Friday, August 27, 2010

COMMENTARY: Imagine a Centennial Celebration in a Renovated Forest Theater as an Honor Befitting the Legacy of Our Community Theater, Our ‘Cultural Icon’

Walt de Faria, president of the Forest Theater Foundation recently stated, as follows:

“The legacy is that (the Forest Theater has) preserved community involvement in theater. It alone has kept theater alive in Carmel and on the Monterey Peninsula all these years.”

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Forest Theater, (our “cultural icon”), the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea has scheduled a “centennial celebration” of the Forest Theater on the afternoon of Sunday, August 29, 2010. This celebration is “to remind people that since 1910 there has been ongoing theater here that has provided entertainment for visitors and residents alike,” stated Mayor Sue McCloud.

However, imagine a Centennial Celebration befitting Frank Devendorf and Frank Powers, founder of the City/owner of the original land and founder of the City, respectively, Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater and all actors, directors and theater-goers, past and present, in a renovated Forest Theater.

In the past ten years specifically, there have been several opportunities for the mayor and council to fulfill their stewardship responsibilities by committing to, budgeting for and implementing a renovation plan, Yet, these opportunities were never acted upon; they therefore represent missed opportunities, as the following events demonstrate:

Beginning in 2001, the mayor and city council had opportunities to budget for the renovation of the Forest Theater in phases over multiple years as outlined by the city-commissioned Forest Theater Facility Master Plan, prepared by local architect Brian Congleton.

In December 2008, the mayor and council unanimously adopted a Resolution entering into an agreement with RFM Architects for a Schematic Design. As the accompanying staff report stated: “The estimated time to complete the schematic design is three months. RFM recognizes the urgency of moving the project along quickly so that the renovation can be completed by the 2010 season (or the 100th anniversary of the Forest Theater).” And “the goal of completing the renovation by May 2010, the project must commence post haste so construction can be under way by April 2009.”

In late 2009, the mayor and council approved a contract with William J. Camille, Project Management Consultant, for Forest Theater Renovation Construction Phasing and Cost Planning breakdown of theater architect Richard McCann’s Schematic Design of the Forest Theater. The contract included a preliminary review of Camille's findings with the city, a final report, and presentation to the City Council to be completed in one month, but only the oral preliminary review was presented to the mayor, council member Karen Sharp and city administrator.

With the city council's adoption of the Triennial Budget FY 2010/11 thru 2012/13 in June 2010, there are no monies budgeted for a Forest Theater Capital Project for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 through Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

In conclusion, while a celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of the historic Forest Theater is to be applauded, it is important to realize that the city’s original intention was to celebrate the occasion in a renovated Forest Theater. To wit, a Forest Theater renovation plan was to be adopted by the mayor and council in early 2009, commencement of renovation construction by April 2009 and completion of the Forest Theater renovation by May 2010, in time for the 100th anniversary on July 9, 2010. Yet as described, the mayor and council over years and years have missed opportunities and thereby failed to provide the requisite leadership and stewardship to make the renovation of the Forest Theater a reality.


Forest Theater Renovation Plans July 2009
Forest Theater Renovation Plans July 2009
RFM Architects
Richard F. McCann, President, Principle-In-Charge

City of Carmel celebrates historic outdoor Forest Theater's centennial anniversary
Carmel celebrates historic Forest Theater's centennial anniversary
By LILY DAYTON Herald Correspondent, The Monterey County Herald, 08/26/2010


Anonymous said...

Imagine a Forest Theater centennial celebration that was actually celebrated by the City on the correct date. See letter from Adam Moniz in the Pine Cone a few weeks back.

VillageinForest said...

Adam Moniz wrote, in part, “It was inaugurated July 9, 1910, with Constance Lindsay Skinner's drama "David." ... While the city has oddly decided to celebrate the centennial in late August, I think we should celebrate important pieces of our village's rich history on the correct date.”

Carmel's Forest Theater now a century old
Letters, The Monterey County Herald, 07/08/2010

Forest Theater’s actual centennial is July 9
Letters to the Editor, The Carmel Pine Cone, June 18, 2010, 26 A

Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that July 9th was not suitable for a number of reasons:

1) It fell on a Friday night - The city wanted a daytime event to accommodate seniors and children, and one that could be offered free (July 9th would have required a large reimbursement to the Forest Guild).
2) The city just had a free community event the weekend of July 4th.
3) The centennial season was a 10-month celebration - anytime in 2010 would have been appropriate.

Adam failed to mention any of these considerations. It makes me wonder if he even bothered to find out - or whether he was just shooting from the hip.

Anonymous said...

Sue McCloud’s use of Ad Hoc Committees is troubling and typical of her governance. People are in effect bribed for their services. They are meant as patronage appointments. Everything to do with the Forest Theater Centennial was decided in secret and no effort was made to brief the public as they went along. This is typical of Carmel under Sue McCloud, she packs the commissions and boards with her people to do her bidding. It is symptomatic of a corrupt city government where special interests are cultivated and rewarded and the rest of us are treated like second class citizens. Kind of like Rich Guillen’s treatment of females who go along and females who do not go along. Very troubling, as I said, and two of a kind.

It's funny Anonymous would balk at a large reimbursement to the Forest Theater Guild if the city had decided to have it on July 9th. Is Anonymous upset about the large settlement to Jane Miller (insurance pays, but nothing is a free lunch, we all pay in the end) and payoffs to at least four other city employees??? And monies to employees unearned and undeserved? Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?