Bay Area Council Blog

BTH June 24

Council’s Matt Regan Talks Early Brain Development on ABC 7′s Beyond the Headlines

Bay Area Council Vice President of Public Policy Matt Regan on June 28 appeared on ABC7′s Emmy award-winning public affairs show “Beyond the Headlines” examining early childhood development. Early childhood education is among the top policy priorities for the Bay Area Council because of the significant scientific research showing that there may be no larger return for a child’s future success than investing in growing their brain development from age 0-5.

The Bay Area Council currently is partnering with Too Small to Fail – an initiative of The Clinton Foundation and San Francisco-based Center for the Next Generation – on a groundbreaking, innovative messaging campaign aimed at closing the word gap in lower-income communities. With funding from Kaiser Permanente, the Council and Next Generation developed the campaign with globally renowned San Francisco ad firm Goodby Silverstein. Regan, who appears with U.C. Davis Psychology Professor Dr. Ross Thompson and First 5 California Deputy Director of Programs Diane Levin, unveiled campaign materials and discussed the critical role the region’s business community will play in preparing future generations of well-educated, high-skilled workers.

Watch Beyond the Headlines.



Over the next five years, more than one million highly skilled U.S. military veterans will enter the civilian workforce. The Bay Area Council and member Hanson Bridgett are pleased to support VetsInTech, a Bay Area-based non-profit organization that supports these returning veterans with re-integration services by connecting them to the national technology ecosystem. “The VetsInTech organization and mission closely align with our Workforce Development policy work. We are focused on strengthening the economy, job creation and employment growth and it’s a privilege to provide guidance in establishing this nonprofit foundation,” said Bay Area Council Chief Financial Officer Ken Regalia.

Led by ViT Founder Katherine Webster, VetsInTech is already making headway in the veteran space with widely attended hackathons, resource workshops and employer networking events. Drawing from a pool of talented individuals who have demonstrated the clear connection between military service and excellence in tech careers, VetsInTech is arming local companies with a capable, dedicated workforce. “The VetsInTech team is so pleased to be working with the Bay Area Council and Hanson Bridgett as we continue to explore forward thinking ways to engage with our military population with the tech industry,” said Webster. Learn more about VetsInTech and its mission.



Gov. Jerry Brown traveled south on June 20 to sign a state budget that acknowledges several of the Bay Area Council’s top policy priorities. The overall $156 billion spending plan includes $230 million for various affordable housing programs and $264 million for early education. The housing money, $130 million of which will be channeled from cap-and-trade revenue to support transit-oriented development, comes as the Bay Area confronts a severe housing shortage. While the funding is a positive sign that housing is getting increased attention in Sacramento, the level represents a drop in the bucket against the overall problem. And, it’s unclear how much of the funding will flow to the Bay Area. The Council continues to work with stakeholders in the region on both short- and long-term strategies for spurring more housing across all income levels. The budget also sets aside $264 million for early education, including 11,500 preschool slots for low-income 4-year-olds by June 2015 and another 31,500 slots in future years.

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Program Council Backed Awards First Round of Job-Creating Tax Credits

The first round of a series of job-creating tax credits the Bay Area Council advocated for last year were awarded on June 19 to 29 companies around the state. The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) Committee approved $28.9 million in credits that are projected to help companies create almost 6,000 jobs and generate over $2 billion in investments.  Awardees are exempted from paying state income taxes in the amount awarded. The complete list of approved companies and award amounts can be found here. An additional $150 million in tax credits will be allocated next fiscal year and companies not selected in the first round are eligible to reapply once the next application period opens.

See the full list of companies receiving credits.

Read the Council’s letter in support of the program.

The California Competes tax credit is part of the Governor’s Economic Development Initiative (GEDI) which includes a hiring credit for areas of high unemployment and poverty and a sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of manufacturing, biotech and R&D equipment which is available to companies starting July 1, 2014.


Bay Area Council Congratulates New House Leader Kevin McCarthy

The Bay Area Council today (June 19) released the following statement congratulating Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s selection as House Majority Leader:

“The Bay Area Council extends our congratulations to Rep. Kevin McCarthy on his selection as House Majority Leader,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council.  “Our nation is confronting serious challenges that can only be solved through bi-partisan leadership, collaboration and action. We urge Leader McCarthy to seize this opportunity to forge a new direction in Congress, to work with Leader Nancy Pelosi to establish a partnership that prioritizes cooperation and sets us on a constructive path forward in tackling our toughest issues, including growing jobs and our economy, reforming immigration and investing in our critical transportation, energy and communications infrastructure. It’s a lot to expect of Leader McCarthy but not too much to ask of a Californian who knows well the transformative power of innovative thinking and risk-taking to accomplish the biggest things.

