On Tuesday Los Angeles will elect a new mayor. And while Eric Garcetti is leading in the polls by 7%, according to recent articles a victory is not certain.
LA needs Garcetti. He would be the first tech mayor of our city. He understands our issues as a community and vows to help keep LA Tech on the map.
From his opponent I have heard crickets in the past year.
Why does it matter?
And how can you help?
If you live in LA please turn up to vote on Tuesday. In a citywide election every vote really DOES matter.
If you live in LA (or even if you don’t you can help amplify) please consider Tweeting the following:
“I support the tech industry. I’d love to see a mayor in Los Angeles who does, too. http://bit.ly/Tech4Garcetti #EricGarcetti”
Why it Matters
Look at the impact that having a tech savvy leader in a city can make. Consider Bloomberg in NYC or Ed Lee in San Francisco. They both have presided over big tech booms in their respective cities. They understand that job growth and therefore overall city well-being depends on it.
While a mayor of any city doesn’t have unilateral power and certainly the mayor of LA has unique challenges not faced in other cities, having a champion of business in office will help to continue to raise the profile of the city when people make crucial choices about where to grow jobs.
Consider the case of LegalZoom, one of our cities great startups. In 2010 the City of Los Angeles started trying to crack down on tax receipts of Internet startups allocating them to the least favorable gross-receipts tax bracket taking up their city tax by 500%.
The result? LegalZoom moved from Hollywood to Glendale. Doesn’t sound like a big deal if you know local geographies – it’s only a 20-minute or so move.
But more damning is that LegalZoom decided to open its next big center of innovation in Austin, Texas, along with 600 new jobs and a $21 million office purchase according to this article.
Garcetti worked with LegalZoom, ShopZilla, Hulu and others to try and change the tax ordinance to support the emergence of our biggest tech companies in LA city only to be stymied by the head of the office of finance, Antoinette Christovale as outlined in this article. The 600 under-employed people of Hollywood who could have worked at LegalZoom but are now in Austin thank you. As does the mayor of Austin.
Growth companies beget more growth companies.
And we need a tech visionary in the bully pulpit in the mayor’s office to make sure our issues are heard & known.
In digital video between Maker Studios (where I am an investor), Machinima, Zefr, BigFrame & FullScreen we have added around 1,000 jobs in the past 3 years and this should continue, as video becomes an important part of the infrastructure of the Internet.
In our city we have leaders in finance (ZestFinance), art communities (DeviantART), commerce (NastyGal, JustFab, ShoeDazzle, LittleBlackBag, Beachmint), Internet infrastructure (Gravity, Factual), AdTech (Burstly, Rubicon, Shift, GumGum, Steelhouse, GradientX), Software (Cornerstone OnDemand), Mobile (Scopely, TextPlus, SnapChat, Whisper, Tinder), Business Services (j2, LegalZoom, Inside.com, DocStoc) and many others too numerous to list (and I’m sure I forgot some important ones).
Thousands of jobs.
We can continue to innovate in LA or watch our jobs and our engineers move up North. We can try to reinvent Hollywood film and TV (Hulu, Epoxy.tv, Blayze, Chill, TasteMade) or we can watch it migrate out of our city.
Garcetti understands this and having a vocal and visible leader amongst us is so important to win at the margin. To attract LP money to local VCs. To attract companies to locate and stay in LA. To encourage Google, Facebook, Twitter, EA and many others to plant more seeds in town and grow the local tech scene.
I have watched Garcetti up close. He is a smart, dedicated public servant who gets tech.
- Smart: He was graduated from arguably our top-rated high school (Harvard Westlake), B.A. from Columbia, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and studied at London School of Economics.
- Dedicated Public Servant: Garcetti has been a member of the LA City Council since 2001 and was a three-time president.
- Gets Tech: Garcetti knows our industry’s issues and can promote jobs and fair legislation. While his opponent tours around with Magic Johnson, Garcetti has been at virtually every major tech gathering in our city for the past 18 months as well as dropping knowledge on Reddit.
He is also a bilingual Jewtino (his dad’s family is Mexican / Italian and his mom’s is Jewish). Can’t get much better in a city like Los Angeles, hey?
So please vote. This isn’t a presidential election where our vote is neutered. This is a citywide election where every vote counts.
And let’s elect a mayor who knows that building a vibrant tech community is the key to LA’s continued growth and innovation.