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Lakers parade to proceed -- with conditions [Updated]

June 16, 2009 | 11:59 am

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti said this morning that it appeared that enough private donations had been pledged to cover the city's costs for Wednesday’s parade to celebrate the Lakers’ NBA championship.

Several council members had voiced opposition to spending any tax dollars on the parade because of the city’s financial crisis, which is expected to lead to widespread layoffs and worker furloughs starting in July.

Council members Jan Perry and Bernard C. Parks today filed a motion authorizing the Lakers’ parade, but only with the understanding that “event sponsors will reimburse the City for all fees and costs associated with this event," including police protection and other staffing necessary for city street closures.

The motion is expected to come before the council for consideration in the next few hours. It instructs city financial officers to account for all city expenses incurred during the parade and to confirm the city has been reimbursed.

[Updated at 2:15 p.m.: The motion was introduced without discussion at the City Council meeting but will not be voted upon until next Tuesday.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, appearing at a news conference in El Segundo, said private donors had pledged approximately $850,000 to pay for police protection and other city services for the parade. That is enough to eliminate the need to spend tax dollars on the celebration, he said.

Donors include: Casey and Laura Wasserman; Jerry and Margie Perenchio: Eli and Edythe Broad; Haim and Cheryl Saban; and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a San Bernardino County tribe that owns a popular casino in Highland. The amount donated by each was not disclosed.]

The parade is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Staples Center and procede south on Figueroa Street  to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The following streets will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Figueroa from Chick Hearn Court to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and Chick Hearn Court from Figueroa Street to Georgia Street.

Over the weekend, city officials urged the owners of the Lakers and Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns Staples Center, to pick up the tab for the celebration. The two already pledged to pay more than $1 million in parade production costs.

Sources told The Times that two media executives and several other people stepped forward to help the city pay for its share the parade celebrating the Lakers’ 15th championship.

Approximately $450,000 has been donated by Casey and Laura Wasserman, Jerry and Margie Perenchio and others, and other major contributions were pledged on Monday. Casey Wasserman is the grandson of former Universal Pictures Chairman Lew Wasserman. Jerry Perenchio is the former chairman of Univision Communications.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office estimated the city’s costs could approach $900,000, but council members said those expenses could be much less because the parade route is shorter than in past years.

“I think they are very close. My last report was about an hour ago,’’ said Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes the Staples Center.

AEG President Tim Leiweke has taken the most active role in raising private donations to ensure that no city tax dollars are needed to fund to parade, city officials said.

“I have to give a lot recognition to Tim’s efforts,’’ Perry said. “The Lakers and AEG have always been very responsive to community needs. ... I’m not at all surprised that they have stepped up to be good civic partners.’’

Villaraigosa, along with Laker Derek Fisher and LAPD Chief William J. Bratton, will hold a news conference this afternoon to announce the parade financing.

-- Phil Willon and Richard Winton

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