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EDITORIAL IT'S GREEK TO CITY THEATER CONTRACT STILL UP IN AIR.

GO ahead and sing the blues for the city of Los Angeles and the outrageous manipulation of the contract to run the Greek Theatre.

Even under intense public pressure and incredible public scrutiny, City Hall can't bring itself to do the right thing.

So with the world watching, the city's Recreation and Parks Commission, without offering a sensible explanation, voted Wednesday to reopen the bidding process - a move that squanders a golden opportunity and may end up getting the city less than what's already offered.

As usual, the public interest was left out in the cold.

Obviously, the commission didn't want to close the process during an election season when so many people are running for office and so many chances exist to extract campaign donations for mayoral candidates, council candidates, city controller candidates and city attorney candidates.

So many people with their hands out. So little time to make sure the public wins.

Now the Nederlander organization, which has held the lucrative contract for nearly three decades, can keep its sweetheart deal going with the city while the Parks Commission pretends to seek more bids and try to get the best deal for the public.

Perhaps it's lame-duck disease that keeps Mayor Richard Riordan from getting his act together to take charge of the situation or even to appoint a fifth commissioner to break the deadlock after Commission President Steve Soboroff resigned to focus on his mayoral campaign.

City officials say the renewed bidding process could take at least six or seven months to complete, even if ``fast-tracked.''

That leaves open the question of who will operate the theater once the Nederlander contract expires Oct. 31, and when much-needed improvements to the theater will be completed.

The House of Blues projected it would be able to return about $23.5 million to the city over the life of the 10-year contract, vs. the $18.5 million payback Nederlander anticipates.

House of Blues also proposed making about $11.1 million worth of capital improvements to the theater, compared with the $5.5 million Nederlander offered.

Maybe the mayor is waiting for a federal consent decree to run the Greek Theatre.

At this rate, one thing is certain: Somebody's going to sue the city. The taxpayers will be on the hook for millions in settlements instead of reaping millions in payments. And theatergoers will have to suffer the consequences of a city that can't get its act together.

What a lousy way to run a city.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 23, 2001
Words:415
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