North Bay Business Journal

Friday, March 19, 2010, 1:22 pm

Readers react to Rialto’s loss of lease


Print Friendly Print Friendly    

Share this item
    Courtesy of Rialto Cinemas Lakeside

    Courtesy of Rialto Cinemas Lakeside

    SANTA ROSA — Business Journal readers are reacting to the recent announcement that Rialto theater founder Ky Boyd will lose the lease on the building that has housed the popular independent movie theater in Santa Rosa. The lease expires Aug. 31.

    The reader comments are below:

    Copyright © 1988–2015 North Bay Business Journal
    View the policy for linking to website content.

    Print Friendly Print Friendly    



    1. March 19, 2010, 1:25 pm

      by Luccella

      I live in San Francisco and I have driven to Santa Rosa to patronize the Rialto. If the Rialto is forced out, the theater will not be the same. People who value small, independently operated art cinemas will not patronize this new theater.

      What sad news for the community! This will be a real loss.


    2. March 19, 2010, 1:26 pm

      by Jo McCormick

      The recent news of the Rialto cinemas lakeside losing their lease is shocking. It is also a bad business move on the part of the Duggan Family Enterprises who own the Property and the new lessees, SREG (Third Street Cinemas, Roxy). What kind of lease is unnegotiable? What kind of people would give assurances to Ky Boyd and his staff that all was well when in fact, they were planning to end the lease with no notice? Who would want to spend any money to support such an arrogant way of doing business?

      “The Rialto” is a more than a movie house-it is a hub for the community, hosting countless fundraisers at no rental cost to many non profits. What will all our non profits do without Ky and his terrific staff at the Rialto? There will be a great sucking sound when the Rialto moves which will not be filled by the new lessees. We will follow the Rialto and its unique offerings wherever the Rialto moves.

      The way in which Duggan Family Enterprises has handled the lease term and the ease with which a competitor, Dan Tocchini, has conveniently muscled in leaves a taste almost as bad as the popcorn at his movie theatres.


      Jo McCormick
      P.O. Box 1129
      Sebastopol, CA 95473

    3. March 19, 2010, 1:27 pm

      by Gerri & Iain Penny

      Attn: Letters to Editor

      It was with great dismay that I read the headlines today about the Rialto Cinemas losing their lease. The last thing we need is more mainstream, Hollywood movies! This is a huge loss to our local community and a slap in the face to all of us who treasure the Rialto and the great entertainment (and snacks) they provide. Shame on you Duggan Family Partnership for not giving the Rialto the option of renewing their lease! Please join us in boycotting the theatre that takes their place.
      Gerri & Iain Penny

    4. March 19, 2010, 1:28 pm

      by Peter Wilson

      To Whom it May Concern;

      I am writing in regard to the Duggan Family Partnership’s decision to refuse to allow Rialto to renew their lease and lease instead to SR Entertainment group.

      I am puzzled. The Duggan Family Partnership cannot have refused to renew Rialto’s lease just because of the money. What then? The members of the community deserve the truth; it will out regardless. This sort of thing can only hurt SR Entertainment, do they think that loyalty is so cheap a commodity! I urge the Duggan Family Partnership to be sensitive to the care’s of our community if not because of a sense of community see it as just good business sense. Sonoma County is a very progressive community, one that really appreciates the quality of entertainment displayed at Rialto and it will not be fooled by any “Hollywood” shenanigans.

      I also urge the media to get to the bottom of how such a deal could have come about. Something smells fishy! How can a business ignore not only profit but the cares of the community?

      Peter Wilson

    5. March 19, 2010, 1:29 pm

      by Ellen Dolores

      Dear Editor:

      Sonoma County does not need another movie theater showing “blockbusters.” We need
      Rialto Cinemas to continue as they currently exist – a community icon promoting thought
      provoking films. In addition, after years of service to the Sonoma County Community, it
      is evil, however one may assign the meaning of that word, to evict, for no good reason, a
      business that is so loved and treasured here – if this takes place, it is the uncaring destruction
      of a wonderful business that is also a great community service.

      The Duggan Family Partnership should be ashamed, and Mr. Tochini should understand, I,
      and hopefully the huge audience from Oakmont where I live, will be very inclined to boycott
      his businesses- it worked for Cesar Chavez, and is a fine model to follow when a community
      is being threatened for no good reason, other than empire building and greed. Let Tochini
      go find another location and keep his hands off our Rialto.

      and with great angst,
      Ellen Dolores

    6. March 19, 2010, 1:30 pm

      by Anna Patterson

      Dear Editor,

      On behalf of the 522 Sonoma County residents living with HIV/AIDS whom we serve, Face to Face is devastated to learn we are losing one of Sonoma County’s most cherished cultural venues, Rialto Cinemas Lakeside.

      Having an independent, art house cinema is important in any community; having one that has been as charitable towards Sonoma County’s specific needs is an absolute blessing.

      Years ago, proprietor Ky Boyd created a film series focused on the portrayal of the gay and lesbian experience on the big screen. The “Face to Face Film Series” has brought more than $20,000 into our agency, assisting in our efforts to care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

      In addition to the support shown to Face to Face, Rialto Cinemas Lakeside raises funds for Worth Our Weight, Redwood Empire Food Bank, KRCB Public Radio for the North Bay, the Council on Aging, The Living Room and Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, among others.

      We understand that SR Entertainment (of the Airport, 3rd Street Cinemas and Roxy) will be taking over the lease on September 1st. According to an article run in the PD, they plan to “do the same, if not more, in community involvement than they (Rialto Cinemas Lakeside) have done.”

      While we hope that an honest effort is made to continue the level of support shown in our community, we are also aware that SR Entertainment has awfully big shoes to fill.


      Anna Patterson, Development Director
      Face to Face | Sonoma County AIDS Network
      873 2nd St., Santa Rosa, CA 95404

    7. March 19, 2010, 1:31 pm

      by Cathleen Springer

      Couldn¹t leave a good thing alone, could you?

