Finding a Middle Ground When Our Nation Needs It

Gary Toebben on August 2, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The business community applauds the bi-partisan efforts of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for the passage of legislation to raise the national debt ceiling and reduce the federal deficit. These leaders persevered to find the middle ground in a very contentious debate that had the nation wondering if it was still possible to compromise on any issue in Washington, D.C. arrowRead More

Axe the Gross Receipts Tax to Create Jobs and New Tax Revenue

Gary Toebben on July 26, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The City of Los Angeles has the highest gross receipts tax rate of all 88 cities in L.A. County — a distinction that also puts it among the highest of any major city in the United States. This, coupled with the fact that technology now allows businesses to locate almost anywhere, has left the City struggling to attract and retain businesses, jobs and tax revenue.arrowRead More

Releasing the Brake to Move America Fast Forward

Gary Toebben on July 19, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Congratulations to Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on their success this weekend in taking down half of the Mulholland Drive bridge over the 405 Freeway in 17 fewer hours than originally scheduled. The engineers and construction crews in charge of this project made national news, earned our respect and saved the taxpayers' money. Now it's time to focus our collective attention on another big job, securing national support for dozens of other badly needed highway and transit projects in Los Angeles County.arrowRead More

Hijacking the Public Good

Gary Toebben on July 12, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Improvements Taking Off at LAX

Gary Toebben on July 5, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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The new Tom Bradley International Terminal was a source of pride for Los Angeles as we welcomed the world to the 1984 Olympics. That was 27 years ago — enough time for 1 billion passengers to fly in and out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Time also extracted a major toll on the facilities, so did delays caused by lawsuits and a lack of commitment by elected officials. Some observers were convinced that the politics of Los Angeles would doom LAX to third world status forever.
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Change is Slow, but We Are Making Progress

Gary Toebben on June 28, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Anyone with a basic understanding of economics knew long ago where the unsustainable public employee pension system was headed. And last year, City of Los Angeles Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana painted a frightening picture of the severe financial crisis facing the City as the cost of pensions and health care for retirees continue to rise. Despite that, public officials, who were too afraid of public employee union backlash, stuck their heads in the sand.arrowRead More

Building a Smarter Los Angeles

Gary Toebben on June 21, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Los Angeles' business community has been clamoring for citywide development reform for so long that no one remembers what it's like to build a construction project without a sea of red tape. The City of Los Angeles has produced at least 100 reports on development reform in the last 40 years and not a single one of those reports has been fully implemented.

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Pirates of the Internet

Gary Toebben on June 14, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Pirates aren't what they used to be. No longer content with sailing the seven seas, they're now entering
 the open waters of the Internet, searching for new sources of stolen treasure. With a few clicks of a mouse or taps on an iPad, one can find thousands of movies, song recordings and full-featured video games available to download at little to no cost. Sadly, many computer users downloading copyrighted content aren't even aware that they are trafficking in stolen property. 

While a pirate of the Internet might conjure up the image of a mischievous hacker with a gleam in his or her eye, Internet piracy is no laughing matter. With Los Angeles the entertainment capital of the world, we're highly susceptible to feeling the economic effects of piracy. The entertainment industry generates nearly $1.5 trillion, roughly 11 percent of America’s gross domestic product, according to Paramount Pictures COO Frederick Huntsberry. With an estimated 17 percent of Internet traffic infringing on copyrighted material, all Angelenos have a stake in this thievery.  

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California Budget D-Day is Upon Us

Gary Toebben on June 7, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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June 15 is D-Day for the California Legislature. It’s the Constitutional deadline for passing a balanced state budget. And it is an opportunity to pull our State out of the financial and economic morass we find ourselves in today.

Financial deadlines usually force people out of their comfort zones and give them an urgency to act. Gov. Jerry Brown and members of the Legislature should use the June 15 deadline as an opportunity to put a financial workout plan into place for California. arrowRead More

Thanks to the Heroes in Our Community

Gary Toebben on May 31, 2011 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day. Many of us had the day off while thousands of men and women in uniform were on active duty around the world protecting the freedom of our great nation and other people around the world. We owe our freedom and the opportunities we have today to the veterans who have served and protected our nation in the past and to the young men and women who are serving today. arrowRead More