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Increase in 'Bed Tax' Proposed to Benefit Arts Groups

August 02, 1985|MARYLOUISE OATES | Times Staff Writer

ARTSY-CRAFTSY — Amazing that they've kept it quiet for six months, but that's how long Peg Yorkin and public relations whiz Val Malmillion have been putting together their grass-roots effort to get more public money for L.A.'s visual and performing arts groups.

L.A., Malmillion said, just doesn't match up to what other major city governments give to such groups. Here, the municipal contribution is budgeted at $510,000 for fiscal '84-85, as compared with $10 million budgeted by New York City for a similar period.

Now LAMP--Los Angeles Municipal Promotion--has come up with a way to raise the money so the city can give it to such groups. And that's to increase the 10% "bed tax," or hotel tax, perhaps by half a percentage point. The tax, which is charged per room, raised $29 million last year according to city figures. That went into the convention fund and the city's general fund. A half-percentage point increase would bring in more than $1 million.

San Francisco has been raising money for arts groups via its hotel tax since 1963, and its '84-85 budget earmarked $5.1 million for such groups.

Yorkin and Malmillion have formed a steering committee "to pull together what we hope to become a campaign for a bed tax."

A first step: Figure out the best way to get the bed-tax approved. It is unclear if Proposition 13 means the City Council can't approve such an increase. The campaign might ask the City Council put a tax-increase issue on the ballot, or establish a petition campaign to get the proposal on the ballot.

REUNION--Seven of the 20 children whose pictures have been appearing on milk cartons and grocery bags in California have been reunited with their families. That word is from Assemblyman Gray Davis, whose California Foundation for the Protection of Children put together the Missing Children Program this year. The campaign has been done entirely with private contributions put together by Davis from 160 corporations and businesses. Advice from the Beverly Hills Democrat: Parents and children should have a secret password, so if someone comes to take a youngster to his parent, the child has a way of knowing whether to go.

LIKE A WEDDING--Here's all we know about the impending nuptials of Madonna and Sean Penn. The date, we hear, is Friday evening, Aug. 16, at a private home on the (where-else) Westside. For the 200 guests--who have strict orders to keep quiet about it--there will be a tent set up on the (what-else) tennis court. And the rumored chef is (who-else) Spago's Wolfgang Puck. Joseph Hawkins, a graduate of Puck's Chinois restaurant on Santa Monica's Main Street, is alleged to do the flowers. Madonna is mad for the nouvelle Chinese-style goodies from Puck's Chinois. Madonna fans can catch the now red-haired singer at Jane Fonda's Workout--in the advanced class, natch.

NOT LIKE A WEDDING--"Cagney and Lacey" fans will be faced with a piece of Mary Beth Lacey's past this coming season. In an episode sure to bring about reaction from both sides, the character played by Tyne Daly will reveal that she had an illegal abortion years before.

SOLIDARITY--A full-page ad, a "Declaration of Solidarity," is to appear in an October issue of the New York Times. Sponsored by the Committee of Concerned Catholics, the ad quotes from last fall's "Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion," signed by 97 Catholic scholars and religious activists and which prompted considerable controversy. Last year's ad, calling for dialogue among Roman Catholics, included the statement that "a large number of Catholic theologians hold that even direct abortion, though tragic, can sometimes be a moral choice."

The new ad states that the signers have been the objects of "reprisals . . . such reprisals consciously or unconsciously have a chilling effect on the right to responsible dissent within the Church . . . We as Roman Catholics, affirm our solidarity with those who signed the (first) statement."

PACKING IT IN--Looks like Sen. Robert Packwood's $1,000-a-plate dinner at the Century Plaza Tower is a sellout . . . Kathie Berlin leaves her longtime post as head of the New York office of Rogers & Cowan on Sept. 1 to go into partnership with Marlo Thomas.

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