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Sunday, Feb 25, 2024

All Help Needed to Revive Economy

What we do in the next few months to set a course for recovery will determine the economic viability and quality of life in the San Fernando Valley for the next generation. We are facing the greatest economic crisis our Valley region has ever experienced. We need our elected officials and community leadership to be laser focused on implementing a fast, strong and fully inclusive economic recovery plan for our beloved Valley of the Stars. Born from crisis, The Valley Economic Alliance has already begun to mobilize the San Fernando Valley business community to respond and to lead that recovery. The alliance was organized in 1994 in response to the Northridge Earthquake to help the San Fernando Valley community recover and thrive, by growing the regional economy and improving the quality of life through a strategy of unprecedented public/private partnerships. Supported by our five city partners – Burbank, Calabasas, Glendale, Los Angeles and San Fernando – and in coordination with our strategic partners – American Institute of Architects, Asian Business Association, Southland Association of Realtors, United Chambers of Commerce and Valley Industry and Commerce Association – the alliance has a quarter century of experience of promoting regional economic development, assisting businesses and saving thousands of jobs. The Valley Economic Alliance already has in place a strategic plan for the economic growth, stability and vitality of the San Fernando Valley. The priorities of that plan are spot on to the needs for a wide ranging Valley recovery: assisting existing businesses, attracting new businesses to the region, creating well-paying jobs, facilitating workforce development, and marketing the San Fernando Valley with a rejuvenated “Valley of the Stars” campaign. And the strategic plan’s three initiatives – economic development and retention, education and workforce development, livable and sustainable communities – provide a structure for building successful programs to lift every Valley neighborhood. On May 28, our board of directors adopted a COVID-19 Recovery Overlay highlighting the key elements of our strategic plan needed to jump start the Valley’s economic resurgence: Bringing needed capital, both public and private, to Valley businesses; Getting Valley residents back to work; and Stimulating spending in our Valley neighborhoods. Working with VICA, our federal, state and local elected officials, and with Valley banking and private equity leaders, we will work to make sure that Valley businesses have access to the capital they need. With our city partners we will make sure that shovel-ready public infrastructure projects are at the front of the line for funding. Starting with virtual job fairs, and in coordination with our local colleges, we will do all we can to place Valley residents in good-paying jobs as quickly as possible. And with a renewed “Valley of the Stars – Rising” marketing campaign, and hand-in-hand with the United Chambers of Commerce, we will look to drive sales to businesses in every Valley community. We need our Valley elected officials to be focusing every day on bringing public resources directly into their districts. And our local businesses have to move out of their comfort zones and take the risks needed to employ the extra person and to activate the economy in every corner of the Valley. We will need all hands on deck to get the Valley economy back to business. The Valley Economic Alliance will be the leading catalyst to stimulate economic development and mobilize stakeholders to ensure that our San Fernando Valley region remains one of the best places on earth to live, work and play. We invite you to join us. Sonya Blake is the new president and chief executive of The Valley Economic Alliance. She formerly was director of Community Business for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Fred Gaines is the new chair of the alliance. He is a Calabasas city council member and former mayor, and he is managing partner of the Gaines & Stacey law firm in Encino.

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