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MON | April 21
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Land Use, Construction & Housing Committee Meeting
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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is
the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes
a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region.
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For the second week in a row, this column is praising two recent decisions that will substantially benefit our local economy and quality of life. Last week, veteran educator Ramon C. "Ray" Cortines accepted the number two job at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) while 25 miles away the Los Angeles Harbor Commission certified the TraPac terminal expansion agreement.
The hiring of Cortines as deputy superintendent is an inspired choice by Superintendent David L. Brewer III. There is no greater priority in Los Angeles than making our education system work for our young people. Turning around a system like LAUSD is a huge leadership endeavor that requires executives who understand both the opportunities and challenges.
Cortines’ experience is perhaps unequaled by any other school administrator in the nation, serving as superintendent of schools in New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Pasadena and Los Angeles on an interim basis eight years ago. Cortines will provide first-rate counsel to Superintendent Brewer. He recognizes the importance of creating small learning communities with career and vocational themes. And he understands the classroom reality, bureaucratic shortfalls and political intrigue of our local education system.
Last week the Harbor Commission also demonstrated exemplary leadership when it certified the TraPac terminal expansion agreement with community groups. After more than seven years of inaction, the Commission is ushering in a new era of green growth at our ports by moving forward with TraPac and creating a template for future expansion projects.
The Harbor Commission’s work with community and environmental groups gives a green light to the TraPac project while creating a mechanism for local residents to share in the benefits of the expansion. The formal agreement includes the creation of non-profit organization funded by the Port of Los Angeles, which will oversee local environmental mitigation and community enhancement projects. The agreement staves off legal threats, which would have delayed the multi-million dollar investment in new technology to improve the environment and increase capacity at TraPac.
We commend Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, the Harbor Commission and President S. David Freeman, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. City Councilmember Janice Hahn for their hard work on this compromise. We also applaud the many community groups who worked with the Harbor Commission to develop a compromise and a template for future expansion projects.
The leadership of all parties on this issue sends the long needed message that Los Angeles will not allow lawsuits to stand in the way of environmental improvements and increased capacity that will come from green growth expansion projects at our region’s largest economic engine.
Both Cortines’ appointment and the green lighting of TraPac demonstrate that leadership matters when it comes to addressing our region’s challenges. We expect these two decisions to have a positive long-term effect on our schools, environment and economy. Both deserve our praise and pledge of support.
And that’s The Business Perspective.
Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.
Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
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