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Daily Life

When in Rome…

long-line-people

I don’t know if New York brings out the worst in people but two incidents got me wondering. The other day I decided to check out the movie Jurassic World on a giant IMAX screen in midtown Manhattan. I bought the tickets at an online kiosk inside the theater and then headed to a short line to get upstairs. While I was waiting in line, a woman and her pre-teen daughter (around 11 or 12 years old) tried to merge into the line right in front of me. So I spoke up and mentioned the line. The mother said that they were here first. As I looked at the woman in disbelief, the daughter said to her mom innocently, “mom, they were here before us”. I smiled and thanked the daughter for her honesty and her mom for raising such a great child, and then was directed around the corner outside where I waited in another line for an hour.

A few days later I headed upstairs to the M&M store in Times Square and waited in another short, informal line with my son at a special M&M “fortune telling” machine. Sure enough, a few minutes passed by when another woman and pre-teen daughter scooted in front of us. Again, I let them know that we were there before them. The mother then said they were there first. I smiled. Unbelievably, the girl told her mom that we were actually there first. Being as pushy as these mothers were, I assumed they were native New Yorkers but when I asked the girl where she was from she said, “San Francisco”.

Did New York push them over the edge or would they behave like that everywhere?

Daily Life

Downtown Walnut Creek Fountains Back in Action

wowhaus-fountain-walnut-creek-water

Last month I lamented the fountains being turned off in downtown Walnut Creek but they are back in action as you can see at both the Wowhaus Geologica fountain in front of Wells Fargo and the Fountain Head a block away on N. Main St.

When I first glanced at the sign I wondered why a French organization, Saveour H2O was involved with water conservation. Only later did I realize that it’s Save Our H2O!

seyed-alvavi-fountain-head-sign

fountain-head-walnut-creek-water

Daily Life

Town to Rheem Theatre: Drop Dead

rheem-theater-moraga-outside
350 Park St, Moraga

At a packed and occasionally boisterous informational meeting on the impending closure of the Rheem Theatre in Moraga on Saturday, the operator of the theater, Derek Zemrak, provided the lowdown on the lack of support from Moraga throughout the years culminating in the approval of a controversial historic preservation law in February that, “helps enable preservation of buildings or other specific objects “linked” to Moraga’s past that are at least 50 years old, in most cases” and doesn’t require approval from the property owner.

Some examples of the lack of support from the town that the operator mentioned:

  • Only one town council member is current California Independent Film Festival (CAIFF) member
  • $60,000 relief for basketball game in theater cancelled with no response from town
  • No town officials present at Classic Film Hall of Fame inaugural event
  • Town officials generally not present at other popular events such as SciFi Day
  • Town passed historical preservation ordinance despite request not to

You may be wondering, as I did, why the Rheem Theatre operator is opposed to a law that mandates the preservation of Rheem Theatre. Apparently, the owner of the property, Mahesh Puri, who rented the theater at below market rates, in this case, $5,000 per month for several years, is not pleased about the new law which will lower the value of the property and decided to no longer subsidize the rent for the Rheem Theatre. Had the historical preservation ordinance not been passed it would be likely that the $5,000 rent (or a reasonable 10-15% increase) would have been maintained, thus allowing the Rheem Theatre to continue operations.

Imagine that the historical preservation ordinance is revoked at the June 10th town council meeting. In response, the property owner lowers the monthly rent back down to $5,000. What is the likelihood that 5 or 10 years down the road the property gets sold and the theater is demolished to make room for condos or new stores like what happened to the Pleasant Hill Dome theater?

Can Moraga buy the property and run it as a non-profit? What do you think should be done?

Daily Life

Sign of the Day

irrigated-with-recycle-water-walnut-creek-sign

I think it’s great that recycled water is being used to irrigate downtown Walnut Creek’s flowers, but shouldn’t the sign say, “Irrigated with Recycled Water”?