Weekly Report – June 13, 2016 – L.A. Coalition Mission & History
As the L.A. Coalition reaches the half year mark (and its seventh year of existence) I thought it would be appropriate to provide a summary of why the L.A. Coalition was started, what our collective efforts have built and a path forward to fostering more economic and jobs growth and a better quality of life for the region.
Your continued support and engagement is critical to our success and as always we welcome your thoughts on these initiatives and any suggestions you may have on additional business and civic leaders we who you believe would make a great addition to the group.
L.A. Coalition Mission
The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs (L.A. Coalition) develops and advances sound policies and partnerships that will help responsibly grow the economy and create quality jobs throughout the Los Angeles region. To inform this work, the L.A. Coalition brings together executive level leaders from business, labor, academia and nonprofits to engage, discuss, and collaborate on the formulation of ideas and initiatives that will stimulate investment, employment and a rising quality of life for Angelenos.
Founded in 2009, the L.A. Coalition was established through a fiscal partnership with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to advance the work of a blue ribbon commission for the City of Los Angeles on the local economy and jobs. City National Bank CEO Russell Goldsmith, following his work as chairman of the commission, initially lead a small group of business and civic leaders to create the L.A. Coalition to further the recommendations outlined in that particular report.
Throughout the past seven years, the L.A. Coalition has worked with partners, including member organizations, to further the ideas and ideals of the original commission.The L.A. Coalition network has experienced steady growth and influence and continues to encourage discussion and actions that foster a vibrant and sustainable regional economy.
The L.A. Coalition has entered an ambitious but achievable phase of expansion. The fundamental mission connected to the economy and jobs will continue.The organization of its work into an Applied Policy Institute and a Multi-Sector Partnership Division will help the L.A. Coalition position itself as the “Think (and Do) Tank” in Los Angeles.
To date, the L.A. Coalition has relied heavily on the volunteer support of its network and one full-time executive director. Going forward, the L.A. Coalition will increase its capacity to fulfill its mission by hiring a deputy director (focus – workforce development & start date in July – TBD), utilizing additional internships and leveraging it public/private partnerships.
History of Progress
Building a World-Class City for the 21st Century was the title of the 2008 Los Angeles Economy and Jobs Committee (LAEJC) report which opened with the following paragraphs:
Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest city, has a vibrant culture, a diverse population and a strong economy. The city is a leader in a number of important areas. It is the largest manufacturing center in the United States, a major financial and professional services center, the nation’s largest retail market, home to one of the world’s most important seaports and busiest airports and the entertainment and cultural capital of the United States. The city also houses extraordinary centers of higher education, medical research and care, apparel, tourism, manufacturing and design, technology and biotechnology, goods movement and more.
Yet, for all of this economic activity, since its peak employment in 1995 the City of Los Angeles has declined by almost 30,000 jobs. In the past 17 years, Los Angeles has lost a net of 106,446 manufacturing jobs, a large majority of which were in the aerospace and high tech industries. Manufacturing jobs continue to be on a steady decline.
After 15 months of work, the Los Angeles Economy and Jobs Committee has produced a wide-ranging set of 100 recommended steps the City of Los Angeles can take to nurture and grow its economy and jobs. In its effort to investigate obstacles to economic growth and job creation, the committee took a comprehensive look at the Los Angeles business climate, identifying critical needs and prioritizing opportunities for growth.
The committee’s recommendations were organized into ten categories aimed at creating more jobs and building a stronger economy in Los Angeles. Areas of focus included LAX, Port of Los Angeles, Workforce Development, South Los Angeles, Building/Land Use, Business Climate, State/Federal investments, Government Reforms, and Eight Sector Strategies.
