Sunset Junction Permit Denied

The Los Angeles Board of Public Works has denied an event permit for the long running Sunset Junction Street Fair over organizers’ failure to pony up thousands of dollars in fees to cover city services for the event.

The board voted 3-1 during a meeting Aug. 22 to deny the permit for the fair, which was scheduled for Aug. 27-28.

Board members noted at the time of the vote that if organizers for the festival were able to come up with $141,000 in fees before an Aug. 24 meeting, the board would reconsider granting the permit.

However, even if organizers were to procure the funds to save this year’s Sunset Junction, it appears the city still has some beef with the festival.
During better economic times, the city apparently absorbed fees for many services associated with the festival, which has been held in the Silver Lake neighborhood for more than 30 years.

Two years ago, officials approved a plan to require events like Sunset Junction to share in the city’s costs, Los Angeles Times reported, and the festival was sent a $267,000 bill for services related to the 2010 edition.

The bill has gone unpaid in the time since.

During the meeting, officials heard pleas from festival founder Michael McKinley, who questioned whether the outstanding bill is too high, and local residents who noted what good Sunset Junction and an associated nonprofit organization have done for the neighborhood over the years.

But for board commissioner Andrea Alarcon, it was simply too little, too late.

“You’re asking us for good faith here, and last year we gave it to you,” she said. “You didn’t pay. It’s quite disrespectful that you paid legal counsel, entertainment and found sponsors, but you haven’t paid the city. … You’ve been doing this for 30 years. You knew the process.”

Alarcon previously told the Times she expects last year’s Sunset Junction fees will be the subject of litigation.

Festival organizers have yet to officially cancel the event, which was scheduled to feature artists including Butthole Surfers, Bobby Womack, Hanson, Melvins and Lil Jon.