"Steve will be remembered most for his sense of humor, his love of music, his compassion for people less fortunate than he, his love of animals and his sense of justice. " - Mary Karo
His greatest accomplishment was starting the movement to save the Balboa Theatre from becoming another retail space in Horton Plaza. During the early 70’s he played the musicals at the “OLD” Lyceum Theatre (previously the Hollywood Burlesque) and watched as the city tore it down to make room for a parking lot for Horton Plaza.
In 1984, the “Union Tribune” published an article by Welton Jones about the Balboa Theatre in Horton Plaza and it peaked his curiosity; he took a flashlight and went to a movie! He wandered through the building and saw the large orchestra pit and fly loft. When he came home he told me, “the city probably doesn’t realize what a gem this is so I’m going to make some calls.”
It took 23 years, but Karo's plea led to a $26.5 million restoration completed in 2008. City-owned and managed along with the Civic Theatre, it’s been the go-to place for annual state-of-the-city addresses, the Mainly Mozart Festival and a mix of local and out-of-town shows and concerts and vintage movies. It also sports a vintage movie palace organ.