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YES on Measure N - for Our Schools, our Kids, and our Neighborhoods

Original post made by Yneb F., Midtown, on Sep 17, 2008

I've been watching the fight over Measure N. This surprises me because everyone I know is voting "yes" on Measure N. I think we're looking at a landslide.

What I don't understand is how anyone who cares about kids, schools, and neighborhood sustainability could oppose this bond.

Many cities have branch library systems, and they love them. I am grateful for all those who have worked so hard to improve our libraries, and urge all who are reading to vote YES on Measure N.

Thank you for your time.

Comments (58)

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 17, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Outside of the fact that the upgrade costs too much, it would be an investment in a service that is being supplanted by on-line access to the world of books. This will be faster and cheaper than building another large edifice.

There is a myth that we have a branch library system. Only 40% of residents live within 1/2 mile of any one of our libraries. And I wonder how many actually walk this 1/2 mile.

To maintain a costly 5 branch system dilutes our limited resources. Two or three libraries at most would be a far more effective and efficient use of our funds.


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Posted by Tired of library naysayer ignorance
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:19 am

"Outside of the fact that the upgrade costs too much, it would be an investment in a service that is being supplanted by on-line access to the world of books."

More misinformation. Library use has INCREASED since the inception of the Internet!

If only the few strident anti-bond people would get their facts straight, and stop inventing statistics and cherry-picking operational numbers (that the Weekly's senior editorial board naively buys into), maybe we could have an *intelligent* discussion about libraries in these forums.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] THINK about what it would mean to delay library improvements for ANOTHER 6 YEARS! THAT's what the "no on Measure N crowd wants, and six years from now they'll oppose the library AGAIN! For them, it's a game, for the rest of us, it's a matter of having a library system that Palo Altans have ALREADY SAID they want.

YES! on Measure N, for our kids, our schools, our neighborhoods, and our city's future!




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Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 6:59 am

GMC is a registered user.

Its going to cost me over $400 a year, increasing every year. What should I give up to afford that? A month of groceries? My Y membership? Contributing to PiE?
I am being stretched really thin, and I may soon be forced to refinance if my bank goes under. How can I come up with this $400 a year? You tell me.


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Posted by No on Measure N
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 7:19 am

Vote No of Measure N, why do I think this way. At $76M. it is far too expensive and a huge waste of money. I plan to vote against it because like GMC it's going to cost me more than I can afford, and that goes for many of Palo Alto's seniors on a fixed income.

I'm glad you rich people have money to waste, but I don't and I'm not alone. Vote No on Measure N, it is a huge waste of money.


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Posted by h
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 7:40 am

I'm voting No and so are most of my neighbors. Its a waist of money.


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Posted by anotherPTAsupporter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:04 am

For our future and the next generation, we ought to fight hard to the end. As a renter and a family with 5 kids, we enjoy everything offered by the city. Many cities have branch library systems, and we love them 2.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:13 am

Repeal Prop. 13 and Palo Alto wouldn't need to float bonds for library improvements.


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Posted by no on N
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:16 am

anotherPTAsupporter,

It is easy for you, a renter, to vote yes on a bond measure that will cost you exactly . . . $0.00.

For those of us struggling to keep our houses and pay our taxes in the current, uncertain economic climate, while watching the city squander our tax money in myriad ways, it really does't matter how much we love the libraries. The city needs to come up with a fiscally responsible plan to present instead of putting its hand out constantly for more and then wasting what it gets. If other communities can do it better, cheaper, why should Palo Alto be held to a different standard?


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Posted by No of Measure N
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:39 am

Repealing Prop 13 is a way of driving all Seniors out of Palo Alto and we make up 38% of the population.


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Posted by fiscal responsibility
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:43 am

Here's some info comparing city budgets & population. Population figures are from the 2000 census, budget is for the 2008 - 2009 fiscal year:

Los Altos budget - $28,478,684, pop. - 27,693, $/person - $1,029
Menlo Park budget- $36,678,597, pop. - 30,785, $/person - $1,191
Mt View budget - $86,205,161, pop. - 70,708, $/person - $1,219
Palo Alto budget - $146,571,000, pop. - 58,598, $/person - $2,501


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 10:08 am

My wife and I were supporting Measure N UNTIL we read about the over-the-top, off-the- wall, ridiculous 'bonuses' being larded out to city employees. That did it!! Most of them don't even live here. I'm voting NO at this point. There is no fiscal responsibility at City Hall - or oversight by the Council. Evidently the Council had no say-so on these bonuses - only lame-duck Benest - and he got one too. Bunch of fiscal dreamers. As for being green, I feel 'green' - sick at my stomach at the actions at City Hall. Maybe this dreamer do-nothing council needs to be recalled.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 10:43 am

Weekly

Why has the No article been locked but not the Yes article?

