Bay Area Council Blog


Governor Signs Council-Sponsored Housing Bill

The Bay Area Council today (Sept. 27) applauded Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation it sponsored that will make it easier, faster and less expensive for homeowners statewide to develop in-law or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their property.

The Council sponsored SB 1069 (Sen. Bob Wieckowski – Fremont) as an important first step to ease California’s epic housing crisis.  The Council estimates that if the legislation encourages just 10 percent of homeowners to build in-law units, the Bay Area region could gain 150,000 new affordable housing units. The bill was co-authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins. The new law could lop months off the approval of ADUs and tens of thousands of dollars off the cost of fees and permits.

“The Governor’s action is an important step in addressing California’s massive housing shortage,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The success of SB 1069 represents a major victory for thousands of Californians who are struggling under the weight of skyrocketing rents and home prices.  This will create housing for teachers, nurses, family members, elders or others who want to live in a community but have been priced out. We thank Senator Wieckowski and the broad coalition of environmentalists, teachers, housing leaders, cities, social justice and business advocates who worked together to remove this small – but significant – regulatory barrier to affordable housing.”

“SB 1069 will help millions of families and seniors remain in their homes, house family and community members who would otherwise be priced out, and create gentle, affordable, and invisible infill,” said Denise Pinkston, Co-Chair of the Council’s Workforce Housing Committee and a Partner of TMG Partners. “The Legislature and Governor have empowered homeowners to help ease California’s housing shortage. By easing regulatory barriers and allowing ADUs with a simple building permit, SB 1069 allows homeowners to easily and economically carve out a separate space in their home or upgrade a garage or shed to create livable space that we so badly need.”

SB 1069 follows recommendations from UC Berkeley and UCLA to reduce barriers that prevent homeowners from legally adding ADUs.  The bill will allow the utilization of existing homes and structures to provide fast and affordable housing invisibly in existing neighborhoods by limiting requirements for setbacks, parking, sprinklers, utility fees, and a protracted process with a building permit. Expanding in-law units also can help the state achieve its climate change goals by avoiding sprawl and the long automobile commutes that come with it.

With housing among its top 2016 policy priorities, the Bay Area Council over many months mounted an aggressive advocacy campaign in support of SB 1069 as it worked its way through the Legislature. The Council assembled a large and diverse coalition of groups to urge support for the bill—groups and employers not often seen in support of the same piece of legislation– including: AARP, California Teachers Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield, UPS, Virgin America, Facebook, Yelp, MTC, SPUR, Bridge Housing, California Infill Builders Federation, the Greenbelt Alliance, and the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and dozens more groups and individuals.

SB1069 Floor Alert>>

SB1069 Support Letter>>


State Sen. Jackson Talks Fair Pay with Council’s Gender Equity Committee

The Bay Area Council’s Gender Equity Committee on Thursday (Sept. 15) welcomed state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) for an invigorating discussion hosted by member company Lyft about promoting workplace cultures of equality. Sen. Jackson authored the California Fair Pay Act, landmark legislation that established the strongest equal pay law in the country and went into effect in January. More than a half century after John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act to abolish wage discrimination based on gender, women in the United States still earn on average only .79 cents for every dollar men earn. Jackson’s legislation strengthens federal regulations and marks a great step forward in closing that wage gap.

After fighting for pay equity for 35 years, Sen. Jackson attributed the success of this bill — which received unanimous approval in the Senate and nearly unanimous approval in the Assembly — to the convincing economic argument.  Unequal pay costs California women $39 billion annually, which is money that could be flowing to businesses and the overall state economy. Following a welcome by Lyft Public Policy Manager Rena Davis, Sen. Jackson discussed other strategies that will produce more equitable workplaces, including promoting more women to board leadership positions and adopting family friendly policies such as paid parental leave and on-site child care.