It was a remarkable report with some remarkable results – in no small part due to the creation and leadership of the L.A. Coalition. The L.A. Coalition has publicly and privately educated decision makers and partnered with many organizations to maintain momentum on the recommended investments and reforms. A few of the multi-billion dollar investments that are transforming our City and creating quality jobs include:
LAX Modernization: The modernization of LAX is a major economic driver. By 2023 more than $14 billion will be spent to renovate and rebuild the airport. A recent study by LAEDC found that LAX’s operations create 620,610 local jobs, and its on-going capital-improvement program has created another 121,640 annual jobs, generating $37.3 billion in labor income, $126.6 billion in business revenues (output), $6.2 billion in state and local taxes, and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The airport also purchased more than $1.9 billion in goods and services in fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
Los Angeles Metro: The America Fast Forward project is building out 12 major public rail lines – with $14 billion dollars in projects throughout the Los Angeles region and future plans for another $30 billion in investments. In addition, the L.A. Coalition supports reforms that will allow federal funds to be leveraged for local jobs, including making permanent a federal pilot program that allows local transportation agencies to consider hiring local workers for transit and highway projects that use federal funds. Currently, local agencies that receive federal funds can only consider income, not geography, when hiring workers. This investment will translate into tens of thousands of well-paying jobs for Angelenos, putting these tax dollars back into the communities that paid for the projects. The pilot for the Southwestern Yard has the following hiring goals: 40 percent community/local area workers; 20 percent apprentice workers; and 10 percent disadvantaged workers.
Housing Closer to L.A.’s Job Centers: Transit-oriented development and affordable housing are significant economic drivers in Los Angeles. For example, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency is setting aside 35 percent of its own land for affordable housing. Metro will sell the land at below market rates to entice developers to build apartments near transit hubs for low-income residents. Eight-five percent of Metro riders are low-income and struggle to pay Los Angeles rents and therefore are living in more suburban areas. Workers who earn less than $25,000 and live within half a mile of a transit station are three times more likely to take transit than those who earn more than $75,000 and live close to a station.
Tourism & Conventions: The L.A. Coalition worked with the L.A. Tourism and Convention Board, in conjunction with the region’s tourism offices, and is moving forward with a campaign to increase the number of visitors to L.A. by 8.5 million by 2020.
This ambitious plan will attract more than 50 million total visitors to the region by 2020 and will support a total of 392,000 jobs (68,000 new ones), generate $634.7 million in new Transient and Occupancy Taxes and $1.55 billion in other local sales taxes. The total economic benefit to the region will be $44.5 billion when visitor’s overall spending on local transportation, lodging, food, beverages, entertainment, shopping, etc. is added into the equation. Leadership of the L.A. Convention center was turned over to the private sector with net positive financial results.
The Port of Los Angeles: More than $2.6 billion is now being invested in America’s premier port and Southern California’s gateway to international commerce. The Port of Los Angeles is committed to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit Southern California’s economy and quality of life. As North America’s leading seaport in terms of container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $270 billion in trade during 2015. Port operations and commerce facilitate more than 133,000 jobs in the City of Los Angeles and 479,000 jobs in the five-county Southern California region. The San Pedro Bay Ports support more than 1 million California jobs and 2.8 million nationwide.
The Path Forward: Economy and Jobs Blueprint
Much progress has been made since the initial report. Investments in the airport and transportation systems are transforming our City and creating quality jobs. Several of the eight sector strategies in the report are doing well. Government in the City of Los Angeles has achieved some measurable reforms and the commercial real-estate sector has experienced extraordinary growth. Yet, not all of the recommendations were pursued and not every sector, and certainly not everyone, has benefited from recent improvements in the economy. The current state of the economy and jobs is a reminder that the work of the L.A. Coalition is as relevant today as it was in 2008.
Broadening & Diversifying the Los Angeles Economy
The source of Los Angeles’ economic power is its people and their access to quality jobs that pay good wages. With four million residents now living in the City of Los Angeles and almost 19 million total in the greater metropolitan region, it is imperative that Los Angeles has a broad and diverse economic development strategy that encourages the growth of the region’s traditional industries, emerging sectors, small business and entrepreneurial activities, while helping build strong career pathways through formal education and workforce development.
