ECONOMIC ENGINE THAT COULD
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by UCLA and its people contributes billions of dollars to the
local, regional and state economics.
Photo-Illustration by Terry Miura
workday, Yvette Johnson logs 301 miles round-trip commuting to and
from her job. Pfizer Inc. last year sold $1.3 billion worth of Viagra
worldwide. The leading art and architecture bookstore in Los Angeles,
Hennessey & Ingalls, is considering moving from its location
on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade to new digs farther east.
three seemingly disparate facts all have important commonalities:
Each generates a significant economic impact, and each has a connection
Johnson, for example. When she goes shopping at Vons in Yucca Valley,
the closest supermarket to her home in the high desert near Joshua
Tree National Park, she spends money from the paycheck she earns
as an administrative analyst at UCLA's Southern Regional Library
Facility. The people working at Vons are paid with some of that
money and they, in turn, spend it in local restaurants, markets,
gas stations and other businesses.
is just one person, but her spending adds up. Since 1993, when she
moved to her current home, she has commuted roughly the equivalent
of one-and-a-half round-trips to the moon. A portion of that mileage
-- 305,000 miles' worth -- she's driven herself, with the rest by
UCLA vanpool. If Johnson averages 20 miles per gallon of gas, and
over the years gas has cost an average of $1.20 per gallon, she
has spent 18,300 UCLA dollars at the gas station, dollars that then
go to workers, taxes and oil-company shareholders.
at Viagra. The huge profits generated by this drug helped to pay
the salaries of Pfizer employees and boosted the bank accounts of
company stockholders, who then went on to spend their money in ways
that generated even more jobs and investment. Some of the work that
led to the development of Viagra was done at UCLA, by Nobel Laureate
Louis Ignarro (though creating a drug that enhanced men's sexual
function was not the primary focus of his groundbreaking research).
Hennessey & Ingalls? "At the beginning of every school
year," says bookstore manager Robert Barrett, "we do enormous
business with [UCLA] students and faculty who need books and textbooks."
The campus arts library is among the store's five-best customers.
The store is considering moving to Westwood in part because of the
Village's proximity to the enormous market that exists at the university.