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Thursday, Dec 8, 2022
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Business-Friendly Voter Choices

Nobody asked, but here’s how I come down on some of the local business-related issues in next week’s election: -In Calabasas, voters are weighing Measure F. They may not see it this way, but voters essentially have the choice between a smaller development or a bigger one on Las Virgenes Road a couple blocks south of the 101 Freeway. I’d vote “yes” on F to allow the smaller development (71 housing units instead of 180, and a small hotel instead of a strip center), which was agreed to by the Calabasas City Council after a long negotiation. -Burbank voters get to decide whether to approve a replacement for the 1930 terminal at the Hollywood Burbank Airport. There’s some concern about whether a new and improved terminal would invite more air traffic. But there’d be no increase in the number of gates or parking places. And importantly, if the measure is approved, the airport authority essentially would give Burbank veto power. With that check, Burbank wouldn’t be railroaded by other nearby cities to boost air traffic. I’d vote “yes” on Measure B. -I’m a reluctant passenger on the Measure M train. That’s the half-cent sales tax increase in Los Angeles County to bankroll transportation improvements. My main reservation, aside from the fact that a 9.5 percent sales tax would be mighty steep, is that spending billions of dollars on expensive rail systems may be largely unnecessary in a few years if autonomous transportations systems (think Uber without drivers) can deliver you door-to-door using small cars that constantly move, except overnight. On the other hand, can we depend on such a futuristic system to fully take hold? Besides, the San Fernando Valley would get a lot of love with Measure M: the Orange Line busway would get converted to rail, a transportation tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass would be slated and a rapid bus system to California State University Northridge would be created. So, OK, yeah, I’d vote for it. Still, I wonder if we will eventually regret Measure M like we regret our approval of the California high-speed rail a few years ago. -Measure JJJ is the Justin Bieber of this election. Sounds good, but pretty immature. Proponents say JJJ will increase the construction of affordable housing at the same time it mandates higher pay for construction workers. That sounds good. But if passed, JJJ would dramatically increase costs and – you can see this coming, right? – will result in less construction, more expensive housing and fewer jobs. Immature. -The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors figures the county needs more parks so they decided to beat up warehouses, distribution centers and the like. Under Measure A, a 1.5 cent assessment for each square foot of improved property would be imposed, with the money going for parks. Trouble is, any business with a large footprint would be whacked disproportionately, giving them another reason for considering the nirvana of Nevada. That’s why I’d vote against Measure A. Besides, shouldn’t money for parks come out of the county’s general fund? -I will vote for Steve Fazio for California State Senate in the 27th District, which takes in western San Fernando Valley and eastern Ventura County. He would provide a clear voice for business in Sacramento, which is a voice not heard often or clearly enough there. • • • Many companies look for ways to support the community. They may sponsor a race to raise money for cancer cures or some such. And that’s great. But here’s a suggestion for retailers looking for a way to give back to their community: Stay closed on Thanksgiving. A tip of the cap to Guitar Center, based in Westlake Village, and Harbor Freight Tools, headquartered in Calabasas. They are among the companies that decided not to open their stores on Thanksgiving Day, bucking the trend of recent years by retailers itching to get a jump on the Black Friday shopping bonanza. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Nordstrom and Staples are among the chains that recently announced they will stay dark on turkey day. They join Barnes & Noble, American Girl, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Pier 1 Imports and a number of others, but too few others, that will stay shuttered on the holiday. Thanksgiving is a special holiday. It’s a day – just one day – for families and friends to connect and spend time together. It’s not religious and it does not call for some special activity (other than dining together), so everyone can join in. It’s a profound buzz kill when your teenage daughter has to go to work at the department store or your Aunt Maude, shopaholic that she is, just can’t resist the opening of the mall on Thanksgiving evening and wouldn’t you all like to come along, too? Face it. Retailers are disrupting Thanksgiving. They’re intruding on the one day of the year when family and friends should be together. Imagine, just try to imagine, if all retailers vowed to stay closed on Thanksgiving. That would be a meaningful and widespread gift to families and friends from sea to shining sea. That indeed would be a prime way for retailers give back to the community. Such a big step begins with small steps. So again, thank you Harbor Freight and Guitar Center. Charles Crumpley is editor and publisher of the Business Journal. He can be reached at ccrumpley@sfvbj.com.

Charles Crumpley
Charles Crumpley
Charles Crumpley has been the editor and publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal since March 2016. In June 2021, it was named the best business journal of its size in the country – the fourth time in the last 5 years it won that honor. Crumpley was named best columnist – also for the fourth time in the last 5 years. He serves on two business-supporting boards and has won awards for his civic involvement. Crumpley, a former newspaper reporter, won several national awards and fellowships for his work, and he was a Fulbright scholar to Japan.
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