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Renton City Attorney's office has prepared draft explanatory statement for August 7 Voters Pamphlet

The Renton City Attorney's office has released a draft explanatory statement for the August 7 library election

Standard disclaimer: I'm speaking only for myself, not the whole city council.  Opinions expressed are my own.

Assistant City Attorney Zanetta Fontes has prepared a draft explantory statement to describe the library options in the August 7 voters pamphlet. 

Councilmember Rich Zwicker and I each had input into this statement, but the City attorney's office has the final responsibility to complete this work.  I'm not completely satisfied, and I don't think Rich is either-- but some compromising is undeniably called for.  It's important to all of us that the work is vetted by the public.

Citizens can make comments on this statement by contacting the Renton City Attorney's office or by speaking at the May 7th Council Meeting.  Be advised that the City Attorney is asking citizens to recognize that campaign activities for advocates for both library locations have begun, and there can be no "campaigning" at the council meeting since the meeting facility and broadcast are paid for with public funds.  Therefore, if you choose to comment on the explanatory statement at the council meeting, you must keep your comments extremely focussed on the fairness, accuracy, and neutrality of the wording, and do not use the forum to express your opinion about the suitability of either site.

Here is the statement for your review. It was officially published by the city as an attachment to the Monday May 7 council agenda. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Randy Corman May 04, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Here is additional information from the City Attorney's office providing background on the prepared statement http://renton.civicweb.net/FileStorage/6B56C4A8A1514869851B4279C44E6743-WorkspaceBackground%20on%20Drafting%20Explanatory%20Statem.pdf
rentonben May 04, 2012 at 04:29 PM
My main reaction is that the city has several values for renovating the Cedar River location - in the original Library Master plan, it was about 3 million. To renovate it for the Salmon exhibit, it is about about 3 million. Now that the city is putting this to a vote - the estimates have jumped to 10 million. It doesn't seem quite right.
Stuart Avery May 04, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I believe the statement is as good as it is going to get, and could have been much worse had some of the preliminary edits been adopted. It is absent of mis-information and touches realistically on possible costs and exposes the reality or possibilities of future undetermined costs. I think the campaigns ultimately have the responsibility of bringing the statement to life with Renton voters. Special thanks to Randy, and the other council members as well as Mayor Law, and the city administration for the courage they have shown moving this to the voters. In the end, voters should be satisfied that whatever location is chosen for a new state of the art library, it will have been a peoples choice. It is my belief that the quality of the Cedar River location and the value it brings to the community far exceeds the higher costs. Ultimately we could have the best of both worlds. A heavily renovated state of the art, flagship library and a library location that is like no other and will continue to draw our community together as libraries are meant to do.
Phyllis Forister May 08, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Ben, this kind of jumping around with the dollars to renovate the Cedar River Library is a bit like illicit campaigning by the City and KCLS. Neither the City or KCLS can campaign so "they" must necessarily stop putting out bogus information to flumox the voters. This happened once when we annexed into KCLS. The misinformation given out prior to annexation into KCLS shouldn't have happened and it sure as heck shouldn't be allowed to happen again.
Michael Riley May 12, 2012 at 03:56 PM
The facts are that the numbers are not valid. The new library price is base on published square foot costs of typical libraries. NO body has published any schematic pricing based on the current design and program. It was recognized at the time the bond package was issued last year that the cost was unknown and the package was a "starter". There has been no backup provided for assumptions used to price the renovation of the Cedar River Library. I seem to recall that Pete Renner did in fact make a statement at a recent council meeting about something in the 2 to 3 million range for renovation costs. Other people I have talked to, familiar with construction and renovations, pretty much agree 10 million is way out of line for the remodel. Michael Riley

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