunteer technology committee that consists of 5-6 highly accomplished local technologist are working with the library and the community to do what the above claim says is not happening.



FACT: When translated into a number that means something, this means that well over 100,000 Palo Altans visited DT and CT. Many of those visitors are senior citizens, children and students. Also, circulation from DT and CT represent just under 20% of the entire system; this indicated exceedingly high use.
CLAIM?: Sorry, it doesn't mean that "well over 100,000 Palo Altans visited DT and CT." It means that 86,636 VISITS were made to Downtown. That could have been 1 person going in and out 86,000 times of 100 people or 1,000 people -- including staff.
FACT: But you can't prove that can you? All you can do is raise doubt. So why present doubt as fact? Another favorite technique of those who want our library system to close down. Measure N's failure will cause our libraries to close.

CLAIM: "Space for the new Mitchell Park complex is estimated at $1490/square foot."

FACT ?: Building costs for the Mitchell Park Complex are under $500 per squaure foot, and near the middle of the pack when compared to other local library construction.

CLAIM: Per the City Manager's Report of July 21, 2008 (CMR number 321:08), the bondable cost for the Library/Community Center bond is $76M and the square footage is approximately 51,000 square feet, for a cost of $1,490/sf. This is not the "bid" or construction cost alone, but includes the cost of the design, building permits, inspection, materials testing, construction contingencies, construction management fees and inflation costs.

FACT: And the above numbers are in the middle range for a library system competent to Palo Alto's. So what's the big deal?

What's even more interesting about your claim is that the construction inflation costs of this bond are directly attributable to your and Mr. Martin's successful action to defeat Measure D in 2002. That cost Palo Altans - every one of us, nearly $30M. That's about $500 for every man woman and child in Palo Alto.

btw, that's on one of the literature drops I've planned for certain neighborhoods. It's a little-known and little understood fact, but it will be well known by the time the elecction happens. I made sure several senior housing complexes knew about this before they voted absentee a few weeks ago.


CLAIM: "There are no statistics showing how many people walk or bike to libraries."

FACT: An independent survey performed by College Terrace residents and the Library showed that nearly 50% of all visits were by foot or on bicycle.

CLAIM?:How can I verify that FACT?

FACT: They're in the hands of a College Terrace Library Working Group - a group started by ex-Library Director Paula Simpson, the person you consistently say wanted the branches to close (another distortion).

CLAIM: "Our former library director said that if we wanted walkable libraries for all residents, we'd need 30 branches."

FACT ?: The College Terrace statistic, above, and the further fact that most Palo Altans are able to walk or bike to a library.

CLAIM: How can I verify that "most Palo Altans are able to walk or bike to a library?
Start walking, or climb on a bike. Look at an overlapping perimeter map. Several were created and distributed to the public, at all the meetings you missed wile creating imaginary statistics to help defeat Measure N, and close our libraries.


CLAIM: " In a June 2008 survey of 600 likely voters (not 600 residents), 85% said they visited one of the branches in the past year."

FACT: Everyone who votes, by law, must be a resident of Palo Alto.

CLAIM: Not every resident votes. And not everyone who votes has to be a resident of Palo Alto.

FACT: What percent of those who vote in Palo Alto elections are not residents of Palo Alto. PLease show us that Lilliputian number. I need a good laugh.

In all, we see again that "pat" and Wayne Martin - who work in tandem to defeat EVERY bond that benefits our schools, libraries, kids, students, teachers, and working professionals are at it again.

Only the structural flaw that requires 66 and 2/3 +1 permits this kind of obsessive naysayer to operate in the shadows of community development. Under normal circumstances, the distortions and lies that they spew would be considered fringe, as would the way they present their minikin case.

Measure M _must_ pass, or we will lose our libraries; it's as simple as that. We need to pull out all the stops and pass this bond. We need to debunk the expected distortions that
Wayne Martin and "pat" and their crew put on our citizen's doorsteps.

If our citizens only weren't so busy, and had time to know the real numbers, and the real truth about the many benefits that enhance our community, the distortions presented by municipal naysayers would be resigned to the margins, where they belong.

We must pass Measure N or our libraries will close.

Vote YES on Measure N!


Posted by Library PIE, a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 4, 2008 at 9:15 pm

"I predict that if this passes, the contributions to PIE will suffer."

This is nonsense. I'm very close to PAUSD happenings, and most parents and PTA members tell me that when Measure N passes, donations to PIE will INCREASE, because the bond will enable closer school/library cooperation and efficiencies, including the supplementation of many activities funded by PIE.

Donors are already lining up to reinforce school-library programming after Measure N passes.


Posted by Not True, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2008 at 10:07 pm

I just spoke to a Board member of PIE, and they are very concerned about the risk of drop in contributions. People have been complaining about the stress already, between PTA, PIE, and other kid related expenses, and the added bond tax is very concerning. Fundraising is zero sum - if people have to pay an extra $500 for the library bond, that is $500 less for PIE.

Library PIE, you seem quite uninformed.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 5, 2008 at 12:18 am

After reading some of these yes on N posts, it's hard to resist the notion that our library really needs this bond to pass. My grandkids use the library a lot, and my daughter has been filling me in on the facts. I sure don't want our libraries to close. I'm voting Yes on N.


Posted by Good Grief, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2008 at 12:25 am

That is THE phoniest post yet... After reading the ridiculous claims, it is hard to believe anything!


Posted by It's true, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 5, 2008 at 12:29 am

I was talking to a City Councilor at the B&W ball, and he said several of the council members really hoped the bond would fail. He said they all realized the bond was terrible, but felt they had no choice but to put it up to appease the "rabble rousers" has he put it. He said he in fact would vote against the bond and then try to create something that "actually made sense." Fascinating!


