LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Two Los Angeles City Council members dueling over who should run the annual Fourth of July fireworks show at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum were asked to work out their differences today by the panel overseeing the venue.
“There will be a fireworks show at the Los Angeles Coliseum,” said County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who chairs the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission.
“The only question we have now -- instead of who will be principal sponsor or sponsors of the event -- in my view, we should work very hard to get this to be a co-sponsored event,” he said.
Councilman Bernard Parks, who represents the 8th District, has been running a free, city-funded Fireworks Extravaganza event at the Coliseum for the past 11 years and said should be allowed to continue organizing it.
Last year, the City Council approved a request from his office to spend $60,000 in city general funds on the Coliseum fireworks show.
However, due to a recent change in council district boundaries, the Coliseum is now in the 9th District, which is represented by freshman Councilman Curren Price Jr, who is also looking to run a fireworks event at the venue.
Parks, a former Los Angeles Police Department chief, said today the Coliseum fireworks show “was something his office created” in 2003 to provide people in his district as well as nearby communities with a safe way to enjoy fireworks.
Parks' son, Bernard Parks Jr., who is his father's chief of staff, said the event once required one staff person to run and “now requires three people, but it's something we enjoy doing.”
It was his father's “dream” to revive an event that he loved as a child, living around the corner from the stadium. The elder Parks should be allowed to run it for a 12th year, his final one before being termed out of office, he said.
“With his almost 50 years in public service, I think he more than deserves the right to continue to put on an event he founded,” Parks Jr. said.
Price, a member of the Coliseum Commission, submitted his own application to do a July 4 “community fair” and fireworks show at the stadium, saying it is “highly unusual” for a councilman to be organizing an event in another member's district “no matter how well meaning or well-deserved.”
“I'm merely asking to be designated as the producer, the leadership on this event. I'm certainly willing to collaborate,” Price said.
Parks Jr. said “there's a possibility of working together” but he does not “recall getting an ask” from Price's office.
“We've done the event 12 years, and if you want to go over lines, guess what, a huge part of the area near this area are 8th District residents,” he said.
“We never received a phone call. The first notification we got that there was interest from (Price's office) was that two of the vendors we used every year called us and said 'Why is (Price's office) calling us again?”' Parks Jr. said.
Coliseum Commissioner William Chadwick called the feud “troubling,” and said he would support an event in which Price and Parks co-hosted.
Ridley-Thomas directed the commission staff to work with the two council members and to bring back a new proposal at a future meeting.