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Political Gumbo: Now With Budgets, Janet and Thelma, Hold the Marie

Published on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 | 12:41 pm

I don’t know if you saw the Finance Committee last night, but the Rose Bowl Operating Company came under fire for bonuses given to its employees after the city bailed it out during the pandemic.

Let me say from the start, I am not anti-Rose Bowl and of course the city should have bailed out America’s Stadium after it lost gobs of money during the pandemic.

And let’s be real, the stadium must be profitable and continue to attract top acts. Of course, this gets harder thanks to the new stadium in LA, you know the one that just hosted the Super Bowl.

The budget for the Rose Bowl Operating Company (RBOC) which manages the Rose Bowl Stadium and nearby Brookside Park and Golf Course, is proposed at $62.4 million in operating expenses, and $12.9 million in Capital appropriations, for fiscal year 2023, the budget transmittal showed.

Keep in mind, the stadium also manages Brookside Park and the golf course.

This is what budget hearings are all about if you are paying attention, close examination of where the cash is going.

It’s real accountability. You can’t have true accountability without close examination.

By the way, I say again, the stadium is not receiving cash from the city this year.

This from City Manager Cynthia J. Kurtz.

“As presented in last year’s budget, it was anticipated the RBOC would need ongoing financial assistance to cover a portion of their debt service,” Kurtz’s report said. “Fortunately, as a result of better than expected actuals in both FY 2021 and 2022, the receipt of a $10 million Shuttered Venue grant, and a slightly better future forecast, the RBOC does not require an annual contribution in FY 2023.”

I wonder what the J. stands for, I will guess Jeanette. If it’s Janet then that foreshadows the rest of the column. Keep reading, you’ll get there.

And now for something you’ll really like, yes I just quoted Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Last week in a letter to the editor, I was taken to task for not attending a local community meeting on the budget.

According to one activist, and yes this one is a real activist working hard to make things happen, last week’s bowl of gumbo was short on facts and fairness.

That’s just not correct.

In case you forgot, I used some Jackson 5 lyrics to point out that the callers at Monday’s meeting went on and on about the police budget even when the council was not discussing it.

Let me say this since I have been accused of being short on facts.

Excuse me, “Who’s Lovin You” is a real J5 song and the lyrics were correctly posted.

Yes, I said the song was the most soulful performance ever recorded.

That is opinion, but the lyrics were factually correct.

I guess some people like the Osmond Brothers better.

I’m not a fan. Matter of fact when “One Bad Apple” was released, maybe the Osmond’s biggest hit, it was produced to sound like the Jackson 5.
It’s obvious when you listen to it. Here, check it out. One Bad Apple – The Osmonds

An aside, somebody should have told Donny that if you are going to pretend to play the keyboard, you should play more than one note.

To each his own.

But don’t say the column is short on facts just because you’re not a fan of the last great group to come out of Motown.

As far as the Osmonds, I don’t know, I like my music with more .. I don’t know .. real soul.

I do have to admit, I had a crush on Marie Osmond for ohhhh … no seconds of my life.

But Janet Jackson, well now I’m awake.

Janet was a celebrity crush I had back when my hair was still black. She was only surpassed in my youthful mind by Thelma from the TV show, “Good Times.”
Okay what were we talking about?

Back on point.

In all seriousness, here’s the gist of the complaint.

I would have known a grip of items about the budget, I won’t do the laundry list here, if I had attended this meeting.

I think they said 60 people attended, even a city councilmember.

It’s great to hear the meeting was well attended, and I am sure pertinent information was provided, well I hope it was.

But this idea that I had to attend that meeting to get the information is incorrect.

I already had the information.

Simply put, I did what I have been calling on other people to do.
The same thing I have been doing for the better part of 20 years when I cover council, budget hearings, committees and staff reports.

I read the staff reports.

And that remains the best way to get the information.
So thank you to all for giving me yet another opportunity to tell people to read the staff report.

Still, I don’t care where you come down on housing, the police, sidewalks or any of that stuff, the budget is bigger than any one issue or department.

That’s a fact.

Now I’m going to play some Janet.

Can’t watch Good Times anymore. Poverty with a laugh track, just isn’t funny.

As always, all comments are welcome, even if you disagree.

We print them all. How’s that for facts and fairness?

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