Letters to the Editor


Enthusiasts eye fate of historic theater

February 21, 2007

As the Theatre Historical Society of America planned its 2009 convention, the Senator Theatre was one of the main reasons that this gathering of theater architecture and history enthusiasts chose Baltimore as a destination.

Our members from all over the United States, Canada, England, Australia and France gather every summer to celebrate America's surviving historic theaters and mourn the losses.

We never imagined that one of those losses could be the Senator ("Going dark?" Feb. 18).

Baltimore's municipal and business community should know that the entire country -- indeed, the world -- is watching the drama unfold at the Senator Theatre.

The Senator Theatre is a sterling example of a single-screen, historic movie palace surviving against the odds in a multiplexed America.

The Senator has stood its ground for almost 70 years as the benchmark by which all other theater restoration and reuse projects are measured.

America's historic theaters are an important part of our heritage and history.

Big cities and small towns across the country are waking up to the value of these theaters and taking steps to preserve, protect and support their place in the community.

A city as historically cognizant as Baltimore surely can recognize the rare gift that the Senator Theatre represents and take all steps necessary to keep its lights lit and its doors open.

Karen Colizzi Noonan

Geneva, N.Y.

The writer is president of the Theatre Historical Society of America.

Kiefaber contributes to the community

Under owner Tom Kiefaber's stewardship, the Senator Theatre has been an anchor in our community, giving back to the community through myriad events at the theater ("Going dark?" Feb. 18).

These events are less visible than the fundraisers and premieres at the Senator, but provide truly community-oriented activities in a society where few such opportunities exist.

Mr. Kiefaber's efforts to preserve the historic character of the Senator Theatre and ongoing support of surrounding businesses contribute to a stable community where residents and businesses thrive.

These community-oriented activities and the historic character of the theater are threatened by the foreclosure proceedings facing the Senator.

I understand the difficulties of operating a single-screen theater in the era of multiplexes.

But I urge the city, the state and 1st Mariner Bank to take steps to work out the financial problems at the Senator and protect this gem of our community.

Paula Purviance


The writer is president of the Northeast Community Organization.

Senator's survival isn't really at stake

The Sun's article on owner Tom Kiefaber's efforts to stave off bank foreclosure of the Senator Theatre may incorrectly leave readers with the impression that the theater's survival is at risk ("Going Dark?" Feb. 18).

In fact, the Senator will still be with us, art deco lavatories and all, the day after the auction.

If the members of the movie-loving community in Baltimore with the money to bid on the building resist sentimentality, the auction will arrive at a price that reflects the economics of owning the building.

David Borinsky


Local movie moguls should save Senator

What a sorry state of affairs it would be if we lost the magnificent Senator Theatre ("Going dark?" Feb. 18).

Where are Barry Levinson and the prince of vulgarity, John Waters?

Between the two of them, I am sure they could save the Senator.

James M. Panopoulos


Fate of the truants means more to city

Who made the decision to give the "above-the-fold" portion of the Sunday Sun's front page to an article about a failing for-profit business that is begging for handouts ("Going dark?" Feb. 18) instead of to the article about truancy in the city ("Tracking down truants," Feb. 18)?

One article was about two people fighting an uphill battle to stop the cycle of ignorance that breeds poverty; the other was about a guy who can't make money.

It is not The Sun's job to assist a for-profit business in making its mortgage payments.

Ralph Laurence Sapia


Who is responsible for FBI's firearms?

The fact that the FBI lost 160 laptop computers pales in comparison with the firearms found missing or stolen from FBI offices and employees in two audits by the inspector general's office, one conducted in February 2002 and the other in September 2005 ("FBI lost 160 laptops, Justice report says," Feb. 13).

Firearms retailers across the country are losing their licenses because of human paperwork errors and missing forms. Hundreds have lost their livelihoods.

Just how many federal officers or agents have been fired because of these missing firearms?

Someone should be held accountable for this situation.

Sanford Abrams


The writer is vice president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association.

Congress cut funds to end Vietnam War

In "A look back at Ford raises grades as president" (Feb. 11), Jack Nelson quotes historian Douglas Brinkley as noting President Gerald R. Ford's "decision to end the Vietnam War."

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