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L.A. City Council to discuss Michael Jackson funeral costs

The city's price tag for the Michael Jackson memorial comes before the Los Angeles City Council this morning, and it could get nasty.

The council is expected to order a thorough audit of all city expenses for the memorial, and members specifically want to know why the city paid $48,826 for the 3,500 lunches handed out to police officers providing security.

Under a proposal from council members Dennis Zine and Jan Perry, the council also may consider establishing new policies that dictate how much the city will spend on such "extraordinary, non-emergency, multi-departmental, large-scale events.''

On the flip side is a motion from Councilwoman Janice Hahn calling for a complete accounting of the tourism benefits derived from the memorial. Hahn said the memorial promoted Los Angeles as a global destination for Jackson fans.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said last week that the city will pick up the estimated $1.4- million tab for providing police protection, traffic control and other services, and will not bill either the Jackson family or the company that owns Staples Center, the Anschutz Entertainment Group, known as AEG.

Los Angeles is a big city and home to big events, and it's the city's responsibility to ensure the public is protected, the mayor said.

But that was before The Times reported Monday that AEG, the concert promoter behind the superstar's planned 50-date performance in London, received a $50-million offer from Sony Pictures for the rights to about 1,200 hours of rehearsal footage. Fox, Paramount and Universal also have submitted bids.

Even before the July 7 memorial, Zine was calling on AEG to pick up the city's costs for the event.

Meantime, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich has launched an inquiry into the chain of events that led the city to provide support for the memorial.

-- Phil Willon at City Hall

Interactive timeline: Michael Jackson | 1958-2009

Comments () | Archives (16)

I bring my lunch to work. Why can't LAPD bring their lunch to work?

Jan Perry and Dennis Zine sponsoring a motion to question how the city got into spending for protection and support services for the Jackson memorial and funeral is very interesting considering that Jan Perry was Acting Mayor and Zine her Second in Command as Council Pro tem and Second Pro Tem, with both the Mayor and Council President Garcetti out of state.

So they are basically admitting they dropped the ball, and now want to investigate themselves. Zine and Trutanich especially have been all over the media grandstanding on this issue, treating AEG like criminals. Now their talkradio fan base wants to boycott all AEG events and hold "tea parties" in front of LA Live and Staples Center. They have made the whole city look bad and petty.

I do think there is a difference between a private funeral and the kind of memorial service that was a show like Jackson had. But whether or not AEG should have paid for protection or how much, is something that should have been worked out in advance by those in charge of the city at the time, Perry and Zine. To cover up their being asleep at the switch to wake up and try to make hay of the outcome is tacky. They probably should have gotten AEG to kick in for the Staples Memorial show OR now allowed them to have the permit. That is more like the Oscars or any Award Show than a private funeral -- what do they do for the Oscars? Is the status and revenue to the city from those events considered enough to make our absorbing the costs worthwhile?

The fact that AEG lost a lot of money from advances and investments in the tour when Michael died, is not our problem as taxpayers. The Mayor needs to understand public sentiment on this issue, especially now that Zine, Trutanich have worked people up into a frenzy and full of false accusations against AEG, which helped pay for the Lakers parade and operates like any other business.

However nor is it our business exactly how much they make from selling the rights to the memorial show or recordings. If we go down that route, we'll turn the city into an Executive Producer where we'll have to audit their gross receipts to figure out what our "take" is, a terrible path to start to do down on. Zine and Trutanich have cheapened our city and acted like amateurs.

As for Sandwichgate -- we've since learned that there are only a few vendors authorized to cater last-minute hugescale events like that for LAPD, so it wasn't a matter of going across the street to Subway to get thousands of sandwiches without notice, as Wendy suggested. That was also irresponsible from an elected official -- the amount of money and blame before the facts were in exceeds the costs involved. Maybe she wanted to match Trutanich blasting LAPD for spending "$10,000 per person for the people without tickets outside Staples."

They should have all gotten the facts BEFORE the event and failing that, asked for accounting in a civilized way without the mic-hogging, attention-getting, chest-thumping going on. That's one thing the Mayor is right about.