      When the email from a friend arrived yesterday, I gasped. The proprietor of
      the Rialto lost his lease? No! And the more the facts bubbled to the
      surface, the more the entire dastardly story came into the light, the more
      disgusted and incensed I became.

      Since moving to Sonoma County in 2000, and soon thereafter stumbling upon
      this little gem of a theatre, the Rialto has been my primary entertainment
      destination du jour. It is not only the fine location and ease of parking
      that makes this so, but it is absolutely true that the cozy, old school
      ambiance, excellent movie selections, customer-centered/community-minded
      management style and friendly, knowledgeable staff draw me back time and
      again. I purposely avoid the cold, cookie cutter mega-plexes throughout the
      county, many of which are apparently owned by Tocchini.

      Duggan Family Partnership please take note: I along with a goodly number of
      my movie-going friends and associates are deeply disappointed that you have
      chosen not to renew or renegotiate Boyd¹s lease. Shame on you. Bad move.
      You and Tocchini just lost this movie buff customer at this and hereafter at
      all Santa Rosa Entertainment Group locations.

      Cathleen Springer

    8. March 19, 2010, 1:32 pm

      by Gina Kelly

      I just learned that we may lose the Rialto Cinema as they are being forced out of their building and not given a chance to renew their lease. Why?? So we can have yet another theatre showing the same mainstream movies we can see anywhere else in Sonoma County?? The Rialto is special and needs to be saved. The Rialto needs to be given the chance to renew their lease. Please spread the word, it will be a shame to lose the best movie theatre in town, and the only venue for foreign and independent film.
      Gina Kelly

    9. March 19, 2010, 1:33 pm

      by Doug Jones

      Dear Editor,

      Wait a minute here. Let me get this straight. Tocchini has three movie houses in Santa Rosa. … Now he is going to take over the only good theater in town that has built a great following over the past ten years. Not because he wants an indie/art movie house, as he could have had that on 3rd Street, but just to run of the competition out of town..

      Something stinks here. I don’t know the leverage Mr. Tocchini has over the Rialto Theater building owners, the Duggan Family Partnership, but it seems they could at a minimum allow Mr. Boyd the opportunity to bid on lease renewal. Why is it when ever the citizens of Santa Rosa get something good and/or well received it is interrupted by someone’s greed.

      I for one will take the extra fifteen minutes to drive to Rohnert Park to see movies or watch more DVD movies, but no longer patronized Tocchini theaters. If Rialto Cinemas are wiped out I boycott Tocchini. Join me?

      Doug Jones
      Santa Rosa

    10. March 19, 2010, 1:34 pm

      by Eris Weaver

      I don’t know if words can adequately convey how upset I am at the imminent
      departure of the Rialto Cinema! They have provided a completely different
      entertainment experience from ANY other movie theaters in Santa Rosa; and
      now the theater will be run by the same people who already run every other
      theater in town? And they didn’t even give the Rialto the opportunity to
      negotiate a new lease? I am appalled.

      There is NO other theater in Santa Rosa that takes the risks Ky does, with
      art films, foreign films, independent films. There is NO other theater in
      Santa Rosa that doesn’t bombard you with ads and stupid music while you wait
      for the movie to start. There is NO other theater in Santa Rosa that so
      supports the gay community, the Jewish community, etc.They even have better
      food than any other theater! I live in Cotati but even if the same movie is
      playing in Rohnert Park, I drive to the Rialto. If the Rialto is forced to
      close, I will boycott any other theater that opens in that space, as well as
      all other theaters owned by SR Entertainment Group.

      I hope that the Duggan family will reconsider.

      Eris Weaver

    11. March 19, 2010, 1:35 pm

      by Leanne Schy

      I don’t understand, does Dan Tocchini’s SR Entertainment Group think that if they push the Rialto out of that theater building, the loyal Rialto customers will stay behind with him? Not going to happen.
      Leanne Schy

    12. March 19, 2010, 1:36 pm

      by Ruth Freis

      To the editor,

      A successful commercial center in a vibrant city depends on the essential component of a thriving art community to draw consumers (residents as well as vacationing tourists) to contribute to its economic well being.

      The business community in Santa Rosa has long recognized this necessary and symbiotic relationship through its support of the Arts and Artists in our city. The Rialto Theater is a much valued part of that core of essential nourishment that we need to be a balanced and inviting destination for our commercial interests.

      Most of the business interests in Santa Rosa “get it” We all need to join in the efforts to sustain a diverse, flourishing and economically viable community before it slips away.

      Ruth Freis

    13. March 19, 2010, 1:37 pm

      by Tina Lewis

      I read with great dismay that Ky Boy is destined to lose his lease on the Rialto Theatre. This would indeed be an enormous loss to the city of Santa Rosa. His theatre is the only theatre in the area where moviegoers can see independent films, which are a vital part of the array of pictures released each year, many of them nominated for Academy Awards in various categories.

      I’ve heard the argument presented that the new owner will not vary in the way the theatre is run. I would have to see that to believe it. Ky is in constant contact with important art theaters in other cities, particularly Los Angeles. He attends film festivals in order to be on top of what films show promise, and he fights to bring the best ones to Santa Rosa as soon or almost as soon as they’re released.

      Perhaps the new owners could continue showing operas; however, they would have to devote mountains of time in order to bring the kinds of films to our city as Ky has done.

      Please give Ky a chance to renew his license. Santa Rosa filmgoers who appreciate independent films in addition to studio-released films would be lost without his devoted efforts.

      Tina Lewis

    14. March 19, 2010, 1:38 pm

      by Katherine Hastings


      Last night I learned that the property owners of the Rialto — the Duggan Family Partnership — have whipped the Rialto’s lease out from under them, not even affording an opportunity to negotiate a new one, so it could be handed off to the main stream theater chain in the county. The Rialto Lakeside is not just any theater; it’s an establishment that has been run with the highest degree of ethics, quality and mindfulness of the community they serve. We have felt respected, not “dumbed down.” The people who run that theater now simply cannot be improved upon — they set the bar too high in movie-going experience — and, if they are forced to leave Santa Rosa, it will be Santa Rosa’s tremendous loss — a nail in the coffin of culture here. I urge Lynn Duggan to allow the Rialto the chance to renegotiate a new lease.

