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Atherton meets on library in park

Original post made on Mar 5, 2012

Atherton residents who want to learn more about and comment on a plan to build a new library in Holbrook-Palmer Park will have opportunities at three community meetings in March that will focus on the design and size of the facility, as well as its programs.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, March 4, 2012, 11:28 PM

Comments (16)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 5, 2012 at 1:20 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This project planning is getting a little ahead of the citizens whom it is intended to serve.

1- Compliance with the Brown Act:

There is no formal public notice of this meeting on the Town's web site nor is it included on the Town calendar.

Unfortunately letters do not satisfy the requirements of the law:

1. Regular Meetings

Each legislative body, except for advisory bodies and standing committees, shall provide for the time and place for regular meetings by ordinance, resolution, or by-laws. (§ 54954(a).) If a body calls a meeting at a time or place other than the time or place specified for regular meetings, it is either a special or emergency meeting. Accordingly, the body must satisfy the appropriate notice requirement, and should indicate the type of meeting on the notice. Even where it is not required, the body may wish to provide additional notice in the form of the type
of notice and agenda provided for a regular meeting.

Meetings of advisory bodies and standing committees for which 72-hour notice is provided, pursuant to section 54954.2, are considered regular meetings. (§ 54954(a).)

A. Agenda Requirement

At least 72 hours prior to a regular meeting, the body must post an agenda containing a brief general description of each item to be discussed or transacted at the meeting, including items to be discussed in closed session. (§ 54954.2(a).) The Act makes it clear that discussion items must be placed on the agenda, as well as items which may be the subject of action by the body.

The purpose of the brief general description is to inform interested members of the public about the subject matter under consideration so that they can determine whether to monitor or participate in the meeting of the body.

2 - I hope that a majority of the Library Committee will NOT be in attendance as that would constitute an illegal meeting.

Sadly, this particular committee continues to ignore its obligations under the Brown Act.

3 - The Town has already issued an RFP for this project which states:
"Successful completion and certification of the EIR, general plan amendment, Parks Master Plan, and zoning amendments for Holbrook-Palmer Park within the timeframe established in the project schedule. "

I have no personal position on the location/relocation of the library but I do feel that complying with law regarding notices of meetings and ensuring opportunities for public comment are important. And failure to abide with the law creates opportunity for any opponents to stop this project in its track.

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Posted by Again
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm

The "vocal" group of residents opposing the Library in the Park out numbered those in favor of a library in the park by a 2-1 count at the last city council meeting.

There is really no need to have more meetings outside of council meetigs about this issue.

Please make the meeting a joint session with the council, that is where the conflict needs to be resolved. The conflict is that 3 members of the council oppose putting it out to vote.

Some residents will favor open space and others will support a library in the park- there sis no conflict to resolve.

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Posted by Westside Trucker
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 6, 2012 at 10:18 am

I am opposed to the library in the Park. Why tear down that building that fits with the rest of the park and replace it with a modern thing that will eventually become a convention center, another pavilion, another Internet cafe, or an administration building. Why are 3 people deciding? Put it out to a vote.

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Posted by what?
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Denise Kupperman of the library steering committee said the meetings are being facilitated by Shauna Wilson Mora of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, and David Schellinger of Lowercaseproductions, a San Francisco "branding" and information design firm.

Conflict Resolution Center consultant being paid out of library funds? You just have to be kidding? This consultant should spend some time with the Town Council as they have enough conflict to last for months of work. This is such a joke for the Town. Can it get any worse?
The answer to this conflict resolution is a ballot measure so people can vote on the conflict. Duh?

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Posted by Vote
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

So much effort is being done, so much money being spent, and so much time wasted to avoid putting it out to vote. Six months have passed since the council was presented with 300 signatures requesting a survey or vote of the town. The objection of the council was it would take too much time and cost to much.

For any meeting to have results and turn out, it will need to be a council meeting with minutes.

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Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Isn't it ridiculous that Ms. McKeithen wants the town to spend $8M on a new library and destroy the park when there is a perfectly good library that can be easily and economically upgraded for less than $100,000? Atherton residents want that surplus to go to police services, not just create make work jobs and construction on building a facility to be used by other communities. She's got her priorities all wrong. $8M could go to expand the police department and its facilities, and safety is our number one priority.

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Posted by Correction
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 7, 2012 at 5:27 am

"Ridiculous", you've got it wrong. None of that money can be used for the cops or any other Town operational expense. It can only be used for the library.

