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Letter: Increasingly biased agenda on Athertonians blog

Original post made on Oct 30, 2012

With less than two weeks before the close of our election season voters in our community are being inundated with campaign materials in the form of fliers, ads, mailers and email communications. It is the latter that causes me some measure of concern, and the "Athertonians" Yahoo e-mail group in particular.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 12:00 AM

Comments (9)

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Posted by Library at Additional Cost to Atherton Taxpayers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Suzanne,

The Yes on F Campaign states that the Libary in the Park can be built with No Additional Atherton Taxpayer dollars. How is that possible? Can you verify that? Is a traffic light needed? How about a turn lane? Where will those funds come from?

If there is $5M in reserve funds, and it costs $6M or more to build will additional funds come from Atherton Taxpayers?

The new library has to take open space, yet the Yes on F web site does not state that. What do you think?


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Posted by Library user
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm

The town's ex-finance director Louise Ho told the council about a year ago that by the time the construction of a new library would be underway, the fund that could be used only by the library would have more than $8million. So no additional taxpayer money would be needed to build a library in the park.

As for traffic mitigations, the EIR said that any library option - including an expanded library at the existing library's present site, would have almost identical traffic impact. So it's a matter of spending the same amount of money on a traffic light and other traffic mitigations, no matter where the library is built/expanded. My understanding is that the money for the mitigations would come from the existing fund. Does anyone know if that's true?

As for open space, if voters pass Measure F, the town would be prohibited from taking away open space. If the library construction involved taking any open space, it would be illegal, according to the voter-approved restrictions.


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Posted by Library at Additional Cost
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

1... So the library needs $2M in additional taxes to be fully funded.

2....How do you have an understanding that the County library system will approve paying for a traffic light that Atherton already needs or is 905 driven by other needs that the library? Is that posted somewhere? I thought I read that Carlson asked that question and did not get an answer?

3. Open Space- A new library would take Open Space and Measure F does not state that it would be illegal to do so. The existing building is 3,800 square feet and the new building will have a footprint of 10,000 square feet. That's 6,200 square feet of open space.


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Posted by Library at Additrional cost
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm

That should be a traffic light 90% driven by other needs. Remember "Library funds can only be used for Library purposes.."


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Posted by library user
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm

LAAC, I don't know the answer to your second question, but the first one isn't difficult: the money will be coming in through taxes no matter whether a library is built or not. Taxes will be exacted; a certain percentage will be directed into the library fund, which can't be used for any purpose other than the library.

Regarding question 3: the city attorney's impartial analysis states that if Measure F is approved, it would "permit the City Council to direct that the Main House be demolished and a new library be constructed on that site, including the area where some surrounding improvements(sidewalks, patios, and the like) currently exist. There would be no reduction in existing parkland or open space, and the library could only be constructed in the Park at this specific location—in the area of the current Main House—and nowhere else in the Park."


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Posted by Library At Additional Cost
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 1, 2012 at 6:43 am

TO Library User-
1. If 80-90% of the traffic is not related to the library and library funds can only be spent on library needs, how
can you claim that the traffic light will be covered by the library funds. Additional town funds will be needed to pay for this light.



2. Measure F reads::: "Should the Town of Atherton construct a new library in Holbrook-Palmer Park using funds dedicated for library purposes only, by replacing the Main House and some surrouding patios and walkways?"

It does not read "open space". The Main House is 3,800 square feet- that means more than 6,000 square feet of "surrounding patio and walkways" to build a 10,000 square foot library. Patios and walkways are considered "Open Space".

Currently there is $5M in the fund and the library needs $3M more in "Additional Funds" raised from taxes and it needs the land donated.

A twenty acre park is a great place to build anything. How do you know people will turn out for this wonderful community center? The town has had the main house and the beautiful patio that surrounds it for 50 years and the community events such as the Town Bar B Que and Day in the Park have ended.

Is staff going to be hired to put on these community events? How can the library budget pay for Atherton Community events?