Couple of things.

PTAs is one thing (of which I don't approve getting political), but school administrators. Many of these school administrators are not even PA residents. Whereas I can understant them supporting libraries in general, they should not be involved in political support.

Also, renters have a vote on whether to pass this bond or not, but in actual fact it is their landlords who will have to pay. So, renters who don't think it affects you, don't be surprised to see how your rents escalate if this bond is passed.


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Posted by love schools and libraries
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 11:12 am

Here's some ACCURATE data showing Palo Alto libraries are run 2.5 times MORE efficiently, while open MANY MORE cumulative hours than neighboring libraries. THis means more story times, more places for kids to go after school, more homework help, more places for seniors and others to learn, and so on.

here's some good data

Spending per capita Library Spending Per Capita FY 2005-06, with per capita efficiency ratings for each city based on cumulative library hour service return for per capita investment (i.e. per capita spend[PCS]] **divided by**cumulative service hour [CSH]. PLease note that *the lower the number, the higher the library staff efficiency in terms of total amount of service hour delivery accomplished*)

Palo Alto's $97.01 per capita spend results in 238 cumulative service hours at 5 branches per week PCS/CSH = .41

Santa Clara $57.70 per capita results in 73 hours of cumulative service hours at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .78

Mountain View's $55.19 results in 56 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .98

Menlo Park $61.68 per capita results in 57 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .92

Sunnyvale $49.97 per capita results in 57 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week. PCS/CSH = .88

By this reckoning, Palo Alto library staff is 2-2.5 times *more* efficient than its municipal neighbors.

Also, I just spoke to another PTA member at one of the high schools this morning. They're coming on board within ithe next two weeks!!

YES! on Measure N :))))



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Posted by Number cruncher
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Cumulative service hours isn't a good way to measure efficiency (and neither is simple per capita spending). For example, if the libraries were open 24/7, but no one used them, then they would be horribly inefficient. Similarly, if the same number of people in Palo Alto use the libraries twice as much as in neighboring cities, then you would expect the per capita spending to be more.

The real way to look at efficiency is "cost per library use". The hard part here is how to quantify "library use". Is circulation a good measure? How about time spent per visit? I don't know what the best metric is, but it certainly isn't any of the efficiency claims proposed so far.


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Posted by Measure N, for good libraries
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by no on n, too
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 18, 2008 at 3:12 pm

dear measure N - closing all the branches except one is exactly what MANY of us want (Children's won't close, they spent too much remodeling it). Have ONE great library at either the Main or Mitchell park site, close the rest. We don't NEED to pass N. We need food, water, housing and meds. Many seniors and fixed income residents will forego some of these reals need if the bond passes.


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Posted by SAVE THE LIBRARY - YES ON "N"
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2008 at 3:19 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by This is wrong
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm

It seems really wrong how some posters are spreading what they must know is blatent mis-information. It amounts to a campaign "dirty trick." Saying that Children's Library will close, the entire system will fail if the bond doesn't pass - it is just made up.

It makes me sad and disgusted that one person (I think) is willing to stoop so low and really single-handedly drag our local politics into the gutter. There are reasons to support the bond - but they are not what this poster is saying. Please please stop - our town's integrity and civic spirit is worth a lot, and we all want better than this.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 18, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Yes, his tactics are hurting the very thing he is prompting. Kind of sad actually.


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Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm

The last two posters are the same people. Whoever this person is, he's been poisoning the well of this forum with multiple posts and lying about how it's OK if Measure N fails.

Our local politics is already in the gutter, when we have to endure blatant distortions about our library from people who claim that they "love libraries". These people were there in 2002 to make our library and community poorer. Now these same people are here again to bring down a bond measure that they know will destroy our library system. They know it's true. If Measure N fails, we stand a good chance of losing our entire library system over time, including Children's.

These same people will be there when our library system is down to it's last nub, complaining that we really don't need a library, just like they are saying today. Just look at their distortions!


This is just the beginning for people who hate our libraries, by acting as "concern trolls" so that they can finally have their way. They are not above lying to have their way. They did it in 2002 and they will do it again.

