YC candidates debate theater proposal
Yuba City City Council candidates have provided an intriguing picture of their views on free-market enterprise - and how far a city should go to promote downtown redevelopment.
During a question-and-answer session Thursday, the candidates were asked whether they see one theater downtown, or multiple theaters.
The Roxy Yuba City Theater, a 15-screen cinema that is the city's downtown redevelopment centerpiece, has been stalled by rising construction costs.
The city would have to put in more financial backing in addition to the $2.2 million in land that is being offered for the theater. The council also approved a controversial ordinance banning new movie theaters outside of downtown.
Cinemark has said the moratorium thwarted its deal to build a new multiplex theater outside of downtown near Tharp Road. Cinemark contends it would have built its theater by now.
Kash Gill said the previous City Council made the decision with a long-term agreement and the moratorium.
He said the two-year agreement was probably too long. But since it's there, the city has to do everything it can to make sure the theater goes downtown. If not, the city has to look at other businesses that would be viable for Plumas Street.
As a former Chamber of Commerce chairman, Gill said businesses “should be allowed to go where businesses can grow.”
Leslie McBride said Roxy developers have had a long time to pull the theater together. Now, they're asking for additional help.
“I would be hard pressed at this point to say that that might be the right thing to do, to provide them more help financially,” said McBride. “I think that we need to something. They need to get it done, or move on.”
McBride said she doesn't agree with the moratorium. And she didn't think other business opportunities should be “held hostage.”
Tej Maan said it's done deal now. But he said he spoke up four years ago against subsidizing movie theaters and the moratorium.
This nation is built on free enterprise and free markets, said Maan. Business people know what they're doing. Since it's their dollar, let them decide where to build the theater.
“City Council has no business dictating how and where a theater should go,” said Maan. “If were going to subsidize, we should subsidize job-creating industry.”
Jeffrey Spencer said he believes in downtown revitalization, which makes the downtown theater a good project.
But Spencer said he also believes in a free-market society, and disagreed with the ordinance banning new theaters outside of downtown.
“I don't believe a moratorium should have been placed,” said Spencer. “I think landowners should be able to decide what they want to do with their land.”
Craig Starkey said he didn't want to second-guess council or Planning Commission decisions because he didn't have the information.
Starkey said he would either like to see the downtown theater done, or move on and do something else.
“There's a lot of things they could do to accomplish the same thing of bringing people to the area, clean up the blight, make it a nice thing to do,” said Starkey. “But again, I'm not going to go back and second guess what the council did.”
The candidates appeared at a Yuba-Sutter Builders and Developers luncheon.
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.