Jobs, PLA’s, Slauson, MLK

LA County Creates Opportunities for Small Business

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas stands with small business owners and advocates who testified before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in support of his motion.

Los Angeles County is looking to award more contracts to small businesses, as well as businesses owned by disabled veterans, under a motion approved by the Board of Supervisors.

“Supporting small business is good business for the County as they provide half of all jobs in the region,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, lead author of the motion. “This would bring a triple-bottom line benefit: meaningful employment for the disadvantaged, reducing the demand on County services, and increasing the tax base.”

The motion noted the County is in a unique position to strengthen the local economy because of its immense purchasing and contracting spending power.

“Small businesses help our regional economy in big and small ways by meeting consumer needs and by providing local jobs,” said Board Chair Hilda Solis, who co-authored the motion. “The County needs to advocate on behalf of these entrepreneurs and this motion does exactly that.”

The motion, as amended by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Don Knabe, directs the County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) to develop an action plan to have small businesses account for 25 percent, and for businesses owned by disabled veterans to account for 3 percent, of the County’s procurement by 2020.

DCBA said awarding contracts to small businesses and business owned by disadvantaged community members not only results in the delivery of goods and services, but a “measurable social impact.” The federal government, as well as several state and local governments, have similar policies.

Bill Allen, president and CEO of the LA Economic Development Corporation, expressed support for the motion, calling it “another encouraging step in a series of enlightened motions from this Board, evidencing a clear commitment to increasing economic prosperity and opportunity, to reducing income inequality, and to raising standards of living for all County residents.”

Major League Soccer’s Newest Team Pays Homage to LA History

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Soccer fever is rising in Los Angeles as the newest Major League Soccer team unveiled its official crest and colors, paying homage to the city’s rich history. The Los Angeles Football Club is now symbolized by a black and gold shield with the monogram “LA,” embellished with a wing to represent the City of Angels.

“It is important for us to pay homage to our city’s history and to the beautiful game, while we embrace the creativity and constant evolution that Los Angeles is known for globally,” Club managing partner and owner, Henry Nguyen, said.

“We made a commitment to Los Angeles to build a winning Club, to increase a growing enthusiasm for the world’s game, and to deliver an exceptional experience to our supporters,” he added. “We look forward to sharing this journey with the people of our city.”

unnamedAside from Nugyen, the Club’s star-studded ownership group includes LA Dodgers and Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber; YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley; motivational speaker Tony Robbins; basketball, baseball and soccer legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm Garciaparra.

Actor Will Ferrell was the latest addition to the ownership group. FullSizeRender (1)“I’ve never been part-owner of anything, though I’m still part-owner of an ’84 Toyota Camry with my brother,” he jokingly said during a press conference attended by a couple hundred invited guests and fans.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said the unveiling of the crest and colors are an important step in the process of fielding a team for the 2018 MLS season. “I have championed the redevelopment and revitalization of Exposition Park, in the heart of the Second District, for many years,” he said. “It is important that we have, in this ownership group, a deep commitment to our city.”

“LAFC takes its civic responsibility very seriously, and will bring community and tourism dollars, as well as a commitment hire local workers,” he added. “I look forward to watching LAFC bring home many victories to this great city of champions.”

Aside from a soccer stadium with 22,000 seats, LAFC is looking at building a football museum, restaurants, and retail and office space. It would require demolishing the LA Memorial Sports Sports Area, which opened in 1959.

Video Credit: Los Angeles Football Club




5-Year Strategic Plan for Economic Development

JobsJobsIntent on job creation, the Board of Supervisors is looking into implementing the 2016-2020 Los Angeles County Strategic Plan for Economic Development.

Crafted by the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), the plan identifies seven goals, 30 objectives and more than 100 strategies over the next five years to increase the County’s overall prosperity and improve its residents’ standard of living.

“This is a blueprint for ensuring the long-term health and growth of our regional economy,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who coauthored a motion with Board Chair Hilda Solis to create an Economic Development Policy Committee that would analyze the plan.

“The next step is ensuring that the plan is a living document with a commitment to implementation and to measuring success,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added. “The County looks forward to working with LAEDC to ensure that this is accomplished and that all residents reap the benefits.”

The plan was crafted with significant public input derived from public meetings and surveys. It listed the following goals for the County:

  • Invest in our people to provide greater opportunity
  • Strengthen our leading export-oriented industry clusters
  • Accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Be more business-friendly
  • Remove barriers to critical infrastructure development, financing and delivery
  • Increase global connectedness
  • Build more livable communities.

“If we want more jobs throughout the County that pay fair wages, then we all have to make concerted efforts to encourage more economic development,” Board Chair Solis said. “We must think strategically in how we use our resources and we need to also work more closely with community partners to achieve progress this year.”

“The Strategic Plan serves as a blueprint to help our region navigate the unprecedented changes in our economy, as the information age impacts the types of jobs and the job skills required,” LAEDC Chief Executive Officer Bill Allen said. “Through collaborative implementation, we have the opportunity to increase standards of living, and increase opportunity for more widely shared prosperity.”

Forging Partnerships to Make L.A. County a World Leader in Bioscience

Seeking to unlock Los Angeles County’s potential to become a world leader in bioscience research and development, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion to forge partnerships with academic institutions and scout for land that could be developed into innovation hubs.

