Bay Area Council Blog: Uncategorized Archive

Ambitious Bay Delta Plan Unveiled for Public Review

Following seven years of planning and one of the driest years ever recorded, state and federal agencies this week released the public draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which includes Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for building two massive water conveyance tunnels. The Bay Area Council, under the leadership of our Water Committee Co-Chairs Jim Levine of Montezuma Wetlands LLC and Suffolk Construction West Coast President Andy Ball, has been working closely with state and federal officials as the plan has moved forward. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan was conceived with the intent to meet the co-equal goals of ecosystem recovery and water supply reliability relating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the backbone water supply for 25 million Californians. The delta is a critical resource for the Bay Area, through which flows about 33 percent of the region’s overall water supply. In Silicon Valley, that figure jumps to 50 percent. Everybody agrees that the status-quo in the delta – which has resulted in ecosystem decline and unreliable water supplies – is unsustainable. The Bay Area Council is grateful for the hard work of the Brown and Obama administrations to advance the process to a formal public draft which initiates the official 120-day comment period this Friday. The Bay Area Council looks forward to reviewing the documents and engaging with the many stakeholders involved to finalize the plan. To engage in the Council’s water policy work, contact Policy Manager Adrian Covert.

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EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE SETS 2014 POLICY AGENDA

Sustaining the Bay Area’s economic growth, broadening it and positioning the region and the state for future prosperity were central to the policy agenda the Bay Area Council Executive Committee adopted this week under the leadership of new Chair David Cush, CEO of Virgin America. The agenda reflects several issues on which the Council has long provided leadership, but whose urgency has intensified as the regional economy continues on a fast upward trajectory. The Council’s policy priorities include:

Build more housing. The Bay Area has come up short over the past several decades in creating sufficient housing across a range of incomes to keep pace with demand. The shortage has become painfully apparent over the past 24 months with surging economic and job growth and spiking demand. Attracting the best talent to our region requires having sufficient housing. Under the leadership of Mike Ghielmetti, CEO of Signature Development Group, and Mike Covarrubias, CEO of TMG Partners, the Council’s Housing and Sustainable Development committee will focus on how we can create more housing and address some of the immediate issues related to the current shortage. To engage in our housing policy work, contact Policy Manager Catherine Lyons.

Improve transportation system. With economic growth has come increased demand on the region’s transportation system, including growing traffic congestion. From our bridges, roads and highways, to BART and other mass transit systems, we must find creative and actionable ways to increase the capacity of our transportation network to allow our economy to grow. John Eddy of Arup and Caroline Rodman of T.Y. Lin will lead this important effort. To engage in our transportation policy work, contact Vice President Michael Cunningham.

21st Century Infrastructure. California’s stature and prosperity are founded on decades of visionary investments in the state’s infrastructure—highways, college and university campuses, aqueducts and reservoirs—without which, California as we know it would not exist. But the new economic, environmental and technological realities of this century require a new understanding of essential infrastructure, one that includes and prioritizes the 21st Century Infrastructure of energy and communications networks. To engage in our 21st Century Infrastructure work, which is being led by PG&E CEO Anthony Earley and AT&T California President Ken McNeely, contact Policy Manager Adrian Covert.

Early childhood education. The Bay Area Council is a statewide leader in advocating for investment in early childhood education. Research is absolutely clear that there is no better investment for preparing our future workforce than investing in preparing children to enter kindergarten. Under the leadership of George Halvorson, former Chairman of Kaiser Permanente and Chair of the California First 5 Commission, the Council is readying a major statewide initiative aimed at raising awareness about the importance of early childhood education and increasing access in under-served communities. To engage in our early childhood education work, contact Policy Vice President Matt Regan.

China trade and investment. China is expected soon to move from third to second as California’s largest trading partner. The Bay Area Council is partnering with Governor Jerry Brown and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to operate the California-China Office of Trade and Investment, and we are looking forward to dramatically expanding that work in 2014. To engage with the CA-China Trade Office, contact state Director Genevieve Herreria. To engage in the Council’s global initiatives, contact Vice President Bing Wei.

Healthcare. The Bay Area Council has led the business community in preparing for the rollout of healthcare reform and ensuring that the new system prioritizes controlling costs and improving care. The Council will step up its work in this critical area of our economy in 2014 as many of these changes go into effect. To engage in our healthcare policy work, contact Senior Policy Advisor Micah Weinberg.

