All Aboard Measure J

Gary Toebben on October 30, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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We're speeding toward the future on transportation improvements in L.A. County. The opening of the Orange Line extension to Chatsworth, the construction of the Expo Line to Santa Monica, the Gold Line extension to Azusa, the Crenshaw Transit Corridor project and truck lanes on Interstate 5. Without the passage of Measure R in 2008, none of these projects would have happened as quickly. L.A. County voters passed Measure R to authorize a half-cent sales tax to fund $40 billion in transit and highway projects to relieve congestion, create jobs and improve the environment over 30 years.arrowRead More

L.A.'s Integrity will be Voted on Today

Gary Toebben on October 22, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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I am often asked what the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce means when we say that the City of Los Angeles needs to be more business friendly. On the City Council's agenda today is a blatant example of why Los Angeles has the reputation of being unfriendly to business. The issue is the Walmart Interim Control Ordinance (ICO).  arrowRead More

Stopped Dead on the Runway at LAX

Gary Toebben on October 15, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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Four weeks ago I had a frustrating and embarrassing experience at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that underscores the urgency of modernizing our airport and widening the distance between the two runways on the north airfield.  

My wife and I were flying home from a delightful anniversary trip on an Airbus 380 airplane. After we landed on the north airfield, the pilot brought the plane to a dead stop on the active runway for nearly five minutes. The pilot had no other option because there is no taxiway on which to exit an A380, and another plane was approaching the runway to the left over which we had to cross. I felt like the dead skunk in the middle of the road even though I was sure that air traffic control was aware of the situation and had delayed the flights behind us from landing while we sat on an active runway.  arrowRead More

Stand Up for Business on Oct. 17

Gary Toebben on October 9, 2012 at 12:00:00 am in The Business Perspective 
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It is the state of affairs today that elected officials often make their decisions based on who has the loudest voice or the most supporters in the room. In other words, the perceived risk to a political career often trumps economics and good judgment. To be successful in this environment, you cannot merely have the facts on your side, you must show that you can provide political pressure and have civic impact. That is why I am challenging the business community to join us at ACCESS L.A. City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 17. arrowRead More

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