In Thursday’s (2/4) Los Angeles Times, Mike Boehm reports, “The Los Angeles City Council unanimously shot down a proposal Wednesday that would have eliminated guaranteed city funding for the arts, after listening to often-impassioned pleas during a public hearing on cutting government services and jobs in the face of a municipal budget crisis. The council also showed no appetite for a recommendation by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana that would have erased the $4 million arts grants program. Olga Garay, executive director of the Department of Cultural Affairs, said she would try to find at least $500,000 in savings in her current budget, as Santana has proposed. The council also decided to continue pursuing Santana’s plan to shift operations at nine or 10 community arts centers from the city to private, nonprofit groups. … The plan to do away with the arts agency’s reliable funding was a major concern for Garay and arts advocates. Since 1989, the city has earmarked $1 in taxes per $100 of hotel room charges for the Department of Cultural Affairs—money that provides virtually its entire $9.6-million budget.”

Posted February 5, 2010