With Kepler's, the Menlo Library, the Circus Club, Stanford, Sharon Heights, Menlo Park, and the numeruos schools in the area all hosting events, the ending of Atherton's Town Bar B Que and Day in the Park-Do you think there is a possibility this library could be a White Elephant that forever changes our park?

Again- Why don't we test to see if these programs bring people before we turn over the open space? It maybe that people prefer to go to Keplers or any of the local schools or universities. Use the existing facility. Most people would prefer to be outside on the 6,000 square foot "non-open space" Patio and walkway.


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Yes on Measure F - Lying or Delusion??
Atherton, posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online
The just circulated mailer urging a Yes on Measure F states:
"Build Atherton's New library - No Cost to Taxpayers".

Either the supporters are deliberately lying or they are delusional to think that using money which has been collected from taxpayers is not using taxpayers' money.
I am not sure which is worse - lying or financial stupidity.


Comments
Posted by Save the park , a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm
This week's Almanac:
"After throwing considerable energy and support behind a library in the park, Councilwoman McKeithen acknowledges that the opposition may prevail. "If we had a level playing field, (Measure F) would have a chance," she said. But, she added, the Save Our Parks campaign has put out false information, and that may doom the project.
"But don't take my word for it," she said. "Do your own homework. Look at the documents yourself" before deciding how to vote""



Posted by Kathy McKeithen, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm
What a pity, Peter, that you did not think also to include the many falsifications and obfuscations told by the opponents of Measure F -
.... Should the word "additional" have appeared in the flyer sent out? Yes.


Report Objectionable Content ----------------------------------------

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm
Peter Carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

"Kathy McKeithen, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, 2 hours ago

What a pity, Peter, that you did not think also to include the many falsifications and obfuscations told by the opponents of Measure F "


James Dobbie:
"Peter,
If you are concerned about lies you should read the SAVE OUR PARK brochure."

How sad that two of our elected officials defending lying by saying that the other side is lying.

Report Objectionable Content


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Posted by Library user
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 1, 2012 at 9:34 am

LAAC, Oh my. It appears you didn't read my post carefully. I said I have no answer to your question no. 2, which involves the traffic controls. If you're sincere about using this forum as a means of honest, constructive discussion, shouldn't you pay more attention to what others are saying?

Regarding the open space question, I merely cut and paste from the city attorney's impartial analysis, included in the voters guide. His legal interpretation is that the library cannot legally be built on open space. Existing surrounding walkways and patios of the main house do not constitute open space.

And I find the financial figures you cite to be sensationalized. The fund, which can be used only for the library, is almost $6 million now (actually, that was last year's figure, it may have reached $6 million by now for all I know. The tax money will continue to be collected, whether a library is built or not, and no matter where the library is built. The money will flow in, and it can't be diverted for another purpose.

There may be legitimate reasons to oppose building a library in the park. I'm still on the fence, though I'm leaning toward a library in the park. But if you want to present arguments against it, you really need to present them in an honest way and drop the hysteria and hyperbole.


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Posted by Library at Additional Cost
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 1, 2012 at 11:15 am

Open Space Area:
"Open space area is usually defined by local zoning requirements.... open space also includes nonvehicular, pedestrian-oriented hardscape spaces."

If the city attorney had based his legal opinion on this definition, then the new library would be limited to the footprint of the Main House.

I know you probably can not answer the question, but do you know how the City Attorney could have missed that...." open space also includes nonvehicular, pedestrian-oriented hardscape spaces." and realized that a 6,000 square foot patio is "nonvehicular, pedestrian-oriented hardscape spaces and thus Open Space?"

and if you can not answer my question regarding that additional town funds will likely have to pay for the traffic light that is a possibility- Yes?

Is there a reason the council never put this on an agenda to make it clear?





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Posted by Library at Additional Cost
a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

LU,

Here is a thought as to why the City Attorney probably made a mistake in his definition of "Open Space". Tomorrow the town could remove the Patio an plant grass on a 5-6,000 square foot field.

One the 10,000 square foot library is built that can not happen.


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