Bay Area Council Blog: Press Releases Archive


Press Release: Bay Area Council to Hold Forum on California’s Unfunded Public Pension Liability

The Bay Area Council today announced that they are hosting a forum 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 at the offices of SNR Denton, 525 Market Street, 26th Floor, on March 9, 2011, from 8:30am to 11:00am. The forum will be an open, honest, and frank discussion on the current state of California’s public pension system.

“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.”

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.

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
  • Joe Nation, Stanford Professor and former State Assemblyman

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

For more information on the forum, please visit, or contact Matt Regan at (415) 946-8710.

PDF Press Release


Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman released the following statement tonight in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight hit every theme and issue that is near and dear to the Bay Area Council. Whether it’s supporting innovation to better compete globally or easing the burden of government regulations, President Obama sent the right signal to the business community that he understands that our success is vital to America’s continued prosperity.  His reinforced commitment to promoting trade, completing high-speed rail and rebuilding our infrastructure also provides optimism that he is committed to creating jobs over the next two years. Ultimately however, his words tonight will only matter if he is able to work across the aisle, forge compromise and bring the country together with real solutions to our nation’s most difficult challenges.”

PDF Statement



The Bay Area Council today announced that they will host U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia for a discussion on innovation, global competitiveness and jobs on Thursday, January 20, 2011.  Senator Warner is looking for input from the Bay Area Council’s members on how the U.S. may better compete globally on factors such as investment in research and development, educating scientists and engineers, and venture capital.  The meeting will be hosted in collaboration with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and Holland & Knight LLP.

“Senator Warner is a leader on many fronts in the Senate, from pushing for government accountability to being a champion for small business,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “We look forward to having a candid discussion with Senator Warner about how to ensure that the Bay Area, California and the United States are as innovative and globally competitive as possible.”

WHO: Mark R. Warner, United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia

WHAT: Senator Warner in conversation with top Bay Area executives on the topic of global competitiveness in the innovation economy, moderated by Information Technology and Innovation Foundation President Dr. Rob Atkinson.

WHERE: Mission Bay Development Group, 255 Channel St., San Francisco, CA 94158

WHEN: 8:00am – 9:30am
Thursday, January 20, 2011

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

About Senator Mark Warner:
Mark Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008.  As a member of the Senate’s Banking Committee, he has been a key leader in bipartisan efforts to effectively update oversight of Wall Street and end taxpayer bailouts of failing financial firms.

He is also viewed as a tireless champion of small businesses on Main Street, working effectively with the White House on creative solutions to try to increase the flow of credit to small businesses that continue to struggle in this tough economy.

As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, he was selected to lead a bipartisan task force that is looking for ways to increase accountability and improve government performance to reduce federal budget deficits.

On the Commerce Committee, Senator Warner has worked to promote greater innovation by successfully offering legislation that will result in the first update in nearly 40 years to our nation’s strategic competitiveness plan.

Senator Warner co-founded the cellular company Nextel and made early investments in hundreds of promising new companies that ultimately created thousands of jobs. From 2002 to 2006, he served as Governor of Virginia during its worst economic recession in 20 years, turning record deficits into a budget surplus. When Governor Warner left office in 2006, Virginia was nationally recognized as the country’s “best-managed state” and the “best state for business.”

PDF Media Advisory

Jerry Brown Introduces January California Budget


Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman released the following statement today in response to Governor Brown’s proposed state budget:

“We complement Governor Brown for doing the best he can under difficult circumstances.  Ultimately, the real wildcard is whether Californians will be willing to go to the ballot box to tax themselves to stave off more cuts.  Our regional business community will need to carefully consider the ballot proposals for tax extensions, the single sales factor and changes to redevelopment agencies before announcing our positions.

We recognize that Jerry Brown has one of the toughest assignments ever given an American political leader and we want to help him succeed.  We hope the Governor will use this opportunity to permanently reform California government, which we believe is his firm intent.”

Statement PDF


Press Release: International Trade Showing Signs of Recovery After 2009 Decline, According to New Bay Area Council Economic Institute Report

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) today released a new report, International Trade and the Bay Area Economy: Regional Interests and Global Outlook, 2010-2011. The fourth in a series produced in alternating years since 2003, the report assesses current trends in international trade, trade negotiations, regional trade activity, and trade-related infrastructure.

It finds that international trade, which declined with the global economy in 2009, is recovering.