      Katherine Hastings

    15. March 19, 2010, 1:39 pm

      by Patricia F. Clothier

      Subject: A Real Shame

      EDITOR: The Rialto is the only theater which I and most of my friends patronize. Ky Boyd has brought films to Santa Rosa which have not been available at the big-box generic theaters operate by the Santa Rosa Entertainment Group. He and his staff have been unfailingly generous and supportive of community groups — a statement which, unfortunately, cannot be said to be true of those operated by Mr. Tocchini.

      Ky has brought the simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera to our community, to the delight of hundreds of patrons — and did it when he was not at all sure that it would be the enormous success which it has become.

      Shame on the lessor for transferring the space without even giving Ky the chance to bid for a renewal. This is certainly not the appropriate way to do business. I plan to boycott the theaters operated by Mr. Tocchini and to urge others to do so.

      If Santa Rosa loses the Rialto, it will be an enormous disappointment to those of us who appreciate films other than standard Hollywood fare.

      Patricia F. Clothier

    16. March 19, 2010, 1:40 pm

      by Carolyn Hall

      It is shameful that Lynn Duggan and the Duggan Family Partnership have pulled the rug out from under the Rialto theater by not giving them an opportunity to renegotiate their lease. Santa Rosa has enough “blockbuster” theaters . . . all operated by Dan Toccini’s SF Entertainment Group. The Rialto Lakeside is a jewel of a theater offering fine “art” films and “interesting” entertainment. They have introduced opera to Sonoma County in a very significant way. The Rialto is our theater. It is our entertainment “home.” Where will we go now?

      Dan Toccini’s SF Entertainment Group already has a monopoly on lowest-common-denominator blockbuster movies. Why can’t they keep their hands off the Rialto Lakeside, our little jewel of an art theater? And to Lynn Duggan and the Duggan Family Partnership who have pulled the rug out from under the Rialto by not even giving them an opportunity to renegotiate their lease, we can only ask, “Do you have no feelings at all? Is it all, always all, about money?”

    17. March 19, 2010, 1:41 pm

      by Carol Ciavonne

      Dear Editor,

      Although I attend the Roxy (most recently I went to see Avatar) and other mainstream theaters as well, I especially appreciate the Rialto, and consider it a Santa Rosa treasure. I have gone with friends to see films like Slumdog Millionaire; by myself on Tuesday mornings to see films such as A Single Man, and I have attended two of the Met’s opera broadcasts. Most recently, I went to see the film Fauborg Tremé, the Untold Story of Black New Orleans, a benefit for Worth Our Weight, a non-profit culinary education experience for local teens, at which the filmmakers themselves were present.
      There is no other movie house in town that provides these kinds of experiences. What a disappointment that the owners of the building did not reward virtue (and creativity) by extending the lease to the Rialto! How sad that we will have yet another mainstream theater in place of one with heart.


      Carol Ciavonne

    18. March 19, 2010, 1:42 pm

      by Georgette G. deBlois

      This affects everyone in our Community. Something about this whole “no
      negotiation” smells of indiference and discrimination to me. Where’s the Social
      Responsibility in this deal? But hey, what do I know about Sonoma County’s
      private, not open for discussion, Business negotiation practices?

      I rarely go to one of the Other theaters in this Community. The Rialto has
      been my neighborhood entertainment center for many years. And, I truly
      don’t believe anyone can accomplish what Ky Boyd has during his 10 years on
      Summerfield Rd.

      So, now that this location, thanks to the Rialto, has been established as
      “The Fine Arts Film Theater”, the new owners suggest that they will waltz in
      and have the same following. Sorry, but I will not be one of them…

      I know that I’m only one–a spit in the ocean–and yet, it is the
      negotiations behind closed doors that irritates me about this whole deal. How do we
      support the “Independents” in our community if they are not permitted to even
      negotiate? Are there plans to get rid of the rest of the small businesses
      in that small movie and eating area across from Howarth Park? Will the
      Independents in Montgomery Village be next?

      It’s very difficult for me to wish the new Entertainment Group success. I
      will not be among the attendees at any of the Duggan theaters. My visits to
      Video Droid will increase if Ky Boyd’s Rialto disappears. The End…

      Georgette G. deBlois

    19. March 19, 2010, 1:43 pm

      by Will Kent

      Dan Tocchini and his Santa Rosa Entertainment Group’s takeover of the Rialto Cinema is a tragedy of operatic proportions for the people of Sonoma County. The ousters have put bullets through the hearts of thousands of movie goers, opera lovers and theater aficionados who revel in the magic that Ky Boyd and his Rialto staff bring to their patrons. I have never been so mesmerized in a movie theater as in the past 3 years, watching, with a packed audience at the Rialto, live transmissions from the Metropolitan Opera.

      Boyd took a huge financial chance on this venture and many others because he believes that the bottom line doesn’t always trump movies and entertainment that don’t attract mass audiences. With that kind of heart and entrepreneurial spirit, the Rialto apparently became a victim of its own success and attractive pickings for large predators.

      Will Kent
      Instructor, A Passion for Opera
      Santa Rosa Junior College Community Education

    20. March 19, 2010, 1:45 pm

      by Brian Narelle

      EDITOR – In a world of mind-numbing franchised consumerism the Rialto Cinema in Santa Rosa stands out as an oasis of culture, healthy snacks and a real sense of community. To hear it is losing its lease to a more commercial chain is a blow to the gut. My wife and I will follow them wherever they go, even if it means watching movies in a tent. It feels like a business with a heart has just been taken off life support. This is sad news indeed.

