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CITY HALL WATCH : Junket City

March 27, 1993

The office of Mayor Tom Bradley, who by the way is out of town on a two-week European junket to promote trade, now says he will ask for a cancellation of a proposed 10-nation Asian tour by more than a dozen harbor officials. But the mayor, who had been contemplating joining the entourage, apparently has not ruled out the trip entirely.

"The trip, in this form, is unacceptable, and we will ask for it to be scrapped," said a spokeswoman for the mayor. But in the next breath she added that Bradley would consider going along if the tour is greatly pared back. Mayor, give your passport and the airlines a rest. The city needs to save money.

The tab for Bradley's current European tour with six other city officials is $250,000, a hefty expense when Los Angeles is facing a $550-million deficit. When the city allows such questionable outlays in tight times, it opens the way for requests that are politically difficult to deny.

The City Council, for example, agreed last Wednesday to waive $50,000 in traffic control fees for next week's Academy Awards. Despite Zev Yaroslavsky's reasonable argument that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was in a better position than the city to pick up that tab, the majority of the council believed that turning down the waiver would send a negative message to the entertainment industry. But next year the academy should pay the fees.

And Bradley should set an example by skipping Asia. If the trip cannot be scrapped altogether, downsize it drastically. The mayor would do best to stay home.

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