Many of these workplace practices are highlighted in the Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s recent Best Practices Resource Guide. The Gender Equity Committee is Co-Chaired by Peg McAllister of Lee Hecht Harrison, Christopher Ruhl of PwC and Stuart Newton of Deloitte. To engage on the Council’s gender equity work, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.


Council Builds Stronger Economic, Trade & Investment Connections with Nanjing

The Bay Area Council, in collaboration with the Gulou District of Nanjing, recently completed a trade show promoting Bay Area businesses and Council members in the economically important Yangtze Delta region. The event was led by Deputy Mayor Tong and attended by over 400 representatives from the Nanjing business community along with Council members Woods Bagot, HSBC, Dolby, PwC, Suning, Finnegan and Mitsubishi. In remarks during the event, Council Senior Vice President Bing Wei and Woods Bagot Vice President Peal Huang drew awareness to investment opportunities in the Bay Area.

The event doubled as a celebration of the establishment of the Nanjing-Bay Area Innovation Center; a startup co-working space sponsored by the municipal government with consulting support from the Bay Area Council. The project provides a facility for startup companies from the Bay Area to accelerate their business in China and a venue for venture capital firms to track the progress of the innovation economy in the Nanjing. Oakland-based startup Labor-Link was the first to register after the formal opening and will receive support from the municipal government in growing their client base amongst the cities many electronics manufacturers. To engage in the Council’s China work, please contact Global Business Development Chief Del Christensen.


Council-MTC Study Finds 9.6 Million Ride Commuter Shuttles

Public and private shuttle services around the Bay Area carried more passengers in the 2014-15 fiscal year than all but six of the region’s public transit agencies, according to the 2016 Bay Area Shuttle Census released this month by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Council. The census results follow the Council’s multi-year effort in leading a coalition of companies that operate shuttles to develop a pilot program in San Francisco to ensure their safe operation.

Produced through a year-long effort by the Council and MTC, the 2016 Shuttle Census marks the first comprehensive assessment of the region’s varied shuttle resources ever conducted; and includes three years (2012-14) of origin and destination information, as well as data on capacity, ridership, fleet size and service mileage reported by 35 shuttle sponsors and operators, including Apple, Google, Salesforce, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and many others. During this time, the number of shuttle vehicles on Bay Area roadways jumped by more than 60 percent and ridership increased by 45 percent.

Regionwide, the number of shuttle vehicles grew to 765 in 2014 from 473 in 2012, with total daily capacity soaring to 34,000 from 18,000 and aggregate annual boardings rising to 9.6 million from 6.6 million. Silicon Valley has emerged as the heart of the Bay Area shuttle market; with the lion’s share of regional service linking Santa Clara County with San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. To engage in the Council’s commuter shuttles work, please contact Policy Director Adrian Covert.

Read the complete 2016 Bay Area Shuttle Census>>


Member Spotlight: 49ers Foundation Makes Big Play to Help Community

The 49ers Foundation has a long history of generously supporting its community, particularly in the areas of STEM education programs and summer camps.  Most recently,  and 49ers CEO Jed York, who serves on the Bay Area Council Executive Committee, announced that the 49ers Foundation will contribute $1 million to the cause of improving racial and economic inequality and fostering communication and collaboration between law enforcement and the communities they serve here in the Bay Area.

Says York, “We are partnering with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation in this effort. We have chosen to work with these two organizations because they have proven track records of affecting change in the face of challenging problems and have the collective reach to make the greatest impact. We are excited to work with these two renowned foundations over the coming months to develop a giving plan to help our community find unifying solutions to these pressing issues.”

This new commitment is designed to “get the focus where it belongs.”  Our hats are off to the 49ers Foundation.

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Shovel Ready: Leaders Mark Key Milestone for Regional Ferry Expansion

The Bay Area Council on Thursday (Sept. 15) hailed the ground breaking for a new Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) operations and maintenance facility that will serve as a hub for the future expansion of regional ferry service. Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman joined a group of water transit leaders, including WETA Chair Jody Breckenridge, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, WETA Executive Director Nina Rannells and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, among other dignitaries, at a ceremony in Alameda to mark the occasion and announce the naming of the facility after water transit visionary Ron Cowan.

