|Where you will be able to both read and take a shower.|
OK, sure. So where was I? Oh, Library Forum II. I think the best comment of the evening not surprisingly came from Gina Frierman-Hunt, who whipped up something along the lines of: "If you move the Library to Sierra Vista Park, it will become more conveniently located for Arcadia middle school students and dead people." It would be closer to the pool as well, so you'd be able to swim. Also where the Rose Parade float wiles away the days during its extensive down months.
This was officially a meeting for a couple of city commissions, so there was a little time set aside at the beginning for topics not on the agenda. One gentleman seized the moment and asked about an April ballot measure that will completely do away with the Utility User Tax. City Manager Gabe Engeland invited him to look at the city's Voter Guide for the response of those who would prefer that tax things stay the way they are. Which is just about everyone associated with the local government agency. Think of them as stakeholders.
Gabe Engeland commented that he had recently met with two residents on the tax question. One said that if taxes are raised he would have failed miserably at his job. The other one told him taxes must go up to save the Library. So how can a new City Manager win? Of course, I would have added that taxes had already been raised to save the Library, so why does it now need to be torn down? But then that would have been so 2016.
The Library Survey Postcard, which supplants the need for an actual and far too clear vote of the people, will be mailed out by its mysterious and remotely located Colorado creators within the next few days. There will be four questions there that will take your temperature about moving the Library. You will also be allowed to rate the mood of those answers on a scale 1 to 4 if you like. I will be making use of that here today.
There will also be some inquiries about your demographics, the results of which I am sure someone in the marketing field will find quite useful. I personally never answer these kinds of questions. Or sometimes I just make stuff up. A Zoroastrian eminence from Uzbekistan, perhaps. Age 26.
The attendees present then moved quickly on to the money issue. Something that I thought was rather moot since there are no architectural designs or building plans created yet for the proposed new location. Nor has the existing Library property been put on the market yet so, and as anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, who really knows how much money the city is going to get?
This question did come up. Would there be enough money to make this all happen without jacking up taxes? Gabe threw some happy numbers out, but I am not sure that really eased the skepticism in the room. He also noted that most people are against a tax increase. Or at least those he has heard from. Please rate this observation from 1 to 4. With 4 being the highest number, and 1 being the lowest.
The Sierra Vista parking situation came up. A woman whose name I believe is Nancy was of the opinion that since the current Library is in the center of town, there are plenty of places to park a car. In the new proposed location things could get quite tight. Sierra Vista Park has tennis courts, basketball hoops, several baseball diamonds, a pool, a kiddy park, an interesting stand alone snack bar, a gym, a picnic area, a Rose Float barn, plus some other stuff. Throw in a Library and things could get complicated. Mark 4 if you disagree, 1 if you'd prefer to ride a bike to get there.
Gabe added that we have work to do irregardless. Which is true. We all have clocks to punch.
Heather asked if it was the community that would be making the decision. The City Manager's answer was no, the City Council will be deciding that based on how the postcards are filled out. Of course, had there been a vote the community would be making the decision. However, the City Council decided that such a verdict might not be nuanced or flexible enough. Make sure you have your pencil ready. Mark 4 if you disagree, 1 if this was a moment of ecstatic peace for you.
A well turned out young man named Owen, who apparently was chosen to speak on behalf of the Foothill Village's youth, said if you build the new Library, the teenagers will come. Fitting for a Library located next to a baseball field. Hopefully they will be dropped off by their parents and therefore not require any parking.
Someone whose name I neglected to write down asked if the new Library would be able to provide the kinds of access the community needs. Gabe talked about the hard working $9,600 consultant and the space analysis he is doing. "Space is important," Gabe said. According to Star Trek it is also the final frontier.
A gentleman named Bill, who was amongst the few there that actually wants to move the Library into the Community Recreation Center, said that we need "a Library for the 21st Century." He really did say that. And since taxes are too low to accomplish this futuristic imperative, imposing a $200 dollar a year parcel tax would be just the thing. Circle 1 if you don't think so, 4 if you'd be happy to cough that up. Mark down 2 or 3 if you'd rather have been at Lucky Baldwin's hammering down a few highly fortified Belgian beers.
A guy named Rex had an idea I would have rated a 4, except for one problem. He suggested building the new Library where the current one now stands. But then how would you be able to sell the property in order to fund a new building? Also how would Andy Bencosme be able to make any commission? You know they wouldn't approve of that in Arcadia.
Someone asked if there was a reasonably good description of what the Library by the Pool would look like. Gabe said no. Such planning would cost money, and the city first wants to know what people want first. Judging by what I heard at this meeting Gabe could be waiting a long time for that. Mark 4 if you agree, 1 if you haven't formed your opinion yet.
A woman named Helen wanted to know what the costs are going to be. Gabe said costs are going up. I was not surprised to hear this. I'm going to put down a 4.
MaryAnn McGillivray, who I used to talk with often but not so much lately, said we'd be foolish to sell the Library property. Once sold it will be gone forever. She also said the city needs to adopt a Green Plan. Keep the open spaces and think things through a little more. Gabe countered by observing that Sierra Madre is difficult to develop, that the current library is not ADA compliant, you know, the usual rhythm.
That only gets a 1 from me. Just make the damn place ADA compliant and let's get past this already.
It was then asked what would be built on the Library property once it is sold to someone we're probably not going to like very much. Gabe said it is in the General Plan. I am pretty familiar with the General Plan, and I cannot recall seeing anything about building condos on the lot where the existing Library stands.
The last question I wrote down came from a thoughtful gentleman named Gary who said that the people of Sierra Madre should be able allowed to look at some bids on this project. You know, like how it is usually done. He suggested 3 of them. Gabe said that can't be done. I would have asked why, but instead I marked down an empowering 1.
That's all I got. See you at the cyber cafe.