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Statement on Release of Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Following seven years of planning and one of the driest years ever recorded, state and federal agencies this week released the public draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The Bay Area Council, which has been working closely with state and federal officials as the plan has moved forward, issued the following statement:

“The Bay Delta Conservation Plan was conceived with the intent to meet the co-equal goals of ecosystem recovery and water supply reliability relating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the backbone water supply for 25 million Californians. The delta is a critical resource for the Bay Area, through which flows about 33 percent of the region’s overall water supply. In Silicon Valley, that figure jumps to 50 percent. Everybody agrees that the status quo in the delta – which has resulted in ecosystem decline and unreliable water supplies – is unsustainable. The Bay Area Council is grateful for the hard work of the Brown and Obama administrations to advance the process to a formal public draft which initiates the official 120-day comment period this Friday. The Bay Area Council looks forward to reviewing the documents and engaging with the many stakeholders involved to finalize the plan.”

04/01/2011 - San Francisco (USA, CA) - 34th America's Cup - The America's Cup in San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge***04/01/2011 - San Francisco (USA, CA) - 34th America's Cup - The America's Cup in San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge

HOSTING 34TH AMERICA’S CUP GENERATES $550 MILLION IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, CREATES MORE THAN 3,800 JOBS

The thrilling comeback by Oracle Team USA in the 34th America’s Cup capped an historic event that generated $550 million in economic activity, created more than 3,800 jobs and contributed almost $6.6 million in tax revenue to the City of San Francisco, according to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

These figures include a new cruise terminal whose construction was accelerated by the America’s Cup races in San Francisco. In the absence of a new cruise terminal, conservative estimates show that the America’s Cup generated $364 million in economic activity, created almost 2,900 jobs and contributed almost $5.7 million in tax revenue to San Francisco.

The figures also do not include economic activity created throughout the region, local and Bay Area visitor spending, or the benefits associated with gripping media coverage of the high-tech competition that captivated a worldwide audience and showcased the Bay Area as an international tourist destination.

“The $550 million in economic activity generated by the America’s Cup is substantial,” said Sean Randolph, President of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “The activity benefitted hundreds of small businesses and other employers in San Francisco and the Bay Area and produced tax revenue that supports a wide range of important city services.”

The economic benefits came from almost $280 million in overall spending by the various teams that competed, the hundreds of thousands of visitors that flocked to the waterfront to watch the most innovative and technologically advanced sailboats in the world and the many events that accompanied the races.

“Hosting the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco showcased our beautiful City to the world and brought thousands of new jobs, long-overdue legacy waterfront improvements, international visitor spending, and a boost to our regional economy,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “Our investment brought in significant revenue to the City and the lessons we learned will help us deliver even better world-class events in the Bay Area in the future.”

The bulk of the tax revenue — almost $3.7 million — came from hotel stays, while payroll-related taxes produced $2 million and tax revenue from parking and retail spending combined reached $2.1 million.

The largest segment of economic benefits — $126.7 million — stemmed from spectators who traveled to San Francisco to watch the competition’s sleek catamarans zip across the bay at speeds approaching 55 miles per hour.

A full Economic Impact Report will be issued before the end of the year.

Bay Flooding by Michael Filippoff

Bay Area Council Economic Institute Embarks on Sea-Level Rise Study

The unfolding tragedy in the Philippines is an unsettling reminder of a global trend towards more frequent extreme weather events. Following recent devastation on America’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and with sea levels at the Golden Gate projected to rise by four-and-a-half feet by 2100, how vulnerable is the San Francisco – San Jose – Oakland Bay Area? With the generous support of Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation and the California Coastal Conservancy, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute on Wednesday began undertaking a two-part study to analyze the physical and economic vulnerability of the Bay Area to a likely extreme weather event. Joining the conversation were representatives from some of the Bay Area’s most critical transportation and economic infrastructure, including BART, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Port of San Francisco and San Francisco International Airport – and engineering firms Parsons and URS. To learn how to support these efforts, please contact Policy Manager Adrian Covert.

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BART STRIKE HAVING COSTLY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON BAY AREA

The strike by BART union workers is having a costly environmental impact on the Bay Area, according to data assembled by the Bay Area Council that shows increased traffic congestion is generating almost 16 million pounds of carbon, and wasting almost 800,000 gallons of gas every day at a cost of almost $3.3 million.

“The BART union strike is not only increasing congestion on our roads, it’s polluting our air,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “BART plays a valuable role in removing cars from the road and the greenhouse gas emissions they generate. With more cars on the road and idling in traffic, this strike is taking a severe economic toll on the region and it’s harming our environment.”

The Bay Area Council used traffic and emissions data from the Texas Transportation Institute to develop its estimates. The 16.2 million pounds of additional carbon being generated as a result of the strike is equal to the weight of 267 BART cars or almost 7.4 metric tons.

The environmental cost comes on top of the $73 million a day that the Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimates the BART union strike is costing the region in lost worker productivity. That economic impact is a very conservative estimate and doesn’t include direct economic activity that could add tens of millions of dollars to the cost.

