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Jobs: Creating Them / Keeping Them : If You Could Do Only One Thing . . .

February 09, 1992| Responses compiled by Jeff Levin, who has worked in state and local government

The current recession, and associated job losses, in California is one of the severest in recent memory. How to reverse the state's economic slide is a question on everyone's mind. The Times asked a variety of people what they would do to restore economic health.

WOLFGANG PUCK, Chef, restaurant owner

More aggressive promotion of tourism in California, not just for Disneyland and Universal Studios. Build more hotels/restaurants along the beach and promote them in Europe, since most Europeans still regard California as a dream vacation land. Ditto for winter sports and California's mountains. Hotels/restaurants are service businesses, thus labor-intensive.


I marvel at how few minority students I get at USC, where I teach. Because writers are always looking to augment their income, employing them in some kind of creative program that would reach out to minorities is one way to create future employment possibilities for minorities and, without too much expense, provide work for writers in the short term.

STEPHEN LEVY, Director, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy

In the short run, job growth in California depends on federal government actions to end the recession. Long-term prosperity depends on our willingness and ability to invest--to develop a competitive work force, to build a competitive physical infrastructure and to create a competitive quality of life. Government rules that are fair, flexible and efficiently administered are also a positive force for prosperity.


We could disperse the art collection of MOCA into all the mini-malls throughout the city, and turn Bunker Hill into an affordable, low-income housing project, thereby creating jobs for more construction workers and, as a byproduct, urban beautification and jobs for all those curators in mini-malls. Dispersing art collections could be applied to every art museum in the state.

DR. JERRY BUSS, Owner of the Los Angeles Lakers

We have to ease up on bank regulations regarding lending.

ROBERT POOLE, President, Reason Foundation

California needs to stop being the high-cost place to do business. We're simply not competitive. To get competitive, we've got to: reduce costly regulations on business; scrap growth controls that have made housing unaffordable, and cut the size and cost of government.

IVAN LIGHT, Professor of sociology, UCLA

Wondering how to create more jobs in California is like wondering how to get a better deck chair on the Titanic. More jobs in California would just bring the unemployed from other states to take them. California's prosperity requires an internationally competitive, civilian economy of the whole United States. To get that, we need a President who will divert $200 billion from the defense of Europe and Japan to rebuilding the country's civilian infrastructure.

FRED HAYMAN, Businessman, Beverly Hills

California has always been the heartland of the American dream, the epicenter of the "good life." Business should be flocking here, not initiating an exodus. It is time to actively court new industry and encourage those that are established in California to remain here and, most important, to reform the restrictive laws that cripple our future and export jobs.

JACK KYSER, Chief economist, Economic Development Corp. of Los Angeles County

Re-examine all regulation and regulatory practices of both state and independent agencies with an eye toward making them more user-friendly to business. This would include the total costs and time required to obtain all permits.

FRANK O. GEHRY, Architect

Remove the obstacles--psychological and legal--that have created a cocoon of self-protection from personal liability and have driven into the ground the ability to take risks and to creatively address the problems of the future.

WILLIAM G. OUCHI, Professor of management, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA

Do everything possible to accelerate the development of mass transit in our region, not to create jobs in mass transit itself, but rather to solve our transportation problems. Do everything in our power to accelerate the reform of the Los Angeles Police Department, not to create jobs in the department, but rather to deal more successfully with our problems of public safety. Do everything in our power to assist the Los Angeles Unified School District in its efforts to streamline and to decentralize, not to create jobs within the district staff, but ensure the nation that our education is the best. Then new businesses will come here.

KATHLEEN BROWN, State treasurer

Under my new CAL-VEST program, state investments would be used to buy existing loans from California banks in order to provide more cash for small-business loans. The result: business expansion and capital investment, while at the same time giving California a fair rate of return on its investments.

WILFORD D. GODBOLD JR., President and CEO, Zero Corp., and chairman, California Chamber of Commerce Task Force on Saving California Jobs

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