I am not going to lie to you, yesterday was a tough day. I already knew that the “no” votes were never going to catch-up in the polls but it was not until yesterday that it sunk in – we did not win the election. However, I managed not to shed too many tears and I’ll leave it at that.

We realize that for some an election is a fair representation of what the people want and now that the people have spoken we should just retire to our separate corners and bask in the glory that is KCLS but I am not there yet. Normally, I would agree with someone that an election is a way for the public to voice their opinions and majority rules. But in this case things are not that cut and dry – here is the wrinkle. The City of Renton lied, okay maybe lie is a bit of an overstatement but the City of Renton provided mis-information to its citizens  and we feel that the mis-information caused voters to vote a certain way.

I know that during campaigns there is a lot of information that is thrown around by supporters and opponents of whatever issue is at hand and it is up to the voter to decipher between what is fact and what isn’t. But when it comes to information that is provided by your own City a voter should be assured that it is correct. The City had stated time and time again that they are not allowed to have an opinion about annexation one way or the other – if you remember correctly the librarians were not even allowed to give their opinion. So, one should be able to assume that the information that is provided to them by a City is accurate and un-biased, especially if that City is going to use a utility bill to distribute that information.

So, with that being said our fight for a free and fair election devoid of government interference is now on. We had our attorney, John Martin, file a letter with the Attorney General of Washington asking them to look into this matter with the Public Disclosure Commission and they have 45 days to act on it. If they don’t it is our intention to sue to City of Renton ourselves. Of course that is not what we want to do so we are exhausting all other options first.

Like, I said earlier I know for some people the fight ends with the election and that is fine but if you want to the City of Renton to be held accountable for buying this annexation election this is the place you need to be.

Thanks for reading and thanks for everyone’s support during the election process – we know that the vote would not have been as close as it was without the help of everyone out there that voted “no”.

Our website is the best place to keep up to date with everything that is going on with our PDC complaint and the AG, please note that this is the .com version of Save Renton Library. Leave a comment or use the form below to get in contact with us to find out how you can help. Thanks so much…

A business owner knows a good deal when they see one, they also know how to spot a bad deal. Renton business owners realize that joining KCLS means they will see a big increase in their  taxes and in this tough economy that is just not what they need. Just look at our own Downtown community, we have lost so many businesses in the last year.

So, I want to give a big THANKS to all the businesses in Renton who have helped us educate voters on the facts about annexation into the KCLS. You have allowed us to inform more people than you know.

Happy Delusions     

Liberty Cafe

DC’s Bar and Grill          

Common Ground Coffee and Cupcakes

PIP Printing               

The Comic Den

R&R Graphics                  

CD Danza Salon and Spa

Jet City Espresso                

Enjoy Teriyaki

Teriyaki Boxes                   

 Torero’s

Pieces Quilt Shop Inc 

Images Salon

A-1 Vacuum

Lifetime Muffler

Go Deli

Mroczek Brothers Auctioneers

Renton Western Wear

Sewing Machine Service Company

We realize that the pro-annexation campaign has the support of a lot of elected officials and even senators but we have business owners. We have  small business owners, many that are in their shops every day working hard in our community – they know what is best for this community because they are in touch with this community. Don’t be swayed by the names be convinced by the facts.  Vote “NO” on Prop 1 and keep our local library independent.

After I went back and read the KCLS fact sheet again I saw that they said “there is a lot of misinformation being propagated among opponents of joining KCLS.” It took a few minutes but it really started to bug me because throughout this whole campaign we have tried to bring the voters the facts and I think we have done a good job of it. So, with that being said I will comment on a few more of the “facts” that Renton For KCLS Now has on their webpage – one of which was corrected today.

MYTH: KCLS will take over ownership of the existing Main Branch over the Cedar River and the Highlands branch Library buildings.

The “Vote No” campaign has never stated that the current library facilities would be owned by KCLS. We have continuously pointed out the fact that when new library facilities are built the taxpayers of Renton will pay for these buildings and then the City will turn ownership of these buildings over to KCLS. KCLS does not deny that the City will have to pay for these new buildings or the fact that they will be the owners of buildings they did not have to pay for.

MYTH: Current Renton Library staff would lose their jobs.

We have never stated that Renton Library Staff would lose their jobs after annexation. We have wondered about the future of positions that would be redudant with current KCLS staff but there is so much uncertainity in that we have not brought it up.  We have however stated how things will change for Renton library staff. Here are a few examples

  • A loss of benefits for spouses and dependent children
  • A loss of seniority – a lot of Renton Library Staff have worked for the library over 10 years, some over 20 years
  • A loss of contribution to deferred retirement plan
  • Loss of sick and vacation time
  • Renton Library Staff would be “clustered”

It seems unfortunate that an organization with an operating budget of over $90M can not provide a compensation package that is comparable to the one our own City can  to our library staff that has served our community so well.

