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Save the Civic Auditorium

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

9.2.23 Letter to Santa Monica City Council

Dear Mayor Davis and City Council members,

Please do not sell the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium!

Deciding what to do with public property should be a public process, not a decision made in Closed Session. Culver City has its Veterans Memorial Building, which includes an 1,100-seat auditorium. Glendale has its Civic Auditorium, with a capacity of 800 seated banquet style and 1,100 seated theatre style. Pasadena has its 3,000-seat Civic Auditorium. Torrance has its 500-seat Armstrong Theatre. The City of Malibu has its 250-seat Malibu Civic Theater, an auditorium that was previously privately owned. The City of Los Angeles has its 5,900-seat Greek Theatre. The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) currently manages and stewards 5 City-owned theaters: the Warner Grand Theatre (San Pedro), the Vision Theatre (Leimert Park), the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre (East Hollywood), and the Madrid Theatre and the Taxco Theatre (Canoga Park) in addition to 2 city-owned, operator-managed theaters that DCA oversees: the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (West Adams, managed by Ebony Repertory Theatre) and the Los Angeles Theatre Center / The NEW LATC (Downtown Los Angeles, managed by the Latino Theater Company).,Taxco%20Theatre%20(Canoga%20Park) L.A. County has -- the Los Angeles Music Center (the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County) -- -- which includes: -- Walt Disney Concert Hall, -- the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, -- the Ahmanson Theatre, -- the Mark Taper Forum, -- the CalArts (REDCAT) Theatre, -- the Kirk Douglas Theatre, plus -- the Hollywood Bowl, and -- the nearby Ford Amphitheatre. Thousand Oaks has its Civic Arts Plaza. The Bank of America Performing Arts Center at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is one of the largest performing arts centers between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is funded through a unique public/private partnership between the City of Thousand Oaks and the Alliance for the Arts. It consists of the 1,800-seat Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts and the 394-seat Janet and Ray Scherr Forum Theatre. More than 300,000 patrons and 50,000 children attend more than 400 performances annually. “The Civic Arts Plaza is the realization of a 20-year dream by Thousand Oaks citizens to provide a facility to house quality cultural activities.” More than 30 million people have patronized the Civic Arts Plaza since its 1994 grand opening. The City of Santa Monica has had its 3,000 capacity Civic Auditoriumsince 1958. 1968 Academy Award ceremony at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium broadcast from the Civic Auditorium: The Opening of the Academy Awards in 1968 - Bing video;_ylt=AwrOss3ZtPNk2ZUaB89pCWVH;_ylu=Y29sbwNncTEEcG9zAzIEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?q=the+opening+of+the+academy+awards+in+1968+bing&v_t=loki-keyword#id=1&vid=60dfb141c987b106a0729519dd4d6cf2&action=view In 2011, the City of Santa Monica contracted with Morley Construction Company for pre-construction and construction services required to remodel and seismically upgrade the Civic Auditorium facility. Unfortunately, therenovation was suspended due to the state legislature dissolving the redevelopment agencies set up after the 1994 earthquake. Why is it that the cities of Malibu and Thousand Oaks are acquiring and building civic performing arts venues, while the City of Santa Monica is considering sellingits landmarked Civic Auditorium. What is wrong with this picture? Would you consider selling off the Santa Monica Public Libraries, or the Santa Monica Airport, or the Santa Monica Pier, or City Hall?

The Civic Auditorium should continue to be City-owned and for public use, as per the Civic Center Specific Plan.

Thank you for your consideration.

Zina Josephs


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