Editor, Jason Schaff What a novel idea — actually planning something in L.A. I don’t mean planning which movie to go see, I mean planning the area’s economic development. And even five years down the road at that. Kudos to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. for leading an effort to create a strategic plan for economic development which was approved months ago by the county supervisors and seems to have buy-in by cities, business and community groups etc. The LAEDC is still trying to get buy-in from as many people as possible. Count me in. I’m in because we finally have an economic development plan written down and it is clear, takes the region into consideration as a whole and doesn’t over-reach. It also takes into account two areas that I think we really must have a laser-beam focus on or we will severely be set back as a region economically. These two things are improving education and having more effective land use. Here’s a very boiled down synopsis of the strategic plan: Prepare an educated workforce. That’s the first objective, and rightly so. There are so many dumb people walking around. I just can’t stand it anymore. Why is our society failing so badly in this area? We need to focus on it and have a plan for educating people and for ensuring that businesses have enough workers to meet their needs. This plan puts these things out there to build on. Create a business friendly environment. This is a broad goal, but crucial. And the plan breaks things down into specific areas such as business retention, pushing creation of city-by-city economic development plans and ensuring access to capital. Enhance our quality of life. Heck, one of the main reasons the L.A. area is so popular is our weather which contributes to a good quality of life. This objective builds on that by focusing on public safety, reducing traffic congestion and expanding cultural amenities. Implement smart land use. I like this one because good-paying jobs are the goal here. This objective promotes land-use policies that restrict re-zoning of industrially-zoned land to other uses. You’d have to prove that the new use would produce more high-value jobs than industrial uses. We’ve used too many former industrial sites for a Costco. Jobs at a Costco aren’t as good as industrial jobs. Pure and simple. Enough with Costco. It’s such an easy, lazy and brainless fix. Build 21st Century infrastructure. The main goal here is to build and maintain infrastructure that currently is woefully inadequate for our region. This also includes having enough clean and affordable energy and better ground transportation network. Next step is to make sure this plan gets implemented to its fullest. Businesses and elected officials need to lead the way. Business Journal Editor Jason Schaff can be reached at (818) 316-3125 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.