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Archived: Editorial: Jackson Memorial: What’s the Big Deal? Just Send the Bill

So what’s the problem? The $3.8 million or million and a half (depending on whose number you use) cost to the city of Angels for Michael Jackson’s memorial at Staples Center, and funeral service at the Hollywood Forest Lawn Cemetery, were not, repeat not, an emergency that the city should pay for.

We don’t understand why all the fuss or why the city feels it is stuck with the bill. Call us crazy, but it seems to us that the city bills businesses and residents everyday for costs they cause the city. Have you taken a ride in an ambulance lately? It probably wasn’t for free.

Whenever anyone (rich or poor) costs the city any expense whatsoever, like hitting a light pole—causing a traffic jam— starting a fire or even needing an ambulance, the City Council does not go into a tizzy about how to handle the bill.

No, the departments and services involved just total up the charges and send out a bill to the responsible party; that is unless an agreement had already been made to waive the expense.
So, tell us, what is so different about the Jackson memorial extravaganza?

Yes, the city has been known to waive fees for free speech demonstrations or special events that will generate revenue for the city. This event fell into neither of those categories.

The two groups involved in the planning and executing of the Michael Jackson memorial are far from broke. AEG, owners of the Staples Center and the Jackson family, both have the resources to pay for the event. Asking them to pay is not a swipe at the King of Pops’ legacy, its about responsibility to the community at large.

So we say to the city of L.A., just send the bill.