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Dear Editor:

There was good news and bad news concerning the recent announcement by filmmakers Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock that construction for an all-documentary movie theater [at the Downtown Community Television Center] will begin in downtown Manhattan. Documentary movies are already periodically available at many other Manhattan theaters including the Film Forum, Angelika Film Center, Independent Film Center, Sunshine Cinema, Cinema Village, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Film Society Lincoln Center. This new facility will be built at a cost of $3 million. Mr. Moore is a multimillionaire on his own and has full access to Hollywood and other affluent communities to raise funding for various causes. Yet, he was unable to assist the Downtown Community Television Center in raising the total project cost from voluntary private contributions.

The NYC Council with the assistance of Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn was able to tap into one of the several hundred million in member item pork barrel funding to lend a hand. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation did the same. With a looming future multibillion dollar City budget shortfall, you would think the City Council would have had more pressing priorities. Perhaps these dollars would have been better spent keeping libraries in downtown Manhattan open longer hours. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is the beneficiary of $2.7 billion in 9/11 federal funding. Perhaps they would have had a higher priority to spend their dollars on assisting real victims of 9/11.

Even worse, was the heartfelt embrace of this financial package and project by Manhattan Borough President and comptroller candidate Scott Stringer. If this is how Stringer would program increasingly scarce municipal dollars, how effective would he be as a financial watchdog if elected NYC Comptroller.

Each year, citizens, foundations and corporations raise and contribute several hundred billion dollars for various charities. Surely, this same community could have been solicited to fund 100 percent of this project rather than pick the pockets of taxpayers for some of the costs.


Larry Penner

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