LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A cultural heritage celebration at Grand Park doubled as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s farewell bash, which prompted criticism over the cost of the event.
The “ultimate block party,” which started at 5 p.m. Friday, was free and open to the public and included an appearance by former President Bill Clinton. The event featured photo booths, free nachos, food trucks and cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs.
The cost? $265,000, with the city putting up $75,000.
Some Angelenos were outraged to learn of the lavish party’s pricetag.
“I think it’s absurd.”
“I agree, I think it could be spent elsewhere.”
“Not saying maybe he doesn’t deserve it, but spend it wiser.”
Aaron Paley, co-founder of the wildly popular CicLAvia, was less critical of the event’s cost.
“Here’s this great event where you can hear Placido Domingo, and Pepe Aguilar, and Seville, and all these wonderful youth groups performing, for free and have a great time, and celebrate what’s wonderful about this city,” Paley said. “And is $75,000 of public money a good value for that? I would say, absolutely, yes.”
Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, actress and comedian Wanda Sykes and television host and producer Ryan Seacrest were among the many guests at the event.