The construction of the Ron Cowan Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility (RCF) marks a major step in WETA’s near- and longer-term ferry expansion plans, and will serve as a consolidated maintenance base and operations control center for WETA’s Central Bay fleet, serving Alameda/Oakland, Alameda Harbor Bay, and South San Francisco, and future services to Richmond and Treasure Island. The $49.5 million investment is located near Pier 3 of the former Naval Air Station, now known as Alameda Point. The ceremony comes just weeks after WETA commissioned the construction of three new ferry boats that move WETA closer to almost tripling the size of its fleet by 2035.

In naming the facility after Ron Cowan, WETA recognized his leadership and vision in driving the creation of modern regional ferry service.

“Ron saw the potential for bringing back ferries as critical elements in our transportation system,” Wunderman said. “His dream – a comprehensive regional water transit system – will be reality, due in large part to his vision and dedication to the people of Alameda and commuters throughout the greater Bay Area. We are grateful to Ron for adding significantly to transbay ferry capacity and for being a fierce advocate for WETA’s role in both transportation and emergency response.”

Expanding regional ferry service is among the Council’s lead policy priorities. To engage in the Council’s water transit work, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.


Council Calls for Strong Regional Effort to Keep Raiders

The Bay Area Council responded quickly to a decision by the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee on Thursday (Sept. 15) approving $750 million in public funding for a new stadium as part of an effort by Nevada and Las Vegas to lure Council member the Oakland Raiders away from the Bay Area. In a statement, the Council called for a strong regional response to keep the Raiders.

“We need to fight like crazy to keep the Raiders in Oakland,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The Raiders are as much a part of the East Bay and the Bay Area as the Bay Bridge, Mount Diablo or any other iconic fixture from our region. They were born here, they belong here and we should keep them here. The Raiders are an important part of the Bay Area’s rich professional sports history and they contribute immensely to the cultural fabric of our region, to our communities and to our economy. They’ve won three championships here and they’re poised for a resurgence. The Raiders deserve a modern stadium like many other professional teams here that have succeeded in building 21st century facilities. We watched the Raiders leave once and we shouldn’t let them go again without fighting our hardest to keep them.”

VTA econ study_web

New Report: $15.4 Billion in Economic Impacts from Santa Clara County Transportation Plan

Santa Clara County is forecast to realize at least $15.4 billion in new business and economic activity from a 30-year transportation investment plan – Envision Silicon Valley — that calls for completing BART to San Jose, fixing local roads and highways, enhancing transit services for seniors and the disabled and making bicycle and pedestrian improvements, according to a new study the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released today. The transportation plan is also forecast to support almost 4,000 jobs across a wide range of industries, skills and income levels.

The full economic impacts from Envision Silicon Valley are expected to be significantly larger. Improving roads, highways and transit will help ease traffic congestion that puts a major drag on worker productivity. From 2010 to 2014, San Jose experienced the fastest growing traffic congestion of any metropolitan area in the U.S. with the annual number of hours of traffic delay per commuter soaring from 37 to 51 hours, or a 36.8 percent increase. Investing in the county’s transportation system will also help attract new businesses and investment and encourage existing employers to expand locally.

“Investing in transportation is good business and good for the economy,” said Dr. Micah Weinberg, President of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “Employees benefit from faster, more convenient commutes. Employers benefit from more productive employees. And the entire county benefits from increased economic activity and investment.”

Read Economic Impacts of Envision Silicon Valley>>

Funding for the plan would come from Measure B, which the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) unanimously placed on the November ballot to address the county’s need for additional investment in its roads, highways and transit systems as the population grows and state and federal funding shrink. The measure, which requires two-thirds voter approval, is estimated to generate $6.3 billion over its 30-year lifetime and will help Santa Clara County attract additional state and federal matching grants and other funding that can further extend its reach.

