Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Criticism heightened over taxpayer funds being used for Lakers parade [Updated]


The Los Angeles police officers' union isn't happy with the compromise the city struck with the Lakers to share the costs of Wednesday's parade celebrating the team's world championship victory.

Paul M. Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said the city should not be paying for the parade at a time when workers are facing layoffs and forced furloughs.

Both the team and the city will kick in about $1 million each for the festivities, which for the first time includes the significant cost of renting the Coliseum. The Lakers worked with city officials to keep costs down, including ruling out a weekend celebration or a longer parade, according to Tim Harris, the Lakers’ senior vice president for business operations and chief marketing officer. 

The city will pay for police, transportation and general staff, said Matt Szabo, spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

[Updated at 1:42 p.m.: Responding to the criticism, Villaragoisa said this afternoon that he is seeking private donations to cover most, if not all, of the city's $1-million contribution. Speaking on KTLA-TV Channel 5, the mayor said he has already raised "several hundred thousand dollars" from private donors whose names he did not provide. "We are going to have a parade," the mayor said.]

"At a time of financial crisis, when the public expects -- and quite frankly should demand -- city leaders to be good stewards of every tax dollar, it is foolish for elected officials to favor spending 1 million tax dollars on a three-hour parade," Weber said in a statement. "We have great hopes that the NBA and the Lakers, which made millions during the playoffs, will step up and help fund this celebratory civic event. Everyone loves a parade, but we feel strongly in this case, the Lakers or other private funds should pay for it."

The mayor said Sunday that to not hold a parade “is untenable,” even as city officials have been meeting behind closed doors to find hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts.

The $1-million cost to the city has also come under criticism from some L.A. Now readers.

"Dear Mayor, I understand that you are in a difficult position in that you have tough decisions to make, but why would you agree to pay $1 million for the Laker parade when we are in such difficult economic times?" reader Lena wrote. I do want to state for the record, I am a HUGE LAKER FAN, but unlike many of your employees who are having their work days reduced, I am fortunate enough to be able to make ends meet."

-- Shelby Grad and Amanda Covarrubias

Comments () | Archives (98)

Congratulations to the Lakers...but do the taxpayers really need to pay for the parade when the Lakers themselves are one of the richest franchises in this town? The Lakers should be paying for the parade...especially considering what they are charging for ticket prices.

I agree with the police union and others that have complained about the city paying for any of this parade. Even if private donations cover part of the cost, if the city ends up paying 500,000, how many teachers would that pay for for a year? 8, 9, 10? It seems a pretty easy decision not to have one city dollar spent on a parade for what is really a private companies party for their own success. There should be no public money spent on this parade.


Eric Sievering
West LA

The Lakers should pay 100% of the costs for the parade. Charge people a $5 admission fee if they want to watch the parade. Don't spend a single dollar of taxpayer funds on this garbage.

We already lost a ton of money on Sunday night with all the rioting and looting, and the costs of law enforcement on that night.


As an added incentive for the NBA Finals, have the losing team pay for the winner's celebration parade. It could come out of the players' salaries. Or, take it out of NBA collected fines for 'flagrand 1 and 2' fouls. Or, assess each seat at Staples Center for the looting damage and parade costs. Just a thought.

It is completely outrageous that the Mayor has agreed fund half of the Laker parade. Our city is suffering financial distress, and he spends $1 million on a meaningless parade?

i propose buss or kobe foot the bill. because:

1) it's chump change for them—or if they're too cheap, the entire team & management could all throw in and easily cover it. shoot, jack nicholson could pitch in as well. whether he does or not, none of them would miss it;

2) it's an appropriate gesture to their loyal angeleno fans during a time when the employment rate is this high, most of us are stretched to the limit, and the city is strapped.

i love the lakers—now "step up!"

Mr. Jerry Bus, please move the Lakers to Anaheim (The Pond) and we'll pay for the whole damn parade. You have idiots in L.A., including the not so bright Paul M. Weber, who don't know the value of the Lakers and the revenue the team generated to this city. Please consider moving the team.

I do not one drop of city dollars going towards this parade and the lazy, violent, drunk thugs without jobs that show up to these things only to riot and cause problems. Hell no.

Are these the same public employees who have bled the life out of the budgets of many municipalities across the southland and the entire country? Suddenly, they develop a fiscal consciousness sufficient to join the hue and cry about the City's celebration for its team? A little good news, fun and civic pride is a badly needed tonic for the econimic ills of the day. Let's find a means to facilitate the parade and avoid allowing this opportunity to become Weber's charade.

After the rioting and looting, it showed me what I suspected all along, most LAL fans are thugs.

