Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, back after a nine-day vacation in South Africa, on Monday did his best to snuff out a smoldering debate over whether the city should try to recoup its expenses for the Michael Jackson memorial at Staples Center last week.Mr. Mayor, this is asinine and anyone with an ounce of common sense understands the difference between a funeral and a media event. The Jackson family did not have to have an event on the scale of the one that we saw.
The mayor said the city would pick up the estimated $1.4-million tab for police protection, traffic control and other services and not bill the Jackson family or AEG, the company that owns Staples.
"This is a world-class city, and we provide fire and police protection. Period. The idea that we would charge the family for a funeral is nonsensical," Villaraigosa said, adding that AEG also should not have to reimburse the city. (emphasis mine)
There were numerous other options that could have been chosen at far less cost to the city than this one. There is a laundry list of financial issues facing the city that take precedence over this.
Our public education and health systems are failing and while this may be an insignificant amount compared to what it really is going to take to fix things, it is simply irresponsible to spend it this way.
We love the Lakers and were happy to have a parade that was paid for by private donors. It wasn't hard to make that happen and it wouldn't be hard to ask AEG and the Jackson family to cover the costs of this spectacle.
Don't lie to us about this or try to make it seem like any Angeleno would receive similar care. It is shameful behavior on your part. With leadership like this it becomes ever more apparent why more people are looking to leave the city.
Once it was a dream, a place ran to, but lately it is becoming a nightmare. You can and you must do better.