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Bruno, the LA Watchdog: The Circus That’s City Hall

Bruno’s only interaction with the French was with a tan poodle behind a Burger King on Sherman Way.  She was cute, but somewhat haughty, and expected me to treat her like the current First Lady of France.
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Bruno?  No way. I’m American through and through. 

That’s why this morning’s stunner in the Dog Trainer by David Zahniser, who appears to be the last Dog Trainer reporter who does any actual reporting, put the hair up on my ugly back.

According to DZ (that’s how “insiders” refer to Zahniser, and this dog is definitely inside) the City Council is weighing a plan to issue a $30-million loan that would allow the owner of the Hollywood & Highland shopping mall to retrofit a theater so it can house a decade of performances by Cirque du Soleil.

Thirty millions bucks for a French circus! I thought we were broke.

According to the proposal, the CIM Group, which owns Hollywood & Highland but leases the Kodak Theatre within the mall, hopes to bring the acrobatic performances to the venue starting in 2011.

If you’re not outraged yet, listen to this: If you want to attend the French circus in Hollywood, which I thought was already a circus, it will cost you $110 per ticket.

And how much you want to bet none of the people hired to fill the 858 promised jobs would be able to pack the family in the car some weekend for French circus fun.  It would cost $440 for a family of four, before parking and getting the kids some crepes and miniature Eiffel Towers and Cirque du Soleil berets at the souvenir stand.

And there aren’t even any elephants!  Hear that Tony Cardenas?  There aren’t any elephants.

The folks at CIM Group really have huge testicules, as the French would say. (If you have to look it up, you’re too dumb for even this column.)  Who are these guys?  And why would they expect the taxpayers to help their business?  Who do they think they are? Phil Anschutz or Tim Leiweke? (If you have to look them up, you’re definitely not an insider.)

Council President Eric Garcetti has already thrown his support behind the loan, saying Cirque du Soleil will be a major tourist draw.

 ”People will come to L.A. just for this,” said Garcetti, whose district includes the Hollywood mall.

I think Eric’s tights are too tight and they’ve cut off circulation to his brain.  (He does look a little like an acrobat, doesn’t he? Kind of lithe.)  Yeah, somebody’s going to fly here to plunk down more than $100 to see a show that plays all over the world.  Maybe Eric fell from his trapeze. Normally the guy makes sense, even if he did join the Navy when he was old enough to be an admiral.

Sometimes it appears the only person on our City Council with any brains – get ready for this – is Dennis Zine, who is obviously a Bruno fan.

Zine questioned the wisdom (wisdom?) of putting so much loan money into a single project. With Sacramento lawmakers raiding city redevelopment funds to balance the state budget, neighborhoods are at risk of losing money for economic development projects, he said.

Dennis is somewhat better looking than Bruno, but the guy’s got a similar bark.

Woof!


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19 Responses to Bruno, the LA Watchdog: The Circus That’s City Hall

  1. Anonymous says:

    I believe the money comes from HUD so it’s not city money, and would go to propping up this investment that the city’s already got a stake in. And doesn’t want to lose. So it’s not as dumb as it sounds. And the Vegas prices are fair for this particular act — as long as the city benefits from the revenues generated I don’t see the problem. It may actually be a clever way to recoup an investment that has already been made, for better or worse. I said “may.”
    Please get all the facts first — I know Kevin James was screaming about this last night but he twists anything out of context to go into his stupid “Antonio recall file” and to fit the partisan and often fraudulent allegations of those on the far right who share his views. His proven lies could fill volumes.
    As for “David Z” he is far less blatant but also often very biased in his choice of what to write about in the first place, and then who to interview to support his pre-determined slant: a more subtle form of bias he learned from or shared with the editor of his former fishwrap, Jill Stewart. There’s a good reason that “certain quarters” think he’s the “only honest (i.e. unabashedly biased against Antonio and anyone associated with him) reporter.”
    Maybe you can update this post with the missing blanks.

  2. French Poodle Lover says:

    Zine the smartest one on the Council? And better looking than Bruno? Boy have you lost it! And I’m not even talking about when he dresses in a dress with a wig! (Which IS a big improvement. Unlike some other getups.)
    Leave it to Zine to grandstand against everyone else just for the sake of it to try to look smarter and wiser and more fiscally responsible, hoping to fool dogs like Bruno. Like with his AEG posturings, where his core fanbase is fooled but not anyone else. But in the process he’s done more damage to the city’s image and actual business relationships than those dumb Democrats.
    I’m not surprised he’s the one to turn this into an issue to scapegoat Cirque because it’s French like me! He’s definitely a mutt and pit bull guy. More Stockton and San Pedro or Canoga than in tune with what Hollywood is trying — with considerable success — to become. A “world class” (okay, laugh) destination like Las Vegas.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey 1:27 pm, did you happen to notice that Bruno’s a freaking dog? If you’re looking for David Broder, you’re in the wrong kennel.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey 1:27 pm, did you happen to notice that Bruno’s a freaking dog? If you’re looking for David Broder, you’re in the wrong kennel.

