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Garden Grove's Shakespeare Festival: The Tempest Rages

July 16, 1988

Randy Lewis' article in the June 26 Calendar about Shakespeare ("Shakespeare? You Can Just Take That Bard and Shove It") is another example of the Los Angeles Times' Garden Grove bashing. Mr. Lewis' satire shows his complete lack of understanding when it comes to a community's priorities.

(In Garden Grove,) we live within our budget. We still provide excellent recreational facilities for our children, excellent home-delivered lunches for our shut-ins, excellent facilities for our senior citizens, excellent day-care facilities at many of our churches.

We do what we can in a city that unfortunately does not have large shopping centers or large revenue-producing entertainment parks like Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm. We are a bedroom city in the midst of ambitious redevelopment, so that after a poor start we are showing great improvement and renewal.

Our Police Department, with fewer officers per thousand than most other Orange County cities, works successfully to fulfill its obligations. Our Fire Department, including their paramedics, is highly rated. Our city, with its limited income, takes care of the needs of all its citizens before the wishes of the less than 1% of the Garden Grove people who patronize the Shakespeare Festival.

Our city councilmen and mayor are financially well off, so their service to this city is out of duty and pride, rather than financial gain. The fact that three of our councilmen have different priorities than the other two does not mean they are wrong or right. They may be criticized, but they don't deserve ridicule.

As for South Coast Repertory Theatre and the Performing Arts Center, consider that it was tax deductible, corporate donations that paid for them. We in Garden Grove will also accept these donations.

I am not against an outdoor theater. My wife and I donated a chair, paid for a VIP membership and bought season tickets each year until last season. But we just don't care that much for Shakespeare. If the 1,300 or so people living in Garden Grove who want to attend the Shakespearean plays enjoy them, let them pay for it, and let our city's general funds go for higher priorities.

IRVING WAGNER

Garden Grove

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