      Brian Narelle

    21. March 19, 2010, 1:46 pm

      by Luda Fiske

      To Whom It May Concern:

      Every movie theater in the county shows the same blockbuster movies except the Rialto where you can, on a regular basis, find artful films that are a cut above the rest. This isn’t just another movie house it’s a cultural institution that we cannot do without. We don’t need another place to get pizza or Mexican food anymore than we need another place to see the films we can see downtown, in Rohnert Park or at the airport cinema. We need an alternative and for many pleasurable years that has been the Rialto. It will be a sad day when mediocrity wins out over such an exemplary establishment and I can guarantee that no one in my household will ever cease their boycott of anything but the Rialto in that location. Such an emblematic place should be seen as a cultural treasure that is not threatened but revered.


      L. Fiske

    22. March 19, 2010, 1:46 pm

      by David and Margaret MacPhail


      We are shocked to hear that the Rialto Lakeside has lost its lease. This theater has been the very heart and soul of moviegoers like ourselves for years. It has meant too much to our community, of which it has been an active part for years.

      The owners of the building should at least give the Rialto folks a chance to renegotiate their lease. A community asset as valuable as this one deserves better treatment.

      David and Margaret MacPhail

    23. March 19, 2010, 6:07 pm

      by M Hullinger

      In a sea of massive theatres showing Hollywood crap and 3-D,
      a bright star shines; The Rialto Cinemas Lakeside. My family and I have
      enjoyed quality film at the Rialto for years. It saddens me greatly that
      this gem could disappear. In a society dominated by money
      obsession… and pop culture, it is sad to see one more truly unique cultural
      island swallowed up. Mr. Tocchini, don’t the Roxy Stadium 14,
      Airport Cinemas and 3rd Street Cinema provide you a big enough
      business to watch over? Aren’t there other ways you can continue
      expanding? I’m not interested in your “seamless transition”. To all
      parties concerned, please re-consider. Save the Rialto!!

    24. March 19, 2010, 6:30 pm

      by M Hullinger

      What’s newsworthy is that over 1300 people have already signed up on the “Save Rialto Cinemas Lakeside!” group in Facebook. The angry comments underscore what a bad move this is.

    25. March 20, 2010, 11:12 am

      by Janet Luoma

      I could not agree more with the letters printed in today’s press democrat lamenting the loss of the Rialto Theatre at its current location. There seem to be unanswered questions regarding the reasons for this unfortunate turn of events. What is the landlord’s motivation for suddenly making this surprise decision? If the decision was not sudden, why did they wait until now to inform the Rialto people? Does their decision have anything to do with Rialto’s current programming and policies? Why would SR Entertainment Group find it necessary or expedient to interfere with this successful Fine Arts theatre at some distance from their own completely dissimilar venues?
      Thank you for your attention,
      Janet Luoma

    26. March 20, 2010, 11:14 am

      by Jared Wright

      To Whom it may Concern,

      I am writing this letter to express my appreciation and support for the Rialto Cinemas Lakeside and everything it provides to our community. I am vehemently against it changing hands. I am a thirty-three year old filmmaker and I have lived in Sonoma County for six years. As soon as I discovered the Rialto, I began frequenting it and have never stopped. Simply put, it is the best theater experience one can have in Santa Rosa. We are so privileged to be able to view the films it brings to this area. I like blockbuster, “Hollywood” films to an extent but I truly cherish and live for Foreign and Art films. The films screened in the Rialto theater touch viewer’s hearts. They challenge us. They force us to think. They move us deeply. Without the Rialto the way it is now, we the audience, will have this experience no longer.
      When I do sometimes go to the larger theaters in Santa Rosa, it is usually quite a soulless experience. It is obvious that it is just a profit game with no concern for the films they screen or the quality of service and snacks at the concession stands. Honestly, the popcorn at those theaters is almost uneatable. At the Rialto, it is evident that much thought and consideration is put into the decision about what films are shown. It is evident that great care is put into every decision from the exemplary quality of the popcorn to the considerate and informative articles about the films, available in the lobby. In this day where (with the exception of the new 3-D craze), films and entertainment are severely shifting to portable devices and computers, a good theater experience is on the decline. While that fact is somewhat exciting for independent filmmakers such as myself, I find it also a tragedy, as going to a film at an inviting theater and relaxing with popcorn and a soda, is one of my favorite experiences in the world. Universally it is slipping away and we need to fight it even on the smallest levels. I hope the Rialto can and will stay the same as it now and continue to provide Santa Rosa and the all of Sonoma County with important, artistic and foreign films that connect with audiences on a profound level as well maintain it’s excellent quality of snacks and service. Thank you.

      Jared Wright

    27. March 20, 2010, 11:15 am

      by Nancy Todd

      Editor, the Business Journal

      The Rialto Cinema has taken a chance over the past 10 years or so by showing movies that are not blockbusters, like the Met Opera series, discussions and more. Ky had a vision and it has made the Rialto a Santa Rosa destination. We just can’t afford to lose such a treasure for our community.

      The Duggan Family Partnership is no friend of Santa Rosa. Why didn’t they give Ky the chance to renew his lease? Makes no sense money wise. I don’t believe for a minute that SR Entertainment Group will be able to successfully run an art theater. They would have done it long ago if such were the case.

      Nancy Todd

    28. March 20, 2010, 11:16 am

      by Martha Gonzalez

      Hi. I’m a former resident of Sonoma County and have recently learned about the Rialto losing its lease without an opportunity to renew it. The Rialto is a county treasure and offers films offered by no other theater. I strongly urge those with the power to do so reconsider this decision. Martha Gonzalez

    29. March 20, 2010, 11:18 am

      by Louisa Nahem

      How ironic that the name of last movie mentioned in this week’s e-newsletter about the movies shown at The Rialto is called, “The Art of the Steal”. Inverted, it could be a good way of putting what’s happened to this wonderful arts movie house: The Steal of the Art.

      In yesterday’s Press Democrat, it was announced that Ky Boyd, the delightful proprietor of the equally delightful Rialto movie house, unexpectedly lost his lease to the property. Very disturbing. One has to wonder what’s up with Lynne Duggan & the Duggan Family Partnership which owns the property…..

      To the info in the article, I would like to add another org., that isn’t mentioned in the PD article, is Copperfield’s, a local independent bookstore which has also had a lovely working relationship w/the Rialto.