Vote YES on Measure N, so that we n o longer have to endure those who would shrink and destroy our public libraries.

Vote YES on Measure N


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm

We have no idea what will happen if we vote No. That is part of the problem as there is no alternative. So if we vote No, an alternative or two will have to come into play.

I am not sure about concern trolls, but I can see scaremongering trolls. Chicken Licken is just saying that the sky will fall if we vote No. There is no evidence that anything of the sort will occur.


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Posted by SAVE THE LIBRARY - YES ON "N"
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by no on n, too
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 18, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Being against N does not mean that I hate libraries, I actually love them, and read a lot. Being against N means I think that 5 branches are fiscally irresponsible - particularly in this economic climate. One great library plus children's is plenty. The world will not end nor will our library system will fail without this bond, sometimes the most creative solutions come from a challenge.


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Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 5:23 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by undecided
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Mike -

Your interpretation and computations regarding "cumulative service hours" is not useful.

It is a measure of how many buildings are open. It considers an hour open of a huge library with a large collection of books, media, internet access, other services to be of the same value as an hour open of a phone booth, if that phone booth is called a library.

You need to look at how many books and how much media is represented by the open hours and how many people are served by the open hours.

From that perspective, it's hard to see a way to call Palo Alto libraries efficient.

How will this bond help the libraries to be more effective at providing information to Palo Altans? Or anyone?



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Posted by JSD
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 18, 2008 at 7:46 pm

Since you keep changing your name, I will address my comments to "the CAPS-lover":

Please provide links to published data of what will happen to our libraries if Measure N fails. I know what you believe will happen; that is not what I'm asking. Provide us some 3rd party data, real information.

Your points will be stronger if you frame them around real information and statistics, rather than projecting how those of us with differing opinions feel ("Now these same people are here again to bring down a bond measure that they know will destroy our library system. They know it's true.") I could actually imagine there's a fair number of us who voted yes in '02 but are not leaning that direction in '08.

Also, your comment: "This is just the beginning for people who hate our libraries. . ." seems somehow ironic. I love our libraries and don't see evidence of them needing $75M of improvements. Improvements, yes. $75M, I'm not so sure, especially since I was not presented with any alternative plans. Seems to me that the ones who are demanding that we rebuild our libraries might be the ones who "hate" them (if anyone does).

Has anyone seen much info/discussion on what a "good" library will look like/include/be used for in the year 2020/2030/2040?


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Posted by he needs help
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 18, 2008 at 8:07 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Property tax bills will be dropping onto peoples doorsteps in the next couple of days. Some sticker shock for those with low assessed values now the $500 school parcel tax is included. Those with anywhere near market value assessment will be even more exposed.


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Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 18, 2008 at 9:30 pm

"How will this bond help the libraries to be more effective at providing information to Palo Altans? Or anyone?"

I don't know who "Mike" is, but how anyone can deny that multiple branches don't serve a community better is smoking something. Why do so many other cities in America have branch library systems? Library use here is about the highest in the state for a city our size. the branches make it possible to do more programming, and easier for people to _get_ to the library. Therefore, bringing the whole system up to date will make it even more efficient than it already is, which is 2.5 times more efficient than any other library system on the Peninsula.

Someone else above asked for data. There are reams of data showing efficiencies in the library threads. A common technique of those who want to hurt our library is to constantly invent new "variables" that prove their point.

See you in November...


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2008 at 9:04 am

Yes (the last one)

The data requested is about what will happen if the bond fails, not why it is good.

All the yes people want is to improve libraries and improve branches. I want to improve our library too. I don't like the scare tactics being used saying that we will lose our library. That has never been creditably mentioned. There is no facts that show that if the bond fails, the county will take over the library. Even if that does happen, why would that be wrong? Maybe that would be a good solution - we don't know because there have never been any facts put out telling us this.

The yes people want us to delve into our pockets and pay for something without giving us any alternatives. In fact, the alternatives may be better for us in the long run. In my home, I have to work to a budget. Sometimes I can't afford to give my kids what they want so I find a cheaper alternative to make them see that money doesn't grow on trees. Quite often the alternative is better for them and once they start using it they often agree. This is a good lesson for them and it should be something that as adults we can understand.

