On Tuesday in committee, Councilman Bill Rosendahl passionately raised a lot of questions about why it was necessary to give a $67.3 million subsidy to developers of twin Marriott hotels near LA Live where there already is two more luxurious hotels gettiing nearly $300 million in taxpayer subsidies.
You can listen to key excerpts of what he asked about and how city officials and consultants were unable to answer, question like what do other cities do, how often does a $12 billion corporation like Marriott get public subsidies and, most importantly, when we downtown will stop draining vast sums of tax dollars that should be going to public safety, libraries, parks, regenerating deteriorating neighborhoods and upgrades for aging infrastructure.
Today, when the Council, in its rush to unthinkingly approve the supposedly shovel-read deal, Rosendahl repeated his questions and got double-talk and gibberish responses.
He voted against the deal but nobody else on the Council cared with Zine, Krekorian, Buscaino and Englander shining as apologists for the latest in a long line of dumb subsidy deals, the latter Councilman actually acknowledging in passing the real reason for the giveaway of tax dollars in order to buy jobs.
The reasons are simple enough: Room rates that hotels can get for downtown rooms — despite billions upon billions of tax dollars in subsidies over 30 years — are too low to cover costs which are highly inflated by project labor agreements, living wages and city-required union contracts.
The reasons why the city needs this deal are simple too, simple and ridiculous: More hotel rooms are needed for the white elephant Convention Center that over decades has bled nearly $1 billion from the city treasury, money that would have made LA a healthier city in every way.
It’s estimated that to be successful, the city needs 7,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the Convention Center so the 392 rooms to be built with this $67.3 million provides barely 5 percent of the total, suggesting the other 6,600 rooms will send the subsidy bill soaring way past the $1 billion mark.
Here’s how it went for Rosendahl at Council today: