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Cost of Keeping the Film Industry in the Southland

April 25, 1993

I read with considerable interest and concern the March 11 story on the Massachusetts governor's recruitment program to the motion picture and television industry.

Based on statistics contained in the article, $24 billion annually is pumped into the California economy by the film industry, and the runaway production to other states is believed to cost the state's economy only an estimated $3 billion per year. The deputy mayor of Los Angeles, presumably referring to concessions offered by other states, is quoted as saying the city cannot hand out public services at no cost.

Be that as it may, the $3 billion figure will soar in the coming years if we have city officials with the attitude as expressed by the deputy mayor.

Californians may feel comfortable with the attitude expressed by the deputy mayor when they see that Burbank recently approved a multimillion-dollar expansion by Disney and West Hollywood recently approved long-range improvements for the Warner Studios. Even the prospects for Fox Studios (in Century City) appear favorable, despite the considerable opposition there.

But the attitude of some of our state and local officials will contribute to erosion of the California film industry. Public officials claim they want a friendlier atmosphere and relationship with the film industry, but until their attitude changes, we will see out-of-state production soaring.

Out-of-state facilities with attractive concessions will continue to mount. It is high time that various officials with their negative authoritative attitude wake up and look ahead to tomorrow instead of just 6 o'clock tonight.

MEL WICK

Los Angeles

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