“In his many visits to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Leader McCarthy has focused considerable attention to understanding the issues that are important to our innovation economy and the many companies that are leading the nation into the 21st Century. We are optimistic that his appreciation for the disruptive power of innovation and technology will benefit our region and California specifically and help drive new ways of thinking in Washington.”


Bay Area Council Supports 2024 Olympic Bid

The Bay Area Council today applauded the announcement that San Francisco is being considered as a possible bid city by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games. The Council, which played a key role in assembling the region’s previous bids to bring the Games to the Bay Area in 2012 and 2016, released the following statement in response to the USOC’s announcement:

“As any athlete knows, you can’t win unless you’re in the game,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The business community is excited for this opportunity and ready to do its part. Today’s announcement puts San Francisco and the entire Bay Area firmly in the game to host one of the world’s greatest sporting and cultural events. This is a terrific honor and we are grateful that the USOC sees the immense potential that the Bay Area offers, with its innovative power, natural beauty, philanthropic spirit and technological know-how, to represent the nation on a global stage. We now embark with excitement on a long and careful process to ensure that if we are chosen to do this, that we do it right and in a way that benefits the entire region. We can only do that by working together, something this region has shown time and time again that we are capable of doing and with great success.”



Bay Area Council Chief Financial Officer Ken Regalia was honored June 5 as a finalist in the prestigious CFO of the Year awards presented by member San Francisco Business Times and benefiting Larkin Youth Services. Ken was in good company with finalist Joan Catherine Braun of the United Way of the Bay Area and winner Garfield Byrd of Wikipedia Foundation. During Ken’s almost eight years with the Council, he has provided invaluable financial, strategic and administrative leadership during a period of unprecedented growth and transformation for an organization that has existed for almost 70 years.

Ken has been instrumental in establishing the financial, legal and operational structure necessary to manage the Council’s successful growth and ensure it maintains the highest professional and accounting standards. During Ken’s tenure,  the Council has grown substantially, dramatically diversified revenue sources, installed a new accounting system, expanded to multiple offices in Sacramento and China, merged with Bay Area Economic Forum to form the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, secured millions of dollars in grants to fund the organization’s policy work and launched the California-China Office of Trade and Investment. None of this would have been possible without Ken’s tireless dedication, leadership and expertise.



At a packed forum hosted by the Bay Area Council and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, California State University Chancellor Timothy White on June 2 addressed top business leaders about the challenges facing the system, his priorities for addressing them and the need for close partnership with the business community. White talked about access to CSU, transfer and graduation rates, and alignment of education curriculum with job requirements. On the last point, White recognized the work the Bay Area Council is doing to address a yawning gap between the talent that employers desperately need to compete in a high-skills marketplace and the educational programs and degrees CSU provides. To engage in the Council’s skills gap work, contact policy Vice President Linda Galliher.



The Bay Area Council has stepped up its efforts to implement a range of solutions that can be enacted in relatively short order to address the region’s growing traffic problem. The action comes on the heels of a 2014 Bay Area Council Poll results showing 71 percent of residents think the region is gripped by a traffic crisis. Council CEO Jim Wunderman met last week with California Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly and senior transportation officials to advocate for a range of solutions that include increasing the use of state-owned park and ride lots, promoting ride share technology and programs, modernizing obsolete ramp metering technology and enhancing ferry operations.

The Council also is working with a number of prominent Silicon Valley tech companies to focus on ways to employ technology solutions to ease congestion on the clogged Highway 101 corridor from San Francisco to San Jose. Based on findings from modeling about how different approaches reduce traffic, the Council will work with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to implement effective solutions and expand them to other congested commute corridors in the East Bay and throughout the region.

To engage in the Council’s transportation work, contact policy Vice President Michael Cunningham.



The California-China Office of Trade and Investment (CTO) can play an important role in connecting California clean technology companies with business opportunities across the Pacific, according to Matthew Rodriguez, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and Robert Weisenmiller, Chair of the California Energy Commission.

At a sold-out roundtable discussion this week hosted by Bay Area Council member Bingham McCutchen, the two leaders encouraged companies to connect with the CTO to identify and realize new business opportunities. The Bay Area Council operates the trade office in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

With multiple agreements in place between California and China on air quality, carbon emissions, and energy efficiency, Rodriguez and Weisenmiller said the framework is in place for companies to actively engage in developing and deploying the environmental technologies that will provide solutions to China’s ecological challenges.To engage with the California-China Office of Trade and Investment, please visit or email