NAYSAYER? OH COME ON!

Lynn Dickerson

Gallo Center CEO Lynn Dickerson says, “Obviously there were a lot of naysayers when the Gallo Center opened who thought it was a big boondoggle,” she said. “But I’m thrilled to say this thing is alive and well and adding vitality and economic growth to the whole downtown.”

I’m sure Lynn Dickerson has had a class in statistics were there is a saying that “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”

Isn’t it enough that the Gallo center is there, and provides joy, and entertainment for a segment of the population?

Is it necessary to resort to name-calling along with selective statistics and claims that the Gallo Center has saved downtown and is a huge financial success?

It is necessary for a reply to Dickerson in more specific terms.

Enough is enough.

Ms. Dickerson how do you claim the Gallo center is in the black, when you have to beg for donations to pay your salary?

A CONVERSATION WITH ERNEST AND JOE GALLO

What if Mayor Sabatino had borrowed $15 million?   Modesto could be near bankruptcy.

As I assumed the office of Mayor, there were unresolved issues that had to be dealt with.  A significant issue was whether or not the city of Modesto was going to contribute $15 million to the new performing arts center. Ironically, the vote to contribute the money was to have been taken a few weeks before my election where Mayor Dick Lang could have carried the day.

I contacted the city’s director of finance and asked him if he could get $15 million. He replied that it was possible but said, “Mayor, you will not like the balloon payment.”

Even though the county had already committed to their $15 million, because they were able to sell the tobacco tax money that was coming to the County, I decided that I could not commit to $15 million we did not have.

Pressure from Supervisor Ray Simon and CEO Reagan Wilson was enormous.

They stood with their hands on my desk demanding my vote and offering that the County would pay the interest on the loan for the first four years and the city would take over when it was finally built.

I invited Ernest and Joe Gallo to the Mayor’s office for lunch. I informed Ernest Gallo that the city simply did not have the money. He replied, “Why am I not surprised”.

I then asked him if he wanted me to tell Marie Gallo and he replied, “No, I will tell her myself.”  I have always felt that Ernest Gallo was truly not surprised at the city’s financial condition and was satisfied with my decision.

Later the council did commit to sidewalk and street improvements around the center.

Today the County subsidizes the Gallo performing arts for $1.2 million a year. The council’s decision not to participate was met with widespread resentment but I can take satisfaction in the fact that the city of Modesto does not face the burden of a $1.2 million subsidy.