Monday, October 23, 2017

No Items Available: Has Anyone Seen the City Staff Reports for Tomorrow Night's City Council Meeting?


Mod: They seem to have gotten lost. Of course, it is not the first time this has happened. But this does seem to be occurring with more frequency as of late. Mistakes happen, of course. However, it is very odd behavior for a city that prides itself on its transparency.

On Saturday the Staff Reports for tomorrow evening's City Council get-together were available. It enabled me to write the following. Just don't try to use the link I put in there because for the moment the report it is supposed to take you to has vanished into thin air. Fortunately I preserved some screen shots.

Is the Fix In? Sierra Madre Library Demolition and Relocation Survey Issues


The agenda and staff reports for next Tuesday's City Council meeting are now available on the City of Sierra Madre website, and one of the items that really jumps out deals with whatever it is the city wants done with the Library. The other big deal involves wrapping up the refinancing of Sierra Madre's water bonds, which we are going to gamely try and tackle in the next couple of days.

Here is that Library question:


Listed as the fourth out of five agenda items, it is naturally rather succinct. After all, an agenda is only a list of the evening's events. When you turn to the actual staff report itself there is quite a bit more detail. Some of it troubling. With the subject line being "Information on Library Survey and Ballot Question for Residents," this report reads as follows (link).


Here is something that jumps out for me. A big concern for many would appear to be saving the Library building itself, along with not selling the property it stands on. Once that property is sold, it is gone forever. At $1.3 million, doing whatever repairs are necessary to salvage the Library building would seem to be the priority here. So why would it be necessary to spend "up to $3.9 million" for something called "adequate community space?"

Can "community space" really be considered an adequate reason for razing the Library and putting all of its books into the Youth Activities Center? Along with (if I am reading this not very clearly written staff report correctly) spending an additional $2 million dollars?

Repairing the building and creating community space are two very different things. And with two very different cost levels. How were they lumped in together like this?

As far as that resident survey goes, the questions remain who gets to write the postcard, and who gets to interpret the resulting information. Unlike with a vote, the actual power in this case goes to those who get to decide what the questions are going to be, and then determine what the gathered information means.

The line between finding out what residents really want on a matter as important as this, and push poll style marketing, is a thin one. In my opinion that line is robustly crossed here:


So why must that line now be considered crossed? Listed as an alternative choice, this staff report then identifies a possible ballot question. The ballot question proposal (which, as shown below, is absurdly slanted in my opinion), reveals that the Board of Library Trustees, which would craft and curate the postcard survey questions, already unanimously favors a demolition and relocation route.


The Library Board of Trustees has obviously already made up its mind, and unanimously wants to go with the demolition and relocation option. So can these unelected folks really be depended upon to put together postcard survey questions that will be both non-partisan and concerned only with finding out what the residents are thinking? And not pushing their own personal agendas?

And why is it so partisan a group gets to decide what these questions are going to be? Shouldn't that be something done by the City Council and staff? With input from the residents themselves perhaps?

Why is that important responsibility being shunted off elsewhere?

Based on this agenda report, it certainly does look like the fix is in.

Mod: Those at-risk Staff Reports were available when the above first appeared on Saturday. They disappeared shortly thereafter. I am certain there is no connection between the two events, and once made aware the city will have them back up and available in time for tomorrow night's meeting. I just wish this wouldn't happen as often as it has lately. It screws up my schedule.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

33 comments:

  1. The elephant in the room, the Library Board of Trustees. Over these many years, this group has constantly ask for more city funds and cannot show how they have been spent.
    An overabundance of Librarians asking for more money when the city reassigned the keeping of the city minutes and archives along with this city's historical collection of memorabilia.
    Later the Historical society took on the collection.
    The information on the community room was not clearly stated on the first go around, it was presented as families not having enough room to meet, when certain events were occurring.
    Sounds like the fix IS VERY MUCH IN.

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  2. What is saving the library? Do these preservationists really think saving the library is making it into a community center? These are the questions we should be asking. What do the citizens of Sierra Madre actually want, not what do the Trustees want.

