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Statement On Net Neutrality Ruling

CALinnovates issued the following statement on today’s net neutrality ruling:

In the wake of today’s ruling, the best way to restore meaningful open internet protections is for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that permanently locks in prohibitions against blocking, throttling, and unfair prioritization. Today’s ruling is just the latest reminder that leaving net neutrality up to the discretion of the FCC – where policies can shift every time a new party takes over – is the best way to ensure the lack of net neutrality. The only way to permanently protect consumers is for Congress to pass net neutrality through statute, and the only way that can happen in this Congress is for members of both parties to come together in good faith, drop their demands for unrelated poison pills, and pass a bipartisan bill that can finally put this debate to rest after 15 years of false starts.

A Statement By CALinnovates

Those of us at CALinnovates recently became aware of certain Fair Political Practices Commission filing requirements. We appreciate the FPPC bringing this to our attention. Because CALinnovates is fully committed to compliance with all applicable rules and regulations, we took appropriate steps to remedy the issue through the filing of updated disclosure forms, which are available online. For other organizations that may not be aware of this issue, here’s a link to the form on the FPPC website. 

Letter Of Support For CHANCE In Tech Act

A number of the nation’s foremost technology organizations have formally pledged their support for H.R. 1733/S. 777, the Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology (CHANCE in Tech) Act. In a letter sent today to Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Charles Schumer and Kevin McCarthy, the organizations urged the House of Representatives and Senate to pass the legislation during the 116th Congress. We’ve published the letter in its entirety below:

Re: H.R. 1733/S. 777, the Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology Act

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Democratic Leader Schumer, and Republican Leader McCarthy:

We, the undersigned organizations, write in strong support of H.R. 1733/S. 777, the Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology (CHANCE in Tech) Act, and urge the House of Representatives and Senate to pass this important legislation during the 116th Congress.

As the nation’s foremost technology organizations, we speak on behalf of many of the world’s most innovative companies. These companies are creating jobs, spurring economic growth, and helping ensure the United States remains the most competitive economy in the world.

The CHANCE in Tech Act would make commonsense reforms to the Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship program and generate job and economic growth. The proposal would create technology apprenticeships and help forge public-private partnerships to serve as intermediaries between employers participating in the registered apprenticeship program, industry, training partners, and government entities. Each intermediary would assess and train potential apprentices in coordination with local and regional workforce demands. The intermediaries would lessen the regulatory burden on participating employers by tracking success indicators and managing other reporting requirements. The proposal would also establish a program to recognize those high schools providing exemplary IT training and counseling. Collectively, the plan put forward would better align workforce upskilling with local and regional demands.

While today’s economy is increasingly dependent on the technology industry to create jobs, the skills gap is slowing further growth. In 2018, the industry contributed nearly $2 trillion to the U.S. economy, employed more than 11 million workers, and added more than 260,000 new jobs. However, there were nearly 4 million job openings in this arena, nearly 400,000 of which were in emerging technology areas, in large part due to the skills gap.1 What is more, it is estimated that nearly 800,000 IT workers will retire between now and 2024, and almost half of technology business leaders believe the skills gap has grown over the past two years.2

The CHANCE in Tech Act would help shrink the skills gap by revitalizing the registered apprenticeship program and provide students and workers with the hands-on, experiential learning needed to compete in today’s economy. It is for these reasons that we support H.R. 1733/S. 777 and urge the House of Representatives and Senate to pass this important legislation during the 116th Congress.


ACT | The App Association BSA | The Software Alliance CALinnovates

Developers Alliance
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) Security Industry Association (SIA)
Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA)

Cc: U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor; U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

1 “Cyberstates 2019.” CompTIA. March 2019.

Click image to enlarge.

Online Privacy: It’s Time To Demand Executive Accountability

What if we approached online privacy the way we do financial reporting? That’s the solution that Mike Montgomery proposes in his newly published op-ed for Morning Consult.

According to Montgomery, CALinnovates’ executive director, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation and the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act are fundamentally flawed, because they ultimately make the consumer responsible for policing privacy. What we need, says Montgomery, is a law — such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that arose from the Enron scandal — that holds individual executives’ feet to the flames when privacy is breeched.

Read the full argument here.

Statement on Save the Internet Act

The following statement regarding Save the Internet Act can be attributed to Mike Montgomery, executive director of CALinnovates:

“The backwards-looking bill paraded before the cameras does little to accomplish the important goal of enshrining net neutrality into a law that will stand the test of time. This bill is the textbook definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Lasting net neutrality regulations require a modernized, bipartisan and bicameral approach and the Save the Internet Act, unfortunately, falls short.”

