Even though they have been seated for less than a month, it is already clear that the “new” Los Angeles City Council has a spirit and energy that is focused on the economy and finding a way to get to “Yes.”  This means yes to job creation, yes to economic growth that provides more tax revenue for city services, yes to businesses large and small to help them invest in Los Angeles, and yes to policy and development decisions based on sound economic data, not political calculations.

The most tangible sign of this new direction is the recent affirmative action in favor of the Millennium Hollywood project. This major redevelopment project, which is a priority of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, will create thousands of new jobs and pump hundreds of millions into the economy. With a vote of 13-0 the City Council, led by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, approved the cutting edge transit oriented, mixed use development in the heart of Hollywood. 

During the City Council’s consideration of this development, some community members raised complaints related to the height of the project and its proximity to seismic zones. In the past, we have seen Councilmembers use issues like these to delay or deny completion of critical economic development projects.

To the contrary, Councilmember O’Farrell personally worked hard with the developer to address the concerns of the community and develop a plan to get to yes. He sat down with the investor and good corporate citizen, Millennium Hollywood Partners, and in short order reached an agreement to reduce the height of the project and create a process to ensure it was seismically safe.  Together, they also hammered out a $17 million community benefits package including a $4.8 million payment for affordable housing and a comprehensive transportation management program.

This is the approach that we hope will become the model for how our city leadership approaches future decisions on proposed investments in a city with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.  With our City Council working to get to yes, they will find the Chamber and the business community a strong and willing partner. Together we can build a dynamic Los Angeles that provides new job opportunities for our residents and a quality of life that is the envy of all.