A state lawmaker who hopes to replace L.A. Councilwoman Wendy Greuel in the San Fernando Valley is taking aim at the city's decision to lend $30 million to a venture bringing the Cirque du Soleil to Hollywood.
Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank) sent voters a campaign flier over the weekend that juxtaposes two images: a perturbed-looking firefighter with 5 o'clock shadow and a juggler in suspenders riding a unicycle. "Which is the better use of our tax dollars?" the mailer asks.
Council members voted for the loan earlier this month, saying the money would come from the federal government, not public safety funds. At the time, Councilman Eric Garcetti said the performances would boost tourism in Hollywood over the next decade.
Former airport Commissioner Chris Essel, another candidate in the Sept. 22 special election, accused Krekorian of attempting to mislead the public about the loan.
"Either Mr. Krekorian doesn't understand that these federal loan dollars cannot legally be used to hire firefighters or he is intentionally deceiving voters to earn political points," she said in a written statement issued by her campaign.
Essel, a former Paramount Pictures executive, did not say in her statement whether she supports or opposes the loan.
Candidate Tamar Galatzan took a more outspoken position, saying the loan is "probably not something" she would have voted for if she were on the council. "I can't imagine that tens of thousands of tourists are going to come see it when it's been in Vegas for the last 10 years," said Galatzan, a Los Angeles school board member.
Under the terms of the loan, Cirque du Soleil would stage performances at the Kodak Theatre for 10 years.
Ten candidates are running to replace Greuel in a district that stretches from Sherman Oaks to Tujunga in the San Fernando Valley.
-- David Zahniser