So That’s How It’s Going To Be, Huh?

There’s going to be a library design charrette this Saturday (02/04/2006) at Keller Town Hall.  It claims to represent “stakeholders,” but citizens will NOT be allowed to provide input.  So it appears we are going to be given a choice in the election of a new library in Town Center or nothing. 

Last Friday’s Keller Citizen had a few choice comments on the subject from Mayor Julie Tandy.

If the bond fails, she said, “I think it would send a very strong message about what our community thinks about its future and how it much it believes in its citizens.”

She said a library is an important part of fostering a vibrant, well-read, articulate and educated population.

“My goal for the short-term is to get the information out,” she said, citing some complaints that it has not been available.  “We’re going to try to solve that.”

While the city cannot promote the bond election itself, she said officials’ responsibility is to provide that information.  It’s up to the citizens to read it.

“I am confident when they get the information, that they will vote in favor of it,” Tandy said.  “When it passes, I hope it will be accepted.”

Lovely.  So if you don’t support the bond package that they concoct you’re obviously against a “vibrant, well-read, articulate and educated population.”  Or perhaps you didn’t read the information.  Because obviously if you did you’d have voted for it.</sarcasm>

As for the information that has been available so far, I’m less than impressed.  I want access to source documents.  I want to see third-party, impartial studies that show actual economic impacts from where this has been done (the library update documents hint at this, but don’t show sources).

Whether this will be accepted, as Mayor Tandy hopes, will depend on whether they really listen to public feedback.  So far, I’m not getting that impression.  What I’ve seen so far has been a very grudging acknowledgement that they need to open up the process to the public, yet I’ve not seen any real openness.  I suppose I’ll wait and see what comes out of all this.

In the meantime, a couple of thoughts on the library issue:

  • Costs.

    I can’t help but think that there’s a bit of public-service-itis here, as I’m not getting the feeling that the taxpayer is being respected.  I want to see serious consideration given to cost at every level of the design and planning.  And I can’t help but think that a Town Center location will drive up costs.

  • Hasn’t this already been approved?

    I’ve heard a lot of talk about “consultation” with citizen groups after the failed 1999 bond issue.  Supposedly, these meetings allowed them to hear objections and address them in the new proposal.  However, it doesn’t take the place of an election.  It also doesn’t take into account the input of those who moved to Keller after 1999 and who pay taxes.

Previous posts:
The Arrogance Is Mindboggling
Library ‘O Doom
The Library Thing
Democracy In Action



  1. Jeff Medcalf says:

    It’s funny, but I will be voting against the library bond next time around, unless the city engages the public and stops trying to force it on us.  The reason that’s funny is because I want a large, modern library (we use the library extensively, and the current library is both limited in its collection and unattractive), support the bond generally, and voted in favor in ‘99.  But the city is just trying to force us to do the “right” thing by their lights, and that annoys me no end.  I would rather vote against it than have my vote for it be meaningless because the city was going to do it no matter how I vote or what I want.

  2. Jeff,

    I’ve been fighting this tendency.  I really want to give them a chance.  But I’m starting to approach your position.

    I’m getting the feeling that *someone* wants a library in Town Center really badly and is going to do anything he/she can to make it happen, regardless of what the people actually want.  I’m not sure who this is, but that’s the impression I get. 

    I’m going to go on one criterion for approving a library:  does it make fiscal sense?  If I don’t think it does; if I think our money is being wasted on an extravagant over-done buildling; if it causes even one cent to be taken from the new fire station, I’m going to vote against it.  I suspect that when push come to shove, I’ll end up voting “NO”.

    But I’m still willing to wait for more information.