Posted by Very Tas, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Jun 13, 2006 at 12:02 am
I can gurantee that if The City puts both a library bond and a police building bond measure on the same ballot, neither will pass. Only one should be placed on the ballot, and I recommend the public safety building bond.
I doubt you can really guarantee this. How much are you willing to bet? ;)
Perhaps both initiatives will pass on separate ballots, in different years. (both may not make it to ballot in the same year). Who knows.
In any case, Palo Altans love their library, and they will come together when the time is right to create a gift to themselves and future generations by voting to tax themselves for the great benefits a sustainable library system will bring Palo Alto now, and in the future.
Mitchell Park Library can be upgraded as already planned, and expanded modestly by utilizing the space between the library and the community center. Ongoing funding could come from a parcel tax, and state grants could be used for capital improvements. If grants don't materialize or if they are insufficient, perhaps a fund raising drive would raise the money for the limited expansion. I personally would vote for a parcel tax to support library needs on an ongoing basis and would vote for a bond issue for the public safety building.
The Mitchell PArk Library is the _only_library that serves South Palo Alto, compared to four libraries that serve the North. The Mitchell Park Library is highly constrained, and will not even come close to meeting the future needs of the fastest growing part of Palo Alto (South PA) if it is expanded in the limited way that you suggest. Walk into Mitchell Park at 3pm any weekday afternoon - it's a nightmare, and embarrassing for a community like Palo Alto. Also, consider that Cubberly may very well be re-converted to classroon use - putting even more pressure on Mitchell.
Your suggestion - if realized - would result in an inefficient solution that will force our city to face the library issue AGAIN, some 5-10 years hence. That is not the way to build 'smart'. Let's do the library 'right' this time, and build for the future of what libraries are fast becoming - cultural centers for all, with new uses evolving faster than you or I can count them.
I am concerned that neither the Library Advisory Commission nor the Council are even discussing the possibility of modestly expanding Mitchell Park Library. Perhaps a survey asking residents which option they prefer (a brand new large building or modest expansion with upgrades) needs to be done before a bond measure is put on a ballot.
In fact, City Council and the LAC have spent hundreds of hours considering many, many options. This doesn't include additional hundreds of hours of time that our wonderful and cramped library staff has spent on the issue. A community survey has already been completed.
Next steps are to look into what's possible on the Mitchell Park site, and how Mitchell can be built out to accomodate the needs of Palo Altans, and our library system's future.