I just want to say this here, in tough economic times I am sure the library staff, like every other employed person out there, is grateful that they have a job. But it is tough to hear that the City of Renton cares about their employees while favoring annexation.

One more for now…

MYTH: If Renton Libraries stay independent the quality of our facilities and services will remain, at minimum, equal to the current levels.

Renton For KCLS Now is great, they follow this statement with “Fact: If nothing is done to change the current funding model”, the thing to note here is “if nothing is done”. Well, whether we annex to KCLS or remain independent in the future something will be done to change the current funding model and we will make sure of that.

Stay tuned there is more to come in the KCLS “Fact” series.

If you have checked out the Renton For KCLS Now site and looked at their “facts” you are probably really confused at this point. We here at the “Vote No” campaign can understand your confusion so we are going to try to debunk the KCLS facts to the best of our ability.

Here is one such fact that needs some clarification from the KCLS site:

“MYTH: The current tax dollars being collected for Renton Library Services ($0.26/$1000 AV) will still be collected by the City of Renton after annexation to KCLS.
FACT: This statement is a misreading of the funding chart provided by the City and is not the way Renton’s finances work. In order to show voters a common unit of comparison, Renton’s cost analysis is presented in terms of a property tax since that is the revenue source that funds library districts. In reality, the City does not currently collect $0.26/$1000 AV in order to pay for the library, but uses an amount of general fund revenue (equivalent to $0.26 per $1000 AV) totaling about $1.8 million per year. The City would not ‘keep’ an extra $0.26/$1000 in property tax revenue if the voters choose to join KCLS. It is true that the City would save approximately $1.8 million in 2010 by not funding library operations.”

Yes, it is true that Renton’s library funding is not collected in the form of property tax but, like the City of Renton, we have used that as a simple reference to explain where the money that funds the library comes from.

The money that was used to fund the library will still be collected and put in the general fund. As of today The City has made no plans as to how that $1.8M would be spent. Proponents of annexation want that money to go to emergency services like police and fire because they think funding the library takes away from these vital city services. However, the City has not taken an official position as to how that money would be spent.

In fact if annexation passes the City of Renton would not see a savings in their general fund for 2010 because the agreement between the City of Renton and KCLS is that Renton would be required to pay KCLS for library operations for 2010. This makes sense since KCLS is not going to start to collect Renton property tax dollars till 2011, so who is floating the bill for 2010 operations.

Just to state that again, The City of Renton general fund still has to pay for library services for 2010. Here are some minutes from KCLS where they state that (check out page 2 3rd bullet). If this is wrong I invite anyone to provide us with documentation proving it. We have looked and looked and have not found anything to disprove it. That means that any savings of the general fund wouldn’t happen until 2011.

Now, here is where a KCLS “fact” is actually right, the later part of the KCLS fact statement says, “However, the City would also be required to build two new library buildings at some point in the future. Although there have been no official pronouncements on this matter, City Officials have indicated that since Renton would be responsible for replacing two branches upon joining KCLS, the City could use/continue the current investment it makes in libraries by issuing bonds to build those two facilities, paying debt service on those bonds for facilities over time. The City has acknowledged that the chart is confusing, but offers the fairest comparison between the two system’s costs.” It is important to note for those who feel additional emergency services should be funded out of this $1.8M in savings to know that the City has not guaranteed to add emergency services and that the City could choose to use this money to build new buildings in the future.

So, the facts are really this:

  • The City will continue to collect the money that used to fund the library, which means Renton taxpayers will see no savings by annexing to KCLS.
  • The City has to pay for library operations for the 2010 fiscal year even if annexation passes.
  • The City could decide to use the $1.8M previously spent on library operations to build new buildings that would ultimately be owned by KCLS.

This is a very long entry but sometimes disproving “facts” is a lot of work. So, thanks for hanging in there on this one and when you get your ballot in the mail do not hesitate. Open it, Vote No, put a stamp on it and put it in the mail.

Thanks so much for reading and don’t forget to “Vote No”.

*Please note – I just got word from the Library Director, Bette Anderson, that savings to the general fund would not be seen till 2011.***

I saw something very cool tonight as I made my first climb up Renton Hill. I looked over to my left and on the corner of Houser and Mill is a “Vote No” sign! It was so cool, I jabbed my friend and said “look at the sign”.

We made our way up the hill and as I started to look at the doors I noticed that house after house had Vote No flyers rubber banded to their doors. We are out there and we are making a difference.

Thanks to everyone who is out there working hard, let’s keep it up only a few weeks left.

Get involved here

Come to the Renton City Council meeting tonight – 7th Floor Renton City Hall 7pm.

Let’s fill the seats at City Hall and let the City and everyone who watches that we are not going to let KCLS take over our local, independent library.

If you would like to say something at the meeting make sure you show up early, you have to sign up.

Please pass this information on to anyone you know who likes the Renton Public Library and wants to see it remain independent, I know I will be there.