Ballot Arguments on Palace Library Bonds –
Pro and Con
Should Oakland issue $148 million of bonds to build a new main library at Kaiser Center? Here are the arguments, with the lists of signers that will appear in your sample ballot booklet. (Rebuttal arguments will be available later.)
Argument for a NO Vote
The Oakland city council wants to build a luxurious new main library. Taxpayers would take the hit for $148 million of bonds.
The council wants a palace. If you rebuilt your modest home of 1,500 square feet at the same outrageous cost of $733 per square foot, you would spend more than $1 million!
Meanwhile, twelve of the branch libraries would divide up only one-third of the proceeds.
Besides the huge bond, the council wants $10 million-plus for custom-built shelves and such – a separate hit on the City budget.
That's only half the story. What about the current main library, a full city block? Would it be privatized? Or would we pay again for some renovation project? Remember the Measure DD bonds for Lake Merritt – only later did the City reveal it would chop down hundreds of trees. "Trust us" and half a plan are not good enough.
We already owe well over $1 billion of City debt. Meanwhile, the council ignores Oakland's urgent needs, such as peaceful streets. From 1994 to 2005 the council added 357 new positions to the total budget, but the number of police ended up the same. Our police department is seriously understaffed.
While basic services decline, it seems every Oakland ballot proposes a new tax – Measures DD, Q, R, Y, and now N. This Spring the council demanded an increase in the Landscape and Lighting assessment. Documents showed only 45 cents of every new dollar would have gone for parks or lighting. Voters defeated this misleading tax hike.
For more information, please see www.orpn.org.
Instead of restoring public safety and maintaining infrastructure, the council wastes precious dollars. Let's send the council a message:
No palace! Vote No on Measure N!
Member, Webster Tract Neighbors Association
David E. Mix
Native Oakland resident
Elected member, Central City East Project Area Committee
Judith S. Offer
Playwright and poet
Oakland Residents for Peaceful Neighborhoods
Read the ballot argument for a Yes vote here
Two updates are available that strengthen the argument for a No vote. First, fewer than 12 neighborhood libraries would receive even one percent of the bond proceeds. For details, see Crumbs for the Neighborhood Libraries.
Second, the amount required in addition to the bonds is not $10 million but rather $15 million. The council suggests finding grants, but no specific donors have been disclosed. Will the council hit the City budget for this shortfall, or will it postpone some of the branch library improvements indefinitely?
– Aug. 14, 2006