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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)

Why doesn't Kobe just pay for the whole parade. He can certainly afford it, unlike the City of L.A.

I just have to wonder .. if private people and/or businesses are that financially flush as to be able to afford large donations for a b.s. parade, maybe they should consider tossing some of that extra money towards important stuff like, oh, schools or feeding the poor/homeless or literacy programs?

I know. That's just crazy talk!

@ Alan, interesting point about the city charging some events but not others. I didn't know that. Who decides who pays and who gets services for free? Who paid for last weekend's gay pride festivities? Did the city ever bill Britney Spears for the expense of her ambulance escorts?

On the one hand, the Lakers franchise does bring money to the city, but on the other hand, it's a huge money maker for itself as well. I think the responsible thing for the Lakers to do would be to cover the entire cost. What's an extra $1M if they've already agree to pay half?

I agree that the city should get private sponsors to foot all or most of the city's half of the bill of a million bucks -- it's a great opportunity for sports-affiliated companies like running shoes, Gatorade/powerade, even general services and food companies, anything with a mass appeal.

The Mayor is right on his approach there, while Perry and Parks were too lacking in imagination. Neither saying we'll pay half nor that we won't have a parade at all is the answer. Every other city would have a parade, certainly Orlando would have if the Magic had won, so it would look pathetic if L A didn't have one. We can't let a few hundred idiots who rioted ruin everything but because of them we'll have to have the cops and Sheriffs out in force just in case and that will be expensive.

HOWEVER PAUL WEBER OF THE POLICE PROTECTIVE LEAGUE SHOULD NOT BE THE ONE WHO CALLS THE SHOTS AND TELLS THE CITY, MAYOR OR CITIZENS WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO SPEND OUR MONEY. He's a UNION HEAD LIKE ANY OTHER AND HAS NO INTEREST IN THE GREATER GOOD OF THE CITY, JUST WHAT'S GOOD FOR HIM. He just spent $700,000 in an election of his cops' hard-earned money, without the approval of many or most of them, just because he favored a candidate who was conservative suburban Republican like himself, and is in a power struggle with his own Chief of Police.

Weber voted against the Mayor and the guy who've done most to advance police hiring, and now those on the Budget Committee headed by former cop/chief Parks want to slow hiring and Weber is urging taxpayers to email/ phone City Hall and the Mayor not to renege on their commitment of adding 1000 cops. Weber is too dumb to know that it takes a majority vote on council and he lost his strongest support -- so now he's meddling again in the media and fear-mongering in his email blasts. We shouldn't pay the million but not because Weber has any business telling us what to do.

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. How much revenue does the city of LA get from the Lakers, both directly and indirectly? Where would the Downtown revitalization project and all the property tax that comes with it be without the Lakers and Staple Center. Think about how many city employees those revenue paid for all these years when you're cutting that $1 million check for the parade. Then think about how many other cities in the US would kill to have the Lakers call them home and how much they would willingly pay to get them to move.

I am incensed that you would spend over a million dollars of taxpayers money for a parade honoring athletes who all make over a million dollars a year when the city is nearly broke, you are laying off employees, cutting back on programs and repairs, and still raising our taxes. The Lakers, the NBA, and the players should pay for this parade if they want one; and, or you can sell sponsorship rights to Nike, etc.

And who do you think is going to come to this parade? Just the same uneducated, degenerate, non law abiding "citizens" who rioted last night, costing the city an additional hundred thousand dollars or more.
Those of us that pay taxes and have jobs will be WORKING, not attending a parade, whose main function will be to create a podium for those politicians like the Mayor and Bernard Parks, who have a total disregard for fiscal responsibility.

No, I am not a sit at home grandma. I am an athlete and sports fan who watched every game. And this is the first letter I have ever written to a political figure. I am sure you will screen this and he will never see it but trust me that if there is a parade, I will do all I can as a private tax-paying citizen to see that he and Parks will never again be elected to public office.

Clearly the Lakers organization should pay for the parade in its entirety. After all, isn't the parade a type thanks to, and recognition of Lakers fans, for Lakers fans? The very same people who support the team financially all season? The taxpayers of this city shouldn't be on the hook for this expense. Hey, wealthy basketball team, show us the money!

1 million dollars is pennys compared to the million of dollars that the city earned off the staples center and the nokia center. Millions of dollars used to employ many people and keep many business going. What about the tee shirt and flag industry. A million dollars is the least they city could do. For those city employees on the gravy train that wil not be out of work, go find a real job. As for the lakers, you would be appreciated in Anaheim. What would city employees say if you were to move to Anaheim. In fact I think you could have your parade in Anaheim this week and there would be great turn out.

