Governor's Signature Sets Up Measure J Vote on Nov. 6

Gary Toebben on October 3, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Gov. Jerry Brown's signing of AB 1446 (Feuer) this past weekend paved the way for L.A. County voters to cast an historic vote on Nov. 6 in favor of congestion relief, thousands of new jobs and enhanced global competitiveness. Measure J (for Jobs!) will accelerate the projects included in Measure R the half-cent sales tax for transportation that voters approved by a 68 percent margin in 2008. This vote will not increase taxes, but it will extend the current half-cent sales tax an additional 30 years.arrowRead More

The Power to Vote - Register Today

Gary Toebben on September 25, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” 

-  George Jean Nathan


“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

-   Winston Churchill

Today is the first ever National Voter Registration Day. Today we celebrate the power that fuels our democracy and has built a history of prosperity that even now, despite our recent struggles, makes us the envy of the world. Simply put, we have the power to vote. A right still denied so many in the world, a power that others are fighting and dying for around the world.arrowRead More

Avoiding Permanent Carmageddon

Gary Toebben on September 18, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Next week two quintessential Southern California transportation events will occur. Over the weekend, the Carmageddon sequel will occur, shuttering the San Diego Freeway (I-405) through the Sepulveda Pass as part of a $1 billion freeway improvement program. The day prior to the closure, on Friday, Sept. 28, nearly 1,000 transportation leaders from across Southern California will come together in Anaheim for Mobility 21's 11th annual summit. Business and transportation agency officials representing seven counties and 17 million residents will discuss existing and future steps to avoid a permanent Carmageddon and strengthen the Southern California economy. arrowRead More

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 Delta’s 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 — 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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