City Hall Forms Panel to Help Small Business By JACQUELINE FOX Staff Reporter Mayor James Hahn and Los Angeles City Council members Wendy Greuel, Tony Cardenas and Eric Garcetti launched the Small and Local Business Committee Feb. 12, said to be a key component of Hahn’s ongoing efforts to reform the city’s contracting process and related services for small businesses. The formation of the new committee followed a January public hearing which is said to have drawn more than 300 small business owners and others who offered their comments and suggestions for new programs aimed at reshaping the process for perspective contractors. The committee is being modeled on a similar panel established five years ago to study potential changes to the city’s business tax system known as the Business Tax Advisory Committee or BTAC. BTAC is amidst the final stages of submitting a comprehensive report on business tax reforms and, once it disbands in June, will have completed a historic and complicated effort to resolve one of the biggest headaches for business across the Valley and citywide. The Small and Local Business Committee will now tackle similar issues connected to doing business and expanding. It will meet roughly every six weeks at various locations across the city and terminate in the spring of 2007, officials said. “This new committee aims to make it easier and more productive for our small businesses to obtain contracts and flourish economically,” said Mario Marin, director of the city’s Office of Small Business Services. Members of the committee are appointed by city council representatives, one for each district, as well as the mayor and city Controller, Laura Chick. Valley representatives on the committee include: -Bruce Spiegel, president of the Universal City/North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce -David Iwata, Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley -Michael Miller, State Farm Insurance -Candido Mares, Montrose Supply -C.K. Tseng, Northridge Travel Appointments by City Council President Alex Padilla and other city council members outside the Valley are pending, as are dates and locations for the committee’s future meetings. According to Marin, the committee’s goals are two pronged: one side will focus on the city’s contracting process and how to help smaller companies better compete for big contracts, and the other will focus on establishing new policies aimed at helping small businesses grow. The city has also established a new Web site where city contracts up for bid will be posted, as well as links to city departments and the new committee’s minutes and action items from its inaugural and all future meetings. The address for the new site is: www.labavn.org.