Letter to the Editor: We Don’t ‘Need’ the Library Lecture Hall

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Paul Watkins’ recent letter supporting the need for an $8 million library lecture hall makes my point – he “wants it.”  We don’t “need it.”

Mr. Watkins, vice chair of the Board of Library Trustees, thinks it’s a good use of our taxes to spend $8 million so high-profile speakers like Doris Kearns Goodwin can be shrouded in opulence — at our expense — as she hawks her latest book.

He “wants” taxpayers to spend $8 million because neither the $140 million city hall chambers or adjacent Friends Room “offers fixed comfortable seating or a sloped floor that preserves all-important sight lines.”

Here’s an idea, to save us $8 million, rent a riser for $200. The sightlines will be perfect.

Here’s another idea Mr. Watkins, if you pay Goodwin’s fee she will speak on the beach and we’ll save $8 million and apply it to things we “need” like bay dredging, public safety, and paying down the pension debt.

I was pleased to read that the library folks would use private funds for 50% of construction costs.  They can start by paying all of the estimated $750,000 architect fee and fundraise for 100% of the construction cost because they “want it.”

Bob McCaffrey
Balboa Island

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