A Major Step Forward on Pension Crisis

Gary Toebben on February 28, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last week, Senate and Assembly Republicans introduced Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reform legislation and called upon all members of the Legislature to work across party lines to enact Gov. Brown's 12-point reform plan. The Chamber applauds this action and leadership.

The growing liability of our current public employee pension system is out of control and cannot be sustained. Gov. Brown’s plan is a blueprint for addressing billions in unfunded state pension obligations and moving our State forward toward full economic recovery. The outcome of Democrats and Republicans working together on this crisis has the potential to benefit all Californians and reduce the fiscal anxiety that citizens and every department of state government currently experiences each year.


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Congress Fiddles While Our Infrastructure Burns

Gary Toebben on February 21, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Imagine as the CEO of a business or the head of a household, that you limited your long-term planning to six months. That’s how Congress has been managing transportation and infrastructure since 2009, when the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act- A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) expired. Eight short-term extensions have only served as a Band-Aid. Repeated delays have hurt our economy, stymied job creation and allowed for the continued deterioration of our nation's roads, highways, bridges and transit.




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Environment and Justice for All

Gary Toebben on February 14, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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There was a seven hour trash stink at L.A. City Hall yesterday as businesses from across the City expressed their anger about a proposal that would give the City the power to select the trash hauler for every business in Los Angeles and set the rates as well.

For the first time in the history of Los Angeles, the City is moving forward with a proposal that will set waste hauling rates for all privately held multi-family and commercial businesses by moving from an open market system to an exclusive franchise selected by the City. Specifically, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works is recommending that the City establish an exclusive franchise for each of the 11 yet to be established waste hauling districts. The proposal will create a costly and contentious bureaucracy for businesses and put the squeeze on small, family-owned waste hauling companies, many of whom have served Los Angeles for generations.arrowRead More

An Investment Worthy of Business Community Action

Gary Toebben on February 7, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The Los Angeles Business Leaders Task Force on Homelessness blueprint, Home For Good, was launched just over a year ago. There is good news to share as well as a big opportunity to take this strategic initiative to end chronic and veteran homeless in Los Angeles County to the next level!

Home For Good is aimed at the 12,000 chronically homeless Angelenos, which includes approximately 1,400 homeless veterans, who have been homeless for more than a year and have serious mental or physical health problems. It is a plan that not only saves tax payer dollars, but has proven successful in cities all over the nation. As a result of the Task Force’s participation in the last two ACCESS Washington, D.C. trips, the feds have renewed faith in Los Angeles and our efforts to solve this terrible blight on our City and our people.


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Fight On To Return the Coliseum to Its Glory Days

Gary Toebben on February 1, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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In 1984, the eyes of the world were watching as Rafer Johnson, decathlon gold medal winner of the 1960 Summer Olympics, made the dramatic climb up thestairs of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to light the torch signifying the start of the XXIII Olympiad. That flame still burns today above the peristyle and reminds us that the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is an icon — representing Angelenos and the best athletes the world has to offer.

The 1984 Olympics will always represent an important piece of Los Angeles history, but since that time the Coliseum has fallen into disrepair. Outdated and lacking the amenities of a modern sports venue, today’s Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is about more than Olympic history — it is also the home of USC Trojan Football.



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ACCESS Washington, D.C. — Your Ticket to a Better Los Angeles

Gary Toebben on January 24, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Last week's announcement that a new federal courthouse for Los Angeles has finally been authorized and funded is the result of a 10-year effort to replace a woefully outdated facility in downtown Los Angeles. We applaud Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and the other members of the Los Angeles Congressional delegation for their persistence on this important project for our judicial system and the Los Angeles economy.

This success points out the importance of the Annual ACCESS Washington, D.C. trip the Chamber, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, other elected officials and partnering business organizations take to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of important projects and legislation to benefit the citizens and economy of our region. This year’s trip is March 5-7, and all members of the Chamber and our partnering organizations are invited to join us in walking the halls of Congress and our nation’s capitol.arrowRead More

Padilla Bill on Redevelopment Agencies Should Be Top L.A. Priority

Gary Toebben on January 17, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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For Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council President Herb Wesson and the members of the Los Angeles City Council, the number one priority for this week should be to rally Speaker John Perez and the other members of the Los Angeles Legislative Delegation to mobilize statewide support for Senator Alex Padilla’s bill SB 659 which would extend the life of Redevelopment Agencies (RDA’s) from Feb. 1 to April 15. Padilla’s bill is not about whether to end RDA’s, that issue has already been decided and the State won.arrowRead More

Community Colleges Poised for Transformative Change

Gary Toebben on January 10, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Yesterday, the California Community College Board of Governors took a monumental step to improve student success across the state community college system by voting unanimously to support a task force report that will make significant changes in the system.

More than 70 percent of all undergraduate college students in California are in the community college system. Yet only about 25 percent of the students seeking degrees, certificate or transfers complete their work. Two years ago the L.A. Area Chamber sponsored a bill — SB 1143, authored by Sen. Carol Liu, which called for the California Community College Board of Governors to establish a task force on how to dramatically improve student success. David Rattray, the Chamber’s senior vice president of Education & Workforce Development, served on that task force.




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2012: Local Economy Poised to Bear Fruit -- Jobs!

Gary Toebben on January 3, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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I am upbeat about the growth of the local economy in 2012. The roots are growing for major job creating projects that could put thousands of family members back to work in large and small businesses across the southland. Fruit trees have been planted to yield an economic recovery that will benefit all Angelenos. Here are some exciting examples.
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Good News for L.A. Students

Gary Toebben on December 20, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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For the students of Los Angeles, holiday presents came early this year. Despite difficult financial times — including California's mid-year budget cuts to education last week — two recent developments show that it is still possible for public institutions to get their act together when addressing the future of our children. arrowRead More