Mayor Warren received a shock yesterday.
Our usually complacent City Council refused to do as they were bidden and approve a feasibility study for a new theater downtown.
Previous studies and plans for such a project always concluded with the fact that a theater of such magnitude in downtown Rochester was not economically feasible. Such a project would require continued public subsidies to keep it in operation.
That means we, the taxpayers, would get stuck footing the bill for something most of us would never use.
Councilmember Carolee Conklin referred to those previous studies and their conclusions. She asked what had changed.
Nothing has changed, except perhaps that Rochester has gotten poorer.
Mayor Warren based her campaign on a "two cities" rhetoric: one for the rich, one for the poor. Especially the black poor.
Unfortunately, the mayor built better than she knew.
Her associates could not approve a feasibility study that would result in building a downtown playground for Rochester's rich and not so famous, and try to pass it off as something necessary to the poor voters who repeatedly elect them to office.
That would be rather hypocritical. City Council does not wish to appear hypocritical.
Conklin also asked why it was necessary to hire a consultant to do the feasibility study. Wasn't City Hall's own department of neighborhood and business development be capable of doing it for nothing?
The NBD might be capable of conducting such a study, but if it was honest in its research, it probably wouldn't come up with the results the mayor and Arnold Rothschild want.
Nobody but the mayor and Rothschild's Rochester Broadway Theater League want such a theater, anyway.
If you buy and pay for a study of some topic, you can generally be assured of the desired prognosis.
The Broadway style theater will again be put on the back burner, an object of apathy to most Rochesterians.
But you have to hand it to Carolee Conklin. She has bigger brass balls than anyone in City Hall.