Library Poll Results: Sobering, Surprising
Canepa vs. Guingona for District 5 Supervisor


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All in all, this poll is a stunning indictment of the City Council and top staffers. It's obvious that the pollsters felt the pressure to ask hard questions and not neccesarily "manage" responses.

Note packet page 260: "Voters hold less pessimistic perceptions of the City's financial management."

That is, IMO, inaccurate, when you consider that the number of people who simply don't know has risen by 10 percentage points since the 2008 poll was conducted. When added to those who hold a dim view of our fiscal "management," the total has risen from 60 to 61 percent of the public. It's hardly a ringing endorsement of the way in which the town's being run.

I would second Bro' Tom's ideas about bolstering what we have now, in terms of two libraries. If we have to go back and try renegotiating the joint powers agreement of 25 years ago with the county government, so be it. Things have changed greatly and I don't think anything is set in stone.

The survey was done by FM3 of Walnut Creek, whose representatives stated that everything about the document indicated getting to a 2/3 vote would be a challenge.

Some gems:
1. 67% of voters near the Sanchez Library are opposed.
2. 66% of responders believe it hurts seniors.
3. 71% believe coastal erosion is the most serious problem facing Pacifica.
4. More people think the City of Pacifica’s finances are NOT generally well managed than well managed.
5. "While housing, coastal erosion and the drought are voters’ top concerns, the condition of the Library is not seen as nearly as pressing."

Where are the polling results posted for all to see?

What about an alternative bond to renovate our two neighborhood libraries?
Two neighborhood libraries are better than one.
That would presumably cost less.
And maybe have a better chance of getting 67% of the vote.

72% of those polled said they hadn't even visited a Pacifica library in the past year, so "pie in the sky" may not be viable.

While this might not satisfy the library employee who told City Council on July 11 that she wants a new library in part so she doesn't have to share restrooms with the general public, it might meet most of our needs.

Why has staff not presented this option (and cost) to council and the public?

I guess that's the point: Was there any cost-benefit analysis for various scenarios? User base analysis: who lives here, how do they use the library, etc.

We are stuck with many costs and services in the aftermath of Prop. 13. The libraries used to be part of a San Mateo County system, paid for with county funds. Now Pacifica bears part of the costs, as do most municipalities in San Mateo County. Pacifica still has two libraries. The Pacifica Library Foundation, all decent folks, has pushed hard for one central library, in the aftermath of this "default effect" of post-Prop. 13 funding shifts.
In terms of geographic access (mid-north and south: Sharp Park and Linda Mar/Sanchez), it might make sense to keep both locations. I know this is heresy and is not intended to disrespect the work and efforts for "one library." But traffic impacts of "one library," mobility for seniors and young people on foot, bicycle, or using limited-mobility vehicles -- MIGHT -- make more sense, and be more environmentally sane and cost-effective. The maintenance of the older buildings will continue as a cost; and they are not properly maintained: basic plumbing, garden work, window washing, etc., appear to be issues.
(Side note: For patriots and flag fetishists, the American flag at the Sharp Park location is terribly frayed, violating flag protocol, and very much a sign of the times. Perhaps an inventory of the state of U.S. flags on all public buildings could be undertaken, and private and/or public funds sought to remedy this situation.)
But the costs associated with maintaining both current branches, especially with cooperation between Public Works and local volunteers, might make more sense than investing in a new building (and probably less staff) with traffic impacts and less geographic access. We might also continue to have the good pool of talented and dedicated staff, at both locations, conversant with the stock and services located more conveniently.
Aside from "the drawings," and the upfront and longer-range costs, the library issues should be reviewed from a number of vantage points by City Council and citizens. We should not fall lockstep into the "one library" logic and direction.
I do submit this in full knowledge and respect for the supporters and organization of the Pacifica Library Foundation.

Well said, Bill. But hopefully there won't be a 2/3 majority. The whole thing seems geared to have a dedication plaque for a handful of people at the overall cost of $50+ million.

Not yet mentioned, the new library proposal comes with a fixed requirement: that it is built on old city admin. site in the coastal zone, west of Highway 1. Since that area is vulnerable to sea-level rise and, like all of San Mateo County, some of the most rapid coastal erosion rates in the country, it would be a bit like watching $50 million wash away: probably would not last 100 years. But we would still have to repay the bond. And source a new library!

We, the public, ARE entitled to know what staff spent on representation and anything else. Why they don't want to share that information seems unproductive: What's the point?

Hell, this staff won't even tell a reporter how much they paid a PR firm to "represent" the city on the Esplanade apartment spectacle. Staff cited "attorney-client" privilege! Public monies spent, and you, the public, aren't entitled to know where they were spent. What crapola.

But there's another reason this thing's going down to defeat: The people in Linda Mar don't want their branch of the library closed -- period. You'll see a heavy "no" vote down there come this November.

Pacifica would be better off with a state-of-the-art library. But "I know budgets" City Manager Tinfow did not (apparently) direct staff to assess the real cost of this project, and could not answer a question as to the value of current libraries. As a result, each household will pay approximately $1,250 to $2,500 to service $50 million in debt.

I'd like to support this, but I can't afford it!

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