Bay Area Council Blog: Membership Archive

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Addressing Gender Bias in Workplace Communications

Gender differences in communications styles can often adversely affect women in the workplace, as men are more likely to talk more and suggest ideas in meetings while women are more likely to be interrupted and given less credit for their ideas. In fact, male executives who speak more are viewed as 10 percent more competent, while women who do the same are viewed as 14 percent less competent by their peers. To address this issue, the Bay Area Council’s Gender Equity Committee hosted an interactive Executive Presence Workshop led by member company Mandel Communications. The workshop focused on communication skills that will help women cut through this bias and position themselves as confident leaders within their companies. The Council’s Best Practices Resources Guide, released last year, highlighted executive presence and other training programs as important strategies for building gender equity within companies.

The Committee also heard about San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell’s new legislative proposal to boost female representation in elected office, on corporate boards, in public art, and anywhere else in public view. Only 2 out of 87 public statues in San Francisco represent real women, and this ordinance would enact a new statue of Maya Angelou as a first step in getting to 30 percent female representation by 2020. To engage in the Council’s Gender Equity work, please contact Policy Director Emily Loper.

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Sen. Monning Addresses Water Committee on Clean Water Fund

It’s estimated that as many as one million Californians (10 times the population of Flint, Michigan) lack access to safe, clean drinking water, mostly in rural, economically disadvantaged areas. This troubling statistic undergirded the Bay Area Council Water Committee’s conversation with Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) hosted by member company Cargill on Tuesday (July 25). Senator Monning’s bill, SB 623, would create a new clean drinking water fund capitalized through a combination of new fertilizer taxes and fees on water utility bills. The Council took the issue under advisement until the precise bill language becomes available. The Committee also received a briefing from the Department of Water Resources’ Erin Mellon on the race against time to repair the Oroville Dam Spillway, which was destroyed during last years’ record rainfall. To engage with the Council’s Water Committee, please contact Vice President of Public Policy Adrian Covert.

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Council Says Goodbye to Friend, Colleague and Civic Leader Patricia Dando

Longtime San Jose leader Patricia Dando passed away on July 16 with her husband Bob and her family at her side. Pat, who was former Vice-Mayor of San Jose, served as the President & CEO of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce from 2005 to 2011. Recognized as a determined and fearless advocate, she is remembered for increasing the Chamber’s political engagement and effectiveness in local races including the 2006 election of Chuck Reed as Mayor and councilmembers Pete Constant, Rose Herrera and Sam Liccardo. In addition, Pat helped lead and win a lengthy legal battle against city campaign limits on independent political groups like the Chamber’s political action committee. Prior to becoming the Chamber’s 9th chief executive, Pat served a stint with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a local government liaison and 10 years on the San Jose City Council beginning in 1995. Notably, during her tenure as Vice-Mayor, Pat spearheaded the successful 1988 fundraising campaign for the development of the HP Pavilion, now the SAP Center and home to the NHL San Jose Sharks. The Council is grateful for Pat’s years of partnership and collaboration, as well as her dedicated service and leadership that made an invaluable impact on San Jose and the greater region. Read more about Pat’s illustrious career and legacy>>

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Water Committee Meeting set to discuss controversial bill with Senator Monning

The next meeting of the Bay Area Council Water Committee will feature special guest Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) to discuss SB 623. An estimated one million Californians, mostly in small rural areas, are currently served unsafe drinking water. SB 623 would generate about $110 million per year for clean drinking water infrastructure in small rural areas, and would be funded through increased fertilizer taxes and a monthly surcharge on water bills statewide. The bill is supported by a coalition of agriculture and environmental justice organizations, and has drawn opposition from the Association of California Water Agencies. In addition, Committee members will receive a presentation from the Department of Water Resources on the incredible construction project currently underway to repair the Oroville Dam spillway, which was heavily damaged during last winter’s record storms. To RSVP, please contact Policy Manager Rachele Trigueros.

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Real Reasons to Embrace Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles are undeniably cool, but, in their meeting with industry experts from Waymo (Google), Zoox, and Lyft, Bay Area Council Transportation Committee members learned that the real reasons to applaud the development of autonomous vehicles are safety, mobility, and sustainability. Over 35,000 people died in automobile accidents in 2015; 95 percent due to human error; and, after decades of declines, the number of fatalities is rising at 7 percent per year. Fully autonomous vehicles, with no human interaction ever required, are probably the safest solution, and they’re also the solution that will offer mobility to people (blind or disabled, for example) that can’t safely drive themselves.

