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The Debate about Jobs

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, January 04, 2008, at 05:55PM

Yesterday's preview meeting for Downtown industrial land use provided more questions than it did answers. Donald Spivack of the CRA and Jane Blumenfield of Planning presented the two departments' joint results to a packed room that was vocally opposed to both the procedure and the content of the plan to forbid residential use in a wide swath of Downtown's industrial land.

Aside from the concerns over process mentioned earlier, the biggest objections raised were over the areas designated as "Job Preservation" zones. Carol Schatz, CEO of the Central City Association, asked the big question: just how many jobs are in the Downtown industrial area to be preserved?

While the only number given at the meeting was that of 84,000 jobs inside the study areas, documents released after the meeting by the Planning Department indicate that the 620 acres of the "Downtown Industrial Core" (basically Main, 3rd, Alameda and the 10 freeway) hold less than 25,000 jobs and 0% heavy industrial use. The largest job category listed is wholesale trade, at 8,316.

While there was much more to come out of the meeting, this number provides a useful framework for beginning discussion of the issue. If the intent of the city is to retain and create jobs, isn't it clear that the industrial approach hasn't panned out?


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Industrial Land Use Policy

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