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Revised budget would keep College Terrace Library open, limit cuts to teen programs

Original post made on May 22, 2020

Palo Alto would keep the College Terrace Library open, partially restore funding for teen and arts programs and limit its cuts to the Police Department under a revised budget proposal that City Manager Ed Shikada released Thursday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 22, 2020, 12:42 PM

Comments (15)

14 people like this
Posted by Gilbert
a resident of College Terrace
on May 22, 2020 at 4:40 pm

“The budget notes that "response times and ability to handle concurrent calls will be reduced evenings and weekends, resulting in some calls being handled by the County mutual aid partners.”

The city opted to keep library’s open instead of fire stations. This is nuts. You don’t need library coverage you need first responder coverage. When you call 911 you need them to come from as close as possible or you’re waiting ! You can drive to another library and no one will die.

The ability to handle call spikes and concurrent calls was already reduced two years ago. Now allowing the city to close down fire stations due to low staffing means you’ll wait 5-10 mins extra (or more) for someone to show up. They’re breaking the coverage grid leaving us vulnerable.

They’re cutting the budget to the fire department beyond what is safe and using fancy language to push it past us so they don’t have to here us complain about libraries.

22 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2020 at 7:25 pm

Important thing to remember is that libraries are used as cooling centres on hot summer and fall days. Many seniors in particular are living in older homes without air conditioning.

16 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 22, 2020 at 7:29 pm

Gilbert, I don't think they're closing fire stations; I think there's just discussion of not replacing the current fire station at Middlefield and Meadow with a brand new one like the one they finally finished at Newell & Embarcadero.

10 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on May 22, 2020 at 10:21 pm

This version includes $3.5 million in salary reductions for managers and professionals. The negotiations with the police, fire, and other unions are still ongoing. The police and fire departments can save some more of their colleagues with their own salary reductions, sharing the pain of everybody else in the city.

4 people like this
Posted by Aaa
a resident of College Terrace
on May 22, 2020 at 10:59 pm

Re: cooling centers

Didn’t the libraries close a couple of years ago because it was too hot?

Given they are going to be reduced, your seniors are going to need a solution in any case. Relying on a library to be open on the days that are hot rather than when scheduled isn’t a plan.

9 people like this
Posted by Gilbert
a resident of College Terrace
on May 23, 2020 at 7:18 am

Actually that’s exactly what they will be doing. They kept capital funding in place and will continue to build a brand new fire station. While they are doing that, they will be closing fire stations on weeknights and weekends when there are not enough personnel to staff them. It’s called “browning out”. They also couple that with cross staffing meaning the existing stations are doing double duty. It’s a much smaller force than we had even 5 years ago.

Thank you for the comment it was my exact point. I don’t believe most people understand what is happening due to the technical and vague language being used.

4 people like this
Posted by CC
a resident of Professorville
on May 23, 2020 at 7:28 am

Why fund the Police Department when everything seems fine right now? An economic catastrophe is looming and people will become desperate. The looting and robbing will begin, and many will see it as justified by economic disparities.

Hmmm, so which should we fund…. art and teen programs or the police?

18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 23, 2020 at 7:40 am


The old Mitchell Park library was continually closing when it became too hot for the staff to work. It was one of the arguments Alison Cormack used to get the building torn down and the new library built. It was "for the children" and now she is obviously not thinking about the "children" when she wants to make all these cuts.

20 people like this
Posted by TG
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 23, 2020 at 7:51 am

Managers and professionals are not always working near 100% of their capacity. With 15% "temporary" pay reduction, there is still fat in the structure.

Files and ranks are the people who deliver services to the community rain or shine. They don't have high wages and have no extra perks like managers and professionals to sacrifice during a challenging time like this. Asking the files and ranks to cut to the bone while the management group still has fat to spare is cruel

12 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 24, 2020 at 10:37 am

Children's Theater is fabulous. But, it really should charge for the kids to be in productions. Kids from all over come to try out because they program is free, where other communities have a significant charge. Give fee waivers, of course, where the family needs it. And not sure if this is PC, but kids in Palo Alto should have get priority (but maybe simply charging would be solution enough).

6 people like this
Posted by Budget
a resident of Midtown
on May 24, 2020 at 1:16 pm

I'm wondering why we are all accepting these as the only choices. Is there somewhere I can find the whole budget? Give me 5 minutes and I'll shave off the 38 mil (which I think will come back much faster than they are predicting - humans just don't predict very well, lol) without cutting anything a Palo Alto resident actually uses, needs, or wants. The only people yelling and screaming at me would be the people who haven't lived on a paycheck for way too long, and they can yell and scream their way right out of town for all I care - we need more humility in our government. Sometimes plain, simple and efficient is the best way, especially in a little place like Palo Alto - with what, 70,000 residents?

4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 24, 2020 at 3:04 pm

@Budget, at the end of the comments here, Pat Burt posts some links along with his budget commentary Web Link

7 people like this
Posted by Barron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 1:17 pm

Reductions in library hours is vastly preferable to closing down libraries. Think of it this way: libraries and other hyper-local community services are the windows into the "soul" and "feel" of a town. They truly make Palo Alto what it is.

I like the idea mentioned above of charging modest fees for Children's Theater, and provide waivers wherever needed (just like school lunches).

11 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of another community
on May 26, 2020 at 2:33 pm

Again, city managers office doesn’t lose one position? I guess call their office when your having a fire, medical or other emergency?

7 people like this
Posted by A PA resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 6:51 pm

Still they haven't touched city employee's generous salaries. And they get off every other Friday.
And PA residents are supposed to finance their generous salaries, when residents are facing
layoffs and pay cuts... I don't understand why no sacrifice can't be asked of them.
City manager makes $400K+. That's more than the governor of California, or even the president.

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