Mayor Warren Wants Apology From Geva over "naïve" Comment

13 WHAM - "Rochester's mayor wants an apology from the artistic director of Geva Theater and said she won't address his concerns about a new performing arts center until she gets one.

"I think to use language that's demeaning is wrong...and I'm not going to address any of his comments because of it," Warren told 13 WHAM's Jane Flasch.

Mayor Warren is offended about a remark made Monday involving the word "naïve."

"I think the artistic director actually owes me an apology," Warren said. "Men calling women naïve this day and age is wrong."

Geva says she is taking it out of context. Earlier this month, artistic director Mark Cuddy sent a 14-page letter to City Council questioning, among other things, the sudden April announcement to locate a performing arts center with an $85 million theater on the valuable former Midtown site known as Parcel 5. In the letter, Cuddy said more study is needed.

In a press conference Monday, he took issue with something the mayor said.

"She is quoted as saying Syracuse is a college town, Buffalo has sports teams. We are a city of the arts and we have to have a venue that gives us that title," Cuddy said.

"We find that thinking to be naive at best," Cuddy went on to say.

Cuddy did elaborate to say Rochester is already rich with theater, symphony, arts and culture. A new theater, he said, might add to that but not define it. The idea, not the mayor, is shortsighted.

"Mark Cuddy...did not call the Mayor "naïve". We are sorry the mayor took it that way," Geva said in an emailed statement.

Mayor Warren sees it differently. "We can agree to disagree on an approach but I think to use that language is wrong," she said. "He owes the women in this community and the young girls an apology."

The war of words overshadows real questions about whether arts groups will support the PAC and whether the New York State will help pay for it.

Billionaire Tom Golisano has pledged $25 million for the theater which will anchor a 13 story residential and retail center. The total cost of the project is $130 million. Mayor Warren has sent a letter to Governor Cuomo seeking $20 million.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle has called the request "irresponsible." Mayor Warren said she has since provided him with a detailed study on the project and its feasibility.

"We worked with the Lincoln Center in New York City and with Cleveland that re-did their (theater); that was information he did not have," Warren said. "I'm thankful that he's willing to listen.""

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