Big pensions drive proposed tax increases on California ballots

from the Sacramento Bee

“99 California public retirees received at least half-million-dollar pension payouts in 2013, up from four in 2012. Such lucrative pensions mean that in 2014, California will spend approximately $45 billion on pensions, equaling total state and local welfare spending for the first time … Though [these payouts] personify California’s pension profligacy, they do not drive it. That distinction goes to the 40,000 California retirees who took home pensions greater than $100,000 in 2013 … These are the pensions of Susan Kent, a retired Los Angeles city librarian, who took home a $137,000 pension in 2013. And Thomas Place, a retired San Joaquin court reporter, whose pension was $105,000. And, Betty Smith, a retired Alameda nurse, who received $116,000.”

Los Angeles libraries to offer free flu shots

from the Contra Costa Times

“With all the attention on Ebola, Los Angeles County health officials are concerned that the public will forget about a more common potential killer — influenza. So to expand the availability of free flu vaccines, the public health department is for the first time partnering with libraries. More than 100 sites, including selected city and county libraries, are offering the vaccines beginning this week.”

Marin County: Corte Madera library will close for a month during $400,000 renovation

from the Marin Independent Journal

“Corte Madera bookworms will have to find a temporary place to read when the town library closes next month to undergo a $400,000 renovation.”

Long Beach: Work begins on North Neighborhood Library

from the Orange County Register

“Work on Long Beach’s new North Neighborhood Library is beginning. A groundbreaking was slated to take place Saturday on the new library, which will be a state-of-the-art, 24,655-square-foot single-story facility and will feature three separate community meeting rooms, a community patio, a storytime theater space, displays for artwork and expanded children’s library and separate library areas for teens and adults.”

Sonoma County: Yes on Measure M

from the Petaluma Argus-Courier

“Sonoma County’s libraries, including the one here in Petaluma, are in bad shape. Due to severe funding shortfalls, library hours have been cut by 25 percent since 2011, and are not open at all on Mondays. Compared with other counties, Sonoma County has fallen far behind in how much we spend per capita per year for library services. Marin County spends $95. Napa County spends $54 per capita. Sonoma County, by contrast, spends just $33 per capita. Measure M, a one-eighth cent sales tax measure on the Nov. 4 ballot, would bring that spending level up to a somewhat respectable $45 per person and would, if passed, generate an estimated $8 million to $10 million per year over the next 10 years — with all of it dedicated to the Sonoma County Library system.”

Ramping up at Mitchell Park Library in Palo Alto

from Palo Alto Online

“The City of Palo Alto took local media on a guided tour Thursday of the new 56,332-square-foot Mitchell Park Library and Community Center, a project whose opening has been anticipated for two-and-a-half years. Funded by 2008’s Measure M, the library at 3700 Middlefield Road is four times larger than its predecessor and has a collection nearly twice its previous size. It includes children’s and teen’s areas, a computer training room, private group study rooms, outdoor terraces and flexible classrooms.”