L.A. to Sell Zoo, Convention Center?


Wow, the budget situation in the city of Los Angeles must be desperate indeed. From the March 2 L.A. Business Journal (no link available):


In a wide-ranging session with Business Journal editors and reporters…[Mayor Antonio] Villaraigosa said he hoped to help plug a budget deficit by privatizing some operations.

"Why do we have to own a zoo?" he said. "A lot of cities don't own their own zoos; they are privately run or have a public-private partnership structure. And, while we're at it, why do we have to own a convention center?"

The city is facing a $450 million deficit in the 2009-10 fiscal year beginning July 1 and a projected deficit of at least $500 million the following year. Villaraigosa is looking for major revenue sources – other than tax increases – that can whittle down those deficits, and prevent massive layoffs of city workers and cutbacks in city services.

Villaraigosa is also exploring whether Los Angeles should make a long-term lease arrangement with a private operator for its parking garages, surface lots and parking meters.

The L.A. mayor, an old union hand, might be benefiting from a Nixon-in-China situation:

Pander bear

Villaraigosa isn't the first Los Angeles mayor to suggest privatizing operations at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In 1994, then-Mayor Richard Riordan wanted to contract out management of Convention Center operations, claiming it could save the city up to $40 million a year.

But Riordan's proposal ran into a buzz saw of union opposition and was handily defeated by the City Council, according to Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.

However, Guerra said, the outcome now might be different. "Under Riordan, this whole debate was highly ideological, with Riordan committed to privatizing as much of government as possible and former Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg essentially saying, 'Over my dead body.' Now, with the economic meltdown, these private-public partnership proposals might not be dead on arrival."

The Reason Foundation (whose Leonard Gilroy is quoted in the article) on the virtues of privatization here.

NEXT: After the Newspaper

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  1. Yes, why do cities need to own zoos? Or convention centers? Or stadiums? Or museums? Or light rail?

  2. And, while we're at it, why do we have to own a convention center?"

    Holy shitsky! I'm pulling that one out the next time one of my dim-witted public officials wants to build some new expensive boondoggle, insisting who important it is for "our fair city" to own such-and-such.

  3. Oh, and by the way. The reason, Mr. Villaraigosa (not that I disagree with you at all) but the reason is that when the plans for the convention center were on the drawing board, some major public official like, you know, the Mayor was telling his constituents how important the convention center is and how much money it brings into the city. Guaran-fucking-tee it.

    I'm glad we're all back in agreement, public officials! Convention centers, stadiums etc. don't bring the cities money.

  4. Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg essentially saying, 'Over my dead body.'

    ohhhh, if only. If only.

  5. I am extremely ambivalent about public-private partnerships when it comes to city facilities and development.

    Here in Columbus, a couple of these things are just going nuts throughout the city, doing things only cities used to be able to do with no accountability (like tear down City Center for a public park, the dumb fuckers).

  6. Fairfax County, Virginia doesn't seem to acknowledge that there's anything that they shouldn't own. We've got 9 recreation centers, all with 25-meter or larger pools, 8 with weight rooms, 8 with saunas, and 1 with and ice rink; 8 golf courses, at least 4 with driving ranges; and a water park.

    This is the county where a private driving range couldn't figure out how to comply with the tree planting guidelines.

  7. If a Republican suggests it, then it's evil. If a Democrat suggest the exact same thing, then it's a necessary measure.

  8. If a Republican suggests it, then it's evil. If a Democrat suggest the exact same thing, then it's a necessary measure.

    The opposite works for war.

    Of course, war is always evil.

  9. Umm...

    Yo, fuck Jackie Goldberg.

  10. Brandybuck, good to see that you're finally gettin it. Took ya long enough.

  11. (no link available)

    Ahem. 😉

    (That said, it may be hidden behind a registration screen; so far, though, I've lucked out with the article's first page, at least.)

  12. Somehow I think today's comments are related to these 2005 comments and these comments too, but I don't think Reason could ever make the connection.

    P.S. Here are some recent statements from Nancy Pelosi that put her on the same side as Reason.

  13. Shut the fuck up, lonewacko.

  14. Do those links from Lonewacko explain that Villaraigosa is plotting to sell the zoo to the Mexican government or something?

  15. LOL! Lonewacko is surely a piece of rancid dogshit!


  16. The City of Los Angeles' (we're supposed to say it that way here in California, we have a city named the City of Grover City) mayor spends his time at concocted media events. There isn't enough time in a day for him to do anything else. The city, the port, and the zoo could be purchased and sold several times before he became vaguely aware of it.


    Unless someone did a brilliant spoof, even Anonymity Asshole is picking on LoneBoner! Awesome!


  18. Did lonewacko block the Anonymity spammer from his blog or something? If only we could make them fight each other to the death.

  19. Does Chazz Palminteri have cancer? Is that Panda mascot going to help him somehow?

  20. LOL! Lonewacko is surely a piece of rancid dogshit!



    If that's not a spoof, then it's pretty heavy evidence that either God or Singularity both exists and has a sense of humor.

  21. The City of Los Angeles? I thought it was El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles.

  22. That is clearly a spoof, but possibly the most brilliant post ever, too.

  23. the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University


    good grief

  24. So you can get a degree in Los Angelesology?

  25. Lonewacko vs. anonymity bot: best fight since the snake vs. mongoose scene in Any Which Way You Can.

  26. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at

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