Hey, Mr. Mancuso, the Number Is More Than 84

Immediately following SAG’s vote to denounce the closing of the Motion Picture Home’s Long Term Care Center, the MPTF issued a press release from Frank Mancuso that read, in part: "It would be a disservice to our community to force into bankruptcy this indispensable organization simply because family members of the 84 people living in […]

Last Updated: July 28, 2009 @ 5:41 PM

Immediately following SAG’s vote to denounce the closing of the Motion
Picture Home’s Long Term Care Center, the MPTF issued a press release from
Frank Mancuso that read, in part:

"It would be a disservice to our community to force into bankruptcy this
indispensable organization simply because family members of the 84 people
living in the facility prefer to have them remain there."

What Mr. Mancuso seems to be forgetting is that we would have more than 84 families except for that trifling detail called “transfer trauma.” It’s a bothersome symptom that some feel have claimed more than the expected percentage of those that have died, who were only months ago at home where they belonged.

This is not just about 84 human beings whose lives need to be saved as we speak — it is unfortunately an Industry class struggle and scheme that is as brilliant for its cunning as the authors are ruthless in their disdain for upholding the promise of “Taking Care of Our Own.”

The MPTF Board leadership that has made this decision and is standing by it mostly comprises former and current "studio leaders" who dominate the masses  outside of the soundstages and commissaries. They have found an outlet at the MPTF to continue to exert control over the lives of all Industry workers, this time "to the grave."

This group of vultures conducts its activities and decision-making in secret and is used to answering to no one, save those whose earliest mentors “poured their derision upon everything they did, exposing any weakness however carefully hid.”

Most have wealth of tens of millions of dollars as a safety net for their old age.

Mr. Mancuso states that the Board struggled for years with a way to keep Long Term Care open. If the Board recognized a financial problem with Long Term Care, why didn’t it bring it to the attention of the Industry for five years?

The Board never brought this to the attention of the Industry for years because of a hidden agenda whose code word “successful aging” was rubber-stamped on the dossier that detailed the end of the LTC. Instead of taking care of the most vulnerable, the most sick and handicapped, why is it my perception that the Board decided to bring in a team of hatchet men bent on cleansing the MPTF of the LTC?

How is it conceivable that the Long Term Care Facility — which brings in $10,500 a bed per month, has a charitable tax status, is housed on land and a building owned by the MPTF — has alleged losses of $12 million per year for approximately 100 people? If you lose money on something like this you should be fired — not exalted and given raises.

What are the losses at the new swimming pool and fitness center complex that cost millions, for which a membership is $25 per month? Why would the Board undertake construction activities for an extravagant swimming pool, fitness and wellness center during this period when the LTC was languishing?

Why did the Board give huge increases during this period to its top administrators, including a current salary/benefits package in excess of $750,000 to President David Tillman?

Why did it recently announce a construction campaign to renovate and enhance facilities for Independent and Assisted Living?

Why did it present the closure without prior discussion/input outside of its group, as a final verdict with no possibilities of keeping it open?

Why does it refuse to accept donations or undertake a fund raising campaign to keep Long Term Care open to the Industry?

Mr. Mancuso’s feeble attempt to paint this as a problem caused by the selfish efforts of family members trying to save 84 parents, husbands and wives from leaving Long Term Care is a slap in the face to the lives of these remaining 84 human beings in Long Term Care and to the tens of thousands of hard working Industry workers who have pre-paid for the safety net of Long Term Care at the Motion Picture Home.

The workers in this Industry will not be robbed of their rights and the historical promise created by the founders, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks.

Today 84 families. Tomorrow, who knows?

Our numbers dwindle as more of our parents and loved ones face displacement, eviction and the unsettling feeling of abandonment by the industry that they built so well. Please join us and SAG in standing up for the rights of the elderly residents and the right to a “continnum of care” for motion picture and television industry health care.

Winner of the Los Angeles Press Club's best blog award and a Southern California Journalism Award for his HollyBlogs, as well as an award for the Facebook group that helped to muscle the salvation of long-term care for the motion picture and television industry, Stellar's "vituperative blog on TheWrap" (Vanity Fair) focuses on issues related to the motion picture and entertainment industry. Stellar is founder of The Man/Kind Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to fight religious and cultural intolerance through the arts while building bridges of tolerance for all people. Stellar lives in Woodland Hills, California, with his wife of over 30 years, Nuala, and much too much Beatles memorabilia.