John E. Upton: Thriving library is part of being a quality community | TahoeDailyTribune.com

John E. Upton: Thriving library is part of being a quality community

John E. Upton
Submitted to the Tribune

The purpose of this writing is to urge voters to vote "yes" on Measure L on June 3.

Measure L continues an existing special tax that voters have twice previously approved by the required two-thirds majority.

Measure L will provide funding only for the South Lake Tahoe branch library.

Measure L is on the ballot now because the voters' 2005 approval was for a 10-year period. The library special tax will expire in 2015 unless continued by the voters.

Measure L continues an existing $20 per year per home special tax, but also allows a maximum 3 percent per year Consumer Price Index based inflation factor so that services and hours can be sustained as costs increase over Measure L's 12-year period. If the full 3 percent were to occur, the maximum amount per home would be $28.50 in year 2027.

I believe voters should vote "yes" on Measure L for several reasons:

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The library has delivered on the promises it has given voters in 1994 and again in 2005.

It has remained open 5 days per week, put new books on shelves, provided programs that promote the importance of reading for children, provided access to books to be checked out from any county branch library, and other valuable programs and services.

The library has adapted to changing times and technologies. For example, the library provides electronic access through computer or mobile device to e-books, downloadable audio books and popular magazines, and public computers available to any library user.

This library is used by the community: There are 14,000 library cards held by local residents, 130,000 books were checked out in 2012, and 1,700 people visit the library in the average week.

A quality, full-time library is an expected part of a quality community — it is an expectation of residents, of visitors, and of persons considering moving here.

A quality library is part of sustaining and improving property values, and for that reason Measure L is supported by the South Tahoe Association of Realtors.

Finally, your 'yes' vote will avoid the consequences that will result from our library losing Measure L funding. At the very least, there would be a reduction in hours and services — the library was only open two days per week before this special tax was first enacted and approved by the voters.

Measure L has been endorsed by resolutions of support approved by the following: Lake Tahoe Unified School District; Lake Tahoe Community College; The City of South Lake Tahoe; The South Lake Tahoe Association of Realtors; The South Lake Tahoe branch of American Association of University Women; The Lake Tahoe Historical Society; Measure L is also endorsed by South Lake Tahoe Mayor Hal Cole; El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago; and many others.

The last day to register to vote is at 5 p.m. Monday, May 19.

Please join me in voting "yes" on Measure L.

Your "yes" vote on Measure L will provide funding for our South Lake Tahoe library only, and allow our community to continue to enjoy this great and expected community resource. Your 'yes' vote is a vote for a quality community.

John E. Upton is a former El Dorado County supervisor; Board member and Board president of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District; and City of South Lake Tahoe treasurer and council member.