L.A. Zoo privatization negotiations fall apart

A money-saving plan to privatize the Los Angeles Zoo has stalled after city negotiators failed to reach an agreement with the nonprofit seeking to run the facility.

The announcement that the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. was pulling out of talks Thursday because of a disagreement over whom the zoo director should report to puts the fate of the facility in jeopardy, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana warned.

With the city government looking at a deficit of half a billion dollars over the next two fiscal years, the zoo will be "forced to fight with public safety and other city priorities for its own survival," Santana said. "Inevitable cuts" to the zoo budget could lead to hikes in ticket prices and other changes, he said.

Santana, who has pushed for privatization despite protests from city employee unions, says public-private partnerships are a way to maintain service levels in an era of declining revenue. He has called for similar arrangements at the Los Angeles Convention Center and other city-owned facilities.

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-- Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times


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