Apart from anything else, many people who live in Palo Alto cannot afford this bond even if they wanted it. The city has bad money management and is constantly wasting the money it already gets. The city has to understand that its residents cannot and should not be considered bottomless pockets whenever it has mismanaged its own money and can't keep come crying to us when it wants more.

And I am posting here under the same name on all these library threads, and for further information I was for the school bond even though I thought it was a bailout for past misdeeds in selling schools when they were closed back whenever. I don't want the city to lose the library premises, just close them as libraries and keep the facilities for future development for other amenities.


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Posted by Tired of library naysayer ignorance
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 19, 2008 at 11:08 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by historian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 19, 2008 at 11:13 am

But wait -- what do you mean, "credible critique of library operations?"

Didn't we hire a head librarian a few years back, who studied and recommended that the branches be consolidated to increase efficeincy -- and then she was pilloried and fired?

Why as that not a credible critique? Just because it came out in favo of closing the branches? Or do you have some other objection to that professional's objective analysis?


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Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 19, 2008 at 11:50 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by No on the library bond
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2008 at 12:00 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 19, 2008 at 3:24 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Pat Marriott is wrong when she says that no financial analysis was ever done to take a look at the cost of operating our library system. In fact, several years of deep diligence and many polls have gone into configuring a bond that the majority of Palo Altan's want.

In fact, Pat Marriott is wrong when she says there is no way to find out how much it costs to operate the library. Our City Accountant knows full well how much it costs. Why doesn't Ms. Marriott ask, or dig into the budget documents herself?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Ms. Marriott is also mistaken about why we have branches. We have branches because they WORK. Palo Altans benefit mightily from the branches. Students, small children, parents, seniors and others use our library to a degree that surpasses most cities our size.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Ms. Marriott, like so many others who complain about the cost of public services, never mention the BENEFITS of public service. All they see is how much things cost. This is not the kind of person who I would want advising me on good risk investments, with hidden leveraged opportunity.

Libraries provide intellectual capital; they're priceless. They give back more than they take – just like schools, churches, roads, police services, and so on.

What's particularly galling is that the Weekly let's Ms. Marriott go on about the costs of the bond in a way that completely exaggerates reality.

Ms. Marriott may love libraries, but she sure doesn't love 21st century libraries. She's enamored instead by some limited idea of what a library is – opining about library operations as if she herself has directed a library, or has special insights into the future of libraries. This penchant for technological prognostication abounds in technologists who think that their past positions as marketing or product managers gives them special insights into the future of any institution that uses technology. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I'm saddened that the Weekly would permit weak and inaccurate opinions to impact the very city that the Weekly profits from. Our community provides the Weekly with its bread and butter. It's about time that we began to see serious and responsible editorializing and more careful filtering of opinion-page material. I have written opinion pieces for other papers, and my facts are regularly put through the ringer before publication. Are the Weekly's opinion pages there to help the reader kill time, or to truly educate?

Measure N is our library system's last chance to repair itself. If it doesn't pass, expect Ms. Marriott and the rest of her small core group to keep hammering on the walls of our great library institution until it doesn't exist any more.

Vote YES on Measure N, so that Palo Alto can have – once and for all – a library system befitting the wonderful population that needs and supports it.

Our children, students, seniors, and many others love and need this library system; it's a part of who we are, and it's worth fighting for. Please don't let "penny-wise-pound-foolish thinking" rain on the future of Palo Alto. We're better than that, and deserve more than that.




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Posted by sigh
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 19, 2008 at 3:44 pm

As always, Mike, no one questions the value of libraries. It's just that our neighboring cities offer better library services, more square footage open more hours and all for half the price we're paying and they do it with half the staff. That is all from the audit report - you should read it sometime.

That you don't understand this shows that you shouldn't be trusted with any more money. This bond does not fix our libraries.


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Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 19, 2008 at 3:57 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by sigh
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 19, 2008 at 4:26 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Michelle Sanchez
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I am in favor of the bond, and appreciate what Yes on N is saying. I'm urging my neighbors to vote yes on this bond, and so far we all agree.


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Posted by JSD
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 19, 2008 at 5:18 pm

A few questions/comments for "Yes on N for our kids. . . "

1. "Pat Marriott is wrong when she says there is no way to find out how much it costs to operate the library."

I believe the comment was in respect to finding out how much it costs to operate each branch, not "the library" as a whole. (Here's a direct quote from the editorial: "In fact, there's no way to find out how much it costs to operate each branch. Sharon Erickson, former city auditor, said the city budget is 'tracked by type of expense and is not easily available by location."'")

