Los Angeles mayor says city will pay Jackson memorial cost
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday said the city will pay for the cost of Michael Jackson public memorial service at the Staples Centers last week, Xinhua reported.
Villaraigosa said at his first public appearance since returning from a week-long foreign vacation that it is the city's responsibility to provide police and fire services.
The mayor also blasted a suggestion that the Jackson family, owner of the Staples Center AEG Live or fans should foot the bill for the singer's memorial ceremony, which was held last Tuesday at the downtown Los Angeles arena.
"This is a world-class city, and we provide fire and police protection, period," Villaraigosa said. "The idea that we would charge the family for a funeral is nonsensical."
Villaraigosa's office, during his absence, created a website on which residents could make donations to help cover the costs of the event. Officials said about 1,800 people logged on and made donations totaling about 35,000 U.S. dollars.
But the mayor said Monday setting up a donation website was a " ridiculous" move.
It was unclear whether the mayor would order that the money be refunded.
According to the mayor's office, the city incurred about 1.4 million dollars in costs in the aftermath of Jackson's death on June 25, including about 1.1 million dollars spent by the Los Angeles Police Department, primarily for overtime costs of police officers deployed to various locations, including the Staples Center memorial.