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Panel Rejects Councilman's Request to Let Staff Use Tickets Intended for Needy

September 03, 1997

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission rejected a request by Councilman Hal Bernson to let his staff use Hollywood Bowl tickets that were intended for poor and disabled constituents.

Bernson's office said it sought to give the tickets to staff members after about 100 of them were left unused because residents who had asked for the complimentary passes never claimed them.

"It was not until the last minute that we found out that the people were not going to pick up the tickets," said Francine Oschin, assistant chief deputy to Bernson, who was on vacation Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

But in a recent letter to Bernson, the Ethics Commission said that state law prohibits city staff from using tickets that were accepted for distribution to "individuals otherwise unable to afford to attend Hollywood Bowl events."

"Members of your staff do not fit this criteria and, therefore, they may not use any tickets left undistributed by your office," said the letter from Rebecca Avila, executive director of the Ethics Commission.

Because the unclaimed tickets could not be used for the staff, Bernson's office threw them away--which has prompted criticism from some advocates for the poor who say there are many families who could have used the tickets.

"To think that for someone would to throw away 100 tickets. . . . I was sad to hear about it," said Irene Tovar, executive director for the Latin American Civic Assn., the San Fernando Valley's largest operator of Head Start preschool centers.

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