Showbizreporting's Blog

July 6, 2010

Industry Wife and Mother Speaks Out

Subject: An Industry Wife and Mother Speaks Out
This message is from our own Pat Alexander – wife of DGA member Hal Alexander who is a resident at the Motion Picture Home’s Long Term Care unit. Please give this a read and then share your feelings in the comment section on The Wrap. There’s a link at the end. – Richard


Two years ago this September, shortly after our 57th anniversary, I admitted my husband Hal Alexander to the Motion Picture Home’s Long Term Care center.

Hal is a past member of AFTRA, SAG, Actor’s Equity, and to this day is a dues paying member in good standing of the DGA. Having been a volunteer at the Fund for 38 years, I knew that this was the only facility for my husband to convalesce and spend the rest of his days. After all, that was the assurance that I received when Hal was admitted.

No matter what your role in the entertainment industry, you were given star treatment if you were a resident. It was no different for my husband. Until lately.

It should be added that when Hal was admitted to the Fund, the wheels were already turning to close down the Long Term Care unit. It is shameful that this man who gave his life to the industry and fathered three upstanding industry professionals was misled and lied to. Now they want us to foster an environment in the home for care for those they want to wash their hands of.

I had tried to care for Hal in my home. Hal had fallen ill and needed 24-hour care. Care was not only costly, but hardly affordable at nearly $1,000 per week. The strangers that would come into my home to care for my husband created anxiety and mistrust. They were not of the caliber of Hal’s caregivers today.

Since the MPTF was the charity that was first in line when we had extra money to donate, they stepped up to the plate and relieved me and our children of the stress of trying to fulfill an impossible task in caring for Hal at home. Nothing was as impressive as the level of care that greeted my husband for a short time after he was admitted.

It’s all changed now.

The Fund is tearing the people in Long Term Care and their families to pieces. Stop this! Stop this!! Stop this!!! You may as well just put these tragic people in a crematorium and get rid of them quickly. Scatter their ashes in all of the sub-standard long term care facilities that you have pushed others in our industry to. Having done that, you would be free to do what you want with the Long Term Care and Acute Care units and you won’t be killing us, little by little, bit by bit.

It will be over quickly and we can go home and cry. As many of us who are able to pick up the pieces and carry on, we will never forget and never forgive you. More importantly, none of you will be able to forgive yourselves.

Personally, I’ll never forget the day when the handwriting was on the wall, and it was time for me to leave as a volunteer. Because I stood up for the promise that was made to my husband and the then nearly 130 other residents, I was told that I had to make a choice, that my services as a volunteer were no longer needed if I intended to fight for my husband and for long term care to stay open.

I’m not comfortable that people today who care for our beloved family members and friends cannot talk honestly and say what is in their heart without being censored and threatened. I will not let them negate my 38 years of volunteer service, nor my commitment to my husband, my immediate family, and my extended family -– those whose loved ones depend on the promise of “we take care of our own.”

Please comment:

http://www.facebook.com/l/13146PHFpsY7nZtw-uU84x0ynuA;www.thewrap.com/node/18908

June 2, 2009

The End of the Motion Picture Home (MAR. 29, 2009)

From the Los Angeles Times
Opinion
The end of the ‘motion picture home’
The impending shutdown of the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s facility is shattering lives — including my husband’s.
By Jill Schary Robinson

March 29, 2009

Ten years after my husband, Stuart, was told he had Parkinson’s disease, he began to speak less often, and what he had to say was intriguing but not always clear. He dozed off frequently, fell down the stairs of our London home and stopped eating. “He needs to be in a nursing home,” I was told.

 

On hearing the news, my son, who’s in the film business, urged me to return to Los Angeles. “I can get him into the ‘motion picture home,’ ” he assured me.

Last year, when my English-born husband moved into the home, it was filled with light and brisk energy. A lively variety of wheelchairs whizzed by in the halls, the riders nodding to each other. In the activity rooms, residents watched TV, sat at tables and played word games or bingo or poker. They’d drink tea and chat, or drowse near wide windows with views of the great mountains across the Valley. When Stuart missed his London parks, I could wheel him out into the gardens, past the topiary trees, gazebos and camellia bushes.

