Clearing up facts of Walnut Creek library

A recent letter contained some inaccurate information about the Walnut Creek Library. It's the kind of misinformation we're seeing in anonymous online postings as well, so I thought readers might appreciate knowing the facts.

Far from "monstrous" and "lightly used," the library's won critical acclaim and environmental awards for its architecture and is the most highly used of Contra Costa County's 26 libraries, averaging more than 19,000 visitors monthly during 2012.

Its collection contains not "the same few books as the old one," but many thousands of volumes that didn't fit in the old library. Its many meeting rooms, computer banks and state-of-the-art children's, teen and business sections are in constant use by those who come to the library seeking other learning experiences in addition to books.

The "four-level parking garage" criticized in the letter doesn't exist, although ample parking for library patrons is provided on the surface and on one level underneath the building itself.

I encourage people who haven't visited the new Walnut Creek Library to go there and sample its many pleasures for themselves and investigate the wealth of activities that take place there on www.wclibrary.org.

Peter Magnani

Walnut Creek Magnani is a member of the Walnut Creek Library Foundation board.

What George Will gets wrong on education

I'm referring to the April 4 column by George Will, "Schools are serving portions of propaganda as pedagogy."


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Champions of the privileged, such as Will, keep trying to justify desertion of K-12 public schools by parents who can afford private schools but resent paying taxes to support public schools needed by everyone else.

In his column, Will cites (Milton and Rose) Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice data indicating that since 1950 public school students increased 96 percent but teachers increased 252 percent and other staff ("bureaucrats ... and other nonteachers") increased 702 percent.

Will insinuates this bloating of the public education payroll has increased the cost, but not the effectiveness, of our public education system.

In rebuttal:

  • Salaries of "other staff" form only a small part of this cost (about 8 percent of the budget of a well-run school district and as much as 20 percent of the budget of a poorly run district).

  • The salary increases reflect, in part, entrance into the public school system beginning in 1975 of children with disabilities needing more costly "special education." They had previously been shamefully barred from public schools.

    Ruby MacDonald

    El Cerrito

    Gay marriage does no harm to anyone

    Questions for those who support Proposition 8: How can they object to something that doesn't physically harm them? How does gay marriage harm heterosexual marriage?

    If their defense is that it offends them or goes against their beliefs rooted in religion, then they have no defense. Our nation was founded on the separation of church and state. It is based on reason, not on religious authority.

    Just because people say we are a Christian nation doesn't mean we are such. By our standard of proof -- our central contract, the Constitution -- we are not.

    The Constitution protects the right to form a religion and participate in it, but it doesn't give the government the right to push its demands and beliefs onto the public. It is better for religion and government to remain separate, as our Founding Fathers believed.

    Let's put aside our differences and this law that was driven by moralists who have no proof of harm to the general public.

    Dan Buckles

    Concord

    Adults should face court in Ohio rape case

    After watching an in-depth TV program about the Steubenville High rape case, two questions burn in my mind: Who provided the alcohol for 50 students in three different households? Didn't any parent or adult object to the underage kids boozing it up in their homes and then driving impaired to the next party?

    I think some adults should face charges of contributory negligence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    Judith O'Neal

    Richmond

    Congress too afraid of NRA to listen to public

    Assault weapons should be banned.

    I don't think Congress is listening to the people. Some members of Congress are afraid of the NRA that some years ago thought these types of weapons should be banned.

    Who uses these weapons? People who want to outgun the police.

    Pistols and rifles are legal for defending self and family. Weapons that killed the children and adults at Sandy Hook and Colorado are for military use.

    Elizabeth Bias

    Concord