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2008 at 1:12 am

Why don't you go womewhere else and peddle your tales?

I was at the B&W tonight, and spoke to every City Council member, save one (and he's one of the staunchest supporters of the bond). Every one of the Council members is working on the campaign, and has provided overt support for the bond. every one of them wants this bond to pass, because they know if it fails we will lose our libraries. They know the score.



Posted by Library PIE, a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 5, 2008 at 1:18 am

"if people have to pay an extra $500 for the library bond, that is $500 less for PIE."

Nonsense. Not if the library picks up programming that PIE members would otherwise have to pay for. I don't know where you're getting your information, but you look like a plant.

PIE donors have been *delighted* when filled in on the fantastic programming that the Library does for our schools. They are also excited about leveraging the library to do more stuff that PIE *already* pays for. That's another benefit to our community, provided by the library.

I'm voting YEs on N because I want to SAVE on PIE donations and watch our library and PAUSD begin a new paradigm in city/PAUSD relations.



Posted by wendy, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 5, 2008 at 7:49 am

As far as the economy goes, when Mountain View built its library in the late 90's it came in UNDER budget - why? Because the economy was floundering and contractors were lowering bids.

NOW is the time to rebuild Palo Alto's library system!! VOTE YES ON N.


Posted by Costs, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2008 at 7:55 am

It's funny, Wendy, because another poster keeps saying that we must vote for N because otherwise costs will go UP dramatically. This is the first I've heard to vote yes because costs are coming down.

It seems like we are in for a period of global deflation - so my expectation is that we don't need to rush to "catch the dip." Also, it is never a good time to vote for a bad project.


Posted by Library truth, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2008 at 8:03 am

You seems to be making it up (as usual). First, the City Council members don't go around advertising their ambivalence for the bond (duh) but if you have a personal relationship, you get the true story. Several would be happy to see it fail, knowing what a nose-holder it is.

On PIE donations, you must be talking to the "rich-ies" I suppose - if you've got money to burn, I guess $500-1000 more is ok. The average PIE donor has a sharp intake of breath when they see the PIE donation "ask" and is really troubled by the idea of $500 MORE just to have decent libraries. And of course, since PIE pays for staffing and N pays for buildings, there is no overlap - it is just more money out of the middle class purse.

N will take money right out of PIE's wallet, and the PIE insiders know it well. But of course in group-think Palo Alto, they keep their ambivalence pretty quiet.


Posted by PTA Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2008 at 10:33 am

The PTA families I have been talking with are not the PTA leadership, but the average family whose membership of the PTA is just because they think they are doing their bit by joining the PTA and donating to PIE and helping out in the classrooms. They have been scared into thinking that the libraries will no longer exist or some of the other scare tactics being used. They use the libraries because the programs are there and don't want to see them go, but don't look on them as vital to their lifestyle. These families have to choose carefully how they spend their money. The kids want to do expensive after school activities (expensive in their eyes) and luxuries are rare. These families don't want to have to pay out more money with what they consider nothing to show for. If the libraries close, they don't want that, but otherwise, they just want to be able to take their kids to library once in a while to check out books.

The PTAs are voting to support the Bond, but who are actually voting to support it. The hierarchy of the PTA are those with the time and money to support the extra costs, not those who are the majority of the membership.

PIE will suffer.


Posted by another PTA parent, a resident of Addison School
on Oct 5, 2008 at 12:28 pm

"PIE will suffer"

How will PIE suffer if the average spend at PIE is decreased by school-related library programming that PIE would normally pick up? My friends and I are all heavy users of the library. Just one storytime at Children's or College terrance brings in literally hundreds of kids.

Language, social and cultural development programming at the library is closely allied to PAUSD curriculum development and plans to be more so once Palo Alto has a library facility that can accommodate a better collection for media and books. All this will make PIE's job easier.

There are plans to bring in more volunteers to augment school programming if the bond passes. If the bond doesn't pass none of this will come to pass.

As to whether we'll lose our libraries if N doesn't pass, we probably will. The operational budgets are scored, but Measure D's defeat in 2002 really set our libraries back. They were overdue then. We're at a tipping point for facility reconstruction. It will be very difficult to come out with a bond in 3-4 years that is $25M more than this one. By then our branches will be closed, including Mitchell.

My budget is stretched too, but there's no way that the children's programming and activities that a measly $139 per year that this bond will cost me can be made up by even 5 times that number - not including access to all the other services. Our library is such a great deal!

Our citizens need to understand just how dire this situation is for the library. I don't think they do. I only hope that the word gets out about how perilous a position we'll be in if Measure N fails.

Please vote yes on Measure N.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm

When my kids were younger we were often the only ones at the story times. Literally hundreds of kids? Where do they all sit?


Posted by struggling parent, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 5, 2008 at 12:45 pm

please vote N on this. I'm a renter and my landlord says he's going to pass on the cost if this goes through. I can't afford another $400 a year. If this bond passes, it's going to be really hard on my kids.


Posted by Diane Jennings, Library Director, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I need to correct some inaccurate information stated in two recent postings to the discussion on this topic:

1. Is it not correct, as stated by "pat, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood" that "space for the new Mitchell Park complex is estimated at $1490/square foot." It is less than $1,000 per square foot, including all construction, landscaping, site work, upgraded environmental standards for the facility, and design costs.

