I would like to share some final thoughts as we approach the deadline for voting in the upcoming election which will decide the fate of our municipal library.
There are certain things that are abundantly clear and certain things that are intentionally confusing about the library debate. Most pro-KCLS contributors are painting a picture of a rosy and abundant library future with an insider list of improvements for which the average citizen has had no disclosure. Where is this information coming from? It most certainly can't be coming from visiting or patronizing other KCLS libraries. I am inclined to think that the wish list of features, services and improvements that many pro-KCLS proponents are referring to (how much money KCLS is intending to spend, how up-to-date the computers and technology will be, how much bigger and greater the collection will be, etc., etc., etc.) is exactly that: a wish list. It is interesting, though, that is often followed by and bolstered up by running the municipal library into the ground. The citizens of Enumclaw have only been promised that which is detailed in the transfer agreement, half of which will be unenforceable before the ink is dry (remember St. Elizabeth's Hospital). In reality, KCLS has promised nothing other than "getting the city out of the library business." Imagine, if you will (which is all too easy to do if you have been following the Renton-KCLS debacle), taking a future complaint to the city administrator only to get a response like, "We have nothing to do with it now- take it up with KCLS." How likely will that be? And how supportive? If my memory serves me, the Renton election which ushered KCLS into their community, was a low-turnout election decided by a very small margin of votes. Let's hope that doesn't happen here.
The other part of the debate, for which the city is declaratively, but only supposedly neutral, makes no sense to me. They have been far from neutral. The argument posed by citizens both for and against, by and large, has been one of pitting our local library services against KCLS services. Both libraries offer services; I reside on that side of the fence that believes, when properly funded, the local library excels in offering services and benefits to the community that are unavailable from KCLS. Fact, not opinion. The library does offer services that KCLS does not, despite what the city wants you to know and chooses not to disclose, or in fact, doesn't have a clue about one way or the other (which is probably a little of both).
I would like the issue to be refocused, for the benefit of your Yes or No vote, to one of a demand for accountability from the city administration and the city council, who have openly ignored everyone who has had an opinion on this issue other than for annexation; the same administration who has ramrodded this issue without any open forum or public debate. The notion of closure, without public input, should KCLS fail to win this vote is nonsense; an intentional threat, ill-founded in any way other than to demonstrate the very bullying tactics and poor leadership upon which it is based. It is the city administration that has routinely underfunded the library, for which taxes are currently collected and not fully allocated, and then "unwittingly" turned with their Pontius Pilate "let the people decide" posture, all the while declaring KCLS as the knight in shining armor and our local library as a dirty, shabby, run-down bastard-child for which we should be made to feel ashamed. All from the same people who have hardly ever stepped foot inside the library! It doesn't make sense; the city stance is coercive, non-transparent, negligent, incompetent and simply wrong. Demand reasonable accountability and the reinstatement of funding by voting No on Proposition 1. It is the only vote that will give the decision of the library's future back to the people with a real beneficial debate. The community has been well served by this library for 90+ years. It speaks and listens to the cultural and educational fabric of the people it serves. Don't let an arrogant and temporary administration throw it away in 5 minutes without the rightful and open debate that should take place.