74.9 F
San Fernando
Monday, Jan 30, 2023
-Advertisement-

Valley COG Gets Final Approval

The creation of a San Fernando Valley Council of Governments will help unite valley communities and strengthen the regional economy, officials said. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the formation of the joint-power agency on May 25, according to the Mulholland Institute, a division of the Valley Economic Alliance that has been facilitating the plan. The cities of Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, San Fernando and Santa Clarita had already approved the council, but the supervisors’ approval was the last step needed to officially launch it into motion, said Robert Scott, director of the Mulholland Institute. Existing elected officials, which include council members and supervisors from each of the region’s jurisdictions, will lead the Council of Governments and each jurisdiction will be given a starting budget of $10,000, Scott said. “The idea here is to work across jurisdictional lines and among various agencies to build consensus and come up with more of the regional position and the regional strategy,” Scott said. “You (would) see all the partnerships that could be arranged, but up until now there wasn’t a forum through which we could put all these people together.” The council is set to oversee the planning of the San Fernando Valley sub-region of the Southern California Association of Governments, which was established in 2004. The San Fernando Valley council will focus on intergovernmental cooperation, public-private partnerships and coordination of government planning and programming, according to the Mulholland Institute. The joining of jurisdictions is also expected to help the cities and communities pool their resources and secure more state and federal funding for regional projects. “There’s a lot of dollars on the table for infrastructure projects, as well as transportation,” said Mitchell Englander, chief-of-staff for Los Angeles Councilman Greig Smith. “Rather than compete against all the local cities and having the city of Los Angeles being its own entity, we can collaborate together.” First project The sub-region’s first project, which is already underway, is an initial Interstate-5 Corridor economic development plan. The study is expected to be released this month. While the council has not yet met for its first advisory board meeting or planned additional projects, officials say transportation is likely to be a major area of focus. “We want to look at the regional connectors,” Englander said, referring to freeway, bus and rail transportation. “We specifically want to look at some of the I-5 initiatives.” Once the council’s official board members are selected, the group’s first advisory meeting will be set and the board members will be able to start discussing the group’s vision and future plans, Scott said. Identity, economic development The council finally makes the San Fernando Valley region a “place,” officials say. “It’s been considered a bedroom community of Los Angeles, almost like a stepchild,” Scott said. “We’ve been an appendage but not necessarily a place to stop.” One of the Valley’s major achievements in separating itself as its own entity was the creation of the San Fernando Valley Statistical District, which allows the 2010 Census to provide data that specifically relates to the region, Scott said. Now that the Council of Governments has been formed, local officials can focus on strengthening the economy on a regional level, he added. One of the aspects the Interstate-5 Corridor economic development study will address will be how the area’s cities and communities can collaborate in their leading industries to strengthen those industries for the entire region. Los Angeles Councilman Richard Alarcón, who will serve as one of the joint-power agency’s members, said the new agency will also help create a balance between the housing and job markets. “One of the biggest criticisms of Los Angeles County is that it has a hodgepodge of development that has undermined the quality of life for Los Angeles as a whole,” Alarcón said, adding that cities within the region often fail to communicate with each other. Not considering others He gave the example of a city planning to build a housing project that is too large for its local job market, which then leads to increased freeway commute to surrounding areas. “They’re not coordinating,” Alarcón said. “One city will build something without considering the impact on its neighboring community.” The councilman said he also expects the new agency to play a major role in the planning of future high-speed rail in the San Fernando Valley. “It’s a funded project that provides economic stimulus,” he said. “It’s a bird in hand … (now) it’s a question of what we want to do with it.” Alisa Belinkoff Katz, chief deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s office, said having the council will also create a new way for local businesses to address political leaders about their needs. “Businesses tend to look at the Valley as a whole,” Katz said. “This will be a chance for those cross-valley businesses and organizations to work directly with the joint-powers authority.”

-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-