L.A. 2020 Commission report silent on boosting Hollywood jobs

A report by the Los Angeles 2020 Commission offers various prescriptions to promote jobs in L.A. but says nothing about how to boost employment in the entertainment industry. Above, a crew films a scene for "NCIS: Los Angeles" in Venice.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
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A new report on spurring job growth in Los Angeles covers the bases, but leaves Hollywood out of the picture.

The Los Angeles 2020 Commission report, entitled “A Time for Action,” was commissioned last year by City Council President Herb Wesson and offers various prescriptions to reverse a net decline in jobs over the last past two decades.

The recommendations include such ideas as promoting bioscience research, establishing a regional tourism authority and combining the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.


But conspicuously absent from the study is any discussion of what should be done to reverse a long-term decline of employment in L.A.’s entertainment industry.

RELATED: The Los Angeles 2020 Commission report

Film industry advocates have been saying for years that L.A. leaders don’t pay enough attention to protecting one of the area’s economic pillars, allowing other states and countries to lure away film and TV production with rich tax credits and rebates. Mayor Eric Garcetti, however, has appointed veteran entertainment industry attorney Ken Ziffren as a film czar to lobby for stronger state film tax credits to make California more competitive.

Locally, the entertainment industry remains among the largest private employers, with about 250,000 jobs and an output of $60.9 billion in 2012, or 11% of Los Angeles County’s overall economy, according to a recent report from the Otis College of Art and Design.

But L.A.’s entertainment economy has been losing market share. California lost 16,137 film and TV industry jobs (mainly in the L.A. region) between 2004 and 2012, an 11% decline, according to a recent report by the Milken Institute, as jobs fled to such states as New York, New Mexico and Louisiana.

The 2020 Commission briefly acknowledged the problem in one paragraph of a 43-page report released in January that described L.A.’s woes, including high poverty rates, chronic budget shortfalls and failing public schools.


ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

Austin Beutner, a former investment banker and L.A. deputy mayor and co-chair of the private commission, said that there was a lack of consensus among its members on the best strategies to boost local entertainment jobs and that the topic had already been addressed by others.

“Clearly the loss of entertainment jobs has impacted the community. Clearly we need to do what we can to bring those [jobs] back,” Beutner said at a Times editorial board meeting. “I don’t think there’s any debate in the group about that. We just said ... ‘Others are covering it and we don’t have consensus on whether that’s the highest and best use of tax dollars.’ ”

The independent commission is co-chaired by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor and also includes former California Gov. Gray Davis and former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis.


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