Bay Area Council Blog: Press Releases Archive

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Press Release: Bay Area Council Proposes Path Forward to End High-Speed Rail Impasse on the Peninsula

Today, the Bay Area Council sent a letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) urging the Commission to take a leadership role in the planning of high-speed rail in the Bay Area.  In the letter, the Council suggests that the recently proposed plan to merge the development of high-speed rail on the Peninsula with the electrification of Caltrain is a promising path forward and could provide the framework for a unified vision for high-speed rail in the region.

“California high-speed rail and the electrification of Caltrain are an historic opportunity for our region,” said Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman. “Our region is always more successful when we speak with one voice, and we have always struggled when we squabble amongst ourselves.  Our region needs to resolve the various project concepts into a single project vision, and we urge the well-respected Metropolitan Transportation Commission to take on that unifying role.  United, we can bring these funds to our region and relieve some of the worst traffic in the United States.”

In the letter, the Bay Area Council calls for the creation of a coalition of local agencies, led by MTC, that would act as the regional planning partner for the California High-Speed Rail Authority.  The coalition would organize the local agencies affected by the development of high-speed rail, presenting a unified voice to the Authority and providing a vehicle for more local engagement in the planning process.

The coalition would be a reliable regional partner that would provide expert input and analysis during the planning process, helping to shape the High-Speed Rail Authority’s final plan, to be released in late 2012.  A similar coalition, representing the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metrolink, the Orange County Transportation Authority, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, the San Diego Association of Governments, Amtrak, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, was created to partner with the California High-Speed Rail Authority in Southern California.

“Despite heated rhetoric of the past, in the end we all want what is best for the region,” said Wunderman.  “Luckily a spirit of compromise is emerging to make sure this project materializes.  We want to recognize the thoughtful leadership of Senator Simitian, Assemblymember Gordon, and Congresswoman Eshoo and their extremely hardworking staff, who put together the proposal to merge the Caltrain electrification and high-speed rail projects.  We will continue to work with them to drive this project to fruition.”

In the letter, the Council outlines a set of parameters, subject to revision by the proposed coalition, for the final project plan:

  • Brings both high speed rail and Caltrain electrification to the Peninsula as soon as possible, by utilizing a simple design that can be funded and built quickly.
  • Provides sufficient speed, capacity, and flexibility to support an attractive high speed rail service, while also providing adequate capacity for robust Caltrain service.
  • Minimizes community impacts by forgoing construction elements that are not needed in the near/mid-term.
  • Connects to the Transbay Terminal.
  • Meets legal requirements necessary to access Proposition 1A high speed rail bond funds.
  • Is designed such that future upgrades, should they be necessary and desired at a future date, would not require unnecessary disruption or wasteful reconstruction.

In addition to calling for the creation of this coalition, the Bay Area Council is committed to developing a unified voice of support from the business community for high-speed rail, particularly on the Peninsula.  The Bay Area Council has hired Alex Tourk of Ground Floor Public Affairs to lead an organizing and public outreach effort, including meeting with local elected officials, stakeholders and members of the business community.

“We look forward to hearing MTC’s feedback on our proposal and hope that we can work together to take advantage of this historic opportunity,” said Wunderman.

To read the letter, visit: http://www.bayareacouncil.org/docs/7.20.11BAC_hsr_letter_to_MTC.pdf

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Press Release: Despite Worsening National Economic Outlook, Small and Medium Bay Area Businesses Still Looking to Hire, according to New Business Confidence Survey

The Bay Area Council today released its spring Business Confidence Survey, and the results show that despite the worsening economic outlook at the national level, small and medium Bay Area businesses are still looking to hire over the next six months.  The business confidence index – the number that distills the survey findings – registered at 62 out of 100, up 1 point from the last survey.

A reading over 50 signals positive economic times, while below 50 is negative.  Last quarter’s Survey showed the index reading at 61 – making this the seventh positive reading in a row since the summer of 2009.  One year ago, the reading registered at 62 as well.  For comparison, in January 2009, the index reached its all-time low of 31.

