Tilting at Windmills at City Hall

Gary Toebben on September 11, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The position of Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Los Angeles is intended to be a clarion voice. The CAO is not an elected official and reports to both the City Council and the Mayor. The CAO's performance is based on his/her independence, personal integrity and management expertise.

Unfortunately for the citizens of Los Angeles, the CAO is often faced with a mayor or city council that is more interested in politics than policy and chooses to please special interests rather than protecting the interests of the taxpayers. That was never more evident than during the recent City Council committee hearing on the issue of franchising of commercial refuse collection.

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Water Opponents Aim to Deceive Consumers

Gary Toebben on September 4, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Outside forces as far away as Oregon are suddenly concerned about future water rates in Los Angeles. If that sounds strange, well it is. Beware of long standing opponents of statewide water solutions who are now becoming self-anointed guardians of the Los Angeles water ratepayer.

State and federal administrations have made great progress on a proposal to restore in Northern California the Sacramento-San Joaquin Deltaís ailing ecosystem and improve the conveyance of critical water supplies to Southern California, the Bay Area and the Central Valley. Physically separating the movement of the public water supplies from the estuary has emerged as a key part of the solution. The administrations are proposing 35-mile tunnels to transport the water from the Sacramento River to the aqueduct facilities as a way to increase reliability and reintroduce more natural flow patterns in the estuary. arrowRead More

The Need for City of L.A. Pension Reform is Black and White

Gary Toebben on August 28, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council directed Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana to begin work on a new pension tier for new civilian hires. We applaud this action and urge the City Council to create a new tier that will greatly reduce the pension obligations of the City in future years.arrowRead More

CEQA Changes Can Make California Green and Golden

Gary Toebben on August 21, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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California has long been known as the Golden State ó the destination for entrepreneurs and dream-seekers and home to Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Through groundbreaking environmental leadership, we have also earned a reputation as the green state. In 2010, California celebrated the 40th anniversary of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which over the years has contributed to cleaner air, cleaner water and better environmental protection for our communities. 


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The Time for Pension Reform is Now!

Gary Toebben on August 14, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The citizens of California are angry about public pension abuse and largesse. How else can you interpret the overwhelming votes for pension reform in San Diego and San Jose?

In October of last year, Gov. Jerry Brown provided a roadmap for state pension reform that was fair for state employees and for California Taxpayers. The Chamber immediately endorsed the plan. But as the clock runs out on the 2012 legislative session in Sacramento, the State Senate and State Assembly have yet to respond.
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Let's Wave Goodbye to the Gross Receipts Tax and Hello to New Jobs

Gary Toebben on August 7, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The No. 1 tax complaint of businesses in Los Angeles is the gross receipts tax. Statements like "overly burdensome" and "complicated and confusing" are part of every conversation. While the City has enviable assets that represent the foundation for the return to a booming economy, businesses cite the gross receipts tax structure as one of the top reasons for locating or expanding elsewhere.

The City of Los Angeles has the highest gross receipts tax rate in L.A. County and one of the highest in the nation. The tax structure was put in place decades ago when employers were less mobile. In today's 21st Century economy, companies that pay the tax at the highest rate are the most mobile and the easiest to locate outside the city limits or in another state.arrowRead More

Fix LAX Now!

Gary Toebben on July 31, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Raise your right hand if you are embarrassed by the condition of Los Angeles International Airport. Raise your left hand if you have asked the question why and who is responsible.

The City of Los Angeles owns LAX and the mayor and city council are responsible. 

It is appropriate that a new report outlining the options to upgrade LAX was released last Friday; the same day as the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in London. In 1984, when the City of Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympics, LAX was a jewel. Mayor Tom Bradley, the L.A. City Council and citizens of Los Angeles understood that LAX would be the first impression of our city, state and nation for thousands of athletes, news media and visitors from around the world.

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Fighting For Jobs For Our Veterans

Gary Toebben on July 23, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Hiring Our Heroes

While the unemployment rate in California and the U.S. is falling slowly, the unemployment rate among military veterans is still an embarrassment to our nation. Most veterans have a strong work ethic and skills that are easily transferable to a business setting. They are trained in problem solving and working in teams. They do not walk away from a challenging assignment, and along with their spouses they have demonstrated strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

To help match our talented military veterans with companies who are hiring, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is co-sponsoring with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a "Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair" on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. We encourage any business in the Los Angeles area that is hiring to set up a display at the Job Fair. There is no fee for a company or a veteran/spouse to participate.   

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California Must Avert An Earthquake-Created Drought

Gary Toebben on July 17, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Water, cool, clear water. We know we canít live without it. But we seldom think about the possibility that it may not be available when we need it.  

While Los Angeles was founded near a river, early civic and business leaders recognized that our local water resources were limited, and that we could only provide for our growing population by augmenting our local supplies with imported water from distant places. Many other metropolitan areas in the early 20th century such as San Francisco also decided to make major investments in large aqueducts and reservoirs to capture and move water to their growing cities.


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Full Steam Ahead at the Port of Los Angeles

Gary Toebben on July 10, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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This past weekend more than 3,000 people boarded the USS Iowa for its inaugural opening day in San Pedro at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA). When operating at full capacity in 2015, museum organizers expect hundreds of thousands of visitors to flock annually to see the ship that fought in World War II and Korea, hosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt and patrolled the seas during the Cold War. The USS Iowa will serve as an economic boon to the harbor community, bringing tourists from all over to San Pedro and future waterfront developments.arrowRead More