The motion picture home was a prototype for what a nursing home should be. The people who worked there were as inventive in their care as the residents had once been in creating stories for the screen. They tailored their care to the needs of the residents. Stuart was helped to listen to his jazz CDs through the day. A woman who hated to see people without “her face” got made up every morning. Another got help with her wigs, including the curly ash blond one she saved for Sundays.

It all seemed perfect. And then in January, the residents and their families received letters saying the Motion Picture & Television Fund could no longer afford to keep the long-term unit of the home going. We suggested ideas, including a fundraising drive. But the decision was final. Now the residents are scrambling to make other arrangements.

Stuart knows (usually) that he will be leaving, and he sometimes cries and grips my hands. “You may not find me tomorrow, they’re taking me away. And you won’t know where I am.” I hold him close and try to reassure him. “I will always find you.”

People are intrigued by stories about self-absorbed celebrities, driven by a quest for fame and willing to step on anyone in their way. But at its core, Hollywood has always been a place of deep loyalty. The actors and writers and directors, the people who are the most visible and best paid, know how much they depend on the construction artisans, stunt workers, electricians, stagehands and sound technicians. The motion picture home was a pledge on the part of the industry that all its family would be taken care of. Now that pledge has been broken.

Since news of the closure broke, an air of attrition has developed at the home. When I speak to the staff, they are frightened and concerned not only for their jobs but for the people they care for. On the second floor, where Stuart is, 20 people have left; several have died. The Motion Picture & Television Fund has requested a suspension of its acute-care license from the date of final closure, which is expected to be in October. Even though no one has been given official notice, there’s a sense of urgency to get people out.

One day recently, as I was running down the hall to meet Stuart, I saw that two more rooms had been emptied. A lively red-haired woman in an electric wheelchair seemed defeated. “You can’t stop them. We’ll all have to go. It’s done.”

But some residents continue to resist. A lively electrician in a wheelchair approached me during the same visit. “They can’t make me leave. I paid my dues every month of my life to be here. I’m staying.”

The leading lady who has the room next to Stuart packed up and left a few weeks ago. But she was soon back. Her daughter hated the new place and asked for more time. The mother was happy to be back. When I saw her soon after her return, she lifted her long neck, sat up straight in her wheelchair and tossed her white page-boy hair: “I’m not going anywhere.” She has now been moved again.

Stuart likes to go down to the cafe for an ice cream bar in the middle of the afternoon. Even when it is closed, someone there always makes sure he gets his favorite Haagen-Dazs bar. On the way back to his room last week, we stopped in the lobby. A woman I know was there with her husband, Hal. During our chatting, Hal barked to his wife and to me, “Tone it down!”

Stuart liked that. As we left, he reached out and shook Hal’s hand. “I like that man. Do you think he will still be here tomorrow?”

“Yes,” I said. “Just ask to see Hal.”

I’ve realized lately that for some of us, the fight is part of a larger battle. We want the story to have a happy ending, like the movies we loved. Like the movies these people made.

To close the home is to turn our backs on our own futures. We will be that old. We will have infirmities. We will need care. And we will want it in a place that recognizes and attends to our talents, our quirks, our fears.

On one recent visit, my husband was sitting in the hall, watching the action, when I arrived at his side. He reached out for me. “Where have you been?” he asked. “I wrote a poem.” It began:

Life still owes me those years I’ve forgotten.

Years of life, experiences and learning and loving and loss.

Endgame. Joy and pain.

Where are those days … first school days, kisses, books, terrors?

Have those days built another life/ another me/another wife?

Another stranger?

Jill Schary Robinson is a journalist and the author of nine books. She runs writers workshops and is working on a novel about her father’s first year at the helm of MGM.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-robinson29-2009mar29,0,4158864.story
———————————————————————

Save the Motion Picture Hospital Update!!! (MAR. 29, 2009)

Hi everyone –

It’s been awhile since I’ve bugged you and added to your already burgeoning Inbox, rife with the odd chat request, Hearty Jars of Sauerkraut, and loving comments on your status.

The past week has been a contentious one. The corridors of the Motion Picture Home, once lively and full of smiles for friend and stranger alike – are now reminiscent of the halls of the Pentagon during the Cold War Crisis.

