Passed the “Holy Grail of Sustainable Development”
After two years of arduous negotiation by the Council and coalition partners, the Council helped pass SB 375, a comprehensive law that finally binds transportation and housing planning and funding to the environment and energy consumption. While this connection is intuitive to California residents, our government structures did not support it. SB-375 is the path to that governmental harmony. SB 375 has been dubbed the holy grail of sustainable development in California.
“Disproportionate” $825 Million for Goods Movement
Building a new model for securing maximum funding from state and federal sources, the Bay Area Council led an effort to unite all Northern California transportation agencies under one mutually-supported plan for goods movement money. As a result, Northern California was awarded a “disproportionate” $825 million by the California Transportation Commission to improve the goods movement infrastructure – the way freight moves by rail, road and water in and out of ports - in the Bay Area.
Building the Bay Area's Relationship with China
With the knowledge that exports, tourism and business ties with China are helping sustain the Bay Area economy; we have continued to deepen ties with the country. After holding major conferences in China on venture capital and green technology, and hosting and sending senior delegations across the Pacific, the Bay Area Council is set to open an office in the Yangpu District of Shanghai to help Bay Area businesses expand into the Chinese market, while working to attract Chinese businesses and investment here.
Using a Constitutional Convention to Secure Reform
We have become a major voice for reform for our state system of government, spurred by an avalanche of attention to our call for a constitutional convention. Our focus is on changing our state’s budgeting system, election process and the state-local funding and policy relationship. The Constitutional Convention movement brought much needed attention to the dire need for government reform in California.
Creating a Statewide Education Data System
We guided and passed the only surviving pieces of the once grand “Year of Education Reform,” starting a comprehensive statewide education data system. The new system, based on Florida’s best-in-class product, would fold in not only elementary, secondary and higher education tracking, but also welfare, demographic, employment, prison and social services information, allowing superior understanding of how to boost student performance. We continue to work on this issue, and have helped pass additional legislation to support the system.
Invested in Economically-Challenged Neighborhoods
Currently investing $215 million of private equity in underserved Bay Area neighborhoods through the Bay Area Family of Funds. The funds promote smart growth, support local businesses and deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the community. These double-bottom-line funds provide top quartile market returns to investors.
Contributed to California's Water Deal
The Bay Area Council has been leading efforts to resolve water issues affecting the state and the Bay-Delta for many years. Recently the Council led the effort to reform California’s water governance system – an important component of the recently passed comprehensive water package which will bring a much needed overhaul to the State’s antiquated water system. The package includes an $11.1 billion bond measure that will be up for voter approval in November 2010.
Supported Emerging Bay Area Scholars
Gave 30 scholarships, totaling $275,000, to Bay Area university-bound local students from low and moderate income neighborhoods. The scholarships are funded by management fees earned from the community investment activities of the Bay Area Family of Funds, as well as a $100,000, two-year grant from the College Access Foundation.
Increased Focus on Federal Policy Paying Off
Through our increased efforts and delegation trips to Washington D.C., we were able to help secure a Net Operating Loss (NOL) provision in The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009. Also included in the $24 billion economic stimulus bill was an $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, and an expansion that covers many other home purchases – another priority Council members advocated for while in Washington D.C. in 2009.
Driving Unified Regional Climate Change Action
Responding to the challenge of climate change and the mandates of AB 32 and SB 375, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute created Climate Bay Area - a partnership of business, government, university, civic, and labor leaders to establish and drive a Bay Area climate protection strategy. As the central convener for Bay Area climate change strategy, the partnership will make the Bay Area a model region that exemplifies low carbon prosperity and that leads the world in production and application of clean technologies.