To your point, however, Atherton would do well to keep its only park as open space and renovate the library in its existing place. With $8 million, there are many possibilities, including making the Council Chambers a "meeting room" within the new facility ...

The Town could pull out of the Peninsula Library System and go it alone. That kind of money gives the Town lots of options.

Instead, the Council majority (McKeithen, Widmer, and Dobbie) seem hell bent for leather to change the face of Holbrook Palmer Park forever.

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Posted by what?
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 7, 2012 at 5:47 am

Ridiculous would like to use the $6-8,000,000 accumulated library funds for other purposes like police services and perhaps a town center building. Unfortunately, that is not possible under California law based on a property tax formula put in place in after Prop 13 was passed.
An explanation from the Assessor office:
Property Tax Apportionment
The distribution of property tax collections to the individual taxing jurisdictions. The Property tax Division develops the apportionment factors which are applied to assessed taxes. The current system for allocating property taxes is governed to a large extent by two bills developed by the Legislature nearly 20 years ago - SB 154 and AB 8.

SB 154 was enacted immediately following the passage of Proposition 13. Under SB 154, a local government's share of the property tax was based on the share of the property tax going to that local government before Proposition 13. AB 8, enacted in 1979, provides a methodology, whereby, the increase or decrease in a local governments share of the property tax is based on increase/decrease in property values in that jurisdiction and the county.
So the funds can only be used for the library and it is burning a hole in the collective pockets of some on the council. Meanwhile, other functions of town government are short-changed, witness outsourcing and cutting of staff. The town administration building is an disaster and unsafe. The police department is on a strict monetary diet with their effectiveness reduced and with a majority of the council members gunning to reduce salaries and benefits in the next police contract negotiations next year. This will will further degrade the department, and, if successful some of the best officers will transfer to other agencies who pay more. At the same time the Parcel Tax will expire in FY 2013-2014 and the council will be trying to sell renewal of the Parcel Tax proclaiming they need it to fund police services and other safety measures.
I do not know if the property tax apportionment can be changed as that is done on the State level. It is the obvious solution as we build a library we don't want and the rest of the town services are being denigrated. How do change at the State? Are we stupid.... or what?

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Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Mar 7, 2012 at 8:30 am

Fortunately there is a way the surplus can go to the town and to be used for police services. Charles Marsala outlined this several years ago. He was right and remains so. If the town sold the library the existing council chambers building, the library could remodel its existing facility and expand into that building with a portion of the funds not used to buy the chambers building with. The town will have sold an old building that is not needed for the new town center, and received money that can go for the new town center and the police department. It makes a lot of sense for both parties, town and library. It's a win/win. And Marsala got this approved by the Peninsula Joint Powers authority already. I hope he runs to replace McKeithen this year.

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Posted by Get with it
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Ridiculous, didn't you get the memo? Diverting the library funds to the cops/new Town Center happens AFTER we stop the new building from being built. Now's not the time to talk about it.

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Posted by Win Win
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm

[Post removed. Please focus on the topic, not personalities.]

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Posted by Vote
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm

The issue is "Do the residents of the town want a regional library in the park?" and the council should let us vote on that.

If the library needs more space an option is to expand into council chambers. The council could decide if it wants to give the land to the library or seek some type of compensation.

The Town should not just turn over the park land to the library. It should seek some type of compensation.

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Posted by Get with it
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm

The post above by Vote is the clearest indication thus far that the whole dispute about where to put the library is really about pilfering the library coffers to give money to the cops and the new Town Center.

"If the library needs more space an option is to expand into council chambers. The council could decide if it wants to give the land to the library or seek some type of compensation."

>>> Exactly coincident with the Ponzi scheme proposed by Charles Marsala.

"The Town should not just turn over the park land to the library. It should seek some type of compensation."

>>> Compensation for cops and building a new Town Center for them.

[Portion removed. Please discuss the issues and do not launch personal attacks against others.]

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Posted by County
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 8, 2012 at 10:35 am

If Atherton is going to build a County Library in Atherton, why not ask the county to pay for part of the expenses? Why not put the Library in Flood Park?

When the main house is gone the town will need to replace those offices and storage areas? This should not be done at Atherton's expense.

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Posted by Little League
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

The Park generates $90,000.00 per year in rental income and it will lose that with the library in the park, why not charge the county for some of this expense? Don't use it for the Town Center or Police but for the Park.

Tbe council charges little league for expenses. If the town does not need the $90,000.00, why charge little league or other youth sports to use the park?

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Posted by 21st century
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm

All cities who are spending millions on new libraries need to enter the 21st century. Books are well on their way to being obsolete.

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