Tonight, February 12, 2015 will be the last in a series of 3 city presentations to 3 of the citizen commissions (Parks n Rec; Library Advisory and Arts) on the proposed sale of the Foothills Library:

  • Tonight, Thursday, February 12, 2015 6 PM
  • Glendale Adult Center
  • Meeting of Arts Commission
  • Public comment will be permitted

The citizen interest in the proposed sale of the library rivals the citizen interest generated on the arena management agreement and the casino issue. As of today there have been over 6,000 reads of one or more of my blogs on the library issue.

The February 11, 2015, meeting was held at the Foothills Library before the Library Advisory Board. The meeting room was filled to bursting and in some places in the room; standing room was 2-3 persons deep. The line of people trying to get into the meeting room snaked out the front doors of the library. Cars drove determinedly around the parking lot desperately looking for a parking space. When none could be found they left. If there were about 200 people at Monday night’s meeting there were even more this time. The only media present were local. None of the major TV channels were in attendance.

Connie and Sue, readers of my blog, offered some excellent observations about this night’s meeting:

  • Just as with the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Library Advisory Board asked very good questions. The Library Advisory Board does not appear to be in favor of this and asked very pointed questions of both Erik Strunk and Michael Beck poking holes in their stats and figures contained in the presentation.One Board Member asked whether there is a conflict with former Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs being on the Board of Directors of MW and also as mayor involved in the purchase of the land and building of the library.
  • Many questions were raised about the gap in time from when MW made its offer and when it went public.   Erik Strunk said the original proposal was submitted to the City Manager and it didn’t go public because they needed time to do their due diligence.  That answer didn’t seem acceptable to either members of the Advisory Board or members who spoke.   Question was raised on why they didn’t get public input when this first came up and before they put together this extensive proposal paid for appraisals, etc..   In other words why was it allowed to get this far and so much money spent without first getting public input.  The $4,000+ for the second appraisal paid for by Glendale [guess that figure is on the website] came out of the library book fund.  Mr. Strunk tried to explain, to no avail, that it would be paid back to the library book fund through some staff reduction fund Glendale has so its supposed to be a “wash.”
  • Erik Strunk admitted they never did an analysis of how much it would cost to replace the library and didn’t know how much it would cost.  They also admitted to not doing an economic impact study – not part of the due diligence.
  • Comments were made about how Staff, Erik Strunk and Michael Beck, are supposed to be looking out for the good of the City of Glendale, but the Power Point presentation did not give any drawbacks or concerns.  Comment was that the presentation was nothing more than a sales/marketing tool.  It was not an objective presentation of pros and cons so an informed decision could be made.

I am providing a You Tube link for those you unable to attend either the Monday or Wednesday night meetings. It is provided courtesy of the Glendale Planet and is the video of the Monday night meeting. Be fairly warned. The video is 2 hours long. I suggest you pull out your tablet, pull up a soft seat into which you can hunker down and then plan to consume endless cups of coffee.

The first hour of the video is the staff’s presentation. The second hour is citizen comments on the proposed sale. Here is the link: .

Michele Tennyson, a Cholla district resident and library supporter, also made some very good observations about the proposed sale:

  • This is a bad move for both the library and FRAC as both will have to reduce services and programs. The space they are proposing to take over at FRAC will be a fraction of the current space, and the main room would have lower ceilings and poor lighting compared with the beautiful space at Foothills.
  • They also stated the inventory of stocked books for folks to peruse in the library will be reduced to approximately 35,000 volumes from 175,000, and the square footage would be reduced to 9,100 square feet from 33,500 square feet!
  • They are promoting this as a good move as they intend to increase the number of computers and enhance the technology services available to library users…all of which could be done at its current location.
  • There is the issue of bringing together two incompatible functions. Libraries are meant to be quiet spaces, and rec centers are meant to be fun and noisy.
  • It does not make financial sense as it cost approximately $7.8 million to build Foothills plus another nearly $500,000 for art that was purchased and installed on site, some of which MWU wants to have convey (sic) with the sale. Also, is it really ‘net’ if we not only paid $7.8 million to build the facility but invested additional costs in bond fees and interest and then get back only $4.1?
  • Why would anyone move to Glendale, when they could choose a neighboring city like Peoria, where these services seem to be valued?

Tomorrow I will offer comments about tonight’s meeting. The city council gave direction that after these 3 meetings they wanted to hear the recommendations of the commissioners before proceeding with consideration of a sale. The commission recommendations will determine if the idea moves forward and a series of public meetings throughout the city will be held.

Remember that your voice counts. Please keep up the pressure by letting the mayor and council know your opinion. After all, this proposal won’t be killed until the fat lady sings…and all is still silent.

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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