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Eco-Liberals Saw Job Force as 'Evil Empire'

James Hirsen By Monday, 16 April 2012 10:11 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

At a time when both the nation and the state of California are in dire need of an economic boost, George Lucas came up with an entertainment business plan that included the creation of hundreds of jobs.

Unfortunately, the employment enhancing idea that Lucas was contemplating involved building a complex, which was to be located in the liberal bastion of Marin County, California, a community just north of San Francisco.

George Lucas (R) saw himself as a force for jobs, but environmentalists treated his Lucasfilm as an 'evil empire.'
(AP Image)
The “Star Wars” filmmaker had been seeking to undergo a significant expansion of his media enterprise, Lucasfilm, in the form of a 269,000-square-foot entertainment complex that was to include a 51-foot-tall mission-style compound with two 85-foot towers, two indoor sound stages, and a large outdoor stage. Screening rooms, guest housing, a general store, and an employee cafeteria were also potentially in the works.

Now, courtesy of the environmentalists in the Marin area, the would-be Lucas jobs are headed elsewhere, along with all of the tax revenue that would have been generated.

Lucasfilm had planned to start construction of the production facility in 2013. However, some homeowners decided to join forces with environmentalists to stop the expansion.

Sympathetic to eco-concerns, Lucas’s company assured those who were opposed to the project that open space would be preserved and steps would be taken to minimize any adverse environmental impact.

Lucasfilm’s approach to the environment was apparently good enough for the Marin County planning commission that unanimously approved the new expansion back in February. Opponents, though, appealed the planning commission’s decision and in March took it to the county Board of Supervisors.

For Lucas, the appeal had evidently been the last straw, and he would no longer be delayed. Lucasfilm announced that it would take its project, along with the jobs that would have been produced, to a place other than the Lucas Valley, which for three decades has been home to what is known as the Skywalker Ranch.

“The level of bitterness and anger expressed by the homeowners in Lucas Valley has convinced us that, even if we were to spend more time and acquire the necessary approvals, we would not be able to maintain a constructive relationship with our neighbors,” Lucasfilm indicated in a statement.

The emotion described in the company’s announcement apparently goes both directions. Not only did Lucasfilm pull the project away from Marin, it intends to sell the historic farmland to a developer interested in constructing low-income housing, a use that the disgruntled residents of Marin are unlikely to appreciate.

“We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough,” the company revealed.

The statement went on to say that the company is seeking to locate in a community that will appreciate the economic benefits that Lucasfilm brings.

“We have several opportunities to build the production stages in communities that see us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire,” the statement read.

Lucas and his company have concisely stated what all entrepreneurs inherently understand: Viewing business expansion as a creative asset as opposed to an evil entity is beneficial for the jobs market as well as the general economy.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen —
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Monday, 16 April 2012 10:11 AM
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