      What I must also add, however, is that the Tocchinis who will be taking over the Rialto’s home, have a daughter who attended New Horizon School which my daughter also attended, & they have been quite generous to the school, & for that, I will always be grateful.

      Even though Ky says he will relocate & continue the Rialto, its closure on Summerfield is still really saddening. A particularly nice era in this immediate community is coming to an end.
      Even though over the years, finances have kept my movie attendance down, I have always been grateful for its presence. The Rialto always made this native New Yorker feel more at home culturally.

      I have always used the Rialto movie roster, (& the terrific weekly e-newsletters advertising & reviewing the current & upcoming movies), for the “Saved” list on my Netflix queue. If the Rialto showed it, that’s been enough to qualify as a movie I wanted to see or see again. Over the years, movies on the Rialto roster became their own category: “A Rialto Movie”. Click: Saved.

      If only I could do the same for the Rialto in its present location.

      Louisa Nahem

    30. March 20, 2010, 11:19 am

      by Susan Spaulding

      To the Editors,

      I am a film student at the SRJC. I am outraged and saddened by the news that the Dugan Family Partnership has refused to re-negociate its lease with the Rialto Cinema. Without any discussion, they signed the SR Entertainment Group which already has three theatres in Santa Rosa.

      I have relied on the expertise of the owners of the Rialto for great independent and foreign films. These efforts cannot be duplicated! Of this I am absolutely certain.

      The North Bay is known as “Hollywood North” in the movie industry. SRJC has a video editing program new this year and the Petaluma campus is slated to begin a film/video production program. The loss of the Rialto would be a black mark on the future of the film industry in Sonoma County. I respectfully urge the Dugan Family Partnership to reconsider its decision.

      Best regards,

      Susan Spaulding

    31. March 20, 2010, 11:19 am

      by Carolyn Ellis

      To whom it May Concern-

      I am heartbroken to hear that we are about to lose an art and civic jewel of Sonoma County. The Rialto Cinema has consistently provided smart alternative entertainment and been such a leader in community outreach while doing so. What an exemplary business model and such a travesty to lose it. The response from their supporters is astounding. Says quite a lot about their connection to the community. Do hope someone at your paper continues to follow this story. Am keeping my fingers crossed we can still turn this around.

      With hope,
      Carolyn Ellis

    32. March 20, 2010, 11:21 am

      by Michael Ellis

      To whom it May Concern-

      I am heartbroken to hear that we are about to lose a art and civic jewel of Sonoma County. The Rialto Cinema has consistently provided smart alternative entertainment and been such a leader in community outreach while doing so. What an exemplary business model and such a travesty to lose it. The response from their supporters is astounding. Says quite a lot about their connection to the community. Do hope someone at your paper continues to follow this story. Am keeping my fingers crossed we can still turn this around.


      Michael Ellis
      Footloose Forays

    33. March 20, 2010, 12:45 pm

      by Dennis/Dorinda Tapley

      My wife and I will follow Mr. Boyd and his staff wherever they go. We will not follow my Tocchini, nor the Duggan Family Partnership, except, based on their present behavior, their future faux pas as noted in local and national news. Meantime: this writer is a lover of big movies, like “Big”, “Avatar”, “Star Wars”, “Harry Potter and the ….”, “Close Encounters…”, all the Tracy/Hepburns, all the James Stewart, all the Ida Lupino and Sophia Loren. But, but, but, I also love “small films, like those out of Sweden, old and new, France, Vietnam. New Ideas, New Voices.. Dennis

    34. March 20, 2010, 6:41 pm

      by Corrie McCluskey

      Besides offering consistently wonderful foreign and independent films that I used to have to drive to SF or the East Bay to see, I deeply appreciate all the little things about the Rialto: a warm reception from the young people manning the registers (more than once the person taking my order at the concession stand has remembered what I always order – this makes me feel unbelievably appreciated!), flyers in the lobby with in-depth reviews about each film, a comfortable seat in the theater, great popcorn and unsweetened ice tea. I remember when the Rialto first opened, going to my first film there and thinking to myself “This place has great feng shui!” – it’s the atmosphere that matters every bit as much as the film lineup. I have seen literally hundreds of films there in the past ten years. Ky Boyd and his staff have created a wonderful place in what used to feel like a cultural wasteland, the backwaters of Santa Rosa. It matters deeply to me that they support community groups, organizations and schools. This week’s news about the loss of the Rialto’s lease really brings home the notion that we have to support community-minded local businesses that care about us, about art and culture, about taking financial risks to build something good that people want and need. I will not patronize Mr. Tocchini’s co-opted version of the Rialto on Sept 1 or thereafter, nor will I ever set foot in either the Roxy or the Third St Cinema again. It disgusts me how the lease was pulled out from under them. This is not an ethical way to do business, and I simply won’t support it.

    35. March 21, 2010, 10:16 am

      by Serene Cooper

      Let’s rewrite the script! The Duggan Family, Dan Tocchini and the Santa Rosa Entertainment Group can become the hero in this story. Please see how important the Rialto is to Sonoma County residents, under its current owners. We will not support a hostile takeover of this institution. Find another venue to expand your business and use your sizable influence to allow Ky Boyd renegotiate their lease.

    36. March 21, 2010, 4:20 pm

      by gloria

      This is the only movie theater I go to. I refuse to see Hollywood crap. The Rialto Lakeside offers movie goers with choices and films that require thought and participation. Please, please don’t let this happen. Our city needs this theater

    37. March 21, 2010, 11:50 pm

      by Susan K. Burch

      Say it loud, say it proud, “BOYCOTT THE ROXY”. 2000 Facebook members can’t be wrong.

