Archive: Sep 2015

  1. Celebrating Gains and Some Unsolicited Advice

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    Mark Twain famously quipped that “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Oil companies may be feeling a little safer (for now) after a disappointing regular session failed to move major climate change legislation. The Governor has until October 11 to sign or veto bills that made it out of Legislature by September 11. As we draft this newsletter, the Governor has signed AB 2 (Alejo), which authorizes the creation of Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities. Could this be the long-desired, oft-rejected tool to replace redevelopment agencies? We also await the Governor’s promised signature on SB 358, California’s bid to address the gender wage gap. Next month once the ink is dry, we’ll do a round-up of successful bills addressing social equity, transportation, housing and economic development issues. For now, we celebrate gains by workers, promote transportation equity in Los Angeles and offer unsolicited advice to California’s big city mayors on what they should do to lead on affordable housing. Summer’s over – let’s get back to work on the issues that really matter.

    Sincerely,

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

  2. Partnering for Transportation Equity

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    This month, ELP Advisors has invited a friend of the firm to share her knowledge and experience with our readers. We’re exploring how coalitions focused on transportation equity are gaining momentum in Los Angeles County to fundamentally shift how transportation investments are deployed. We’ve invited Jessica Meaney from Investing in Place to share outcomes from the nonprofit’s latest partner meeting and explain how we move to a transportation future where local investments advance social equity, public health, and environmental goals.

    Earlier this month, Investing in Place convened over 70 partners to discuss lessons learned from SB 535 (2012 de Leon), a bill on cap-and-trade investments that prioritizes housing and transportation funds for disadvantaged communities based on a data-driven framework (CalEnviroscreen). The purpose of our meeting was to discuss lessons learned as we continued to refine framework recommendations for Metro’s potential 2016 Los Angeles County Transportation Sales tax ballot measure.

    Keynote speaker Vien Truong from #GreenfromAll inspired the group with her experience and lessons learned from SB 535, and offered advice on how leaders could use this framework to inform conversations about transportation investment in Los Angeles County. Vien described the efforts of SB 535, as rooted in a “collaborative movement and partnerships,” with an inside policy game that was grounded by a community-led effort. (more…)

  3. Workers Gaining More Protections

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    Recent decisions stand to fundamentally change the relationship between workers and employers. Even as the U.S. economy expands, productivity gains and GDP growth have not translated to higher wages for most workers. And with our economy’s growing reliance on low-wage workers, it’s important that labor rules and regulations offer protections for this growing class of employees. As we’ve seen successful battles waged to increase state and local minimum wages, there have also been policies put in place to help address the gender pay gap and redefine rules that make it easier for employees to organize. Likewise, an ongoing legal fight has the potential to offer contract workers more protections. As businesses increasingly rely on a contingent workforce to increase flexibility, it’s up to organized labor, advocates, policymakers, and elected officials to identify the best mechanisms to enhance worker protections. Here’s a rundown of some of their latest accomplishments. (more…)

  4. Our Top Five for Affordable Housing

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    Image from Habitat for Humanity Portland: https://www.flickr.com/photos/44062891@N03/8641577674

    Image from Habitat for Humanity Portland: https://www.flickr.com/photos/44062891@N03/8641577674

    It’s no secret that California has a serious affordable housing problem. The state is home to the nation’s most expensive rental market and the nation’s least affordable housing market. Nine of the ten most expensive housing markets in the U.S. are located here. And, as the Legislative Analyst’s Office put it, California’s home prices and rents are higher than just about anywhere else. As local policymakers throughout the state grapple with the issue of providing affordable housing, we thought it’d be helpful to provide a “top five” list of interventions that the state’s big city mayors can champion to help address the affordability crisis. (more…)

  5. Make in LA Welcomes its First Class of Startups

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    Innovation has a new home in Los Angeles! Make in LA is Los Angeles’ new (and only) tech-focused hardware accelerator: think anything from movement-tracking wristbands to medical devices or even robots. Do you have a great idea for an invention, but don’t know where to go for funding or guidance? Make in LA supports up and coming companies with capital ($75,000 per company in exchange for a 7.5% stake), access to workspace, top notch mentors, and a structured curriculum that will help ensure each company’s success. (more…)

  6. Eco-Friendly E-Commerce?

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    Given the recent coverage of major online retailers’ blue– and white-collar working conditions, many of us are contemplating the ethical implications of two-day shipping. Sure, it’s convenient, and we all love the immediate gratification of “1-Click” ordering, but at what cost to the environment (and, the workers)? Is there really such a thing as eco-friendly e-commerce? (more…)