Steps Toward Cityhood May 1996

Valley VOTE formed to organize secession drive.

October 1997

Legislation passed and signed into law allowing Valley secessionists to undertake petition drive.

May 1998

Petition drive begins.

March 1999

Local Agency Formation Commission verifies that enough valid signatures were collected to warrant economic study of Valley secession.

June 1999

Gov. Davis signs bill appropriating $1.8 million to fund 80% of the cost of LAFCO fiscal analysis, with L.A. County and city to each fund 10%.

July 1999

County Supervisors approve motion to fund 10% of LAFCO study. City Councilman Hal Bernson introduces motion for city to fund 10 percent of study. (Council and mayoral approval still pending.)

August 1999

LAFCO receives $1.8 million check from state.

March 2000

Public Financial Management selected as consultant to conduct study.

March 2001

Initial fiscal analysis issued by PFM.

June 2001

City responds to initial analysis.

August 2001

LAFCO hires LSA Associates to perform analysis of potential environmental impacts of secession, and PDQ GeoDemographics to help determine possible city council boundaries.

October 2001

Draft comprehensive fiscal analysis released by PFM.

Source: Local Agency Formation Commission

Los Angeles apparel makers are seeing a boost in business as more manufacturers use local companies to fill orders in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

With security tightened at ports and airports around the country and with U.S. custom officials following stricter inspection procedures, apparel manufacturers are finding it inconvenient to go overseas when wanting to have an order filled quickly.

It couldn't come at a better time as many garment makers have been in a slump most of the year.

"Manufacturers and retailers we have not heard from for years have been calling some of our members (after the Sept. 11 incident)," said Joe Rodriguez, executive director of the 30-year-old Garment Contractors Association of Southern California Inc., located in downtown L.A.'s Fashion District. The 120-strong membership is only a fraction of the 2,000 apparel contractors who operate in the Los Angeles area.

"Manufacturers and retailers are hedging their bets, so if the problems get more serious, they have someplace to turn to," Rodriguez said.

He said the phone has been ringing more frequently as manufacturers ask for a list of local contractors. Bob Reed is one of the apparel entrepreneurs who reports that business has improved.

Days after the attacks, Reed, who owns a contracting company called Stitches Inc., received a rush order to make 60,000 patriotic T-shirts for Wal-Mart. A week later he received another order from Wal-Mart to make 10,000 more T-shirts.

This was good news for the long-time garment maker whose business had practically dried up this summer.

"We had to go out and hire 50 people to fill the order," said Reed, who already had a staff of 125 that sew much of the activewear and sportswear orders Stitches receives from manufacturers and retailers.

Other garment contractors who have seen a recent increase in business since Sept. 11 include G.S. Dunbar & Co., a well-known contractor in Montebello.

Traditionally, most apparel manufacturers prefer to use contractors in developing countries like China, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Mexico or in Central America where labor costs are only a fraction of what they are in the United States.

But lead times to manufacture something overseas is anywhere from three to six months.

Also, many freight forwarders have been tacking on a 10 percent to 15 percent war surcharge on shipping costs. With fewer flights since the Sept. 11 attack, space has been harder to find when shipping by air.

With this in mind, the California Fashion Association in Los Angeles is trying to get the city and state to fund a $50,000 advertising campaign that would promote the use of L.A. and California garment contractors.

"We have a tremendous opportunity here," said Ilse Metchek, executive director of the California Fashion Association, who wants to place four ads in the nationally distributed Women's Wear Daily and six ads in the weekly California Apparel News.

The ad would read: "Redefine Your Risk Management. Manufacture your product where there is an experienced workforce, where quick turnaround is a fact not just a phrase and where there is the latest available technology and equipment, and where there is a vertical supply of textiles, trim suppliers, finishers and printers."

A similar campaign has been launched in New York by retailers, designers and union officials to promote garments made by union workers in that city.

Steve Maiman, owner of L.A. children's wear company Great Escape, produces about 80 percent of his line locally. "I can guarantee you it is going to be higher," he said. "We have more control and it's a faster turnaround. Retailers are now buying closer to the vest."

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