We need to facilitate growth in new industries like solar, nurture our technology start-up culture, and make our tax policies friendlier to small businesses.
Problem: Our economic recovery has been slow. The real estate market hasn't fully recovered, so property tax rates are low. Years of bad policymaking has stifled the full return of film. We have so far failed to capitalize on all of our existing resources.
Solution: We focus on developing a 21st century economy that is both local and global. We need to facilitate growth in exportable technology development while we press hard to develop local solutions to our daily needs. Most importantly, we need to support the growth of two industries with major potential for job creation.
1. A Solar Economy:
We have 329 days of sunshine in southern California - enough solar power to generate electricity for 3-5 million houses, depending on the efficiency of our energy use. More importantly, UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs generated a report proving a massive solar investment would not just make us greener ecologically, but it would be create 11,000 new jobs in the process.
- Let's increase the Clean LA FIT Program to maximize southern California’s 5 Gigs of solar potential (3-5 million homes). It is currently artificially capped at 150 MW (34,000 homes). This would provide jobs in solar installation and maintenance.
- We need to increase our homes' energy efficiency and train up employees to enter into the new solar economy. Let's use New York Mayor Bloomberg’s Green City Program as a model for creating a Los Angeles “Green City Force” to train and employ at-risk youth in LAUSD to increase the energy efficiency of our housing inventory while providing more entry-level job training in the green tech industry that feeds directly into the higher paying solar install/maintenance careers. Think of it as the old school union apprenticeships.
2. A "Silicon Beach" Tech Economy:
When Google moved into town recently, the era of "Silicon Beach" began. But, Google's arrival is not really the start of something special, it's the indicator for the general public that something special is going on. Go down to Amplify in windward circle, or check out Viddy, or hang with the people at The Hub, io/LA, Cross Campus, or any of the other pioneers of LA's new tech economy and you will know that this movement didn't start with Google and it won't end there either. We need to do a better job of nurturing an envionment for the innovative, wild children of tech start-ups. It is a culture that thrives on its own failures and LA has to prepare to embrace that to our core. If we can do that, our future is limitless. Let's:
- Modernize the way LA’s government serves us (Online Budget, Yelp4Govt, etc…) through a series of Civic Hackathons and Apps Challenges to attract computer programming talent and venture capitalists to Los Angeles.
- Coordinate the modernization of LAX with Silicon Beach to nurture full development of tech as an industry.
- Let's build public/private partnerships between the tech community, LA’s government, local universities, LAUSD, and LACCD to build training capacity.
- Initiate policies friendly to tech start-ups (Preferred Zoning and Subsidized Loans) so our homegrown programming talent stays here.