The L.A. Coalition continues to monitor current economic trends, policies and the labor market to refine and expand its work and recommendations. The current primary areas of focus are:
World-Class Transportation System: Facilitate the Movement of People, Goods, Services and Information
- Modernize Port of Los Angeles & Los Angeles International Airport
- Invest in broadband infrastructure
- Invest in roads, highways, public & private rail
- Invest in water & electricity infrastructure
World-Class Economy: Position Los Angeles as a Competitive Location for Businesses, Entrepreneurs and Angelenos
- Leverage government’s purchasing power and vacant and underutilized real estate assets to encourage business growth
- Highlight Los Angeles as a Leading Hub for Technology, Entertainment & Research Talent
- Promote Los Angeles as a top trade, tourism, convention and cultural destination
- Develop a skilled workforce for growing industries: healthcare, technology & clean energy
World-Class City: Promote Quality of Life Standards
- Encourage a clean, safe & secure city environment
- Invest in schools, healthcare & housing
- Promote culture, recreational and entertainment activities
- Develop more open space and parks
The Future: A New Model for Success
With the support of the Coalition’s network the L.A. Coalition will organize its work in two domains to move the dial on the economic and jobs blueprint: Applied Policy Institute & Multi-sector Partnership Division.
Applied Policy Institute
The Applied Policy Institute (API) is the next generation of the L.A. Coalition’s work. The Applied Policy Institute will use the four pillars of policy research, policy memoranda, collaboration & convening, and issue advocacy to drive discussions and actions that align with the mission of the L.A. Coalition.
Policy Research: Research policy on transportation, education, jobs, work force development, land use and building development, water, tourism, trade, government reform, taxes, and other issues affecting L.A. Since its founding, the L.A. Coalition has served as a source of private sector expertise for its network of government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic leaders, and other interested parties to support a better understanding of the Los Angeles metropolitan economy and the public policy choices facing the Los Angeles region’s public officials. Research has covered the range of the original 100 recommendations to the City of Los Angeles. Going forward, this work will inform the future of transportation, education, workforce development, land use and building development, water management, trade, tourism, government reform, taxes, and issues affecting multiple sectors including healthcare, green industries, technology and manufacturing.
Policy Memoranda: The L.A. Coalition targets critical regional problems where new, creative thinking is needed. Written for policymakers and opinion leaders, the memos aim to shape regional policy debate through rigorous analysis and specific recommendations. The L.A. Coalition approach is to perform a meta-analysis of academic, professional and media sources, identify key insights that are relevant to Los Angeles and synthesize the information into a digestible 600-800 word summary for Los Angeles leaders and decision makers. In the past 24 months, the executive director has generated over 80 memoranda. Policy Memoranda are shared with L.A. Coalition network, partner organizations, policy makers, government officials, relevant constituencies (depending on the issue) and through social media outlets including LinkedIn and Twitter.
Throughout the last few years the L.A. Coalition has generated more than 80 policy memoranda in the past 24 months for L.A. Coalition members, government officials, private sector leaders, union leaders and other interested economy and job stakeholders
Collaboration and Convening: The L.A. Coalition helps build consensus around policy initiatives that contribute to a stronger, more vibrant regional economy. Research and memoranda serve as the basis for further round-table discussions with local, state and federal leaders. In the past 12 months, the L.A. Coalition has hosted or facilitated discussions on: the creative economy’s workforce with Ruth Vitale the CEO of Creative Future and NBC Universal, a Creative Collaboration made up of entertainment related organizations – Screen Actors Fund, Southern California Grant Makers, Cal Arts, L.A. County Arts Council, L.A. City Cultural Affairs Department; on workforce development with the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the former director of the President’s National Economic Advisors, Gene Sperling; water policy in California with Governor Brown, the Los Angeles economy and government reforms with Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council President Herb Wesson, and the Budget & Finance Chair and Chair of the Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Jobs and the Economy Paul Krekorian; the regional economy with L.A. Supervisor Hilda Solis, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. The executive director is also frequently invited to participate in discussions with other civic leaders, private sector companies and foundations. These discussions and collaborations help shape the local agendas that affect the regional economy and employment trends. They also serve as a source of information for the work of the other three pillars.
