Mayor Eric Garcetti keynoted the Los Angeles Business Council’s 2014 Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit today in Korn Convocation Hall. The summit, subtitled “Innovation and Investment in LA’s Economy,” was co-sponsored by the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate and featured speakers from across the political and economic spectrum, including Rep. Maxine Waters, Marty Bailey, president of manufacturing for American Apparel, Amy Freilich, a partner at Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac, and Richard Ziman, chairman of Rexford Industrial Realty.
Mayor Garcetti capped the day’s talks and panels with his vision for Los Angeles’ housing future. Acknowledging the challenges the city faces, he said many of them could be traced to L.A.’s popularity. “In a time period that Chicago’s population has declined by 200,000, ours has increased by that amount,” he said. UCLA Ziman Center researchers’ have found that this trend has made Los Angeles the least affordable housing market in the United States. “Los Angeles remains a place people want to live. If we didn’t have a city here we’d have to build one,” Garcetti said.
The mayor outlined a four-step plan for increasing the supply of affordable housing in Los Angeles, including streamlining the building process, creating policies that support sustainable growth, investing in infrastructure and building community support for new, smart development. “We must build community support for housing with good design and sensitivity to neighborhood character,” he said.
Tying housing, transportation and jobs, the mayor said any plans to fix the cities growing housing crisis had to include better planning for public transportation growth, continued job growth and his plan to increase the minimum wage to $13.25 per hour. “L.A. will continue to be an expensive city in which to live,” he said. “We need to encourage growth in middle class jobs in this city. We have to support an increased minimum wage.”
The summit included panel discussions on investing in sustainable communities, supporting business growth and innovation. Other keynotes included Waters, Compton City Mayor Aja Brown and Rep. Janice Hahn.