The film studio proposal that has transfixed and fascinated many Dixonites for almost six months now is still a big mystery to me. I would like it to happen – who wouldn’t?
I talked with new city manager Jim Lindley, and he sounds very optimistic about it. It would certainly be a feather in his hat to help usher in such a major project.
But we have to look at what Morning View leader Carissa Carpenter has accomplished in a concrete sense, and not what she says in her uber enthusiastic way.
Looking back in newspaper articles, the idea of a movie studio was first presented to Dixon around August 1 of last year (2012). Carpenter indicated she was in a big hurry to obtain approvals, financing, land purchases, and to complete planning and building – and her hoped-for timeline was to have film studios constructed after two years (in 2014).
Now, six months later – one-fourth of the way through the two years – what do we have? She has said she has associates in the movie industry, developers, financing and studio customers, but cannot reveal any of them until the right time. Carissa, it’s now six months later and there’s no convincing reason not to.
She has said she wants to keep the community informed and was planning at least one community forum to answer the public’s questions. After six months, nothing. She had planned to give a presentation to the city council on January 8, but withdrew. She had agreed to give me an interview in early December, but pulled out at the last moment.
As others have indicated, Morning View needs to show it’s for real by purchasing the land in the Southwest Development Area – from around seven landowners. In talking with one of them, I learned that since the initial group meeting they had with her and her lawyers in August this landowner hasn’t heard a thing from Morning View, while on the other hand, Ms. Carpenter claims that property purchases are about to happen and negotiations are leading to escrow. (The other landowners, unfortunately, didn’t return my calls.)
On Tuesday evening, January 22, 2013, Dixon’s city council voted to require Morning View to provide $100,000 to fulfill its promise to pay for staff and contractor time to work on its plans and city approvals. Is this a litmus test to determine if Morning View has the wherewithal to proceed? If Morning View does provide that amount, it will certainly raise its credibility, although my understanding is that it paid Vallejo a similar $50,000 and that studio plan still fell apart.
From the beginning I was put off by Carpenter’s seeming lack of businesslike attributes, her talk about her health problems and her grandiose imagery of movie stars in Dixon. But I was and still am willing to suspend disbelief as long as she delivers on her promises, buys the land, and makes public her developers, financiers, and studio tenants.
But what I’m finding lately are excuses why she can’t move forward, including Measure N and negative rumors about her and Morning View – plus an unreasonable need to keep secret the names of her partners and associates.
Of course, it all comes down to money. Does Morning View have the bucks? Where’s the beef?
There will be those who say I’m jeopardizing the project by asking questions. No, I’m just asking the questions that need to be asked.
Morning View could take a big step in the right direction by holding a public Q&A session, and answering all the questions people have. After a long six months, right now is the right time. I would be there with the 16 questions I had intended to ask during our scheduled interview.