    38. March 22, 2010, 8:50 am

      by Sue Amato

      The shocking news that the Rialto is to be closed is a travesty. I subscribe to the Live Broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It helps support the opera and brings culture to Santa Rosa for many people, who could never have the opportunity to experience the opera like this.
      Many seniors look forward to this experience. It helps keep them active and vital. It would be terrible to take this from them.
      The Rialto also provides other cultural aspects of our society through their films that will be a true loss.
      Please help in stopping this from happening.
      Sue Amato

    39. March 22, 2010, 8:51 am

      by Ann Dubell

      I am disappointed that the Duggan Family Partnership chose not to renew the Rialto lease. I liked the movies and liked supporting a small art house theater. Ky Boyd was superb at writing movie promo materials, and he was an engaging master of ceremonies at Rialto benefits. His crew seemed to like working there and created a cordial atmosphere. Too bad we’re losing a community gem.

      Ann Dubell

    40. March 22, 2010, 8:52 am

      by W. "Chip" Atkin, Jr

      Dear Editor:

      I am distressed to learn that the Rialto Theater’s lease is not being renewed. The landlord (Lynn Duggan) refused to renegotiate the Rialto’s lease in favor of giving the lease to Dan Tocchini’s Santa Rosa Entertainment Group, which will then have a monopoly on all theaters in town. The Rialto has an unique experience with high quality films, and wonderful customer service. While I generally prefer the Rialto’s faire to that of the SR Entertainment Group, I have frequented them in the past. I will now boycott them for stealing my theater, and I encourage other to do the same to signal our disfavor of this coup.

      W. “Chip” Atkin, Jr

    41. March 22, 2010, 8:53 am

      by Sydney McDonald

      The Rialto Cinema Lakeside is a Santa Rosa treasure with an articulate understanding by Ky Boyd of what is required to meet the needs of those who choose to enjoy this treasure. This includes an innate ability to discern the differences between film and movies, what makes a theater environment inviting to attendees, and how to ensure that these attendees will return again and again. This gift of his and his staff is one that is not shared by the other theaters in town and will be sadly missed if lost because of a poor business decision by the theater owners.

      I am asking Lynn Duggan and the Duggan Family Partnership to open the option to renew the lease on the theater to Ky Boyd, and that this is done with fairness and equality. Any business that intends to cultivate a lasting business relationship within a community understands that meeting the needs of their business partners and the community at large is the best way to ensure success.

      Sydney McDonald

    42. March 22, 2010, 9:49 am

      by Michael Rofkar and Patti Rametta

      Editor –

      we are writing to express our outrage at what has been done to the Rialto Lakeside Cinema and its owner, Ky Boyd. No, they haven’t lost their lease – it has been stolen from them in the most despicable and underhanded manner.

      Behind their backs and without their knowledge, Dan Toccini of SR Entertainment Group (which already owns the Roxy and every other theater in town) negotiated with the property owner, Duggan Family Partnership, to take over the Rialto’s lease. Boyd was not given any warning that his lease might be in danger, nor was he given any opportunity to renegotiate.

      These sorts of shocking, cut-throat tactics have no place in the Sonoma County business environment. And the Rialto and its art-house, independent programming are a vital part of Sonoma County’s cultural diversity – one we cannot do without.

      We protest the Duggan Family Partnership’s decision, and we call for a boycott of the Roxy and Toccini’s other theaters.

      Michael Rofkar and Patti Rametta
      Santa Rosa

    43. March 22, 2010, 9:50 am

      by The Holdens

      The Rialto Theatre helped make Santa Rosa a little better and unique. Ky Boyd did not get a fair shake from the leasing company, Duggan Family Partnership, after being promised his lease would be renewed. Our family will boycott the Tocchini owned theaters. Haven’t we had enough corporate takeovers in this country?

      The Holdens

    44. March 22, 2010, 9:51 am

      by Nancy Gross

      Way over the top concerned about the changes looming for the Rialto, our retreat and oasis for independent films and best popcorn.

      Sincerely, Nancy Gross

    45. March 22, 2010, 9:51 am

      by Eric and Sue Gordon

      My family and friends were all deeply saddened to hear of the closing
      of the Rialto theater this coming August.Our sadness turned to
      outrage as we realize that the planned outcome will result in a monopoly of
      movie theaters in Santa Rosa. The Rialto is one of the many wonderful and
      simple pleasures of living in Santa Rosa. If Mr Tocchini wants a venue
      for thoughtful, inspiring film, all he has to do is start showing them in the
      3rd Street Cinema and in doing so add a much-needed dose of humanity
      to the theater’s atmosphere.
      The Rialto, besides having great movies that allow the developement of
      complex emotions, also possesses a simple human warmth that Mr Tocchini’s
      theaters lack. Why destroy something that is working? I doubt those
      who look forward to their visits to the Rialto will find enough movies
      to fit their taste
      for weekly outings to the Roxy. I hope Lynn Duggan and Dan Tocchini
      reconsider their decision.
      Eric and Sue Gordon

    46. March 22, 2010, 11:47 am

      by John Futhey and Judy Erickson

      Dear Editor,

      We deplore the recent decision of Lynn Duggan and the Duggan Family partnership to transfer the lease of the Rialto Theatre property (effective September 1st) to Dan Tocchini’s SR Entertainment Group. This transfer of lease was done without any attempt to negotiate a new lease with the Rialto and after indicating repeatedly that no such changes would be made.

      It is probably legal, but certainly bereft of fair play. Should this outrage play out, when the Rialto changes hands it will not enjoy our patronage.

      In short, INCLUDE US OUT!

      John Futhey and Judy Erickson

    47. March 22, 2010, 11:55 am

      by Dr. Amy Eisenberg

      Dear Colleagues

      I hope this message finds you very well. I am deeply saddened to learn that the lovely Rialto Theatre is leaving us. This dear little theatre recycles and is the charm and intellectual mecca of our neighborhood. How sad to learn that the Roxy will take it over. The Roxy does not even recycle. This is a disgrace.

      The Rialto enlivens our community and is a comfort because of the diverse peoples that it draws. The neighborhood will not be the same without the warm glow of the sweet theatre and the smell of popcorn and the exodus of gray-haired elders smiling warmly as they discuss the films with their friends. We are very sorry that a corporation is not giving the good Rialto Theatre a chance…..

      We support the Rialto and we are very happy with its service, warmth and commitment.

      This neighborhood is a comfort with the Rialto’s warm lights and the friendly nature of their helpful staff.

