Letter: Has town lost its soul over library issue? | April 4, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Viewpoint - April 4, 2012

Letter: Has town lost its soul over library issue?

Last week my daughter came to visit us in order to prepare for an upcoming wedding. We spoke of her childhood, her friends, of growing up in Atherton, of events in Atherton today, of a potential new library, and some pretty hostile sentiments against it.

She told me about a close childhood friend of hers from Atherton, now living in San Francisco, working at a major investment firm, with a new child and who was looking to buy a home. My daughter asked her if Atherton was a possibility and was told, "Never would I think to raise a child in Atherton — it has no sense of community." She was going to look in the East Bay.

As a longtime resident and representative council member of Atherton, my response to this sentiment was one of profound sadness, yet, given recent events, complete understanding.

When I hear someone at a meeting discussing a possible new library say that we can put children in the basement, because "they don't need a view," when I read in a comment letter that the "'busyness' of a contemporary library/community center poses a risk greater than the benefit," when a council member repeatedly objects to our park as a site for a library because it will bring into it people from other communities, I realize that we have become a town of beautiful gated homes but are at risk of losing our soul.

Kathy McKeithen, Atherton City Council member


Posted by William, a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 29, 2012 at 9:22 am

The Soul of Government should be to do the will of the people. Let the residents decide. The council should listen to the Park and Rec Commission and let the residents vote on this. A 3-2 concil vote to change the park forever against the will of the public is wrong. The exisitng library has a reading park and a picnic area and can be expanded. No need to put children in a basement, and no need for a County Library in Atherton's Main Park when Redwood City and Menlo Park are close by.

Posted by Is that a joke?, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Apr 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm

[Post removed. Please debate the topic without characterizing your opponent with terrorist allusions.]

Posted by Colleen , a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

There are both pro's and cons to having the library in the park. I think what the real issue should be is do we want a community meeting place/center in the park. If it is just a library I do not think it is a good idea. If it offered the same things like Menlo Park has I do think it is a good idea. For example Little House offers an amazing service to the community. Wonderful light tennis courts, off lease doggie play hours, learning programs (everything from computers to dance)..... What gets me is how Atherton doesn't even want a scoreboard for kids sports, or off lease doggie play hours, but is all all over putting a library in the park. Unless you make it so there is something for everyone in Atherton we may have another Selby Lane, or Water Temple issue. If all Atherton wants is a community library then we need to meet the needs of the community in the area of Watkins, and that includes a hugh spanish community. We need to get Fair Oaks center involved. When asked who's name, and number to put on a spanish speaking flyer only one city council member told me to use Denise Kuppermans name, but wasn't sure.
At one point in time a dog trainer offered to start an off leash doggie play group that you bought into. Your dog was temperament tested and you would pay a reasonable yearly fee to have you be able to go off leash in a certain area with a trainer on site, but Atherton shot the idea down. At the same meeting of shooting down the dog park idea one mans little girl was riding her bike on the walking path she was told this path was for walking and to ride her bike in the parking lot. It was a tricycle. Members of Atherton's Park & Rec told a little girl to ride her tricycle in the parking lot. I wouldn't have believed it unless I heard it with my own two ears.
I think if you took it to a vote with the town of Atherton right now as it stands it would be voted down. If you included something for everyone it would stand a chance of passing. Myself and a number of other people would vote yes if there were off leash doggie play hours. We are one of the few towns that do not have a dog park. For others with an older community in Atherton having a Little House would be a draw. Currently we need to go to other communities for community bonding. If it is just going to offer a play ground & library then we need to get the 5th Ave community involved. I am sure if the Atherton library is build in the park they will choose Atherton over Redwood City.
I am in support of the library in the park only if you offer a number of other services. If not then I am not. A dog park for Atherton like other towns is important to myself & others AWAY from the playground. The Park needs more parking spaces.

Posted by registered user, Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm

The $8 million that is burning a hole in the Town's pocket can ONLY be used for library purposes - which does not include any of the very commendable things that Colleen has suggested.

Posted by Colleen , a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 2, 2012 at 8:17 am

First of all they already have the perfect spot for off leash doggie play hours. A small group of residents were getting together. Then someone called everyday at the same time each day complaining to police for a couple of weeks. Other cities have it why can't we. Second if you build a library with rooms why can't we sub out to a company to provide services like Little House. Have bus tours leave from HPP like Little House. As far as food allow high end catering trucks permits to be at the park and serve food. The ideas are endless to bond this community together. A library alone will not bond Atherton together. If they just want a library alone then there main focus should be for Denise to work with the Fair Oaks Center on Middlefield Road to find out how to design a library to fit there needs.

Posted by Walt, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm

It does not seem possible that the library funda can pay for the traffic light on Middlefield and the right turn lane at El Camino Real?

Posted by Is that a joke?, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on May 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm

It never ceases to amaze me how consistently McKeithen blames others for exactly the offenses she has committed! If this town has lost its soul it is because every one with real soul who even slightly disagrees with Ms. McKeithen or has other ideas is attacked and run out of town. [Portion deleted.]

Posted by spite doesn't make right, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

McKeithen may or may not be right about the library.
But she will surely qualify as the real McCoy as long as the Hatfields are throwing barbs over the fence like the post above.
If you really want ten more years of this internicine cat fight, go ahead and vote Didi back in.