Can you point us undecided voters to a per-branch cost analysis?

2. "to the vast majority of Palo Altans who love our branch system."

Herein lies the crux of the problem, for many Palo Altans -- is there a majority opinion on the branch vs. central issue? How (other than anecdotally) do you know it's a majority who favor branches in 2008?

I don't remember ever voting on keeping branches vs. a more centralized library. Please provide a link to data backing up your majority claim (and I do not accept a City Council decision as proof of a citizen-majority opinion).

This measure is the closest thing we'll have to a direct "branch vs. centralized" vote, I guess. Seems a bit backward. . .but I would love to be corrected and shown hard data (other than a poll of 600 people, of perhaps less-than-representative demographics).

3. "complains that the polling for libraries was done mostly among people over 30. I hope Ms. Marriott realizes – she would if she had done her homework, that almost 35% of Palo Alto's population is comprised of senior citizens."

If Marriott's numbers are correct ("in the 2008 poll only 9 percent of the 600 respondents were under 30, while 53 percent were over 50 and 13 percent were 75 or older"), 66 percent of the poll respondents were over 50. Is that truly representative of our population?

Is this poll data available online?

4. "Ms. Marriott may love libraries, but she sure doesn't love 21st century libraries"

I can't speak to Marriott's beliefs in this arena, but my own are that with this bond, we may be trying to jam a 21st century library into am early- to mid-20th century branch system.

To me, it smacks a little of us wanting to have our cake while eating it too. We seem to have library-envy over some of our neighboring communities' lovely new large libraries. Well, they're not saddled with so many legacy branches.

Can we have both? I guess the voters get to decide. It doesn't mean that most of those who end up voting "no" hate libraries or children or seniors or education or books - it means they have differing opinions about what is responsible or feasible for a city of fewer than 70,000 or what a 21st century library is (or they would like to see a few options fully investigated and presented, or they can't afford the increased personal expense in this economic climate, or . . .)

5. "not even once mentioning the close relationships and co-advantages that PAUSD and the branch system enable for one another"

What are these? I'd like to take advantage of them with my kids. After-school care? (If so, perhaps it's branch community centers we need more than branch libraries.)

6. "Measure N is our library system's last chance to repair itself"

Again, please point to some facts (not opinions) that this is the case. You've thrown around the label scare-monger recently, and so far, I'm afraid only you have fit that bill in this discussion.

7. As an undecided (but leaning against it) voter, I take umbrage at your repeated assertion that anyone voting against this particular bond is against libraries. While making yourself feel less frustrated (perhaps) by venting, you are doing your cause more harm than good with incendiary language. There are more than 2 sides to most coins in the modern world, however inconvenient and challenging that is for us to deal with in decision- and policy-making.


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Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm

"Can you point us undecided voters to a per-branch cost analysis?"
Go to the city accountant and have them ferret it out. Simple.

"Herein lies the crux of the problem, for many Palo Altans -- is there a majority opinion on the branch vs. central issue? How (other than anecdotally) do you know it's a majority who favor branches in 2008?"
Library polls indicate satisfaction with branch systems. Look them up. There is no hue and cry for one library. Show me otherwise. You can't, because Palo most Altans have repeatedly said they prefer the branch system. Go look up the polls.


"but my own are that with this bond, we may be trying to jam a 21st century library into am early- to mid-20th century branch system."
For your edification, do a Google search on "branch libraries" and see how many hundreds of thousands of hits you get, and how many tens of thousands of branch libraries there are. Branch systems are a proud and functional library legacy. Looks like your ideads about what constitutes "legacy" are somewhat outmoded, mate.

Again, show me ONE major effort by a significant portion of our population to eliminate our branches, ever. You can't, because the only reason this is brought up is to use it as a foil and cover to bring down our entire library system, which is likely to happen if Measure N fails.

We have an active children and teen school outreach effort, and homework help. It appears that you think students and children don't go to libraries to satisfy their wonder at the world; that they just go there to be baby-sat.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]







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Posted by JSD
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 19, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Yes on N for our kids. . .:

1. "Go to the city accountant and have them ferret it out. Simple."

Did you read my quote from the former city auditor? She said this data does not exist.

2. "You can't, because Palo most Altans have repeatedly said they prefer the branch system. Go look up the polls."

I'd love to - where are they?

