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SLO County Roundup

Atascadero

Overturning its vote to spend $10,000 of taxpayers’ money on a study to determine if two movie theaters could survive in Atascadero, the City Council is now requiring local cinema owners to pay for it themselves.

La Plaza Cinemas and Galaxy Theatres would now need to pay the whole cost of the study. The latter had already offered to pay for half of it.

Galaxy Theatres is now under construction in downtown Atascadero’s Colony Square, while La Plaza Cinemas is seeking a permit to build another movie complex up the street.

The council is concerned that by allowing La Plaza to build, the city would be setting up both projects to fail.

Atascadero now has no movie screens. The competing cinemas would each offer 10 screens nearly across the street from each other.

The city has backed the Colony Square project with $1.5 million of taxpayers’ money, and officials feel responsible not to cause blight — in this case the potential for two defunct cinema buildings in downtown.

La Plaza applicants say the city can support both theaters, while officials with Galaxy Theater say the city can only support a total of 10 screens.

Councilman Bob Kelley said that some in the community have told him the city’s financial backing of Colony Square creates a conflict of interest if the city chooses the consultant to do the study.

The city attorney said there wasn’t such a conflict, but the council later agreed that La Plaza and Galaxy could choose one together, if they can agree. If not, it would go back to the council for further discussion.

The specifics that could go in the study and related topics will be discussed during the council’s June 8 meeting, where it’s also slated to make a decision on La Plaza’s request for a permit.

— Tonya Strickland

San Luis Obispo

Three speakers with insight into California’s prison system will speak today at a forum on restorative or healing justice.

Sister Suzanne Jabro, founder and executive director of the Center for Restorative Justice Works and Get on the Bus, will discuss her work in this area, in particular her work with women.

Christopher Bickle, an assistant professor of sociology at Cal Poly and a prison rights activist, will focus on juvenile justice, the inequality that exists through mass incarceration and how minorities have come to be a majority in prisons.

Rabbi Lon Moskowitz, who has served as Jewish chaplain at the California Men’s Colony for more than 13 years, will discuss what’s happening at the prison and an alternative justice program there.

The 6:30 p.m. meeting is being sponsored by Central Coast Clergy and Laity for Justice, an organization that provides an opportunity for people of all faiths, and none, to work together for social justice.

It will be held at Congregation Beth David, 10180 Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo.

— Julie Lynem

Cambria

The San Luis Obispo Chapter of Oncology Nursing Society will offer a three-day camp for families with a child suffering from cancer.

Called Camp Reach for the Stars, the three-day session is to be held June 4, 5 and 6 in Cambria and will provide on-site nurses, doctors, counselors and child care. The entire weekend is free, and reservations are still being accepted at 644-4237 ext. 204.

— Julia Hickey

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