LA Mayor Wants to Bet

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Denver just lost a newspaper; Los Angeles is
lacking water. One of these cities' problems will be solved under a
mayoral wager proposed Tuesday on the Western Conference finals.

If the Lakers win the series, Los Angeles gets some Rocky Mountain snow to alleviate the regional drought. If the Nuggets win, Denver gets the Los Angeles Times - a replacement for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News.

"In an effort to eschew the traditional wager involving food or humiliating booster outfits, I propose a win-win for our cities, one that will stimulate the economy and reap long-term benefits," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wrote in his proposal to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

As the series opened Tuesday in Los Angeles, Villaraigosa appeared confident the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals for the second straight season. To sweeten the deal, Villaraigosa said Denver would also get first shot at buying the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed selling to alleviate the state's financial crisis.

"You might have heard of it; it's a historic, 'quaint' property looking for a new owner," Villaraigosa wrote in a letter to his counterpart.

No word yet on whether Hickenlooper accepted the wager.