LA Cultural Affairs Department to cut nearly half of staff

The Vision Theater in Leimert Park, Calif.
The Vision Theater in Leimert Park, Calif.

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Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs chief Olga Garay has confirmed to KPCC that she’s moving forward with layoffs and job cuts that’ll slash the department’s workforce by almost half.

Almost half the department’s full-time positions — 33 out of 70 — will be gone through layoffs, early retirement, or unfilled vacancies, Garay said. Fifteen people who work for Cultural Affairs will lose their jobs - some in two weeks, others in July.

Los Angeles city government faces a deficit of almost $500 million next fiscal year. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has proposed laying off 4,000 city workers. "The layoffs were a directive from the mayor's office." Garay said, referring to the 15 people let go.

The layoffs, Garay said, are part of budget cuts that include transferring the administration of city-owned theaters and art centers to other organizations. Under the plan, outside groups would assume control of the Madrid Theater in Canoga Park, the Vision Theater in Leimert Park, the Warner Theater in San Pedro, and the Watts Towers Art Center. The city will issue requests for proposals.

Last month, supporters of the cultural affairs department jammed an L.A. City Council meeting to oppose a proposal that would gut the department’s $10 million budget. Council members shelved the plan. Garay said she plans an internal meeting Thursday morning with all Department of Cultural Affairs staff.