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8 Fat Cats Who Can Fund LA's 'Great Streets' Initiative

Terry Sweeney, Chief Jarhead, Paragon Jams
Thursday, December 19, 2013 07:45 EST

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Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
12/23/2013 2:44:29 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: USC as the 9th Fat Cat?
@piratejulie: Interesting suggestion... USC benefits from so many sources of funding (not to mention the $21k per semester they're currently charging x 40,000 students = $840M), that making them the 9th fat cat isn't much of a stretch. Getting USC's Board of Trustees (which already includes Rick Caruso and Steven Spielberg) to sign off on this might be a tougher sell.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/23/2013 12:33:56 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Makes a lot of sense to me
"[F]at cats and billionaires, who typically have made their fortunes through risk-taking, shrewdness, the ability to spot openings or possibilities, and no small amount of ruthlessness."

I think the profile of the fat cats may differ with industry, Terry. Take Bill Gates, one of the world's biggest philanthropists. Ditto Mike Bloomberg. Both made their money in tech and media, respectively. I don't know any real estate philanthropists, come to think of it.

Hazel
Hazel  
12/23/2013 4:22:24 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Makes a lot of sense to me
Agreed. Where I live, a lot of the streets are named after affluent families. I do hope they at least forked over sizable donations for that. 

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/22/2013 2:48:43 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Makes a lot of sense to me
@kq4ym: That's a good idea, and it seems completely feasible. I'm wondering if there's a digital element we can include here too. Let's say Anschutz funds one of the streets -- maybe the city could put a QR code somewhere on that street that people can scan with their smartphones in order to get a $5 voucher to the Staples Center or $5 off parking there, or something like that. Something that takes advantage of digital tech to incentivize people to frequent the businesses of these billionaires... thoughts?

kq4ym
kq4ym  
12/21/2013 2:44:17 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Makes a lot of sense to me
Much like the incentives of naming a building after a large donor, perhaps the "street" or an entire area could be named after the folks who give big money to get it started? It's going to take some real incentives to get money out of their pockets (or maybe a big dose of shame and/or guilt if they don't give?)

piratejulie
piratejulie  
12/20/2013 8:59:06 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
USC as the 9th Fat Cat?
@Terry:

What are your thoughts on USC as a contributor to LA's Great Streets Initiative?  When I lived in LA [2012-2013] I was always struck by how close the Staples Center was to the campus assets of USC.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/20/2013 12:38:48 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Makes a lot of sense to me
Very true, Terry. I wonder what it would take to get any of these individuals on board. Surely they wouldn't do it out of the kindness of their hearts! So what would make this kind of investment worth their while? More tax breaks? Or maybe the ability to advertise for free on these "great streets"?

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
12/19/2013 3:15:58 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Makes a lot of sense to me
Agreed, Nicole... but my gut tells me that "should" doesn't go very far with fat cats and billionaires, who typically have made their fortunes through risk-taking, shrewdness, the ability to spot openings or possibilities, and no small amount of ruthlessness.

Interesting to see the proponderance of real estate moguls in the Land of LA. And we thought entertainment (movies, TV, music) was where LA's real money was.

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
12/19/2013 3:00:56 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Great list!!
Thanks, Mary... I agree it would be nice to see lists from around the world of local fat cats who benefit by virtue of where they live to give back in tangible ways for all to enjoy, not just through their charitable foundations to reap untold savings in taxes.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/19/2013 1:54:13 PM
User Rank Staff
Makes a lot of sense to me
Great post, Terry, and great ideas here. This is an initiative that this list of billionaires should want to invest in -- not just because they should want to give back to the city and people who made them super rich -- but because "great streets" will make the city as a whole more inviting, and more community oriented, and all of that is better for these billionaires' bottom line. 

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