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Bruno, the LA Watchdog: Why Van Gogh Cut His Ear Off

Bruno has only two pictures on his doghouse walls: A shot of the woman who rescued me from life on the streets, and a painting of some buddies and me playing poker.
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An art expert, I ain’t.

But I know a good story when I hear one like the one in the Dog Trainer today on the Los Angeles County Museum Art, not because of the art – I leave that to Big Dog Eli Broad — but because the guy who runs the place makes a $1 million a year.

And some of that is our money!  And you thought we were broke just because we’re letting dangerous criminals out of prison by the thousands and our lives are in danger because firefighters have to take extra time off the job to keep the city’s checks from bouncing.

LACMA gets a lot of money from the public, about a quarter of its $74-million operating budget from L.A. County in 2008 — including $201,432 toward the salary and benefits of Michael Govan, the museums director.

dogspoker.jpgI wonder if he likes pictures of dogs playing poker?

In fairness, and Bruno always tries to be fair, the guy apparently gets high marks for fundraising, which according to him, he does almost every night.

He definitely does not, however, get high marks for media relations. Dog Trainer reporters Alan Zarembo and Mike Boehm asked him about his fund raising schedule.

“Do you have any idea how much that costs in baby-sitting?” he replied.
The reporters added that he said it “jokingly,” but it sounds to me like the jokes on us.

Bruno has no puppies around the house, but I imagine if I was pulling in a million bucks a year with taxpayer help, he wouldn’t joke about paying the teenager down the block $5 an hour for watching the kids – especially to reporters!

And for the record, Govan has only one kid.

If it would help, Bruno would babysit for free and teach the kid to play poker.  Most kids, however, find me kind of scary.


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4 Responses to Bruno, the LA Watchdog: Why Van Gogh Cut His Ear Off

  1. Anonymous says:

    Look at this. This continued mismanagement of our money is making kids cry.
    See this
    Cash for Clunkers and Government Debt Makes Kids Cry

  2. NoHo Mom says:

    Hang on here. Until we know how much fundraising revenue he has brought into LACMA, we can’t comment about his salary. Let’s say LACMA was raising $2 million a year. Let’s say this fellow is hired, and their fundraising jumps to $5 or even $10 million a year. So he makes $1 million a year, but the net impact on the institution is more money for programs.
    We can’t judge his salary until we see what value he has brought to the organization. On the other hand, if they have cut programs and exhibits and the fundraising revenue has been even or less than it was before he got there, then his salary should be reevaluated.
    Look, in private industry talent costs money. I don’t have a problem paying talent in public industry what they are worth, as long as they are really worth it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the Autry Museum needs to hire Govan. They raised money for the last six years and still did not have the money to build that expansion in Griffith Park.

  4. Bob G says:

    Hi Ron
    The one distinguishing feature tht Lacma had was its film department and film program, and they just announced they are killing it off. Oh, they spread on a little bit of ambiguity to leave a little hope, but it was pretty clear that they will be killing off the program because it was losing, on the average, about fifty thousand a year. By the way, compare that number for the subsidy it takes to run a world-respected film program with the salary this one guy gets.
    It was the kind of program that screened good movies and interesting movies and artistically important movies, and brought in as guests the like of Eva Marie Saint, Terry Gilliam, and even Fay Wray herself. Lasseter, the genius behind Pixar, came one night and gave a lecture with film clips about the development of the Pixar style.
    By the way, prior to this guy, there was another director at Lacma who wanted to tear the whole place down to the foundations and build a half-billion dollar Taj Wilshire atop them, all to make the place attractive to wealthy donors. Or so they explained. The wealthy donors of Los Angeles made clear in advance they wouldn’t fund such a tedious venture, so at least we don’t have the Wilshire ruins.

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