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October 29, 2008 > Letter to the Editor: A Letter to Fremont Cultural Arts supporters

Letter to the Editor: A Letter to Fremont Cultural Arts supporters

On October 12th, I sent out an e-mail asking for a statement of position regarding a Performing Arts Center to all Fremont City Council candidates that I could find an e-mail address for. To date I have received responses from Sue Chan and Vinnie Bacon.

My original message:
As president of the Fremont Cultural Arts Council, I'm carrying the torch from some 38 years of FCAC community effort to create a positive environment for the arts in Fremont, including the multi-year efforts that have gone into the development of a Performing Arts Center. This year I am getting substantially more phone calls, e-mails, letters and 'glad I caught you, what are you doing about....' conversations about the Performing Arts Center than ever before.

During the past council election the FCAC held a 'Candidates meet the Arts' panel. As we are not holding the panel this year, I am asking candidates for Fremont City Council individually, on behalf of FCAC members and other art lovers in the community, what their position is on this important quality of life issue.

From Sue Chan:
As you know, I am a strong supporter of arts and culture in the community. I believe that arts can enrich the lives of residents and truly make Fremont a world class city.

However, I am not sure the funding exists at this time for a performing arts center. In today's uncertain economic times, cities and residents are looking to protect the basics. I do support the concept of a performing arts center and will do what I can to carry the torch as well. I think one important thing I could do as a councilmember is to work to raise awareness of the importance of the arts for our community.

This is probably not the answer you were looking for, but it is important to be honest about our current situation and not make promises that can't be kept. I look forward to continuing to work with you closely on issues of art and culture in this great City as we did for Celebrate Fremont.

From Vinnie Bacon:
In general, Fremont lacks a number of items that could help establish a sense of identity and a sense of community. While the value of identity and community is difficult to quantify, I feel it's very important for the health of our city. They provide quality of life for Fremont's residents, which is exactly what we need to encourage more businesses to move here.

A Performing Arts Center would certainly provide identity and a sense of community. I would love to see such a facility in Fremont. If we could somehow use the existing Centerville Theater, this could provide a cost-effective way of making this happen.

Any candidate can, and probably will, say they are for spending money on the arts. I am no different. The question is what policies do they have that will actually generate revenue for the city. My main platform element is one of balanced development. I believe that the City has focused too much on residential development which doesn't pay for itself in the long run. We need to focus on bringing more businesses into Fremont before we can think about providing amenities such as a Performing Arts Center or a youth athletic facility.

Margaret Thornberry
President - FCAC

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