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L.A. continues debate on city resources for Jackson's memorial tribute
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08:27, July 22, 2009

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The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday resumed the debate on whether millions of dollars in taxpayer money should have been spent in connection with Michael Jackson's memorial tribute.

Almost a month after Jackson's death, the City Council remained divided on whether it was necessary to spend so much money on the pop icon's memorial service at Los Angeles Staple Center.

The City Council said it would take up five motions pertaining to the late King of Pop.

A pair of motions by Council members Dennis Zine and Jan Perry called for an accounting of "city resources used and expenditures made in response to the public reaction to the passing of Michael Jackson."

They also sought to explore ways to offset those costs.

Zine has demanded that concert promoter and Staples Center owner AEG Live cover all the costs, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rejects the idea.

"I've made it very clear: We're a world class city and we will provide police protection in the city because it's our responsibility," said the mayor.

The Mayor's Office estimated the city incurred about 1.4 million dollars in costs in the aftermath of Jackson's June 25 death. Zine believes the actual cost is 3.9 million dollars.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn has a motion seeking to compare the city's expenses with the revenue collected by the city as a result of the tourism boom that followed the entertainer's death.

She noted that airlines and downtown hotels experienced a surge in business as fans from throughout the world flocked to Los Angeles to grieve for their idol and celebrate his legacy.

A fourth motion, also from Zine, called for reviewing the process of selecting vendors to the city after City Controller Wendy Greuel raised questions about the purchase of 3,500 box lunches for police officers deployed to the Staples Center ceremony, claiming the food could have been purchased at a lower cost from a local vendor, instead of one 80 miles (128 kilometers)away.

The fifth motion, from Councilman Tom LaBonge, called for establishing a process to justify the use of city funds and resources to provide for public safety at significant events like sport team parades, memorial events, presidential visits and award ceremonies. It also directed various city agencies to develop a collaborative planning process that is transparent and fiscally prudent.

Meanwhile, the investigation into Michael Jackson's death continued on Tuesday, with the focus on painkillers the King of Pop may have used, and the doctors who gave them to him, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

The cause of Jackson's death has been listed as deferred, pending the results of toxicology tests.

Source: Xinhua



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