Category Archives: Jobs

Viacom Announcement is Huge for Hollywood

For those of us who have been working to revitalize Hollywood for many years, the news last week that Viacom has agreed to rent 180,000-sq.ft. of space at Kilroy Realty’s Columbia Square development is welcome news indeed. The media titan has agreed to move its cable television networks MTV, Comedy Central, BET and Spike TV to the complex now under construction on Sunset Blvd. at Gower. How big is this for Hollywood and Los Angeles? Well, let’s just say it is H-U-G-E!

For the City of Los Angeles, the announcement makes a statement that Los Angeles can indeed attract major entertainment firms. Some of the jobs are being relocated from other sites in L.A., but a significant portion are coming here from Santa Monica and Burbank. And these are prestige companies, the type that any city would do almost anything to attract. Not only will these businesses strengthen the tax base of the City, but they will also bring jobs here by the hundreds – to the tune of more than 600.

For Hollywood, the announcement is proof that the Hollywood comeback is for real. For most of the past three decades, companies were leaving Hollywood. We can point to this as evidence that the jobs outflow has now reversed. Furthermore, these employees will spend dollars in Hollywood, at restaurants and retailers, which will strengthen our economy. Finally, it substantiates the fact that Hollywood will remain an important commercial district within the metropolitan region.

For the developers, the announcement will create momentum as far as attracting other companies to Hollywood. Kilroy Realty, Hudson Pacific and J.H. Snyder have made a significant bet on the future of Hollywood by investing here. Hollywood currently has one-million-sq.ft. of office space under construction, more than any place else in Los Angeles. Trophy deals such as this confirm that they made the right decision.

For the Community, the arrival of Viacom is also a huge victory. We have touted the goal of creating a truly great live-work community, where people can reside with only an occasional need for a car. That means putting jobs and residences in close proximity to each other and to transit options. And these are companies that give back to the community. Viacom, through its Paramount arm, has for years organized their annual Viacommunity Days of service, and I imagine we will now see more of that from the new Viacom divisions. Furthermore, we can anticipate that these and other new firms moving here will become part of the community by supporting local arts, education and social service programs.

So, this is indeed a big win for Hollywood. And I can’t think of a better way to bring in the holiday season and to end the year than this. May the momentum continue in 2015!

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Leron Gubler has been serving as the President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for the past 22 years. His tenure since 1992 continues to oversee the great comeback story of Hollywood.

Finally, A Little Bit Of Good News For Small Businesses

It has been a very long summer for businesses in the City of Los Angeles. First, the City Council took a timid approach to promised reform of the gross receipts tax. Next, they passed a resolution (with no discussion at Council) calling for a split roll property tax. Then, they approved the second highest minimum wage in the nation for hotels without regarding the economic studies they had commissioned. And finally, they moved forward on a plan to raise the minimum wage across the board by 47 percent over a three-year period.

Last week, we finally received some good news, when Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Bob Blumenfield introduced a motion asking for an economic analysis of the unintended consequences of increasing the minimum wage, especially as it relates to small businesses and nonprofits.

The result of this motion is that the process for a decision would slow down, and allow the debate to take place that is needed on an action that will impact thousands of businesses. Instead of taking action in January, if this motion is passed, we should see a decision in the spring. Of course, this is all dependent on approval of the motion by the full City Council.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is on record in support of an increase if it is done in a way that minimizes its impact on small businesses. Increases need to be smaller and spread over a lengthier period of time. The City needs to lobby the State to allow tipped wage earners to be excluded from the increase. And the City needs to seriously reform or replace the gross receipts tax in a way that will allow Los Angeles to compete with other L.A. County cities for business.

The Berkeley study commissioned by the Mayor is seriously flawed and underestimates the negative impact of the proposed increase on jobs and businesses. There has never been an increase in the minimum wage of this magnitude over this short period of time. It does not allow businesses the time to adjust to the increase.

We have just completed a study of our own members that reveals that 53 percent believe their businesses would be adversely impacted. If it is enacted as proposed, 27 percent say that they would have to lay off employees and another 39 percent say that they would have to reduce some employees hours.

Studying the unintended consequences of the increase makes sense. Are the benefits of the proposed increase greater than the negatives for those who will lose jobs or have their work hours reduced? What about the $1.8-billion sucked out of the pockets of businesses? Are the negatives of their reduced spending being taken into consideration?

A big thanks to our own Councilman Mitch O’Farrell for making the motion to put the brakes on this increase along with Councilman Bob Blumenfield and seconders Paul Krekorian, Nury Martinez, and Felipe Fuentes. Hopefully, other Council members will take the responsible position and also support the motion. There is no need for a headlong rush to approve an increase. Let the Council take the time to listen to the businesses that will be impacted and to craft an increase that not only helps those on the lowest economic level, but which does the least harm to business.

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Leron Gubler has been serving as the President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for the past 22 years. His tenure since 1992 continues to oversee the great comeback story of Hollywood.