The following is offered for consideration by Islanders regarding Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA):
1. MICA states, “The City partners with us to serve the M.I. community and meet its needs …” On what basis is that statement made?
2. If the city believes MICA’s assertion about “needs,” why not revive the “need” for an advisory vote before further city funds are spent on MICA, whether in parkland or elsewhere on the Island?
3. If MICA has such “serious, influential” people, as Councilman David Wisenteiner states, then let MICA foot the bill for a building on Island nonparkland.
4. In Financial Director Chip Corder’s Nov. 15, 2015, email, he states, “No, we haven’t done any anaylsis re potential lease with MICA.”
To date, there has been no unbiased cost analysis done regarding MICA in Mercerdale or elsewhere.
5. In fact, in another Corder email, he indicates the city is considering staff cuts. So, if the budget deficit is as serious as he claims, the city needs revenue, not expenditures.
6. MICA indicates a need for city “help.” Other than assertions that MICA in the park might benefit local businesses, it provides no data to support that assertion, nor how its operation might generate future revenue for the city.
7. In response to an email query to council members about culture and/or attending cultural events they attend, Mayor Debbie Bertlin cited attendance at a National Geographic series at Benaroya in Seattle. No others responded.
However, if one looks at council members’ bios on the council website, not one cites culture or cultural arts. In fact, Wisenteiner mentions he’s an “avid outdoorsman.”
8. The city and MICA ignore the accessibility of Seattle and the greater Eastside to the Island. They forget that both areas can afford cultural events we cannot. And they cite no personal attendance at cultural events themselves.
A reality check is needed here by both the city and MICA.