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Coalition Gets Grant for Development Plan : Recovery: L.A. council earmarks $350,000 for Valley group to identify needs of businesses and ways to address them.


A coalition of business associations will receive $350,000 in federal earthquake recovery funds to create an economic development plan for the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles City Council decided Tuesday.

The coalition, known as the Economic Development Alliance, was created after the Jan. 17 quake to advocate for the economic and business interests of the Valley.

"This is a very big issue for the San Fernando Valley--economic development," said David Honda, chairman of the alliance. "We're very pleased with this."

The alliance will draw upon the resources of its individual organizations and of academia to develop an economic development plan, Honda said. Researchers from UCLA, USC and Stanford will work with the alliance to identify the needs of the Valley's business community and ways to address those needs.

"We don't want to reinvent what's already been done and ask the same questions," said Honda, who is also chairman of the Valley Economic Development Center, a member of the coalition. "People don't want to hear the same questions. They just want results."

The funds are part of a $1.8-million grant that the U. S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration awarded the city earlier this year. The alliance played a key role in writing the city's application for the grant.

"They basically developed a plan and approached the city with it," said Ted Berkowitz, manager of industrial development for the city's Community Development Department.

Berkowitz said the alliance was ideal for the grant because of the members' Valleywide focus and years of expertise.

"It really is a natural for them," he said. "They bring their own resources to the table."

After the plan is written, the alliance will apply for federal money that can be distributed in the form of loans to businesses that did not qualify for Small Business Administration or Federal Emergency Management Agency loans after the quake, said Jerry Curry, president of United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley.

"Quite a few businesses fell through the cracks," Curry said. "We hope that businesses that are struggling will still benefit from this."


The remainder of the grant will be used to hire staff who will provide citywide economic development services, Berkowitz said.

Before passing the proposal, several council members, including Laura Chick, praised the alliance for "pulling together in an incredible way," and working in cooperation with government to solve the community's economic needs.

The alliance consists of the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn., California Industrial Leadership Council and the Valley Economic Development Center.

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