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Atherton council, again, rejects survey on new library

Original post made on Nov 22, 2011

One thing is clear in Atherton right now: Residents have not come to an amiable agreement about whether their new library should be built in town-owned Holbrook-Palmer Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 12:00 AM

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Posted by Grassroots Effort
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

From the Almanac September 13, 2011:
“Councilwoman Kathy McKeithen, who served on the library task force, forcefully debated several residents who challenged her defense of the park as the optimal library site. As Ms. McKeithen urged the residents to better inform themselves about the proposed project, former mayor Dudley, just a few feet away, spoke passionately with several residents about the need to preserve the Main House.”

From the Almanac November 22, 2011
“Councilwoman Kathy McKiethen, who is on the committee that came up with the recommendation to put the library in the park, had a two-page summary of the reasons she is against a survey. Among the reasons was that, due to complexity of the issue, "it would be impossible for a resident to make a knowledgeable response to the supposedly simple question 'do you favor a library in Holbrook-Palmer Park?'" “

Information that is slowly being revealed:
1. Redwood City and Menlo Park do not belong to the San Mateo County Library Joint Powers.
2. Atherton Park would be the site for a county library up to 15,000 square feet.
3. The county has developed numerous library events and programs.
4. The majority of people using the current Atherton Library come from outside of Atherton and that number is expected to increase with the new library.
5. This would be built with approximately $8,000,000 from in Atherton Property Tax dollars and no county tax dollars.
6. Staffing would be funded solely by Atherton Property Tax Dollars.
7. At the November council meeting 75% want a survey.
8. A recent email survey of 1500 residents with 170 responding showed that 75% want a ballot measure and do not agree with putting a County Library in the Park.
9. The Park receives $5,000.00 per wedding.
10. Due to the small size of the Pavilion, the park is only renting for weddings during the Summer when the patio can be used for dining.
11. The former town employee who handled weddings is gone. She recommended increasing the size of the Pavilion to book Winter events. The Council refused.
12. $5,000 per event is profitable, but rather than increase annual revenue by Winter bookings. The council opted to stop all weddings to make way for the County Library.
13. In an effort to cancel events, the council has never accepted the fixed costs to operate the park, but rather assigned a large percentage of those costs to events.
14. Now that Public Works submits a report showing how much revenue is being lost, council does not “Believe” the findings.
15. A Ballot Measure would allow both sides to give 200 word statements in favor and opposed to a library in the park.
16. A Ballot Measure would allow both sides to give 200 word statements in response to the statements of the other side.
17. With 800 words of information and other information that could be provided from websites, house parties, and mailings; residents would make informed decisions.
18. At this point two council members can block the opinion of the Park and Rec Commission, 75% of the people at a council meeting, and 75% of the people responding to a survey.
19. What we do not know is if a county library in the park is strongly desired by 20 residents, 50 residents, or a majority or the town.
20. Hopefully a grassroots effort to force the council to inform the residents of what is really being planned and have A Ballot Measure.

Like this comment
Posted by Stop it
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm

[Post removed. Too much speculation about behavior and motives of named people. Discuss the issue without attributing evil motives to those who disagree with you.]

Like this comment
Posted by WaltKelley05
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 23, 2011 at 9:34 am

WaltKelley05 is a registered user.

This story is worth being on the Almanac's Home Page under Town Forum, Local News,or Today's Hot Topic. The large turn out at the council meeting shows Atherton's interest.

Many or interested in the story and may not click through to find it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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