The proposed $76M library/community center bond would be spent on three projects: a new combined library and community center at Mitchell Park of approximately 51,000 square feet; a 4,000 sf addition to and removation of 20,476 square feet of the Main Library; and a renovation of all of the approx. 9,000 square feet at Downtown Library. So the $76M will affect over 84,000 square feet of space, not just 51,000 sf.

2. Wayne Martin did not obtain information from the Library that the "number of library cards used during a given year" is "about 16,500". In response to a question from him in August 2007, I replied that 26,432 unque borrowers had checked out items within the previous 365 days. That was almost 50% of the total cardholders at that time. And, yes, that did include non-resident use.

However, checkouts do not reflect the total use of our libraries. Many people use library service without checking out items. These services include: use of the desktop public PCs and wireless access, reading current periodicals, use of our electronic databases, and attending story hours and other programs. And, some families, like mine, may use one card for all members of the household.

There are a number of measures of library use. As part of the annual "Service Efforts and Accomplishment Report", the City Auditor's Office includes information from an annual survey on use and ratings of City services by Palo Altans. The 2006-07 report showed that 79% of those surveyed reported using the Palo Alto public libraries or its services at least once in the previous 12 months.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Diane,

A frequent claim has been made that hundreds of children attend regular College Terrace storytimes. Any truth in that?


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Wait, what additional programing is the Library going to pick up? And where is that money going to come from. I thought the bond was for hard assets, not programming? And a measly $139 - please, how do you figure? It will cost many people much more! Maybe, there should be a flat fee levied per family to pay for the Libraries - how do you think that would go over...if everone had to pay their fair share!


Posted by Childrens programs, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm

When you count attendance at children's programs you should not count the adults that accompany young children, even though they take up a major part of the space.
These are really entertainment programs; busy parents seem to need to entertain and schedule their children every minute of the day.


Posted by Diane Jennings, Library Director, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm

RS,

It is not correct that hundreds of children attend regular storytimes at College Terrace Library. While I don't have the information at my fingertips, it would be substantially less than that. I'd need to check with our staff on Monday to give you a better estimate. As pointed out, this small library could not hold such a large crowd. We occasionally have programs in the park next to the library that do draw large crowds, but these types of programs are held infrequently.


Posted by volunteer story time reader, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2008 at 4:43 pm

"We occasionally have programs in the park next to the library that do draw large crowds"

I've easily seen hundreds at readings and story times at Children's Library, and outdoor events at other libraries.

We must pass Measure N or we stand to lose thise great benefit to our community.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Diane,
Thanks so much for the information.

I got my data from a city project engineer, who wrote: 'Per the City Manager's Report of July 21, 2008 (CMR number 321:08), the bondable cost for the Library/Community Center bond is $76M and the square footage is approximately 51,000 square feet, for a cost of $1,490/sf. This is not the "bid" or construction cost alone, but includes the cost of the design, building permits, inspection, materials testing, construction contingencies, construction management fees and inflation costs.'

What might account for the difference in square footage?


Posted by I will now vote YES, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 5, 2008 at 5:03 pm

"What might account for the difference in square footage?"

I believe Director Jennings has already made that clear, to wit:
" a 4,000 sf addition to and removation of 20,476 square feet of the Main Library; and a renovation of all of the approx. 9,000 square feet at Downtown Library. So the $76M will affect over 84,000 square feet of space, not just 51,000 sf."


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 5, 2008 at 5:32 pm

The following email was sent to me by Diane Jennings on Sept. 5th, 2007:
----
Mr. Martin,

We cannot retrieve the number of unique users within a time period in
the past such as 2006 because the library software doesn't store
information that way.

However, using the last checkout date on the borrower record, we did
come up with a figure of 26,432 unique borrowers that checked out items in the 365 days period preceding the day we ran the report - 8/31/07.

The total number of card-holders at the end of last June was 53,099.

A bit of a clarification is needed - the statistic only counts those
people who checked out an item, so it doesn't includes customers who
used their cards to log on to a library Internet PC or to access the
licensed databases.

****************************************
Diane R. Jennings, Director
Palo Alto City Library
270 Forest Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
650.329.2403
650.327.7568 (fax)
Diane.Jennings@cityofpaloalto.org
www.cityofpaloalto.org/library
****************************************

It would appear that a typo occurred when I made notes of this email. Seems I inserted a leading "1" for the leading "2" for this number.

While unfortunate, this mistake is not of any significance in our opposition to Measure N.

From reading Director Jenning's post, one might come to believe that I manufactured this number out of "whole cloth". Nothing could be further from the truth, as the question was asked of the Library by myself, and answered by the Library in due time.

We will review any/all of our literature to correct this number so that this minor error will not be propagated into the future.

I would like to thank Director Jennings for correcting this mistake.

Wayne Martin


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 5, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Mr. Martin may correct one of his many errors of "omission" in his literature - and in his various Op-Eds that our local press fails to check for accuracy, but all citizens shuold be clear that Mr. Martin takes these numbers and conflates them in ways that no auditor and evaluator of libraries would - as has been made plain in Mr. Martin's local literature drops, his comments in these forums, and other places.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

In fact, Mr. Martin misses the meat of Ms. Jennings post, above. I'll quote that part again, so that those reading this forum, and Mr. Martin can gain yet one more perspective on the multi-faceted services layers that benefit our schools, kids, students, seniors, business professionals, young adults, physically challenged citizens, special needs persons, and so on.

Ms. Jennings:
"However, checkouts do not reflect the total use of our libraries. Many people use library service without checking out items. These services include: use of the desktop public PCs and wireless access, reading current periodicals, use of our electronic databases, and attending story hours and other programs. And, some families, like mine, may use one card for all members of the household.