My understanding is that the staff and volunteers have been muzzled – some shown the door for merely expressing an opinion of support to the residents and their families and supporters. The Guest Book at http://www.savingthelivesofourown.org has served as a platform for venting, and makes interesting reading as you pierce the corporate veil of what is really happening at the Motion Picture Home.

The rabbi, once an affable and considerate man, has reportedly fled, leaving the building one day like Elvis after the dinner show at the Las Vegas Hilton, unable to deal with the comments from once loving and appreciative family members who are now expressing their disappointment in him.

I personally am extremely disappointed in him. Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg has the power to turn this process around. I know where his heart lies, and just wish his balls were as big. It’s not too late Rabbi. But, one day it might be – and you will be caste with the rest of the cast when the truth sees the light of day.

On a sunny note – I along with everyone involved with the legal action helmed by the great law firm Girardi-Keese, are awaiting words of encouragement. As you might know, or read – Richard Verrier of the Los Angeles Times reported that the Board said it would not be issuing ‘eviction notices’. We also heard that there may be other developments that would open the door to alternative plans that keeps doors open instead of closed.

Cross your fingers that we get good news this week.

Again, we need a heavy hitter – an A-lister that is not subservient to Katzenberg and crew. A major domo who can come out vocally for us and get the attention of the world.

This is an issue that effects the future of healthcare for the entire Motion Picture and Television Industry. Don’t think that it will end with the elderly and infirm residents. I’m speaking to you, Mr. Douglas – Harry’s Haven I feel will be next. And I’m not the only one who feels this. Look into the truth behind the financials as uncovered by Andrew Gumble on the pages of The Wrap.

Everyone needs to see this op/ed piece by Jell Schary Robinson. It sums up the need for your participation better than any of my ramblings:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-robinson29-2009mar29,0,4158864.story

Best,

Richard Stellar
 

SPECIAL EVENT FOR MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION INDUSTRY (Mar. 9, 2009)


If you are a member of the professional film and television industry, are members of the press, publicists, or families and loved ones of the residents of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Care Facility, we cordially invite you to a special event:

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD (SAG) SENIORS COMMITTEE
IN CONJUNCTION WITH
FAMILIES OF SAVING THE LIVES OF OUR OWN

INVITE YOU TO AN EVENING
OF AWARENESS AND SUPPORT
FOR THE RESIDENTS OF LONG TERM CARE
AND CAMPUS RESIDENTS OF THE MOTION PICTURE
and TELEVISION FUND
TO SCREEN AN IMPORTANT FILM

MAN IN THE CHAIR
A Michael Schroder Film
Starring CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

SUNDAY, MARCH 15
5:30 pm Celebrity Reception
Film starts at 6:30 pm.

FINE ARTS THEATRE
8556 WILSHIRE BLVD.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90211
(310) 360-0455

Please RSVP on facebook,
or contact Richard Stellar (richard@richardstellar.com) for your
invitation and one-click RSVP instructions.

or e-mail events@savingthelivesofourown.org

THIS IS A CRUCIAL EVENT OF AWARENESS AND INFORMATION REGARDING OUR ACTIONS TO KEEP THE ELDERLY AND INFIRM IN PLACE, WHERE THEY BELONG.

For more information:

http://www.savingthelivesofourown.org/screening_invite.html 

A FEW WORDS ON OUR CASE (MAR. 3, 2009)

Hi everyone

Our principals have been working diligently with Girardi – Keese. I’ve been authorized to give you the following message:

“To all concerned, we are working closely with the lawyers on a daily basis. Diligent efforts are underway to secure our goals.
It is important to get your paperwork to Girardi & Keese, 1126 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017-1904, ASAP. …and be sure to tune into Tom Girardi’s radio show CHAMPIONS OF JUSTICE ! Airing every Saturday at 5:00 pm on KRLA 870 AM.

Now, don’t start raging. Those of you who are part of the action, with relatives and loved ones that are involved, you are invited to e-mail legal@savingthelivesofourown.org with your questions. By e-mailing, you’ll be able to receive confidential news regarding the legal action that would be ludicrous to send out to everyone on facebook.

Thanks,

Richard

HELP – NEED A THEATER FOR IMPORTANT MPTF FAMILY SCREENING (MAR. 3, 2009)


WE ARE IN NEED OF A THEATER TO SCREEN THE MOVIE “THE MAN IN THE CHAIR” AS AN AWARENESS EVENT. WE HAVE CELEBRITIES LINED UP TO SPEAK ON THE MPTF.

