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Sunset Junction Organizers Issue Statement, Say They Had the Money, They Got a Raw Deal

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A past Sunset Junction (Photo by Ryan Jesena/LAist)
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After the Board of Public Works decided without contest today to uphold Monday's decision that a permit not be issued for this weekend's scheduled Sunset Junction festival, the organizers have come forward with a statement.The statement, issued through PR firm Rogers & Cowan, explains that the event had been prepared today to pay for the 2011 permit and had secured the funds from concert promoter Live Nation along with fans, but that the bucks didn't get to the bank until this morning.

The bottom line for the fest is that the poor, disadvantaged youth that their non-profit supports are getting dissed because the big bad city is making them pay for things like police officers and trash clean-up. Nevermind all of the now-suicidal Hanson fans who had planned road trips from far corners of the state to see the band headline the annual music festival and street fair, and those mustachioed hipsters who will have to drown their tears in PBR this weekend instead.

Though the statement does not really say what the Sunset Junction organizers plan to do now, the fact remains that the City of L.A. isn't giving the event a permit, so it's got nowhere to go.

Here's the statement:

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The requested city fees of $142,000 for the 2011 Sunset Junction Fair were secured from Live Nation ($100k) along with supporters, who stepped up on behalf of Sunset Junction in respect of their 31-year history. Sunset Junction legal was told by the Board of Public Works hearing on Monday, August 22 that they may re-consider issuing permits if Sunset Junction could provide them with this year’s fees in advance, totaling $142,000 by Wednesday, August 24 at 12 noon. The majority in attendance on August 22 were in support of Sunset Junction. Live Nation deeply understands the importance, the legacy and the great impact the fair has on the majority of the community, along with the artistic community. The funds did arrive yesterday from Live Nation, however not in time for Sunset Junction organizer Micheal McKinley to deposit in the bank. The funds were deposited in the bank this morning (8/24) with a faxed receipt of proof sent over to the Board of Public Works. This is disputed in the media. [...]

Last year, one week prior to the 2010 Sunset Junction Fair, organizers were presented with a bill for $267,000 from the city. In prior years, these fees did not exist for the non-profit organization, which utilizes Sunset Junction as a fundraiser to help at risk youth embrace a better life choice. Sunset Junction repeatedly asked for an itemization of city fees and once they were received, found that the fees were inflated more than 10 times that of comparable LA festivals. They also found that the fees for the police seemed to be questionably inflated. This point was also brought up at Monday’s hearing and addressed by Commissioner Valerie Lynne Shaw. The official answer by a police representative when asked about the discrepancy in charges from one year to the next, was there “was a change in policy”.

Sunset Junction has every intention of paying the city fees that it justifiably owes; the non-profit simply asks for a fair and just accounting that is comparable to other citywide events.

Sunset Junction was fortunate and grateful to have Live Nation step-up to support them at the 11th hour. This is not a regular occurrence during these harsh economic times and prior years of recession, and therefore Sunset Junction should not be faulted for not being able to previously deliver funds. It is a testament to Live Nation for having the passion, heart and soul to save the special magic of Sunset Junction for all the fans, the community, the artistic community, the at risk youth and everyone else here who loses as a result.