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  3. I don't trust the Library Board of Trustees at all. It's hard to believe but they are a partisan group that wants to demolish the library. It's hard to make sense out of that. You'd think I they would be the strongest proponents for saving the library.

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  4. How exactly did the Library Board of Trustees become the proposed arbiter of public opinion on the Library?

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  5. The city needs to bring the arguments for and against, compair the financial crisis the Library Board says that it is under, and put that into a survey for all citizens to base their opinions on.

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    1. A community input postcard is the safest way possible to create the illusion of consensus on a controversial issue like this one. The opportunities to express your opinion are strictly limited to a series of yes and no answers, and only city hall gets to say what the results are.

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  6. City Halls objective is to control and do damage control so the truth does not leak out to the voting public, if their lips are moving then they are lying along with one sided printed materials they pass out as the truth? All city hall worries about is keeping the 'Big Lie' going so they can retire and not be held accountable for their feeble actions of kicking the can down the road once more. demand the truth along with the correct documents.

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  7. The fox is guarding the hen house.

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  8. The ballot question is very misleading. Moving the library to the YAC won't funded by selling the current library property. It will be only partially funded. There still will need to be a tax increase -- probably more than if they just fix the current library. What's being sold as a free lunch is really a classic bait-and-switch con.

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    1. If the library property is sold, the library shouldn't have dibs on the money. We have all sorts of things in town that need to be repaired (water pipes, for example) that should be dealt with before the library is expanded.

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  9. The Hart Park House is under utilized, why not have the Library Community events held there?

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    1. This $3.9 million dollar boondoggle makes no sense. And we need to sell off the library property to do it? Why?

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    2. Agreed. If the goal is to facilitate community events, the library should be moved to Memorial Park rather than Sierra Vista Park. Memorial Park is in the center of town, already has the Hart Park House, and is an easy walk to the parking lot on Mariposa.

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    3. That is a lot of money, and a lot of it would be raised through considerable community sacrifice. Selling that property is no small thing. Can't we get a complete accounting of everything involved? This is not a small thing to be whisked under the carpet with a post card.

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  10. Does city insurance cover all those children walking to the Library, in case of a car vs child accident? or if they trip and fall due to cracks in the sidewalks in front of a residents home, or is the homeowner responsible, because we now must make repairs on our own? So many questions that need to have a response.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Are you suggesting that they stop all those children who are currently walking to the library now? I haven't heard any reports that children are tripping over sidewalks now. So many questions, so little thought.

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    3. Happens all the time. How do you not know?

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  11. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson has made an unannounced trip to Bagdad and just landed in Iraq.

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    Replies
    1. Can he stay there and not come back?

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    2. Thanks for blowing his cover, traitor!

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  12. Singapore sign contract to purchase planes from Boeing; this will create approx 70,000 American jobs.

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  13. How much could we get for the YAC?

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    1. A lawsuit is what we could get if we tried to sell the YAC.
      There are open space/park funds tied up there, and some kinds of obligations that involve the state and/or federal government.

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  14. The Staff Reports for tomorrow's City Council meeting are back live on the City Hall website. Exchanged emails with the City Manager and they fixed it.

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  15. Could they load the replays of meetings so that the local ch 3 community connection can also be viewed?

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  16. Cost overruns! Did I hear anyone mention cost overruns? You can bet this will be the biggest boondoggle ever!

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  17. How can we have cost overruns when we have such a fiscally responsible council?

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  18. Fix the library. $1.3 million seems like a lot of fixing, but get detailed breakdown on work and schedule. IMO selling the property is just more of the same collusion between contractors/developers, real estate agencies and our building department. A whole lot of hands in the pot at the tax payers expense.

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    Replies
    1. Once the property is sold, it’s gone. The city ain’t never getting it back.

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  19. 12:45pm. How'd you slip by immigration? I sure no one would sponcer you; so anti American.

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    1. Bad mouthing politicians and awful government officials is about as American as it gets. Can he take you with him?

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