"There are a number of measures of library use. As part of the annual "Service Efforts and Accomplishment Report", the City Auditor's Office includes information from an annual survey on use and ratings of City services by Palo Altans. The 2006-07 report showed that 79% of those surveyed reported using the Palo Alto public libraries or its services at least once in the previous 12 months. "

Vote YES on N. Keep our libraries open.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 5, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Stop the histrionics. The entire library system will not collapse; you would just not get your dream library system. Deal with it. Lots of people this week don't have their dream ANYTHING -- job, retirement, mortgage payment . . . Splendid for you if you have scads of money to spend on a new library (and I'm willing to bet that most of you pro-N people have houses that are appreciated far below actual market value) but some of us are barely scraping by. The endless hand out for money in this town [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] is crushing a good number of people. Stop being so supercilious about those who oppose you. People have a right to their views and priorities, even if they differ from yours.


Posted by but really, seriously, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 5, 2008 at 8:01 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by mom with 4 kids, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Oct 5, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Vote YES on N. Save our libraries and keep them open!


Posted by mom with 2 kids, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 5, 2008 at 11:52 pm

mom, I agree with you! My sons use the library every day for homework, what a loss it would be...


Posted by Moms aren't dumb, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 5, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Moms aren't that dumb. No one believes this baloney about libraries closing. N is going to fail because it should; we'll have a stronger library system in the end.


Posted by mom with 2 kids, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:17 am

"No one believes this baloney about libraries closing"

Palo Alto *will* close libraries if Measure N fails.

How can you deny this when Measure N opponents making this bond Measure a referendum on the branches? Even though 90% of the bond is for Mitchell and Main?

Their literature says the branches aren't necessary. Wayne Martin practically mocks the existence of branches with his slipshod statistics and finicky videos (imagine firing a library director because a light bulb isn't changed! - that's in one of Martin's videos!)...


Posted by paly student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 6, 2008 at 6:59 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 6, 2008 at 7:42 am

There are some strange "facts" being thrown out here. The current proposal is a result of an extensive multiple year public process. Ideas like finding money to do so by closing a branch or two have been explored and rejected.
--The cost savings is miniscule which means you still need would need a bond measure.
--People really like branch libraries. While some people could come up with one they would send to the chopping block (typically the one farthest from their house!), people strongly support a multi-library approach. People want to age in place, families want to go by foot and bike to the library.

The libraries do provide a variety of programming, mainly for kids. They have traditional storytimes, which are done by librarians and volunteers. They sometimes have other events, like puppet shows and even chinese acrobats.

I have found this proramming to be of uniformly top-notch quality and the events are incredibly well-attended. Yes, there were even 100s of people for the one event of this like that I personally recall being held at College Terrace (local musician Andy Z). This was held in the small park that surrounds the library and adjacent daycare center.


Most of these programs are usually sponsored by the Friends of the Palo Alto Libraries so I don't think they really cost the taxpayer directly. They are great examples of the modern library which is more than just books - the modern library is a center of community and culture. Plus, you come for the event and then tend to stay for the books...

The library has found ways to hold these events for kids because you can go sit on the grass outside in the afternoon. It is only now that I realize why there is so little programming of this type for adults...there are limited spaces to hold them.

What happens if the measure doesn't pass?

Will libraries close? Will the city council come back with a proposal to go to one library?

NOne of the above. Life will just go on with these rinky-dink libraries. The libraries will get minor updates.

A vote against this proposal does not send any signal to the city other than that you like the status quo.

You may not agree with every last detail of the measure but I would ask you to consider if it represents a significant notch up from where we are... I note that no one is defending the current system as adequate.


Posted by all you need to know, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 6, 2008 at 8:14 am

"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."


Posted by we need a modern library system, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 8:30 am

"-The cost savings is miniscule which means you still need would need a bond measure."

$5,000,000 for upgrading College Terrace
$3,000,000 for upgrading Downtown Library

Elizabeth, $8,000,000 to you is "minisclue"?! No wonder you think spending $76,000,000 to get a small library a "good" bond. Redwood Shores got a brand new 22,000 square foot library for $1,500,000. We're wasting $8,000,000 on.....what?

"People really like branch libraries."

In the most recent survey 58% of Palo Altans stated that focusing our resources on one or two libraries was a good idea. %62 percent voted in the last library bond for concentrating our resources in that way. It is the minority pushing the branch approach that is holding us up.

If we didn't have the branches no-one would care. They only care because they are "defending their turf" as someone mentioned above. Close them down and then the bond will pass since there will be nothing to defend and we can get a decent modern library system.

Elizabeth, stop making things up and provide some links to support your assertions.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 6, 2008 at 9:33 am

"A vote against this proposal does not send any signal to the city other than that you like the status quo."

Actually you can't read that into a no vote. You can only read that it was voted down because people dont want this plan. You can't determine from a defeat of this bond what voters want instead. I am sure people will try to spin a defeat or a victory to mean more, but it will be spin.


Posted by Katie, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 6, 2008 at 9:58 am

It is Our city government who should be responsible for the current status of the libraries, not the residents to be blamed. I'm wondering how many of YES people bought their properties within last 5 or 10 years. maybe we should change the payment by head count per household.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 6, 2008 at 10:52 am

I agree with you Katie - flat fee per household. I suggested this yesterday - especially when you have people saying that it will only cost $139 a year! Not for me!


Posted by what you really need to know, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:44 am

"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 Tired of library naysayer ignorance, a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:50 am

"$5,000,000 for upgrading College Terrace"

This is wrong and misleading on its face. CT Library is housed in a historical building *along with* a large PACCC facility. The building has been scheduled for retrofits FOR YEARS, EVEN IF THE LIBRARY WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE SITE!

