I would never question the need or appropriateness for a public memorial for this cultural icon.
However… (you saw that coming, didn’t ya?)… considering the current state of California’s finances, I do question the charitable offering of not only the Staples Center itself, but all of the ancillary costs that go with that –including, but not limited to: Facility utilities, crowd control/security, and post-event cleanup.
Michael Jackson’s genius and Sinatra-esque standing as an American/International/Entertainment/Cultural icon of the century, does not entitle him to that sort of state funeral – a la John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, etc.
No, while I agree his adoring fans and the interested public at large should be given the opportunity to participate in some kind of final farewell at a public memorial, I feel the event should be underwritten by someone or entity. If not the family, then some event management company needs to step up and ante up. The state of California is currently printing IOU’s to pay their bills. This generous bout of benevolence, while admirable, just does not make good fiscal sense.
Rather than dipping into funds set aside for state funerals and the like – or worse, incurring even more debt, the City of Los Angeles could actually make money on this public memorial if an event management company (or the Jackson family or other supporters) would sponsor it.
If STAPLES CENTER is anything like the City of Dallas Convention Center, it is an “enterprise facility,” meaning they bring in revenue for the city every time they lease the building for any event – be it, the circus, rock concert, sports events, ice shows, even church programs and religious events. The facility makes money when those events are booked – and not just from the rental (which is detailed even down to the number of chairs the groups needs to use), but also gets a percentage of the concessions. Certainly, a logical part of this memorial will be tee-shirts and other souvenirs.
Bottom line – I salute the City of Los Angeles for offering its facilities and services for free. However, Michael Jackson was not their “native son” – his hometown is Gary, Indiana. If Michael was the savvy businessman we are told he was, he might even admire the City’s ingenuity to memorialize him, while adding to its cobweb filled coffers. Michael was a showman – I believe he would “get it.”