USC Study: Rooftop Digital Advertising On Taxis & Rideshare Vehicles Could Stimulate The LA Economy Up To $16 Million Annually


USC Study: Rooftop Digital Advertising on Taxis & Rideshare Vehicles Could Stimulate the LA Economy Up to $16 Million Annually

Study Joins Growing Chorus of Economists and Taxi Industry Opposing Councilmember Blumenfield’s Proposal to Ban Rooftop Digital Advertising

Los Angeles, CA, February 12, 2019 — A new economic analysis by Professor Greg Autry with the USC Marshall School of Business finds that rooftop messaging smart screens (RMSS) on taxis and rideshare vehicles “promise to upend the traditional paradigm of mobile advertising in a positive way, delivering significantly greater returns to individual drivers and offering a real- time, mobile messaging platform for public entities.”

The rooftop messaging smart screens such as those deployed by Firefly offer supplemental income for taxi and rideshare drivers with no capital or additional time required of drivers. Professor Autry finds that rooftop messaging smart screens (RMSS) have promise to significantly stimulate the Los Angeles economy. For example, equipping the Los Angeles taxi fleet with RMSS could stimulate up to $16 million in primary spending with a significant multiplier effect resulting in secondary economic activity of many tens of millions of dollars. The ride-hailing fleet offers an even larger impact.”

This economic study offers a grim analysis of the pending proposal by Los Angeles City Councilmember Blumenfield that would ban taxi drivers from equipping their vehicles with rooftop digital advertising. The proposal will be considered on Wednesday, February 13th at 1pm in the Council’s Transportation Committee.

According to Kish Rajan, Chief Evangelist of CALinnovates, the group that commissioned the study, “We reject this proposal to ban innovation in the taxi industry, especially given the well documented harm it would inflict on drivers and their families. This technology offers taxi drivers countless possibilities to improve the services they provide riders, helps them compete, and raises their incomes without increasing fares on riders. It is a no-brainer that City Officials should reject this ban.”

Professor Autry joins UCLA Professor Gary Blasi, author of, “Driving Poor: Taxi Drivers and the Regulation of the Taxi Industry in Los Angeles ” in objecting to the proposed ban. Professor Blasi’s research found that taxi drivers in Los Angeles worked very long hours for much less than a living wage and he stated, “For the City of Los Angeles to deny these drivers and their families the ability to add a few hundred dollars to their meager incomes would be a disgrace.”

Councilmember Blumenfield’s proposal would disadvantage taxi drivers by eliminating the opportunity to earn additional income without working longer hours. The presidents of the Independent Taxi Owners Association, LA Checker Cab and the United Independent Taxi Drivers, Inc. have asked the Council’s Transportation Committee to reject the proposal. A letter they submitted states:

The elimination of our drivers’ right to install rooftop taxi advertising signs, even the traditional lighted taxi toppers that have been safely deployed in this City for over 30 years, would take away a potential source of meaningful extra income for hardworking taxi drivers. This would be a critical blow to the competitiveness of our industry, which has struggled in an increasingly competitive market. And it would cut short an opportunity for the City of Los Angeles to encourage innovation and growth in the taxi industry.

** Media interviews are available with Professor Autry and Andrey Minosyan, President of the Independent Taxi Owners Association.

Media Contacts:
Anna Williamson Mobile: 843-408-7125
Kish Rajan Mobile: 415-570-9303


Click image to read full study.

New Poll Shows LA Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Proposal To Harm Taxi Industry And Driver Well-Being


New Poll Shows L.A. Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Proposal to
Harm Taxi Industry and Driver Well-Being
Anti-innovation proposal from Councilmember Blumenfield would eliminate income opportunities for drivers

Los Angeles, CA February 7, 2019 – A new poll released this week shows that a majority of Angeleno voters, by a margin of 55-26 percent, oppose banning digital rooftop advertising for taxi drivers along with any policy that may negatively affect the ability of taxi drivers to earn income. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said that the Los Angeles City Council and the Taxi Commission should be helping drivers earn more money without raising fares for riders.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Seven out of 10 Los Angeles voters agree that limiting new innovative opportunities for taxi drivers keeps them from competing and being competitive with rideshare.
  • 66% surveyed feel the Los Angeles City Council and Taxi Commission should help drivers earn more money without raising fares for riders.
  • 67% of the City’s registered voters would have a less favorable view of any official who votes to ban taxi drivers from earning more money by displaying taxi top advertising.
  • Six out of 10 voters believe that a new policy to prevent taxi drivers from earning up to 20% more money would have a disproportionately harmful impact on minorities and immigrants.
  • 71% surveyed agreed that limiting new innovative opportunities for taxi drivers would keep them from competing and being competitive with rideshare drivers.

“We need to be allowed to modernize and provide new opportunities for drivers to make additional income and compete,” said Andrey Minosyan of L.A. Independent Taxi. “Innovative digital mobile rooftop advertising allows drivers to earn more without working longer or increasing prices. Any ban would directly harm taxi drivers’ opportunities and the viability of the industry.”

