Many of our clients are small business owners just like us, so when we received an invite from the United Chamber of Commerce to attend a Business Advocacy Meeting at City Hall we gladly accepted. We were curious to learn more about high priority issues and the current state of the cities finances. We also wanted to speak with state legislators to voice our opinion about concerns shared by our clients.
The diverse panel of speakers consisted of City Attorney Mike Feuer, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Kelli Bernard, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, Public Works Commission President Kevin James, and two local San Fernando Valley Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Paul Krekorian. Throughout the meeting there were several recurring themes, mainly infrastructure projects and public private partnerships. In addition we reviewed an insightful financial overview which tracked improving economic activity in Los Angeles over the past several years, you can view that report here.
New infrastructure projects and repairs are a major expense for the city. It’s no secret that many of our cities streets and sidewalks are in poor condition. The department of Public Works has assigned a letter grade (A through F) to every street in the city. Streets with a grade of D or F require complete replacement at an average cost of about $1 million per mile, and streets graded B or C can be repaired at an average cost of $25 thousand per mile. That’s a lot of money and the city has to budget where and how they spend our limited funds. In addition there are currently 5 separate light rail projects in progress, that’s more than any other city in the nation. The plan is to better connect the valley with the city and eventually reach all the way to LAX, possibly further.
The success of public private partnerships is leading to more opportunities. Many would agree that small businesses and private organizations can operate more efficiently than the government in many cases. That’s just one of many reasons we feel it makes sense for private businesses to be involved in providing certain goods and services to the public. From real estate development to technology several contracts have already been issued and many more are in the works. One of the more interesting projects we heard about is in the early stages of planning and it involves using energy efficient light poles that double as WiFi hotspots to provide free wireless internet to the public. By having businesses and government work together we can share in growing our economy.
While there are still many challenges facing Angelenos today, all in all we see a bright future for our city. If you’d like to discuss these issues or share others that are important to you feel free to contact us directly.