Shipyard Closing

The Long Beach City Council's assertion (March 6) that it "would cost $1.7 billion" to shut down the naval shipyard is such arrant self-serving nonsense that it impugns whatever case they may have. It also reflects on the Navy, which doubtless had a hand in cooking the figures.

It manifestly would be cheaper to give equitable severance compensation to shipyard workers than to keep them on a payroll indefinitely--or scores of private companies wouldn't be doing the same thing. There goes one big piece of purported "cost."

Cleaning up contaminated ground at the site is an expense confronting the federal government whether the shipyard closes or not.

After that, you padlock the gate and put the equipment up for sale, and whatever it brings is clear profit.

The unspecified "cost of making the property usable again" is obviously an outlay that is up to Long Beach if it chose to cash in on a real estate windfall--not an expense to be borne by the nation's taxpayers.

If it were indeed less costly to keep the shipyard operating than to close it down, as is implied, the United States might bootstrap itself out of its current insolvency just by opening a hundred more shipyards.

GLADWIN HILL

Los Angeles

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