The city could save up to $37 million over five years, according to City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who also says that booking policies should be changed in order to attract more conventions. In a new report Santana proposes that the mayor and city council begin looking for a private firm that could be in place starting next summer. Santana, whose office has been struggling to close $200 million-plus deficits, has been pushing for the city to hand over certain operations to private interests. From the LAT:
Anschutz Entertainment Group, currently seeking to build a new downtown football stadium, has expressed interest in recent years in running the convention center, which is located next to two key AEG assets: Staples Center and the L.A. Live entertainment complex. AEG's NFL stadium plan would involve the demolition and reconstruction of one wing of the convention center.
Santana's proposal quickly drew negative reviews from the city's labor officials. Service Employees International Union Local 721, already fighting a plan to turn the Los Angeles Zoo over to a private operator, signaled it would do the same with the convention center. "We are against handing control of an important public asset like the convention center to a private operator," said union spokesman Lowell Goodman.