The women of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce are determined to see change happen in L.A., even if it is via Capitol Hill. Several Chamber members recently journeyed to Washington D.C. to seek audience with political heavyweights about issues compromising the growth and socioeconomic development of the SoCal region.
Los Angeles resident, Daphne Anneet, a representative of the National Association of Women Business Owners and partner at Burke, Williams & Sorenson, was amongst the group of Chamber members that traveled to the nation's capital in an attempt to secure more of the nation's capital. Her focus was on the financial plight of small business owners. Anneet's mission was to get more money flowing into local community banks to address the seemingly insurmountable financial needs of small business owners in the region. She finds it particularly disturbing that small business owners are frequently identified as "the key engine for driving our nation out of the recession, yet, on the ground money is not flowing." Anneet believes the answer is found in getting more money into local community banks that will, in turn, provide financial relief for small businesses to continue operations.
Tracy Rafter of the L.A. County Business Foundation takes issue with a different issue altogether and believes that the state of current public transportation plaguing the SoCal region must be addressed immediately. Rafter is seeking nearly $9 billion to funnel into current L.A. County transit projects. Her group was able to secure an extensive face-to-face meeting with a high ranking official with the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as a meeting with Congressman Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks. As a sign of good faith in the region's development efforts, Rafter presented details about how California has earmarked stimulus money received in 2009 for a matching funds program that got projects moving. Her group also questioned Sherman about the viability of his proposal for government-backed transportation bonds, prompting him to express that their visit may be the push needed to receive a favorable vote in November elections that will benefit SoCal's transit project development efforts.
Renee Fraser, co-chair of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce's Homeless Task Force, met with Congresswomen Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles to discuss the outdated formula for determining the distribution of housing vouchers for homeless veterans and federal housing program funds. Fraser contends that the current formula, which unfairly favors older, East Coast cities because it is based on the age of buildings identified for housing programs, needs to be revamped so that younger cities can get their fair share of subsidies.
As many in the SoCal region stand by to witness the outcome of their recent efforts, one thing is undeniably clear: The women of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce understand that taking care of business is definitely women's work.