Oakland Mayor-Elect Libby Schaff received warm applause from the Council’s Board of Directors on Wednesday (Dec. 10) when she said she is committed to making Oakland “the least irritating government in America.” In an easy-flowing conversation with Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman in front of 75 top business executives, Schaff quipped that it was a relief to address an audience without having to compete for attention with the crowded field she bested on Nov. 4 to win Oakland’s top job. The Oakland native said she will be focused on making the city safe through better policing and more robust education and job-training services.

A number of the issues she highlighted as key to Oakland’s future are among those the Council will be most focused in 2015, including housing, workforce and infrastructure. Schaff talked about Oakland’s approach to pre-approving large housing plans that the Bay Area Council is looking to replicate elsewhere because it helps shield developers from costly and time-consuming environmental challenges. To the delight of fans of the Oakland A’s and Raiders, Schaff said she is determined to keep both teams in town. Among the first four phone calls Schaff said she made immediately after winning election were to her mother and the owners of the two teams.

The rapid convergence of technology and biosciences is creating what University of California San Francisco Chancellor Dr. Sam Hawgood called an “inflection point” in the world of medical research that will lead to dramatic and exciting breakthroughs in curing our most deadly, costly and intractable diseases. Hawgood, a featured speaker at the Board of Directors meeting, offered a glimpse of the trends and innovations driving change in the biomedical sciences. He described how UCSF and the Bay Area are perfectly positioned to lead the world in this field, and convert research into revenue-generating patents and start-up companies. He discussed the explosive growth occurring in San Francisco’s Mission Bay where UCSF is a leading presence and he highlighted the major economic contributions the university makes to the city as its second-largest employer.

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