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A Nudge in the Right Direction

19 Nov

With the November elections behind us, it’s time to go beyond promises and platitudes and get down to the task of governance. If politicians and pundits were focused on gaining momentum in the lead-up to November 6th, the emphasis has now shifted to mandates (real or imagined) and fulfilling the will of the electorate. As we send a newly elected crop of policymakers to their respective local, state, and federal posts, it’s important to assess what new decision-making tools and emerging policies are available.

This month, we look at climate change adaptation strategies in light of recent extreme weather events. We report on some of the outcomes from the November 6th elections, with a focus on how local and statewide ballot initiatives fared in California. And we examine a new financing tool that uses private investments to execute social service programs.

Growing consumer confidence, robust housing starts and a swerve away from a fiscal cliff all seem to point in the right direction. But a long slow recovery requires policymakers to consider a full range of options to nudge progress along.

Sincerely yours,

Cecilia V. Estolano | Jennifer LeSar | Katherine Aguilar Perez

“Bah! Humbug!”

14 Nov

Kevin Judd received no candy this Halloween. His home’s Party Rock Anthem Halloween light show spectacular went viral last year but this season his home was dark. Continue reading

Moving Beyond the Station Area

16 Oct

It looks like the idea of taking a more corridor-based approach [PDF] to transit-oriented development is beginning to take hold. While planning for traditional transit-oriented development has focused on targeted investment around transit stations, planning for integrated transit corridors looks well beyond the station area. This presents an opportunity to spur development and investment in the oft-neglected neighborhoods that happen to fall between transit stations. But, as with all things, corridor planning presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Continue reading

Marching to a Post-Redevelopment Era

16 Jul

The shuttering of the state’s redevelopment agencies continues to unfold with the passage of Assembly Bill 1484 (AB 1484). The bill clarifies some procedural elements of redevelopment (RDA) dissolution, adds new regulations, and all-but-guarantees a showdown between local governments and the state as both grapple to allocate scarce tax resources.

The bill also, surprisingly, hints at one development strategy that the Legislature may adopt as we continue our march to a post-redevelopment era. Continue reading

Harnessing Advanced Manufacturing in Southern California

21 Jun

While most sectors have seen a decline in employment in recent years, more than 495,000 manufacturing jobs have been created nation-wide since January 2010. According to a new white paper by the Boston Company Asset Management, “small to midsize component suppliers are among the U.S. companies most likely to benefit first from a resurgence in American manufacturing.” With over half-a-million manufacturing jobs in the Los Angeles area, the region is saturated with small-sized manufacturing companies, over half of which are in the higher-wage durable manufacturing subsector.  Well-established firms like Superior Thread Rolling Company and B&B Manufacturing Co., supply high-precision, complex, specialty machined parts for aerospace, military and other leading sectors.  Firms like these form the backbone of Southern California’s solid, but often overlooked advanced manufacturing cluster. Continue reading

HOT Lanes Coming to LA

16 Jun

Angelenos are gearing up for some major transportation changes with MTA’s new express lanes pilot program. In theory, the HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes will help reduce congestion on two of the nation’s busiest freeways (the 110 and 10) and generate money for transportation infrastructure improvements. Slated to open this fall on the 110, the HOT Lanes will allow single motorists to travel in the formerly designated carpool lanes using a special FasTrak transponder. The device will charge motorists based on the time of day and/or the amount of traffic on the freeway, per the tenants of congestion pricing. In essence, when traffic is bad, solo drivers will have to cough up more dough to use the toll lanes. Continue reading

10 Strategies for Attracting Development Near Transit

10 May

Coaxing investors to build cohesive, community-serving developments near transit isn’t an easy task. It takes coordination, political will, and lots of partnering between neighborhood stakeholders, private sector actors, and public entities. Continue reading

Launch of Sugar Education Program

19 Mar

“You wouldn’t eat 22 packets of sugar. Why are you drinking them?” That’s the tagline for Choose Health L.A.’s newest campaign to help Angelenos improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce obesity. Did you know that one 20 oz. bottle of soda can contain 65 grams of sugar? That’s about 22 packets of sugar! Continue reading

The Senate Passes its Transportation Bill. Your Move, House.

19 Mar

Washington’s transportation bill saga continues. After months of heated debate, a lack of support for the House Transportation Bill has Speaker John Boehner looking for alternatives — and it looks like the options are running out. Conservative Republicans are unwilling to lend support to previous spending bills floated by the Obama administration and the Senate, and their proposed budget has faced opposition from liberal and conservative groups alike. Continue reading