Throughout the past several years the L.A. Coalition has convened over a dozen roundtable policy discussions with leaders such as: Fed Board – John Williams, AG Kamala Harris, Mayor Garcetti, Council President Wesson, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Issue Advocacy: The L.A. Coalition does much of its work through direct verbal or written communication to targeted audiences. And, while that strategy is often the most effective, there are times when a more public forum is the appropriate tactic to move the dial on an issue. Recently, the L.A. Coalition partnered with the California Water Foundation and over 50 Los Angeles civic leaders to advocate for smart investments in long-term water infrastructure needs. The chairman and the executive director have published numerous commentaries in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Business Journal, Wall Street Journal, C-Suite Quarterly, Delta Magazine and several other news outlets. Formal written communications signed by civic leaders have been penned on occasion to encourage action on key investments in rail, LAX, the Ports and the convention center. While the L.A. Coalition does not seek the limelight, it is not shy about publicly advocating when appropriate on issues that impact the Los Angeles economy and jobs.
Throughout the past several years the L.A. Coalition has published more than 20 commentaries and articles in the L.A. Times, L.A. Business Journal, Wall Street Journal, CQ Quarterly, Delta Magazine. Actively communicate on LinkedIn and Twitter.
In 2015 the Coalition initiated the Multi-Sector Partnership Initiatives to build upon its core work of research and education. By leveraging its expertise, resources and networks the L.A. Coalition was able to identify and support collaborative partnerships designed to achieve tangible and measurable solutions to definable challenges facing the Los Angeles region and its economy.
The Operations Innovation Team, Fuse Corps-Los Angeles, NoCal & SoCal Water Coalition, and the Mayor’s Cup Competition are the first four L.A. Coalition innovative partnership projects. They are designed to help strengthen the relationship between the public, private, and non-profit sectors and foster increased collaboration and joint-problem solving. Leveraging resources from each sector, individuals and teams are deployed inside local governments and/or partnered with government leaders to identify and implement solutions to complex public policy challenges. Areas of focus include quality of life issues, improving government functions and services, and leveraging public resources to create economic growth, quality jobs and skills development opportunities in the Los Angeles region.
The L.A. Coalition and its partners provide ongoing support for these projects to increase the probability of success and to help ensure it is a productive and positive experience for all involved.
Operations Innovation Team
In 2015, the L.A. Coalition initiated, designed and facilitated a partnership between the L.A. Coalition, the Mayor’s Office and Mayor’s Fund for L.A. called the Operations Innovation Team (O-Team). After securing start-up funding for the new partnership, the L.A. Coalition recruited the new O-Team director, Mark Thomas. The O-Team is comprised of people from within City Hall and the private sector. The L.A. Coalition provides capital, mentoring, strategic advice and in-kind resources.
The following is a brief summary of what has been accomplished by the O-Team during its first nine months.
Premise: Local government plays a significant role in influencing our region’s economic climate. If managed effectively, local government facilitates the efficient, reliable and fair delivery of goods and services to its residents, businesses and neighborhoods – fostering economic growth and jobs. If managed ineffectively, economic activity and quality of life suffers.
Action: The O-Team identified three government functions with significant potential for positive impact on the region’s economy and quality of life.
(1) Leverage $8.2 billion in government procurement spending.
In its first six-months, the O-Team has positioned itself as an expert within the City and is leading discussions on how to make improvements. The Mayor has designated procurement as a priority for general managers and the City Council has instructed departments to work with the O-Team.
Accomplishments to date:
- Established the baseline of the City’s procurement spending, contracts, timelines, forms and processes, supplier diversity assistance programs, training and staff, and technology infrastructure.
- Aiding, and ensured funding, to redesign BAVN and launch the upcoming Financial Management System; Aiding ITA in establishing the City’s Procure-To-Pay (P2P) infrastructure.
- Identified and integrated SmartProcure into GSD’s commodities ordering operations ($438 million annually) to improve pricing and vendor identification and trained staff.
- Assessed the legal structure of the City’s procurement functions and thresholds, reviewing options to establish procurement leadership and update the City’s contract thresholds.
