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LA Zoo, Cultural Affairs, Tourism: Millions Cut From Activities That Bring Us Together

A Cinco de Mayo celebration at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in 2017. It's one of the few cultural institutions with a proposed increase in its budget. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)
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Furloughs and a city hiring freeze are spread across departments that make up the city's public life, including many activities that people may be looking forward to as stay-at-home restrictions are eased.

In a letter from Administrative Officer Richard Llewellyn to the City Council, he noted that the coronavirus is going to hurt revenue sources for the city's special funds, including the L.A. Zoo and the El Pueblo de Los Angeles historical monument, which are currently closed, with future attendance remaining uncertain.


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The city's Department of Cultural Affairs faces a $1.4 million proposed budget cut, an 8.1% drop. The department operates centers such as Barnsdall Art Park, as well as provides grants to non-profit organizations. The proposed cuts to the grant program is about $168,000, about a 3.5% reduction..

One of the biggest changes comes in the department's budget for public art, with almost a million dollars cut and moving from 89 art projects this year to just four (though the number of projects varies significantly from year to year).


The L.A. Zoo budget gets a $3.1 million cut, a 12.1% reduction. The vast majority comes from furloughs and a hiring freeze -- animal care budgets are remaining steady. The proposed budget includes funds to make up for losses in revenue from people buying tickets to the zoo and the El Pueblo de Los Angeles historical monument.


Convention and tourism development is getting an 18% cut, moving from a $2 million budget to $1.6 million, though a large portion of that was funding for one-time expenses. Despite the economic downturn, the city still projects the number of leisure and hospitality jobs in the city to rise this year.


Among the areas of the city's cultural life that have avoided cuts: the L.A. Library. That's because the library's budget is protected by Measure L, so funding is required to be kept at a certain level. Their budget actually rises from $194 million to $205 million this fiscal year. The measure was passed by voters in 2011 to restore services after the Great Recession. The El Pueblo de Los Angeles historical monument is also seeing a slight rise in its $1.6 million budget of just over $10,000.


In his Sunday State of the City address, Mayor Garcetti addressed the future of activities in the city:

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"Outside of our homes there is a great city waiting for us. The things we love about L.A. will persist," Garcetti said -- noting that that includes the city's music and culture.

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