April 03, 2014
City News Service
Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar wants his colleagues to put the brakes on rapper Jay-Z’s planned two-day music festival at Grand Park. The Budweiser Made in America Festival, scheduled for Aug. 30-31, is expected to draw 50,000 concert-goers and will feature several beer gardens, according to a motion introduced Friday by Huizar and originally obtained by KPCC radio. The event would result in surrounding streets being shut down, with some closures potentially lasting up to 10 days, Huizar said.
Huizar said his office, as well as residents and business owners in the area, were not informed of the “large-scale” event, even though the festival is taking place in his council district. Huizar said his motion is “not about opposing special events or any particular concert — it’s about making sure the affected community, in this case downtown stakeholders, is part of the planning process sooner rather than later.”
An event of this scale, with the large number of attendees and “for- profit ticket sales at a public park, it is imperative that we have an open, inclusive dialogue in ensuring it’s a good fit for the neighborhood and if it is, that concerns are mitigated well in advance,” he said.
The prior notice is especially important in downtown Los Angeles, “where exponential growth in population density has led to a mounting concern over street closures that impede access and cause traffic congestion,” according to Huizar’s motion, which will be discussed at a Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee meeting.
Huizar said that without getting into the positive reasons for allowing the festival to take place, “the event will involve the full closure of many streets in the Civic Center area, creating major disruption concerns for workers, residents and businesses in downtown and will require the resources of many city personnel, especially police.” Huizar wants the council to direct the Bureau of Street Services, the police department and the Transportation Department to hold off on issuing permits until city staff report back on “public safety concerns and any necessary cost implications” of the event. The county-owned Grand Park is managed by the Music Center, but must obtain street closure permits from the city, according to Huizar aide Rick Coca.