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At a December 16 meeting, the Escondido City Council voted to write off a $530,731 loan given to the California Center for the Arts Foundation in 2001.

"[I]f we haven't been paid back by now," said councilman Dick Daniels, "we probably aren't going to be paid back in the foreseeable ten years. So, I think it not only reflects reality, but I think it makes it easier for the center to not have that on their balance sheet in terms of applying for grants and those kinds of things. I think it looks cleaner and, hopefully, it will make them a part of what's taken into consideration when grantors look at something like the arts center for grants."

For the record, councilwoman Marie Waldron said she didn't support the write-off because she was against giving the loan in 2001. However, she does support the new management model that was recently implemented for the center.

The California Center for the Arts, which cost taxpayers $81 million, has lost money in 13 of its 15 years. The initial plan was for the City to help pay for annual operating costs until the center became self-sufficient. Due to low ticket sales and budget deficits, that goal hasn't been reached.

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