Envision Silicon Valley calls for investing $1.5 billion to complete the extension of BART to San Jose and Santa Clara, returning $1.2 billion to the county’s 15 cities to do local road and street repairs and upgrades and spending $1.5 billion to improve expressways and highways throughout the county. The plan will put $1 billion toward improving Caltrain, $500 million toward enhancing transit for seniors and the disabled and $250 million to bicycle and pedestrian improvements. Envision Silicon Valley was developed n 18-month public process conducted by the VTA to identify residents’ transportation priorities. Funding for Measure B would come from a half-cent sales tax.

The Economic Institute study found that Envision Silicon Valley is expected to support a total of 118,263 job years over its 30-year duration. That’s the equivalent of 3,942 full-time jobs. Those jobs would come across a wide range of categories, including direct employment in construction, manufacturing and business and professional services. The ripple effect of investment will also support jobs among suppliers, local business and other vendors and extend to jobs that workers support with their spending.

Bay Area CEO Roundtable_web

CEO Policy Roundtable Focuses on Coming Trends, Challenges

The Bay Area Council on Thursday (Sept. 8) hosted a CEO Roundtable discussion moderated by KPMG San Francisco Managing Partner Debbie Messemer that brought together Council CEO Jim Wunderman, Proterra CEO Ryan Popple, TriNet President and CEO Burton Goldfield,  and former BRE Properties CEO Connie Moore. The panel shared their insights on challenges they face and significant trends impacting companies today. The discussion centered around several key findings from KPMG’s U.S. CEO Outlook survey. Among the findings highlighted, U.S. CEOs believe that the next three years will be more critical for their industries than the past 50.

A stronger client focus, fostering innovation and talent development are the top three priorities for U.S. CEOs, while they see cyber security threats as the greatest risk. CEOs are most concerned about keeping up with new technologies, and customer loyalty, needs and expectations, though only 51 percent say they use data analytics to improve their products and services.  Despite these significant challenges, 98 percent of U.S. CEOs expect to increase headcount over the next three years, and they are incredibly optimistic about the prospects for growth of their companies.

The roundtable discussion underscored six key takeaways from KPMG’s CEO Outlook:

  • Companies need to be agile to stay ahead of disruption – every industry is impacted.
  • In today’s environment, CEOs must focus more attention on how they do business.
  • CEOs must be open to forming new alliances and partnerships or collaborative growth to succeed. It’s important to understand the dynamics between large and small companies to ensure a fruitful collaboration.
  • The client experience will become an even more important differentiator in the marketplace.
  • Leaders need to embrace change and look ahead to create a more intelligent, data-driven experience for their customers, their teams, and their partners.
  • CEOs can learn from Bay Area’s leading companies who tend to be more optimistic, use innovation and are prepared for transformation. The world looks to us for innovation.

The CEO panel discussion was attended by 80 Bay Area business and thought leaders.  For more information on BAC policy roundtables, contact Chief Business Officer Kirsten Vernon.


Member Spotlight: Pucci Foods

Pucci Foods has been around for almost 100 years, but the Hayward-based seafood supplier is not stuck in the past. Under the leadership of CEO Chris Lam, Pucci Foods is making a bold move from supplying wholesale and retail outlets – stores and restaurants – to delivering direct to consumers. The innovation recognizes the growing consumer demand for direct-delivery food service. And it builds on the infrastructure that Pucci has already mastered in its wholesale and retail services, giving it a leg up against newer start-ups that are only beginning to enter the space. That and Pucci’s reputation as the Bay Area’s leading wholesale and retail purveyor of seafood give it an immediate competitive advantage. Pucci’s expansion into consumer-direct was prominently featured in a story this week by the East Bay Times, which includes the fascinating life story of Chris Lam and his journey from Vietnamese refugee to successful business owner. Learn more about Pucci’s new consumer-direct service at