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City Hall’s Job Creation Fantasy: Whatever Happened to All Those Chinese Electric Cars?

BYD — the Chinese electric carmaker that City Hall promoted as a job creation engine for Los Angeles — finally opened today a year late and a lot of dollars short.

In April
2010 when the deal was announced, BYD said it would open the office by the end
of 2010, and have 150 employees by the end of this year. It now has 20
employees in Los Angeles, with plans to reach 30 by year-end and 100 by the end
of 2012,” according to a story by Bloomberg News reporters Alan Ohnsman and Christopher Palmieri.

“The company,
partly owned by
 Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway
, has delayed plans to
sell electric cars to retail buyers, citing limited availability of public
chargers. Instead, it’s focusing on solar panels, batteries, LED lighting and
rechargeable buses.”

The article is a fair but thorough examination of the promises that were made and the reality that has developed, and represents a blow to the mayoral aspirations to former Deputy Mayor for economic development Austin Beutner and to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s boasts about his job creating efforts in a city with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates.

Both Beutner and Villaraigosa offered no apologies.

“We see BYD’s Los Angeles opening as a catalyst that
will usher in good jobs, global investment and a more sustainable future,” Villaraigosa,
who planned to attend today’s ceremony, said in an e-mail last week to the

Beutner, whose mayoral campaign is built on his ability to create jobs, said: “Things like
this are about planting seeds. Some grow fast, some grow slow, but you’ve got
to plant them.”

The deal the city put together to get BYD to settle in L.A. a long-term guarantee to cover the company’s rent if it leaves, three-years of a business tax holiday, installation of a charging station by DWP within a week of buying an electric car and $5 million in incentives — including $2 million that came from federal programs intended to help the poor.

City Controller Wendy Greuel, who has voluntarily taken on audits of the community colleges and the Coliseum, might take a look at the mayor’s entire job creation with an eye for how much money intended for the poor has been used as it has in this case and with Gensler architects to provide swank offices for huge and wealthy businesses. 

How many jobs are being created, what kind of jobs and who actually is getting those jobs are areas of importance if Greuel, also a wannabe mayor, can find the time and staff to look at city government.

Bloomberg reported the jobs program really isn’t about jobs, at least not directly, as image.

“For both the
city and the company, the project may be more about brand enhancement and indirect
jobs. Operating from the U.S. entertainment capital boosts BYD’s image with
customers in China while making Los Angeles, which lost the headquarters of
Hilton Worldwide Inc. and Northrop-Grumman 
the past three years, appear friendlier to business.

“Los Angeles has long been a headquarters
desert, especially of marquee companies, and becoming even more so in recent
years,” said Rob DeRocker, a Tarrytown, New York-based economic-development
consultant. “This company will give the city much-welcomed bragging rights.”

Perhaps, the mayor will have better luck when he goes on his Asian junket to promote trade and tourism in December with visits to China, Japan and Korea planned.

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19 Responses to City Hall’s Job Creation Fantasy: Whatever Happened to All Those Chinese Electric Cars?

  1. Anonymous says:

    The CART before the horse. The car before all the recharging stations are up and available. Did I hear someone say in 7 days. Nice. Tax payer money going to China. Chevy or Ford? No Ok so why can’t the public buy one?

  2. Anonymous says:

    At least in ASIA he will be with people his size.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Beutner must explain this deception. Antonio too. Press releases full of B.S.The Chinese outsmarted the businees whiz. Can you imagine him as Mayor? He will sell the whole City and represented as a feat!
    I intend to follow him in the campaign trail and force him to explain this fiasco every time. I`m pissed off.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Antonio is making his international contacts for life after 2013 on taxpayers dime. As far as BYD, Beutner and Antonio must explain this deception. The Chinese outsmarted the business whiz. What did Austin think? It`s Wall Street, where robbing to make millions is legit and easy?
    I intend to follow him in the campaign trail and ask him every time to explain. May be LA Slimes will wake up.

  5. Blame the pensions! says:

    Some day, Ron will realize it is corporate welfare that is destroying our nation, not the little guys.
    A little something for Ron’s holiday gift swap:

  6. Anonymous says:

    2:35. Well the little guys are complicit in what is happening at least in LA since they elected and re-elected Villar. It was very clear in 2009 that the job situation is dismal and getting worse. This alone should has been enough to send him packing but the little guys are clueless or didn’t care or both. Doesn’t help to whine now. You made your bed, now lye in it.

