Governor Vetoes Budget Request : Hollywood Expo Denied Funds

Times Staff Writer

Gov. George Deukmejian has dealt supporters of a Hollywood entertainment museum a setback by deleting money to launch the project from the state budget.

In vetoing $785,000 for the proposed Hollywood Exposition, the governor explained that he is "concerned about the seeming proliferation of appropriations related to museums and exhibitions."

Supporters, including Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles), said the veto would be a "devastating blow" but that the fight to get the long-stalled museum off the ground was far from finished. Roberti said he still hopes it will become part of a proposed Hollywood redevelopment area.

The entertainment complex would house television, radio, movies and recording industry exhibits. Plans called for it to be financed by both the state and private contributions.

Maybe Later

Deukmejian also rejected $750,000 for the City of Los Angeles to renovate a Little Tokyo Buddhist temple for a museum displaying contributions by Japanese-Americans to U. S. history.

The governor held out the chance that both museums could be given more favorable consideration in the future.

"Projects of this type are complex and deserve adequate study and review of the state's proper level of participation in their development or operation," he said. "I am willing to work with the Legislature in the development of a process to assure full consideration of the state's role in projects of this type."

Show business museums have been discussed for Hollywood for decades but have not been built.

Last year, with Roberti's help, supporters of the Hollywood Expo received $140,000 from the state to study the proposal.

Feasibility Report

In April, two state-appointed advisory committees reported that construction of the $53.5-million museum would be feasible because it would draw 1.1 million visitors and clear $2 million in profits a year. The state's share of the final cost has yet to be determined.

The advisory groups have been looking at suitable museum sites bounded by Franklin Avenue on the north, Fountain Avenue on the south, La Brea on the west and Western Avenue on the east.

The additional $785,000 was to be earmarked to hire a full-time executive director and other staff members and to work out details of the museum.

Jon Hendricks, Roberti's spokesman, said the Hollywood lawmaker was disappointed by Deukmejian's action.

"It certainly conflicts with everything the governor has said he wanted to do with increasing California tourism," Hendricks said, "and is a devastating blow to both the need for a Hollywood entertainment museum expo as well as Hollywood redevelopment."

Other Fund Sources

Phyllis Holzman, an aide to Roberti in his Hollywood office, said the senator plans to resurrect the proposal in a bill later this year.

She said Roberti may revise the proposal to require museum backers to seek funds from other public agencies, such as the city, as well as the state.

With $140,000 in last year's budget, the state Department of Parks and Recreation helped oversee the initial planning for the project.

William S. Briner, the department's director, supports the "concept of an entertainment museum," according to parks spokeswoman Gina McGuiness.

However, in his view, "it should be developed through private sources rather than government money," McGuiness added.

Marshall Caskey, a Hollywood lawyer who heads the site selection panel set up last year, said the Administration had never made its position clear.

"We thought it (the money) was going to be approved," said Caskey.

He said that while the governor's veto "doesn't look good now," it "will turn out to be a temporary setback."

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