Maybe if we paid attention to fiscal waste when the city was flush we wouldn't be broke now. What a crazy idea huh?

How is Janice Hahn going to quantify the "tourism" benefit to the city? Is she going to have her staff go to each hotel, motel, restaurant, gas station, etc. to get their records and add it all up? The best they can do is guess and I'm sure it will come out the way she wants it to be portrayed. Its a bunch of hogwash.

When it comes to AIG and other financial companies that are going down the toilet hole, its ok for the government to pay billions of dollars as bail out which went straight into the pocket of executives claiming as bonus as a part of their contract. But when it comes to just paying just 50K for food and water of hard working police officers without any overtime it is considered extraordinary expense!!!
What happened to the lofty promises made by Obama. "Change is coming to America". I guess the only change thats coming is not to America but to himself!!!

No brainer for AEG. Take the $50 Mil from Sony for the "rehearsal footage", an asset that is unlikely to be of interest to anyone in five years. Then pay back the city the $50K and make a big public deal out of it.

I'm having a hard time understanding why AEG is not being billed. They own the Staples Center, right? Yet, they stand to make a profit off the person who they were holding the memorial for. You can be sure Michael's estate won't see any of the money. It's sad that they can't come up with $1.5 Million. Sad and heartbreaking.

Considering the tourists that came to LA because of his death, I am pretty sure that should more than pay for the 1.4 mil.

Anyway at this point, it probably cost more money to discuss it than to just pay for it.

It is ridiculous the city even considers this.
How many teacher salaries would this cover?
And regarding PR, movie shoots and concerts bring in tons of exposure and monies to this city all the time, but they are still required to pay for permits, security, etc.

The Mayor's decision is so telling of what his priorities are. Pay for MJ's memorial, but LAUSD kids can't go to summer school! Pay for MJ's funeral, while LA's homeless starve! The people of LA deserve so much more than Villaraigosa has ever given. Can't wait till he's out of office! Let's hope Trutanich can turn this around somehow. Go Nutch!!!!!!

No! The City (Taxpayers) should NOT pick up the tab for this.

Just today..there was a story on here about families that can't afford to bury their loved ones....why not use those seemingly "extra" funds to help those people out! What about them...aren't they "special" enough...are they less loved?

The Jackson family can afford to bury their family.

This discussion on the same day that it's announced that the City of LA will be raided by the State....Tony V., you are a consummate fool if you don't reverse your stance on having all of us pay for a millionaires funeral service!!

Michael Jackson is a true icon however, I personally feel that the family should be able to pay for the Memorial Servcies. In a way it would be a way to give back to his fans that have been committed and has also spent alot of money by attending his concerts, buying his music, and making him a true legend.

Amen for Dennis Zine!!!!

Hey, L.A. Times, stop calling the event a funeral!!! It wasn't a funeral. It was a commercialized memorial that AEG is using to kick off its newly revamped Michael Jackson Memorial Tour so it can make money off a dead singer.

As always, Villar is a moron.

!!!!! RECALL MAYOR VILLAR !!!!!!!!!!

Why can't they pay for their own lunches? Why are our boys in blue allowed to commute 60-120 miles per day and more in the carpool lanes with city owned motorcycles on my dime? Why are they paid for an extra 15 minutes a day to put on their uniforms? Where's my free commute, my free lunch, and my overtime for dressing each day? Are we talking about the Los Angeles Police Department or the Los Angeles Prima Donna Department?

really, the voters are very stupid and apethetic, the council and state gov reflects that. people still do not understand that there has been so much waste that you could raise taxes exponentially and it STILL will not help b/c the gov will spend it. i mean 230+ billion for state workers pention??? that is our money. a 40+g caddilac for a montebello representative paid by the state?? and its misleading about so called, "education" spending b/c its for the teachers union which is all about itself not kids. but to be fair, LAUSD is a mess, but how can you possibly teach children that are from such disfunctional parents - notice is did not say families becuse often its just some single baby mama. its not the teachers' fault about bad education - the problem with all of this is all of us and what we have let our society become. yes, its my fault too.


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