Bay Area Council Blog: Press Releases Archive


Press Release: Bay Area Council’s 2011 Outlook Conference to Feature Governor Jerry Brown

The Bay Area Council today announced the lineup for its 2011 Outlook Conference, the region’s premier discussion on the economy, business and politics.  The conference will take place next Tuesday, April 12, 2011 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and will be held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown San Francisco.  The day will feature an address from Governor Jerry Brown, as well as Nobel Laureate Dr. Stanley Prusiner, Director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at UCSF.

The Bay Area Council has assembled CEO’s, elected officials and national thought-leaders to speak on panels on topics including education reform, the future of sports in the Bay Area, the new infrastructure of the 21st century and national politics.  Over 1,000 Bay Area CEO’s and top level executives, as well as elected officials from throughout the region, will be in attendance.

“The 2011 Outlook Conference will bring together leading executives, elected officials, scientists and political analysts to discuss a host of issues affecting the Bay Area, California, and the United States,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The day will be anchored by an address from California Governor Jerry Brown on the state of the state. Limited space is still available, so I encourage anyone interested in attending to visit our website,”

For more information, visit

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Press Release: Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson to Chair Bay Area Council’s Early Childhood Education Committee

The Bay Area Council today announced that George Halvorson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, has been appointed Chair of the Bay Area Council’s Early Childhood Education Committee.  Halvorson’s first committee meeting as Chair will take place tomorrow at Kaiser’s headquarters in Oakland.

“I am honored to chair the Bay Area Council’s Early Childhood Education Committee,” Halvorson said. “Investment in early childhood education is key to the future success of our region. The Bay Area Council is helping to lay the groundwork for more involvement by Bay Area executives on this issue.”

“George is a titan of the healthcare industry and a true champion of early childhood education,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “We’re extremely excited that he’s agreed to take on this chairmanship for the Bay Area Council.”

The Bay Area Council’s Early Childhood Education Committee brings together business leaders and stakeholder groups to rally for increased support for early childhood education from the business community and the State of California.  The immediate past chair of the committee is Ken McNeely, President of AT&T California.

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Press Release: Small and Medium Sized Bay Area Businesses Expect to Increase their Workforce over the Next Six Months, according to New Business Confidence Survey

The Bay Area Council today released its winter Business Confidence Survey, and the results show that Bay Area CEO’s and executives are confident the region’s economy is stabilizing and meeting expectations in the post-recession recovery.  The business confidence index – the number that distills the survey findings – registered at 61 out of 100, up 3 points 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 58 – making this the sixth positive reading in a row since the summer of 2009.  One year ago, the reading registered 55, and in January 2009, the index reached its all-time low of 31.

“We’re seeing optimism and confidence in all private industry sectors,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “According to our survey, the best place to look for a job over the next 6 months is in San Francisco, on the Peninsula and Silicon Valley, in industries like trade, professional and business services and IT.  Another bright spot is that small and medium sized businesses are finally showing signs that they might be expanding their workforces over the next few months.”

The responses of the 485 CEO’s and top executives in the nine Bay Area counties surveyed between February 17th and March 8th, show that overall, 58% think Bay Area economic conditions are better than six months ago, up 11 points from last quarter’s survey.  In addition, 61% said they expect a better Bay Area economy six months from now, up 8 points from last quarter.

The Survey indicates that a majority of executives, 53%, expect their workforces to remain the same over the next six months.  However, 31% of executives stated they planned to increase their workforce.  45% of executives in San Francisco County and 38% of executives in Santa Clara County expect to increase their workforce over the next six months. Contra Costa County was the exception, with companies surveyed there expecting to increase their workforce by 23%, but also planning to decrease their workforce by 24% over the next six months – the highest reported decrease of all nine Bay Area counties.

Additionally, the Survey showed that 41% of Bay Area companies with 500-999 employees expect to increase their workforce over the next six months, an increase of 19 points since last quarter’s survey.  42% 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. 60% of executives in information technology, 62% of financial services executives and 67% of leisure and hospitality executives expect their industry conditions to improve.  Confidence in the construction, education and health services industries remained flat, while 65% of government leaders surveyed expect their situation to get worse.

“While there remains substantial noise and uncertainty in the world from fiscal problems in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to world events, clearly the local business signals are positive,” said Lenny Mendonca, Director at McKinsey & Company.

