Logo


Menlo Park City Council Email Log

[ Home ] [ City Council ] [ Search ] [ 05/06 Archive ] [ 07/08 Archive ] [ 09/10 Archive ] [ 2011 Archive ] [ 12/13 Archive ] [ Watch City Council Meetings ]


AGAIN WHAT IS THE RUSH ON THE LIBRARY - CIVIC CENTER

From: domainremoved <Rachel>
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2017 19:12:40 -0700

Dear

Title Email Phone
Keith, Kirsten <http://menlopark.org/directory.aspx?EID=61> Mayor Email
<kkeith_at_(domainremoved)
Ohtaki, Peter I. <http://menlopark.org/directory.aspx?EID=62> Mayor Pro Tem
Email <piohtaki_at_(domainremoved)
Mueller, Ray <http://menlopark.org/directory.aspx?EID=59> City Councilmember
Email <RDMueller_at_(domainremoved)
Carlton, Catherine <http://menlopark.org/directory.aspx?EID=58> City
Councilmember Email <ccarlton_at_(domainremoved)
Cline, Richard <http://menlopark.org/directory.aspx?EID=60> City
Councilmember Email <racline_at_(domainremoved)

650-575-4523

AGAIN THE BELLE HAVEN NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE CITY OF MENLO PARK, IS CONTINUED
TO BE IGNORED. WE COME TO THE COUNCIL MEETINGS TO EXPRESS OUR NEEDS AND
TIME AND TIME AGAIN WE AREN'T TAKEN SERIOUSLY. TRAFFIC AND EDUCATION ARE A
MAJOR PRIORITY. WE NEED A NEW STATE OF THE ART LIBRARY BUT IT ALONG WITH
THE CIVIC CENTER MAIN LIBRARY CAN WAIT. THE CIVIC CENTER HOUSING IS A NEED.
THE LIBRARY IS A WANT. I AGREE WITH THE LETTERS BELOW WRITTEN AND POST
BY Jen Wolosin Resident, Menlo Park AND Lynne Bramlett, Library
Commissioner


*Rachel M. Bickerstaff*
*MERDOM*


*"the daughters fingerprints of success"415.264.7216 - Direct*





*La Poll Realtorswww.lapoll.com <http://www.lapoll.com/>[image:
file003.gif]*

[image: photo]
*Rachel M. Bickerstaff*
COO, R Bickerstaff Consulting/MERDOM/La Poll Realtors
415.264.7216 | RachelBickerstaff_at_(domainremoved)
 | P.O. Box 2471, Menlo Park, CA 94026
<http://linkedin.com/in/rachel-bickerstaff-b872a026>




Dear Mayor, Council Members and Staff,


I’m writing with public comments on staff report 17-243-CC or “Approve Next
Steps for Library System improvements.” I’m out of town, so cannot attend
the October 10, 2017 meeting. If present, I would ask you to NOT APPROVE
the report for the following reasons:

1. *The process of developing this report completely bypassed the
Library Commission*. We learned about the report *after* it was attached to
the agenda packet. If there had been an urgency, a special meeting could
have been called. In any other town, building consensus would be expected
of staff. If you approve this report, it sends a message that it’s okay for
staff to bypass citizen advisory groups and to develop their plans in
isolation. Instead, please establish process expectations by informing
staff that they need to work to obtain consensus before sending major plans
on to Council for approval. City staff are here for the residents and they
need to work collaboratively with us.

2. *The report is inadequate in its current form*. The background
section paints an inaccurate picture of the approval process. It omits any
mention of the meeting where Council re-thought their approval and the many
public concerns raised about accepting the donation. The Analysis section
is also too general and the milestones need more specifics as well as
estimated dates. The suggested new Belle Haven Neighborhood Advisory
Committee largely bypasses the current Commission which is fully in support
of Belle Haven and trying to hold library management accountable for
improving library services in the area. The document should detail the role
of the current commission in the "library system improvement" process.
While a steering committee will be needed, more stakeholders from the Belle
Haven community should be included. (The current commission may also be out
of compliance with Municipal Code governing libraries. I raise those
concerns later.)

