The special report on L.A.'s nursing crisis (May 15) is an important piece of reporting about a vital area of our local economy in general and our health care in particular.
There was one key area, however, that seemed to be missing, making your special report less than comprehensive: There were no charts or major references to the salary structure of the nursing profession, though there were many references to poor pay and low pay.
I'm sure the nursing societies would have at least provided some charts and ranges, from entry-level to senior skilled nurses, probably in a variety of health areas. While your special report indicates that salary is not the No. 1 problem with the shortage, it certainly would help the readers understand better the role of salary in training and keeping good nurses for a society that is growing older and where health care will play an even bigger role than ever.
LLOYD B. DENNIS
Actors Not So Common
I am writing to express my disagreement with your editorial regarding the current SAG strike ("Lights! Camera! Labor Action!" May 8). I disagree with many of the "facts" and most of the conclusions drawn. However, I truly take exception to the concept that "people who can convey passion for a product in a 30-second video spot are not a scarce commodity."
To demonstrate the difference between professional actors and those looking for a "shot at fame," I would like to suggest an experiment. You can all play along. Pick a paragraph from your newspaper and give it to a few people in your office. Give them five minutes to study it. Ask them to read it aloud to the whole office. How many of them sound as though they are speaking words off the top of their heads? My guess is that they will all sound as though they are reading off a page. I can make it sound as though I just thought up what I am saying. I can make it sound like a person really speaking. I can make it sound as though I believe every word. I am a professional actor.
Wachs Didn't Save theDay
Your May 15 editorial on the new developments proposed for the Staples Center area defines emerging choices for the city, but I fear perpetuates a misunderstanding regarding the center's finances.
You note that Councilman Joel Wachs "almost single-handedly" limited the city's exposure of its subsidies and "prevented the City Council from giving away the store." Lost in those statements is the payment to the developers of $11 million in upfront cash for a guarantee that market-wise was never needed.
The initial plan for the Staples Center called for Los Angeles to spend $70 million and for the arena operators to assume responsibility for all other costs (in excess of $300 million). To meet its obligations, Los Angeles needed $6.8 million in new revenues each year. If the Staples Center held as few as 143 events each year, the city would earn at least $6.8 million in new revenues.
The Lakers and Kings play at least 86 games in the arena, and the Clippers add another 43 dates to the total before concerts and shows. No new arena in a large city has failed to attract less than 145 events. As a result, Los Angeles was positioned to earn a positive return on its investment with or without a guarantee. And now, with the Democratic National Convention coming to Los Angeles, the city is poised to earn even more money.
Recently the media have again picked up on the suggestion that the guarantees provided by the investors saved the city hundreds of millions of dollars. That is an entirely unrealistic proposition. The developer did guarantee the city's investment, but that guarantee cost $11 million. With knowledge of the market potential of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Business Journal should not perpetuate a myth that millions or hundreds of millions of dollars was saved or that the council ever was giving the store away.
MARK S. ROSENTRAUB
School of Public and
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