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SAG’s Harper bows slate

Announcement includes candidates, Web site

Screen Actors Guild presidential candidate Valerie Harper has unveiled an Actors Moving Forward slate including Kent McCord, Elliott Gould, Anne-Marie Johnson, Tom LaGrua and Esai Morales.

Slate was included in the launch of campaign Web site www.actorsmovingforward.org. McCord is running for treasurer, Gould for recording secretary, Johnson for 1st VP, LaGrua for 3rd VP and Morales for 9th VP.

Harper and the five candidates have been approved by SAG’s nominating committee to run for the posts, and all but Morales are current national board members repping Hollywood. The campaign may add additional candidates to the slate for the election, which will take place during the last three weeks of October.

Harper, who is endorsed by current prexy William Daniels, also released details of her platform through the site and promised she will oppose a dues hike. She also backed cost-cutting recommendations contained in last year’s Towers Perrin report, including cutting the size of the board.

Paring back

“Your dues increase two years ago was accompanied by the promise of a professional review of the guild’s business doings,” she said. “We have the report; it’s time to adopt some of its recommendations, starting with paring back the board itself; 107 people can’t agree on anything.”

The question of reducing the board slots has generated an acrimonious debate within the guild for more than a year. Backers of a plan to slim the panel to 62 slots and boost Hollywood’s share to 53% have begun a petition drive to take the issue directly to members; the board has deferred making a final decision three times and set Oct. 13 for its next vote on the issue.

Harper said she supports recent board moves to urge SAG members to work under guild contacts in foreign locations. “This means the actor can tell his employer, ‘Sorry, I can’t sign an ACTRA contract (or a British Equity contract, or an ANDA contract); my union prohibits it.’ ”

Pro-tariff

Harper also backed the recent board vote to seek countervailing tariffs on U.S. producers who obtain subsidies from foreign governments and then import the features and TV programs for the domestic market. “The tariffs would neutralize Canada’s unfair subsidies,” she said.

The thesp said she also will stress contract enforcement and fighting for middle-class actors, a theme sounded by Daniels repeatedly during the recent film-TV contract negotiations.

“I have a vision for SAG, and it is simply to make us the most powerful voice in the entertainment community standing up for actors’ rights,” she said. “Our union needs to be strong and needs to project an undeniably aggressive program that benefits our members.”

Kickoff this weekend

Harper’s kickoff fund-raiser is set for this weekend, to be hosted by negotiating team member Tess Harper. She recently has received endorsements from Greg Louganis, Craig T. Nelson, Frieda Payne, Martin Sheen and Phoebe Snow.

Other candidates for president are Angeltompkins, Eugene Boggs, Melissa Gilbert and Arleen Goman.

Also Wednesday, Gilbert released a letter to Harper proposing that the two arrange a debate on runaway production, nonpayment of residuals and what she termed mismanagement of SAG. Gilbert, whose platform (released last week) blasted Daniels, said those issues are the most important in the campaign.

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