3. "do a Google search on "branch libraries" and see how many hundreds of thousands of hits you get, and how many tens of thousands of branch libraries there are. Branch systems are a proud and functional library legacy. Looks like your ideads about what constitutes "legacy" are somewhat outmoded, mate."

And how many of those branch-library systems are there in towns of our size? How many towns of 70K people have _21st century_ branch libraries? If we had unlimited funds and resources, we'd almost all vote for fully expanding/udpating all of our current libraries.


4. "It appears that you think students and children don't go to libraries to satisfy their wonder at the world; that they just go there to be baby-sat. "

Since I don't really know where this conclusion is coming from, I can't begin to address it or how you could presume to know my philosophies on children and students. I asked what the PAUSD-Library synergistic programs were, since you said they exist.

5. " take umbrage at the repeated attempts by those who are - like yourself - *willfully* ignorant of the many benefits that our library brings to Palo Alto,"

Attempts at what? Gathering information (rather than emotional vitriol) with which to make an informed decision as a voter?

I'm interested in your leaps of logic: You know about me only 1) that I'm undecided on how to vote on this _particular_ measure and 2) that I have concerns about weighing updated-ness with maintaining 5 branches. Yet, somehow, you have concluded that I am "willfully ignorant" of the benefits of our library.

6. "And yes, there are always two sides to every argument, and in some cases one of those sides is dead wrong."

Actually, what I said was "There are more than 2 sides to most coins in the modern world", which I firmly believe.

I have no delusions of changing your mind about this bond issue. You are clearly passionate about it. I simply asked for you to back up your very specific claims with facts. It seems pointless to ask again. I would ask you to please read other posters' comments carefully before responding to them.

Also, I have never met Wayne Martin or Pat Marriott, nor (until this issue) have I read any of their writings. You obviously have strong feelings about them personally on issues beyond Measure N. It is simplistic to automatically lump anyone not wildly waving the "Support Measure N" flag into one group, personified by 2 people.


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 19, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Public libraries were essential in the old world, with the web we have a dramatically better knowledge archive.

The Palo Alto libraries are now too much of a video store and a day care center for the vagrant, the aged and the lonely, with no social workers.

I have always found the staff great and pity there having to put up with the smelly, disruptive vagrants.


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Posted by Yes on N for our kids, schools and community
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 19, 2008 at 9:16 pm

JSD,

"Did you read my quote from the former city auditor? She said this data does not exist."

The data does not exist in a way that makes it easy to access, but it exists. 90% of the bond is going for Mitchell and Main.

The polls are on the City website; it's difficult to ferret them out because the city screwed up the website rebuild. Go figure.

I mentioned children and teen programs; go ask any librarian. There are school and teenn programs aplenty. I don't have time to list them all, but they are prolific and much loved. the branches enable multiple programs simultaneously.

There's a lot of information available about the library in the library. Also, read any one of several forums to get good information from those who aren't trying to sabotage the library. Do a search for "palo alto online, libraries" - voila!

All of my positions have been backed up with facts - from polls, from actual library data, and so on - again, search the archives. here's something that someone posted above - it's excellent!

here's some good data

Spending per capita Library Spending Per Capita FY 2005-06, with per capita efficiency ratings for each city based on cumulative library hour service return for per capita investment (i.e. per capita spend[PCS]] **divided by**cumulative service hour [CSH]. PLease note that *the lower the number, the higher the library staff efficiency in terms of total amount of service hour delivery accomplished*)

Palo Alto's $97.01 per capita spend results in 238 cumulative service hours at 5 branches per week PCS/CSH = .41

Santa Clara $57.70 per capita results in 73 hours of cumulative service hours at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .78

Mountain View's $55.19 results in 56 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .98

Menlo Park $61.68 per capita results in 57 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week PCS/CSH = .92

Sunnyvale $49.97 per capita results in 57 cumulative service hours of library services at one branch per week. PCS/CSH = .88

By this reckoning, Palo Alto library staff is 2-2.5 times *more* efficient than its municipal neighbors.

Also, I just spoke to another PTA member at one of the high schools this morning. They're coming on board within ithe next two weeks!!

YES! on Measure N :))))

I'm off to a movie....bye!





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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 20, 2008 at 10:02 am

I'll make one attempt to show why your numbers dont make sense.

If I had 5 cars in in driveway, I could claim that I had more car available hours than my neighbors. If I only drove one at a time, I could claim my average car costs were better than my neighbors. Now why dont I have 5 cars in my driveway? Because that would be a foolish waste of money. I only need 1 and once I reduce my car ownership to reflect my real need, although my average car cost goes up, my total cost of ownership goes down.

