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Keeping Score on City Hall to Improve Los Angeles' Economy and Jobs

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Southern California recently captured the world's attention with the landing of Caltech's and JPL's Mars Rover, the launching of SpaceX's Dragon Rocket and the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour over the region's historic landmarks and locales. These events projected an image that Angelenos all know to be true -- Southern California remains home to a large share of the world's creative and innovative talent.

These milestones became reality because of strong research and development programs and a collaborative work environment that brought together motivated and skilled people from diverse backgrounds. Wouldn't it be great if all Angelenos got the government they deserved, one that is as creative and innovative when it came to developing and implementing policies that foster economic and income growth and the creation of quality jobs?

Angelenos do not lack for great ideas. Throughout the past few decades, members of Los Angeles' government, civic, business, labor, nonprofit and academic communities have come together to develop a handful of reports that have laid out a series of specific recommendations that city hall should take to optimize its economic assets to help responsibly grow the economy, create quality jobs and produce a better quality of life for all.

A handful of these initiatives are currently underway. Mayor Villaraigosa's 30/10 plan to accelerate the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority's building of 12 major public rail lines in 10 years not 30 stands out as one of our region's most innovative ideas. City hall's recent advancement of plans to modernize LAX's ground transportation system and north runway and the building out of one of two much needed rail lines to the port of Los Angeles are also critical. (Both were approved for advancement by the city council in the last two weeks.) Other notable proposals will strengthen the governance and operating structure at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the creation of a new citywide economic development structure.

With today's lingering 11.3 percent unemployment rate, city hall and our soon-to-be newly-elected mayor and city councilmembers must keep this momentum going.

The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs has developed an 'issues scorecard' to do just that. We believe the introduction of such a tool will better monitor our city's current economic policy priorities, while further identifying additional recommendations that have been proposed throughout the years by the region's business and civic leaders, the current mayoral and city council candidates, as well as recommendations from lost studies gathering dust on city hall bookshelves. The scorecard is available at www.thelacoalition.com. Please check back for future updates.

As you will see, the scorecard is a living document and it is our expectation that its contents will keep a spotlight on where our public officials stand and what they plan to do about these priorities. In addition, the scorecard should help engage more Angelenos in holding city hall more accountable to fostering a proactive government that contributes to a more vibrant economy.

After their swearing in on July 1, our city's newly elected public officials will face many challenges and opportunities, but none will be greater than determining and fully enacting pro-jobs policies that will foster economic growth and a healthy tax base to support the city services Angelenos demand and deserve.

Whether you are building a rocket to Mars, an electric car, making a movie or just work and live in Southern California, everyone has a role to play in contributing to the ultimate success of the region.

Let's keep score and elect, monitor and push public leaders who will seize upon these recommendations and fully implement them to return our city to its rightful place as a metropolitan region known, not only for its natural beauty, but also for its ability to lead in the 21st century economy.

Russell Goldsmith is the chairman of the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs and chief executive of City National Bank. Michael Kelly is the executive director of the coalition.