In this edition of "Really?!," we take a look at the recent stances of Los Angeles city Councilwoman Jan Perry. This week Perry voted against allowing the LAPD to train and hire 11 much-needed officers, complaining that the city did not have the $6.2 million dollars to fund the move. At the same time, she was defensive about efforts to get a major corporation to pay for the city's costs in helping it to stage a worldwide, Michael Jackson television special -- efforts that could ultimately pay the bill for half those badges.
We'll give her this: The Los Angeles Police Department is already looking at an $80-million deficit. The city itself is headed for a $400 million deficit. So times are hard indeed. Perry's was the lone dissenting vote on the matter. The rest of the council present gave the LAPD a green light and told it to figure out to pay for the new cadets.
"I thought we were trying to contain costs,'' Perry said. " ... I don't think it's an unfair question to ask where the money's is going to come from."
Rewind to Monday: Perry was one of a handful of city leaders who passed the buck on the discussion on whether or not to prod Staples Center's parent, Anschutz Entertainment Group, to pay for the city's costs related to AEG's staging of Michael Jackson's memorial, which the company packaged as a worldwide, 31-million-viewer television special. Council committees put the hot potato in the lap of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich by asking him to report back on whether he will continue to pursue a criminal investigation of AEG regarding the Jackson show.
AEG has made $60 million off Jackson's Staples Center rehearsal footage by selling rights to Sony for the blockbuster film This Is It, the profits of which the corporation has a 10 percent stake. The city's costs for the July 7 memorial show were about $3.2 million, mostly for police and officers' overtime.
Perry has been particularly defensive about AEG's entrenched stance on the matter of payment, saying, " ... We rely on the goodness and kindness of AEG ... " She's benefited from AEG's political-issue fundraising, so it's not hard to read between the lines.
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What we don't get is how Perry could, in the same week, defend a billionaire-controlled corporation and its city-aided Michael Jackson production and then complain that the council was not being frugal and responsible when it comes to what is one of City Hall's most-important functions -- policing.
The $3.2 million spent on AEG's Jackson show, while no big deal in a city that is on track to spend more than $1 million a day more than it takes in, could pay for half of those new officers -- officers that could some day save a life.
So, to recap, Perry is deflecting criticism about spending $3.2 million taxpayer dollars on a 90-minute TV show/concert that could have benefited a corporation's high-dollar stake in Jackson's content and legacy, but she thinks it's irresponsible to spend $6.2 million to hire new cops in an LAPD that's notoriously short staffed? Really?
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