“Despite all the national talk about a dreaded double-dip recession, the Bay Area seems to be weathering the recovery much better than other regions,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The situation is not nearly as sunny as it was several years ago, but confidence amongst business leaders continues to slowly build.  According to our survey, the best places to look for a job over the next 6 months are still in San Francisco, on the Peninsula and Silicon Valley, in industries like IT, trade, professional and business services and interestingly, for the first time in several quarters, construction and infrastructure.  Small and medium sized businesses also continue to show signs of increasing their workforce over the next few months.”

The responses of the 432 CEO’s and top executives in the nine Bay Area counties surveyed between May 13th and June 5th, show that overall, 64% think Bay Area economic conditions are better than six months ago, up 6 points from last quarter’s survey.  In addition, 60% said they expect a better Bay Area economy six months from now, down 1 point from last quarter.

The Survey indicates that a majority of executives, 53%, expect their workforces to remain the same over the next six months.  That figure is exactly the same as last quarter’s survey.  However, 33% of executives stated they planned to increase their workforce.  46% of executives in San Francisco County and 37% of executives in Santa Clara County expect to increase their workforce over the next six months. Contra Costa County and Alameda counties were the exception, with companies surveyed there expecting to increase their workforce by 21% and 27%, but also planning to decrease their workforce by 23% and 17% over the next six months – the highest reported decrease of all nine Bay Area counties.

Additionally, the Survey showed that 37% of Bay Area companies with 500-999 employees and 43% of Bay Area companies with 50-99 employees, expect to increase their workforce over the next six months.

Executives in specific industries are showing much more confidence that things will be better in six months in their sector. 70% of executives in information technology (up from 60% last quarter) and 73% of leisure and hospitality executives (up from 67% last quarter) expect their industry conditions to improve.  Confidence in retail, manufacturing and the education and health services industries remained flat.  33% of government leaders surveyed expect their situation to get worse.

“We’re clearly not out of the woods yet with persistently high unemployment, but the Bay Area’s robust globally competitive technology and tourism sectors are helping the region weather the storm better than other parts of the country,” said Lenny Mendonca, Director at McKinsey & Company.

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Press Release: Bay Area Council Announces Staff Promotions

Today, the Bay Area Council announced several internal staff promotions.  John Grubb has been named Chief of Staff, Del Christensen has been named the Bay Area Council’s Chief of Global Business Development, Ken Regalia has been named Chief Financial Officer, and Chandra Alexandre has been named Vice President of the Bay Area Council Foundation.

“We have a very knowledgeable and talented staff here at the Bay Area Council,” said Bay Area Council President and CEO, Jim Wunderman.  “I am excited to see this new leadership team move the Council forward as we build a stronger organization both in the Bay Area and overseas.”

John Grubb previously held positions as the Senior Vice President of Special Projects and Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Bay Area Council, managing projects such as the bid for the 2020 World Expo in Silicon Valley and the effort for a California Constitutional Convention.  Before joining the Bay Area Council, John previously worked at Hill and Knowlton, and Porter Novelli, two of the world’s largest public relations agencies.  As Chief of Staff, John will manage the policy programs and initiatives of the Bay Area Council.

Del Christensen was previously the Vice President of Membership at the Bay Area Council.  Prior to joining the Council, Del worked in sales and business development for several Fortune 500 Companies including Providian Financial and Wachovia Bank.  In his new role as Chief of Global Business Development, Del will manage membership and the Council’s global initiatives, including the Bay Area Council Shanghai Office.

Chandra Alexandre was previously Vice President of Development for the Bay Area Council.  Prior to joining the Council, Chandra was Director of Operations & Development for KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy and Manager of Corporate Development at Knowledge Learning Corporation.  As Vice President of the BAC Foundation, Chandra will fund, manage and implement initiatives through the Council’s 501(c)(3) charitable organization that impact the entire Bay Area region of California.

