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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

Mayor ups the ante on playoffs

October 02, 2008|Phil Willon

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday one-upped Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's friendly bet over the Dodgers' National League playoff series against the Cubs.

Daley had offered to wager some of Chicago's well-known hometown grub -- a pack of Vienna Beef hot dogs, Lemonheads and sunflower seeds.

Villaraigosa made a counter offer. If the Dodgers win, he said, Los Angeles gets Chicago's 2016 Summer Olympics bid -- since the Windy City beat L.A. and is now a finalist for the Games.

If the Cubs win, Chicago "can take back Sam Zell," he said. Zell is the Chicago entrepreneur who bought Tribune Co., which owns The Times and other media assets, including the Chicago Tribune and KTLA-TV Channel 5, as well as the Chicago Cubs.

Since taking Tribune private in December, Zell has cut about 2,000 jobs and reduced the number of pages the newspapers publish as the company seeks to make annual debt payments.

"It would be a tremendous blow to the city of Los Angeles to lose such a great corporate citizen as Mr. Zell," Villaraigosa said in a tongue-in-cheek news release.

"So in the unlikely event that the Dodgers lose, I'd insist that as a consolation he sell the L.A. Times back to an L.A. owner before heading back to Chicago."

-- Phil Willon

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