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Katz Supported Arts Center Decisions

Having served as chairman of the design and construction committee for the Performing Arts Center since its inception in 2001, I read with interest your cover story of June 8 ("Pomp and Circumstances").

It's ironic that you chose "A grand vision. The complicated reality. The untold story of Richmond's performing arts center" as the subtitle and then relied heavily on a source that has selective memory. [Joel Katz, former vice president for programming and marketing,] leaves out important details that speak loudly to his credibility.

Let me set the record straight: As the name implies, the design and construction committee is tasked with planning and overseeing the design and building of all the foundation's facilities, including the Performing Arts Center. Joel Katz was an active, interested member of this committee since its founding in 2001 until his termination from the foundation last month. He attended our monthly meetings regularly and served on several subcommittees and task forces involved with our work.

During this time our minutes show that he voted "yes" on every significant decision the committee made and recommended to our executive committee and board. This included the selection of the Performing Arts Center architects and other design consultants, the inclusion of the 1,100-seat multipurpose hall on Broad Street, the construction budgets for the center and all other design details for the entire block. He never once voted "no" or abstained from any committee decisions. His record and rhetoric simply don't jibe.

Joel had every opportunity to express any concerns or ideas in the committee, which was the appropriate forum. He did not. Instead he has chosen to mischaracterize and mislead to whoever will listen. Mr. Katz told you a fish story, Mr. Bass. And you swallowed it hook, line and sinker!

Jim Murray

Child Care Center Needs Protecting

Thanks for shining a light on the plight of Grace and Holy Trinity Child Care Center ("Church Abandons Preschool, Angers Parents," Street Talk, June 22).

The article's title reflects the feelings of many of the families. The rest of the article, perhaps less so. The church and the board have explored many ways to save the center, but apparently no option proved viable.

Some of the parents do appreciate their efforts. We just want to protect a Richmond institution that provides such an important community service. This city needs the love, diversity and caring the center has provided for 40 years.

Tom Illmensee

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