L.A. Area Chamber

    WEDNESDAY | Sept. 17, 2008





Coming up
at the Chamber

View all upcoming events on our Web calendar.

THU | Sept. 18
Trade and Investment with Armenia
more info

THU | Sept. 18
Transportation & Goods Movement Committee Meeting
Frank Busalacchi, Secretary of Transportation, State of Wisconsin
more info

THU | Sept. 18
Energy, Water & Environment Committee Meeting
Margot Brown, California Integrated Waste Management Board and Janet Coke, Los Angeles County Waste by Rail program
more info

THU | Sept. 18
The Connection Point
Pulling Your Act Together
more info

THU | Sept. 18
L.A. Jobs Political Action Committee Fall Fundraiser
more info

FRI | Sept. 19
Accenture Pancakes & Politics
Featuring Former Gov. Gray Davis
Open to Board and Circle Level Members only
more info

The 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. For more information, visit

350 S. Bixel St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 tel
213.580.7511 fax


This is an extraordinary week in the history of the U.S. economy as the financial markets process the demise of two Wall Street icons and another major government bailout. With so much at stake from the board room to the living room, now is the time for all Los Angeles residents to come together to say yes to major projects that would bolster our enormous local assets and drive our region’s economic recovery.

We are blessed with some of the greatest economic assets in the United States. Our twin ports are the nation’s loading dock and the fifth most active port complex on the planet. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the world’s largest origin-destination airport and America’s gateway to the Pacific Rim. More than 55,000 students graduate from our local colleges and universities each year. We are our country’s largest manufacturing center and the entertainment capital of the world.

Despite these important economic distinctions, our current unemployment rate in Los Angeles County is 7.5 percent – up from 4.9 percent a year ago and the highest since February 1997. Now more than ever, we need to maximize our region’s assets and find ways to say yes when the private sector is interested in making investments and creating jobs in our city and region.

We should start by saying yes at one of our region’s biggest economic assets – the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. On Monday, Geraldine Knatz, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, welcomed U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Susan Schwab to highlight the importance of our ports to the national economy and the benefits of the three Free Trade Agreements that are awaiting action by Congress.

With 43 percent of all ocean containers entering and leaving the United States through our ports, no state in the union benefits more from international trade than California. Even in our slow economy, we have an opportunity to leverage this position to take advantage of global trade at the Port of Los Angeles, which was up six percent in August 2008 over August 2007. We should say yes to trade and bolster the goods movement industry that already provides 919,000 regional jobs and $39 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.

But the opportunities at our ports do not stop with trade.  The private sector has proposed solutions to grow the capacity of our ports and clean up the environment at the same time.

The TraPac container terminal expansion at the Port of Los Angeles is already underway infusing a $180 million investment in green building and technology. Two more green growth Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) – Plains All American Pipeline and China Shipping – will be considered by the Port Commission before the end of the year. And the L.A. Waterfront project, a sixteen mile public promenade for walking, biking and enjoying America’s Port, is on the drawing board. All of these projects, plus another half dozen others like them, will create thousands of jobs and boost our local economy.

At next week’s Access L.A. City Hall event, the L.A. Area Chamber and several hundred business leaders will meet with city officials to highlight opportunities to maximize our city’s important assets – whether it be our ports, airport, public schools or major industry sectors. During these tough economic times, we must leverage every opportunity to maximize our assets to create new jobs and broaden the tax base.

We hope you will join us at Access L.A. City Hall and in saying yes to the projects that will drive our region's economic recovery.

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, produced with the input of Samuel Garrison, Vice President of Public Policy.


by Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

L.A. Business

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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. Bixel St., Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 | fax: 213.580.7511 | info@lachamber.com | www.lachamber.com

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