Support the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) sign now

Dear Mayor Lewis and Members of the El Cajon City Council:

The East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) is a celebrated cultural gem in El Cajon that offers quality national and local programming as well as arts education for youth. However, as a result of decisions being considered by the City Council, ECPAC's superior programming is in jeopardy of being compromised.

We understand that due to budget constraints the City was forced to pull a modest subsidy from the Foundation in 2003. This sudden loss of financial support has hindered ECPACs ability to fully pay its bills. The Blue Ribbon Commission, a group appointed by the Council to audit ECPAC's finances, is scheduled to present you with its recommendations on March 22nd, 2005. Based on their report, you are set to determine whether to (a) reinstate a subsidy so the Foundation can continue to offer quality national programming, or (b) convert the performing arts center into a rental house that specializes in local shows.

We fear that because the City may not be able to afford a subsidy, the Council will vote to convert ECPAC into a rental house without exploring other alternatives. Such a decision will not only compromise the quality of programming ECPAC offers, it will damage ECPACs reputation as a full-scale performing arts center worthy of public and corporate backing, and impair the redevelopment efforts of downtown El Cajon. The City must not let this happen without providing ECPAC a reasonable amount of time to find alternative funding to replace the loss of its subsidy.

The El Cajon City Council has demonstrated its kind dedication to nonprofits that enrich our community. We respectfully ask that the City Council extend this goodwill once again: please meet with TapWater to hear their proposal for a local music fundraising program that can generate $500,000 for the Foundation over the course of a year. This program can not only relieve ECPACs financial burden on the City, it can also ensure the Foundations current level of national programming.

If ECPACs cultural value is compromised, it reduces our quality of life and we all lose. Please give us this opportunity to keep ECPAC the cultural gem our citizenry deserves.

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Vilma CooperBy:
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El Cajon City Council

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