Our industry experts and Committee members also considered how autonomous vehicles will be owned and used, and concluded that the most likely scenario is that households will choose to reduce their transportation costs by reducing or eliminating vehicle ownership, and instead turning to on-demand transportation services from fleet operators. The Council will continue its efforts to create a clear and hospitable legal environment in California for autonomous vehicle development. To participate, contact Michael Cunningham.

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Council Works to Improve Workforce Diversity

On Tuesday (June 27), Bay Area Council Workforce of the Future Committee Chair Julius Robinson, Managing Director & Group Head, Corporate Social Responsibilities for the Americas for MUFG Union Bank, led the second peer-to-peer employer workshop focused on improve regional workforce diversity. Complementing the Bay Area Council’s Bay Area Young Men of Color Employment Partnership (BAYEP), a program to expand workforce opportunity to young men of color across the region, this workshop brought employers from Bayer, Recology, Bank of the West, Uber, and Dolby to name a few, to share best practices and develop solutions to improve workforce diversity in the Bay Area.

During the workshop, members discussed the importance of holding leadership accountable, mitigating unconscious bias, and sharing their best practices with other organizations. These companies recognize that their continued success in part lies in the diversity of thought that candidates bring to their jobs. A recent survey published by Deloitte revealed that companies with higher diversity across their workforce are 35 percent more likely to see returns above national industry medians. To further the impact of diversity, 80 percent of candidates in the US and the Bay Area consider inclusion as an “important factor to choosing an employer.”

This workshop was the second in a three-part series designed to generate best practices across industry sectors facing similar challenges to increase worked based learning, diversity, and community partnerships that all drive more talent from our communities into livable wage jobs. To engage in Workforce of the Future Committee and be part of the next workshop, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

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Senator Skinner and Council Talk Solutions to Housing Crisis

On Thursday (June 29), the Bay Area Council Housing Committee met with State Senator Nancy Skinner, whose district covers large parts of Contra Costa and Alameda counties, to discuss Sacramento’s appetite for comprehensive housing reform. Despite efforts by Senator Skinner and other legislators to move the needle on housing, including Skinner’s SB 167 Housing Accountability Act to make it more difficult for cities to say no to housing, broad political will for bold action is missing. Even though this year was coined the “year of housing,” much of the legislation that has been introduced unfortunately only chips away at the massive problem.

Senator Skinner welcomed innovative ideas from both the Bay Area Council and speaker Brian Hanlon, co-founder of the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund and YIMBY party member. Some potential policy solutions that were discussed included making transportation funding contingent on meeting regional housing need allocations (RHNA), using CEQA against cities that downzone, and exploring what could be accomplished under a Housing “State of Emergency.”

In addition to offering new housing policy ideas to the Senator, the Housing Committee also welcomed new Co-Chair Carla Boragno, Vice President of Site Services at Genentech. She joins Co-Chairs Kofi Bonner of FivePoint and Denise Pinkston of TMG Partners. The Council is thrilled to be adding her fresh perspective as a large Bay Area employer to the committee. Welcome Carla!  To engage with the Housing Committee, contact Senior Vice President Public Policy, Matt Regan.

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Upcoming Healthcare Committee Meeting

Would you like to discuss the very latest developments in healthcare policy with other industry leaders?  Would you like the chance to weigh in collectively on the health policy proposals currently under consideration in Washington D.C. and Sacramento? Please join us then for the next meeting of the Bay Area Council Healthcare Committee next Thursday, July 6th from 11:30am-1:00pm at the offices of Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. We will be welcoming the new co-chair of the Committee, Janet Liang, the President of Kaiser Hospitals & Health System for Northern California. Among other items of business, we will be taking action on whether to submit a letter in opposition to the passage of the BCRA, the Senate version of the national healthcare legislation. The meeting will also feature a short presentation from Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg on the latest in a series of issue briefs on health policy that focuses on what we can learn from international health systems. RSVP here.

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Council Agenda Gets Receptive Ear in D.C.

Transportation, housing, trade and healthcare were among the issues a Bay Area Council-led business delegation discussed this week in Washington, D.C., with top Congressional and White House leaders. Led by Council Chair Michael Covarrubias (Chairman and CEO, TMG Partners) and Council CEO Jim Wunderman, the delegation met with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Central Valley Rep. Jeff Denham, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, among many other legislators, cabinet and administration officials.

Delegates highlighted the importance of investment in transportation, particularly as it relates to future Northern California megaregion planning. As a growing economy blurs historic Bay Area, Sacramento and San Joaquin regional boundaries, the Bay Area Council is taking action now to address the future transportation, housing and workforce needs of the emerging megaregion. Much of the immediate focus and a major topic in meetings this week was investing to expand megaregion rail capacity, including securing federal transportation dollars for the Amtrak Capitol Corridor service and the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE Train).