“What Silicon Valley created for computer technology, the County can create for biotechnology,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in his motion, which won unanimous approval. He envisioned “an innovative, thriving environment encompassing academic institutions, training centers and companies with the support of local communities.”

Board Chair Hilda Solis, who coauthored the motion, said, “With cutting-edge bioscience promising an infusion of investment and discovery, and with the Affordable Care Act more deeply rooting us in our need to offer quality medical care, it is now more important than ever to prioritize how we use our public land to support the creation of more bioscience jobs and research.”

Bioscience includes research on genes, organisms, agriculture and food processing. It can lead to innovations that cure disease, reduce world hunger, and clean the environment. Biotechnology is the fusion of bioscience and technology.

In 2014, a Battelle Memorial Institute report recommended establishing three to five innovation hubs within County-owned medical campuses, in collaboration with academic institutions and private companies. The Board, which commissioned the report, tapped the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) to craft an implementation plan.

In their motion, Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Solis noted universities in the County produce more than 5,000 science, technology and engineering graduates every year – more than San Francisco and San Diego combined. However, the County ranks only 14th in the nation in biotechnology investment, while San Francisco and San Diego are in first and third place, respectively.

“The goal is to reverse this trend, and to make LA County synonymous with being a bioscience world leader – nothing short of that,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.


Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, flanked by LA County Health Services director Mitch Katz and LA BioMed CEO Dr. David Meyer

He added, “The benefits will come in the form of a more diversified and local economy, higher paying jobs for County residents, and more tax revenues that can be used to address the critical issues that face the County today, such as homelessness and lack of affordable housing.”

The motion directed the County’s Chief Executive Officer to provide LAEDC with information on the County’s real estate assets, particularly those within or adjacent to medical campuses such as LAC+USC Healthcare Network in Boyle Heights and Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus in Willowbrook. They also directed the Community Development Commission to launch community outreach efforts.

Several representatives of academic institutions testified before the Board in support of the motion.

“This is a very exciting time in the bioscience/biotechnology realm, particularly for Los Angeles,” said Dr. David Carlisle, president and CEO of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Willowbrook. “From a big picture standpoint, technological advances are likely to transform healthcare outcomes and health in general in the coming decades.”

Dr. Laura Cantu, representing East Los Angeles College, added, “We have a commitment in creating new biotech training programs to support the industry that’s moving in, but more importantly continuing the commitment to train our community members to be prepared to step into employment opportunities that will be created by the bioscience industry moving into the area.”

LA BioMed’s Dr. Ruben Flores, USC’s David Galaviz, CalState LA’s Peter Hong and Zuhey Espinoza, LabLaunch’s Llewellyn Cox, Logan Research’s Suave Lobodzinski, LA Bioscience Hub’s Cecilia Estolano also testified.

Los Angeles is already looking at creating its first biotech hub at the campus of the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, next to LA BioMed Research Center, which recently announced plans to open a Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Program to serve patients in South LA and the South Bay. The 8-12 week program includes walking, cycling and strength exercises, as well as nutrition education, counseling, and more – all of which can decrease emergency room visits, hospitalizations and readmissions, reducing healthcare costs considerably.

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Officials of BioTech Connection LA, CalState LA, Charles R. Drew University, East LA College, LA BioMed, LabLaunch, Logan Research, USC and LA Bioscience Hub stand together in support of biotech expansion in Los Angeles.

Taking Leimert Park Village to the Next Level

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 4.38.35 PMCommunity development experts commissioned by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas unveiled their final recommendations for taking advantage of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize Leimert Park Village, one of the historic centers of African American art and culture in Los Angeles County.

The 1.19-square mile neighborhood just west of Exposition Park  is poised for a surge in new investment and economic development as a stop on the Crenshaw/LAX Line, slated for completion in 2019.

“I believe the train can be a tool for taking Leimert Park Village to a whole new level,” he said during a keynote speech at Transit Oriented Los Angeles 2015: Investing in Vibrant Communities.

“If developed right, sites along the Crenshaw/LAX Line truly have the potential to transform surrounding communities,” he added. “With open-mindedness and progressive thinking, we would be able not only to ease traffic congestion but to revitalize the economic fabric of these neighborhoods.”

It was on a motion by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas in 2013 that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to build an underground station at Leimert Park Village. He later tapped the Urban Land Institute, one of the nation’s most respected sources of objective information on urban planning, growth and development, to assemble a Technical Assistance Panel that would craft criteria and recommendations to guide investment in the community.

In its final report, ULI concluded “Leimert Park Village has all the key ingredients in place — an engaged community, strong political leadership, and an authentic and uniquely built environment — to enhance its prominence and prosperity while also protecting its cultural integrity.”

Among their key recommendations were:

  • making improvements to Leimert Plaza Park and completing renovations to the landmark Vision Theater, so both can serve as anchors for cultural programming that would draw both residents and visitors;
  • filling empty storefronts and surface parking lots along Degnan Boulevard with retail, dining, and cultural amenities, as well as housing intended for local artists; and
  • integrating art into public spaces and making streetscape improvements such as adding bike lanes, lighting, and a paseo similar to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

ULI’s technical assistance panel included experts in real estate development and financing, land use planning and design, and economic development and marketing. They stressed their recommendations for “catalytic investment” and “urban revitalization” are “designed to enhance, not redefine, the existing character of Leimert Park Village as the cultural capital of the African American community.”

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Click Here For Full ULI Report