Cozen Cities - March 27, 2024  

March 27, 2024

Gig Economy & Technology

LOS ANGELES — How Tech Sector Downturn has Hurt L.A. Office Market

The Los Angeles tech office space saw fourth-quarter leasing drop to 2.2 million square feet from nearly 3 million square feet the year before.

Labor & Employment

LOS ANGELES — City Could Eliminate 2,000 Vacant Jobs to Close $288.6M Budget Gap

Faced with a steadily worsening financial picture, Los Angeles officials are moving forward with plans to eliminate up to 2,000 vacant positions, or about 5% of the total.

LOS ANGELES — City Transportation Workers Authorize Strike

City bus drivers, mechanics, and utility workers who provide service to downtown Los Angeles and surrounding areas have voted overwhelmingly to strike, their union announced.

Policy & Politics

BALTIMORE — Mayor Scott Delivers “State of the City” Address

Mayor Brandon Scott’s recent State of the City address highlighted significant progress in reducing homicides, addressing quality-of-life crimes, and engaging young people in the community, while also discussing initiatives to tackle vacant homes and enhance residents’ quality of life.

CHICAGO — “Bring Chicago Home” Referendum Fails

Over 53% of voters opposed a proposal to raise the real estate transfer tax on property sales over $1 million to generate funding for homelessness prevention programs.

CHICAGO — DNC to Shine National Spotlight on Chicago

A national spotlight will shine on Chicago in August when 50,000 visitors — including 15,000 members of the media — will come to town for the Democratic National Convention (DNC).

LOS ANGELES — Weaver Concedes to Incumbent Raman in City Council Race 

Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman (District 4) has been reelected to a second term, following an expensive contest with challenger Ethan Weaver.

LOS ANGELES — L.A., Finland Sign Agreement to Promote Cooperation on Climate, Economic Development

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass signed a first-of-its-kind letter intended to promote climate cooperation and economic development between the city and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in order to strengthen business and create green jobs in Southern California.

PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Parker Proposes $6.29B “One Philly” Budget

Mayor Cherelle Parker presented her inaugural budget address to the Philadelphia City Council, outlining a $6.29 billion spending proposal that prioritizes public safety, environmental initiatives, economic opportunities, housing, and education, without proposing any new taxes or cuts to wage and business taxes.

RICHMOND — Longtime City Councilmember Will Not Run for Mayor

Long rumored to be joining the race, former longtime Northside City Councilmember Chris Hilbert announced that he will not be running for mayor. More candidates are expected to enter the race in the coming months.

RICHMOND — City Council Amends Public Comment Rules

The Richmond City Council implemented changes to its Rules of Procedure earlier this month, including imposing stricter requirements for public comment submissions aimed at streamlining meetings.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — City Council Considers Set of Bills to Tackle Absenteeism in Schools

The D.C. City Council is considering bills aimed at addressing root causes of student absenteeism and providing support and accountability, with proposed interventions including expanding safe passage, lowering intervention thresholds, and allowing investigations into education neglect.

Public Health & Safety

BOSTON — City Earmarks $21M to Address Youth Mental, Behavioral Health

Boston earmarked $21 million to address an “urgent need” for mental and behavioral health programming for youth, after a new public mental health report showed a significant increase in Boston students feeling persistent sadness and hopelessness.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego Mayor Appoints Scott Wahl as SDPD Chief

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria named Scott Wahl as successor of San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Chief David Nisleit, who will retire in June after 36 years of service.

Real Estate Development

NEW YORK — Property Tax Lawsuit to Move Forward

New York’s Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit challenging New York City’s property tax system can proceed, with the potential to massively shift the city’s property tax laws. Tax Equity Now New York has sued the city, claiming that its complex property tax system discriminates against low-income homeowners of color.

SAN DIEGO — City Issues Highest Number of Housing Permits in Decades

A recent surge in housing permits indicates potential progress from years of city-led housing policy reforms. However, even with the significant increase in 2023, the total remains well below the city’s annual housing needs, according to its state-mandated housing blueprint.