  7. Jim says:

    2:35 – Yes corporate welfare is correct. Villaraigosa, Garcetti, Wesson, Labonge, Greuel.
    A $30 million HUD Section 108 loan guarantee that is supposed to be for slum clearance are instead used for the multi million dollar Kodak theater complex at Hollywood and Highland that benefits the owner/Landlord, CIM Group.
    Then, at Midtown Crossing, CIM Group gets a double – Originally a $8.8 million HUD Section 108 loan guarantee and then throw on another $25 million to help CIM Group out of its financial problems. All of this paid back with sales taxes making it a gift of public funds to CIM Group.
    And don’t forget the $52 million approved for Billionaire Eli Broad for a parking lot next to his museum to house his art collection.
    The City Council was literally patting themselves on the back on that one. You can just hear them tell the poor, working, and middle class of Los Angeles – “Let them Eat Cake!”
    Trickle-down economics or Corporate Bailouts, its LA’s stealth Republican’s with a Progressive costume also known as the Mayor, City Council, and City Controller.

  8. Anonymous says:

    6:33 — Villar, garcetti, etc Republicans??? You wish. Nope this is your party, the democrats, that owns this nest of thievery and corruption. You own it, lock stock and barrel. You voted these crooks in, they are all yours.

  9. Asian Luck of the Irish says:

    “Perhaps, the mayor will have better luck when he goes on his Asian junket to promote trade and tourism in December with visits to China, Japan and Korea planned.”
    The mayor may not have luck promoting tourism in L.A., but China, Japan & Korea will make out like bandits with T.V.’s visit courtesy of his City credit card to be used by him & his entourage.
    And what will L.A. tax payers get? The bill!

  10. Unmentionable says:

    Physics 101 rule: For every action there is an inevitable equal and opposite reaction.
    What is hardly ever mentioned about electric cars is that with our antiquated,dirty fuel-using electric grid it takes an average amount of energy to recharge an electric car that is equal to getting 19 miles to the gallon driving a non electric car.
    Driving electric cars in L.A. is neither a win-win nor lose-lose situation; it’s net-zero!

  11. Anonymous says:

    What has become really boriing to some of us (me) is that the city keeps spending money they do not have to enrich their good buddies while
    taxing and taxing us to pay for their “new” ideas
    to make our lives better. I cannot afford an
    elecctric car, can you? Anyway the DWP is already soaking poor and rich alike. “rich”?
    I mean people who are paid the current rates (city council, mayor, city union employees) etc..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone seen the list of people traveling with Viallaraigoea on his Asian?
    He is taking people from TEXAS.

  13. Anonymous says:

    8:01 has no clue how electricity works.
    8:44 should move to Edison territory where he can pay rates that are 30% higher.

  14. Anonymous says:

    9:20 AM – you are obviously on the payroll.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Only 20 jobs….The clueless Occupy LA group instead of protesting Obama should head a couple of blocks down the street yesterday and protested the Mayor’s Getty House. Beutner will have to answer questions of his incompetence on these type of deals when the Mayoral campaign debates begin.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Neuter won’t need to answer anything because he will pull a Villar and won’t take public financing instead will use his and his friends deep pockets. Villar didn’t need to debate Walter Moore in 2009 and you still voted for him.
    Just accept — you lost it. The special interests are so well entrenched, nothing will ever dislodge them. 2009 probably was the last chance to start uprooting the weeds but you blew it.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Bu “Neuter” you mean “Bueter”… Okeh…
    There is another candidate – Kevin James and I recommend voting for him to start a Clean
    Sweep L.A.. It is about time.

  18. Anonymous says:

    You are delusional if you think Kevin James had a chance.
    The next mayor will be either Garcetti (a very “progressive” gay friendly etc) or Wendy gruel (1st woman etc). You cannot beat the machine that the special interests have created and put in place.
    Plus a low turn out as always guarantees that.

  19. Anonymous says:

    9:25 AM – you are obviously on Ron’s payroll.

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