L.A. Needs a Better Climate for Business : Mayor's race: Economic opportunity, especially for today's youth, requires new approaches in City Hall.

Businesswoman Linda Griego is former deputy mayor for economic development.

Change is in the wind because our reality has been altered. The strategies and coalitions of the past no longer work. The old guard is passing and new leaders are emerging. Warren Olney has the right question: "Which way L.A.?"

Los Angeles residents are traumatized and fearful. Last April, an unjust verdict triggered criminal violence, looting and arson that touched everyone personally, and we fear what might happen when verdicts are handed down in related trials now under way. Shootings, stabbings, beatings, robberies and other assaults on person and property seem to be common.

Plant closings have thrown people out of work with little prospect for comparable re-employment. Future reductions in defense spending threaten more layoffs. A flood of new immigrants seems to be taking jobs away from residents and burdening our social services and schools.

Fear produces anger. Macho proposals-- more police, more jails, round up illegal immigrants--appeal to these emotions. But reasoned consideration of the facts produces a better judgment.

Only by providing good jobs and economic opportunities for all can we reverse the trends. The biggest source of jobs and economic opportunity is small business. The city must remove the obstacles that it throws in the way of business growth. We must start aggressively seeking businesses to locate here. There is no greater priority than jobs and economic opportunity.

The violence that swirls around us is perpetrated mainly by youth--perhaps a lost generation. Yes, we need more police on the streets for protection. Yes, it is important to know that Police Chief Willie Williams is ready to quell any disturbances that may arise in the future, as shown by his deployment of police in response to a recent incident at the corner of Florence and Normandie. But the more fundamental challenge is to save the next generation. If we do not help our kids now in grade school and they become gang members, drug addicts and illiterates, we will not be able to afford enough police, jails or social services to save the city from ruin. The way to save these kids is to give them a future--a job and a piece of the action.

I am the pro-business, Latina, feminist candidate. I would open City Hall to those who feel excluded--Valley residents, minorities, women, small business owners, to name a few. To get something done, you should not have to hire a lobbyist or know someone on the inside.

I am no "tax and spend Democrat." Through better management, which I have learned-first hand, I would cut city spending and improve service. I am no "trickle-down Republican." Los Angeles should not adopt a strategy based on competition with low-wage economies, because that will only drive down our collective standard of living. My economic plan would stimulate growth of high-wage manufacturing businesses in fields such as transportation, computers and medical equipment, and these jobs would produce others.

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