Consider attending the Oversight Board meeting this Wednesday


This is a reminder to supporters of the Cerrito Theater that there will be a final meeting to consider the agreement reached between the city of El Cerrito and Rialto Cinemas.

The Oversight Committee meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27 at City Hall in the small Hillside Conference Room. This is a public meeting and the public can speak. We encourage people to read the agreement and the agenda package.

Because it is a small meeting room and because we expect the Oversight Committee to approve the agreement we are not urging people to attend. But we welcome people to attend, of course. We hope a dozen or so supporters do attend, just to emphasize support in the community for retaining the Cerrito theater as an ongoing entertainment venue for the next 99 years, as the agreement proposes.

The agreement also ensures that historic elements of the theater are preserved for 99 years.

The Oversight Board must approve the plan to ensure redevelopment funds are handled properly.

Although the agreement does not maximize the amount of money the sale would bring in, it does something much more important. It ensures that the theater will continue for another century as an entertainment and social center of the city, and as the anchor of a lively business and entertainment district.

In the unlikely event the Oversight board votes no, the deal would likely fall apart. We believe the theater would eventually be forced to close.

The city must sell the Cerrito Theater because it bought it using redevelopment funds. The state ended redevelopment agencies a few years ago and is requiring cities to sell redevelopment assets.

The sale of the theater to the current successful operator, with the requirements that it remain a theater, remain a historic building, and continue to provide community days, is the best solution imaginable.

The state of California understands the value of the theater as a theater – not as a development site. Three years ago it approved a city plan to sell the theater as a theater. This was part of a long range plan for all the city’s redevelopment properties. The Oversight board also gave approval to the plan at that time.

The matter before the Oversight Board on Wednesday would simply put that plan into action. That is why we expect approval.