LA Rejects Permit For ‘Sunset Junction’ Festival, Cites Unpaid Bills

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A city panel on Monday denied a permit for an upcoming street festival in Silver Lake that was expected to boast hundreds of musical acts, sponsors and vendors.

The Los Angeles Board of Public Works rejected a special permit application for this weekend’s planned Sunset Junction festival.

The 3-1 vote was primarily fueled by an outstanding balance of $256,484 the city claims the organizers owe for services rendered for the 2010 festival, along with a failure to submit an upfront payment of $141,978 upfront for expected services for this week’s events.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports it’s the first time in 31 years the permit has been rejected.

Attorney Phillip Tate made a last-ditch effort to have the Board of Public Works accept the fee on Wednesday, but board President Andrea Alarcon was less than forgiving.

“You’ve come to this hearing not prepared with an answer, not prepared with fees sufficient to support at least the 2011 permit,” said Alarcon.

A number of CBS Radio Stations had planned to participate in the 31st annual Sunset Junction Festival along with over 100 other vendors, musical acts, and thousands of Angelenos who look forward to the annual street fair.

  • sean

    these council members are such idiots. They are in a position of power. They have no idea what is good for the community, what is good for business. Here goes a bunch of revenue for businesses in a time where it is much needed. What a shame!

    • Shane C. Free

      How are they idiots? It takes money to put on events like this and they haven’t payed for last years, and I live in Silverlake, but I think this is the wise decision.

    • Pauline Belleville

      This is not the Council, but the Board of Public Works. Second of all, if it cost more to close down the streets, pay for street closures, police, fire, and trash, than the festival can afford and if they haven’t paid for last years event, no, they shouldn’t be allowed to repeat.

      Everyone wants L.A. to be more careful with your money, but when somebody tries, now they’re just being “idiots”? If they City collects all the monies it’s owed, I’m all for that!!

      • Jim James

        Let me guess, you work for the city Right!!

    • Duh!

      How is this the board’s fault?????
      The festival organizers are to blame. They want something for nothing. They failed to pay their bills. What would happen if you stopped paying your rent or mortgage? Or if you went to the grocery store and didn’t pay for what you took, then went back to take more, what do you think the grocery store would do?

      What a shame “sean” doesn’t live in the real world.

  • Sammy Sam

    I agree, they are idiots. Unless they are directly benefiting from something they won’t approve. How about all the money the city has wasted? All of the community events are disappearing. This is something several of my friends and I look forward to every year. It would be VERY disappointing to see this disappear as well. I think it’s time to vote for new officials.

  • david

    AKA The Festival of Awful Beards and People Who Look Like They Belong in Oregon.

  • alan hart

    Why should a community organization pay the city any money for an event. I thought the City worked for us?

  • Mark Malone

    The city is in the worst cash crunch since the 1930’s; the organziation still owes $256K from the 2010 event (plus and upfront for $141K this year). I hate to say it, but business opportunity or not, if your buddy owed you that kind of scratch and you did not pay up, would you just shrug and say “oh well”? They are trying to be wise with our money (for a change), The more they quit spending, the more I am behind their efforts; what is so wrong about that?

    • sean

      My Guess you are a government employee. The revenue generated from this festival for all the small businesses, private sector, that would be in this festival and surrounding this festival would be much more than the $250K the city would collect. Look at the big picture, not the small picture. The city should open its arms for something like this. I am sure that all the small businesses would benefit immensely from this festival. Trust me, we are paying for the police service and the city workers anyways.

      • Julie

        here’s an article supporting the displeasure:

      • Julie

        wrong! I heard that the local businesses actually don’t benefit from the festival at all. In fact, they don’t like it! The organizer has gotten greedy.

    • TT

      cant say i dissagree with you Mark – thats alot of money that should have been collected long b4 now….. Letting this go on – without them paying their bill would just be another reason to raise our taxes to pick up the slack …. However – it does take money to make money – and they cant fix a deficit if they cant work – puts them in a precarious position…..

  • Can't Even Afford to Sell My House and Leave LA

    Sean, it is even worse than you think. I had a small business in LA with 5 employees and was put out of business by the City of LA. I would get $24K contracts with customers, outsource $20K of the work to companies in Texas, New York and Florida. I would make $4K for arranging the work, reviewing the results, following-up on issues, etc. City of LA told me I had to pay them 20% of my gross for the privilege of living in LA. So City of LA expected me to give them the $4K I was going to make and an additional $800 out of savings for each job. When I went to the tax collectors office they called me and my admin “Cry Babies.” Now I can’t afford to pay my house payment so they are not getting property taxes and there are 5 less jobs in California. I wonder how proud they are for forcing businesses out of business.

