Stage Raw: Department of Cultural Affairs on the Block
CULTURAL AFFAIRS ON THE BLOCK: PLANS TO ELIMINATE ALL CITY ARTS GRANTS
On noon, Monday, the Los Angeles City Council Budget and Finance Committee meets in the City Council Chambers to consider proposals to fill a $200 million city budget shortfall by eliminating over 1,000 city jobs, gutting the city's mediation program to reduce ethnic violence in high schools, eliminating the agency that administrates the city's neighborhood councils, cutting the Department of Cultural affairs staff by 48%, and eliminating all city arts grants. Meanwhile, Department of Water and Power employees are receiving pay raises of 15% over five years, and Mayor Villaraigosa has authorized the hiring of more police.
The Save L.A. project, part of OurLA.org, is calling for a protest in the City Hall Rotunda -- Monday noon, to hold city officials accountable for the budget crisis. More information also from Arts For L.A.
The planned cuts, drawn up by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana at the direction of the mayor, would eliminate a stream of dedicated revenue from a hotel tax that funds half the salaries of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Former news editor of the Daily News, Ron Kaye, points out that cutting dedicated funds is possibly illegal.
Kaye's larger concern is the mismanagement of city funds under the current administration will lead to the inevitable privatization of city assets from parking structures to the L.A. Zoo.