2012-08-02 / Front Page
Assemblyman visits T.O. to announce jobs plan
Assemblymember Jeff Gorell and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the formation of the Gold Team—a bipartisan effort that hopes to lure businesses to California— during a July 27 news conference at Amgen headquarters in Thousand Oaks.
Gorell, a Republican from Camarillo, was elected to the Assembly in 2010 while serving as an intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy Reserve. The former Ventura County deputy district attorney said other states have been stealing jobs from California for too many years and it’s time to fight back.
“It’s what other states have been doing better than California,” Gorell said. “And it’s what we’re going to do better than other states
The mission of the Gold Team is to show businesses in other states that California is a positive place to bring their enterprises. Gorell, Newsom, local officials and business experts plan to travel around the country and speak with corporate CEOs about moving their businesses and jobs to the Golden State.
Gorell, up for reelection in November, said the Gold Team is a “nonlegislative action” and that his motivation is solely to push for more business in Thousand Oaks and Ventura County.
“I’m trying to prove that I can make a difference,” Gorell said. “I just want to be a good legislator.”
Gorell said the combination of access to education and temperate climate makes Thousand Oaks and Ventura County a perfect place for business relocation.
“This area symbolizes and reflects everything that is great about California,” Gorell said.
But to undertake something as ambitious as the Gold Team, Gorell said he needed more firepower, so he joined forces with Newsom.
Newsom, the Democratic lieutenant to Gov. Jerry Brown, spoke about the legacy of California at last week’s conference.
“ California is a state of dreamers,” Newsom said. “This state has never been about average.”
Much of the talk at the conference was about the bipartisan nature of the Gold Team.
Gorell said Newsom was the right person to join forces with, regardless of their political differences.
“This kind of an effort is not partisan, and it shouldn’t be,” Gorell said. “Sacramento has lost track of job creation. This idea is the next generation in economic development.”
Newsom said jobs aren’t returning to California because the state has several strikes against it, including its budget cuts and massive college tuition increases.
Chris Kimball, the president of Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, said the retention of graduates has been a problem in the state.
“Seniors are graduating and then leaving,” Kimball said. “We need more startups here to get them working.”
Thousand Oaks Mayor Jacqui Irwin said the state needs to figure out a way to employ students and endorsed the efforts of the Gold Team.
The mayor said Thousand Oaks is an ideal place for the Gold Team to focus.
“We have good schools, a great climate and a low crime rate,” Irwin said. “When you’re starting with all these assets, it’s easier to recruit business.”
Irwin said Thousand Oaks’ size makes it easier to solve problems and that the Newsom- Gorell collaboration is something she’s excited about.
“We’re a small community and we work well together,” Irwin said. “We’ve been doing what we can, but we need the state’s help.”
Rick Lemmo, senior vice president of community relations for Caruso Affiliated, a large retail developer, said he has felt alone in his pursuit of job creation.
“For the first time I feel like the state gets it,” Lemmo said.
Caruso Affiliated owns and manages area shopping centers including The Commons at Calabasas, The Promenade at Westlake, The Village at Moorpark and The Lakes at Thousand Oaks.
Lemmo said he was encouraged by the announcement of the Gold Team and felt something he hasn’t felt in awhile.
“It’s important to have a sense of optimism,” Lemmo said. “Hard work has always paid off, but it’s harder without that sense of optimism.”
Gorell said the effort is off and running. Members of the Gold Team have already met with real estate leaders to learn which companies have inquired about properties in California.
Gorell and Newsom have also connected with CEOs.
Newsom said the perception of California as a high-cost and inefficient state has been a problem.
“I’m sick and tired of governors coming in for hunting trips,” Newsom said. “We’ve got to get our act together and go local. Extraordinary things are happening at the grassroots level.”