The same goes for Downtown.

It's very, very tiring to constant rebut the massive distortions put out there by people who want to do nothing but bring down our library system. I have never seen anything like it. Don't they have anything better to do?

The Measure N opponents have more than once publicly stated that they want our city our of the library business. It's public knowledge. Their goal is to bring down our public library and let the county take over. Defeating Measure N is just one step in that plan. Don't believe their made up numbers, and deceptively distorted statistics.

Vote YES! on Measure N to keep our libraries open, and help repair buildings that haven't seen repair in 50 YEARS!!



Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:57 am

RS: "You can't determine from a defeat of this bond what voters want instead."

This comment is so warped I don't know where to begin. Since when does 62% of the citizens voting FOR a bond tell us what they don't want?

The ONLY reason that these obsessive anti-N opponents are even in the game (they were out in force in 2002 to help defeat another library bond) is because they only need 1/3 of the vote +1 to "win".

What we end up with is rule by minority. It's a pretty low bar, so they can distort the picture as much as they want to get the result they desire.

Vote YES on Measure N and keep our libraries open...


Posted by No on the library bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2008 at 11:59 am

Speaking of ignorance:

"7. That if Measure N fails, we stand an excellent chance of losing our libraries?"

this has been posted by the same person, under different identities, in all of the threads discussing the library.
When this person is challenged to provide proof for his/her assertion, all we get is silence.
this claim is a cheap scare tactic being pushed by said person, probably a member of FOPAL or the other group pushing the bond.

Vot no on N


Posted by oldtimer, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:06 pm

"Since when does 62% of the citizens voting FOR a bond tell us what they don't want?"

When the bond doesn't mention branches and focuses on 2 branches! There, 62% voted for not upgrading our branches and instead concentrating our resources on a main library.

Branches are a relic from the past and we're stuck with them until we give this city a definitive answer that we aren't willing to waste millions of dollars each year maintaining an outdated and inefficient system. Voting yes on this bond not only increases our current debt but massively waste money in on-going costs in running this system.

Branches are in the past, get over it!


Posted by stocks, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Dow Down 6.14% Nasdaq Down 6.74%.


Posted by we need a modern library system, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:30 pm

"This is wrong and misleading on its face. CT Library is housed in a historical building *along with* a large PACCC facility. The building has been scheduled for retrofits FOR YEARS, EVEN IF THE LIBRARY WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE SITE!

The same goes for Downtown."

These "improvements" are being placed as part of the Library bond. Or, in the case of CT, not part of the library bond because the bond would be voted down if it was included so they're going behind peoples backs by not including it.

See, even the bond supporters know that including all the branches in the bond would make the bond fail. Don't you understand what that means? Palo Altans DO NOT WANT BRANCHES. I'll repeat that since you don't seem to understand it: PALO ALTANS DO NOT WANT BRANCHES.

We are wasting $8,000,000 on 2 branches that could be better spent elsewhere. If you want to upgrade these buildings as community centers then put out another request for that and see if you get them to pass. At present these are part of the overall library costs and you want us to ignore them.
You can't take out branches from the library system when it suits you and include them when it doesn't.
An $8,000,000 saving by removing these 2 branches is HUGE. To you and other library supporters it's just a footnote.


Posted by Cathy, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:46 pm

It is really a bad timing. As katie pointed out, the relatively new residents who already stretched a lot would have to pay the most money for the measure. A flat rate should be more fare.


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Here's another example of why we need to renew our library system, now
Web Link
Library use INCREASES dramatically in hard times. The hard times are here.

as for branch libraries, I think a look at this Google search will dispel any notion that they're going out of style
Web Link

in fact, many communities are not STARTING UP branch library systems to make their communities more walkable.

Vote YES on Measure N to keep our libraries open!


Posted by Katie, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Does Walkable mean only a few steps? Palo Alto is not a huge city at all.


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:56 pm

It also bears repeating that the VAST MAJORITY of Palo Altans like our branch system.

62%+ voted for the last bond. Let me repeat: 62%+ VOTED FOR THE LAST LIBRARY BOND. It failed only because we have a structural flaw in bond voting that lets a small minority keep a bond from passing.

Our public library infrastructure is bursting at the seams.

Some way the branches aren't well used? How about 140,000 visitors per year, NOT INCLUDING those who use those libraries on some remote fashion or other.

PALO ALTANS, BY A SIGNIFICANT MARGIN, LIKE OUR LIBRARY SYSTEM JUST THE WAY IT IS!

Of course, Measure N proponents NEVER say anything about the benefits of libraries, they just talk about how much they cost. They say the same thing about our schools and police services. We're dealing here with a small core group of fanatics that literally spend most of their time digging up unrelated numbers and spewing them as accurate, when they're not!

We're NOT spending $8M for CT library! That's a LIE!

The CT building is largely occupied by PACCC, and would have been remodeled, regardless!

STOP LYING ABOUT COLLEGE TERRACE!

One of the other things that Measure N opponents won't admit is that a defeat of Measure N will put our entire system at risk, with a strong possibility that it will close, piece by piece, over the next several years.

90% OF THE BOND IS GOING TO THE MITCHELL PARK COMPLEX AND MAIN.

BOTH libraries have been al but labeled as disgraceful by our own auditor. We can't even expand the collection, because there is no room!

Vote YES on N to keep our libraries open and sustainable.



Posted by libraries are good, pass Measure N, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Here's the kind of SOLID information on library benefit research that opponents of Measure N deny. They have no studies; they have nothing but the same old distortions.

