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Council Members’ Duel Over July 4 Fireworks Displays Doubles Cost For Taxpayers

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EXPOSITION PARK (CBSLA.com) — A dispute between two Los Angeles City Council members over who will host Friday’s fireworks display at the L.A. Coliseum is costing taxpayers an additional $60,000.

KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reports neighboring council members Curren Price and Bernard Parks have battled for two months over which of them would host the fireworks on the Fourth this year, resulting in two displays that will also double the cost.

Parks hosted the fireworks for more than a decade, but now that the Coliseum has been moved into Councilman Price’s district, Price has decided to host the event.

“Well, the thing is this. I’m not going to use the word ‘stole,’ it’s just that we have a better program, and we’re in the heart of our community,” Parks said, insisting, however, that he doesn’t have “hard feelings”.

The Coliseum commission encouraged the council members to work out their differences and host the fireworks together, but Parks charges Price made that impossible.

“There was never a discussion, nothing on his part to come forward and say, ‘Hey, I’m new in this game. Can we do something together?’ It’s just, ‘It’s in my district and I want it.’ And it’s not unusual to have watched his career that he takes over other people’s stuff,” Parks said.

Price, whose office said he was unavailable for an interview on the subject, released this statement about the Coliseum event: “I am excited and very proud to bring a quality Fourth of July event, including one of the city’s largest fireworks shows, to the residents of the community I represent. We have partnered with a collection of South Los Angeles elected officials.”

Parks is not among those officials. Instead, he will host his Fourth of July community fireworks show a few miles away in the Van Ness recreational park in the Chesterfield Square neighborhood of South L.A., where workers were setting up Thursday.

Admission to both fireworks shows will be free to the public. But the new arrangement, with two fireworks shows instead of one, is not free for taxpayers.

The cost to the city for the Coliseum fireworks display is about $60,000. And this week the city council authorized another $60,000 in taxpayer funding for the park’s fireworks in effort to resolve the issue.

And while Parks makes no apologies for the extra cost, he did say the city council should address the issue once more.

“It’s not a problem for me. I think the issue is that I think the community deserves something at some point for free,” he said.

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