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CCRL California Center for Regional Leadership
Connecting California's Regions to the State and Each Other
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200 Pine St., Ste. 400
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone (415) 445-8975
Fax (415) 445-8974

CalRegions Email Newsletters Archive
CalRegions Volume V, Issue 3 - May 2004

Economic Vitality and Competitiveness for California's Regions
- a CalRegions Special Edition

Over the years, we Californians have learned a major lesson: in a competitive global marketplace, we cannot take our economic success for granted. California is blessed with many comparative advantages, some natural and others the result of deliberate choices made by previous generations. But unless we continuously analyze the data and implement public policies that encourage and support those advantages, we will fall behind. Without economic success, the vaunted California quality of life will deteriorate or, perhaps even worse, be available only to the privileged few - and that simply should not be the California way.

CCRL has been asked by Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing Sunne Wright McPeak to convene thirteen Regional Economic Vitality Conversations around the state. In tandem with a series of state-level Conversations, these sessions will lift up our best ideas to help inform state economic policy and ensure that it attends to the particular needs and interests of California's diverse economic regions. This outreach effort by the state government is unprecedented in scale.

We are pleased to make available with this Special Edition the report of the first of these events, the Southland Regional Economic Vitality Conversation, which was held on March 4 in partnership with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Keystone Group. The full report, a summary of ideas generated at the session, is available on our website at http://calregions.urbaninsight.com/pdf/evc_report_southland.pdf (Adobe Acrobat document).

More than 50 business, civic, community, and local government leaders participated in the Southland discussion. Highlights of their comments and suggestions include:

  • Understand that the Southland's leading industries require, on the one hand, a mix of creative talent and small business entrepreneurism, and thus public investment in the productive individual through K-12, higher education, and workforce investment÷
  • ÷and, on the other hand, to support manufacturing, trade, and logistics, as well as the reality of development patterns, the economy requires major public investments in infrastructure.
  • Prioritize infrastructure/construction projects as "countercyclical" Ů a major job producer as well as strategic support for the rest of the economy.
  • Plan better at all levels to link housing, transportation, and land use investments.
  • Create permanent, effective partnerships between regional economic leadership and the state government around economic strategy.

We hope that the Regional Economic Vitality Conversations will be an important contribution to creating a focused, unified economic strategy for California that is targeted and flexible enough to assist all of the state's regions. For more information about CCRL's work with the state government and the regions around economic strategy, please read our March 2004 CalRegions newsletter).

It is now a hallmark of the young Schwarzenegger Administration that it reaches out to and beyond the traditional policymakers and interest groups to get the best ideas and the best people to implement them. This Administration has committed to ensuring that state government will use all its powers and capacities to help ensure that our regional economies succeed÷ including:

  • major reforms to address the workers compensation crisis
  • leading the March ballot initiative to stabilize the budget deficit crisis
  • instituting several žcompactsÓ that can enable state expenditures to return as soon as possible to necessary and appropriately strong investments in K-12, higher education and workforce investment, and transportation and other infrastructure
  • generating innovation and productivity among state programs through the California Performance Review, to match in the public sector our much-envied private-sector entrepreneurism
  • conducting the California Regional Economies Project, which produces up-to-date analysis of our regional economies and their leading industry clusters

We thank Secretary McPeak for her personal leadership in this project, and appreciate the support and participation of many other Cabinet members including Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Vicki Bradshaw, and Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura. We also thank Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Bank of America for their generous support of this project.