Friday, October 20, 2017

Whatever Happened to a Second Public Forum and Ballot Initiative for the Sierra Madre Library?

Mod: That is what some folks have been asking about. Well, OK. Two that I know about. Three if you include me. I'm always up for another opportunity to bring up Sierra Madre's debt problems. But when I do have any questions these days I go right to the recently installed Sierra Madre City Manager, Gabriel "You can call me GabeEngeland. A guy who will actually answer Tattler questions, and in a quite forthright and open kind of way. It's a good thing he has a five year contract, right?  

SM Tattler: Any news on Library 2?

City Manager Engeland: Our library manager met with the firm who will do the drawings for the move last week.  I should get a report back this week and we can plot out a timeline from there. I'm not sure how long it will take for them to complete the drawings, but once we know we will get out a tentative schedule.

SM Tattler: I am beginning to believe the non-binding vote of the people on the question of the Library's various fates is a dead issue as far as the City Council goes. Am I wrong?

City Manager Engeland: At the last meeting the Council agreed to move forward with the survey.  Currently we are planning to survey 75% of the households in Sierra Madre, but we are working with the company to determine if we can survey 100% of the households. With regards to the non-binding vote Council asked us to bring back a draft of what the question would look like along with more information. They will decide if we are proceeding with a non-binding ballot initiative, in addition to the survey, at the meeting on Tuesday the 24th.

SM Tattler: Why go to the expense and bother of both a survey and a vote? Shouldn't the vote provide all the answers needed?

City Manager Engeland: The ballot question is a “yes or no” only and it is limited to one question.  The benefit is it goes to everyone, but the drawback is it provides no information on any other Library related topics. The survey is 5 questions which are much more in depth than the ballot.  The benefit is the amount of information provided, but the drawback is, currently, it doesn’t go to everyone (though it is statistically significant). I think there are good arguments that can be made for doing both.  Doing the “vote option” only will give us information on if people want to move the Library location or not, but won’t discuss library services in general. The Library Board will be drafting the questions to send out and there are areas outside of the move they have interest in.

Mod: Good and thoughtful answers that I, obviously, cannot agree with. Any such city survey, with 5 questions that have yet to be determined, will likely end up becoming a marketing tool used to push forward whatever agenda the City Council wants. It will give them the ability to tell you, the concerned resident, what you think. Meaning you will then be told that you think the Library property needs to be sold, the building itself razed, and all of those books moved inside the YAC. A vote, even a non-binding one, will take that power away from the City Council and give it to unpredictable you. No creative interpretations required. Trust me, it ain't gonna happen.

In Encinitas, former Sierra Madre Mayor Joe Mosca votes to put pot question on the ballot -Mod: Let's call it a Tale of Two Cities. Our interest in Encinitas originally stemmed from curiosity about the political career of a former Sierra Madre Mayor who somehow got himself appointed to the City Council there, and after only living in town for two years. But today all of that does give us a nice contrast with what's going down in The 'Dre. Especially regarding exactly what gets put on the ballot.

From poinsettias to pot? Voters to decide what grows in Encinitas (The San Diego Union Tribune link): Encinitas voters, instead of the City Council, will be the ones deciding whether to allow commercial marijuana growing operations on the city's few agriculturally zoned lands. And for now, until that likely November 2018 ballot measure, the city's current bans on marijuana will remain in place, the council decided late Wednesday night.

Cities across California have been grappling with the issue of marijuana regulations ever since voters approved the marijuana legalization initiative Proposition 64 last year. The intensity of the debate has only increased in recent months as the January 2018 state deadline for putting regulations in place approaches.

Mod: The final vote there was 4 to 1 to punt it to the voters. And which side did Councilmember Mosca come down on? Both, of course.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear, who held off on voicing a position in the past, and Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, who has supported commercial growing, agreed. "This is truly one of the most difficult issues I have faced since I have been on the council," Boerner Horvath said, adding that months ago she had thought that this wouldn't be the case.

Councilman Joe Mosca, who opposed the proposed ordinance, said he wouldn't "stand in the way" of putting the issue on the ballot, but said he felt marijuana growing businesses were not compatible with the city.

Mod: Rule of thumb about what gets on a city's ballot. If an issue is controversial, but if approved will bring significant revenue to that city? It's happening. And if a vote might possibly interfere with the acquisition of needed revenue, such as with the sale of the Sierra Madre Library property? No vote for you.

Mod: This next story is not very pretty.

Charred Body Found on Mt. Wilson (Pasadena Now link): Authorities are still trying to identify a male body found Wednesday night on Mt. Wilson as firefighters continue to attempt to control a smoldering wildfire. An Associated Press report Thursday, quoting a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant, said the charred body has been recovered by the coroner’s office, which will try to make an identification.