3. *The document lacks adequate budget details*. The document does
not breakdown the additional $140,000 that staff wants for the Branch and
what the requested $1M will be spent on. A current library budget that
breaks out the Branch’s overall share should also be attached for
transparency. On a related note, I’m attaching my rough estimate of the
Branch’s share of the overall library budget. The public and members of the
Commission requested this information, but did not receive it, so I
prepared an estimate based on then publically available information. While
my budget estimate needs to be updated to reflect the proposed $140,000
requested for the branch, the current estimate shows that per capita
library spending in the Belle Haven area is *significantly* lower than the
rest of Menlo Park. The Belle Haven residents pay taxes and they should
receive an equitable share of library services.

4. *The report inadequately justifies why a new library management
position is needed to oversee the project. *A significant portion of the
library budget goes for personnel costs. The job descriptions for current
employees should be attached as well as a job description for the new role.
The report should include current staffing and planned staffing, such as
the replacement position for the Project Read coordinator. The library
should also explain why current employees cannot manage the project. The
library should also factor in volunteer help to manage the project, such as
through the Library Commission. Many of us would welcome a more involved
role. More justification of personnel costs should be included.

5. *There was significant public opposition to this project, yet
nowhere in the document are the public’s key concerns listed and how the
library plans to address them.* Omitting the public’s concerns is one of
the most troubling aspects of this document. In this way, the document
presents a biased document rather than an accurate record. If Council
approves this document as written, you send the message that staff doesn’t
need to present the full facts and can instead present information that
only supports their agenda. Please stand up for transparency and an
honoring of the residents who take the time to attend and speak at Council
meetings and to write Council.

I also want to raise general concerns about the role of the Library
Commission and the need for more management and operational oversight into
the library. Unfortunately, the Commission, in its current role, is not
able to give adequate oversight into library management and operations.
Meaningful information is not shared with us and requests for information
are often ignored. When we raise concerns or make suggestions that staff
might not like, we are reminded that we are “advisory only.” This results
in wasted time and opportunity. I have been an active commissioner, working
in a hands-on way, and I have concluded that my time spent trying to help
the library improve its services, based on best practices seen elsewhere,
is mostly wasted. In short, I consider the Commission’s current advisory
role to not be meaningful.

Our neighboring cities don’t seem to have the library-related problems that
I see in Menlo Park. For example, Redwood City and East Palo Alto have
worked to serve all members of their community with library services. The
Redwood City library consistently wins major library rewards as does the
overall San Mateo County Library Joint Powers Association. If our neighbors
can do this, Menlo Park can too.Yet, the Commission continues to hear
complaints from the public about the library disparity in Belle Haven and
the too slow replacement for the Project Read coordinator.

As part of providing better library services for all of our residents, I
recommend a strengthened the library commission with a meaningful role.
First, our town may be out of compliance with the Municipal Code Governing
Libraries
<http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=EDC&division=1.&title=1.&part=11.&chapter=5.&article=2>.
The code clearly reflects the need for library governance for this
important town institution. The word “may” has been interpreted as “shall”
in many cases, such as in Berkeley (where the Board has hiring and firing
power), to towns such as Newport Beach
<http://newportbeachca.gov/government/open-government/agendas-minutes/board-of-library-trustees>
 and Woodland
<http://www.cityofwoodland.org/gov/depts/library/board_of_trustees/default.asp>
(where
the board has a middle level of authority). In our town, the Library
Commission has no real governing power. So I suggest that Council ask the
City Attorney to determine if Menlo Park is out of compliance with the
code. If deemed out of compliance, the Commission could work on updated job
descriptions for the Commission and also Library Management to reflect
needed changes. Should Council need a general overview into California
Library structure, the California Public Libraries Report
<https://www.library.ca.gov/lds/docs/CAPubLibOrg_2013.pdf> provides needed
details.

