Ben Kalasho, an El Cajon City Council candidate, has been a valuable member of the Save ECPAC/ECPAC Foundation Citizen’s Task Force. He offers his comment at the news conference on June 21st in front of the theater.
An excellent article about our efforts published by the East County Magazine.
One of the major issues facing the East County Performing Arts Center is its roof. While we learned a couple of weeks ago that the firewall was compromised with a “permanent installation” by a former management tenant above and near the stage, this leak on the right side of the theater (house right) will have to be addressed. Different things have been suggested about this leak, including that the source of it has been caused by an accumulation of dead pine needles in a key drainage pipe. It has also been suggested that with an installation of a drainage scupper on this parapet wall that this could be one solution of what will eventually be an expensive complete roof job.
How things were allowed to get this far I’ll never understand (although some “theorycasts” are entirely plausible).
As Ray Lutz commented in an e-mail to members of the SaveECPAC/ECPAC Foundation group, we were scheduled to meet with El Cajon City Manager Doug Williford for 15 minutes. We ended up talking to him and discussing our proposal in a proactive and positive tone for 1.5 hours. Says Lutz, “I noticed the city manager said he was not hearing very many people who were interested in saving the theater except for the inner circle.”
Please send your letters (e-mail or snail mail) and phone calls of support of the ECPAC Foundation directly to the City Manager, Douglas Williford.
His contact information:
Mr. Douglas Williford, City Manager
El Cajon City Hall
200 Civic Center Way
El Cajon, CA 92020
We would appreciate if you would please send a copy of your communication to email@example.com or FAX it to (413) 771-7762.
In front of the dusty, shuttered box office windows, core members of the ECPAC Foundation led a press conference announcing their handoff of a proposal to the El Cajon City Manager, Doug Williford, to reopen and manage the East County Performing Arts Center.
The press conference was attended by local journalists including veteran ABC10 reporter Jen Chatsfield and KUSI ch. 9/51, and East County Magazine. Ray Lutz, co-founder of the ECPAC Foundation, expressed his desire that the City of El Cajon put the same effort and energy into negotiating with the ECPAC Foundation, that it put into a six-month agreement with local developer Neal Arthur to discuss razing the the 33-year old theater. In late May, the City of El Cajon rescinded its earlier vote allowing discussion of plans to demolish the theater. Instead, City Council member, Tony Ambrose, invited the ECPAC Foundation to submit a theater management proposal.
After the press conference, the group walked into the second floor conference room of the City Manager where the principals of the group discussed the main points of the proposal.
The group will reconvene in the near future to continue discussions.
After some ten weeks of meetings by a local citizens task force, the ECPAC Foundation will be holding a press conference prior to submitting its proposal for its management of the East County Performing Arts Center. The press conference will be held at 3 p.m. in front of the El Cajon City Hall. Ray Lutz and Paul Kruze will then meet with El Cajon’s City Manager, Doug Williford, at 3:30 p.m. to discuss the main points of the proposal.
Some ten years ago, the Arts Center Foundation (ACF), the second management entity to run the theater from 1999-2005, solicited a local architect to come up with a rendering that would show how the theater would look with its entrance moved to Main Street. In retrospect, this reimagined concept of a new entrance looks very dated and archaic some ten years later. Thank goodness the ACF couldn’t get the money to change the front of the theater to this design and concept.
This design would have clashed with the clean lines of the other buildings which were built as a part of this “superblock” (including City Hall and the Courthouse) in 1977.
Shortly after the latest entire brouhaha started with ECPAC, El Cajon Councilman Bill Wells published a short commentary about the future of ECPAC. It would seem that the he is following through on his word.
Councilman Wells has truly embodied the concept of “government by the people, for the people) in following up on his commitment to work proactively with members of the ECPAC Foundation, along with Councilmen McClellan and Kendrick. Councilman Tony Ambrose truly stepped up to the plate by inviting our group to make a proposal to bring the theater back to life.
Here is what Councilman Wells wrote:
“I’ve had a lot of calls about the UT article regarding the “razing” of the ECPAC. I want to weigh in and say that to my mind, there is long ways to go before this was to happen. The current proposal is to build a hotel on the site, which would include a new performing arts center. I have to admit that a major hotel in Downtown El Cajon would be welcome, but I’m still not sure how it would be financed, or if that proposed site is a given. There is a lot of discussion that has yet to occur. Remember also, that the whole equation has changed since the state has disbanded the Redevelopment Agency. In light of this it is premature to think that ECPAC will be torn down.
I do agree that something must be done about ECPAC. We are currently working on several possible solutions. As always, the entire El Cajon City Council and I have the best interests of the community in mind. I am also personally aware of how important this theater is to so many in this community. I promise that I will keep this fact in mind as we go through the process. I will also keep you all informed as much as I possibly can, as to all of the developments.”
Yes, Virginia, this IS government by the people, for the people.
Members of the “ECPAC Foundation” were warmly received by members of the El Cajon City Council today during a regular council session.
Special thanks for Councilmen McCllelan and Ambrose for your proactive attitude towards the goal of reopening the theater, perhaps in time for this fall.