What people are looking for is an answer to why we need 5 branches. You never really credibly supply it, you just return to your standard false metric of looking at how cheap this is per hour. If those hours aren't needed, we are wasting money. Our neighbors have demonstarted that they can do just as much as us with fewer libraries and less money.


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Posted by library user
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 20, 2008 at 2:06 pm

It's reasonable to justify extra costs with extra value.

But your analysis is inconsistent.

Instead of looking at value, you are looking at branches. Not media available, not content available, not square footage, not even an analysis of time required to get to the branches. Not even a measure of how "green" use of the library is (the most green usage would be digital access from home). Or how many additional functions it provides.

You are inconsistent because you argue on the one hand that new, impressive buildings will add value. But on the other hand you argue that the most tiny, decrepit, hot, unsafe branch contributes the same value to library users as MLK library in San Jose. Because that's what your "cumulative hours" thinking entails.

Cease and desist! You are hurting the campaign for the library bond.


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Posted by we must support measure N
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 20, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Yes on N for our kids has made the most valid points here. One thing that surprises me is that opponents of N don't fess up to the fact that 90% of the bond is dedicated to Mitchell and Main. Why do they keep avoiding that fact? Gee, these buildings haven't been repaired in 45 years, and Mitchell has to be rebuilt - it's falling apart at the seams.

The few people here who are determined to vote no on N continue to resist the following facts:

1) Many hundreds, sometimes more than that, use our branches every day after school for homework, intellectual recreation, research and so on.

2) The branches have senior programs and lecture programs for boomers and parents, and other populations.

3) The branches contribute to walkable neighborhoods, with many thousands of Palo Altans able to walk to the library.

4) Palo Alto's branches are open a cumulative 236 hours, which means that there can be different children's programming on Saturday mornings that kids can walk to with their parents. THis is really cool because kids and parents can learn together, develop early language and communication skills together, and look for new books together, and then walk back home.

5) Seniors can walk to local branches, especially downtown and College Terrace. Both of those neighborhoods have a huge senior population.

6) 'Yes on N' has pointed out some studies that show library value. I checked a few of them out and they conclude just what YON says, that libraries actually pay back a positive return on taxpayer dollars, within a city's normal payments for libraries. This includes branch systems.

7) Many cities Palo Alto's size, and smaller, have branch systems, for all and more of the reasons I mentioned above.

Also, having branches is far greener than having just one branch that everyone has to drive to.

And, our community has already spoken on the issue of branches. they like and want them.

I know this won't change the minds of the anti-N people, but this is the reality. Another thing that I'm really worried about is what will happen if we don't pass the bond. We will not be able to repair our broken library system, and we will not get the needed room for expansion of the collection, and we won't be able to put physical handling technology in place for lack of room, which means we won't be able to create staff efficiencies with technology.

Honestly, I have a hard time seeing the logic in the anti-N voters here, and I do agree with what YON says about how much money it has already cost us because a few people worked so gard to defeat Measure D in 2002. Gee, that loss cost us 30 million dollars. Can you imagine? Why are we even discussing this.

We need to pass Measure N, because we might very well lose our library system if we don't, and we will cripple the ability to improve a library system that our own auditor says is in need of major overhaul.

I'm voting Yes on N because it really IS the right thing to do foro our kids and schools and seniors and everyone else YON says. Thanks, YON!


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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 20, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I'm curious whether it would make a difference in the equation if the City of Palo Alto were to create a shuttle route that allowed seniors, parents and toddlers, etc. to get to one or two branch libraries easily and reliably. I don't really know yet how I feel one way or another about the bond, but with all the controversy it seems like a good time for creative compromises. Has anyone talked about this idea already? It would enable one library to have many more books instead of having to order them from branch to branch, and it would maybe be more efficient. I grew up walking to the College Terrace library and sitting in the big tree outside the children's room reading the books I checked out. It was wonderful, as so much of Palo Alto was back in the 60s and 70s, but things change and maybe it would be worth thinking of ways to make the libraries more efficient and still affordable and accessible. Any thoughts? (no flames please).


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Posted by Mia
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 20, 2008 at 7:54 pm

"I'm curious whether it would make a difference in the equation if the City of Palo Alto were to create a shuttle route that allowed seniors, parents and toddlers, etc. to get to one or two branch libraries easily and reliably. I don't really know yet how I feel one way or another about the bond, but with all the controversy it seems like a good time for creative compromises."

