LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles taxpayers may have to foot the bill for as much as $170,000 in expenses associated with Made in America, and some aren’t pleased.
The two-day musical extravaganza in Grand Park over the summer, by all accounts, was a huge success and drew tens of thousands of fans to downtown Los Angeles.
LiveNation, which staged the event, has paid $500,000 for city services like police, trash removal and personnel to block city streets.
But the total bill for those services could reach $670,000. and the city of Los Angeles will be picking up the tab for the difference.
“Why are we giving money away when the city has admitted that the infrastructure system is broken?” asked James O’Sullivan, president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association. “They certainly could trim some of the trees. They could do some of the sidewalk repair and some of the potholes.”
But Carol Schatz, president and CEO of the Central City Association, says the concert was a huge boost for the image of downtown Los Angeles, as well as for the businesses in the area.
“For a city this size and given the overall economic activity, chump change,” she said. “All of our hotels were full. Showed enormous activity. And our restaurants, all were full.”
But O’Sullivan points out there are no specific numbers to prove the effect the concert had.
“They never show us. I mean, they never say, ‘Oh, and by the way, that issue we had last month, last year, here’s where we can document that this is the business it brought in,’ ” he said. “We don’t see that.”
At a news conference in April at which the concert was first announced with Jay-Z, Mayor Eric Garcetti cited big economic numbers from a similar concert on the East Coast.
And Jack Humphreville, who writes the L.A. Watchdog column for CityWatchLA.com, agrees the $170,000 may be a small price to pay.
“$170,000 is budget dust in terms of the $5 billion, $8 billion budget that we have. So, I’m not particularly worried about that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Garcetti’s office released the following statement: “The city always has an obligation to protect public safety and provide other services, especially when there is a large gathering. In this case, we struck a deal that secured $500,000 in cash and more importantly secured an event that pumped millions of dollars into our economy.”
Supporters of the concert told KCAL9’s Dave Bryan the festival also generated a lot of tax revenue for the city that could be used to help repair the infrastructure.