June marks the sad second anniversary of Downey Civic Light Opera being forced out of existence by VenueTech, which began (mis)managing the civic theater on Jan. 26, 2011.
The Downey Theater was literally built for DCLO in 1970 as a result of their efforts. Most of us will not soon forget the high quality musicals that were produced there by Marsha Moode and her team. A resident of Downey, Marsha always had a friendly and personal rapport with the audience. Something that is very much lacking there today.
I have read the business report that VenueTech submitted to the city hall as contract renewal time approaches. At first glance the report paints a pretty picture of success. This is deceptive on several levels.
Many of the rental clients listed were already renters far in advance of VT's arrival. They were given no choice but to play ball with VT since they are the only game in town.
The report omits any figures related to DCLO and the lucrative amount of rent they paid for use of the theater. DCLO was still an operating client for the first two-plus years of VT's reign. Surely VT must know how much was collected.
Regarding the vast improvements to the theater, I haven't seen much except for the stringing of the lights over the outdoor patio. The computerized ticketing system pretty much benefits VT only.
Finally, and this is key, I see revenue figures but absolutely no expense figures. This renders the report completely meaningless. One expense that will not be ignored is the looming million dollar lawsuit filed by the lead singer of Los Lonely Boys for injuries he sustained at the theater as a result of VT's incompetence and laziness.
The city of Downey now pays an unprecedented $454,000 per year to subsidize the theater. The job could be done more efficiently for much less money if a responsible and ethical management company were in charge. There is no reason theater goers could not be offered one-night acts, symphony concerts, travel films, the beloved DCLO musicals, and much more.
Why is this so difficult to achieve?