Longer term, I have become convinced that Menlo Park would benefit from
joining a regional library solution in the form of the San Mateo County
Library Joint Powers Authority <https://smcl.org/jpa-governing-board/>. By
joining the JPA, Menlo Park would share in county-wide library programming
and outreach services such as the bookmobile. I’ve visited many JPA
libraries and I’ve been extremely impressed with their exemplary service to
the public and innovative programming. The San Mateo County JPA libraries
are consistently named a 4-star library by the *Library Journal *and they
currently rank 2nd in California and 18th nationwide. Clearly, there are
some best practices here for our consideration. Through economies of scale,
and the sharing of ideas, the San Mateo County JPA libraries deliver an
excellent library experience to users.

Sincerely,

Lynne Bramlett, Library Commissioner











FYI - Here is what I sent to City Council: Dear City Council Members, This
email is in regards to Agenda Item I2, the Library. After reviewing the
Staff Report, I remain concerned about this project for the following
reasons: Not Enough Community Feedback While there is community feedback
built into the siting of the new library, there has been insufficient
community feedback as to whether or not Menlo Park wants and/or needs a new
main library. If City Council votes to move forward with this project,
Menlo Park will be on the hook for at least $30 million ($20 million of
construction costs and $10 million of soft costs). We should slow down and
make sure this is something we truly need and want as a community before we
rush into this big commitment. If you want to spend money on outreach, use
it to see if residents even want a new library. While it’s nice to hear
that Mr. Arrillaga is open to adding affordable housing to the project,
which our city desperately needs, the Staff Report hedges this idea
multiple times with words like, “may, could and possibly.” Some who may be
troubled by the use of city resources for a new library may be supportive
if this project included needed housing...but it is impossible to know at
this stage what is really being suggested. Again, slowing this down and
obtaining community feedback now would help illuminate these nuances. Other
Real Priorities In addition to community engagement issues, I am also
troubled that, once again, other previously identified city priorities will
need to be demoted and delayed to accommodate the library. With many
staffing vacancies in Public Works, especially the Transportation
Department, and many open projects and other safety-related projects that
need to be addressed, now is not the time to add “nice-to-haves” to our
work plan. Everyday kids getting to school face unsafe walking and biking
conditions. What is the status of the Willows Complete Streets/Laurel
School Project, the Belle Haven Cut Through Project, the City-Wide Safe
Routes to School Program? And that’s not even mentioning Safe Routes issues
that have yet to become Council priorities like Santa Cruz & Sharon Road,
Olive & Santa Cruz, the HAWK on Middlefield, Laurel & Encinal, to name a
few. Please allocate funds and resources towards our city’s basic needs
before indulging in unnecessary projects. Special Treatment There is also
the issue of this project getting an immediate $1 million, a new staff
person and a higher contract award authority to the City Manager. Yes,
“free” money is exciting, but does a new library (or community center, or
whatever it ends up being) deserve all of this urgency, changes to our
policies and resources when there are other, bigger issues facing our city?
Belle Haven Finally, it is not fair to the residents of Belle Haven to hold
the Belle Haven library improvements hostage to the main library project.
You should make immediate improvements in Belle Haven, form a Belle Haven
Advisory Committee and get going on real change in Belle Haven, regardless
of the main library. This should have been done long ago. To see these
concessions, only now as a form of appeasement because of Arrillaga’s
offer, is insulting. All this being said, please slow down and first see if
this is what our city really wants. If Mr. Arrillaga can’t wait for us to
do this right, then maybe that’s something to which we should pay
attention. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Jen Wolosin
Resident, Menlo Park

Create your own email signature
<https://wisestamp.com/email-install?utm_source=promotion&utm_medium=signature&utm_campaign=create_your_own>
Received on Tue Oct 10 2017 - 19:17:54 PDT

[ Search ] [ By Date ] [ By Message ] [ By Subject ] [ By Author ]


Email communications sent to the City Council are public records. This site is an archive of emails received by the City Council at its city.council_at_(domainremoved)