This is a GREAT idea! It's incumbent on our policy makers to create policy incentives for more public and private mass transit - Jitney's, coach, school bus, shuttle bus, minibus, double-decker, road trolley...these are all businesses waiting to happen, if the right incentives and intra-transport corrdinations are put in place. So, where are our policy makers on this question? It's time to get busy!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2008 at 9:07 pm

We must

You have made an excellent list of reasons why a central library with community centers that have checkout/drop desk for "on hold" materials is a great idea. The following two posters make a lot of good sense with the idea of shuttles - which I have just advocated myself on the thread started by Paul Losch.

I am not in favor of the city disposing of the premises of dt and ct, on the contrary I think they must remain city property and become community centers. However, I do not think that they need to have fully stocked shelves of books and fully manned with librarians. The story times, the cooling centers, the community classes and everything else can still take place at these community centers without the library being missed. If we are able to order our books online and wait til an email arrives before visiting a library, which I understand more of more of us do all the time, then that can still continue at a community center.

Libraries are different now than they were 50 years ago. The community center has evolved also. Without the books and librarians at dt and ct, the evolution at these sites can continue and keep ahead of the curve rather than dragging along behind it.


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Posted by we must support measure N
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 20, 2008 at 11:32 pm

"I am not in favor of the city disposing of the premises of dt and ct, on the contrary I think they must remain city property and become community centers. However, I do not think that they need to have fully stocked shelves of books and fully manned with librarians. "

In fact, CT and DT do not have "fully stocked shelves", nor are they manned by a full library staff. They are very lean operations, with minimal staff input. Thus, their even greater value to the community.

Lots of planning , community feedback, and consultancy has gone into deciding how the library will evolve over the next 20 -30 years. There is even a highly experienced technology team looking at the future of library technology. I've met some of these people they are the best and the brightest.

Trust me, the library is going to be great, and provide even those who have doubts with a great experience that they will be proud of!


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 21, 2008 at 7:00 am

"Trust me"

See thats the crux of the problem. I don't trust the library supporters to delivery a system that the city can afford on time and on budget. They have no skin in the game.


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Posted by John S.
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2008 at 8:01 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Sorry John
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 21, 2008 at 8:09 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by stop with the insults!
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 21, 2008 at 8:34 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 21, 2008 at 9:06 am

But back to my question about shuttles and a compomise. Is there really nothing in between shutting down all the libraries and destroying them, and keeping them all open at a cost that could really hurt a lot of Palo Altans? Personal attacks aside, does anyone but Mia have any thoughts about why my idea might or might not work?


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Posted by John S.
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2008 at 9:14 am

I like your idea, but can we count on City Council to help create these transportation alternatives?I don't know if I would bet on that. I think what we have is ideal, but we need to upgrade. And I don't think it will hurt a lot of Palo Altans at all! Libraries help Palo Altans. What would really hurt would be if we lose our libraries! That's why we need to vote yes on measure N!


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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 21, 2008 at 9:57 am

John, when I say it would hurt a lot of palo altans, I mean that on top of the $500 that has now been added to our taxes we are faced with additional bond taxes for the library. Libraries are great. Of course they in themselves are not destructive. That would be silly to argue. But what about the cost? Is there seriously no alternative? And also, when you say you don't think you could count on City Council to help create the transportation alternatives, it seems that is the objection so many opponents have to the bond measure in the first place -- you CAN'T count on City Council to implement sensible, cost-efficient programs.

The polarization over this measure seems to be getting in the way of creative thinking. That is very discouraging.


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Posted by John S.
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2008 at 10:04 am

Well, natasha, we did not increase out taxes! Where did you get that idea??

More than 80% of us voted for the school bond, and we did _not_ increase our taxes. Why do you say that? the bond was simply a continuation of an old tax, so that we could keep our schools in good repair, and competitive. There was no increase...none.

Libraries help our schools and kids to be even more competitive and up to date. our libraries are in horrible shape, and are bound to disappear if we don't pass measure N!

Natasha, please vote for Measure N, for our schools, our kids, our seniors. Why should we punish our kids by not providing them with safe, clean, and up to date buildings? Why should our kids not be able to have the same great collection of books that otehr communities have. This is what Measure N will provide!

yes on N!


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