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Downey Theater and Writer's Identity

March 18, 1993

I'm writing in response to the letter (Times, Jan. 24) by Brian F. Gasdia. His letter is misleading, because he did not disclose all the important facts of the Downey Theater project. Mr. Gasdia is not a regular John Q. Public writing in a letter, as he would like the public to believe. The question is who is Brian Gasdia?

Gasdia is a paid Downey city official, serving on the Planning Commission, Personnel Board and the Charter Review Committee. All five planning commissioners, including Gasdia, voted to approve the theater project.

Gasdia is married to the sister of Downey City Councilman Gary P. McCaughan. McCaughan appointed Gasdia to the Planning Commission.

Gasdia was a member of the steering committee for Councilman McCaughan's Downey election in 1992.

Gasdia's brother-in-law McCaughan cannot participate or vote on the Krikorian Theater project because of his conflict of interest.

Gasdia is a local Downey attorney. As a lawyer and city official he should understand the importance of full disclosure of who he is and whose interests he represents.

Gasdia said in his letter he was "saddened and offended." I am deeply saddened and offended also that we have a public official like Gasdia going around and misleading the public.

A 2,500-seat theater with 12 screens will not be a local theater, but rather a regional theater. What about the increased traffic, crime, noise and pollution? How can this theater project help the downtown area, while the proposed four-story, 355-space parking structure is nearly 600 parking spaces short as required by the city code on other businesses? Where will the other downtown business customers park?

The issue is not a new theater in Downey, as we would all like, but how much of the public taxpayer's funds have to be given away for this theater project?

Mr. Gasdia has a right to express his opinions, but as a public official he has a duty to disclose who he is.



Editor's note: According to Downey officials, planning commissioners meet twice a month and receive $36 a meeting. The Personnel Advisory Board has an annual meeting to approve the city's affirmative action plan and also meets as needed to adjudicate employee-related problems. Members receive $18 a meeting. The Charter Review Committee, currently inactive, recommended changes to the City Charter. Members received no compensation.

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