Ken Regalia previously worked as the Controller at the Bay Area Council.  Ken has over 35 years of financial and operating experience to the organization in both the profit and non-profit sectors, including positions with Arthur Andersen, Southern Pacific Companies and the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, which jointly operated both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner.  As CFO, Ken manages the financial, human resource, IT and administrative functions of the Bay Area Council.

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Press Release: Bay Area Council and State Education Leaders Ask for Reinstatement of Funds for Statewide Education Data System in State Budget

This morning, the Bay Area Council, along with California State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and Long Beach Superintendent Chris Steinhauser held a media briefing to ask for the reinstatement of funds for California’s statewide education data system and outline the consequences of cutting the program from the budget.

The first draft of the “May Revise” budget suspended approximately $8.5 million in federal funds for the development of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and its sister program for tracking longitudinal teacher data (CALTIDES).  The Bay Area Council opposes the suspension of these critical, federally-funded programs, as does the state’s well-respected, non-partisan Legislative Analyst.  Last week, Assembly and Senate committees voted to reinstate the program as well.

“Eliminating the funds for the student data system is just plain wrong,” said Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman.  “Without a data system, we’re left in the dark about what’s working and what isn’t working.  It’s important to note that we are rejecting federal funds with this budget decision, not California taxpayer dollars – and putting ourselves at odds with the policies of the Obama Administration.  We’re jeopardizing the future of our students and our ability to seek federal funding.”

“Collecting student data helps identify best practices that can be replicated in school districts across the state,” said Long Beach Superintendent Chris Steinhauser.  “Long Beach was an early implementer of data systems, and we have implemented a number of improvements using data to inform our curriculum and programs.”

The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter this month to all states noting that failure to report graduation data – a key part of CALPADS – would jeopardize Title I federal education funds.  In California’s case, that would mean a loss of roughly $1.6 billion.  To receive federal stimulus funds, California also gave assurances to the federal government that the state would implement a student data system, which would mean that the State is now breaking its word.  Additionally, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Education have made it very clear that any state application for a number of future federal funding opportunities, including Race to the Top – are and will continue to be heavily dependent on the development of a comprehensive statewide student data system.

“This is about accountability, equity and improvement. Without the data none of that happens,” said State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto).

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6.18.09

Media Advisory: Bay Area Council and State Education Leaders to Hold Press Phone Briefing to Ask for Reinstatement of Funds for Statewide Education Data System in State Budget

Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman, California State Senator Joe Simitian and Long Beach Superintendent Chris Steinhauser will hold a press phone briefing this morning Monday, June 6th, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to ask for the reinstatement of funds for California’s statewide education data system and to outline the consequences of cutting the program from the budget.

The first draft of the “May Revise” budget suspended funds and development of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and its sister program for tracking longitudinal teacher data (CALTIDES).  The Bay Area Council opposes the suspension of these critical, federally-funded programs, as does the state’s well-respected, non-partisan Legislative Analyst.  This week, Assembly and Senate committees voted to reinstate the program as well.

California risks losing $1.6 billion in Title I federal education funds if the state cuts the data system as part of the budget.  Additionally, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Education have made it very clear that any state application for a number of federal funding opportunities, including Race to the Top – are and will continue to be heavily dependent on the development of a comprehensive statewide student data system.

“Throwing away federal funds for the student data system is just plain wrong – especially when our state is facing a $10.8 billion shortfall and the state contractor still gets paid if the job is never completed.  Furthermore, as the Obama administration continues to award more and more competitive education funding to states that have data management systems, it would be wise to align California’s education system with the goals of the federal government, so our state can receive as much funding as possible in this down economy.”

WHO: Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman, California State Senator Joe Simitian and Long Beach Superintendent Chris Steinhauser

WHAT: Press phone briefing to highlight the importance of reinstating funds for the statewide education data system and to outline the consequences of cutting the program from the budget.

