Sunday, July 19, 2009


Estimates of the cost to the City of Los Angeles for security and other services associated with the Michael Jackson memorial tribute at the Staples Center hovered around $4 million. City and state budgets are feeling the economic pinch these days, and Los Angeles is no exception. That's why Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had asked Jackson's fans to help cover those costs through donations to the city.

Should the city be expected to pick up the tab for the costs associated with the memorial? Should fans have footed the bill by paying for tickets, rather than getting them for free by lottery? Should wealthy friends of Jackson have ponied up the cash? Or should the cost be covered by the Jackson estate?¶

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Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

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Anonymous said...

In no way should the city of Los Angeles, part of the state of California, itself drowning in debt, be expected to or volunteer to pay for any tribute to an entertainer, however talented. The fact that Mr. Jackson acted like an ass most of his last 20 years of life is beside the point. This memorial was something the family/ mourners/sightseers wanted and demanded and they could well afford to pay for this entire expense and such payment by these persons should be encouraged by any and all municipal authorities. Not only is it an expense that should not be borne by the city, even if it could afford to do so, such a payment of an expense of this type could well signal tacit approval of such expenses in the future for some other person in the entertainment field. Especially in these bad economic times, such payment by any city in the U.S. is highly inappropriate and inadvisable. The idea!!!

Charlie Seng

Bill Jacobson said...

I don't see any reason that the cost for the funeral/memorial service for a major entertainer who left behind a $500 million estate should be borne by the public - how many of our funerals would be covered by public tab? But the time to negotiate who is picking up the bill is BEFORE the service takes place, not afterwards.

These costs could have been offset by charging for admittance tickets or striking a deal with the family/entertainment company/estate etc. What leverage does the city have in striking such a deal post facto?

It appalls me that the city would allow this to go forward without a whimper beforehand on who would pick up the tab in the shadow of the Lakers parade where the city specifically said they would not pick up the tab for and needed to be paid for out of private donations (and was). If they struck such a deal for an actual city asset - The Lakers - why not strike a similar deal beforehand for the death of a private entertainer?

As it stands, the city's incompetence and inaction may have stuck them with the bill. I don't feel sorry for them.

Bill Jacobson said...

The previous comment was William Jacobson, Cypress, CA

skemper said...

i'd say the estate should pay for it. if *i* wanted to have a big memorial for myself at the staples center, for whatever odd reason, wouldn't my family have to pay for it? so why should the rich folks get off easier than the regular people? i do wonder about what, if any, economic benefits the city may have reaped from the memorial, but i doubt it come out ahead in the end.

Anonymous said...

What about the media giants who filmed and televised the memorial? Shouldn't they step up and help foot the bill through donation of royalties? I agree with all of the above comments about this being the family's responsibility and then asking for a free will donation to whomever was able to get in the Staples Center. Passing the hat to help with police, traffic, electricity, water, labor, etc. should have been explained prior to the agreement of receiving the ticket. How about a lottery for some Jackson memorabilia?

SUPER PC said...