The Los Angeles Times ran a story over the weekend that missed the mark about the influence of the business community at L.A. City Hall, which prompted me to send a letter to the editor on Sunday afternoon.
In my response to the story, I pointed out that business is an aggressive advocate at City Hall and actively engaged in city elections.
For example, on Jan. 17, 2012, Joe Buscaino trounced the candidate backed by the County Federation of Labor in the race for Council District 15. The L.A. Area Chamber’s L.A. Jobs Political Action Committee (PAC) vigorously supported Buscaino, providing $82,000 in an independent expenditure campaign to support his election.
In 2011, in the much closer re-election of Councilmember Bernard Parks, the Chamber’s PAC and other business groups stepped up and provided critical independent expenditure funding for mailers and phone calls, helping to secure his re-election to the City Council.
Yes, there are fewer large corporate headquarters in Los Angeles than 20 years ago and the focus of many L.A. businesses is now global rather than local. But that does not mean that the Chamber and the dozens of other business organizations in Los Angeles have abrogated their passion for the welfare of America’s second largest city to other interest groups. When one looks at the high unemployment rate in Los Angeles and a City budget that is structurally imbalanced every year and according to the CAO, teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, it is clear that a business perspective is needed more at L.A. City Hall today than ever before.
We invite all businesses and individual citizens in Los Angeles to join us in electing more pro-jobs and pro-economic growth candidates to the L.A. City Council. We need 15 Councilmembers who wake up every morning thinking about ways to put several hundred thousand Angelenos back to work and balance the city budget by adding new and growing businesses to the tax base.
We’re tired of city leaders who place jawboning ahead of jobs and public employee pensions ahead of potholes. The economic pain that is facing the residents of Los Angeles because of unemployment and the L.A. City budget is not just a business issue — the results will determine the quality of life for every citizen of Los Angeles in the years ahead.
If you would like to join us in this campaign for the future of our city, contact the PAC today. Electing pro-jobs, pro-economic growth representatives to City Hall is not just a business issue, it’s everyone’s issue.
Gary Toebben is the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce