Wilson Riles, Jr: No on Measure N
Oakland Post, Sept. 9, 2006 (excerpts)
Measure N – the Library Bond Measure on the November ballot – is a political slight-of-hand. Libraries are popular. ... If one is not knowledgeable of the larger context, N appears to be a good thing.
... Two-thirds of the money borrowed will be spent re-locating the Main Library to the Kaiser Auditorium. City Council critics question why the Kaiser Auditorium is not being used for what it was built for; some charge the Council with deliberately restricting the use of that facility in a manner that made it financially unsuccessful so that it could be turned over for private development.
If the Kaiser Auditorium is renovated at great expense – nearly $100 million – for a use it was not built for (to house the Main Library), the present site of the Main Library becomes available. This is slight-of-hand. There is no mention in Measure N of the future uses of the present site, which is also near Lake Merritt and quite valuable. Rumors of Alameda County's interest in this building for public purposes are totally unfounded. ... Follow the money; ask why is N silent on this possibility?
Wilson Riles, Jr.|
...Although current revenue structures for California cities to fund needed services are complicated and highly restrictive, more prudence and organized collective advocacy in Sacramento is called for rather than just doing what can be gotten away with. Taxpayers all over the political spectrum are justifiably revolting against the "buck passing" that ends up with the poor decisions of lazy, uncourageous politicians emptying all of our wallets.
...The neighborhood library enhancements appear to be a political gimmick to garner parochial support for this slight-of-hand. We are not fooled. If this were for real, Measure N would fully implement the Master Plan including service upgrades to all libraries, the expansion of Brookfield, Eastmont, and Rockridge, and new libraries in Hoover and San Antonio.
... Vote no on Measure N even though you support libraries.