By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
But unlike Goldberg, Estolano had the experience, power and quasi-independence required to execute her ideas. According to Wasserman, under Estolano the city created 19,000 construction jobs as well as 5,000 permanent jobs.
“She was always more interested in the people who would work on projects and would benefit from them,” says Wasserman. “[The CRA] began, for the first time, to aggregate how many estimated construction jobs and permanent jobs will be created by our projects to benefit the community.”
“Cecilia was the first person in the history of the CRA to come up with a real, deep strategy for creating jobs for the city,” says agency commissioner Madeline Janis, who has worked with four different CRA CEOs. “Her passion was lifting Los Angeles out of the recession.”
Among her admirers, Estolano earned the respect of a top union leader and close mayoral ally, AFL-CIO head Maria Elena Durazo, who e-mailed the Weekly saying, “She recognizes that job creation should not be our community’s only goal in economic development; we must ensure that new jobs created by public investment are good middle-class jobs, not dead-end poverty jobs. Her support of the construction-careers policy led to a national model for creating career ladders for the unemployed living in blighted neighborhoods.”
Kotkin notes, compared to New York City, “We’ve done much worse than them in the recession. We’ve really done badly in this recession, which is surprising because the exposure in the financial services wasn’t that great — we didn’t have that many financial-service jobs to lose.”
Instead, Kotkin notes, Los Angeles “has lost all sorts of jobs . I’m not a Bloomberg fan and all that, but at least Bloomberg’s paying attention.”
On December 12, 2009, two years after the recession began, Villaraigosa convened an economic advisory panel to help him address the economic body slam L.A. has taken.
Though the members of that panel include individuals with serious business credentials, such as former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, its marquee names lean heavily on the very industries at the center of the burst economic bubble: banks and developers.
The mayor did not name an industrialist or manufacturer to his advisory panel, nor any experts on sustainable industries. In fact, Riordan immediately faulted the Clean Trucks program for leading to a loss of jobs — the very same program Villaraigosa boasted about in Copenhagen.
No longer on the scene was the woman credited with a broad economic vision, who had sought non-bubble industries when the mayor did not, and melded jobs and sustainable industries for him.
**Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Councilman Ed Reyes was among the politicians who reprimanded Estolano for fighting to maintain industrial lands. Reyes did not do so.
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