Clarity Blog

Clarity Blog

Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

A Missed Message

The folks behind the Sacramento Delta water conveyance tunnel have a new message out that has a familiar ring:  Jobs. Heard that much lately?

Drilling large tunnels to divert water around the Delta would create more than 129,000 jobs, almost all of them during the seven-year construction period, according to a recent analysis.

The report by a University of California, Berkeley, economist does not examine how the peripheral canal or tunnel plan might create or destroy jobs in other ways, such as the proposed conversion of tens of thousands of acres of Delta farmland to wetland habitat. (Read more here)

We’ve used that UC Berkeley economist, David Sunding, ourselves and we know his work is solid and these are numbers that will stand up, come testing time.

But there was a powerful and timely message missed here, and that’s too bad.  We’ve all heard stats recently about the cost per job of jobs created by the federal stimulus – from the hundreds of thousands of dollars each to over $1 million for every shovel-ready (or crony-ready) job generated.  A little quick math here – the $12 billion estimated cost of the tunnels divided by 129,000 jobs … wow, that’s just $93,023 per job, which is pretty darn cheap when you consider the number of attorneys that will be working on the project.

Lesson:  When talking about jobs generation, whether it’s about tunnels or anything else, dig a little deeper. Put the numbers in a context that’s current and more people will remember more of what you said.

Laer’s Op/Ed on CalWatchdog

Laer is becoming quite the prolific op/ed writer.  His latest appeared today on the Pacific Research Institute’s CalWatchdog blog.  Here’s an enticing bit of it:

If Gov. Jerry Brown has any chance of draining California’s budget swamp of red ink, he’s going to need more than aggressive spending cuts and votes for more taxes, as he proposes. He’s also going to need a resurgence in California’s business environment, but at one of the state’s few commerce success stories, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, there are more signs of classic California non-competitiveness than there are of a return to health for the state’s business sector.

Yes, activity is up by single digits over last year at the ports, which are America’s busiest, as companies slowly bring in more goods from Asia to rebuild inventories they had let drop through the Great Recession. But even as more than 12 million containers will be unloaded at Southern California docks this year, there are grave threats to the future of Southern California’s logistics behemoths, and they’re posed by exactly the same elements that threaten the rest of the state’s economy – powerful unions and California’s incessant compulsion to be a world leader in the environmental movement without thought to the cost.

Please read the rest of the op/ed by clicking through to CalWatchdog.

The Weekly 3: Land Development

August 9, 2010

What are the three biggest stories each week in the world of California land development?  You’ll find them right here each Monday, or follow LP&A all week long on Twitter at @LPALand for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  This week:

1. Will the Drought Contingency Plan squeeze future land uses?

The California Department of Water Resources didn’t go so far as to blame your picket-fenced bit of the ‘burbs for causing the state’s ongoing water crisis, but it is looking at limiting future land uses as part of the solution.  According to its newly released Drought Contingency Plan, “development intensity has a direct relationship to water supply,” and since the state’s thirst for water outstrips available resources, that means builders best prepare for more regulation and limits on what they can do with their property.

>> Read the Full Report


Quantifying Your Economic Message – Full Version

As featured by the Orange County chapter of the Building Industry Association

Jobs, jobs, jobs – It’s a winning message for developers and builders right now. We are seeing this message resonate with all of the industry’s key target audiences more than ever, from decision-makers and city staffs to the general public and media. But how can you emphasize jobs when a full economic impact analysis isn’t part of your budget?

Enter the Center for Strategic Economic Research – or CSER.

The Center’s study on the economic “ripple effect” of homebuilding is quantitative confirmation of what we’ve always known: New homes mean more jobs.


  • Every home built creates 2.4 jobs
  • For every $1 spent building a home, $0.9 is generated 
  • Each home generates more than $360,000 in economic activity, excluding the selling price

These are terrific metrics. They are also being used by builders across the state as confirmation of their project’s economic benefit. In fact, the CSER’s Deputy Director, Helen Schaubmayer recently told us that the study could be an immensely valuable tool for builders.

“As a result of this study being updated and published for several years, we are seeing builders leverage jobs-creation messages that they were previously unable to quantify. But builders also need to realize how to package and present these findings to the right audience. If they do, it could go a long way.”

We agree. Even the best jobs message can get cluttered with industry jargon. And having clarity to your message – especially one as important as jobs – is critical to a successful project.

Take a moment to review the study. We’ve also been told by the research director that a 2010 study is in the works and may be available this summer, so we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

What Really Matters

The Field Poll recently asked a scientifically valid number of Californians (who, we’re sure, feel just great about having been scientifically validated) a pretty important question as primary season rolls around:

Thinking of the November election for Governor, how important will the candidates’ position on each of the following issues be to you in deciding whom you would support?

The issues were asked in random order; here they are alphabetically: crime/prisons, education, environmental protection, gasoline prices/energy, global warming, health care, illegal immigration, jobs/economy, state budget deficit, taxes and water.

Only those living in a time warp would be surprised that economic issues rocked the vote … and rocked it hard.  Jobs and the economy was ranked most important by almost 60 percent, followed closely by the state’s budget, a few decimal points behind.  At the other end of a scale, in near-lockstep for the last two positions were environmental protection and global warming.  A scant 23 percent of those polled ranked the imminent destruction of the planet by greenhouse gases as the top priority in their decision-making.

We wonder why, given these results, politicians throughout the state, from Sacramento to local city councils, remain so deferential to environmental interests when these greater environmental protections (as if the laws on the books don’t go far enough already!) come at the cost of jobs.

Water Bond Battle Already Underway

cali-aqueduct2We recently attended the Southern California Water Committee board of directors meeting and were very pleased by that group’s early and unanimous support of the $11 billion water bond that will be on this November’s ballot.

Laer Pearce & Associates played a small but important part in getting the comprehensive water legislation passed last November, pulling together a coalition of important local business organizations and taking their pro-water message to Orange County’s Sacramento delegation. We’re proud that an OC senator, Tom Harmon, was the deciding vote in favor of the bond.