Re "Film Firms Object to Donation Requests," Jan. 20: When Councilman Eric Garcetti asks for a $10,000 donation to conduct a traffic study before he will allow a film company to shoot in his district, he is doing his part to take jobs away from the hard-working people who are the backbone of the film industry: technicians, gaffers, camera operators, set decorators, etc. The problem of runaway production has never been fully understood by the state or local government.
There are hundreds of people employed on a film crew beyond the stars who make multimillion-dollar salaries or the producers making a huge profit on the back end. The members of the crew are hardest hit; they are the ones struggling to get enough hours to hang on to their health coverage and pay their mortgages. The Canadian government makes it easy for film companies to shoot there, with tax breaks and other incentives. Here in L.A., on top of huge fees for permits, we have City Council members asking for yet more money before a production can proceed. What does Garcetti think the consequences will be? Next time, that company will shoot in Vancouver or Toronto and take Harrison Ford with them. The grip with three kids in Reseda, trying to hang on to his house, will pay the price.
The thought of our elected officials, especially former Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, "shaking down" movie producers to obtain donations to favored causes before assisting in obtaining filming permits is outrageous. And now her successor is continuing the tradition. Is it any wonder that people are cynical about politics and rank politicians one rung above used-car dealers?
Daniel J. Fink
As a freelance worker in the film industry whose livelihood has been negatively affected by runaway production, it's disheartening to read of the demands by local politicians in the name of charity. Why not call it what it is: bribery.
What's never mentioned in articles about film production in L.A. is that street closures and traffic rerouting can strand bus riders at their stops with no warning. The nearest alternate bus stop could be blocks away. Can't film companies notify the MTA about production plans so that it can plan to keep transportation available? Bus riders would be grateful.