Going green

Dear Editor:Once again, The Downey Patriot is to be congratulated for covering two subjects of national interest with local significance in its April 24th issue: first, energy conservation/environmental sustainability and second, historic preservation/urban renewal. Henry Veneracion's front page story on the 8th Annual Municipal Green Building Conference and Expo held two weeks ago at the Gas Company Energy Resource Center was valuable in informing our city's readers of the nationally important resource and programs on energy conservation and green building available here at home, in Downey. The conference brings together municipal officials and professionals engaged in policy and implementation of green imperatives, green building, energy and water conservation and environmental sustainability at the local level. It is a recognition that successful public policy programs have a much better chance of acceptance and success when driven by local initiative as also demonstrated in the annual conference of mayors, and again as demonstrated by large cities like London, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Madrid and San Diego, and small cities like Pasadena, Anaheim, Santa Monica, Fountain Valley and San Clemente, to name just a few. One would be hard pressed to find many cities in the U.S. or Europe which do not have adopted policies and programs to promote green building and sustainability of the environment. And when one reads about them, it is reduction in energy costs and the move toward sustainability and energy independence that are the chief drivers. Reduction of green house gases and of the carbon footprint is the incidental great contribution! Global warming is automatically addressed with prudent use of resources and the reduction of use of fossil fuels. The momentum toward the sustainability movement worldwide was very much in evidence throughout the conference. The overwhelming theme was go green and save money, and improve life on this planet. It is gratifying to be able to report that two members of the Building and Safety Department attended the conference last year and two from city administration attended this year. But what is more gratifying is to note that Downey has finally decided to get on board the green movement with the launch of the Green Task Force on Tuesday, after years of prodding. It should be noted, however, that Desi Alvarez and the Public Works Department have been greening Downey with water conservation and reuse, recycling and tree-planting programs for several years now. The second significant item covered in the Patriot of April 24 was addressed in George Redfox's letter dealing with the Avenue Theatre. A number of letters have appeared in the Patriot, and there has been much talk about preserving the Avenue as a specialty movie house. Admittedly, there may not be much architectural value to the building, but the Avenue is a significant element to Downey's past. One can make the case that since it dates from the early 20's, historically it is more significant than either Johnie's Broiler or McDonald's. More importantly, preserving the Avenue as a movie house - properly run - may be the only chance of revitalizing Downey Avenue. The Avenue Theatre as a 3-screen movie house dedicated to exhibiting limited distribution films, art, classic films, and a venue for private screenings would attract attendance not only from Downey but from the surrounding cities, people who now must travel to Pasadena or Santa Monica to view such films. Yes, it could also become the venue for the recently discontinued travel series films at the Downey Theatre. And it will not compete with the Krikorian. It will complement it and provide a much-needed entertainment locally for grown-ups. It should be noted that a petition has already been started to convey to the city the overwhelming support for saving the Avenue for serious movies for a significant segment of Downey's voters. After all, city money is involved. Others who support the idea can join in. Public policy is best when driven from the public up to elected and appointed officials. - Harold Tseklenis, Downey

********** Published: May 1, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 2