Former state Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg met with Business Journal editors and reporters to discuss his candidacy for mayor of Los Angeles. Here are excerpts from that interview.


Question: Are people really that dissatisfied with the direction L.A. is going? Answer: Yes, the numbers prove it. Jim Hahn says crime is down, and he says it often enough so that people believe it. But whether crime is down depends on where you live. Also, go talk to people in the Valley. In that secession campaign three years ago, Jim Hahn talked about "you people," not "us." There's still a great deal of resentment over that campaign. I've been to chambers and other groups all across the community and there's a great frustration. There's a sense that he just phones it in, that he doesn't have the attention to detail, that he doesn't really care.


Q: So why are you running?
A: I have a real deep personal sense of fixing the city. One can argue that a lot of times government is not relevant to people's lives. But it's relevant now. I was chairman of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. Every month I saw those reports of businesses leaving the city. This is not a Democratic or Republican position. You have to deal within the realm of economics. It's a real problem.


Q: What would you do to make L.A. a more attractive place to do business?
A: First, I would find a replacement for the gross receipts tax. That may require a change in state law so that we can have a net receipts tax based on net income, not revenues.


Q: But the city just went through a major battle to get business tax reformed. You want to tell the council that what it did is no good and to start over?
A: Yes. It's all about leadership and working with people. Look, my management style is collaborative. I'm not an elbow thrower when it comes to the cameras. So I will go to each of the councilmembers and find out what's in their minds. So on the business tax, here's what I would tell them: "This is not a partisan issue. I need certain tools when it comes to attracting business to this city. Here's my model let me hear what you think of it." We have to do more than we've done so that businesses that are here will be able to compete globally.

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