      Please help to turn this unfortunate situation around. It is better for Santa Rosa.


      Dr. Amy Eisenberg
      Sonoma County Indian Health Project

    48. March 22, 2010, 2:34 pm

      by Laura Hendrickson

      I am writing to support the current owners of the Rialto and am protesting the decision by the owners to change tenants without giving the current owners an opportunity to re-negotiating the lease. As you know, many of us in the community will be writing in support and will be boycotting the current theaters that are part of the SR Entertainment Group. I am displeased at their desire to create a monopolized cinema experience in our county.

      Laura Hendrickson

    49. March 23, 2010, 3:18 pm

      by Tille Cassidy

      Dear Editor:
      We have enjoyed the Rialto theater since it inception. Mr. Boyd brings the best in film into our neighborhood. We feel so grateful for this wonderful addition to our lives. Not only do we see the best of the commercial pics but we also see the unusual and never- shown- in-ordinary theater flicks. My husband and I have especially enjoyed the Oscar nominated shorts which are shown yearly.

      All of this is no accident, this takes vision and connections to make this happen. Mr. Boyd obviously has the skill to bring all of this amazing art to us. The generosity of Mr. Boyd also has been appreciated by schools and special interest groups. Why should this talented man leave our neighborhood and take his “show” to another town??

      Please let him have an option to bid on the lease. Many of us are ready to help make this happen.

      Thanks, Mr. Boyd, for all you have given us so far…. hopefully you will get a chance to continue.

      A fan of the Rialto,

      Tille Cassidy

    50. March 24, 2010, 9:01 am

      by The Long, Ugly Story of the Rialto Deal | North Bay Bohemian's BohoBlog

      [...] 14 multiplex theater, and there’s many places to read people’s opinions on the subject here, here and here. But there’s not a lot of history being told, nor has there been an explanation of [...]

    51. March 24, 2010, 12:51 pm

      by marlene

      I would like to register my deep dismay at the Rialto theatre catastrophe. Yes, a catastrophe because genuine and intellectual entertainment will be taken away from the community. It is sad that our community role models display dishonesty and obviously care more for their finances than for the genral good!

    52. March 24, 2010, 12:51 pm

      by Terry Popp

      Editor: After ten years of the best of films, The Metropolitan Opera, London’s National Theatre, to say nothing of extensive community outreach and nonprofit partnering (Face to Face, the Jewish Community Center, the Council on Aging, the Santa Rosa Library, Art Quest, etc.) the Rialto has become an integral part of our community. Will we allow this jewel in the crown to be replaced by Dan Tocchini’s Group (Airport, 3rd Street Cinema, Roxy theaters), a man who has had years to create his own art house, yet tells us he will now carry on the Rialto’s activities?

      Our hope is that the Duggan Family Partnership will realize how many lives could be negatively affected by their decision (film, opera, and theater patrons, community nonprofit groups, film festivals, Rialto employees, etc.) and reconsider its abrupt choice not to renew the Rialto’s lease. Let’s keep this gem as the outstanding neighborhood asset it is. If this doesn’t come to pass, when a new home is found and Mr. Tocchini and company attempt to compete, they will discover just how dedicated Ky Boyd’s customers are. It takes more than simply screening films and a promise to transition seamlessly to build a loyal following.

      Terry Popp

    53. March 25, 2010, 10:29 am

      by Patricia Ochoa

      Dear Editor

      I want to share my thoughts and experience working as well as networking with the Tocchini’s and their business. I personally enjoyed working with them; they were caring to their staff and family oriented. I may no longer work there, but we still keep in contact, we see each other in the community and catch up.
      I work at an after-school program for youth. I wanted to treat the children out to the movies, an end of the school year celebration. I called the Tocchini’s; asked if I could take some children to the movies and with no hesitation they let us in the theater at no charge. I continue to network with The Tocchini’s and keep in contact.
      Like I said before I am not taking any sides, just my thoughts and experience with the Tocchini’s and their company. If I was given the opportunity to work with them again, I would do it, I had a positive experience and continue to build a relationship with them and their company.

      Sincerely, Patricia Ochoa

    54. March 25, 2010, 10:29 am

      by Barrie Eddy

      I am writing regarding the distressing news that the Rialto has lost its lease. Apparently this has happened without them being given a chance to renew. Can this be true?

      If so, I don’t understand how a group/business that contributes so much to our community can be put out of their house without benefit of discussion or negotiation.

      The Rialto is important to the community and to me, personally for so many reasons.
      The Rialto supports our community by donating its facilities for so many good and charitable causes.
      The Rialto offers the greater Santa Rosa community (including Sonoma, my home) an alternative to mainstream blockbuster or Hollywood movies. As far as I know, it is the only place of its kind with any size the does this.
      The Rialto is also the only place that offers different types of screenings like Live at the Metropolitan Opera and National Theater Live. It offers other hard to find movies in events such as the Jewish Film Festival.
      I personally know 15 or more people in Sonoma who travel to the Rialto for a movie or event at least twice/month. Many more frequent the Rialto less often but, for the same reasons.
      Dear Duggans, please reconsider, and have a discussion with the Rialto which may offer them a chance to stay. That is the least you can do.

      We can’t afford to lose the Rialto.

      Barrie Eddy

    55. March 25, 2010, 10:30 am

      by Michael Hoey

      We just attended another movie at the Realto last night and were reminded how much we enjoy their programing. I doubt Mr Tocchini has the interest or the knowledge needed to provide us with the same quality movie selection. I hope the Duggans reconsider their refusal to negotiate a new lease with the Realto. It will be a community loss if they have to close.
      DR Michael Hoey

    56. March 30, 2010, 12:46 pm

      by Steve Reed


      As you have probably received a surge of communication re the loss of lease for the Rialto, here is my brief email to add to the list.

      I have lived in Lake County since 2003 and come to Santa Rosa 2 – 3 times per month to see a movie at the Rialto, eat dinner (usually at the East West or Mary’s Cupboard restaurants – or one in Montgomery Village) and shop at Olivers for groceries plus the many other retailers in Santa Rosa. Without the Rialto, these visits would become significantly less.

