A HISTORY IN BUSINESS
Councilwoman Laura Friedman had a successful 20-year career as a motion picture and television executive and producer. Since 2000 she has been the owner and operator of a small business specializing in vintage jewelry and decorative arts. Her husband owns and runs Picture This Land, a landscape design/build firm. Economic development has been a priority of Laura’s since joining the Glendale City Council in 2009.
CREATIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Laura led the way in transforming the San Fernando Corridor into a business and job creation engine for Glendale. Her Creative Corridor program offers specialized incentives to attract businesses and flexible zoning guidelines to allow a variety of uses. The program is so successful that the Glendale News Press called the Corridor “The City’s Economic Bright Spot.” Recently Laura supported the hiring of a consultant to create a City sponsored technology incubator program to attract new businesses to Glendale.
Laura led the effort to streamline Glendale’s entitlement process, replacing the need in many cases for an expensive and unsure variance hearing with an over-the-counter, inexpensive Zoning Use Certificate. This gives businesses flexibility and a speedy entitlement process. Laura believes that this type of approach will work at the State level.
Laura helped develop a concierge program in which businesses are assigned a single point-of-contact within the City to help them identify property and navigate all levels of the planning and entitlement process.
LONGTIME SUPPORTER OF SMART DEVELOPMENT
Laura has worked to create a vibrant, walkable and bike-able community near Glendale’s job centers, while preserving residential neighborhoods. Under her leadership, Whole Foods and Avery Dennison have moved their corporate headquarters to Glendale; along with retailers such as Bloomingdales and Nordstrom’s, and dozens of new restaurants, shops and offices.
The recession caused Glendale’s worst revenue declines in twenty years, yet under Laura’s leadership Glendale was able to balance the budget while maintaining a high level of service. Working with city employees, we were able to reduce payroll and pension costs allowing us to come out of the recession in strong fiscal shape. Fitch recently reaffirmed their AA+ rating on our municipal bonds saying “The rating reflects the city’s strong reserve levels, good liquidity, positive financial performance, and prudent financial policies and budgeting practices.”
ELIMINATING BLIGHT THROUGH THE ARTS
Laura created the GATE project, which transforms temporarily vacant spaces into art exhibitions to provide an innovative cultural exploration for the community, while eliminating the blighting effect of vacant storefronts. This led to a more vibrant downtown while assisting property owners to better highlight available spaces.
SUPPORT FROM THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
For her support of business, in 2012 the Glendale Chamber of Commerce named Laura “Woman of the Year.” Laura is being endorsed for Assembly by business leaders Rick Caruso, CEO, Caruso Affiliated; Cynthia Kurtz, President, San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership; Billie Greer, President, Southern California Leadership Council; Rick Lemmo and Harry Hull, Glendale Chamber of Commerce Past Presidents; Eric Hamilton and Pat Longo, Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce Past Presidents. Don Knabe, and Los Angeles Council Members Mitch O’Farrell, and Mitch Englander.
A REGIONAL PROBLEM-SOLVER
Laura is a regional problem solver, as as leadership at The Southern California Association of Governments, the Independent Cities Association and other boards shows she know how to build consensus and get things done. She is the only candidate in this race who has demonstrated over and over that she won’t be afraid to push the envelope in Sacramento to proactively tackle our biggest challenges. She is the only candidate in this race with a legislative track record of accomplishments in the areas important to the voters in the district.
LAURA’S PLANS FOR CALIFORNIA
Laura will bring the aggressive economic development approach she has spearheaded in Glendale to the State. Instead of by-the-rules bureaucrat who are quick to say “no,” we need government officials who are empowered to make decisions and who have a customer-service mentality. Laura will introduce a small-business initiative that is well funded so that small business and start-ups can receive help to get up and running.
Sacramento must make it easier to do business in California. Laura will work to streamline regulations and entitlements, reduce costs and fees for business, particular for small business, just as she has done in Glendale. She has the know-how and demonstrated ability to make California a leader in the global economic marketplace.
Laura is committed to fully funding education at all levels to insure that California continues to lead the world in technology and other creative industries. We should offer free courses at community colleges to prepare film and other creative professionals for changes in technology. We should make the arts just as much a focus of primary and secondary school as the other STEM programs so that we prepare students for a future in which creative capital is at a premium worldwide.