Reporting on Local Economy

We are writing in response to "Crisis May Be Used as Bait by Other States" (Dec. 11). Although The Times has made noticeable efforts to provide more balanced perspectives on the local economy in recent months, this article, which featured many negative quotes about our economy from economic development officials in other states, represents the kind of reporting that inhibits our region's burgeoning recovery.

We have three specific concerns:

* Most local officials would strongly dispute the analysis and conclusions offered by the out-of-state individuals your article cited. The Economic Development Corp., for example, has reported a record number of relocation requests back to the area in recent months.

* The Times itself has documented that the "business flight" problem was overstated in the past, and has markedly slowed down in the last year. You have recently published, for example, a piece on the continued (if surprising) vitality of the post-earthquake San Fernando Valley economy, an article about an Edison study showing that relocations out of the area have slowed considerably and several features on firms that have moved back into Los Angeles. * Statements made by out-of-state officials to the effect that California "has a real problem," that several hundred firms had moved to Arizona and other anti-regional assertions were apparently not challenged adequately by your reporters. There is a growing consensus among nationwide development officials that the kind of business relocation methods detailed in your article do not work.

The problem with such articles is that they needlessly fan the sense of pessimism and defeat that is crippling our indigenous economic activity, and divert investment and global attention from our region's still considerable industrial strengths. While recognizing that The Times must report the news as it happens, it is also incumbent on your newspaper to provide balanced, accurate accounts of critical economic issues facing greater Los Angeles. Unfortunately, and especially in comparison with recent, welcome trends to the contrary, this article fell short of that standard.


Central City Assn. of Los Angeles

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