Bay Area Council Blog: Membership Archive

download

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.

Blog_Selfdrivingcars

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.

IMG_1606

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.

IMG_4003

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.

download

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.

Feinstein

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.

affordable housing

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.

Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Expected To Increase 11 Percent From 2009

Council Doubling Down on Solving Regional Commute Mess

The Bay Area Council just loves a good challenge, and there is perhaps no bigger challenge for the region than bringing some relief to the congested mess that is our transportation system. The Council’s Executive Committee, meeting at member company Facebook in Menlo Park, on Thursday endorsed a 2017 policy platform that will direct significantly more time, energy and resources to finding and implementing both short-term and longer-term solutions to the region’s grinding traffic and overwhelmed mass transit systems. The Executive Committee under the leadership of Chair Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners also renewed the Council’s priority policy areas from 2016 that include expanding housing, closing the workforce skills gap and securing the region’s long-term water supply in the face of continuing drought and increased competition among urban, environmental and agricultural interests.

The message was clear, however, that the highest priority must be on fixing the region’s dysfunctional commute, which ranks among the worst in the country and threatens to undermine the Bay Area’s economic success. Michael Matthews, Director of California Public Policy for Facebook, emphasized the importance of commute improvement in his remarks welcoming the Council to the social media giant’s campus, saying it is a key issue for the company along with housing (just today, Facebook announced a $20 million commitment to help local nonprofit housing and rental assistance programs).

Longer commutes, slower traffic and congested mass transit are choking the region’s economic productivity and putting us at growing competitive disadvantage with other states and regions. The Council has already begun laying the groundwork for a bold and aggressive regional transportation improvement vision that will be unveiled in the coming months. In addition, the Council will be exploring new technologies that can help manage the demand side of the transportation equation, promoting the development of autonomous vehicles and continuing our work to increase the use of private commuter shuttles. Expanding public and private water transportation services will figure prominently, and builds on great progress the Council has already made to increase public ferry service around the entire bay and promote fast-emerging private water taxi services.

Housing, of course, is another area on which the Council will continue to put heavy focus. Our leadership and advocacy this year helped win passage of the only significant housing bill in Sacramento – SB 1069 to expand accessory dwelling units (also known as in-law units) — and elevate the housing issue among elected leaders who as a result are now pointing to 2017 as the year of housing. The Council also backed affordable housing measures in Santa Clara and Alameda counties that both passed last month.  Stay tuned for further details on planning for our work on housing, transportation, workforce and water policy. 2017 is going to be a big year.

20161110_115239

BAC Insiders Tour: SFO

SFO International Airport reflects the City itself: small but mighty.  In its compact 2,500 acres of developed land, it manages to move more than 50 million passengers a year, employ 31, 000 staff, and ease traffic congestion for its 2,300 parking stalls.  This week, the Bay Area Council and 20 Bay Area business leaders took their special tour by meeting new General Manager Ivar Satero, who discussed SFO’s future. This included focusing on domestic travel, and continuing support of traffic and transportation decongestion by promoting relationships with BART, Uber and Lyft.

 

SFO’s runway is a precise, geometrically intricate diagram, like a multi-level game of frogger, with planes able to take off and land within seconds of each other. Included at this busy airport are three fire stations, a complete repair facility, marine facility, and Coast Guard office. Baggage claim is run by computers, with just one individual overseeing brightly-lit monitors that give an overview of every baggage conveyer.  Automation has significantly decreased incidents of baggage being lost or misrouted.

 

A stroll through LEED Gold certified Terminal 2 illustrates why it is the model for future airport check-in design. After the check-point, passengers are surrounded by soothing artwork in a very large, spacious lobby that leads to mid- to high-level shopping, cafes, and mini-museums.  Another overall goal for SFO is utilizing space and “flow” to direct passengers to where they need to enter or exit the airport.  Combining efficiency to enhance passenger experience by coordinating execution with state of the art technology, SFO International stays current, relevant, and continues to lead the way to better air travel.

kkr-logo web

Member Spotlight: KKR

Congratulations to KKR, the global investment firm which recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. In 1976, their vision was to create a firm with a culture that rewarded collaboration and teamwork, a genuine partnership. “Our greatest asset is – and always will be – our people” say co-founders and co-CEOs Henry Kravis and George Roberts.

True to their statement, KKR has implemented a series of initiatives designed to support their hard-working parents, including: extending paid leave for primary caregivers (male or female) from 12 to 16 weeks, implementing a firm-paid Childcare Travel Program to provide employees the option of bringing their infant and childcare provider on essential business-related travel within their infant’s first year, offering executives parental leave transition support for transitioning to or from parental leave, and introducing on-site wellness programs.

KKR is also proud to be a founding member of the Working Parents Support Coalition, a group of corporations committed to enacting policies that support working parents and will improve health, development and economic outcomes. Since becoming a founding member, KKR has continued to expand adoption reimbursement benefits to all employees, improved lactation support and resources for nursing mothers, introduced firm-paid breast milk shipping during business travel, implemented coverage for gender reassignment surgery, and maintained unlimited benefits for fertility treatments.