San Diego Rostra: El Cajon Councilman Bill Wells on ECPAC

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.


A BEAUTIFUL DAY (and not just the weather)

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.

San Diego Theater Review Article About ECPAC

I was invited by the influential San Diego Theatre Review website to submit an article about our efforts to reclaim ECPAC.  Here is what was published (augmented for publication here.  Click here to see how the article appeared as an Adobe Acrobat PDF).

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“Flyer” or “Flier” of our fire?

Several weeks ago, our small but mighty and passioante “ECPAC Foundation” group came together at an El Cajon restaurant and edited a flyer which we gave out at a rally and at the El Cajon City Council chamber before their decision not to raze the theater, but make it a part of a hotel/theater zone.

While the direction of work has shifted since that May 22nd decision which ended up with an invitation to make a proposal to the city to reopen the theater, the points on the flyer are still salient to our cause.

Here’s an opportunity to download your own personal copy of the flyer, print it, and distribute it to anyone of your friends and neighbors who might be interested in our cause. (This is an Adobe PDF File) (Adobe Acrobat is a FREE program which you can download to open the file.  Most computers come with the program pre-installed, however.)

And YES, you do have permission to download and copy the flier/flyer of our fire! (Simply click on the below link)

Cleanup of the Theater

I was let into the theater today by a member of the EC Public Works department to take photographs of the seats in the theater which the ECPAC Foundation is looking to upgrade.

The seats will need to be steamcleaned, the armrests upgraded, and the back of the seats cleaned and given a touch of Armourall to freshen up the plastic backing.

I can see that the 1100-some seats could be cleaned up by a dedicated group of community volunteers on a Saturday afternoon.

What also struck me today was how comfortable the seats are in the theater and the legroom, all in the era of really uncomfortable airline seats with no legroom.

I haven’t been in the theater just short of a decade.  The last time I was there I was a trumpet player in the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and my mom sat in the middle of the theater.  I still remember her taking a small keychain LED light and flashing it so I could see where she was sitting.  I gave her a short and quick wave which she acknowledged with a teethy smile.

As a child my parents always took me to all kinds of concerts and dramatic performances when I lived in Portland, OR.  No matter where we went, I always sensed an incredible excitement in whatever venue we went to. I’ve always felt that same excitement when I’ve been a musician or as an actor on stage.  What struck me today was a sense of sadness and gloom when I walked into the theater.  But as I accomplished my task of taking the pictures and as I walked through the quiet foyer, that gloom and sadness somehow changed into an incredible feeling of accomplishment from the time I read in the Union-Tribune about El Cajon’s plans to demolish the theater, to the very distinct possibility that once gain the sounds of the performing arts will come alive as the curtain is raised perhaps by this fall.

Wishful thinking? Maybe.  But just sometimes, wishing upon a star….a dream can come true.

Preliminary EC City Council Proposal Presentation

We will be using this blog to discuss the bigger issues and events surrounding our attempt to manage the now shuttered East County Performing Arts Center.

Next week we will be making a preliminary presentation before the El Cajon City Council on what we envision being the basis of negotiation with the City of El Cajon to reopen the theater.