So now the Australian-based shopping mall operator wants to keep up to 42 percent of the net new tax revenue generated by its Village at Westfield Topanga project, which includes a hotel, a Costco, and a bunch of restaurants and stores. Over 25 years, that's around $60 million, or $2.4 million a year. The Westfield plan is expected to go before the City Council this week - right after the company helped put on a big party at LAX to commemorate the still-not-completed-but-Villaraigosa-is-leaving-office-this-week-so-we-have-to-do-something expansion at the Bradley terminal. Oh, and by the way Westfield is developing food and retail outlets at LAX. I'm reminded of my 2012 Los Angeles magazine interview with Westfield honcho Peter Lowy, who insisted, rather implausibly, that contributing thousands of dollars to local elected officials "doesn't help at all to get any approvals." Lowy once joked during a speech that of the 170 people in attendance, 30 or 40 were from Westfield and "the other 100 or so are from law firms - I think downtown - that we do business with." From the LAT:
The period for the public to weigh in on the city's tax deal with Westfield could be brief. Ed Johnson, spokesman for Council President Herb Wesson, said the proposal won't be reviewed by any of the council's committees. Instead, it will head straight to the council five days after the financial details were released -- a rapid timeline compared to many of the city's other major financial decisions. Jack Humphreville, a neighborhood council member who has frequently criticized the city's practice of providing taxpayer subsidies to private companies, said the approval process should be slowed down so that the public can examine the proposal more carefully. "Why does this company, one of the largest owners of shopping centers in the world, need a tax break from the city of Los Angeles, which can't even fix our streets?" he asked.