Read this to get informed about how many benefits we get from our libraries.
Web Link

THis is what we stand to lose if Measure N fails.


Posted by who do they think they're kidding?, a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:03 pm

The benefits of using a library for research.
Web Link

Opponents to Measure N think that the INternet will replace libraries. Ha!

They want everyone to hole up in their rooms with a laptop. Doesn't this make anyone wonder about what kind of person would actually want to bring down a library?


Posted by we need a modern library system, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:04 pm

"62%+ voted for the last bond. Let me repeat: 62%+ VOTED FOR THE LAST LIBRARY BOND. It failed only because we have a structural flaw in bond voting that lets a small minority keep a bond from passing."

It failed because the small minority that support branches voted it down! 62% of Palo Altans wanted a main library as shown by the last bond! PALO ALTANS DO NOT WANT BRANCHES!

It is ONLY $5,000,000 for CT. I didn't say it was $8,000,000. It IS $8,000,000 for CT & DT! That's how much we're wasting on these 2 branches!

":90% OF THE BOND IS GOING TO THE MITCHELL PARK COMPLEX AND MAIN."

SEE!!! Even you know that Palo Altans DO NOT SUPPORT BRANCHES! Otherwise you wouldn't even be trying to point out that most of the bond is on the MAIN libraries. You KNOW THIS! PALO ALTANS DO NOT SUPPORT BRANCHES!
HOWEVER, we are still wasting $8,000,000 on these 2 branches and MILLIONS each year in on-going costs of maintaining these branches.

The City Auditor stated that it costs Palo Alto TWICE AS MUCH to run our current branch system compared to other cities.
Yes, that's right, we're paying TWICE AS MUCH for our libraries compared to everyone else. How can we keep going on like this? We need this to change! We need to take control of the library system from the same few people in our city that are wasting all this money.


Posted by Petra, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Since the oponents are only "a small minority", why don't you just take over the payment from such "a small minority". It's then done!


Posted by jt, a resident of Community Center
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:22 pm

The world's financial markets are in free fall, the Dow is down again over 700 points, and you honestly expect me to vote you $76 Million to build these oversized "book buildings" that we don't need. It's simple:

No on N.


Posted by stocks, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm

US shares slid as panic gripped world markets over the global financial crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 800 points during the session, slipping below the key psychological level of 10,000 for the first time since 2004.


Posted by No on the library bond, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:35 pm

In today's Daily Post there is an article about PA residents expressing outrage over the bonuses given to top city officials. Mayor klein is quoted as defending these bonuses. Mayor Klein is also the lead person on the argument in favor of measure N that appears in your ballot information. Given Mayor klein apparent cavalier attitude regarding our finances and the history of our council, in general, in managing our money, do really want to believe his arguments about why we need a $76 million dollar bond now (not forgetting the COPS the mayor is pushing for to fund the police palace)???
I would think long and hard about voting in favor of Measure N.


Posted by Petra, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:48 pm

So, I'm not supprised that the city managers are pushing for the measure. They can have more budget for bonus. What a joke! I'm determined with

NO on measure N!


Posted by community pride, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:48 pm

The crisis we are facing is a PERFECT time to invest in library infrastructure! We will have far more leverage with construction bids, and library use goes UP when times are hard. THis is PERFECT TIMING!

Just think of all the FREE services that come with public libraries. Children, student, senior, and professional development programming, + all the great database services. You get WAY MORE back than $139.00, or $400.00 or whatever the bond costs you.

Our library staff is TWICE AS EFFICIENT as neighboring libraries; we keep our wonderfeul branch system open for all of our community to enjoy.

All this will disappear if Measure N fails.

IF MEASURE N FAILS OUR LIBRARIES WILL CLOSE!

SAVE OUR LIBRARIES!

VOTE YES ON MEASURE N.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 1:53 pm

You call $78 millions as a free service?

No on N!


Posted by libraries are the best investment out there, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Libraries pay back anywhere from $1.30 to $4.60+ for *every* tax dollar spent on them. These numbers are the direct result of findings in 25 well-controlled and designed library valuation studies. So, these services are not only free, but citizens receive real payback on them.

Opponents of Measure N don't want this to get out, but it is, and it's showing results.

Vote YES on Measure N to keep our libraries open!


Posted by You can't be serious!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm

The bond in 2002 would have given us a 55,000 square foot library for $49mil. Now you're asking us for $76mil for a smaller 36,000 square foot library.

I voted yes in 2002, I'll be voting NO for this excessive bond measure. What sort of bond describes itself as "no frills" and then incorporates a café serving snacks and beverages?




Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 6, 2008 at 2:23 pm

How much of the $76 million is library related vs community center?


Posted by stocks, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Poll finds 6 of 10 believe a depression is somewhat or very likely - seeing 25% unemployed and millions homeless and hungry.



Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:10 pm

"The bond in 2002 would have given us a 55,000 square foot library for $49mil. Now you're asking us for $76mil for a smaller 36,000 square foot library."

Another distortion: In fact:
"The proposed $76M library/community center bond would be spent on three projects: a new combined library and community center at Mitchell Park of approximately 51,000 square feet; a 4,000 sf addition to and removation of 20,476 square feet of the Main Library; and a renovation of all of the approx. 9,000 square feet at Downtown Library. So the $76M will affect over 84,000 square feet of space, not just 51,000 sf."

Also, *every* new library on the Peninsula has a small area devoted to snacks beverages. People do bring their kids, who tend to get hungry and want a small snack or piece of fruit from a vending machine - and some adults may want a cup of coffee, from a machine. I wouldn't call that a frill, not in the 21st century.