“After a deep global recession, trade is growing again,” said Sean Randolph, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.  “This is important not just for large companies, but for thousands of small and medium sized companies as well.  As a major trading region, we need to support open markets, help smaller companies succeed as exporters, and invest in the port, airport and transportation infrastructure that will support a growing volume of goods and people entering and leaving the region.”

The report notes that while in recent years the United States has not actively sought new free trade agreements, three bilateral agreements negotiated by the Bush Administration – with Korea, Columbia and Panama – have been stalled in Congress.  Of these, it finds that the agreement with Korea is most important to the Bay Area, due to the size of Korea’s economy and its status as a major trading partner.  President Obama has expressed support for all three agreements, and has negotiated amendments to the Korea agreement that will set up a Congressional vote this year.

“Passage of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement is a Bay Area priority, and should be supported by every member of the region’s Congressional delegation,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.

From a Bay Area standpoint, the report notes two other trade forums that merit particular attention in 2011. Negotiations are underway for a Trans-Pacific Partnership with nine U.S. trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region.  The United States will also host the 21-nation APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Leaders Summit in Honolulu in November.  The pre-summit, which will engage 1,000-2,000 ministers, ambassadors, senior officials and business leaders from the 21 APEC economies, will be held in San Francisco in September, offering a unique opportunity to address California and Bay Area priorities.

These developments are particularly important for the Bay Area, which ranks as the nation’s fourth largest source of exports.  Asia continues to be the Bay Area’s largest export market, with computer and electronic products the leading export. The region’s exports are diverse, however, also including wine, apparel, petroleum products, and a wide array of services.

A survey conducted for the report of leading Bay Area companies and where they earn their revenue (in the U.S. or overseas) finds that 2009 broke a longstanding trend in which companies derived an ever-increasing share of revenue from global markets. This reflected the stalling of the global economy in 2008-09.  With trade gathering momentum in 2010 and strong growth in many Asia-Pacific markets, however, the historic trend toward growing dependence on international trade is likely to resume.

PDF Press Release

Download the Report



The Bay Area Council today announced its opposition to a plan by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to mandate that San Franciscans make up at least half the work force of construction projects in the City and within 70 miles of it.

Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman released the following statement:

“This troubling trend of intra-county battles being started by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors needs to stop.  The Bay Area is one regional economy, not nine island states.  We need to focus on nurturing the fragile economic recovery in our region, not setting bad policies that pit county against county.   The Bay Area Council urges Mayor Newsom to veto this foolhardy piece of legislation.  Right now, we do not need any more incentives for businesses to leave any county, the Bay Area, or California.”

PDF Statement



SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Bay Area Council today released its fall Business Confidence Survey, and the results show that Bay Area CEO’s and executives are feeling more positive about the Bay Area economy, however, they expect the current status quo of slow growth and recovery to continue.  The business confidence index – the number that distills the survey findings – registered at 58 out of 100, up 2 points from the last survey, but still down 4 points from May.

A reading over 50 signals positive economic times, while below 50 is negative.  Last quarter’s Survey showed the index reading at 56 – making this the fifth positive reading in a row since the summer of 2009.  One year ago, the reading registered 53, and in January 2009, the index reached its all-time low of 31.

“Increases in the stock market, actions by the Fed, and our slow, but continued recovery are providing confidence that things are getting better, more than they are getting worse,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Small and medium sized companies are still very reluctant to hire new workers, but larger corporations are showing signs that they might be expanding their workforces over the next couple of months.”

The responses of the 473 CEO’s and top executives in the nine Bay Area counties surveyed between November 10th and November 30th, show that overall, 47% think Bay Area economic conditions are better than 6 months ago, up 6 points from last quarter’s survey.  In addition, 53% said they expect a better Bay Area economy 6 months from now, up 9 points from last quarter.

The Survey indicates that a majority of executives, 56%, expect their workforces to remain the same over the next 6 months.  However, 27% of executives stated they planned to increase their workforce.  41% of executives in San Francisco County and 37% of executives in San Mateo County expect to increase their workforces over the next 6 months. Additionally, the Survey showed that 50% of Bay Area companies with over 10,000 employees expect to increase their workforce over the next six months, an increase of 41 points since last quarter’s survey.

In certain industries, there is much optimism that things will be better in 6 months. 52% of executives in professional and business services, and 94% of leisure and hospitality executives expect their industry conditions to improve.  Entering the holiday season, 22% of retail executives expect their industry to improve. Other noteworthy areas expecting better industry conditions in 6 months include: manufacturing (47%), information technology (47%), and financial services (46%).

