Strife in the City of the Future

Joel Kotkin describes the plight of a Los Angeles economy that has lost "one-fifth of all its employment since 2004." Once a hopeful generator of new jobs and technology, the area has suffered the most of all the Sunbelt metros.
June 16, 2010, 8am PDT | George Haugh
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"Even the most passionate Angeleno struggles to feel optimistic," about the city these days. Rising unemployment and a "parochial political kingdom," are what Kotkin points to as the two direst threats to the city's progress. He reserves particular criticism for Mayor Villagaroisa who he describes as "a sometimes charming pol utterly bereft of economic acumen." The "city council is the nation's highest paid and although perhaps not as outrageously corrupt as the Chicago machine, it is not as effective." Unfortunately it manages to be "both thuggish and incompetent."

Among others, hope comes from the large Latino and immigrant population in and around Los Angeles. "In 2006, for example, roughly 10% of the foreign born population was self-employed, almost twice the percentage of the native born." Much of this entrepreneurial activity thrives beyond the balkanized city limits and provides a base on which LA could once again blossom.

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Published on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 in New Geography
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