Why settle for ‘second unit’ status?

To the editor:

I’ve been reading about filmmaking in Las Vegas. According to your newspaper, things are booming. There are feature films being shot here all the time — around 40 last year.

This is all true. There’s one problem, though. There is no film production facility here in Las Vegas — make that Nevada.

Sure, there are production companies with insert stages, but there are no real sound stages. And, unlike in most states, there’s no current film incentive package for Nevada.

Las Vegas is used as a backdrop for filmmaking. The television drama “CSI” comes into town for a couple of days now and then for background shots. Then it’s off to Los Angeles for the real filming. The same for the TV series “Las Vegas.” Don’t forget “Ocean’s 11,” “Ocean’s 13,” “Miss Congeniality 2” and others. The bulk of shooting is done elsewhere — usually Los Angeles, where the facilities are.

Many years ago, Canada had the same problem. Their cities were used only for location shooting, even with the rate of currency exchange being in their favor. Not until the Canadians introduced some incentive programs and built their first film production facility in the early 1990s did they begin to reap the benefits of filmmaking. Now Canada has a multibillion-dollar-a-year film industry.

New Mexico, like Nevada, was a location destination — filmmakers came to New Mexico for the look. New Mexico has been very aggressive in trying to lure more filmmaking, and lawmakers have produced one of the better incentive packages in the nation. New Mexico brought in close to $600 million last year.

Nevada is currently working on an incentive package for filmmakers that might pass the Legislature this year. By the way, Nevada brought in around $14.3 million last year from feature filmmaking.

This year, New Mexico is building four more sound stages for its film production center. Sony Pictures plans to move a considerable chunk of its work to Albuquerque. Lions Gate Entertainment is building a $15 million production center in Albuquerque.

But there’s nothing for Las Vegas. What’s wrong with this picture?

TOM LEWIS

LAS VEGAS

Private industry

To the editor:

The current controversy pitting Gov. Jim Gibbons against Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority demonstrates a major problem in politics today. Often our officials forget just whom they were elected and appointed to represent.

The governor wants hotel room taxes used for road projects, while the mayor and the convention authority want that money used to bolster our tourism economy.

Nowhere is it written that our mayor or the members of the convention authority board were elected or appointed to represent the tourists or big gaming interests, though to many of us that’s who they appear to serve first.

Before the first dollar of our state revenues is spent on the promotion of tourism, it should be spent on education and the state’s failing infrastructure.

Tourism in Nevada is the last place our tax dollars should be spent.

Tourism, while our state’s major industry, is a private industry run by international corporations and wealthy individuals who have no right or claim to the people’s tax revenues.

Tourism in Nevada is a self-sustaining, self-perpetuating entity. Why should you and I be responsible for bringing tourists to the state? If that were the case, why couldn’t the auto dealers of Nevada demand that their interests be funded by state and city tax revenues?

Such an attitude is political hubris at its worst.

I applaud the governor in his attempts to attend to the business of state governance. Both he and the mayor are our employees, not independent royals who answer only to themselves.

If our elected officials would simply remember who they were elected to represent, political battles such as the current one would simply cease to exist.

JACK L. KANE

LAS VEGAS

The Bible says …

To the editor:

In defending Jerry Falwell’s intolerance, Review-Journal columnist J.C. Watts wrote, “Secular folks say that people like Falwell are being ‘judgmental.’ Scripture is black and white. It’s not judgmental, it’s objectively righteous.”

It would be interesting to see how Mr. Watts’ enslaved ancestors felt about the objective righteousness of 1 Timothy 6:1: “Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor.”

JON M. TILLEY

HENDERSON

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