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Newsom: Agenda To Fix California's Economy Not A "9-9-9 Plan"

Aaron Liu |
October 17, 2011 | 4:00 p.m. PDT

Associate News Editor


Newsom spoke at a town hall in California State University, Los Angeles. (Creative Commons)
Newsom spoke at a town hall in California State University, Los Angeles. (Creative Commons)
State lawmakers and business leaders saw eye-to-eye with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) Monday during a town hall discussion at California State University, Los Angeles regarding the state's future policies to jump start economic growth.

The meeting centered around Newsom's "An Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda For California" -- an eight pillar plan Newsom says will bolster California's economy. Among the ways Newsom's plan touts that it will create a positive impact: placing an emphasis on exports, manufacturing, innovation, infrastructure, and green jobs, while rethinking education, government bureaucracy, and regional goals. 

"I wish I had a 9-9-9 plan," Newsom said, in reference to Herman Cain's proposed tax code, "but it's not that simplistic."

Newsom emphasized the importance that California lawmakers learn from the economic policies of other states and countries. He cited Texas, Washington State, and the nation of Bavaria as examples of progress, and said that California was wasting time by not adopting proven answers to economic woes.

"It's not that we're bleeding that many jobs," Newsom said, "its that we're bleeding opportunities."

Sitting on the panel with Newsom were House Speaker Rep. John Perez (D), Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D), Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R), and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R). The panel agreed that both parties stood to gain from strategic economic planning.

"I don't think that its at all contradictory to my conservative principals, to have good stewardship of the environment," Smyth said when asked about green jobs. He argued that addressing unemployment and improving the environment could coincide.

The panel also agreed that both the private and public sector would need to take action in order to resuscitate California's economy. Perez said that there were opportunities for business and government to gain mutually with regards to addressing underdevelopment in areas of Los Angeles.

"Watts doesn't have a single full service grocery store," said Perez, adding that it was "a perfect time for us to bring in public and private resources to bring those investments."

Later, Newsom joined representatives from Boeing, Bank of America, AFL-CIO, and the Ceders-Sinai hospital at a different panel. The representatives told Newsom that streamlining regulation, developing a tech proficient workforce through the funding of university's and public schools, and improving the state's infrastructure were important elements they wanted to see in future economic policy.  

Raul Anaya, a senior Vice President for Bank of America, told Newsom that he wanted a "PR campaign for the state of California."

"Everything is fine here," Anaya said, in regards to California's condition as a whole. He said that other states held negative conceptions regarding California due to material people "read about" regarding budget cuts and a sluggish economy.

Taking notes on the panel, people in the crowd held varying opinions regarding California's future and the town hall itself.

"I'm an optimist," said Yvonne Chavez of Los Angeles County's Economic Development Corporation. "I think that we've come a long way in identifying the issues and developing strategic plans for their implementation."

Chavez mentioned that counties within California had implemented forms of "strategic economic planning" years before Newsom's proposal.

"To see that the state is also taking similar steps tells me that we're on our way to a more collaborative and concerted approach," she continued.

Michael McClure of Dick James & Associates felt that the town hall encompassed too little, and that the panels lacked diversity.

"A town hall means that all of us participates" McClure said. "Did you see one female speaker? Did you see someone ask about comprehensive immigration reform?"

"There were some missed opportunities," he added.


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