    • larry a

      there are lots of little cities in la county

      • We are So Doomed

        You mean like City of Bell, Vernon, Fullerton, …

    • TT

      wow – thats a sad story – but too often very true –

  • harmon


  • Tracy

    The Sunset Junction organizers pointed out that the Eagle Rock Music Festival and Abbot Kinney festival permits only cost $15,000 for a day and they are charging them $200,000 for the permit. I think the city saw that Sunset Junction was charging $20 per ticket ($25 this year) and wanted a piece of that pie. Two year ago, Sunset Junction was paying about $24,000 for the permit. Now they’re paying almost 10 times that? Sounds fishy to me. The city’s reasoning today was basically all about overtime for cops/fireman and other city employees during the festival, which only lasts two days. Are they really trying to make people believe the overtime pay comes to about $150,000 for 2 days?

    • Steve

      I dont think the cost is only for the permit. If they managed to rack up $256,484 in unpaid bills from last years even, it seems as though they certainly have to pay much more than that. Citing that the permit is only a small piece of the price. Therefore, it is not accurate to assume that the $141,978 is for permit only.

      It is an event that has gone downhill over the years. With the people getting drunker and more stupid over the years.

    • ransomlb

      “Are they really trying to make people believe the overtime pay comes to about $150,000 for 2 days?” Have you seen what these people make? I am behind police and fire and feel they deserve their fair share but come on, it is just obscene!!

      And then you got these stupid city council members, who are the highest paid in the country! Half of these, or I mean all of them belong in the federal pen but I degress.

      • We are So Doomed

        My experience and observations are: If you are connected you either don’t have to pay city taxes or just pay a tokem amount. If you are not connected then you are required to pay excessive taxes.

  • LA Rejects Permit For ‘Sunset Junction’ Festival, Cites Unpaid Bills | Local Voter News

    […] The Los Angeles Board of Public Works rejected a specific allow software for this weekend’s planned Sunset Junction festival. CBS Los Angeles […]

  • Petra421

    The bills have to be paid… including permit fees. Those permit fees go towards everything the city has to do to deal with such an event – police, rerouting traffic, etc.

    If the event cannot come up with the money to pay for last year’s past due bills, then how can adding this year’s fees on top of last be smart? Perhaps all those businesses and acts that benefit should cough up a bit more money

    • Tracy

      The permit fee went up 10 times from the year before. It’s on the same street, same street closures that it always is. I agree permits need to be paid, but you have got to question why the fee is 10 times more now that it was the year prior. That’s ridiculous. And since we all know the city is in dire need for money, they’ll do whatever it takes to get it. I will say this, though, the festival probably shot itself in the foot by raising the ticket price every year for the past few years.

    • Jon

      Yes you are correct Businesses are the enemy of the great state of California. They should all leave.

  • howie

    Ha, local businesses dont benefit from the event. I have a bridge to sell you too.
    The link you posted sure looks like a lot of product was sold during the festival. I guess none came from the local businesses. Wow you are dumb

  • Marie

    I am in no way a government employee, but I completely support the refusal of that permit. You have to pay your debts…right or wrong, the debts were accrued from last years’ festival, and to hold another annual event, the bill must be paid. I get it. I do agree that the CIty and all governmental tiers are thoroughly corrupt and spend money, take money, and give nothing back. But debt is debt. They should pay or they dont get to play.



  • mark

    LA county has become one big joke

  • Truth

    every single comment blasting the board and supporting the sunset junction fair smells like they all come from one specific IP address in a certain office…. the real crooks are those who refuse to pay their bills and try to spin a private street closure event as equal to other free neighborhood festivals. sunset junction isnt fooling anyone

    • Bob L.

      This is not an IP address from the area or even from LA. But, with all the close door deals and illegal fees LA charges is hurting business.

      Events like this bring people to LA and spend money. The hassle LA has, which is publicize will cost the city more in the long run from visitors and businesses not coming into the city, and those that can are leaving.

      This is a tactical mistake by Los Angeles City. Read the last paragraph. People may not by food and other gifts at the Sunset Junction, but from neighboring communities will come, and while there, may go to Downtown, Hollywood, Griffith Park and other communities in Los Angeles. Yes, Burbank and Glendale are near by.

      But what does one expect when a city wants its citizens to pay double just to call 911?

  • swhitS

    Would like to hear the other side of the story. This is too one sided as usual.

  • Big H

    Sounds like organized crime to me, what is the money for EXACTLY? A permit for what, I think what the mean is a license to STEAL, once again where is the money going and what for???????????????????

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