According to the top budget official for Los Angeles, the city should “turn management of the Los Angeles Convention Center over to a private firm and take that responsibility away from city employees.”
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana released an 18-page report stating that such a move could save the city $14 million to $37 million over a 5-year period. In addition to that, Santana advised Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as the City Council, to launch a competitive search so that a private firm could be in place starting July 1.
Anschutz Entertainment Group has expressed interest in past years in running the convention center, which is located next to two key AEG assets: the Staples Center and the L.A. Live entertainment complex. AEG is currently seeking to build a new downtown football stadium, a plan that would involve the demolition and reconstruction of one wing of the convention center.
Santana said that only 11% of people who went to the convention center during the 2010-11 fiscal year were there for “citywide” conventions, major events that attract visitors to hotels across the region, not just downtown. Instead, many of the events were trade and consumer shows that don’t require overnight stays. Santana believes that this would change if city officials hire a private manager and expand the power of the convention center’s oversight board.
According to Santana, “Our biggest competition is Sacramento and with all due respect to Sacramento, Los Angeles is an international city and we should be competing with Chicago, New York and San Francisco.”
Santana’s proposal is just one part of his long-term plan for dealing with a municipal budget crisis that has left Villaraigosa and the council struggling year after year to cut costs. Taxpayers have subsidized the convention center for years, which received $49.8 million last year from the general fund. That fund pays for police officers and firefighters as well, according to the report.
Source: Los Angeles Times – Top L.A. official calls for private firm to run convention center