Posted by Not Right, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

At the Los Altos library, there is a cart in a hallway, occasionally staffed, that sells snacks and drinks. Not a cafe, not a snacks area - it is a cart, in a hallway, near the entrance. If the cost was $1000, I'm surprised.


Posted by You can't be serious!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Yeah, right, paint & new carpet to 24,476 square feet of existing branch space suddenly becomes equivalent to a new 55,000 square foot library.

2002: $41mil for a new 55,000 square library
2008: $76mil for a new 36,000 square foot library.

Read it and weep. This bond is so sad.


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:32 pm

So Mike,

"This comment is so warped I don't know where to begin..."

I see I confused you by my remarks above. Using your example if a previous ballot was 62% Yes to 38% No.

You cant, by virtue of that vote alone, know what the 38% wanted in the proposal that would have changed their mind to vote yes.
You also shouldnt assume that the 62% that voted yes will continue to vote yes on a different proposal.

So there is little to be read into a simple binary vote.

Its subtle, but I believe if you think about it, its pretty straight forward to understand.


Posted by bells and whistles, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:36 pm

"Also, *every* new library on the Peninsula has a small area devoted to snacks beverages. People do bring their kids, who tend to get hungry and want a small snack or piece of fruit from a vending machine - and some adults may want a cup of coffee, from a machine. I wouldn't call that a frill, not in the 21st century."

Mike, this is a frill. If it was an essential part of a Library in the 21st century, why isn't it part of the proposal for improvements to DT & Main? You keep falling over your own arguments! There a ton of cost-cutting available in the Mitchell Park proposal but we're not going there. After all, we've already spent $1,500,000 on the design. Nice one guys!


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 6, 2008 at 4:59 pm

I'll make a different point from b&w about food in a library. Given the current library maintance, its pretty clear we wont be maintaining the new libraries either. As people spill their food / beverages on the carpet, it will take a toll and will attract insects into the library. Not really a good plan.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Since the City opened Mayfield soccer field and built a snack area, I have been there many times and never once has it been opened. It seems that no one wants to open a snack cafe there. I expect one at the library will be similar, just left empty waiting for someone to open one.

The only well organised snack shack is at Little League ballpark at Middlefield and they do it because they love the game.


Posted by Larry, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 6, 2008 at 5:36 pm

If availabilities of food and caffee is the core of the measure, I'm voting firmly for NO, not only in 21 even in 22 centry. Take your book and go to caffee shops.


Posted by but seriousl, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 6, 2008 at 6:13 pm

The coffee/snack cart at Los Altos Library s run by their volunteers, I believe. Non one is allowed to take food inside the library. I'm sure if they feel snacks are an essential part of the 21st century library, FOPAL will muster its supporters to run such a coffee cart in one -- or all -- of the splendid new libraries they want to have built here.


Posted by bur srsly, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 6, 2008 at 7:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by JSD, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 6, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Elizabeth said: "You may not agree with every last detail of the measure but I would ask you to consider if it represents a significant notch up from where we are... I note that no one is defending the current system as adequate."

I've thought long and hard about this measure. To me, one of the key determiners is that a "Yes" vote from me does not just commit my family's money to this measure, but every other Palo Alto property owners' as well. In order for me to make that kind of vote, I have to really believe in the measure. Unlike Elizabeth, in order to spend my dollars AND force every other property owner to pay (and unequally at that, thanks to Prop 13), I'd need to be a staunch believer in all (or nearly all) aspects of the bond. I would also have to have very little doubt about our city's ability and willingness to maintain so many facilities once they are built -- history, sadly, does not lead me to such doubtlessness.

I do not think $56M for a community center-library complex (Mitchell Park component of the Measure) for a town of fewer than 70,000 residents is a responsible expenditure, especially now. I do not think a $76M three-library upgrade (when coupled with the facts of a brand new Children's Library and a currently-upgrading College Terrace library) is a responsible expenditure, in line with the size of our community. I am convinced neither that a majority of Palo Altans strongly want 5 branches nor that anyone (FoPAL, LAC, City Council) has done sufficient research to know for sure. (Note: I'm not saying a majority don't support branches. I'm saying no one has convinced/proven to me one way or the other, and I've perused the poll oft-quoted in Measure N discussions.) More than $1000 per resident (not per family, not per voter -- per RESIDENT) is a huge amount of money to spend.

Yes, (to use Elizabeth's suggested metric) having 3 freshly updated branches (CT, DT, Main), and 2 completely rebuilt ones (Children's and Mitchell Park) would represent "a significant notch up from where we are". I think there are many other, more responsible "significant notches up" we could create for far less money and far greater sustainability. (Yes, I know that Children's and College Terrace are not included in this bond. But they are a part of the the big picture of overall expenditures on Palo Alto libraries, both in terms of one-time construction/upgrades and ongoing operational costs. I find the oft-used argument that Measure N isn't about branches a bit disingenuous.)

We each have different, personal standards when evaluating whether to vote on tax increases (which this basically would be). For me, I have to be solidly convinced that it would represent not only an improvement over the status quo (which Measure N certainly would be, no argument), but a reasonable, efficient, and sustainable one for the majority of the community.

I hope that our town can re-craft a great library system that fits the needs of 21st century Palo Alto. I see no reasons (other than territorialism, lack of openness to compromise, and a desire to have more than our neighboring communities), that would prevent it.


Posted by Library Facts, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 7, 2008 at 12:09 am

"2002: $41mil for a new 55,000 square library
2008: $76mil for a new 36,000 square foot library."

