Valencia developer tapped for Newsom COVID-19 task force

Emile Haddad
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The head of FivePoint Holdings LLC, the development company building a 21,000-home planned community along Highway 126, was named to one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 task forces Friday.

Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint, was named to the Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force by Newsom, and will join more than 80 other California leaders in business, labor, health and philanthropy to tackle the COVID-19 “pandemic-induced recession” plaguing the state.

“The task force will work to develop actions the government and businesses can take to help Californians recover as fast, as safely possible from the COVID-19-induced recession and to shape a fair, green and prosperous future,” said the governor’s announcement memo. “They will meet twice a month throughout 2020 to develop options that would work for all Californians, with a particular focus on those hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Of his appointment, Haddad said he was honored to have been chosen by the governor to help in rebuilding California’s economy in the coming months and said he would use his knowledge as both a business and community leader to assist in any way he can.

“I view myself as someone who builds communities, and as such, we tend to touch every element of a community, whether it is in how people live or work, or environmental issues or health care,” said Haddad. “I’m hoping that my role on the task force will not be as narrow as, ‘What impact does it have in real estate?’ or ‘Does that change real estate?’ But it’s really more in terms of, ‘What are the things that we believe need to be done to open up the economy and accelerate its recovery — while keeping an eye on health?’”

Haddad said he would keep an open mind heading into the task force, and hoped his fellow members have the same desire to be flexible.

“We all have to have the flexibility to adjust to what the data is going to tell us,” said Haddad.

The task force has been asked by Newsom to develop short, medium and long-term solutions that emphasize “fair and equitable recovery,” state officials said on Friday.

The state of California has seen more than 2.8 million unemployment claims since March 12, not including illegal immigrants or independent contractors, and widespread devastation to small businesses.

“I think that is a great move to put such a group of people together to help advise and that it’s a big statement of leadership (by Newsom),” said Haddad. “We’re in uncharted waters to a great extent and that’s exactly when leaders reach out to a broad base of advisors who come from every corner of the industry and humanity to help him.”

Haddad said he plans to represent FivePoint and the communities his company works with, such as Santa Clarita, by vocalizing the importance of economic recovery while keeping people safe.

“The good news for Valencia and the Santa Clarita Valley is that it is being represented by myself and maybe others, as well, and we’re going to be listening very carefully,” he said. “I’m going to be listening very carefully, to leadership of the local areas that we are involved in to make sure that when I speak at the task force, I’m not speaking for myself but I’m speaking for a very wide range of voices.”

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