The mayor and downtown

Dear Editor:Does Mayor Mario Guerra listen to the people of Downey? It doesn't seem so, according to his "Thoughts from the Mayor" printed in the Downey Patriot on June 19. Guerra claims to take in consideration 115,000 people in every decision, but throws off a city's outcry as a mere issue. The mayor claims that there has been no interest for the past six years in the Avenue Theatre and is upset as to "why it's an issue now." Because it was owned by a private company until it was bought by the city of Downey only one year ago. To think that there was no interest in it until it was put on his plate is just out of touch with his constituencies. I, myself, looked into obtaining the theater in hopes of creating a community or repertory theater, only to hit dead-ends by being told that it was going to be a banquet hall. Just what downtown needs…another restaurant next to another restaurant next to a restaurant. Mayor Guerra thinks that if you have enough restaurants next to each other, people will come. Wrong. You eat and go do something else. But the problem is there is nothing else. Thousands of people are not going to come all the way to Downey for another Cuban bakery. The Tropicana Cuban Bakery on Paramount does great business, but thousands? The mayor also referenced a similar situation in Fullerton as something that didn't work. The restoration of the Fox Theater is booming there. Almost $2 million was just given to them from the state of California to continue help with the vitalization, while big-name vendors continue to anchor there with the theater as their center point. The Downey Theatre is more than "just a few hundred yards away" from the Avenue. And yes, the theater is very beautiful but very large and costly to maintain. However, since that theater was built in 1970, why is the council just now getting around to "exploring ways to fully utilize its potential"? When the people of Downey went to the man y open City Council meetings and displayed their concern over the Avenue Theatre, that should have been a verbal and visual sign that somebody cares. But did the mayor see or listen? He was to busy telling us about the new bar and grill opening next to the Starbucks that's across the street from a Starbucks. - Karl Schott, Downey

********** Published: July 10, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 12

Staff Report