The logic is simple. Atherton has money, set aside for the library, based on distributions from Proposition 13. By the time the library is built that amount will be about $8 million, enough for the building.
This money can be spent only on library projects. Approximately $720,000 in library funds accumulate each year and if the library is in Holbrook-Palmer Park, some of this money can help pay for much needed maintenance
Whether the library is in the park or in the site of the present library, the draft environmental report concludes the traffic problem, if any, will be the same.
Considering that Menlo Park and Redwood City have excellent libraries, it is highly unlikely that everyone will decide to use our new library. The park will provide a beautiful serene setting highly desirable for this building
Even at the present, train noise at the library and Council Chambers is overwhelming to say the least. If high-speed rail goes ahead there will be years of construction, pollution, shoefly tracks, visual blight, catenaries and 20- to 30-foot berms, increased vibration and then a huge increase in train traffic. Not the site for a library.
It is illogical that the same City Council members, who are against the library in the park, want to continue weddings there, which caused serious parking problems, especially on weekends when many residents would want to be there. Those weddings were almost always for non-Atherton residents and despite statements to the contrary, lost money.
Where is the logic?
Those who are concerned about the loss of green should know that the library at 10,000 square feet replaces the main house and no green space is lost. It is noteworthy that the tennis courts serve only 29 Atherton residents yet take up more than four times the space of the library.
Council members are elected to represent the best interests of the residents and they will not always agree, but the democratic system works when members support council decisions even if not unanimous.
Calls for referendums are misplaced in this instance, where more than 50 public meetings have been held and over a dozen community meetings.
The issues have been intensely studied by volunteer committees for over two years. In addition, in a referendum large amounts of money can be spent to influence the outcome by only a very few.
If a small number of residents focused on decisions made by other than logic stop the library construction it will be golden opportunity lost for the town.
Jim Dobbie is a member of the Atherton City Council.