LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — President Bill Clinton was in Los Angeles Thursday for a forum on strengthening infrastructure in the Southland and cities nationwide.
KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports Clinton joined Mayor Eric Garcetti along with political and business leaders for the “21st Century Infrastructure and Innovation for a Resilient Economy Forum” as part of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) at City Hall.
The Clinton Global Initiative was established in 2005 to gather global leaders to create and implement innovating solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
Garcetti told Clinton the program’s success has already been proven in LA: At least one Clinton-inspired project has resulted in L.A converting 144,000 streetlights to LEDs and cutting the city’s power bill by 63 percent.
Clinton heard from public officials, private investors, labor leaders, and experts on ways to advance strategies for accessing capital, as well as create public-private partnerships to generate investment in creating resilient infrastructures across all U.S. cities.
He remarked on the frustrations and challenges for trying to get new financing for clean energy, compared to building an old power plant.
“The financing mechanisms of America and most of the rest of the world are organized toward protecting yesterday instead of creating tomorrow,” Clinton said.
“The vehicle of public-private cooperation, using the most job intensive thing we can do, which happens to be the best thing for the environment – I think it is really important,” Clinton said.
The former President also threw in a little politics: “This could be our political and social salvation. If we were really thinking about this, we would have passed immigration reform years ago, based on the sheer demographic.”
Garcetti says he’s optimistic about what can be done: “I think I speak for everybody in this room when I say that listening to you always makes us feel like we have a better tomorrow ahead.”
The former President also moderated a panel that includes California state treasurer Bill Lockyer, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.
Officials from the Green Building Council, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Delos Living are among those also expected to take part in the event.
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