Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Interesting Exchange Between Bill Henry and Tom Kiefaber

Last night, I attended a meeting of the York Road Partnership, a local community group, because I understood The Senator Theatre was going to be on the agenda.

As the meeting was wrapping up and The Senator had not yet been discussed, Tom Kiefaber raised his hand during the announcements part of the meeting. He announced that there was an enhanced learning event going on at The Senator this morning at 10:15-11:30.

Tom then asked what happens if the city’s steering committee decides The Senator cannot go forward as a non-profit.

Bill said the Mayor would have to determine if it can go forward as a non-profit at that point. He added that he hasn’t been part of any discussion over what happens if it can’t go forward as a non-profit.

That was the extent of the discussion in front of the entire meeting.

The conversation about The Senator later continued outside. It was witnessed by myself, another concerned neighbor, and Adam Bednar of The Messenger (it will be interesting to see what he might write about it).

The conversation was mostly between Tom Kiefaber and Bill Henry. Tom was very clear that he has accepted the city’s offer and is willing to work to iron out the details. He was pressing Bill to explain how the city is going to hand The Senator over to a non-profit and how they are going to determine what non-profit.

Bill stated the steering committee is really just crunching numbers to see if it CAN become a non-profit, and looking at the numbers for various plans that have been submitted to them by interested parties. They are NOT determining how The Senator will be run in the future.

I observed that if the city is going to pay off part of Kiefaber’s loan and then take over The Senator, but the city has not yet determined at that point what to do with it, obviously The Senator is going to close for a while. Bill did not deny that. In fact, he has admitted it publicly and on the record before this.

I also learned other interesting things from what Bill was saying:

The city is most likely going to allow The Senator to go to a foreclosure auction to “clear the debt.” (As Tom Kiefaber pointed out, this does not clear the debt from his perspective, because he will still owe it.) The Senator will therefore be sold to the highest bidder unless this foreclosure is stopped.

The Senator might not be a movie theatre in the future. Various proposals have been presented. It sounds like there is no guarantee it will be any kind of public theatre at all.

Bill reiterated that the steering committee is not going to take public input.

The city is in a position to potentially determine the fate of The Senator only because they guaranteed a loan to The Senator with public funds. To refuse to take public input on something that involves the use of taxpayer money is inexcusable, in my opinion.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger TomKessler said...

So, the situation is fairly hopeless then?

I have to confess that reading this blog entry put a big, sad lump in my stomach. It's like learning that a close friend of the family has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I'm sorry to learn that Tom Kiefaber accepted the city's offer given what he seems to be sacrificing.

I often wondered (and posted this on the Senator message board) what the logistics would be of buying up the block and expanding The Senator to include a few satellite auditoriums that would essentially turn the theater into the same kind of "multiplex" that The Charles has become. That way if one feature on the "big screen" doesn't perform well, it could rotate with the other features on the smaller screens.

Oh, well, it would probably too little too late for too much cost. And I suspect that Tom Kiefaber is not a fan of the multiplex model.

March 06, 2009


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home