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How Many People Will Descend on Downtown, Part II*

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To try and guess just how the big the crowds may be in downtown tomorrow for the Staples Jackson tribute, a random selection of downtown hotels were called last Friday. Here's an update; all the same hotels were called. So far, it seems like most hotels still have rooms left, and in some cases, many rooms left. The only hotel (of the ones we called) that is booked tonight is the Holiday Inn, which is located directly across from Staples. As of noon, the Hotel Figueroa was 97 percent booked, so they're probably filled up, too. Meanwhile, according to the Daily News, a number of downtown hotels have partnered with the Jackson fan club to help arrange special rates. For example, the Biltmore is offering a $99 special rate price. So is this "stampede is coming" fear-mongering on the part of the press, who of course, would rather see a big crowd hit Los Angeles? (And the press has likely taken a good chunk of the downtown hotel rooms for themselves). But wait. Drunken Brits en route. Via the Daily News: "A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic told the paper its flights to the West Coast, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco were packed with Jackson fans. British Airways also reported a "huge influx" of bookings to the United States."

Hotel Figueroa: "We are at 97 percent occupancy and calls are coming so we expect to fill up.”

Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel: "We are about half full.”

Omni Los Angeles Hotel: "We are wide open. Plenty of availability."

Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens: “We still have availability, we are at about half capacity.”

Kawada Hotel: [Their reservation desk was closed for the night]

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel And Suites: “I have availability, close to 75 percent filled.”

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles: “We have rooms available. We have a Michael Jackson tribute special for $99.”

Standard-Downtown Los Angeles: “ We do have rooms available, we have 50 rooms available.”

Mayfair Hotel: "We are getting busy, people started calling, so we only have a few rooms available.”

Los Angeles Downtown Marriott Hotel: "We have maybe about 30 rooms left in the hotel for tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, a friend who works at Caltrans in downtown-- in the famous Morphosis-designed building at 100 South Main Street--just informed us that she and her whole Caltrans office have been told not to come to work tomorrow because of the event. UPDATE*: Doug Failing, a spokesperson for Caltrans, says Caltrans isn't closed and says no one has been told not to come in. It sounds like it must be a department by department order not to come in.

· Jackson's Memorial Service Details To Be Announced Friday [MTV]