Los Angeles Business Journal

Getting L.A.’s Economy Moving

Op-Ed Projects at LAX, local ports and Convention Center could work to improve region’s job picture. By Russell Goldsmith and Michael Kelly Monday, December 10, 2012

• The BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific want to invest $1 billion in private funds to build out rail facilities to expedite the movement of containerized cargo and other freight from the port.

• LAX must move its north runway to accommodate today’s aircraft, improve all terminals, and connect its travelers and workers to L.A. Metro’s public transportation system.

Further delays will come at the expense of thousands of middle-class jobs, the environment, increased tourism and trade activity, and a better quality of life for all our residents, especially those who use LAX. It is time for our airport and port commissioners, the City Council, county supervisors and the mayor to green-light these projects in the best interests of Southern California’s 15 million residents and LAX’s neighbors.

Bring new leadership to the Los Angeles Convention Center to grow valuable business travel and tourism in Los Angeles.

With the commitment of AEG, city leaders took a major step in approving Farmers Field and a $350 million commitment to further develop the Los Angeles Convention Center and Downtown Event Center Project. This should serve as a catalyst to change the Convention Center’s leadership structure and put in place industry experts who will implement more effective management, operations and marketing efforts. Los Angeles should be a top-tier convention destination. Convention business can and will generate millions more in business and tax revenues, attract billions in private-sector investment in new hotels, restaurants and stores downtown, and create thousands of middle-class jobs. Bolder management is required – to match the energy of L.A. Live.

Develop a new consolidated and proactive office for economic development for the city.

The city of L.A.’s more than a dozen economic development programs should be consolidated into one office. New York and Chicago both have established offices that provide entrepreneurs, and the business and entertainment communities with a one-stop center offering financial guidance, incentives, and the ability to cut through red tape and bureaucracy. A proactive fully committed economic development team is needed to generate jobs and attractive and retain businesses.

Los Angeles has always represented the best America represents and can be. As the upcoming mayoral and City Council campaigns ramp up, the time is now for civic leaders and the public to push the incumbents to get these long-delayed and much needed projects fully under way. Let’s also use this election to select new leaders who will commit to fostering economic growth as they lead Los Angeles in the 21st century economy. 

Russell Goldsmith is chairman and chief executive of City National Bank and chairman of the L.A. Coalition for the Economy & Jobs. Michael Kelly is executive director of the coalition.

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