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BAY AREA COUNCIL ECONOMIC INSTITUTE PUTS ECONOMIC COST OF BART STRIKE AT $73 MILLION A DAY

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute conservatively put the daily economic cost to the Bay Area of the BART union strike at $73 million a day, as the region reels from the loss of its most critical mass transit system. The figure includes only the cost of lost worker productivity, and doesn’t include the cost of overall lost economic activity.

“The Bay Area economy is suffering, along with hundreds of thousands of commuters,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The Bay Area Council and our 250 members companies implore the BART unions to end this damaging strike and return to the bargaining table, and we urge both sides to reach a fair and reasonable agreement.”

The $73 million figure includes the cost associated with reduced productivity among workers delayed in traffic or forced into longer commutes on other forms of transit. The Bay Area Council expects the figure would be considerably higher if it factored in lost economic activity from workers and others whose spending is reduced because they stayed home or altered their normal routines. It also doesn’t include increased fuel costs related to traffic delays. The figures also assume that employees who are working at home rather than going into the office are maintaining the same level of productivity.

“There is an additional hit to economic activity that we know is happening but which we can’t easily quantify, but which could add tens of millions of dollars to the total,” Wunderman said. “The solution is simple: End the strike and get back to the bargaining table.”

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Optimism for Obama, Xi Summit

The Bay Area Council looks forward to open and productive talks between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping when they meet tomorrow in California to discuss the relationship between our two countries.

“The future of the United States and China are inextricably linked and have major implications for California’s economic future,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “California as the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim is one of the nation’s top trading partners with China and looks to China as a vital partner in growing the state’s exports and creating opportunities for investment. Establishing free and open trade between our two countries can create jobs and lead to economic growth for decades to come.”

Obama’s meeting with Xi comes a little over a month after the Bay Area Council, in its role operating the California-China Office of Trade and Investment, organized a trade and investment mission to China led by Governor Jerry Brown. The eight-day trip included more than 90 top business, economic development and government leaders, made stops in four cities and announced a series of trade and investment deals totaling billions of dollars. The visit also included the official opening of California’s first trade office in China in 10 years and meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and many other top government officials.

Growing trade and investment with China for years has been a lead priority for the Bay Area Council, which operates its own offices in Shanghai and Hangzhou.

In advance of tomorrow’s summit, Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman has authored an article calling for the two world leaders to include among their discussion points the negotiation of a formal free trade agreement between the U.S. and China.

Read Jim Wunderman’s article promoting a U.S.-China free trade agreement.

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2013 Outlook Conference Talks Now on YouTube, Flickr

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta talks about past presidents and the operation to capture Osama bin Laden. Gov. Jerry Brown argues for more equity in school funding. And SF Giants CEO Larry Baer and SF 49ers CEO Jed York talk about the Bay Area’s booming professionals sports industry. View all the videos and photos from the 2013 Outlook Conference presented by Dignity Health.

Leon Panetta keynote address

Leon Panetta Q&A with Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean

Gov. Jerry Brown in conversation with BAC Chair Janet Lamkin

The Governor talks about his new school funding plan and his recent trade mission to China, among other topics.

Jed York and Larry Baer on The Business of Winning

The two CEOs give their insights on the Bay Area’s winning ways and how we sustain it.

Social media driving political change

Tech blogger and entrepreneur Michael Arrington leads a talk with angel investor Ron Conway, musician MC Hammer and former Google products manager Hunter Walk.

Powering California’s Economy

Sen. Alex Padilla talks energy and innovation with PG&E executive Geisha Williams, Echelon CEO Ron Sege and Enphase Energy CEO Paul Nahi.

Healthcare: A Tectonic Shift

Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich joins Safeway’s Kent Bradley, Dignity Health’s Michael Blaszyk and Wells Fargo’s Keith Grundy for a conversation on the coming health care changes.

See a gallery of photos from 2013 Outlook Conference.

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KAISER PERMANENTE’S GEORGE HALVORSON NAMED TO FIRST 5 COMMISSION

California’s youngest learners got some good news with Governor Jerry Brown’s appointment on May 30 of Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO George Halvorson to the First 5 California Commission. As a member of the Bay Area Council Executive Committee and Chair of our Early Childhood Education Committee, Halvorson has been a champion of our efforts to improve early childhood education. First 5 is focused on educating parents and caregivers about the important role they play in their children’s first years and providing services and support that are designed to ensure that more children are born healthy and reach their full potential. In a statement applauding Halvorson’s appointment, Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman said: “George Halvorson is a visionary leader and consensus builder who understands there is almost no better investment we can make in our future than investing early in the health and education of all children.” To engage in our early childhood education policy work, contact Vice President Matt Regan.