Finally, when asked, “Which of the following issues is having the biggest impact on your business at this time,” 74% of executives listed the overall economy, out of choices that included: financial regulation (7%), healthcare reform (6%), the tax rate (6%) and debt and deficits (4%).

“While there is still a large degree of uncertainty in executives’ outlook, the most promising news in this quarter’s survey is big corporations’ intent to start hiring in the next six months.  If that comes true, it will be welcome news for the recovery,” said Lenny Mendonca, Director at McKinsey & Company.

PDF Press Release



SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The U.S. Department of Transportation today redirected $1.2 billion in high-speed rail funds from Ohio and Wisconsin to 14 other states, including California, which will now receive an additional $624 million for high-speed rail.

In response to this news, Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman released the following statement:

“These additional funds will keep California high-speed rail on the fast track.  The infusion of new federal money will help to extend the first segment of high-speed rail to another urban center in the Central Valley, quelling concerns that California is building a ‘train to nowhere’.  Today’s news also means more jobs for California at a time when we are still facing 12.4% unemployment.

High-speed rail will re-establish California’s leadership across the nation and around the globe, provide an environmentally sound alternative to the country’s busiest air route (SFO to LAX) and take nearly 70 million auto trips off the road every year.

The Bay Area Council applauds the Obama administration and Department of Transportation for supporting high-speed rail in California.”

PDF Statement



SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The 2010 USC Ross Program in Real Estate, presented by the Bay Area Council, will hold a case competition and graduation ceremony at 4:00 PM on Thursday, December 9 at the CitiGroup Center, 1 Sansome St., San Francisco.

The three-week program, taught by faculty from the University of Southern California (USC), as well as over fifty local industry experts and professionals from the Bay Area, helps participants gain technical expertise and expand their understanding of real estate development and investment, while building the networks necessary to succeed in urban renewal.  Each year, the program culminates in a case competition in which participants present their solutions for a local development issue.

“The depth of knowledge that this year’s students bring to the table is quite remarkable,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “We are proud to offer training and resources to such talented real estate professionals through the Ross Program and I am confident that these participants will positively impact future development in the Bay Area.”

This year, the case competition focuses on redevelopment of the Midway Village and an adjacent site in the Bayshore neighborhood on the border between San Francisco and Daly City.  Ross Program participants will present their proposed plans for the site in front of a panel of judges, including representatives from the City of San Mateo Housing Authority and the City of Daly City, the two organizations that control the site. Judges include: Greg Vilkin, MacFarlane Partners; Michael Barker, Barker Pacific Group; Michael Johnson, UrbanCore, LLC; Margo Bradish, Cox Castle Nicholson; Libby Seifel, Seifel Consulting; Vince Gibbs, Intequity LLC.

Participants in this year’s program include Benjamin Brandin, a Green Project Analyst with Eden Housing; Catherine Etzel, Assistant Project Manager at BRIDGE Housing Corporation; Daryl Thomas, Managing Director, NID Housing Counseling Agency; and Lena Robinson, Regional Manager of Community Development for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

A pdf overview of the program can be downloaded at:

PDF Press Release



The Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC) today announced the launch of its new science and technology online innovation hub:  The site provides the Bay Area’s high level science and technology professionals a virtual hub here they can interact and discuss ideas for advancing the region’s global competitiveness.

“With the region’s most innovative thought-leaders and professionals spread out all across the Bay Area at public universities, companies and research institutions, there’s no way for them to constantly interact and share their ideas with each other,” said Dr, Mark Bregman, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Symantec and BASIC’s Chairman.  “This online innovation hub will harness all of the region’s collective knowledge and ideas into a central location where we can foster a conversation about how to make the Bay Area more competitive in the 21st century global economy.”

The new site will be the only one of its kind in the Bay Area.  It not only will help connect the foremost thought-leaders on science and innovation in our region, but also will provide the Bay Area community with the opportunity to participate in online “open forums” to discuss regional actions to address the issues impacting the region’s global innovation competitiveness.

“As the parent organization of BASIC, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute is proud to be fostering such a unique project,” said Sean Randolph, President and CEO of the Economic Institute.  “This new innovation hub will prove to be an incredible tool for promoting the science and technology sectors in our region and showcasing the innovation of the Bay Area in the national spotlight.”

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