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Press Release: Bay Area Council Urges California Legislature to Embrace the Spirit of Compromise

The Bay Area Council today urged the California Legislature to embrace the spirit of compromise to close the state’s $26.6 billion budget deficit.  The call for compromise was made in a letter that the Council sent to all California state legislators late yesterday.

“California is at a crossroads and the choices facing the people of this state, especially you, our elected leaders, are clear and stark,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “We can retreat into the temporary shelter of our ideological corners and watch our state descend into chaos, or we can step out into the storm and through a spirit of shared sacrifice, help lead California on the path back to economic prosperity and opportunity for all its citizens.  We urge you to be on the right side of history, to work with Governor Brown, to stay at the table until the task at hand is complete, and to help California move forward and prosper.”

In the letter, the Council also called on the Legislature to institute meaningful redevelopment reform that ends abuses, but preserves smart growth, strong communities and real economic development.

The full text of the letter is below:


March 10, 2011
Sacramento CA
Sent VIA Fax

Dear Assemblymember/Senator,

The Bay Area Council is writing to encourage you to adopt a budget based upon Governor Brown’s proposal.  For the first time in many years we have been presented with a budget that honestly reflects the dire fiscal situation that faces California.  It is a budget lacking in the usual accounting gimmickry, borrowing, and denial.  It is also a budget that for these same reasons is extremely painful to many people, including business leaders whose organizations provide the jobs we depend on to restore our state to economic health.

As you know, the business community does not believe that higher taxes help stimulate economic activity and put people to work – quite the opposite – which is why we rarely support such proposals.  However, if there is one thing that business fears more than higher taxes it is uncertainty and chaos.  If we do not get an honest budget passed soon, and get California’s fiscal house in order once and for all, uncertainty and chaos are what will ensue.

Given the dire circumstances, Governor Brown’s budget is a fair and rational combination of cuts and taxes that also seeks to preserve those institutions that will benefit California’s long term well being, in particular our K-12 education system.  While it is unjust for us to pass on to our children debts incurred by our inability to keep our finances in order, it is equally unjust for us to deprive them of the educational opportunities that enabled our generation to thrive and prosper.  We can tighten our belts and preserve public education; this budget does both.

Beyond the need to temporarily extend certain taxes, which we understand, one of the most concerning components of the budget plan is to eliminate redevelopment in California.   Radical change in process is not a good partner for long term investments in land development.  We believe that redevelopment should be reformed in such a way that best reflects our collective vision of smart growth, strong communities and real economic development.  We must do this in a thoughtful, seamless and transparent manner that puts an end to abuses, while ensuring that ongoing worthy projects, contracts, and jobs are not wiped out with the stroke of a pen.  We firmly believe that the State can balance the current budget and institute meaningful redevelopment reform, and we stand ready to help in that regard.

California is at a crossroads and the choices facing the people of this state, especially you, our elected leaders, are clear and stark.  We can retreat into the temporary shelter of our ideological corners and watch our state descend into chaos, or we can step out into the storm and through a spirit of shared sacrifice, help lead California on the path back to economic prosperity and opportunity for all its citizens.

We urge you to be on the right side of history, to work with Governor Brown, to stay at the table until the task at hand is complete, and to help California move forward and prosper.


Jim Wunderman
President & CEO
Bay Area Council

PDF Press Release


Press Release: Bay Area Council Endorses Governor Brown’s Budget Proposal

The Bay Area Council today announced its support for Governor Brown’s proposed budget package designed to close the state’s $26.6 billion budget deficit.  The decision was made this afternoon after Governor Brown met with members of the Council’s Executive Committee at Bank of America’s California headquarters.

“The talk we had with the Governor was tough, but the experience was profoundly refreshing because it was honest,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “California’s budgets of the recent past have violated every principle of fiscal responsibility by conjuring up billions of dollars in fake revenues and pushing hard decisions off until ‘next year.’  The day of reckoning has finally arrived, and the only way through it is with a spirit of shared sacrifice and grownup behavior.  We don’t like everything in this proposal.  Our members don’t like the higher taxes, which run counter to expanding business and jobs in the state.  But on balance, we need to be part of the solution and we support the Governor’s proposal overall.”

In addition to offering its support, the Bay Area Council’s Executive Committee also strongly urged Governor Brown to back pension, long-term budget and regulatory reform with an emphasis on the California Environmental Quality Act.

“For the success of our business, the most important thing is a healthy economy,” said Janet Lamkin, Bank of America California state president and vice chair of the Bay Area Council.  “We need a healthy state government and fiscal stability for economic growth.”

