A bitter political tug-of-war over who will host a Fourth of July fireworks show at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum took another turn Friday when City Councilman Bernard C. Parks withdrew his bid to host the show -- and said he would hold a separate event.
Parks said he was pulling out because Councilman Curren Price had received a copy of his "blueprint" for the proposed event, which he argued should have remained confidential. He said he would hold his Independence Day fireworks event elsewhere, without indicating a location.
Price spokeswoman Connie Llanos said Price's office requested a copy of Parks' proposal from the Coliseum Commission, but had not received it as of midday Friday. After Parks announced he was withdrawing his proposal, the commission voted Friday to approve a fireworks show proposed by Price.
"We are pleased that the show will, in fact, go on," said commission member Mark Ridley-Thomas.
The public spat between the two politicians was a rarity for the largely harmonious Los Angeles City Council. The dispute arose in the wake of redistricting, which changed the representative for the area encompassing the Coliseum from Parks to Price.
When Price proposed this year's Coliseum fireworks show, Parks accused him of teaming up with USC to push him out of an event he had hosted for more than a decade. Parks said the move was “petty retaliation” for Parks' opposition to a deal that gave the university operational control of the historic stadium.
Price rejected the accusations and said it made sense for him to oversee the event because he now represents the area. In March, the Coliseum Commission asked its staff to find ways to bring the two sides together.
Instead, the two returned to the commission Friday with competing proposals and a handful of ideas for collaboration.
Parks presented a roughly $64,000 plan that relied on free services from community groups, the Coliseum and Exposition Park, as well as police protection provided at no cost. Price offered a $124,000 plan that included private security and $20,000 for a professional event planner.
Both sides cast doubt on the cost estimates and other details of the opposing proposals. Llanos questioned whether Parks could get the trash cans and other services for free; Parks and his aides criticized Price for turning to an event planner.
The Los Angeles Times requested and received copies of the proposals from the commission before the meeting. Parks said his plan was stamped "confidential" because releasing it to Price would undercut the "competitive balance" as the two vied to host the fireworks show.
"For 12 years we've been refining it and putting it together," Parks said of his show plan. "We don't share it."
Bernard Parks Jr., the councilman's chief of staff, said that the plan also included sensitive security information.
Price sits on the Coliseum Commission, as Parks did in the past. He did not recuse himself from the Friday decision. Senior Assistant County Counsel Thomas Faughnan advised Price in an email that county lawyers did not believe he had a conflict in the matter because he had no personal financial interest in the event contract.
"I’m sorry that Councilman Parks felt it necessary to withdraw," Price said during Friday's meeting. "However, I’m confident that the event will go on, bigger and better than ever."
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