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LA councilmen spar over LA Coliseum fireworks show

Two LA City Council members are battling over who should sponsor the Coliseum's popular July 4th fireworks show.
March 26, 2014 3:45:17 PM PDT
There's a squabble at City Hall over one of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum's July 4th fireworks show, one of the venue's most popular events. Two city council members are battling over who should sponsor the show.

"I think it's unethical. I think basically it's petty," said L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks.

"He's misspoken and he's misguided," said L.A. City Councilman Curren Price Jr.

The 4th of July show attracts tens of thousands of people. It was started 12 years ago by Councilman Bernard Parks. He says as he was organizing this year's event, he discovered new councilman Price was trying to organize the show without him. He confronted him about it.

"I don't quite understand how you just decide you're going to take it over. He said, 'Well, I heard it's a very good event, I want to make it bigger and better,' and I said, 'But it's not your event,'" said Parks.

The Coliseum used to be part of District 8, which Parks represents. Then after redistricting two years ago it shifted to Price in District 9.

"It's highly irregular for the councilmember to believe that this is his event and that he should be controlling it, even though it's not in his area anymore," said Price.

Parks claims USC and the Memorial Coliseum are retaliating after he opposed a plan for USC to take over the Coliseum and the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena. He insists it was a one-sided deal that gave too much to USC.

"I think people are still not pleased that we took a stand different on the Coliseum Commission, and we are going to stand by that," said Parks.

On Wednesday, both sides presented their proposals to the Coliseum Commission. The commission didn't decide, saying it should be a co-sponsored event, giving a chance for the council members to work something out.

"I'm always willing to work it out, to collaborate, as I expressed to him a willingness to do that. But the response should not be, 'Well, Price, here, you take care of something over here in the corner on the side, we're going to do the rest of the event.' That's' not collaborating," said Price.

Parks says he's willing to listen.

And if the two sides can work something out it will be Councilman Parks' last year putting on this event. He is retiring next year.


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