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Could L.A. city officials rain on a Lakers victory parade?

Lakers If the Lakers win the NBA championship Sunday, it’s a good bet Angelenos will want a parade.

But with cash-strapped Los Angeles looking at the possibility of laying off municipal workers or forcing them to take unpaid days off to counter a budget deficit, some at City Hall are uncomfortable with the parade’s price tag, which could exceed $1 million.

"We can’t afford to cover the costs,” Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes Staples Center, said this afternoon. “How could we make a decision about people’s jobs and then sponsor the parade?” Shouldn't the Lakers and the NBA pay for that, she asked?

Council members have been wrestling for years with a proposal for reducing the size of subsidies the city gives for special events, such as street fairs and 10K runs.  A new proposal to do that is pending and could receive a final vote next week.

But it would not go into effect until after the best-of-seven championship series between the Lakers and the Orlando Magic. The Lakers lead three games to one, and after Sunday's 5 p.m. tip off in Orlando it could be all over.

Representatives of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is in Rhode Island at a conference, did not respond to a request for comment.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who heads the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, struck a more conciliatory tone, predicting that the city would ultimately absorb the cost of a parade.

“I don’t think we have a choice,” Parks said. “This is one of those things that happen once a decade.”

“There’s going to be a major celebration in the city, and the likelihood is the city is going to absorb the bulk of those costs,” he went on. “The city isn’t going to have time over the next few hours to negotiate a contract with the Lakers or anyone else.”

The last Laker parade, in 2002, was given the green light after city officials estimated that it would cost $1.1 million – a sum that included  police protection, traffic officers and cleanup crews.

Parks said he already expects the parade to occur Tuesday, with the procession moving down Figueroa Street from Staples Center to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

For the last week, Parks and his colleagues have been reviewing a proposal to require many city workers to take 26 unpaid days off over the next year – a scenario that would force many government offices to close every other Friday.  Dozens of layoffs are also scheduled --  a situation that could change depending on the outcome of negotiations with the city’s labor unions.

With so little money for basic services, a handful of unions sent a message this afternoon that the city can’t afford to celebrate right now.

“City employees have been asked by their employers to take a massive pay cut,” said Barbara Maynard, spokeswoman for the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents roughly 22,000 workers. “And we do not believe it is appropriate in this economic climate for taxpayers to be funding a parade.”

-- David Zahniser and Phil Willon at L.A. City Hall

Photo: A house in Echo Park decorated for the Lakers Sue Horton / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (64)

this is a huge civic event and celebration. cover the damn cost.

The people of Los Angeles need this the city of Los Angeles need this, unemployemnet is high , morale is low it will definitely lift the spirits of everyone even if its only for a day....Go LA and go Lakers........Maybe politicians should take a pay cut like everyone else, I mean giving up a raise doesn't mean anything when people are getting laid off left and right give up some of the money you already make.....when the people suffer politicians are safe.....what a bunch of hypocrites..... I wonder how much money politicians make all together.....and how much money we could save if every single one of them would donate a percentage of their salary to give back to the unemployed...I can bet a lot .....

HEY! How about canceling that already-in-the-works mayoral celebration AnVil is holding on July 1st at City Hall??? The first day of AnVil's disastorous fiscal new year. The first day of mandatory furloughs. Why not have it on a furlough day? Can't wait for the first "Make No Mistake" of the AnVil new year.
Go Lakers.

The Lakers' owners and the NBA are rich. The City of Los Angeles is broke. Do the math, people! Paying for a parade in these economic times -- even a "once in a decade" event, Councilman Bernard "I've-Still-Got-My-Giant-Pensions-While-All-Of-The-Little-People's-IRAs-Are-Worthless" Parks, would be outrageous.

They should NOT have a parade because people act like a bunch of IDIOTS!!!

What?!!! The taxpayers will pay for the parade? So unbelievably ridiculous! Let the Lakers pay. Period!!!

I didnt relize that the city hasbeen forking over the money to celebrate Laker celebrations in the past. As a tax paying citizen I object!! The city shouldnt be paying for things like a parade in bad or good financial times. It is not what the tax payers signed up for.

