Bay Area Council Blog


Bay Area Council Calls for Constitutional Convention

By Jim Wunderman

We must admit we were surprised by the tidal wave of overwhelmingly positive responses from across the state from business groups, good government groups, former legislators and private individuals supporting our call for a constitutional convention.  This effort is in response to the many members who have asked the Bay Area Council what we should do about the State’s budget impasse and have conveyed their mounting dissatisfaction with California’s state government.  Adding fuel to the fire, at our Annual Sacramento Day earlier this month we listened to one legislator after another lament about their inability to make progress due to the broken system they are working within.  We believe that the current California Constitution is working against us; therefore we are calling for a Constitutional Convention to relieve California of the roadblocks that prohibit progress.  We are interested in your feedback and hope you will join our effort.

Listen to the KQED Forum on a Constitutional Convention
Read our Opinion Editorial, calling for a Constitutional Convention.


Bay Area Council Foundation Awarded $125,000 Grant for Preschool Initiative

By Chandra Alexandre

We have just received word of a grant award from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in the amount of $125,000 for our Bay Area Employer Engagement Initiative for Early Childhood Education. We’re tremendously excited about this grant for a project effort geared toward achieving a strong, local business support-base for preschool throughout the Bay Area region. Specifically, we’re beginning the process of building a constituency for statewide preschool for four year olds–please contact Linda Galliher, VP of Education, if you are interested in learning more.

Objectives of the initiative are to:

  • Increase corporate and public awareness of the power of ECE strategies to improve student academic achievement, lessen the social burden on taxpayers, and help expand the workforce and employees’ career opportunities.
  • Mobilize senior executive-level corporate leadership to promote and sustain business-education partnerships that support systemic change, e.g., increased efficiencies and enhanced outcomes.
  • Provide forums for business leaders to collaborate in focusing and aligning their education and workforce preparation investments to maximize impact.
  • Leverage the involvement of business to help: a) support ECE; b) articulate preschool with K-12; c) optimize data use and make continuous improvements; and d) make systemic school improvements.
  • Ensure quality, measurement, and accountability for results.

State Senator Abel Maldonado to discuss Budget, other issues, with Bay Area Council

By Matt Regan

Senator Abel Maldonado, who represents the 15th Senate District, which stretches from Santa Maria in the South, through San Luis Obisbo, Monterey, Carmel, Watsonville, Morgan Hill, Los Gatos, to Saratoga in the North, is the latest speaker scheduled to meet with the Bay Area Council Leadership Forum at noon on Friday July 25th.  The lunchtime event is being hosted by member company Del Monte at their corporate headquarters at One Market Street in San Francisco.

Senator Maldonado, who is known in Sacramento for his straight talk and pragmatism, will no doubt bring a unique perspective to the big issues currently facing California namely, the budget impasse, the water crisis, and the current state of public education.

Leadership Forum events are open to all member companies. To reserve  a seat at the table please RSVP as soon as possible to


Big Step in Fight for “Cap and Trade”

Yesterday, the California Air Resources Board released the long anticipated draft Scoping Plan for the Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as AB 32. The recommendations outline a plan to reduce emissions from the covered sectors by almost 30 percent from “status quo.” Perhaps most noteworthy about the proposal is the very clear embrace of a cap and trade system. The Bay Area Council began work on AB 32 two years before its eventual passage. With strong input from our Energy Committee, on June 28, 2006 the Council’s Executive Committee voted to adopt a supportive position on AB 32. We were the first major business group to step forward in this manner. Our members met with legislators, sent in notes, faxes and phone calls pushing for an appropriate version of this bill that would enable cap and trade, not heavy-handed regulation, to achieve the reduction goals. The final version of the bill allowed cap and trade, but didn’t require it. There has been heated debate ever since, and CARB’s support of cap and trade is a big step. AB 32 will have profound effects on all Bay Area Council members, and, frankly, all of us as individuals. The time to shape the plan is now, as the final Scoping Plan will be done in October. Our next Energy Committee meeting on July 9th is fully committed to this issue and all members are invited. We will have the following guests: Darren Bouton, Deputy Cabinet Secretary to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Kennedy, an architect of the new program from CARB, and Jean Roggenkamp, from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Please click here for the agenda and meeting details. RSVP to


June 3rd Elections Give Smart Growth a Boost

By Matt Regan

Now that the election waters have cleared somewhat and we’ve had a couple of weeks to digest the results, it is clear that the big winner on June 3rd was housing.  In San Francisco the Bay Area Council took strong positions in support of Proposition G and in opposition to Proposition F.   These competing measures were a thumbs up or down referendum on Lennar’s plan to redevelop Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.  Fortunately the voters were not hoodwinked by an attempt to impose an impossible standard that 50% of all units developed be below market rate, and they very much liked what they saw from Lennar.

In Napa Measure N, a restrictive no growth proposition opposed by the Bay Area Council, was also defeated by the voters.

Both these results give great encouragement to those of us who have been advocating for regional smart growth principles and sustainable development.


Incoming Senate President Pro Tem Breaks Bread with Council

By Matt Regan

On Friday April 4, Bay Area Council member Hanson Bridgett LLP hosted the latest “Leadership Forum Luncheon” with guest of honor the incoming Pro Tem of the California State Senate Senator Darrell Steinberg.  Also in attendance were fellow Hanson Bridgett Alumni, former Congressman Doug Bosco, and soon to be Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

Over fifty of the region’s top business leaders packed the room to hear Senator Steinberg’s vision for the future of California and the agenda items that he will be focusing on in the year ahead.  His twin messages of increased funding for education and in particular rolling back the state’s terrible rates of High School drop outs and an increased focus on regionalism were music to the ears of the audience.

Thanks to Andrew Giacomini, Hanson Bridgett ,and Senator Darrell Steinberg for helping put together another great event. The next Leadership Forum lunch is in the pipeline, watch this space.


Biannual Bay Area Economic Profile

Today, we released the biannual Bay Area Economic Profile, which analyzes the Bay Area’s changing economy and benchmarks its performance against other major metropolitan centers.  This year’s report, Sustaining the Bay Area’s Competitiveness in a Globalizing World, shifts from a national to a global scan – comparing the Bay Area with international as well as U.S. cities such as Boston, London, New York, Tel Aviv, Stockholm, Shanghai, Singapore and others.  We offer profound thanks to McKinsey & Company who contributed thousands of free hours of labor to make the report possible.