More lies and distortion, by 2-3 posters using multiple sigs.

Here's the facts:
The proposed $76M library/community center bond would be spent on three projects: a new combined library and community center at Mitchell Park of approximately 51,000 square feet; a 4,000 sf addition to and removation of 20,476 square feet of the Main Library; and a renovation of all of the approx. 9,000 square feet at Downtown Library. So the $76M will affect over 84,000 square feet of space, not just 51,000 sf.



[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2008 at 12:18 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 7, 2008 at 7:00 am

"If you want to see our neglected library system - on which NO money has been spent for 50 YEARS "

Mike,

If the city can not maintain a branch system, why would would we want to give them new buildings to not maintain?


Posted by You can't be serious, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2008 at 7:23 am

What are we getting in the 2008 bond?

In 2008 we are offered ONE NEW LIBRARY and some paint & carpets for the old ones. $76mil for ONE NEW LIBRARY THAT IS ONLY 36,000 square feet.
In 2002 the library was going to be 55,000 and ONLY COST $41mil.
WHY IS THAT? Why did we suddenly LOSE 19,000 sqare feet of library space and nearly DOUBLE THE COST?
Add in the College Terrace rennovation and the cost of this bond is really $81mil.
$81,000,000 for only ONE NEW 36,0000 sf LIBRARY! You cannot be serious! It really is DOUBLE THE COST that we was requested in 2002 for a MUCH SMALLER LIBRARY.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 7, 2008 at 9:46 am

With the many current examples of irresponsibility of government at all levels, I think it WOULD be better for our libraries to be run by "the county.." - as "Yes" seems to fear above - The Santa Clara County Library System appears to do an excellent job, and I do not get the impression they waste taxpayer money. Los Altos Library is part of this system and many Palo Altans use it as a superior alternative to the multi-branch Palo Alto boondoggle.

This is NOT the time for raising our taxes and for large government spending.

We already have huge problems in the state of CA.


Posted by Agree, Vote no, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2008 at 9:49 am

Good point on Santa Clara. Los Altos has a special library tax district where they add to the kitty to support longer hours. We could do the same, and reap the benefit of economies of scale and good management. We would still need to supply our own buildings, though - preferably just Main and Mitchell.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 7, 2008 at 10:31 am

A couple questions:

how much of the library bond would actually go toward "book and media" space vs a community center, mtg areas, snack bar, etc.

Why couldn't we renovate the good size bldg of the Mitchell Park community center as a library (doesn't seemed to be used for that much now)

Why don't we utilize our school libraries after 3 pm and on weekends for computer access, meetings, homework, research?

How many unique individuals (vs simple visits) use the DT and CT libraries? Is is the same 50 people going 5 times a week or 1000 people once a month? (I don't know the circulation numbers, just used those as an example). That makes a big difference to me in terms of their use. How many individuals would be affected by the closing?

The comments about our libraries closing if the bond doesn't pass, for many that is not a scare tactic - it is actually one of the big points of the bond opponents, that most of the libraries should close.


Posted by ranked #1, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 7, 2008 at 10:33 am

Why would we want to be part of the number one ranked county library system in the country? Web Link

Rank: #1
Library: Santa Clara County Library
State: CA
Score: 915

When we can pay twice as much as everyone else every year maintaining our libraries.




Posted by Yes on N - the smart thing to do, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 7, 2008 at 12:28 pm

"That's how much the floor space and additional work required for the cafe comes to!"

Another outright distortion. Most of that space is outside patio space that would be there anyway. Please give up your lies and distortions about the library.

another poster (probably one of the 2-3 people here who post under different names):
"In 2008 we are offered ONE NEW LIBRARY and some paint & carpets for the old ones. $76mil for ONE NEW LIBRARY THAT IS ONLY 36,000 square feet."

You are WRONG, DEAD WRONG. Again, here are some facts for you, from library administration:
"The proposed $76M library/community center bond would be spent on three projects: a new combined library and community center at Mitchell Park of approximately 51,000 square feet; a 4,000 sf addition to and removation of 20,476 square feet of the Main Library; and a renovation of all of the approx. 9,000 square feet at Downtown Library. So the $76M will affect over 84,000 square feet of space, not just 51,000 sf."


another poster:
"This is NOT the time for raising our taxes and for large government spending."

Essentially, it's been shown in 25 municipal studies that your tax dollar receives more than one dollar in return, in real dollars, when invested in libraries. That's a FACT. The last study was recently completed in San Francisco, and you can find it on their website. So, the $139 cost per year actually RETURNS MORE than that back to you.


Posted by Actually Gunn is strongly opposed, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 7, 2008 at 1:38 pm

On the south side of town we know the value of a dollar, and most of the Gunn community is aghast at the bond and the plan. Sure we want libraries - but not at these prices, especially after the school bond just passed.

Stop cramming over-priced projects down our throats! Get real!!


Posted by Gunn votes YES on Measure N, a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 7, 2008 at 2:11 pm

My Gunn neighbors would contradict what you just said. We just has a fundraiser last weekend where almost 300 people responded!


Posted by Actually Gunn is strongly opposed, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 7, 2008 at 2:14 pm

My invitation must have been lost in the mail. Fundraiser for what?? Every neighbor I talk to shakes their head over this bond.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Handmade truffle shop now open in downtown Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 3 comments | 2,542 views

Why is doing nothing so difficult?
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 1,140 views

Breastfeeding Tips
By Jessica T | 6 comments | 1,088 views

Who Says Kids Don’t Eat Vegetables?
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 916 views

Call it a novel: Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III
By Nick Taylor | 1 comment | 276 views