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Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

It’s Long Overdue: Let’s Get Down to Business

In a few of my columns in the past few months I have engaged an issue that has been a sore spot in the business community for several years now the fact that the Valley (especially the portion that is in the city of L.A.) has been losing business to other nearby cities and other states. I’d like to be able to say that there are many factors that are contributing to this and that they are out of the control of everybody locally. But that just isn’t true. There’s really just one reason it’s just too expensive for some companies to do business here. Taxes are high, utilities are high, rents are high, land is high. Their employees’ rents are high and their mortgages are high. Other factors aggravate: public schools are bad, traffic is bad. It takes too long to get permits. You’ve heard it all before ad nauseam. So let’s stop talking about it and try to fix it. That’s why beginning in this issue of the Business Journal we will start a recurring series addressing the problems of business retention in the greater Valley area. “Saving Business in the Valley,” which begins on page 1 in this issue, will I hope overall be an aggressive discussion of the loss of businesses here. What’s really at the heart of the problem? Many businesspeople say it’s politicians both at the city and state level who are responsible for passing anti-business legislation. Others say the City of Los Angeles has become just too big and is therefore dysfunctional. It’s easier for smaller cities to make it easier to do business within their city limits. Well, if all that is true, why do we have to accept it? L.A. is a world-class city and our metropolitan area is the gateway to the Pacific Rim. It’s one of the greatest and most notable places in the world. We have a huge port, incredible academic institutions and a large and very good work force and fantastic weather! In this series we’ll hold our politicians’ feet to the fire. You may think politics has nothing to do with business, but in L.A. our city councilpeople wield tremendous power. They not only make laws that help or hurt businesses but they control little fiefdoms where they set the tone as to whether that particular locale is business friendly or not. We’re going to request interviews with all our Valley L.A. councilpeople and ask them point blank what they are doing to promote and retain business in their district. We want specifics. Specific projects, specific legislation etc. If they don’t talk to us, we’ll write about that. If they evade questions, it will be obvious to the reader that they have few pro-business accomplishments to cite. The series will also examine that dysfunctional city bureaucracy that is so often blamed for making things less than business friendly. We’ll also take a look at what businesspeople are looking for to make it work in our area and I believe it can work. We’ll also take a look at what works in other areas that attract businesses. Give me your thoughts on how we can best approach this. Story ideas are appreciated. We will be doing this periodically for many months to come. It’s an issue that just doesn’t go away. Business Journal Editor Jason Schaff can be reached at (818) 316-3125 or at [email protected] .

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