Archive: Dec 2013

  1. Happy Holidays from ELP Advisors

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    As 2013 draws to a close, we take a look back to recognize the amazing strides that moved the collective “us” forward this past year.  First, the Great Recession finally (finally!) ended.  After six long years of little or no economic growth, this year marked the beginning of a shift in the tide toward optimism.  Our national unemployment rate has dipped to 7% and is predicted to drop to 6% next year which represents near full employment for the country.  And, just revised today, the national GDP grew 4.1% in the 3rd quarter of 2013 – an astonishingly strong growth rate. In California, while the unemployment remains at 8.7%, the state’s budget is predicted to have a surplus of nearly $10 billion next year.  When was the last time we posed numbers like that?

    On a personal note, the Supreme’s Court affirming of the invalidation of Proposition 8 and their striking down of DOMA represented a watershed moment in our nation’s history.  We celebrate that our country continues to march forward to true equality for all.

    We look forward to 2014 with great anticipation and excitement about a future full of opportunities and growth.  This month we end the year with a guest writer, Rudy Espinosa, who is a good friend to ELP Advisors and is spearheading some of the most progressive movements in Los Angeles.  Next year, we will continue to profile dynamic leaders and the work they are doing on behalf of communities throughout the country.   With that, happy new year and happy holidays from all of us at ELP Advisors to you and your families!

    Sincerely yours,

    Cecilia V. Estolano | Jennifer LeSar | Katherine A. Perez-Estolano

  2. Legalizing Street Vending: An Opportunity for Los Angeles

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    This month, ELP Advisors has invited another friend of the firm to share his knowledge with our readers. This time we’re exploring how the City of Los Angeles can develop a permit system for street vending. We’ve invited Rudy Espinoza of the Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) to share some insights on street vending in Los Angeles and the movement to legalize it across the city.

    By: Rudy Espinoza, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network

    Street vending is illegal in Los Angeles. This is a surprise in a city known for its vibrant street culture and diversity. The taqueros, the bacon-wrapped hot dog vendors, and even the fruit vendors we all love are technically criminals in the City of Los Angeles. In fact, Los Angeles is one of the only major cities to not permit street vending, and the sole hold-out of the country’s ten largest municipalities. (more…)

  3. Whose Bridge is it Anyway?

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    People are driving less and using transit more. It’s been an ongoing trend, but with few exceptions, the automobile still reigns supreme in many parts of the U.S. Now, a growing – and increasingly vocal – minority of non-motorized road users are demanding safe access to local streets. While accommodating safe passage for pedestrians and bicyclists on public streets seems like a no-brainer, recent fights over the shared use of our roadways show that sometimes it’s easier to share the road in theory than it is in practice. In many urban centers, the reality of scarce funding and over-taxed infrastructure is forcing the debate on how public assets should be shared. Take bridges for example. (more…)

  4. Right Coast, Wrong Coast: Two States Grappling with Affordable Housing

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    Image from Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East: http://www.flickr.com/photos/habitatpdxmetro/8640476095/sizes/l/

    Image from Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East: http://www.flickr.com/photos/habitatpdxmetro/8640476095/sizes/l/

    Fully half the renters in the U.S. now spend more than 30% of income on rent, “up 12% from a decade earlier,” according to a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. The problem is more dire if you look at low-income households, where more than 8 in 10 renters with incomes below $15,000 pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs. The provision of affordable housing across the country continues to be a significant problem for local governments. But the policy mechanisms available for local officials and affordable housing advocates vary from state to state. Recent Supreme Court decisions in New Jersey and California highlight the effects that state regulatory frameworks have on cities and developers looking to build housing. (more…)

  5. A Race for Solar Power

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    Image from Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon: http://www.flickr.com/photos/solar_decathlon/6198586468/sizes/l/

    Image from Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon: http://www.flickr.com/photos/solar_decathlon/6198586468/sizes/l/

    What started out as a program solely in the U.S. has been expanded globally with Solar Decathlon Europe and Solar Decathlon China. The Solar Decathlon is a collegiate-level competition, created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2002, to encourage innovation in technology, financing mechanisms, and the design of solar-powered homes. (more…)

  6. Taking the Train

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    Bicycles have been humming along our streets with increasing frequency, but many riders in urban locations are hesitant to hop on two wheels to get to work. In Los Angeles, the Bike Train has been running since May of this year to ease those worries and make bicycle commutes a safe and enjoyable experience for LA residents. Bike Train essentially offers group rides for commuters who aren’t quite ready to strike out on their own. (more…)