      I’ve heard of a possible re-location in the Railroad Square area for the Rialto and I totally support that possiblity. Chevy’s and all the other restaurants and retailers in that area would benefit significantly from the steady customers that attend the movies at the Rialto.

      More could be said about the quality of films, the conscientousness of the staff, the standards for their snacks, etc, etc – but this is meant to be brief.

      I hope the Rialto will stay somewhere in Sonoma County and I will support that in whatever way possible.

      Thank you,
      Steve Reed

    57. March 30, 2010, 12:47 pm

      by A.M. Holden

      Dear Editor,

      I am deeply saddened by the news that the Rialto Cinemas has lost its lease to SR Entertainment Group. Although Dan Tocchini has stated that he will continue to keep the same staff and films, I do not believe him, nor is that the point. He has not played fair and does not deserve the support of the community. In the chaotic and overwhelming world in which we live, this incident is an opportunity to take a stance against the corrupt corporate mentality that Tocchini embodies and to make a difference by boycotting SR Entertainment Group Establishments. Change starts locally.

      A.M. Holden

    58. March 30, 2010, 12:50 pm

      by Dick and Patti Farnsworth


      Our viewing Saturday of the The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series production of Hamlet reinforced our convictions of how much the Rialto Cinemas Lakeside means to the Santa Rosa community. For the past ten years Ty Boyd’s theatre has provided a year-round venue for independent, foreign and classic films. Since 2007 Rialto Cinemas Lakeside has presented The Metropolitan Opera’s live Saturday morning presentations as well as encore presentations of each opera. The Rialto is the exclusive Sonoma County venue for The Met Live in HD bringing this exciting series of world-class opera to both opera lovers and opera novices like us.

      Ty Boyd is an astute entrepreneur. He has identified a niche in the film industry, has determined his customers needs and has met those needs extremely well. His employees are customer oriented, his facilities are clean and orderly, and the quality of his concessions are beyond what you normally find at a movie theatre. I believe any landlord would be proud to have Ty Boyd as a tenant. The Duggan Family Partnership is making a big mistake by not giving Ty Boyd a chance to negotiate a new lease at their present location on Summerfield Road. We will continue to support Ty wherever he relocates his theatre because he has earned our respect and our business.

      Dick and Patti Farnsworth

    59. March 30, 2010, 12:51 pm

      by Terra Freedman


      I am writing to express my outrage over the unscrupulous shenanigans that led the Duggan Family to lease the building at 551 Summerfield Road, currently occupied by the popular Rialto Cinemas Lakeside, to SR Entertainment Group without offering the Rialto a chance to negotiate a renewed lease. The Rialto has been a loyal and dependable tenant for over ten years and is treasured in the community for providing a valuable service and exceptional product in a pleasant and welcoming environment. I support small, ethical, locally-owned businesses like the Rialto and I have benefited over and over by viewing the alternative films they bring to our community. I stand in protest of SR Entertainment’s decision to move in and ‘take over’ this format. This even makes a mockery of the good old American way of fair competition in business.

      Dan Tocchini has not and will not deliver the same product we get from the Rialto, regardless of what he says today. He is a profiteer who is trying to steal customers from a successful business. And his employees may even tell you about their working conditions (although not publicly); cameras watching them, managers looking over their shoulders with suspicion. They get little or no training. His theatres are unkempt and the refreshments are of poor quality.

      We certainly don’t want to reward Mr. Tocchini by giving SR Entertainment another theatre in Santa Rosa. Why does he need to own all four movie theatres in this town? If he wanted a fourth theatre, why not pick a location that doesn’t bully his competition? Why can’t he make the theatres he has more successful? The Airport cinema seats are often empty. The Third Street Cinema has not attracted a regular clientele. There is no rational explanation for all this unscrupulous behavior. It could only be malevolence, jealousy and greed that leads him to boot the Rialto, a beloved community institution, out on the street. Mr. Tocchini will be sorely disappointed. This community will watch as his new venture at 551 Summerfield Road fails abysmally, along with his other cinemas. I for one will not hesitate to use my free speech rights to let the general public know of his malicious intentions.

      Terra Freedman
      Santa Rosa

    60. March 30, 2010, 1:40 pm

      by Donna Scornavacca

      To Whom This May Concern,

      I’m just writing to add my two cents about the closing of the Rialto. This is a very sad thing for our community. The Rialto has provided a great service in offering documentaries and art films that are hard to find. They also have wonderful Film Festivals with themes that promote community and understanding across cultures.

      Something that is not often mentioned is the fact that they offer free tickets as prizes to people who walk, ride their bike or carpool to work at least eight round trips a month. This program is offered with the help of the City of Santa Rosa and is a wonderful incentive to get Spare Our Air. They also offer a once-a-month fundraiser for Face To Face, and others. The people that manage the other theatres in the area have not been this community oriented.

      I hate to see a business who has given so much be punished. We owe a great big thank you to the Rialto. This is just not morally right.

      Donna Scornavacca

    61. March 30, 2010, 3:39 pm

      by Ramona Haller


      Adding to the multiple voices of concern, disappointment and sadness regarding the situation with the Rialto!

      Deeming the Rialto to be a living, giving, perpetual Film Art center which

      1. Brings a myriad of thought-provoking and challenging films

      2. Supports the local community by hosting days and evenings for ‘vintaged’ groups

      3. Has students, etc come in from Sonoma State to facilitate discussions about the presented film

      4. Has parking and easy access

      I find the forthcoming change of management to be less than desirable. Why wasn’t the Rialto provided with an opportunity to negotiate their lease? Keeping the Rialto in our midst should be considered as forward-looking and as an essential element in the health of our thinking community.. I totally support a reconsideration of the situation.

      Ramona Haller

    Submit Your Comments


    Required, will not be published

    Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments and Letters Policy. To share this item by email or social media, use the links above.

    Do not use this form to contact people, companies or organizations mentioned in this story. Contact them directly. Private messages left here will be deleted.