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Amid heavy lobbying, L.A. council rejects golf cart contract recommended by board

September 4, 2009 |  4:36 pm
Los Angeles golfers who have complained about the state of dilapidated, and sometimes dangerous, carts on the city’s seven 18-hole golf courses may not see changes any time soon.

After an intensive lobbying campaign and a two-hour debate this afternoon, the City Council voted 8-6 to reject the recommendation of the independent Board of Recreation and Parks to award a 10-year contract for the cart rentals to a new company, Sherman Oaks-based Ready Golf Centers.

Instead, the council majority asked the board to reconsider a long-term contract with Kishi, which has operated the city's cart business for 40 years, and again study whether the city could operate the cart rentals on its own -- a plan strongly supported by a city employee union.

“I have never been lobbied so hard on an issue in eight years as a City Council member," Councilman Dennis Zine said. "Both sides have spent a lot of money on lobbyists on this particular subject. ...I don’t know what the hidden agenda is, but I question why so many lobbyists are involved."

The cart concession generates less than $2 million a year.

Council members Tony Cardenas, Janice Hahn, Tom LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl, Herb Wesson Jr. and Council President Eric Garcetti favored supporting the decision of the parks board to go with Ready Golf.

It was the city’s third attempt to choose a golf cart concessionaire through a competitive bidding process over the last six years, but now the president of the parks board said the panel would again start from scratch.
-- Maeve Reston at L.A. City Hall