Jim Seyman rallied troops at the official start of a campaign to “Save the Tower.” Seyman, who owns the Tower Cafe, and others oppose a $10 million subsidy for a Century Theatres “art house” they believe will kill off the historic Tower Theatre.
As many as 400 people came out last week to “say no to corporate welfare” and/or say yes to free ice cream, popcorn and music.
Though the crowd was far too mellow to storm City Hall or for people to chain themselves to the Tower’s palm trees, it did manage to get above-the-fold coverage in The Sacramento Bee and generous spots on two evening newscasts, a decent start for any group of rabble-rousers.
The campaign could become a summer-long headache for City Hall and for the Downtown Partnership, the downtown business group that has strongly supported Century’s CinéArts project.
“We’re a little surprised at the amount of consternation that this project has caused,” said Downtown Partnership Director Michael Ault. “But we’ve worked hard at getting theaters on K Street, and we’re determined to see this through.”
The Save the Tower organization boasts a growing list of small businesses, neighborhood groups and prominent citizens. One of them, former state Secretary of Health and Human Services Grantland Johnson, said City Hall has pursued the corporate-theater project with almost no consideration for its effects on the Tower.
“The city seems to have forgotten the admonition ‘do no harm,’” Johnson explained. “They just don’t seem to have thought this through very well.”