Governor Brown has asked the Legislature to approve his budget proposal by March 10th, so the Council’s Executive Committee felt compelled to act now and announce their support.

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Meeting and Press Conference Photos
Video of the Press Conference

Jerry Brown

Media Advisory: Bay Area Council to Meet with Governor Jerry Brown

The Bay Area Council’s Executive Committee will meet with Governor Jerry Brown tomorrow in San Francisco.

When: Friday, March 4, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.

Where: Bank of America Tower, 555 California Street, San Francisco 94104

***NOTE***: The meeting is closed to the press, but Governor Brown, Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman and members of the Council’s Executive Committee will speak with the media in the plaza level lobby of the building, on the Pine Street side, after the meeting concludes, at approximately 3:00 p.m.

PDF Media Advisory


Media Advisory: Bay Area Council to Hold Forum on California’s Unfunded Public Pension System

With tensions flaring all across the country over public pensions, tomorrow, March 9th at 8:30a.m., the Bay Area Council will bring together a panel of California’s leading voices from both sides of the debate for a discussion on the current state of California’s public pension system. The event, entitled, “Is California Headed for a Super Storm of Unfunded Pension Liabilities” will take place in San Francisco at the offices of SNR Denton, 525 Market Street, 26th Floor, from 8:30am to 11:00am.

“California’s public pension system has been described by some as a ‘time bomb’ or a ‘tsunami’ and by others as an over blown hoax,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “This forum is a chance to get down to the facts and see how much we actually owe, and to examine how to make reforms to get the state back on track.  With the cast of speakers we’ve assembled, we expect this to be a lively debate.”

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Jeff Adachi, San Francisco Public Defender
  • Bob Foster, Mayor of Long Beach
  • Marcia Fritz, President of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility
  • Dave Low, Chair of Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security
  • Joe Nation, Stanford Professor and former State Assemblymember
  • Harvey Robinson, President of the Retired Public Employees Association of California


  • Corey Cook, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, University of San Francisco

Estimates vary wildly on just how large California’s unfunded pension liabilities actually are.  CalPERS and CalSTRS management maintain that their fund finances are sound, however, some analysts put the liability figure at $265 billion, and others project it to be as high as $737 billion.  To put that latter figure in perspective, it amounts to over seven times the total planned budget expenditures for the whole State of California in 2011.

The forum will also be streamed live online at starting at 8:45am. Viewers will have the opportunity to participate in the discussion by tweeting questions via Twitter during the forum, using the hashtag #BACpension. For those interested in hearing just the audio of the forum, a conference call number will also be available upon request.

*** All media planning to attend in person should RSVP to, 415-946-8725 ***

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The Bay Area Council will host a briefing today on the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit from 5:30pm – 6:30pm.  The U.S. government’s most senior official for the 21-economy summit, Kurt Tong, will be joined by San Francisco city officials and California Host Committee members to brief consular officials and members of the media on plans for all summit-related events.

Set for September 2011, the APEC summit will include a first-ever joint ministerial meeting of energy and transportation ministers seeking to expand sustainable and zero emission technologies; government-business summits on women and the economy, digital prosperity, and healthcare innovation; and technical meetings covering topics from tourism to disaster management to seaport infrastructure.

This is the first time the U.S. has hosted the APEC summit since 1993.

“Hosting the APEC meetings in September will be a momentous occasion for the Bay Area and California,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “This briefing will provide important information about the crucial international meetings that will happen in our state later this year.”

WHO: Kurt Tong, U.S. Government’s top official for APEC; Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation California Host Committee members; San Francisco city officials

WHAT: Briefing on plans for all APEC summit-related events

WHERE: The offices of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, 275 Battery Street, Suite 2600, San Francisco

WHEN: 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Today, Tuesday, February 22, 2011

***All media planning to attend should RSVP to, 415-946-8725***

About the APEC Summit:
In 2008, the Bay Area Council, through its foundation and the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, created an organizing committee called CalAPEC to bid on and win APEC meetings for California. In September, the State Department announced that it had accepted the committee’s bid to host, in San Francisco, one of four major clusters of meetings this year. The San Francisco meetings, which will help finalize what President Obama and other heads of state will discuss in November, will be the largest high-level diplomatic meetings held in California since 50 countries signed the United Nations Charter in 1945 and 48 countries signed the San Francisco Treaty of Peace with Japan 1951. The other principal locations of APEC meetings in 2011 are Washington, DC (March); Big Sky Resort, Montana (May); and Honolulu, Hawaii (November). Host committee co-chairs include Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Ed Lee, George and Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson.

