Bay Area Council Blog: Press Releases Archive



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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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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