The Council shared a sneak peek at new research by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute that shows the strong and growing connections between Silicon Valley and other parts of the country and how those connections can be leveraged to expand knowledge-based economic opportunities and grow jobs nationwide. The Council also advocated for free and open global trade and immigration policies. Special thanks to our sponsors Microsoft, Oracle, and Alaska Airlines. To learn more about the Council’s federal policy agenda, please contact Senior Advisor George Broder.

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BAC Poll: Millennials, Older Generations Divided Over Housing Problems, Solutions

Older Bay Area voters who have lived here the longest and own their home are far less likely to support building new housing compared with millennials (18-39), those who rent, and those who have lived here the shortest time and are feeling the worst pain from the region’s housing shortage and affordability crisis, according to Bay Area Council Poll results released today.

The poll found that 70 percent of millennials support building new housing in their neighborhood, compared with 57 percent of respondents aged 40-64 and a similar number aged 65 years and older. And while 76 percent of respondents who have lived in the Bay Area for five years or less and 75 percent who have lived here between six and ten years support building new housing in their neighborhoods, a much lower 55 percent of those who have called the region home for 20 years or more are willing to accept building more housing near them.

“We’re shutting the door on future generations—sons, daughters, grandchildren,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “We need to do much, much more to make building housing easier, faster and less expensive. There’s no other solution to the scale of the problem.  We’re starting to see signs that the message is getting through in Sacramento, and results like these can help us keep policy makers focused on the real problem of dramatically boosting housing supply. We also need local leaders to summon the political courage to reject entrenched and self-interested opposition to new housing.”

Read the press release>>

Read the topline poll results>>

Although there are clear generational differences over housing, there was also overall growing support for building new housing. The poll found 62 percent of respondents overall support building new housing in their neighborhood, up from 56 percent in 2014. Support for new housing was most pronounced in San Francisco, with 75 percent in favor.

Millennials are less satisfied with their current housing situation than older generations. The poll found that while 70 percent of respondents aged 40-64 and 78 percent of those 65 years and older are content with their current housing situation, just 56 percent of millennials are happy with their housing situation.

The poll found 40 percent of respondents say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years, an increase from 34 percent in 2016. More than double that, or 86 percent, harbor concerns that their friends or family will not be able to find affordable housing in the Bay Area. Another 58 percent say they are concerned about being able to find an affordable place to live themselves. Millennials are the most likely to leave, with 46 percent eyeing the exits, compared to only 30 percent of those 65 and older who are considering bolting.

Meanwhile, older respondents and those who have lived here the longest appear to be enjoying more financial benefits from the rise in home prices than those who have arrived more recently.

The poll found 84 percent of those here for five years or less and 73 percent of those here six to ten years said they haven’t benefitted from the shortage-fueled run-up in prices. Among those who have lived here 20 years or more, a much smaller 59 percent say they haven’t benefitted. Those findings are not necessarily surprising given that home values and equity build over time, but in a similar question almost twice as many newcomers (62%) as old-timers (34%) said the housing shortage has hurt them personally.

The differences are a bit starker along generational lines, with 14 percent of millennials saying they have benefitted from the surge in home prices and 41 percent of respondents aged 65 and older saying high housing prices have been a financial boon.

“It used to be an American goal that we would provide a better life to our children,” said Wunderman.  “I fear the sentiments discovered in this poll reflect a different mindset.”

With a historic housing shortage and growing employment pushing home prices and rents to at or near record highs, many of these findings will not come as a huge surprise. But they highlight the urgency of a problem that both state and local officials have failed to adequately address. The Bay Area is creating just one unit of housing for every eight jobs and state officials say we’re producing far less than half of the housing we need to keep pace with demand.

Almost across the board, the numbers paint a dark picture:

  • 84 percent expect housing costs will continue to increase over the next two years
  • 78 percent say they know someone forced out of the Bay Area in the past two years by high housing costs
  • 66 percent don’t see themselves buying a home in the Bay Area in the near future, consistent with declining home ownership numbers statewide.

The poll found that 76 percent think the region’s housing shortage is threatening the Bay Area’s economy, which has led the state and nation in creating jobs and generating major revenue for public coffers.

The poll also highlights differences in attitudes between homeowners and renters, urban and suburban areas, by incomes, between counties, and a range of other criteria.

The 2017 Bay Area Council Poll, which was conducted online by Oakland-based public opinion research firm EMC Research from Jan. 24 through Feb. 1, surveyed 1,000 registered voters from around the nine-county Bay Area about a range of issues related to economic growth, housing and transportation, drought, education and workforce.