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library thoughts

From: domainremoved <Katie>
Date: Wed, 23 May 2018 12:52:07 -0700

Dear City Council,

I'm sorry that I missed the chance last night to weigh on the library. I've
been deeply conflicted about this issue and can really see both sides.

On the one hand, we have a good-enough-for-now library and council chambers
that are serving the community adequately. And we also have urgent traffic
and housing issues that hamper the quality of life of residents in a much
more palpable way. The council has been trying to stay focused on a short
list of big goals, even when opportunities present themselves, so I wonder:
what makes this opportunity different and special? Why couldn't we make
exceptions for other opportunities like the HAWK beacon on Middlefield?

And yet I also believe that a great library has the potential to connect
our community and change lives in ways that other major capital projects
(e.g. the garage!) do not. Our current library is the one place in town
where homeless people can go and use the internet, read, take shelter from
the rain. It's a place where kids can do homework, adults can take literacy
classes, nannies and parents can bring their kids for story time, etc. It's
the place where cosplayers can show up and celebrate their love
of/addiction to comic books. It's a safe space, a growing space, a fun
space, a community space. What other public asset offers so much to so
many? And how many more could we serve with a larger, more flexible
facility?

Mr. Arrillaga's offer simplifies the process immensely. Cost overruns will
not fall in the city's lap. And it will be a building that we can be proud
of.

But what really makes this compelling to me is the rare opportunity it
gives us to address our need for transit-oriented, affordable housing. We
need to do this somewhere, ideally west of 101, and the civic center is an
ideal location, with buses and trains, childcare, sports activities, and,
yes, a library, all close by.

Raj Chetty's groundbreaking work on equality of opportunity
<http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/> has shown the dramatic effect of
location on upward mobility. Giving parents the opportunity to live closer
to where they work would enable them to spend more time with their
children. Giving children access to our wonderful public amenities and
schools would help them thrive.

Rezoning civic center land for affordable housing will not be as popular as
building a big beautiful library. There are those who will grumble about
traffic, about school crowding, about trees, etc. But isolating all
affordable housing on the other side of the freeway, amid a burgeoning
industrial zone and a troubled school district, will only exacerbate the
vast inequality in our community. I urge you to stick to your guns and do
what you know to be right. This is nothing less than an investment in our
future.

Thank you for your thoughtful leadership.

Best,

Katie

PS: As you encounter opportunities like this, I urge you to ask Alex and
the rest of the team explicitly about opportunity cost. What projects will
be delayed or sidelined so that staff can work on the library? And if, for
example, transportation projects and funding are not in any way compromised
by this project, that would be reassuring to know as well.

-- 
Katie Behroozi
650.804.1812 (cell)
Received on Wed May 23 2018 - 12:53:53 PDT

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