PHILADELPHIA — Phillies to Collaborate with Comcast Spectacor on South Philadelphia Sports Complex Redevelopment Project

The Philadelphia Phillies announced their intent to collaborate with Comcast Spectacor on a proposed $2.5 billion redevelopment of South Philadelphia’s stadium district into a sports and entertainment hub.

RICHMOND — Plans for Baseball Stadium in Diamond District Finalized

Developers completed a schematic design for a minor-league ballpark at the Diamond District, with plans for a capacity of at least 9,000 spectators and separate clubhouses for the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Virginia Commonwealth University’s baseball team.

RICHMOND — Housing Authority Aims to Create Space on Waitlists

The Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority is updating its wait lists, aiming to prioritize housing assistance for those in need amid a declared housing crisis.

Taxes & Spending
BALTIMORE — City Approves Program to Sell Vacant Homes for $1

The City of Baltimore approved a program to sell vacant homes for as little as $1, aiming to encourage residents to buy and renovate them, despite concerns from City Council President Nick Mosby about potential displacement.

CHICAGO — Mayor Johnson’s Plan to Borrow $1.25B for Development Projects Receives Mixed Reception

Some Chicago City Council members urged more oversight of which development projects Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan would fund, while supporters said it would be a much needed boon to housing and city development.

SAN DIEGO — Proposed San Diego Sales Tax Takes First Step After City Committee Vote

The San Diego City Council’s Rules Committee unanimously advanced a proposed 1-cent sales tax to bankroll infrastructure and quality-of-life improvements that could go before voters in November.

Transportation & Mobility

BALTIMORE — State of Emergency Declared After Key Bridge Collapse

Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed after being struck by a ship early Tuesday morning, prompting a search-and-rescue operation, with concerns about potential casualties and the bridge’s impact on the city’s infrastructure and economy. Maryland Governor Wes Moore has declared a state of emergency.

CHICAGO — CTA Red Line Extension to Receive $350M from President Biden’s Proposed Budget

President Joe Biden’s proposed budget includes $350 million for the Red Line extension project, which the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) expects to cost a total of $3.6 billion.

CHICAGO — CDA, NREL to Explore Sustainable, Efficient Energy Options for O’Hare

An ordinance approved by the Chicago City Council will allow the City’s Department of Aviation (CDA) to enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to advise the CDA on environmentally sustainable initiatives as the airport authority continues to embark on its O’Hare 21 capital improvement project. 

DETROIT — Detroit to Expand Mass Transit Options for Travel to DTW

There’s a new option for folks to get to Romulus from downtown Detroit. It’s called the Detroit Air Express, and it’ll offer hourly trips from downtown to Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).

LOS ANGELES — City Council Approves Traffic Study for Dodger Stadium Gondola Project

The Los Angeles City Council approved a $500,000 traffic study focused on Dodger Stadium that could delay city approvals needed to construct a 1.2-mile aerial tramway connecting baseball fans to the stadium on skyway gondolas.

NEW YORK — Mayor Adams Announces $77M for Electric School Bus Fleet

Mayor Eric Adams announced a $77 million plan to quadruple the current fleet of electric school buses and create an electric vehicle charging station in the South Bronx.

PHILADELPHIA — Speed Cameras Improve Safety on Philadelphia’s Most Hazardous Road

The installation of speed cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia has led to a notable decrease in accidents, injuries, and fatalities, prompting initiatives for a boulevard redesign and the extension of the speed camera program to additional city roads.

SAN DIEGO — City Invites Public Input on Draft Mobility Master Plan

The Mobility Master Plan will focus on projects, programs and actions that will help make walking, rolling, bicycling, and using transit more convenient, efficient, and affordable.

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Rose Christ

Co-Chair, New York Practice, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

(212) 883-2248

John F. Dunn


(312) 382-3165

Joseph Hill

Managing Director, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

(215) 665-2065

Katie Schwab

Co-Chair, New York Practice, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

(212) 883-4913

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