Letters To The Editor - Compromise to end local library stalemate

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The Walla Walla County Rural Library District held a forum Nov. 15 to discuss the stalemate between its Board and the City Council of Walla Walla concerning the shared countywide WALNET library services.

Actually, I think the original purpose was for the Rural Library District to talk about its path forward after Jan. 1 when county residents will no longer be able to access the city library facilities due to failed contract negotiations.

But with representatives from both sides at this forum, it soon became a case of "he said, she said" why the contract between the two could not be agreed upon.

I heard many reasons (excuses?) for the breakdown but no ideas on how a compromise could be reached. One of the Rural Library Board members stated they, as the members of the Board of Directors, came up with a figure they determined they would offer the city and "drew a line" that this was the maximum they would agree as their contract price.

Meanwhile, the City Council determined what it thought was the fair share for the county to pay and wouldn't take less. Both entities came up with their monetary figures from one of the several sustainability models suggested by an independent consultant who was hired by WALNET. Unfortunately, neither side used the same model but the one that looked best to its side.

This meeting was well attended and the vast majority did not care who was "right" or who was "wrong." We just want both sides to sit down together, quit making ultimatums, open up their minds and listen!

Listen to the concerns of the city residents who are looking at large cutbacks in hours of operation and personnel availability.

Listen to the county residents who will no longer be able to access the city library and all the programs it offers to young and old.

Compromise: A settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions; a concept of finding agreement through communication, through a mutual acceptance of terms -- often involving variations from an original goal or desire.

It really isn't a dirty word.

Terri Peterson
Walla Walla

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