The Daily Press believes strongly in the need for a well-informed and educated community where everyone has access to materials. That is why we support the construction of a new library branch.

Where it should be located is up for debate.

Residents in the Pico Neighborhood are calling for a branch to be built in their area. The branch could be built at Virginia Avenue Park or along Pico Boulevard. The estimated cost is $12.8 million and $30 million respectively for construction and site acquisition. The branch would command an annual operating cost of about $870,000 at either location, said Greg Mullen, the head public librarian.

We strongly oppose locating the library at the park. Councilmembers Gleam Davis and Kevin McKeown were right to not want to take away much-needed open space, especially after City Hall spent millions ($9.9 for construction of LEED Silver buildings) improving and expanding the park.

Building along Pico, while incredibly more expensive, is a better idea. The hope is to locate the library in a depressed area of the boulevard, breathing new life into it. What could be an even better proposal is locating the library at the old Fisher Lumber site at Memorial Park near the Police Activities League, where many children from the Pico Neighborhood hang out after school. The library would serve not only Pico Neighborhood residents, but also those living in the Mid-City area, and City Hall already owns the land.

The Fairview Branch on Ocean Park Boulevard and 21st Street is close enough to Virginia Avenue Park and the eastern edge of the city to serve those residents. It is ridiculous that some feel there is a “cultural divide” created by Pico Boulevard.

The branch is just a few blocks south of Virginia Avenue Park, the heart of the Pico Neighborhood. It has served the area since 1956, and as far as we know, librarians don’t ask people where they are from when they check out a book.

We need to abandon this neighborhood-centric way of thinking and look at our city as a whole. When doing that, it is easy to see that Mid-City and the Eastside are the neighborhoods that are truly lacking.

Final resting place<p>

Lifting the restriction on who can be buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery is a bad idea and should be squashed. The taxpayers of this city help support Woodlawn to a tune of $300,000 a year (general fund subsidy), and for that contribution they should be the only ones to call Woodlawn their final resting place.

Cemetery staff members have suggested lifting the resident restriction to attract more customers and generate revenue to keep the cemetery running.


What the cemetery needs to do is some good marketing. Take out some ads in the local papers or go on City TV. City Hall should do something to spread the word — possibly highlight the history of the cemetery and some of the local heroes who are buried there.

But opening up the cemetery to out-of-towners just feels like the wrong idea. This cemetery was meant for Santa Monicans.

Party time<p>

On a positive note, this weekend will represent the best of Santa Monica. At Virginia Avenue Park residents can celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a fiesta highlighting our city’s diversity.

At the Third Street Promenade health organizations will be on hand to offer free asthma screenings and information on programs. Exotic cars will be lined up on Ocean Avenue for the Gumball 3000 rally, representing Santa Monica’s link to car culture and Route 66.

And then Sunday, the Santa Monica Classic to benefit Heal the Bay will take place, featuring professional runners and weekend warriors, a symbol of our community’s commitment to sustainability and living active, healthy lifestyles.

Get out and take advantage of what the city has to offer.

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