The Laker (dodgers, clippers, avengers, kings) should cover the cost from the ticket revenue. Let the fans, the team pay for the party that they want to have.

I don't hold a party and expect other people to pay for it! Why should the Lakers and it's fans?

I am disgusted by this. I can think of a lot more productive things we can do with $1 million dollars - especially with all the budget cuts to more important things like education. People can have their own parties in their own backyards if they want to celebrate. Sports fans and politicians alike shouldn't assume that a victory parade for athletes who make millions of dollars each year should be put on the backs of the tax payers. Why don't these players don't their salaries if they want a parade? NBA players are some of the highest paid athletes in the world. I bet a lot of Angelenos could use a piece of the pie.

I suggest the Lakers pay for their own parade.

That is the stupidest thing I could think of. If they do not let people celebrate in a safe and communal way the folks are going to run wild all over the city. At least his way everybody is one area. The effort of putting out these little fires will probably cost the city more. And any politician who backs this is out of their mind. LA needs to celebrate something anything after a rough couple of years. Thats all anybody has been talking about. The Parade. Go Lakers!

That would be an unwise decision. The last few Laker championships, Angelenos (not all, just many STUPID ones) have taken to the streets and damaged public property to 'celebrate' their Laker victory immediately after the series-clinching game. Strange as it is, the public needs an outlet to celebrate the Lakers championship. If there were no parade, just think of how many Angelenos (you guessed it, the STUPID ones) would take to the streets and damage valuable property. In my opinion, the cost to the city for not having a parade would far outweigh the cost of having a parade.

Maybe the Laker should move to another city. Then Jan won't have to worry about the costs of a parade or the revenue generated by the Lakers organization for local gov't.

Just because a sports team wins a championship, doesn't mean the city need to throw a parade.

Narrow-minded people. I understand budgets and the need to save money, especially now, but study after study has shown that special events like a Lakers parade brings not only an psychological boost to a city but also an economic boost. This is another example of civic leaders being pennywise and pound foolish. Has anyone even bothered to look at the long-term economic benefit that the Lakers championship run (both last year and this year) has brought to the city of Los Angeles? Not pay for a parade for our team? How stupid is that?

Let the Lakers pay for their own parade if they want one! Why should the public, in such troubled times, treat them to one?

Doing some quick math, the Lakers team could pay for a million-dollar parade if they contributed about one-point-three percent of their collelctive salaries (est. $75 million)

Fans will want to celebrate a Lakers' victory. Lakers fans are taxpayers, too. If they want a parade, they should get a parade. The furloughs and layoffs are going to happen regardless.

The Lakers paid for the referees, they can pay for the parade.

Couldn't some of this be done with volunteer effort?

Maybe this is the time when the Laker's give back to their fans in a different way - maybe they, as a Team from our city, pay for the parade. It's only 1 million dollars amongst friends and teammates.

I'm with Mo on this one. There sure are alot of other cities who would love to be paying for a parade for their basketball teams.

This is yet another example of how lousy a job Villaraigosa is doing. He is off on some expensive trip - again - and sure enough, he'll be back to stick his face in a camera if they win. Think about how many jobs and how much tax money the Lakers bring in - room taxes, sales taxes, tens of thousands of people coming to L.A. for the regular season and playoff games. It is just sick that the city is so poorly run that it is too incompetent to honor such a great achievement. The Lakers are a source of pride for L.A., and a huge source of revenue and jobs as well. Maybe they should move back to Inglewood so that idiotic self absorbed and overpaid public servants can kick themselves for us.


How about getting some sponsors to pay the bill. I'm sure corporations would jump at the idea. Budweiser, Nike, Coke, Pepsi, etc.

Lakers bring in large amount of tax revenue for the city and State of California, a parade is a wise move!

Games, merchandise, parking, hotels, dinning and other outlets are supported by the Lakers so throw them a parade and make LA and SoCAL proud.

Gabriel in Central TX formerly of Southern Cal!

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