Speaking of the Senator Theater, owner Eric Hart (see Newslines) told me that if the Right Now Foundation does not purchase the theater, his restoration of the outside of the building will go forward, including the replacement of the tower. He has plans to build a 65-foot-tall, five-story building just to the south of the Senator that will include space for retail (maybe a restaurant), offices and apartments. The building will sit between the Senator and the 58-foot-tall project (started this week) under construction by local architect Steve Gonsalves. The city code does not allow buildings downtown to be built higher than 65 feet.
Randy Goldberg, longtime publisher of the Paradise Post, will retire at the end of July, less than six months after the paper was sold to Denver-based giant MediaNews. Goldberg, who contrary to earlier reports is not yet in his mid-50s, will be replaced by Carol Peterson, the Post’s advertising director. I once worked for Goldberg, who is a very decent person. We wish him well.
Elderly elm commits suicide in Downtown Plaza Park. Part of the park was cordoned off with yellow police tape, keeping the public at bay and away from the grisly scene as emergency crews worked to mop up the scattered bark, sap and broken branches. Apparently, sometime just before noon on this sunny and windy Sunday, one of the majestic elms slated for removal in the next few years decided to take its own life by pitching itself over and mortally wounding a fellow old-timer on its way down. The big tree also injured an innocent human being, who’d been sitting on a park bench, otherwise enjoying a quiet Sunday. A few years ago an arborist recommended the city remove the elms that were dying from disease quite possibly picked up after they were topped a few years ago. It is unclear how this tragedy will affect the city’s sprouting tree-protection ordinance. Will the opposition now call for some sort of “human protection ordinance” and demand that all trees taller than 20 feet be removed and replaced with metal-reinforced Fiberglas replicas?
Now that he’s moved on to Sacramento to become our assemblyman, former City Councilmember Rick Keene no longer needs us and won’t return our calls. So you can imagine my delight when I ran into Keene last weekend at the Dairy Queen while enjoying a grape Misty. Keene and his brother Larry were with their daughters’ singing group, a bunch of young women wearing long black dresses and white blouses. They sing to convalescent home residents. As soon as Keene walked into the Dairy Queen, I addressed him. “You never call me anymore,” I lamented. Earlier I had requested to spend some time with the freshman assemblyman—sort of a day-in-the-life deal. But my request was shut down because, said his local field rep, Cliff Wagner, the stuff I’ve written on Keene has been “downright hostile.” I beg to differ; we endorsed him in the primary last year, for goodness’ sake. Rick, get some thicker skin.