Laemmle Theaters began as a chain of neighborhood theaters in 1938. Families would walk together to the theater and meet their neighbors on the way. Local retailers who were a part of the community reaped the benefits of this plentiful foot traffic. More than 75 years later, we still see encouraging Angelenos to walk – as well as ride bikes and take public transportation – as essential to the way we do business and to the future of Los Angeles.

To accomplish this, I see opportunities for both good policy and innovative business practices that will encourage richer local commercial hubs and build greener neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

First, a top priority for our community must be to support fully implementing the Climate and Clean Energy Law, AB 32. Passed in 2006, the law aims to cut our greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It’s a common-sense solution to clean up our air as well as accelerate the growth of alternative fuels and transportation.

With upcoming implementation of AB 32, the California Air Resources Board will cap greenhouse gas emissions and require oil companies to buy permits to exceed those caps. Funds raised through the program will then be invested in alternative transportation projects and other important local projects.

I’m excited to see California take the lead on carbon emissions in ways that will make our local economies better. We should encourage our state legislators to be leaders on this issue. I’ll be calling on Assembly members Mike Gatto, Chris Holden, Ed Chau and Roger Hernandez to support AB 32 and urge our local business community to do the same.

Second, innovative business practices and good urban planning are much needed in Los Angeles to make our city more sustainable. We want to encourage the kind of infrastructure that will make our theaters easier to get to by pedestrians and cyclists. If we foster the pedestrian experience and get people out of their cars, our neighborhoods and local businesses will thrive.

When we built the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena in 1999, we used shared-parking agreements. There was an understanding that as the area grew, the Playhouse District would add parking. Once the Gold Line started running in the area, many of the surface parking lots in the immediate vicinity of the theater were developed into mixed-use buildings with retail on the ground floor and residential units above. The area became denser, more vibrant – a real 24-hour neighborhood.

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