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Press Release: Symposium on Global Green Cities of the 21st Century to Be Held in San Francisco

Organizers and sponsors of the Global Green Cities of the 21st Century: Evolving Models for Sustainable Urban Design today announced that the symposium will take place February 23-25, 2011 at the San Francisco JW Marriott. With the goal of fostering sustainable urban development and design, the landmark symposium will shed light on the development of green cities. Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California, will deliver the opening remarks on Feb. 23.

The symposium will feature a high-level exchange of ideas and information among elected officials, planners, researchers, technologists, business executives and other leaders recognized worldwide.

“We’re extremely excited to have such an esteemed gathering of global experts on sustainable urban growth convene in San Francisco,” said Sean Randolph, President of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “Their experience of planning and living in some of the world’s most innovative cities is invaluable, and we hope that the exchange with U.S. and Bay Area leaders will help advance the state of the art.”

Focal points of the symposium include urban design, the relationship between policy and citizen behavior, and the applications of technology. The symposium will showcase technology and policy advances specific to California.

Global collaboration will be achieved through both on-site participation and the use of Cisco TelePresence, a state-of-the-art meeting solution enabling an “in-person” virtual presence.  The Virtual Meetings by Marriott studios will also connect participants worldwide, using the AT&T Business Exchange, AT&T’s unique network-based, inter- and intracompany collaboration program.

“Cisco is proud to support Global Green Cities of the 21st Century,” said Wim Elfrink, chief globalisation officer and executive vice president of Cisco Services. “Cisco TelePresence is the perfect solution to connect worldwide contributors to this symposium and to facilitate conversations that will bring positive change to the sustainable-urban-design sector. This will also allow our meeting participants to experience how innovation and technology can advance economic, social and environmental sustainability.”

Jim Herlihy, managing director of Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, echoed Elfrink’s sentiments: “We’re honored to contribute to such a truly important event. The discussions promoted by this symposium will no doubt benefit the growth and evolution of green cities worldwide.”

Global Green Cities of the 21st Century is organized by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute in partnership with the Alfred Herrhausen Society, Cisco and Deutsche Bank, with program advice provided by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics.

Confirmed participants include:

  • The Hon. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Karnataka State and Bangalore Urban District (India)
  • The Hon. Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco
  • The Hon. Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of Paris
  • The Hon. Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary
  • The Hon. Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California
  • The Hon. Chuck Reed, mayor of San Jose
  • The Hon. Young-gil Song, mayor of Incheon, Metropolitan City (South Korea)
  • Chye Teng Khoo, executive director, Centre for Liveable Cities, and chief executive, Singapore Public Utilities Board (Singapore)
  • Chris Andrews, lead project manager, Infrastructure Conceptual Design, Autodesk
  • Murat Armbruster, senior adviser, Carbon War Room
  • Scott Barnette, vice president for corporate business development, North America, Hitachi
  • David Baum, vice president, North American Strategic Sustainability Initiatives, Philips Lighting
  • Sven Armin Beiker, executive director, Center for Automotive Research, Stanford University
  • Stewart Brand, founder, Whole Earth Catalog, and co-founder, Global Business Network
  • Peter Calthorpe, principal, Calthorpe Associates
  • Ranbir Saran Das, managing director, Fairwood Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (India)
  • Isabel Dedring, environmental adviser, Mayor’s Office of London (United Kingdom)
  • Wim Elfrink, executive vice president and chief globalisation officer, Cisco
  • Stefan Denig, head, sustainable cities program, Siemens (Germany)
  • Nicky Gavron, Londonwide Assembly member, and chair, Planning & Housing Authority, Greater London Authority (United Kingdom)
  • Jeffrey Heller, president, Heller Manus Architects
  • David Helliwell, co-founder and CEO, Pulse Energy (Canada)
  • Uli Hellweg, chief executive, IBA Hamburg GmbH (Germany)
  • Steve Heminger, executive director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission
  • Jim Herlihy, managing director, Deutsche Bank
  • Bjarke Ingels, president, BIG Architects (Denmark)
  • Warren Karlenzig, president, Common Current
  • Bruce Katz, director, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
  • John Kriken, consulting partner, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, LLP
  • Kent Larson, director, Smart Cities/Changing Places research group, MIT
  • Yvon Le Roux, vice president, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco
  • Steve Lewis, CEO, Living PlanIT
  • Greg Lindsay, contributing editor, Fast Company
  • Chris Luebkeman, principal, foresight+innovation, Arup
  • Anil Menon, president, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco
  • Tom Murcott, executive vice president, Gale International
  • David Nieh, general manager, planning, Shui On Land (China)
  • Wolfgang Nowak, director, Alfred Herrhausen Society
  • Henk Ovink, director of national spatial planning, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment of the Netherlands
  • Sean Randolph, president & CEO, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
  • Ezra Rapport, executive director, Association of Bay Area Governments
  • Philipp Rode, executive director, LSE Cities at the London School of Economics
  • Arthur Rosenfeld, distinguished scientist emeritus, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Michel St. Pierre, director, planning & urban design, Gensler
  • Shankar Sastry, dean, college of engineering, UC Berkeley
  • Helle Lis Soholt, partner & managing director, Gehl Architects (Denmark)
  • Kevin Surace, CEO, Serious Materials
  • James Sweeney, director, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford University
  • Will Travis, executive director, San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission
  • Conrad Wagner, senior lecturer in Mobility Studies, Lucerne University (Lucerne)
  • Tom Wright, executive director, Regional Plan Association
  • Siegfried Zhiqiang Wu, professor, College of Architecture & Urban Planning, Tongji University (China)
  • Anupam Yog, founder and director, Mirabilis Advisory
  • Dimitri Zenghelis, senior economic adviser, Cisco, and visiting fellow, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics (London)
  • Konrad Otto Zimmermann, chair, World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Urbanization and secretary general, ICLEI

