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Frank Ordonez/FDLG Event Coordinator

Unfortunately, I am not a resident of Boyle Heights, but I am a supporter of Education through Arts, lacking in the LAUSD.
On a year with budget cuts across the board, sponsorships were under 30% of what sponsors had donated in previous years. Artist came from across the continent! Several local charter school students were ready to complete their community service hours, a requirement for graduation, by producing the art that decorates the event. All we wanted was the same courtesy Eagle Rock Music Festival received, an event that doesn't even offer children services. The event host several workshop and internship programs for students interested in a career in arts, and the lesson to those interested in a career in production art is: be prepared for Murphy's Law. Viva La Muerte! y Viva Festival De La Gente on the Streets of Los Angeles!

Rick Coca

It is unfortunate to learn that this year’s Festival de La Gente has been canceled. Councilmember Huizar has supported the annual Festival de La Gente event since 2006 and committed his support once more for this year’s event. In these past three years, the Councilmember has given ample support in City services and funding.

Mindful of the current economic climate, Councilmember Huizar committed to supporting this year’s Festival de la Gente by providing equipment rental fees in excess of $5,000 and assistance with Los Angeles Fire Department and Building and Safety fees.

In addition, on October 6, 2009, Councilmember Huizar’s office learned that Festival de la Gente was experiencing tremendous difficulty meeting its sponsorship goals. Per the event organizer’s request, Councilmember Huizar’s Office reached out and encouraged a major sponsor last week to sign on and was successful in doing so.

We understand that preparing for an event of this size requires months of planning and that unexpected challenges can arise. In year’s past, the organizer of the event has routinely made last-minute requests from Councilmember Huizar’s office for thousands of dollars in unexpected added expenses and services. Councilmember Huizar has made every effort to step in and help out to ensure that the festival continues each year that this has occurred.

This year, we learned from the event organizer two weeks ago that he mistakenly interpreted the Recreation and Park fees as a per-event fee and not as a per-day fee, as Festival de la Gente is a multiple-day event.

Councilmember Huizar has no authority to waive Recreation and Park fees since the City has determined that the impact to the parks are significant due to the high number of patrons and vehicles on the parks’ landscape, trash left behind, damaged landscaping and maintenance staff overtime.

Despite Council District 14’s support, the event organizer solely and unilaterally made the decision to cancel this year’s Festival de la Gente. Failure to have a contingency plan was ultimately the reason for the cancellation.

Councilmember Huizar would hope that in the future, Festival de la Gente organizers prepare enough in advance so that if need be, they can adjust the scale of their event if funding is short without having to cancel it outright. As always, Councilmember Huizar will continue to offer support to numerous community events.

Sincerely,


Rick Coca
Director of Communications
Office of Councilmember José Huizar
District 14

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