Citing a lack of financial resources, the mayors of Los Angeles and Hollywood have reneged on their offer to host the Michael Jackson Memorial Service and Funeral.
At a noon press conference held at Los Angeles City Hall, Mayor Horatio Castaneda stated, "Due to our present economic plight, the cities of Hollywood and Los Angeles cannot afford to spend the $10.6 million it would take for a safe, secure, and respectful "wake" and funeral procession that could attract millions of mourners."
Originally, the entire ceremony was scheduled for the Staples Center, but discussions started centering on the La Brea tar pits or Universal Studios until it became obvious that this would be more than any community could handle, according to various sources.
When asked by reporters whether the mayors tried to work out some cost- sharing stratagem between the cities and the Jackson Trust, Mayor Sno E. Whytte of Hollywood affirmed that there had been discussions on that very topic. "We talked with the Jackson family several times to see if we could agree on some merchanding ideas that could help defray some of the expenses," she stated, "But they refused."
Some of the merchandising ideas that were being considered included:
- T-shirts with a photo of the dead Michael on the front and an inscription, "I was there" : $250.
- Michael's hair: $1000/cm.
- Photograph of the buyer next to Michael's coffin, personally inscribed by La Toya: $1500.
- Photograph of the buyer in Michael's coffin: $2500.
- Photograph of the buyer in Michael's coffin with Michael: $10,000.
- Official Pallbearer with one complimentary gilded glove: $100,000.[/il]
At the press conference council members of both communities were on the podium including Hollywood's Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Sleepy, and Doc. The only member of the Hollywood City Council who did not attend was Dopey. Apparently, he thought the news conference was being held in Encino.