Mountain View November 5, 2014

County Libraries – Including Los Altos – Are Free Again

Published on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 00:05
Written by Los Altos Town Crier Staff – Town Crier Report

The Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board voted Thursday to eliminate the $80 annual library-card fee for users who do not live in the library district.

The vote was 8-3 in favor of the motion made by County Supervisor Joe Simitian, serving his second year on the JPA.

Until 2011, the state of California reimbursed public libraries for lending materials to residents of other library jurisdictions.

When the state announced plans to cut the $2.1 million the Santa Clara County Library District received to allow out-of-district residents to use its libraries, the JPA imposed an $80 annual fee for a library card for nonresidents to recover the loss.

With the JPA’s vote to eliminate the fee, effective July 1, residents of Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, San Jose and Santa Clara are able to use any library in the county at no charge for the first time since 2011.

“No other library system in the county charges nonresidents for a library card,” Simitian said. “So residents of the county library district could borrow freely in other communities, but the residents of those communities got slapped with an $80 fee when they showed up in our district and asked for reciprocity.”

According to Simitian, the fee didn’t raise much money, cost a lot to administer and was a “nuisance” to members of the public who had to provide proof of residency.

“It just struck me as wrong on so many levels,” he said. “Our public libraries aren’t truly public when we charge an entrance fee. This $80 charge essentially became a ‘knowledge tax.’ It’s time we stopped charging folks for access.”

Simitian initially requested that the library district review the fee during the county budget process earlier this year. It was, he said, one of the first issues he heard about when he started holding sidewalk office hours in his district.

Elayne Dauber, former Los Altos Hills mayor and longtime member of the Los Altos Library Commission, said she was pleased with the district JPA Board’s action.

“I’m delighted,” she said. “We can be good neighbors again.”

Prior to the vote, to be eligible for a free Santa Clara County Library District card, users had to live or own property in the unincorporated area of Santa Clara County or in one of the following nine cities or towns: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Campbell, Gilroy, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill or Saratoga.

For more information, visit sccl.org.

Uncategorized November 5, 2014

Modest Bay Area Homes Hit Mind-Boggling Prices

Excerpts From Article Written by Pete Carey – San Jose Mercury News

Two years of tight supply and intense demand have pushed prices for modest Bay Area homes in trendy neighborhoods to mind-boggling heights.

In Palo Alto, tiny homes sell for multiple millions of dollars. In Oakland’s sought-after Rockridge district, a home
just sold for $500,000 over the asking price.

On both sides of the bay, it’s the location that commands the biggest price, even as the amount paid per square foot reached new peaks in more than a third of 155 Bay Area ZIP codes analyzed for this newspaper by CoreLogic DataQuick.

With the price of homes in Palo Alto skyrocketing, Ken Plourde, a 79-year-old retired jazz bass player, decided it was time to sell the home he bought for $35,000 in 1970. “I was sitting on a gold mine,” said Plourde, whose income from music gigs has been declining with his advancing years and changes in the live music business.

The 992-square-foot-home within walking distance of Stanford University was snapped up in one day by a wealthy Stanford graduate in China for $3 million, a price that comes to just over $3,000 a square foot.

“They’re going to flatten it, but what the hell, I can’t do anything about that. Life goes on,” said Plourde. “It’s a fortune to  me, for a guy who’s never made more than $30,000 a year.”