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Rico Gagliano: So the Lakers brought home yet another title to Los Angeles. You know what else they brought home? Quite the quandary: How to celebrate a great bunch of players and a huge win when the city’s fortunes don’t exactly match that of the basketball team. It’s been a bit of a financial shell game, as Rico Gagliano reports.
Rico Gagliano: When the L.A. Lakers won the NBA championships on Sunday, Angelenos were ecstatic. But when locals learned the city planned to foot half of the nearly $2 million bill for today’s victory parade? That didn’t go down so well.
Matt Szabo is Press Secretary for L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:
Matt Szabo: In years past, the city would have paid for it. But these are unprecedented financial times; we’re facing massive financial deficits, layoffs, et cetera.
Unions were especially irritated L.A. might blow cash on a parade while city workers are taking pay cuts. So for the last few days, city hall tried to figure out how to hold the parade without having to pony up for it. Yesterday, L.A. announced a group of private donors will pick up the tab.
Szabo: The private funds will go towards the approximately $900,000 in city resources: police, fire and street services.
By the way on Monday, Pittsburgh threw a parade for its new champions: the Penguins hockey team. Public funds paid for the whole shebang. Now back in November, some Pittsburghers protested the expense of a similar celebration for their Superbowl-winning Steelers. But not this time; apparently you get used to it.
In Los Angeles, I’m Rico Gagliano for Marketplace.
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