A webcast of the symposium will be streamed at the following Web address:

For more information on Global Green Cities of the 21st Century, please visit the event website,, or contact Nicholas Gaffney, Infinite Public Relations, 415-732-7801,

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Press Release: World Expo in Silicon Valley Would Generate $5.6 Billion in Economic Activity for Bay Area, According to New Report

Today, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and Beacon Economics released a study outlining the economic impacts if Silicon Valley were to host a World Expo at Moffett Field in Mountain View in 2020.  The report specifically outlines the economic impact a World Expo would have on the region, the State of California and the country, if the United States is chosen as the host country for the 2020 World Expo.  The World Exposition (Expo), also known as a World’s Fair, is one of the world’s oldest international events and is the largest gathering of people on the planet.

The report, which was commissioned by the Bay Area Council, found that the increase in overall economic activity in the Bay Area could be on the order of $5.6 billion, four times the estimated impact of hosting the America’s Cup ($1.4 billion).  The potential increase in employment surrounding the event could be on the order of 42,000 jobs.

“Hosting a World Expo in Silicon Valley will be a windfall economic and diplomatic opportunity for the United States,” said Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman. “It is the perfect vehicle to showcase California’s innovation and America’s ingenuity.”

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • The economic benefits of bringing the World Expo to Silicon Valley (Moffett Field) would come primarily through expenditures by event organizers, and through spending on hotels, restaurants, and other services by both domestic and overseas visitors.
  • The increase in output and employment would yield $440 million in new state and local tax revenue.
  • While the economic impacts of an Expo at Moffett Field would primarily be concentrated in the counties of Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo, nearby counties such as Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Santa Cruz and Sonoma would also benefit from increased visitor activity.

“Besides a monument like the Eiffel Tower or Space Needle, a World Expo in Silicon Valley could leave behind substantive improvements to California’s infrastructure, including a new university campus and major transit improvements,” said Bay Area Council Economic Institute President & CEO Sean Randolph.

To host an Expo, a region, via its national government, must secure the approval of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), through a competitive process much like the Olympics.  The BIE is a treaty organization with 157 member countries.  The U.S. Department of State is currently exploring rejoining the BIE, which would cost about $33,000.

The Bay Area has hosted two previous Expos, the 1915 “Panama-Pacific” World Expo and the 1939-40 “Golden Gate” World Expo.

The report was funded by donations from:

  • City of San Jose
  • Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport
  • Oakland International Airport
  • Related California
  • San Mateo, Silicon Valley, Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • San Francisco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
  • Santa Clara & San Benito Building & Construction Trades Council
  • TMG Partners
  • Webcor Builders


  • The Bay Area Council

The Bay Area Council first announced its intention to bid for World Expo 2020 in September 2010, during a visit to the Shanghai Expo with then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Download the report (1 MB)
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