MPTF Decks the Halls With Pink Slips

While fat bonus checks are passed out at studio holiday parties, these 13 will have to explain to their kids why Christmas and Hanukkah sucks this year

Last Updated: December 4, 2009 @ 4:23 PM

It’s much more fun to blog in a state of anxiety, where your fingers start to fly over the keyboard in unison with the beating of your heart and the close proximity to a stroke that dealing with the MPTF can cause.  

I’m in a totally apoplectic state over Thursday’s firings and layoffs at the Motion Picture Home — a scant few weeks before Christmas.

While Katzenberg and the rest of the MPTF board enjoy their private jets to warmer climes, bounties of electronic gadgets under the tree and menorah, and studio holiday parties where fat bonus checks are passed out — those 13 will have to explain to their kids why Christmas and Hanukkah sucks this year.
 
I guess this couldn’t have waited at least a few weeks. Callous acts abound at the Motion Picture Home, so don’t be surprised. We hear about them almost on a daily basis.
 
The little birdies that report back to us on the ‘goings-on’ at the Motion Picture Home may appear cute when they twitter and tweet away, but I assure you — they carry an emotional armament that would make an F-14 Tomcat green with envy. We’re not a violent sort, so we keep the safety on at all times — and being gentle hippies we mean nobody any physical harm.  However in the case of what happened today, the pen may not be mightier than the sword, but it will have to do in a pinch.
 
Of the almost dozen Motion Picture Home workers that were shown the door Thursday, one of them, a male caregiver that is responsible for my mother’s well-being and daily care, along with others — is out on the balls of his ass. Fortunately for him, he’s a skilled and committed caregiver who will find employment elsewhere. Unfortunately for us, we’ve lost a dozen dedicated hallmarks to motion picture and television health care.
 
Unnecessary, futile, careless.
 
I can hear it now — "we simply don’t have the money to keep these people employed."  That lament is stale and past its sell-by date, especially when you consider the important fiscal outlays of late:
 
1. The hiring of a phalanx of private goons that accompany Dr. Tillman around like MIBs at a Roswell press conference. These are highly paid security agents who offer protection to a person who soon will be lancing hemorrhoids in a free clinic off the 118 Fwy.
 
2. The construction of a security perimeter that turns the Motion Picture Home into a veritable military Green Zone. I know things can get pretty dicey out on Mulholland, especially after a lunch of kreplach and corned beef at Labels Table. However, I’ve never known anyone to launch a SCUD from Kinko’s or a Calabasas soccer mom to plow through the meridian in her Hummer yelling JIHAD! at the top of her lungs.
 
3. Let’s not forget Tillman’s exorbitant salary, and the money Seth Ellis spends on making mockumentaries about the nurses and patients. That video will surface one day. The video laughs in the face of patient care, is an atrocity to the motion picture community (just for the very fact that it is so poorly executed) and ends with Ellis and his nursing crew casting the poor patient out into the parking lot. How much did this abortion cost to produce?
 
4. How about fixing that ice machine on the pavilion, Seth? Maintenance seems to be a bit thin lately. The place is starting to have that run down look. I know — why put money into a building that is going to be bulldozed one day.  
 
5. Those empty beds are costing the fund $10,500 per month. Your "Successful Aging" paradigm must be working well if that revenue is not needed. Let’s see how well it’s working when you are unemployed. Our vision is for the LTC to be full, generating the full potential of revenue for 195 beds, and once again a home to the elderly and frail. I’ll send you flowers at Topanga Terrace. I don’t think you’ll qualify here.
 
6.  Lastly, the money that is not being spent on patient care has become painfully obvious.  How much is saved by replacing the higher quality therapeutic transparent sipping cups with paper dixie cups? How can a nurse or her aide see how much liquid is in the cup if it’s not clear? How much is saved by all but closing down the main dining room?
 
This is a season to be thankful. We certainly are — we are still here. Unfortunately, so are they.
 
The good news is that the facility is still open — way past the date it was supposed to be shuttered. The better news is that we are not going to lay down until the promise of the continuum of care and the motto of "we take care of our own" renews the status of the longterm care unit.
 
The staff that remains are committed, involved and steadfast. They love the residents that are there, and they appreciate those who are protective of them. We are committed to their safety and comfort. We are not going to let the down. We are not going to let the industry down.
 
We can’t dig up Lew Wasserman, unfortunately. However, we can bury the current administration that continues to try to re-define the course of motion picture and television healthcare to its detriment.
 
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
 

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.