WHERE:

Conference Call Number: 1-888-311-9051

Participant Passcode:  018701

Press *6 to mute or unmute your line

WHEN: 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Monday, June 6, 2011

***All media planning to participate should RSVP to jarellano@bayareacouncil.org, 415-946-8725 ***

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Statement: Bay Area Council Calls on State Leaders to Reinstate Funds for Statewide Student and Teacher Data Systems

Last week, the first draft of the “May Revise” budget suspended funds and development of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and its sister program for tracking longitudinal teacher data (CALTIDES).  The Bay Area Council opposes the suspension of these critical, federally-funded programs, as does the Legislative Analyst.  According to reports in the Cabinet Report, the Bay Area Council has learned that even if the systems are suspended, “…IBM – the state contractor – would still receive approximately $7 million in federal dollars whether they finish the system or not.” Also, “…eliminating CALPADS and the teacher data system…could result in lost Title 1 funding due to federal requirements placed around student tracking.”

Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman today issued the following statement in response to this news:

“Throwing away federal funds for the student data system is just plain wrong – especially when our state is facing a $10.8 billion shortfall and the state contractor still gets paid if the job is never completed.  Furthermore, as the Obama administration continues to award more and more competitive education funding to states that have data management systems, it would be wise to align California’s education system with the goals of the federal government, so our state can receive as much funding as possible in this down economy.  The Bay Area Council urges our state leadership to reconsider this decision and reinstate the funding for the CALPADS and CALTIDES data systems.”

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Bay Area Council Sends Letter to State Leaders Pleading for Education Data Systems to Be Saved

The Bay Area Council today sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature requesting that two programs be spared as part of his May revise budget: CALPADS, the state student data system which allows for the tracking of student performance over time, and CALTIDES, the state’s teacher database.

“In these difficult times, as school administrators, principals and teachers are struggling to manage funding cuts, we believe that the promise of a data system to improve student performance and effectively use scarce public dollars is too great to turn back now,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Our education crisis is a human tragedy and a looming economic disaster. The Bay Area Council resolutely refuses to accept this crisis as our state’s fate.”

Out of the state’s $88.8 billion general fund budget, CALPADS and CALTIDES comprise only $3.5 million dollars, and the funds are allocated by the federal government, which means that the funds won’t help balance the state’s budget shortfall in the long term.

Download the letter
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5.10.11

Media Advisory: U.S. State Department, City and County of San Francisco and Bay Area Council to Host Briefing on September APEC Meetings and Women and Economy Summit

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the U.S. State Department and the Bay Area Council will host a briefing on Thursday, May 12th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials’ Meeting and the Women and the Economy Summit in San Francisco.  The U.S. Government’s most senior official for the 21-economy summit, United States Ambassador Kurt Tong, will be joined by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and officials from the U.S. State Department to brief business executives and the media on plans for all APEC-related events.

Set for September 12-26, 2011, APEC’s Third Senior Officials’ Meeting and related ministerial and high-level meetings are an intensive series of meetings on issues including energy, transportation, women and the economy, digital prosperity, healthcare innovation, and other topics. There will be over 70 meetings and an anticipated 3,500 attendees and volunteers. It is the largest cluster of APEC meetings to be held on the U.S. mainland in 2011, and it is the final official set of talks leading up to the November APEC leaders’ summit in Honolulu.

This will also be the first time the U.S. has hosted a major APEC meeting since 1993.

In conjunction with the APEC events, the Council will also help Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliver a global Women and the Economy Summit.  The gathering of global leaders, including Secretaries of State, Commerce or related Ministers from countries including China, Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Vietnam, and Australia, will focus on topics such as women as agents of economic growth, increased female employment impacts on the global economy and financial inclusion for women-owned business.

“The Bay Area Council has formed an important partnership with the State Department to work on these events, which will mark the largest diplomatic gathering in the Bay Area since the founding of the United Nations in 1945,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “We are honored to have the opportunity to take the lead on bringing APEC and the Women and the Economy Summit to our region.”