The fire has so far burned about 50 acres of the Angeles National Forest and was 35 percent contained as of Wednesday night, the report said. An RMG News report meanwhile said family members were searching for a Sylmar teen who has been missing since Tuesday morning.

Matthew Huerta, the report said, left his home at around 4:30 to 5 a.m. to jog but has not returned since. Using the mobile Find My Friends app, his friends placed Huerta’s phone in the Mt. Wilson area about the same time the brush fire started early Tuesday in the area.

Mod: The foothills, though undoubtedly beautiful, are not without their sinister aspects. 

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

91 comments:

  1. Couldn't care less if the library stays put, grows ears, or dances in he parade. Total waste of tax payer dollars. Divide up what is spent on the library, give it to each household and let the buy the books they want.

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    1. Nobody reads anymore anyways. Just pay off bond debt

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    2. I think that is part of the Library's appeal to some people. It is a longing for a time when people read books instead of cell phones. There used to be time to do things like spend 5 hours with a book. Somehow that is no longer the case. Now everything is chopped into brief 5 minute intervals that leave very little space for things like that.

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    3. That's right, the library these days only has appeal to a small percentage of people. The hours spent scrolling the microfiche are no more because we have such quick access to knowledge.

      There's another library just a mile away. Let's use that one. And it won't cost Sierra madre anything

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    4. A lot of the decisions made in Sierra Madre are based on nostalgia. The police department is another good example.

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    5. When the grid goes down, you will wish you had a real book to read as there won't be any e-books It takes 3 years to build a grid and they are imported from China. Don't think that the government will take care of you.

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  2. Why not do the survey after the vote?

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  3. This saga is as old as dirt, politicians cheating the residents out of millions of dollars all to just waste time and money by going in circles and ending up in the same spot with even more debt then when they started this journey to lies and nothing good adventure in Sierra Madre politics? If you keep the same old less then desirable folks in office plus hiring sub par help in City Hal this is what you get a hole in he ground that sucks up money and gives back no positive results.

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  4. Once the library property is sold, it’s gone for good. No second chance to get this right.

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    1. If the library property is sold we won't have a library anymore. We will have a Youth Activity Center with books in it.

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    2. And then the books will grow old and die, and there will then be more space. For the Youth. Who aren't engaging in any Activities except texting all day on their cell phones like their lives depend on it.

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  5. I love the not so smart ones on this board who always clamor to close the library. Maybe if you read a book every once in a while you wouldn't be fooled so darn often. Ugh.

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    1. I'm really smart and I'm for closing the library. Because it's a smart thing to do.

      What are the numbers on overhead staffing, supply vs. the numbers of people who use it?

      Again, there's another library just a mile away that we can use but don't have to pay for. Kids' schools have libraries. There's even a lending library in the canyon. This isn't the 19th century where people didn't have access to books that could advance their quality of life.

      Seems smart to me.

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    2. 7:30- friendly question...what are your motivations for keeping the library open?

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    3. I don't think 7:30 is going to answer you. They just wanted to call people dumb and grunt.

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    4. 7:30's argument always includes a willful ignorance of the fact we get books a different way now. I don't think some people realize how embarrassingly archaic they sound when they suggest no library means no books. My whole family reads a LOT more now that we have access to so much at our fingertips.

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  6. How come nobody attends the city council meetings?

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    1. The issues are often hard and getting heard requires a strong will and a mastery of the material.

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    2. People attend when they have hope to make some impact. It takes organization and commitment.

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    3. I guess people no longer feel they can make an impact. The City Council seems to have erected an impenetrable wall of passive-aggression.

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    4. Drinking coffee at Starbucks is more fun that attending City meetings.

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  7. Sierra Madre is probably the only city in America where money raised through charitable giving to save the local library goes to people who very much want to destroy it.

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  8. Mod, did the city manager give info on the dollars needed for the library to remain vs the library moving?

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  9. I like the library right where it is. Fix what we have, don't chase some pipe dream YAC/library/supercenter that has inadequate parking and isn't walkable from most of town.

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    1. I agree. If anything sell the YAC.

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    2. 8:59. The current location also isn't walkable from most places in town. The new location would be better for the east side of the city and the middle school. Let's put it in Kersting Court, because that is about in the center of town. Lol

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  10. Sierra Madre is a walkable three square miles, and the Round a bout transportation will give you a nice tour of the town.
    The parking will not be a problem.
    Upgraded tech services and streamlining the Classics, will bring our Library current.
    More room for meetings and community involvement.

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    1. Sierra Madre may be small, but it's also on the side of a hill. Walking on flatland is a very different thing than walking uphill. The library is about the same elevation as most of downtown, the YAC is downhill from there. I've walked to the library and seen many do so as well. Can't say the same for Sierra Vista park.

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    2. 10:30. Try walking to the current library and back from the north east part of town. So happy you are a hop, skip, and a jump away. Half the city isn't that fortunate.

