Theater's owners should talk to union

Thanks to the Alameda Journal for the Feb. 15 article on the Alameda Theatre's phenomenal success in these challenging times.

In light of the enormous lump of public cash invested in their deco jewel, Alameda's city fathers (and mothers), along with its taxpayers have every reason to applaud the Conners' prosperity.

Why then, do stories persist of low wages and management's reluctance to sit down with representatives from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees to discuss this or an apprenticeship program that could secure a better future for the theater's younger employees?

Although my wife and I are film lovers, and I virtually grew up in New York's long-gone movie palaces, we regularly make the trek over to the drab multiplexes of Emeryville, rather than cross an occasional picket line or lend support to a local, historic gem whose management just refuses to do the right thing. Such a shame.

Richard B. Eckhaus

Hire projectionists from the union

I enjoyed reading the lengthy cover story about the Alameda Theatre. I'm glad that the owners, Kyle and Elgina Conner, report that "things are good" and that the theater has financially "outperformed expectations."


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The theater is beautiful and one I thoroughly enjoy going to most of the time. However, I continue to be disappointed that the owners, who spent millions restoring the theater, have not yet taken the step of hiring union projectionists.

I will not cross picket lines, and if projectionists from I.A.T.S.E. Local 169 are picketing, I and others I know will not enter the theater. Now I understand that they are there on the sidewalks with their signs just about every week.

Martin Lipow, president of the local, advises, "We would appreciate it if people would vote with their feet for quality by going to other theaters we recommend and avoid disappointment at the Alameda (Theatre) even when we aren't there. We aren't picketing on private property. There was a citizen's arrest of one of our members a couple of years ago but the D.A. tossed it out. Since then Conner has taken us to the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) and lost, and anti-union employers have had a setback as a result of a recent ruling protecting picketing rights."

I would have appreciated this ongoing problem being included in the otherwise excellent article, and continue to hope that the Conners will put some of their profits toward union projectionists' salaries.

Ann Walker

Point hearing should be more accessible

On Saturday, I received notice that the only two public hearings on the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Veterans Affairs development at Alameda Point will take place March 14 on the USS Hornet. Session one will be from 1 to 3 p.m., and session two will be from 6 to 8 p.m.

This seems to be an especially rare opportunity for the Alameda public to provide input on the development of this space, as the last such public hearing occurred in December 2008 at the same location. All comments about this assessment must be received by March 29. The document is available for review in all three Alameda libraries.

In my opinion, holding all the public hearings aboard an aircraft carrier does a disservice to many interested parties who have access issues, not the least of whom are disabled veterans. If anyone reading this agrees, please send your objections to Douglas Roaldson, Environmental Program Manager, at his email: Alameda.EA@va.gov.

Carol Gottstein

Sweeney park vision is being usurped

I don't think Jean Sweeney visualized a swimming pool within her design for the Beltline Preserve. With two pools already in Alameda, why another? To fleece us again with another tax? Not to mention the maintenance cost. The swell of traffic anticipated will require a car park and a parking fee, no doubt, and the plan presented is for a getaway from concrete, clutter and strife. Hands off, opportunists. Sweeney's wishes were for nature trails, the wind in our hair, and mud on our shoes.

Jane Jackson

Bridge celebration to be money wasted

We hope it is not too late to be counted as being opposed to the Bay Bridge celebration as it is planned.

What an incredibly monumental waste of our money when not only our schools and services for the truly needy are in such dire straits, but the transportation systems need more support as well.

Wouldn't opening up only the new portion of the bridge to walkers be the most important and more feasible way to celebrate?

A fence would not have to be rented, erected and taken back down, and those wishing to make the walk could be charged a reasonable fee to cover the bus ride from a BART station to the bridge entrance and a bus ride back from Treasure Island to designated stops or BART stations.

I think the majority of Bay Area residents are just happy the bridge is almost done and the bumps (hopefully) gone that warn about the curve ahead.

Cathy and John Francioch

Oakland