Sunset Junction Director Tells His Side of the Story

Michael McKinley, a co-founder and current director of the embattled Sunset Junction Street Fair, is starting to speak out in the wake of unflattering media coverage of the last-minute cancellation of his 2011 event. He gave his first interview on Sunday to Error.FM’s Bill Mahoney and posted a long comment Monday in response to Amanda Becker‘s September 1 LA Weekly story “Sunset Junction’s Failed Mission.”

McKinley, who posted under the user name 2Sides2EveryStory2, says Becker interviewed only one Sunset Junction supporter for the article but did not include any quotes from that conversation, as opposed to sourcing of various event detractors. He also shares this rather astonishing factoid:

[After no city fees for the first 27 years] Sunset Junction paid $23,000 in fees its 28th year; fees were not charged the 29th year, and four days before the 2010 event marking the 30th year, organizers were told they owed $263,000 before the street closure approval could be made. This is more than a quarter of a million dollars leveled at a non-profit who previously paid less in fees. It is ten times more than any other comparable citywide event. It is more than the Hollywood Bowl pays for a year of street closures and police and it’s more than the Oscars pay for their street closures and security. *Public record backs this up.

McKinley’s other objections to the Becker article include her claim that the non-profit paid out $12,000 to a lobbyist vs. $500 to needy kids and statements that the Silverlake Neighborhood Council reached out repeatedly to his organization. “When the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance did make a presentation to the Silverlake Neighborhood Council with handouts regarding the organization’s year-round work, the documents were tossed on the floor in a show of mockery,” he writes.

Many more historical details are shared by McKinley in the hour-long Error.FM interview, including some very strange events in 2005 involving the office of Councilman Eric Garcetti that marked the beginning of a weirdly rancorous relationship with the city of LA.

Previously on FishbowlLA:
Sunset Junction Music Festival CANCELLED

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.