The Westside Economy Needs An Ally At City Hall

My Small Business Team Will Help Guide Post-Pandemic Recovery

The tapestry of businesses on the Westside is one of the strengths of our community, and one of my favorite aspects of living here.

If you’re looking for a meal on the go or a fancy dinner with friends, the Westside has an abundance of offerings. If you’re looking for a dive bar to watch football or a rooftop deck with ocean views, we have those too.

The Westside is also a shopper’s paradise. From iconic Abbot Kinney to the Palisades Village, and Brentwood’s San Vicente to Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista, we are blessed with some of the best and most diverse retail in Los Angeles.

With about one in six of us employed in a creative field, the Westside is especially well known for its creative workforce, which makes it a favorite for arts, entertainment, design, publishing, and new media.

About 30% of our economy here on the Westside is tourism-driven. With thousands of visitors flocking to our beach communities every day and LAX located in our District, CD-11 drives the leisure and hospitality industries.

Our Local Economy Is Struggling

Our business community has been hit with the one-two punch of the pandemic and public safety crises, which caused many businesses to close. After years of economic expansion, during the pandemic, the city lost over 300,000 jobs, and small businesses were the hardest hit. On the Westside, local retailers, restaurants, and hotels suffered most. Movie and television production came to a halt. Every time a business closes, employees lose their jobs, and threads that form the fabric of our daily lives disappear.

Eye Openers

I’ve spoken to hundreds of business owners over the last nine months. Here’s what I learned:

  • New businesses get lost in the maze of red tape at City Hall, in many cases taking years to get proper permits and licenses
  • There is little effective help from the City to address business disruptions, like those caused during the pandemic
  • The City has been non-responsive to legitimate public safety concerns, like lack of police presence and slow response times, burdening many businesses with the costs of private security, retail theft, layout redesign, camera systems, and security gates
  • Women and lower-income workers have experienced job loss at disproportionately high rates
  • Small businesses have frequently gone into debt over the last couple years to cover payroll and costs of complying with Covid-19 regulations

Solutions

When elected to City Council, I will:

  • Create a designated small business team and appoint an advisory committee of business owners to help design incentives for new businesses who wish to open (or reopen) and operate in our District
  • Offer streamlined assistance and outreach to the small business community about permitting, procedures, economic relief, and other resources available to them
  • Restore public safety funding and staffing to adequate levels to keep our community safe and ensure that LAPD has adequate presence in our business districts
  • Prioritize businesses committed to paying fair wages, those who offer benefits like child care supplements and paid family leave, and those committed to environmental best practices
  • Make CD-11 a home for clean-tech, green innovation, and arts and entertainment

CD-11 should be a dream destination for entrepreneurs and emerging businesses. My small business team will actually get to know the business community all over the district and be proactive in addressing their needs and concerns. Reviving our local economy means supporting our business community and the employees who work here.

I know you care about our local businesses, I do too. Let’s all prepare for a bright future on the Westside of Los Angeles!

–Traci Park

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