Considering the floods, fires, earthquakes and mudslides that have dominated our lives lately, I'd have to agree with Jim Hansen that Angelenos need a sense of humor ("Around the South Bay," Jan. 26).
We have a lot of reasons to smile about the L.A. economy, and that's why I was so surprised at the focus of El Segundo's recent campaign to attract business.
Capitalizing on L.A.'s perceived weaknesses only hurts the entire regional economy--the 11th richest in the world. As Southern California strives to recover from so many recent disasters and successfully restructures its economy, the city of El Segundo shouldn't forget we are all in this together. We need to build on one another's strengths, not tear each other down.
Whatever businesses El Segundo will be able to attract with this campaign will undoubtedly rely on LAX and the ports for distribution, the workers will reside in Los Angeles (and relax at the local beaches), and their products and services will be targeted at the 15 million people who call our region home.
Although the defense and aerospace industries no longer run our economy, their loss will not break the backbone of this region. Los Angeles has already restructured its economy to include the growing fields of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, international trade, information technology, telecommunications and dozens of 21st-Century businesses. We are still the entertainment leader of the world.
If the advertising copywriters are successful in attracting attention to El Segundo's business-generating campaign, at what price? We don't need any more negative messages about Los Angeles originated from our own back yard. It only encourages further "L.A. bashing," and negative images hurt us all.
I plan on inviting Mr. Hansen to work with our organization and others that are devoting millions of dollars and countless hours to promoting this region as a good place to live and work.
STEPHAN D. SMITH
Smith is chairman of the Economic Development Committee for the Central City Assn. of Los Angeles.