County likely to approve $500,000 holiday party

Like many other counties and cities in the state, Los Angeles County is struggling.

The county’s unemployment rate is at 12.3 percent.

Sales-tax receipts were down 19.54 percent for the months of April, May and June compared to the same time in 2008.

And courtrooms were closed and trials delayed early this summer when the county superior court system began monthly employee furloughs.

But at least the county has enough Benjamins in the bank — nearly half a million to be exact — to splurge on the Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration in December.

The county Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the three-hour holiday party on Tuesday.
It’s a 50-year county tradition and is free to the public, county spokeswoman Judy Hammond said.

“It’s a thing they’ve done forever and they have all of these community arts groups that come in and perform,” she said. “The public can come and go as they want.”

Supervisor Gloria Molina, who represents parts of the San Gabriel Valley, hasn’t made a decision yet on how she is going to vote, but is leaning toward approval, her spokeswoman Roxane Marquez said.

Despite hard times, Marquez said the party is an arts programs that is looked forward to by the public.

“It may be difficult for some of the more affluent families in L.A. County to believe, but free concerts like this for the holidays are sometimes the only such activity that our less affluent residents get to enjoy,” Marquez said.

Cable franchise fees are footing the $449,000 bill. The money was previously allocated in the county Art’s Commission’s budget for 2009-10, according to staff reports.

And that half a million dollars is $100,000 less than in previous years, Hammond said.

Hey, it is a recession year.