Is this where its all headed? Everytime the city gets invoolved in providing services that involve private enterprise it has to justify itself to some union or association or whateverr? Our tax dollars to pay for a Laker parade?... Sounds good to me. Do you think any of the other NBA cities would trade the cost of a parade to have a championship? Duh! And how many cops were as excited as the rest of us when the Lakers won? There isn't anything that pulls this city together like a sports championship. It make some of the other headaches of living here more tolerable. Give it a rest Mr. Weber; find something else to whine about. Don't be such a party pooper.

Hats off to the Lakers organization and private donors for stepping up! We're just a few dollars short. I know let's have a car wash, donation boxes, etc. I love the Lakers. Former season ticket holder and regular attendee of all the food and drinking establishments surrounding the area. There are plenty of us whom attended Laker games and will continue to attend. We bring $$$$ to the area and I am sure plenty of the green stuff goes towards taxes.

Unbelievable that a celebration for a team in which each individual makes a lot of money & there kids have or have had an opportunity for a decent education, will also have the benefit of our tax dollars to help celebrate. This is absolutely absurd.

We are also risking another riot? Have we not learned from making bad decisions?

How about the Lakers and the players cover the expense? The City of Los Angeles doesn't have the money to spend on the Lakers at this time.

not a laker fan and don't really feel like fronting my money for these millionaires to parade on the streets... why don't the team players and staff just put up some of their own money????

It is outrageous that the city is offering to pay anything at all for the parade. Either the Lakers should fund it completely or it shouldn't happen at all. The Lakers is an extremely successful franchise and 2 million dollars is a drop in the bucket for them. They should be ashamed to be asking the City to pitch in. And the Mayor should be ashamed for agreeing to that. The City cannot afford to keep it's employees yet decides to host a party?

TJ Simers, I think you could come up with better post names above than Scott, Julie, Bruce and Eric - while you could be a little more creative when flodding this blog with your negativity, didn't today's column already provide you with that opportunity?

The City spending even one dime on thjis parade is an outrage. Over 4000 cityy workerrs are about to be laid off. Thousands of others are being forced on 26 work furlough days. Last night "Laker Thugs" caused thousands in damage, and drained the City's police department. If the Lakers want a parade THEY..not US should pay for the entire thing. I do not want one cent of my hard earned tax money to go to this waste. We need to celebrate because a bunch of guys threw basketballs through a hoop more times than the other team? Who gives a you know what. If the Mayor and City Leaders want this parade, let them pay for it out of their fat salaries!!

Stick us with the bill for this and you will see a real riot (p.s. I am also a Laker fan but we cannot afford this, and this has to go before a lot of other things)


I'm a long-time Laker fan. I have followed them thru victory, defeat, hope,and frustration. How many times did I see them lose to those damn Celtics, before they finally took them? In the 60s I learned to admire and appreciate Chick Hearn's "bird-eye view" radio description of the games. Nobody like him since then.
But the city of LA and the tax payers should not have to pay for the victory parade! Not at a time of great budget shortfalls, reduced services and employee layoffs. The rich owner, Buss, should foot the bill. Maybe others in the NBA making their $millions can also help.

The City of Los Angeles makes a pile of money off the Lakers. When you take into account the taxes on each ticket purchased, parking fees and that the LA Lakers are the only good thing about Los Angeles, the Police Officers Union should shut up about the cost. Just read that the City Council recently approved $6 million to repair a couple of cages at the LA Zoo, and the union is complaining about spending a few bucks to improve the image of that cess pool they call downtown LA. I do agree with those who say move the Lakers to the Honda Center in Anaheim and you'll wipe out a lot of the stupidity from the gang bangers that we saw last night. But when you have a mayor and city countil that promote LA as a sanctuary city and a police chief that calls these criminals "knuckleheads" what do you expect? LA has gone into the toilet. The only good thing going for it is the Lakers! Congrats Guys!

Let's have a virtual parade. Everybody e-mail in videos of themselves cheering and shouting (along with their city) and have the Lakers video department film the Lakers on a float, celebrating and reacting. Intercut the two together, then have the parade on a pay-per-view channel for just $2, with the money going to charity.

Personally I think that due to the actions of the fans, (Riots and destroying a local store) the Lakers should step up and cancel this victory parade. They seem to be condoning these actions. Not to mention the tax payers having to pay for this "victory" parade. There is no victory for the shoe store owner.

Fans have been pouring into bars, restaurants, staples center, nokia center etc. The downtown renovation has been succesful mainly because of the Staples Center AKA Lakers. The city owes it to the players, fans, media and visitors with the hoopla to have a parade. If the LAPD doesn't want to show up then so be it. We'll have it their way.

1 2 3 4 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: