Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce I July 22
 

Chamber meets with new California Transportation Secretary
As a Mobility 21 Board Member, Chamber President & CEO Maria S. Salinas and Vice President Jessica Duboff met with David S. Kim, Gov. Gavin Newsom's appointee to lead the state transportation agency. His prior roles include multiple positions at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), deputy executive officer of federal advocacy and governmental relations for L.A. Metro and, most recently, vice president of governmental affairs for Hyundai Motor Company. The Mobility 21 roundtable discussed Southern California transportation priorities with Secretary Kim, as well as the various projects and initiatives each region is working on.

Gov. Newsom signs wildfire legislation
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1054, a Chamber-supported bill changing the structure of how costs related to wildfire damages associated with utility infrastructure will be handled, conditioning access and cost recovery on billions in contributions from utility shareholders, creating new ratepayer charges and hopefully preventing further bankruptcies that risk the reliability of our grid. Major provisions in the legislation include the creation of a wildfire fund to compensate victims of utility-related fires, conditioning utility access to the fund on safety certifications and changing the cost-recovery standard at the CPUC. READ our coalition letter.
 
Addressing homelessness with Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell
President & CEO Maria S. Salinas joined an intimate business community roundtable with Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, chair of the Homelessness & Poverty Committee, for a discussion on the root causes of poverty and how the community and different sectors can work together to keep those on the edge from falling into homelessness. The meeting was the start of a longer term effort on collaborating with the council office on new approaches and partnerships to addressing the crisis.
 
Accurately assessing our housing needs
Policy Manager Olivia Lee participated in a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) Southern California Advocates Workshop, hosted by LA THRIVES, Public Counsel, SCANPH and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. The workshop included an overview of state law and an explanation on the RHNA process and its relationship with Housing Element updates. A discussion on opportunities and strategies for public engagement in the RHNA process followed the workshop to help ensure that the numbers are fair and accurate to help combat the housing crisis. Each of California's 539 jurisdictions must update the RHNA every five to eight years and many are missing their goals on housing creation.

Infrastructure hot takes
Metro Goods Movement Strategic Plan
Last Tuesday, Policy Manager Kendal Asuncion participated in the second meeting of Metro's Freight Working Group, tasked with designing a Goods Movement Strategic Plan. Fran Inman, of Chamber member Majestic Realty and chair of the California Transportation Commission, moderated a panel to introduce the five elements of freight competitiveness that Metro has defined: labor force, efficient multimodal systems, strong markets and supply chains, investment and innovation and sustainability and equity. In a small-group breakout session, Asuncion co-led the discussion on investment and innovation, and recommended that Metro deliver on its promises from Measures R and M, convene and lead utility and fueling station planning for the next generation of transportation infrastructure and guide investment decisions from federal and state funding sources.

To assist the roundtable in their work on the Goods Movement Strategic Plan, we are holding two joint focus groups with Metro staff. The focus groups will help Metro review and asses its Five Elements of Competitiveness, and learn about where the Goods Movement Strategic Plan fits into Metro's Long Range Transportation Plan. RSVP HERE to either Aug. 5 from 1-2:30 p.m. and/or Aug. 15 from 9:30-11 a.m.

Measure M allocations
Policy Manager Olivia Lee expressed our concerns at the Metro Planning and Programming Committee regarding the South Bay Smart Net Project, which allows the South Bay Cities Council of Governments to construct a fiber-optic broadband infrastructure in the region using Measure M funds. At the Committee, we highlighted our advocacy for Measure M and the dire need for transportation investments in L.A., but raised concerns that the Metro Board is straying from the central premise of these public transportation dollars. This item was received and filed by the Committee.

BUILD grant support
The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program is designed for the USDOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. The Chamber recently submitted support letters for projects within the San Pedro Port Complex: the Terminal Island Wye Rail Enhancement at the Port of Long Beach, and the State Route 47/Vincent Thomas Bridge and Harbor Boulevard Front Street Interchange Improvement at the Port of Los Angeles.
 
U.S. House of Representatives passes legislation to repeal ACA "Cadillac Tax"
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed HR 748 (Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019), which would repeal the 40 percent tax on employer-provided coverage plans worth more than $11,200 for individuals and $30,100 for families. The bill passed with a vote of 419-6 and now moves on to the U.S. Senate. Repeal of this provision of the Affordable Care Act has long been on the Chamber's ACCESS Washington, D.C. advocacy agenda.
 
Policy council updates
The July Government & Fiscal Affairs Council met with Brian Peck, director of USC Gould School of Law's Center for Transnational Law and Business, and Fangfei Dong, associate director of USC Gould School of Law's Center for Transnational Law and Business, who gave an overview of the region's current trade relationships with the rest of the world and how they affect local businesses here in L.A., especially in L.A.'s ports. SEE THE PRESENTATION. The Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles, Zaib Shaikh, joined the meeting to press the need for Congress to vote to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and discuss the benefits the re-negotiated agreement would have on Northern American trade. Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Economic Development William Chun also joined the group to discuss opportunity zones and their benefits to companies in L.A. opportunity zones, which were created in the 2017 federal tax legislation to allow investors to receive federal tax incentives by investing their capital gains in more than 200 census tracts throughout L.A. County. SEE THE PHOTOS.

Upcoming:
  • Land Use, Construction & Housing, July 24, featuring Abundant Housing LA. RSVP HERE.
  • Energy, Water & Environmental Sustainability, Aug. 1, with new AQMD Board Member Vanessa Delgado. RSVP HERE.
  • Health Care, Aug. 2, for a health care workforce discussion. RSVP HERE.
  • Education & Workforce Development, Aug. 9, for a discussion on the future of charter schools. RSVP HERE.
 

POLICY CALENDAR

 
July 22 - SCAG RHNA Subcommittee
July 23 - SCAG GLUE Council Meeting
July 23 - L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting re: Art fee
July 24 - FASTLinkDTLA and Metro DTLA-wide business focus group
July 24 - Land Use, Construction & Housing Council
July 24 - City of L.A. 2020 Flood Management Plan Steering Committee
July 24 - John Lee for CD 12 fundraiser
July 26 - Accenture Pancakes & Politics Breakfast Speaker Series with Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon
 
Trump Drops Effort To Include Citizenship Question On Census, MediaPost, 7.11.19
L.A. Area Chamber | laareachamber@lachamber.com | http://www.lachamber.com
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Los Angeles, CA 90017