THE DGA THEATER WANTS ALMOST $3500 FOR A 150 SEAT THEATER WHICH IS INTERESTING, BECAUSE OUR GOAL IS TO SUPPORT THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE FOR THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY. THANKS DGA!!. IF ANYONE SUPERIOR TO TIM WEBBER WANTS TO STEP UP AND STEP IN, PLEASE HELP US.

IF ANYONE HAS ANY PULL WITH THE FOLLOWING THEATERS, PLEASE CONTACT ME:

THE FINE ARTS IN BEVERLY HILLS

TV ACADEMY ON LANKERSHIM IN NOHO

LINWOOD DUNN THEATER AT THE PICKFORD CENTER IN HOLLYWOOD

OR ANY ALTERNATIVE.

WE ARE HOPING THAT WE CAN GET IN THE WEEKEND OF MARCH 14, BUT ARE NOT LOCKED IN. EVERYONE WILL BE INVITED TO SEE THIS EXCEPTIONAL FILM WITH CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY MICHAEL SCHROEDER.

—–

So, if you know someone who knows someone – please e-mail me at: richard@interstellar9.com
—–

Thanks,

Richard

THE WRAP: MPTF Consultants Gone Wild

The Wrap: MPTF Consultants Gone Wild

 By Andrew Gumbel

An interesting tidbit I’ve just excavated from the audited accounts and tax returns of the Motion Picture and Television Fund: The troubled entertainment industry retirement home and medical network spends close to $20 million a year on what it describes as “professional fees.”
 

That’s a whole lot of money. It’s money that simply does not appear in the accounts of a comparable not-for-profit full-service retirement community in the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging. (The JHA’s official accounts itemize money for lawyers and accountants and a professional fundraiser, but no other significant professional services.) In fact, it’s enough on its own to cover the gaping deficit the MPTF says has motivated the decision to close down its hospital and long-term care nursing home.

So what are these fees? (You can see the exact audit figures for 2006 and 2007 here.) They have nothing to do with employee payroll, which accounts for close to $60 million annually according to the last available figures. One can only conclude, absent any other explanation, that they go to outside consultants.

 

Now, some of that money — about $5.5 million according to the Fund’s tax returns — goes to pay the hundreds of doctors within the MPTF network who are not direct employees. But what about the $1.1 million listed in the 2007 tax return as “consulting fees”? Or the stunning $13.7 million listed as “management fees”?

 

I’m told by an inside source that at least some of that money went to the Camden Group, the private medical consultancy whose reports paved the way for the decision to close the nursing home and hospital. (Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Fund’s chief fundraiser, told me the MPTF also calls on other consultants, though he did not name them.)

 

Camden has made many other cost-cutting recommendations down the years, but one has to wonder if the advice is really worth the high price tag. As my source, an MPTF employee privy to management decision-making, put it: “I’m sure they pay Camden a hell of a lot more than they save based on what Camden tells them.”

 

And another point. David Tillman, the MPTF’s chief executive, earns around $600,000 a year. If Camden and, perhaps, other consultants, are sucking up all this money and essentially laying out the key executive decisions, how can Dr. Tillman justify his already over-inflated salary? (Molly Forrest, his counterpart at the Jewish Home, earned 35 per cent less than he did in 2007, according to tax filings, and hired no outside management consultants at all.)

 

Ordinarily, I would ask the MPTF for an explanation of the figures and a response to my source’s points. But the MPTF has decided, in its wisdom, to suspend all contact with me. Any time they want to change their minds and explain these apparent peculiarities, I would of course be all ears.


Link to the Article: 
http://www.thewrap.com/ind-column/1607

Daniel Quinn (Feb. 19, 2009)

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 4:08 pm
Tags: ,

Daniel Quinn is one of the principal organizers of our movement to stop the closure of the MPTF hospital and long term care facility. He’s also an actor. His mother, like mine, will be affected by the eviction. Daniel probably works harder than anyone to marshal our troops, create the strategy of our cause along with principals Nancy Biederman and Andy Suser.

