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L.A. City Council committee OKs $30-million Cirque du Soleil loan

July 29, 2009 |  1:01 pm

Cirque2 Los Angeles took a big step today toward securing a resident Cirque du Soleil production in Hollywood.

This morning, a five-member committee of the L.A. City Council voted to move ahead with a $30-million loan that would help bring the popular acrobatic circus company to the Kodak Theatre, located at the Hollywood & Highland mall. The council’s Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee unanimously forwarded the loan proposal to the full council.

CIM Group owns Hollywood & Highland and sought the loan to retrofit the Kodak to meet Cirque's technical demands. CIM currently leases the Kodak from the city.

Under the proposed loan agreement, Cirque would set up residence at the Kodak for 10 years. The backers of the project would promise to create no fewer than 858 jobs and stage the acrobatic show 368 times per year.

The Kodak will continue to serve as the home of the annual Academy Awards ceremony, which is held in late February each year.

One of the major supporters of the loan is council President Eric Garcetti, whose district includes Hollywood & Highland. Garcetti has argued that Cirque would become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city and would help to generate significant revenue. But dissenters, including Councilman Dennis Zine, claim that the $30 million would be better spent across various projects.

The loan would be processed by the city's Community Development Department. So far, L.A. has invested $127 million in the Hollywood & Highland complex, most of which has gone toward the underground parking structure and the theater.

What do you think about the $30-million loan? Vote here.

-- David Ng

Photo: A member of Cirque du Soleil performs in "Zumanity." Credit: Los Angeles Times


 
Comments () | Archives (3)

A $30M taxpayer loan for CIM Group? Are you kidding? This is the same CIM Group that has already received hundreds of millions in equity investment money from our local and statewide pension funds. Why can't they spend that on Cirque?

It's also the same CIM Group that hosts campaign fundraisers for Villarigosa and Garcetti. Can we say conflict?

It's also the same CIM Group that breaks the law and puts up illegal billboards all over the city. The L.A. Times has reported extensively on this.

It's also the same CIM Group that has ignored critical terms of other tax-favorable city and other tax-break deals they have received in the past.

I don't want more taxpayer money going to this company. Please stop the insanity council members. How many times do you need to be tricked?

This is not about Art, Culture or Tourism (all of which are important to the people of Los Angeles). This is about Corporate Bailouts and the misdirection of public funds. The City of Los Angeles also has a history of making bad loans though its Redevelopment Agency and then writing off those loans or changing some loans to outright grants. Just search the archieves of the LA Times for this mismanagement and while you're at it, search for articles on CIM, billboards, and campaign donations.

There is a finite amount of Federal money available through HUD for Los Angeles and it should NOT be used to bail out wealthy Corporate interests like CIM or Cirque du Soleil. CIM is well connected and has gotten away with a lot of other give-a-ways such as getting two additional sides of billboard graphics for their Sunset-Vine tower. Instead of Corporate welfare, apply this money to where it should be for-affordable housing or development in under-served, low income areas in real need. You are taking away money from the poor and giving it to the rich.

We should not invest precious taxpayer dollars on an already proven risky venture--chasing good money after bad. We have already seen this in our very recent history with Billions of dollars gifted to the very Financial companies who were at the root of our National economic melt-down while executives continue to live high on the hog. The working class taxpayers of Los Angeles deserve better and so do their children.

The consensus appears to be that the best way to revive Hollywood is to make it a Las Vegas style entertainment district complete with resident performing artists. The demand appears to be there. Maybe we need casinos too?


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