|They don't look especially dangerous ...|
The persons on the other end of this spectrum are those who believe that Sierra Madre should accommodate large amounts of high density development, lot splitting, McMansions, Metro, Edison and as much in taxation as possible. Or at least the taxation necessary to support as much government as a town of almost 11,000 people can stomach. After all, it is the services of these agencies that make the world go around. Or so they say.
Caught somewhere in the middle of all this is the Sierra Madre Public Library. Of course, a lot of this is due to our idiosyncratic village politics. Certain past City Councilmembers, especially those who favored the Downtown Specific Plan and opposed Measure V, seized upon the Library as proof of their love for preserving what is truly good about Sierra Madre. While at the same time throwing the rest of the community to the dogs.
This while those claiming to want to save this place from overdevelopment viewed the Library issue as a distraction from far more important things. A kind of community white elephant that is nice and all, but just not that much to be concerned about. Certainly not when there is a town to be saved.
Our divided opinion about the Sierra Madre Library continues to this day. Right up to the kind of yard sign you might currently have in your yard.
But we're not talking about that right now. Well, at least not entirely. Instead I would like to take a different view of this situation and see if we can't begin to develop a more positive perspective. Because maybe the old one is no longer correct. And possibly it never was.
Does support for the Library automatically mean support for McMansion development at One Carter or Mater Dolorosa? I doubt that's the case.
Leaving the politicians out of it, I would argue that many of those who fear the Library might end up being axed due to the financial constraints this community anticipates in the post double-digit utility tax era, are actually preservationists. They see a Library as an essential ingredient in preserving that small village atmosphere we talk so much about.
Also quite a few of them are the parents of elementary school age children. In its timeless wisdom the Pasadena Unified School District chose to do away with its school libraries here, which means education conscious parents are now dependent upon our public library for books. Outside of buying them outright, they really don't have much of a choice.
And when you consider that our two PUSD schools achieve the highest API scores in the entire system, and do so year after year (link), do you really want to criticize these parents for the job they are doing? Along with the teachers that work at these two schools? People who seem to be quite skilled at making due with whatever bizarre handicaps their rather strange employer throws at them?
So to give you my shortest possible answer to today's question, I would say yes. Many of our town's passionate supporters of the Library are actually preservationists. A small town without a Library would not live up to their vision of what constitutes a properly preserved and quality community. And what kind of traditional village wouldn't have one? It is a valid question.
So rather than two opposed groups with irreconcilable differences over development and/or a library, instead we have two communities of preservationists who have been played off of each other by some very cynical anti-preservationist politicians. Along with the big development interests whose water they carry.
Maybe we need to work up a new perspective on this issue. Rather than just pushing Library supporters into the arms of those who view our quaint town as a place to make money through the kinds of development that almost everybody here does not want. Sierra Madre Public Library supporters included.
Who knows, maybe both sides will wake up and realize just how much they need each other.
An apology of sorts
Yesterday I said I'd be posting some of the documents obtained through a PRA based on the mysterious fate of Sierra Madre's Sex Offender Ordinance. I've now decided to push that off for a little bit. There are a couple of things I haven't quite figured out yet, and rather than just throwing that stuff onto this blog I'd be better off taking the time needed to get it right.
However, if you want to see the documents that I was sent by City Hall, please e-mail me at email@example.com. I will happily send them to you.
Free of charge.