Last night Daniel responded to one of the many lame excuses someone had for not being at the rally at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday, Feb. 21. I’m paraphrasing, but his words are better than mine: “Hey everyone this is a time to stop making excuses and drop whatever it is you’re doing and get your butts and make it over to the Beverly Hills Hotel at 5:30 Saturday night and represent all of the Residents that are counting on us to fight for them. This isn’t a case of the dog eating your homework. This is about humane life. MPTF social workers are putting on a full court press. Today they were hustling harder than ever to get Residents to fade out the door. To QUIT and LEAVE. Family members must know that this is a critical event. If you have a transportation problem reach out and call someone within our network and get a ride. Those of you who know me can get in touch with me and I will help make it possible for you to attend. It’s ONLY 2 hours out of your life for Gods sake. If you are out of town or on your deathbed, call a friend and have them come to honor these Residents on your behalf.” SO AGAIN, PLEASE – R.S.V.P. THAT YOU WILL INDEED BE ABLE TO STAND WITH US. THIS IS ABOUT YOUR FUTURE. THIS IS ABOUT OUR PARENTS AND LOVED ONES WHO ARE TOO OLD AND FEEBLE TO FIGHT FOR THEMSELVES. THIS IS ABOUT A BROKEN PROMISE MADE BY THE MPTF TO THEM. THIS IS ABOUT LIFE AND DEATH. THIS IS ABOUT THE JOBS OF 100’S OF THE FINEST CAREGIVERS IN THE FREAKING INDUSTRY. THIS IS ABOUT THE INDUSTRY. YOUR INDUSTRY. If you need a ride and you are in the West Valley, call me – 213-369-1097. I can take 4 people. Prepare to arrive a bit early though. Thanks, Richard

Saving the Lives Of Our Own Rally (Feb. 18, 2009)

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Saving the Lives Of Our Own Rally

  • Feb. 18th, 2009 at 9:55 AM

  • [info]katarinamills

    Imagine the obscured faces of MPTF Board Members and industry icons alike as they limo past our well-dressed group’s rally on their way up the Beverly Hills Hotel driveway to “The Night Before” fundraiser.

    Limo windows may hide their piqued interest and embarrassed glances at those riding with them: husbands, wives, arm candy. Yet our message will hit home, and make them think twice about the motives of the board, and the message of the fundraiser they are about to engage in.

    This Saturday, we need your support and your presence.

    At 5:30 we will assemble outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, dressed neatly in black and white, holding professionally prepared signs. Our flashlights will illuminate them, as we demonstrate to keep the long term care facility and hospital open.

    This rally isn’t important – it’s imperative. Please make plans to be there, or change plans to be there.

    When: Saturday February 21, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
    Where: Beverly Hills Hotel, Sunset Blvd. and Crescent Dr. (park on side streets courtesy of Beverly Hills Police Dept. – they say it’s cool).
    Attire: Please dress neatly in black and white – bring a small flashlight.

    PROFESSIONAL SIGNAGE WILL BE PROVIDED.

    Please link this on your facebook pages. Our goal: 1000

    http://www.savingthelivesofourown.org/022109.html

    Speaker Needed!!!!

    Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 3:51 pm
    Tags: ,

    SPEAKER NEEDED!!!!

    For those of you in the motion picture and television industry who ‘knows someone who knows someone’ – this plea is meant for you. Please direct that person who has the ear and/or heart of a hard-hitting, major personality or industry icon to view the following video:

    Closing The Home was created by Dean & Katherine Butler in an effort to preserve the promise of MPTF Long Term Care for present and future generations and in gratitude for the life affirming care that their family member has received there for the past three years.

    We need an A-lister to take on our cause and speak out on our behalf. If you know of anyone who has the balls to stand up to the Motion Picture and Television Fund board, please – please get to that person and then get to me.

    We are at a pivotal point in so many ways, but have yet to get the major players to sign on with us.

    We feel it’s because they don’t know. This video should sway a lot to what the truth is.

    You can be a real hero in this fight. The lives and future of 130+ elderly and infirm, as well as the jobs of hundreds of the best care givers in skilled nursing are dependent on what we do.

    Thanks and please sign on for the rally on Feb. 21.

    Richard Stellar

    richard@interstellar9.com
    all confidences are kept – VAULT!

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