  5. Maria says:

    This proves what many of the neighborhood councils and community activists all over the city have been saying. We have nothing but a bunch of losers representing the city. This is beyond absurb with the financial crisis we are in. Fire Dept. 25 of them will start closing next month and these absolute idiots do this. Did anyone think that maybe people don’t have the money to go see this circus so how do they expect to make money. I smell corruption!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    David Broder? Holy crap, he hasn’t been relevant for a generation! Isn’t he like, about 600 years old in dog years?

  7. Anonymous says:

    What’s the guarantee that the City will get its money back if it makes the loan?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why do we have to pay businesses to locate here? If we have to pay 30 million for 858 jobs, isn’t the price too steep?

  9. Kate says:

    Those of you saying that this is ok since it is Federal and not LA City money are missing the point. There is a finite amount of Federal money available through HUD and it should NOT be used to bail out wealthy Corporate interests like CIM who are well connected and have gotten away with a lot of other give-a-ways such as getting two additional sides of billboard graphics for their Sunset-Vine tower. Instead of Corporate welfare, apply this money to where it should be for-affordable housing or development in under-served, low income areas in real need. You are taking away money from the poor and giving it to the rich.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing about the underserved poor,low income/affordable housing people.
    How about some tax money staying on the Westside or Valley where many people who aren’t “rich” live.

  11. G. Shepherd says:

    Part of the selling point is that it would create 800 jobs.
    Here’s an idea for the council. Lend my mistress $50K and she’ll put nine people to work remodeling the floors I track up with mud, the wall I tried to chew through and replacing the burnt up landscaping.
    Bruno, this is such utter bull dung… huge, steamy piles of it.
    Your friend,
    G.
    p.s. French Poodle Lover is right. Zine is a cheap grandstander, who will always cave when the pressure is on, just like he caved on the phony phone tax after his private meeting with the mayor. Heaven only knows what V. threatened him with, blackmailed him over or promised as a return favor to change his ‘no’ vote to put it on the ballot to a ‘yes’ vote.
    Zine cost us collective millions with that little bit of treachery.

  12. Kate says:

    To Anonymous, July 29, 2009 5:54 PM: Westside, Valley, North, South, East, West: That’s fine, just don’t give away the money to a private developer, in this case CIM. I say give away because obviously they can’t get a loan out in the “free market” with the same terms as this HUD loan. Watch out Bruno, this loan may turn into a grant in the future.

  13. Anonymous says:

    1:27: With Times reporters being fired left and right, some are really interviewing/ lobbying for jobs with those they’re supposed to be putting under the microscope. Zahniser sucked upto Trutanich and v.v.: how long do you think it will be before he lands up, say, replacing Nick Velaszuez?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Kate:
    I agree with you.
    To me: private developers/poor underclass.
    Both get WAY too much of taxpayer dollars.
    The bad news is that it is poor kids who take the brunt of the abuse of the system and just throwing more dollars against the institution doesn’t solve the problem; it perpetuates it. And the developers just get richer.

  15. Lila McKann says:

    OKAY, here’s the truth:
    1) There has been NO REPORT or analysis offered that actually states there will be these jobs created. I don’t know WHERE this number comes from, other than a PROMISE buy a very hungry production company.
    Also, look at the City’s track record with NUMBERS:
    1 million trees = about 700
    1 million potholes = 2,000
    The performers will not be from LA, they will either be from Vegas or Canada, so who does that help? I wonder if people involved will even have to adhere to the union rules for such things, if they aren’t from LA?
    If this is going to be SUCH an amazing economic boon to the City and Hollywood and Highland (which the City already f-ed up on TWICE) then what the company behind Cirque de Thatsola should do is give EVERY tax payer within the City a couple of tickets as a thank you. I’m SERIOUS!!!
    We will still have to pay for parking and likely buy a couple of more tickets for the rest of our family, but this would be a helluva compromise, and before the money is given, they should work this out. Otherwise, what benefit are we actually getting?
    NONE!

  16. In Eagle Rock says:

    I have said it before with emphasis on the impact it has with CM Ed Reyes, the key phrases to include in seeking coucil approval are “it will create jobs” and “it will provide ‘affordable housing’.”
    Right now, the Council is on a quest to find anything that will bring in money to the city and they’d lease out their grandma if they thought it would get some big bucks back—- wait, I was too hasty in that one.
    They would lease out “your” grandma- you know they don’t get personally involved with all this “we must share the pain” of ANYTHING. IF that was a goal- and it should be- we’d
    1. take away city cars and,
    2. let them turn in mileage and expense sheets, 3. take away the gas credit cards, and,
    4. cut their pay and give them some furlough days on top of that.
    They will do ANYTHING to get “revenue”, i.e., taxes, and that pain falls on everyone but them.

  17. Petra F. says:

    Back to the original topic: DZ is the MAN!
    Lord help the LA SLIMES if they cut him.

  18. alsy says:

    Mr Kaye,
    There is a big corruption scandal brewing over a misdemeanor.
    Please look at the case in the criminal courts building on Temple.
    8CA10541.
    Something must be done!

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