CA Almost Blows Another First Business Impression

Posted on July 21, 2014 by - Also by this author

Welcome to Los Angeles! Next time, go take your business to Texas.
Welcome to Los Angeles! Next time, go take your business to Texas.

[UPDATE: 7/24/14: 11:45 a.m. PT]:

Good news: The government listened. It appears the worst of construction delays near LAX before the big GBTA convention next week will be avoided, thanks to alert pressure from multiple groups. The below e-mail from GBTA executive director Michael W. McCormick says it best:

Dear GBTA Convention Attendee,
 
Last week, I let you know about city road construction projects in Los Angeles that will be taking place during GBTA Convention 2014 potentially causing delays and slower traffic.  While construction near the airport is still slated to happen, I do have some good news to report on a sewer construction project scheduled to begin near the Convention Center.  This project would have impacted traffic near the Convention Center during our time in LA, but it has now been postponed until July 31.

We would like to thank the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board for their diligent efforts to make the LA experience as smooth as possible for you – our Convention attendees!

Following up on our previous communication regarding the Century Boulevard construction project, I wanted to share with you the official information to help ensure that your journey in and out of Los Angeles International Airport will be as smooth as possible. Please refer to the official traffic and construction information posted on our website.

See you soon in LA!

LCT will be at GBTA and listening as well to attendees talking about travel from LAX. The original post and e-mail are below.

But California is still a crazy train wreck of a place to do business.

[7/21/2014]

Let’s say you are the mayor of a major city  hosting an annual global business travel convention, drawing 6,000 buyers and sellers of all types of corporate travel services: hotels, airlines, convention centers and facilities, ground transportation, restaurants, hospitality services, and our favorite one at LCT Magazine: chauffeured transportation.

And let’s say that most of the attendees will be arriving at the main airport during a disruptive construction-related shutdown of a key intersection near the airport. What’s more, your city is located in a state known for high taxes, excessive regulations, red tape, rising energy and gas costs, water mismanagement, one-party Democratic rule, radical environmentalism, overly-pensioned public sector unions, high unemployment and under-employment, and a years-long exodus of businesses of all sizes and their full time jobs to other states. Even the electric car company, the greenest of green, is considering building its batteries elsewhere.

Wouldn’t you want to reschedule the construction to another weekend so the travelers don’t get stuck or delayed on their way to downtown? Not just travelers, but people who have a profound influence on when and where corporate events and meetings are held? Wouldn’t you want to avoid perpetuating all the stereotypes about Los Angeles gridlock and California business unfriendliness?

Well, leave it to California to engineer one business fiasco after another. Los Angeles is hosting the Global Business Travel Association convention next week, the first time since it did in 2008 — when a moderate earthquake shook up the region right around lunchtime during the convention that year.

I’ll let an e-mail from GBTA President Michael W. McCormick tell the story:

Dear GBTA Convention Attendee,
 
As you all prepare for your arrival in Los Angeles, I wanted to make sure you were aware of a city road construction project that includes closing the Century Boulevard intersection near the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) from 9 p.m. PST Friday, July 25 until 6 a.m. PST Monday, July 28.  
 
While GBTA continues to make efforts to have the construction postponed, we are fighting an uphill battle and wanted to make sure you accounted for this in your travel plans. As this effects the main route out of LAX to downtown Los Angeles, you should expect delays and slower traffic.  You can also learn about some alternate routes here and follow Total Traffic LA on twitter for the latest updates.
 
Safe travels and I look forward to seeing you all at Convention!
 
Sincerely,

Michael W. McCormick

Unlike an earthquake, this disruption is one that public officials actually have control over. Despite weeks of appeals and requests from multiple tourism, travel and business leaders to Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti and officials to delay and reschedule the construction at Century and Aviation boulevards, nothing could be done. The official excuse is that everything must go forward, per contracts, to keep a sequence of roadway construction projects along the 405 Freeway on track.

In other words, we’re dealing with the public sector here, not the customer-service driven private one, like the members of the GBTA, for example. Stumble-bum governments that spend tax dollars can get away with this; responsive businesses and corporations that generate the tax dollars can’t.

Oh well, at least businesses, trade organizations, and the more flexible private sector all can exercise free choice. And the overriding future choice lesson for the GBTA and every single of its attendees arriving at LAX will be this: Take it away Dallas and Houston!

— Martin Romjue, LCT editor

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