Monthly Archives: July 2012

Spin Cycle?

Today, I received a call from an El Cajon city official (higher up on the food chain) who wished to remain unnamed, but was concerned on the direction of the so-called “ECPAC Foundation” and their constant public aspersions against the City Council, such as the suggestion that the City Council “blindsided” anyone with their decision to begin talks with the hotel developer. This person said to me that the City of El Cajon never intended for things to go in the direction they eventually did, ending up with a City Council decision to explore tearing the troubled 33-year old theater down.  This person said that it was originally in the city plans to renovate the theater while the new downtown police center was being developed and built.  The plans were actually in place to utilize the same construction contractors and suppliers, but the plans went by the wayside when it was decided that having the two buildings being under construction would place too much of a burden on the limited parking available in the area.

Several El Cajon City Officials have openly mentioned that any prospect of reopening would be temporary, and that they envisioned that demolition of the theater within the next five-to-ten years because of its age “was inevitable.”  “Any money we put into it would be for the short term,” it has been said. “We have to look at whether any investment of monies and resources into the long term viability of the theater as a structure into the next decade or two.”



El Cajon city officials tried to get the a group of community members excited over their plans for the kickoff of their centennial celebration on November 12th.  But what they also got was an earful about how the almost three-year shuttered East County Performing Arts Center is likely to be dark come November 12th.

In a four minute oration after a presentation about the city’s celebration plans, local community activist Ray Lutz harshly lashed out and criticized the City of El Cajon’s Public Information Officer, Monica Zech, and other members of the city staff who organized the presentation for excluding the shuttered theater in its plans. He reminded and lambasted the group of community activists the irony that the original promoters of the event, the El Cajon City Council, announced plans in late March to demolish the theater and actively work with a local developer to develop a hotel on the site of the present theater, yet is using arts and music as a focal point of its celebration plans. “This is a real black eye to the city to leave this asset….this jewel…that everyone knows about….excluded from the events,” he said. “You should be mentioning the East County Performing Arts Center as a significant part of this valley. It is a whole part of the structure of downtown,” Lutz continued.

Hear it here: