The Senator Theatre's ProblemBoth The Sun and the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 25, 1993

The Senator Theatre's Problem

Both The Sun and the Baltimore Business Journal have reported on a possible foreclosure suit facing the historic Senator Theatre, the darling of Baltimore's movie houses.

This news comes as no surprise to residents of the neighborhood surrounding the theater.

Nor should it come as a great shock to anyone in local government, since the community, the partnership that owns the Senator and the city have been involved in an ongoing legislative process regarding the development of the Staples building and lot.

That commercial site is across the street from, and controlled by, the same partnership as the Senator Theatre. Construction on that site led to the current lawsuit.

For well over a year, community representatives have expressed concerns about the financial stability of the project to anyone who was required to listen, including the Planning Commission, the City Council (and its Land Use Committee), the Third District councilmen, even the mayor.

With the exception of Council President Mary Pat Clarke, they failed to take our concerns seriously, and despite strong objections from the community, passed an ordinance enabling the development to proceed with potentially harmful consequences for the surrounding residential area.

The neighborhood continues to write letters, attend meetings and make phone calls in its efforts to ensure that Thomas Kiefaber and J. Hollis B. Albert III (the partnership) address their responsibilities in this project.

At this point, foreclosure would only create greater problems for all parties. Everyone stands to lose something important if the dispute cannot be resolved.

Mr. Kiefaber would be forced to relinquish ownership of his beloved theater, Lawrence Construction would lose more than a half million dollars, and the neighborhood's character and integrity could suffer even more than they already have as a result of this development.

As a neighbor, I sincerely hope that the Senator can settle up with Lawrence Construction as soon as possible, for their sakes as well as ours.

Nancy Golombeck Lidard

Baltimore

In reference to the financial challenges facing the Senator Theatre, I would like to appeal to all the cinema buffs in our ever-increasingly culturally deprived city.

Because the Senator represents Baltimore's last true movie palace and has consistently offered movie presentations in a first-class environment, I feel it is time to wake up Baltimore and rally behind this historic art deco gem.

As Tom Kiefaber and his predecessors, the Durkee family, have never scrimped on the old family recipe, they have preserved what is dear to all of our hearts and souls since the time of our childhood.

A patron of the Senator is always guaranteed a first-rate audio-visual experience. It's a far cry from the cold sardine-like atmosphere of most multiplex theaters.

Let's all do our best to support this true gem of Baltimore and not turn it into another extinct dinosaur in our landscape. The theater deserves our continued support after it has given so much to us through the years.

David Owen

Fallston As Maryland continues to rely on legalized gambling to extract itself from financial ruin, the state should develop a new slogan: "Maryland: You Bet Your Life!"

Robert Goodman

Baltimore

Unfair Criticism

Both The Sun's editorial remarks and David Simon's article regarding comments by Councilman Lawrence A. Bell regarding the dismissal of Police Commissioner Woods only give more ammunition to the criminal element to further cripple our city.

We, the majority, share Councilman Bell's frustration. But blaming Commissioner Woods and Mayor Kurt Schmoke for the raging crime rate in Baltimore City is grossly unfair.

First, there is no conceivable method devised nationwide in law enforcement that can rapidly produce a reduction in violent crimes. Second, police departments, under-manned as they are, serve in a response/reactionary model to the community. And "community policing" as a philosophy is at best a limited and unworkable concept in attacking violent crimes.

However, it is noticeable that there exists a growing lack of leadership within the current administration of Commissioner Woods. One has to read the subjective articles and listen to the negative ads sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 3, and directed at the African-American inner-city communities and the citizens of Baltimore City to know.

Commissioner Woods is a very capable administrator and a highly qualified law enforcement official. He deserves full support and especially the support of the African-American community.

Granted, Mayor Schmoke and Commissioner Woods are not good politicians. But as leaders in their arena they are good men.

Perhaps we need to consider timetables and ultimatums for our councilman/woman at the next election, as well.

Edward R. Colbert

Baltimore

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