Los Angeles is just another 3rd World Country. Let the rebellion commence.

Congratulations to the Lakers number 15 victory and Phil Jackson for victory number 10. Everyone loves a winner and everyone loves a parade.
Once again Mayor Tony flip-flops and this time it’s on spending for the parade. The Los Angeles taxpayer should have never been involved for any expenses. This also goes for Oscar’s, Emmy’s, and any other private event in the city. This track record shows us all how free spending this Mayor and City Council has been.
The result’s are in and we are paying higher rates and fees and receiving less services. They are not doing their fiduciary responsibilities. The Lakers and their sponsors should have taken it upon themselves to pay for the parade. They lobbied for the city money first which shows nothing but greed. Didn’t AIG get enough benefits from our city and taxpayers for Staples and L.A. Live?

DON'T REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR. These same gang bangers will be at the parade causing our officers injuries and harm to innocent people. Just have a rally at the coliseum and that's it. The Mayor should be ashamed of himself for not condemning what happened last night. What a sorry loser as a Mayor not to say a word or to ask for calm on Wednesday. This is the reason he will never be elected Governor.

The city of los angeles should not pay for the victory parade due to the money shortage, the ownership of the L.A. Lakers should cover the cost of the parade. Also at the parade the los angeles police dept. shloud have arrest booths like they have at Raiders games so they can arrest these gangbangers that show up to the parade and cause trouble.

why dont we ask the spoiled millionaire players to foot the bill to pat them selves on their backs


For you City workers like me. You will understand this

If we all took 4 hours of unpaid time to go to the parade it will help fund it.

This is how the Mayor plans on paying for the parade.

I know that this is a very difficult time for everyone and the economic downturn has put us all under financial pressure, but the one escape for many of us through these difficult times has been sports. As a lifelong Lakers fan, I will never forget the pride I felt as a young girl, watching our city celebrate a team that has provided us with a legacy unmatched by any other team in Los Angeles. We pay taxes and expect results-instead all we've seen is bickering and cuts to education, health care, and non-profits that make our city a better place. Why not see something for us?

Casual and dedicated fans alike should take pride that at least for one day we are not the center of attention over our failing budget, high foreclosure rates, and so-called "riots" when a handful of knuckleheads get drunk and act a fool. A parade is a time for fun, togetherness, and pride-so relax and spend an hour to focus on the positives in life. For some of us-our team is our pride! Let's enjoy the ride together...

Lakers want a parade, then they can foot the entire bill and pay for all the damages and looting from last night.......it's their idiotic fans that did all this crap............

Great.. just what we need.. a bunch of drunk idiots reeking havoc at a parade and we have to pay for it.

Why is everyone complaining about the city paying the 1 million dollars for the parade? All the money that the pubs, bars, restaurants, and sports stores made during the playoffs is a nice boost the LA economy. By having a laker's parade it should generate more money for the local businesses.
Stop your whining and look at the big picture for once.

The whole team should pay up. Where in a financial crisis and my tax dollars towards this? Give the money to the people that need it like police, fire fighters, or the city workers getting laid off.
They won yaaaa, nice job go home now.

How is it that Villaraigosa can raise hundreds of thousands for a Lakers parade but not be able to find those donors for teachers or parks?

In normal times, a parade is justified for the revenue and pride that the Lakers bring tto Los Angeles, but with climbing deficits and teacher layoffs, this is a bad decision on how to spend rapidly dwindling funds.

There's a time and a place. LA may be the place, but this isn't the time.

Ok I’m a Lakers fan and think it would be nice if they flip the bill but come on let’s get real. Out of 3.8 million people here LA we can pay 50cents out of our pockets to see our team show us love.

Come on

One mil is chump change for the mayor. Doesn't he send $500k annually to his friends in Guadalajara for a 'book fair', not to mention dozens of his special interest expenditures detailed on WlaterMooreSays.com.

Fingerprint and photgraph the attendees who want to get into the celebration to catch looters, gangbangers and parole violators. That would be worth $1 million to the city.

Thanks for stealing 1 Million from taxpayers. CA is $ 24 BILLION in DEBT!! Lakers should pay for all of it, they're stinking rich!!

Too bad they can't delay the parade til Saturday. I'd drive in from out of town, spend the night at a hotel in downtown, buy food and lots of souvenirs and celebrate with all the other Laker fans. But I work on Wednesday and can't get it off.

Oh well. Have fun.

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