WHO: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; Kurt Tong, U.S. Government’s top official for APEC; Lorraine Hariton, U.S. Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the Department of State

WHAT: Briefing on plans for all APEC-related events and Secretary Clinton’s Women and the Economy Summit to take place in San Francisco this September

WHERE: Asian Art Museum, Peterson Room, 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

WHEN: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 12, 2011

***All media planning to attend should RSVP to jarellano@bayareacouncil.org, 415-946-8725***

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Press Release: 71% of Americans Believe Safety of our Information Systems is a National Security Issue, according to New Nationwide Poll on Cyber Security

The Bay Area Council today released a new poll on cyber security and internet use, and the results show that 71% of Americans believe the safety of our information systems is a national security issue.  The announcement was made as the Bay Area Council and a dozen of its member companies traveled to Washington D.C. this week for meetings at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and at the Commerce and Justice Departments on cyber security issues.

“Securing the personal and financial information of every American is a bipartisan issue,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “With more Americans using smart phones and tablet computers to check their account balances and make purchases, it is absolutely critical for the federal government to step up and do more to protect consumers and businesses.”

The poll of 1,000 registered voters, conducted by Pineda Consulting, also showed that 66% of Americans surveyed think new laws need to be written to keep personal information secure, with 61% also stating that government needs to make the protection of the nation’s information systems and networks a higher priority.  63% of those surveyed also believe the current penalties for crimes related to electronic transactions and e-commerce are not tough enough.

The data showed that a digital divide still exists in America, with 59% of those earning less than $40,000 reporting that they go online to access the internet and e-mail, compared with 84% of those earning between $40-80,000, and 96% of those earning greater than $80,000.  The poll also showed that 87% of Republicans reported going online to access the internet and e-mail, compared to 74% of Democrats and 77% of independents.

Separately, the poll also yielded interesting data about the Bay Area and its tech-savvy residents.  While only 16% of Americans nationwide reported receiving all or almost all calls on a cell phone, in the Bay Area, nearly 31% do.  78% of Americans reported going online to access the internet and check e-mail, but in the Bay Area, 91% reported doing so.  And, whereas 64% of Americans reported making purchases online, 78% of Bay Area residents surveyed reported doing so.

The poll was conducted between January 9-13, 2011.  Findings are subject to a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Press Release: Business Council on Climate Change and Bay Area Council Release Electric Vehicle Guide for Businesses

Today, the Business Council on Climate Change (BC3) and Bay Area Council jointly announced and released the new guide, Electrify Your Business: A Guide for Moving Forward With Electric Vehicles, which aims to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles and infrastructure in the Bay Area by providing businesses with easy-to-follow steps to become “EV ready.”  Specifically, the guide helps enable local corporations, retailers, or any company with a car spot to install an electric vehicle charging station.

“This is the first report to specifically address the value of electric vehicles for businesses,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “It is a great tool for forward-thinking companies, and will help position our region as the world leader for EV infrastructure and deployment.”

The guide was developed and led by a team of BC3 members and executives from SF Environment, PG&E, and other leading Bay Area companies.

“This comprehensive guide provides information on the business case for electric vehicle programs and charging stations, financing, incentives, infrastructure and energy,” said Mike Calise, CEO of EVadvise and lead author of the guide. “It includes a practical check-list to help businesses take action, rapidly achieve results and reap tangible benefits.”

“Our studies indicate that the Bay Area will lead the nation in early electric vehicle purchasers and drivers,” said Dev Crews, of Luminesa and Mobility Revolution. “It is our aim to inspire and enable the businesses seeking to reach these forward-thinkers. Installing an EV charger station is a highly visible way to demonstrate your sustainability commitment.”

“Electric vehicles represent the innovation and ecological responsibility our community is known for, and we applaud the leadership demonstrated here today,” said Melanie Nutter, Director of SF Environment. “The city of San Francisco is committed to ensuring that our residents, visitors and businesses will have the infrastructure in place to recharge their cars, as we become a model demonstrating a new vision for the future of clean transportation.”

Electrify Your Business is available as a free download at www.bc3sfbay.org/electricvehicles.html

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