- Created the “Mayor’s Cup” to promote City’s accessibility to innovation and technology.
(2) Leverage the City’s real estate asset portfolio.
The City owns over 8,000 parcels that include buildings, warehouses, vacant land, commercial leasing, affordable housing and other land holdings. However, the City is very ill informed on the usage, occupancy and costs related to its properties. The bottom line is that the City has struggled for decades to build out a citywide economic development model that leverages its assets.
The O-Team is working across multiple departments toward a better system – starting with improving the asset management infrastructure.
Accomplishments to date:
- Identified and established the City’s portfolio and assessed value of buildings and parcels and created an interactive catalogue of properties to provide real-time information.
- Developed RFP to secure the City’s interim (“ePropertyPlus”) and comprehensive asset management systems (“AssetWorks”), serving leadership roles in the implementation and migration of the City’s real estate, maintenance, financial, tenant, and utility data, and overseeing training of City’s Real Estate Department.
- Spearheaded action on: Civic Center Master Plan RFP, the City Council’s adoption of a streamlined framework for economic development properties, and HCID securing technical assistance from President Obama’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative to integrate its asset portfolio into the City’s larger operations and improve the revenue generated for affordable housing development.
(3) Improve government services by improving workplace safety.
An astounding 18% of the City’s workforce filed injury claims last year. That is more than 7,000 claims. Over the past 5 years, the cost to the City was over $1 billion dollars. For perspective, the City’s injury rate of 18 workers per every 100 workers compares to: New York City (6.5%); Boston (7.7%); and, Houston (8%). Even if you factor just for California, the City of L.A.’s injury rate is significantly higher than L.A. County (11%) and San Francisco (11.5%). The bottom line is that if workers are not on the job, then they are not providing the services expected.
Accomplishments to date:
- Established the baseline of department-level injury rates and conducted full assessment of the City’s injury prevention, accident response and investigation, reasonable accommodations and dispute resolution, recovery and response, litigation and fraud detection and prevention, data and technology infrastructure.
- Aided departments to secure the City’s first enterprise-wide risk management system and hire safety and wellness staff to launch preventative programs in the next fiscal year. Facilitating the alternative dispute resolution exploration with the Los Angeles Police League and the LAPD.
- Worked closely with City Attorney and City Council to establish plan for the Mayor’s Risk Management Reduction Committee and reform the City’s existing directives on wellness, safety, and litigation.
In addition to uncovering and documenting the scope of the problem, the O-Team identified the following priorities for improvement: Expand information sharing and performance metrics; Improve injury prevention and response programming; and, Increase accountability and oversight.
FUSE Corps – Los Angeles
FUSE Corps is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that enables local government to more effectively address the biggest challenges facing urban communities.
FUSE partners with civic leaders to identify pressing strategic challenges and then recruits entrepreneurial, mid-career professionals who have an average of 15-20 years of private sector management experience to work full-time for 12 months in city government leading high-impact strategic projects. Because of their backgrounds and how they are selected, FUSE Fellows are uniquely positioned to achieve transformative impact across issue areas such as economic development, health, housing, poverty and the environment. Like the L.A. Coalition, FUSE is demonstrating the potential of cross-sector collaboration as a vehicle for complex public policy problem solving.
This newly created partnership will establish a Los Angeles Advisory Board for FUSE Corps. The L.A. Coalition executive director will serve as the chair and lead the advisory board’s work supporting the FUSE Corps program in Los Angeles. Similar to the O-Team, this new advisory board and the L.A. Coalition will provide strategic advice, capital, mentoring, and additional resources to FUSE Corps and the FUSE Corps Fellows.
Fellowship Policy Areas:
Making Los Angeles a Cleaner and More Livable City, Homelessness, Public-Private Infrastructure Financing, Economic Development for Immigrant Communities, 2024 Olympics, Gateways to Citizenship, Workforce Development, Affordable Housing, Port of Los Angeles Modernization, Others – TBD
Addition initiatives are in discussion.