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    3. There’s no one place that will please everyone. Yet more people live within easy walking distance to the library, which is surrounded by apartments and condos, than the YAC, which is surrounded by single family homes, the cemetery and the settling basins.

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    4. walking makes me tired.

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  11. So just what are the conservatives conserving?

    "Senate Republicans approve budget with $1.5-trillion deficit to pay for Trump's tax cuts"

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-budget-taxcuts-20171019-story.html

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    1. Medicare and Medicaid are crushed. A lot of people are going to die.

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  12. The new library will be inaccessible anytime Little League or girl's softball is being played. That area is designed for athletics, not a library. That is why there are ballfields, not book racks.

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  13. To those who say close the library because the Hastings Branch Library is a mile away, do you really think SM kids should be walking a mile down that no man's land between Michelinda and SM Villa/NY Dr? Would you let your middle schooler walk there alone?

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    1. This is a really good point. How easy it is for SM kids to walk to the library needs to be taken into consideration. Easy to walk to the current library from the elementary school.

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    2. I am really offended that you only consider the public school when referring to schools. There are three wonderful private schools in Sierra Madre. In fact, if all the private school kids went to the public schools in town, there would not be enough room. PS. You can always tell the private school kids from the public schools by their behavior or should I say lack of decorum by the public school kids.

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    3. That is not fair. Sierra Madre's kids are great, no matter where they go to school. Let's not go there.

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    4. Yeah let's not bring prejudice in please

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    5. Some people just are not happy unless everyone is at each other's throats. Stop the madness. Please.

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    6. 11:20, you have landed in the wrong town. Your prejudiced statement means you are really not a match for this unpretentious community.

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    7. “Unpretentious”. Most Laughable comment of the decade. Im pretty sure pretentious is in our Wikipedia description.

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    8. 4:07, then why are you here?

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    9. I'm sorry, but you wouldn't understand.

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    10. @5 Why am I here, why are you here? Why is anybody here, I think it was John Paul Sartre who posed that question.
      It is actually possible to live in a community without succumbing to, or being constantly vexed by people such as yourself that feel you have some greater right to this town than another person who lives here. Telling someone they are not a match for this town, is an arrogant dictum, one you are neither qualified to make, nor morally equipped.

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    11. 6:03 getting his or her righteousness on.

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  14. More possibilities for city revenue; designated Library parking only. You keep track of foot traffic by sliding your DL into reader showing that you are parking for Library use only.
    No cheaters, the price of misuse of the coveted spaces could be limitless; set by Council.

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  15. The city could ask for any and all Architects, retired or not, to submit the redesign of the current Library. This would be a volunteer community service; a plaque installed in your name.

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    1. oh yeah, a line a mile long.....

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    2. 9:56. How stupid can you be. Do you have any idea what is involved in designing a building and all the systems and engineering that is involved. It requires months of work and you are asking someone to put aside paying jobs and work for free. Also, the architect is also on the hook for possible errors. Wait, I have an idea.....why don't you quit you paying job and volunteer at a Not For Profit for for about 6 months.

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    3. Why so bristly?

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    4. Not bristly. Just saying what a moronic idea.

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    5. You'll catch more bees with honey that you will with vinegar.

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    6. 9:56 has got something there - in fact, there are already plans that were done a while back, when the Stockly/Buchanan/Doyle faction were hustling to "develop the village we all love in order to preserve it." The architectural firm of PBWS in Pasadena came up with a library redesign, led by resident Fred Wesley. You can still find it listed on their municipal projects page, though the plans aren't on the website anymore, as far as I can tell.
      http://www.pbws.com/municipal.html

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    7. First of all, the City/Friends don't want volunteers, they want total control. Secondly, at the library meeting the Friends of the Library stated they wanted an architect that specializes in building libraries. They don't want regular architects.

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  16. For those of you who posit that the YAC is just as walkable as the current library location, I wonder if you have ever walked there. The library is about half a mile from the center of town and the walk is mostly flat. The walk to the YAC is close to a mile and downhill -- which means the walk back is uphill. A one mile roundtrip on mostly flat ground is a very different walk than a two mile trip with elevation changes.

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    1. C'mon, it's not like climbing Mt. Wilson. Not a strong argument

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    2. It's a very good argument, 11:38. I'll bet you that the majority of the library users are old people. Not all old people have the ability to walk as much as you clearly do.

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    3. I don't want to bet. Someone else said it's kids that mainly use the library. What are the real stats? Let's know the facts so we can have an informed discussion. Otherwise it's still a weak argument.

      And yes, I walk to kersting court from the canyon regularly. Keeps me young. It's a great town

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    4. Okay 12 noon, so you don't know anyone who has difficulty walking that far? No one with bad knees, or hips, or someone who has to use a cane to get around, or maybe suffers from falls, so needs to watch out for the distances they go? You are obviously one of the lucky ones, but not everyone ages like you have.

      I agree about the real information, but am not sure we'll ever get it. "Kids" probably means toddlers with story hour, places for young parents to be with small children, because anyone over 10 is online. That leaves the older population who are used to a physical library, and like it.


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  17. Remember if the library is razed, it is very likely that oversized condos will be built. That property is outside the Measure V area, so a city wide vote to build oversized condos is not mandated.

    That concern ALONE should be reason enough to preserve the library building.

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    1. It's zoned for precisely that kind of development, 10:29. The time to do something about that was when the General Plan was being updated.
      Someone with more knowledge than I have can fill us in, but I think it's R3, and allows for the biggest, most dense kind of development in town.

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    2. What the hell is an oversized condo? You mean kinda like the beautiful condos that replaced the old La Lone house? The town really went to pot when that went up, with it’s interesting architecture and beautification of a blight. Geez a loo. One neurosis at a time please.

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  18. 9:47am. Where are my taxes going when I pay for schools?
    If these kids are walking, then great, wasn't physical activity cut from schools? and why don't schools have their own libraries?

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  19. 10:29am. Don't worry. The city codes are firmly in place and are very similar to Measure V in heights and density.

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  20. I recall an old joke about goats having shorter legs on one side, because they stand on a hillside. So are you making references to Sierra Madreans being uneven? The fluoride in the water has made our teeth translucent, I wasn't aware of the shorter legs argument.

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  21. The Jr. High School on Canyon; wasn't thst built with a new Library?

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    1. You tax bond money at work.

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  22. I love the folksy image of our young folk getting some fresh air as they walk to the library to study.

    But seriously, how many people, let alone kids, use the library? What are the real numbers?

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  23. We never got an actual count on kids using the library, they would be counted every time they went in and out through the door.
    The trip to the library from the school was created to create the head count on library usage during the day.

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  24. The city's aim here seems to be maintaining the illusion of transparency while exercising a very rigid control. I hope I am wrong.

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  25. The youth of today do not use the antiquated form of a physical library. Why would they? They have everything available in the world of knowledge in their hands.

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    1. I agree. Times have changed. I love the idea of library as refuge, quiet place, center of learning and historical town archives. But it's not cost effective. Divide the operating budget by the number of visitors.

      Again, another library a mile away and that new grand one in Monrovia. Lots of alternatives.

      I like the idea of selling the land for appropriate new use and limited development then paying off the bond debt

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    2. Have you visited the library lately? It’s chock full of kids. Fair number of seniors as well.

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    3. I haven't been to the library in over a year. Chock full sounds great.

      But what are the 'fair numbers'? We need to know how many people actually use it vs. the operating costs.

      Does anyone have stats?

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    4. Must be a question of timing, 12:23. I do use the library, and usually there are a few kids, someone doing some tutoring for a fee but not paying the library any rent, little kids in the children' room, and mostly older people.
      I am a true blue reader, and am never without a book - don't like the electronic screens, so I still read actual books that I buy, and I recognize that libraries are a casualty of the technological revolution.
      It is a foolish investment to move it.

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  26. Trolls get trumped again!

    U.S. Posts Its Largest Budget Deficit Since 2013

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  27. Senior's in town don't even score a disabled parking space in town, I haven't spotted one, at least when I am trying to get to the pharmacy; and then there's those high curbs. What was Elaine and past Counsel spending the UUT money on?

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    1. Salaries and pensions. We were conned.

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  28. 11:27am. I've volunteered for non profits over fifty years.
    What part of a re design bothers you most? The part of tossing ideas out there in order to keep the current Library?

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  29. Fred Wesley designed the middle school; we really dont want to go there with the Library do we?
    Why can't a simple redesign of the bathrooms and a better utilization of the basement be drawn up. I am not talking about moving pipes and all electrical.
    Maybe retired volunteers for assistance with construction, similar to Habitat for Humanity.
    Any cost saving ideas that will allow the Library to remain in its current location.

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    1. Agreed. How about storage on the back lot?

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    2. The back lot can be developed with apartments to pay for the upgrades/repairs on the existing library.

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    3. That is the logical solution. Hopefully that is where this eventually goes.

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  30. I'd be happy to donate my time to design a new library for SM. I'm not an architect, but I designed and built quite a few forts back in the day--tree, ground, underground, multi-room, multi-story--you name it.

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    1. City Council could arrange a "rebuild our Library" design forum for upgrades, a treehouse in one of the oak trees and sell off the back lot to finance the deal.

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    2. The fact that it would be a forum is reassuring to me.

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  31. That’s one problem with current human children; they’re not building forts.

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  32. Let the oldster's build the forts/tree houses; we may not walk fast and have aches and pains, but we know how to get things done!

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  33. Kids today are really smart. Great generation.

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