The poll results come on the heels of a motion filed last week by Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to repeal Taxi Board Rule 415(c), a section of the code allowing for mobile rooftop advertising on vehicles. This would remove steady income from drivers and eliminate opportunities for taxi drivers to earn additional income without driving longer. The motion would effectively ban any form of advertisement that exceeds the height of a vehicle.

“As the taxi industry embraces innovation and attempts to improve conditions for drivers and passengers alike, this motion is nothing more than an attack on those who cannot afford regulatory barriers to further harm their industry, prosperity and livelihoods,” said Kish Rajan, CALinnovates’ Chief Evangelist.

UCLA Professor Gary Blasi, author of the study “Driving Poor: Taxi Drivers and the Regulation of the Taxi Industry in Los Angeles ” stated, “Our research found that taxi drivers in Los Angeles worked very long hours for much less than a living wage.  Since then, their situation has only grown worse as they have faced stiff competition from ride share companies. For the City of Los Angeles to deny these drivers and their families the ability to add a few hundred dollars to their meager incomes would be a disgrace.”

The poll, completed by John Zogby Strategies, surveyed a selection of registered voters in the City of Los Angeles from February 3-4.

** Media Interviews with John Zogby are available upon request.

Media Contacts:
Anna Williamson Mobile: 843-408-7125
Kish Rajan Mobile: 415-570-9303


California Cities Take A Giant Step Backward On 5G

There’s a consensus that 5G is a vital step forward for the economy and our communities; and the sooner we prepare for it, the better off we will be. But, recent moves by Los Angeles and San Rafael are disappointing to see.

In October of last year, the city of Los Angeles approved a 1,000 percent increase in the fee that companies will have to pay when they dig up or damage streets. That means companies will pay a lot more to lay new cable and utilities under city streets. This price increase makes it increasingly difficult to build and deploy the infrastructure that will enable 5G — ultimately making it more expensive for consumers and businesses to access the technology.

San Rafael, meanwhile, unanimously passed an ordinance that imposes tighter restrictions on wireless companies wanting to build 5G infrastructure. The new ordinance will make small cell antennas significantly more difficult to install in the city because of a stipulation that requires wireless companies only build and deploy within certain geographic boundaries. This will negatively impact businesses, services and residents that rely on this infrastructure by eating into the city’s potential future revenue. Ultimately, San Rafael’s city council preempted the Federal Communications Commission ruling that went into effect in January that limits local authority over the installation of 5G infrastructure.

5G is a necessity; that is clear. The U.S. needs 5G-based technologies to maintain its competitive edge globally. 5G will unlock enormous economic growth, help create new businesses and jobs, improve transportation and public safety, save energy and greatly improve infrastructure. Accenture projects 5G will create up to 3 million new jobs and boost GDP by $500 billion, in part that is because it will vastly increase mobile connectivity and capacity.

Global data traffic is projected to increase from 19.01 exabytes per month in 2018 to 77.5 exabytes per month by 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent. That’s roughly 800 million times higher than 15 years ago. By the end of 2019 alone, more than 50 billion devices and 212 billion sensors will be connected to network services.

Without new and updated infrastructure, all that data and those connections will make wireless service slow and unreliable. 5G could bring up to 100 times faster speed for data transfer, significantly more reliable than current 4G LTE — especially in densely populated areas.

Furthermore, it is estimated that 5G, in combination with the Internet of Things (IoT), could net $160 billion in economic activity for “smart” cities, through reductions in energy usage, traffic congestion and fuel costs.

But all those benefits are dependent on having a comprehensive and robust 5G network in place. So, what do these two misinformed ordinances have to do with 5G? The fact of the matter is that, in order to achieve this next generation of wireless coverage, we need the right wireless infrastructure, such as “small cells,” to match so we can access 5G capabilities. Small cells are small antennas — about the size of a pizza box — and can be built to mimic the aesthetic of the surrounding area where they are installed and can be attached to existing infrastructure, such as a light pole. Yet many municipalities, like Los Angeles and San Rafael, are resisting them by imposing long wait times for permits or charging unreasonable fees.

Unlike these two cities, the FCC is working to speed up the installation of 5G infrastructure by making it easier and less costly to get networks up and running. On Jan. 15, the FCC’s new rules went into effect, allowing for a drastic increase in deployment of wireless infrastructure across the nation, including in Los Angeles and San Rafael. The new regulations impose tight permit deadlines on cities and limit how much a city can charge to install 5G infrastructure in public rights of way. In the simplest of terms, the FCC is working to ensure a smooth and efficient rollout of 5G.

The FCC rule is a major step forward. Obstructionist regulations by cities, on the other hand, are denying their residents access to the fastest and most reliable wireless networks, forcing local businesses to compete using outdated technology, and costing their first responders the best access to life-saving technology. Without updated infrastructure and policies in place, we’re all going to be losing out.

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