For Los Angeles to develop and expand its high-tech industry, the city must change its public perception, a new report commissioned by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says.
The Los Angeles Mayor's Council on Innovation and Industry, formed by the mayor last March, released its 24-page report on Wednesday listing ways the city can work with the high-tech industry to develop it further in L.A.
Key among these, the panel of 25 business leaders said, is trying to change the image of Los Angeles to one of it being "the Leading Edge."
"While Los Angeles has some real challenges that need to be addressed, such as taxation, bureaucracy and transportation, it has as many issues based on perceptions that are no longer or never have been true," the task force wrote.
Among these is that Los Angeles is not a safe city when, in reality, crime rates are at levels not seen since the 1950s.
Other misperceptions are the fact it is the top city in the nation in numbers of Ph.D.s and is sixth in terms of business opportunities.
"L.A. has always been and continues to be a place of amazing innovation and world-changing ideas," the report said.
Villaraigosa said the report confirms the message he has been trying to deliver about Los Angeles, and he supports recommendations to have the city serve as an incubator for new business and also to attract more venture capital.
"We need to leverage city parcels to connect innovation hubs along the new light rail Expo Line," Villaraigosa said, where city-owned space would be made available to startup firms.
The mayor said he also supports creating an annual worldwide innovation competition -- along the lines the Xprize contest -- to support new ideas, as well as a fellowship program called the LA Edge, to match the 1.1 million college students in the region with local businesses to keep the talent in the city.
The report said the city of Los Angeles needs to take advantage of the wealth in the city -- 23 percent of California millionaires live in Los Angeles County.
Also, local pension funds, with access to $100 million to $200 million, should be encouraged to invest in local firms.
It said the city should develop a comprehensive directory of available resources and work more closely with universities to take advantage of their research.