Here are the broad-based complaints that I’ve heard about the Library Project:
A. The Library Committee spent town tax funds to deliberately attempt to foist its predilection on the community.
B. The process used by the Library Committee was unclear, the purpose and meaning of meetings was not communicated, and their decision-making method was both hidden and flawed and could not have reflected the preferences of the community.
C. The Library Committee refused to actually engage the public in decision-making, rather they put on three presentations and called that “engagement.”
D. Library Committee members (in particular McKeithen, GInny Niles and Denise Kupperman) misled the public about the purpose of the steering committee—representing that it was chartered to make the decision itself after studying the issues, whereas the actual charter was to engage the public in making the decisions. McKeithen accused the public of not being capable of understanding the “complexity” of the issues for deciding where the library should go.
E. The Library Committee was effectively “hijacked” by Friends of the Library, who just cared about doing what they and the library professionals wanted and the committee was neither bipartisan, impartial nor did it care to elicit the best solution for Atherton, based upon a broader array of community needs and priorities (such as for open space for children’s field sports).
F. The Library Committee worked in a clandestine manner to plan the library to move ahead, offered only 2 cursory community workshops in the dead of summer, and had already begun a parallel process for moving ahead with CEQA clearance even prior to any approvals, as if they were assured of approval (which would be a Brown Act violation).
G. The Library Committee utilized a myriad of devices (types and timing of notices and meetings) to minimize attention to the project, and maximize uncertainty and inconvenience to residents to participate, and then turned around and blamed the community for failing to show up.
H. The Town Council members McKeithen and Dobbie and their Library Committee supporters, rather than hear what residents’ concerns were and address them, took the hardened approach of doing whatever it took to defend their flawed process. They voted not to allow further discussion on the council agenda, they minimized additional opportunities for people to express their concerns, including surveys, they personally attacked individuals and committees with legitimate complaints about the process, and lastly, they started to seek underhanded ways to push the EIR process to move faster, while churning up a whole host of other issues (like disbanding the General Plan, threatening the tennis courts, opening up the issue of moving to a Charter City, accusing the Athertonians group of name infringement, all of which were attempts to confuse and diffuse attention on the Library.
Other complaints about the Library process?