Marking the importance of the 2013 Los Angeles mayoral election, NBC4, UCLA and the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs joined together Monday night to co-host a jobs-focused mayoral debate at UCLA's Royce Hall.
The debate, moderated by NBC4 chief political reporter Conan Nolan, included five of the major candidates confirmed thus far — City Councilman Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel, attorney and radio talk show host Kevin James, City Councilwoman Jan Perry and Emanuel Pleitez, former aide to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Their discussion focused on job creation, economic development, budget and tax reform, workforce development, education and overall quality-of-life-issues.
Three expert panelists helped present questions to the candidates. Panelists included Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a professor of public policy and political science; Russell Goldsmith, chairman of the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs and chairman and CEO of City National Bank; and Carol E. Schatz, president and CEO of the Central City Association of Los Angeles and CEO of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District.
"As one of the world's great public research universities and the region's seventh largest employer, UCLA succeeds when Los Angeles succeeds," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. "One of my top priorities has always been to enhance UCLA's connection to the world beyond our campus. Co-hosting a mayoral debate focused on important issues like jobs and the economy follows in that vein, and we're very excited to participate."
Russell Goldsmith chairs the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs, a bipartisan organization that brings together leaders from business, labor, academia and the nonprofit community. He is also chairman and CEO of City National Bank, the largest bank headquartered in Southern California.
"Our city needs a leader who will make economic growth and job creation an overarching priority — an effective leader who will make city government a more proactive and productive force for the responsible growth of the region's overall economy and quality jobs," Goldsmith said.
Event co-sponsors include the Central City Association, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Business Council and the Valley Industry & Commerce Association. UCLA partners include the Luskin School of Public Affairs, the Anderson School of Management, and the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
The debate moderator, Conan Nolan, is a veteran reporter for NBC4 Los Angeles. He is also the station's chief political reporter, covering state and local politics, and is well known for his interviews with top political leaders as the host of "News Conference," the longest-running political/public affairs television program in Southern California, which airs Sundays at 9 a.m.
Los Angeles currently has an unemployment rate of approximately 10.3 percent, and more than a fifth of Los Angeles County's labor force is unemployed or underemployed. According to research by the Economic Roundtable, unemployment and underemployment currently represent $25.8 billion in annual wages not earned in Los Angeles County, $28.2 billion in lost private-sector economic activity and $4 billion in tax revenue not generated.
NBC4 Southern California is the West Coast flagship of the 10 NBC-owned television stations. It produces more than 30 hours each week of local news and information across its multiple platforms, including the main broadcast channel 4 and online at www.nbcla.com. Serving the Los Angeles community since 1949, NBC4's news operation has received nearly every industry award bestowed on local news, including numerous Los Angeles Emmy and Golden Mike Awards, as well as two national Edward R. Murrow Awards and a Peabody Award.
The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs (The L.A. Coalition) is an independent, bipartisan membership organization, established in 2009, to bring together top leaders from the region's business, labor, academic and nonprofit communities to develop and advance sound policy initiatives that will help to responsibly grow the economy and create quality jobs throughout the Los Angeles region.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and six faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.