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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Elected Officials Answer Questions for VICA Members

More than 20 elected officials attended the annual luncheon of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association Aug. 6, where many addressed issues affecting the local business community. The event aimed to bring members of the Valley business community together with local elected officials in a setting that encouraged conversation and dialogue. Lawmakers representing the City and County of Los Angeles as well as the cities of San Fernando and Glendale; members of both the Los Angeles Community College District and the Los Angeles Unified School District; and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, were among those that answered questions on a wide range of issues. Councilmember Eric Garcetti addressed concerns about local film productions fleeing the city. “The entertainment industry and creative industries are now the number one industry in the southland,” Garcetti said. “About 894,000 jobs and over $40 billion of our economy depends on them, but we have been letting that go other places, it’s not only an issue of just runaway production it’s an issue of runaway production.” Garcetti proposed adopting a personalized approach to working with production heads in addressing and meeting their needs, and said it’s key that the city offers tax incentives and has the proper tax structure that will allow production to be competitive. “We’re leading the fight right now to establish two or three things: one to establish somebody who would be a film czar, downtown in city hall, to cut through red tape for production and secondly, to build out our infrastructure so that productions can plug into the Department of Water directly and not have to put up generators that pollute and cause a lot of noise, and also make Los Angeles a friendlier place downtown, Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley – those areas where filming occurs.” Council members Tom La Bonge, Tony Cardenas, Richard Alarcon, Janice Hahn and Jan Perry answered questions ranging from business tax reform and business retention to increased oversight on spending city funds for big planned events such as the Michael Jackson funeral. Newly elected City Controller Wendy Greuel spoke about efforts in collecting over $1 billion dollars in owed taxes. At the county level, Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Mike Antonovich addressed the problems created by California’s fiscal crisis, and the impact of state budget cuts on the county’s services. “The county is probably better positioned than almost any other government in the region because in the last 15 years the county has been very prudently managing its fiscal affairs,” Yaroslavsky said. “We did not spend the money when we had it. We stocked it away. We have a healthy reserve. So if we could have managed to stay out of it we’d be able to ride out even this recession with relatively little tumult.” But the state hit on the county will be pretty heavy, he added, with the possibility of the state taking approximately $400 million dollars in local property taxes from the County. “We don’t know yet how we’re going to do it; we’re going to manage it. Our focus will be on minimizing the cuts on services to real people.” Yaroslavsky said. The cuts will result in the closing of mental health clinics in the San Fernando Valley and an estimated 10,000 to 11,000 home care workers to the frail and elderly will lose their jobs, among other things. Antonovich said the state budget crisis reflects a dysfunctional form of government. He advocated for structure reform, implementing a part time legislature, getting rid of term limits, and looking at consolidating or eliminating the State’s 79 agencies, 11 departments, and over 300 boards and commissions, many of which are competing with one another, he said. Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero, LAUSD Board member Tamar Galatzan, Los Angeles County Sherrif Lee Baca and LACCD Board members Mona Field and Miguel Santiago also answered questions at the luncheon.

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