SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Monday to form an economic development committee to help local businesses create jobs and find ways to reduce government red tape.
The City Council did not have a committee focused primarily on job creation.
"This is really needed and relevant right now," said Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who will serve as vice chairwoman.
Committee Chairwoman Sherri Lightner said the panel will create policies to make the city friendly to small businesses "in word and deed." The first meeting is scheduled for Jan. 30, she said.
Lightner, who owns an engineering firm along with her husband, said the policies could include streamlining the permitting process, making sure all city forms are available online, addressing commercial and industrial zoning issues, developing partnerships with area schools and universities, connecting small businesses with available resources and encouraging the construction of affordable housing.
One way the city could help would be to put business owners in touch with incubators, since the biggest problem faced by entrepreneurs is attracting financial backing, Lightner said.
Zapf said business owners tell her their other concerns include uncertainty at City Hall over the length of the permitting process and the ambiguity of rules.
The council, in a special meeting, also elevated Zapf, who is beginning her second year on the panel, to the chairmanship of the Land Use and Housing Committee.
The chairs of the other committees already in existence will remain the same, with Young in charge of Rules, Todd Gloria as Budget head, David Alvarez leading Natural Resources and Culture, and Marti Emerald at the helm of Public Safety and Neighborhood Services. Those groups meet once or twice a month on Wednesdays.
Kevin Faulconer was given a second year as council president pro tem, to serve as Young's backup, and was re-elected chairman of the Audit Committee, which meets monthly on Mondays.
The council also decided to bring back its ad hoc Redevelopment Committee, with Gloria as chairman, as soon as litigation over whether the state can eliminate redevelopment agencies is completed.
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