Letter: City needs better approach to library discussion | August 29, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Viewpoint - August 29, 2018

Letter: City needs better approach to library discussion

When the library-related City Council meeting is rescheduled (it had been scheduled for Aug. 21, but was canceled), I would like to see a different approach.

The canceled meeting's agenda combined five separate issues into one agenda topic, which limits public input. Instead, each item should have its own agenda topic.

I would also like to see agenda topics added to address the following questions:

1) Why do we need a new Main Library? (A new one might be a "nice to have," but why is it a "need to have?")

2) Why should a new Main Library be Menlo Park's highest spending priority? (With housing on top, and a new branch library added, the bond measure could be $100 million or more.)

3) How does a new Main Library fit into current Capital Improvement Project priorities? (We want to evaluate these projects as a group and in relation to each other.)

4) The currently approved CIP projects do not include enough financial information, available to the public, to allow us to evaluate our overall CIP obligations. What are those financial obligations? (We also need the obligations for the CIPs on the "futures" list.)

The Main Library project has raised serious concerns as to how we make decisions in Menlo Park. After researching the topic, I've become convinced that the city would benefit from a community-based strategic planning process. Among other benefits, a strategic plan would reduce the influence of special interests in our decision-making process.

So that we can have a healthy discussion on the topic, I hope that others will join me in reading "Elevating Trust in Local Government: The Power of Community Based Strategic Planning" by Rick Davis and Dan Griffiths.

Lynne Bramlett

Mills Court, Menlo Park


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