TriValley Business Council Accomplishments
The Tri-Valley Business Council is a group of corporate senior executives who have committed to improving the region’s quality of life and economic vitality. We have a current membership of 95 companies. The Council was formed in November 1994.
Our mission is to become involved in regional issues and represent the private sector perspective on those matters. Our policy committees do research, track public policy, participate in public hearings, and act as a facilitator with governmental and community representatives to resolve issues. Our focus is on the cities of Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and the town of Danville.
Council accomplishments include:
- Most Recent Accomplishments
- Regional Vision
- Economic Vitality
COMMUNITY PLANNING AND HOUSING – We held a Political Leaders Forum in September 2000 on the issues of efficient land use and affordable housing. The top recommendations coming out of this meeting were that we conduct an analysis of the Jobs/Housing balance within the Tri-Valley Region, and that we form a housing advocacy group that would be prepared to appear at City Council meetings to advocate for compact development and affordable housing. The political leaders felt a reliable jobs/housing analysis was required because in their view the ABAG projections lacked credibility. They believed the advocacy group was needed to offset the many protests from neighboring residents with misconceptions about proposed projects.
– An analysis of Jobs/Housing was completed in March 2001. The Consultant worked with Planners from each local jurisdiction to obtain their most recent projections for jobs and housing, and compared this data with existing General Plan data. The study showed that we have a serious imbalance with far more jobs than houses throughout the region and that General Plan housing data is out of date. Since the study data originated from local Planners it seems to carry more credibility than ABAG data. Each jurisdiction is required to update its General Plan Housing Element this year. We intend to present this report as a serious issue and request that it be addressed in the Housing Element Updates.
– We developed Guidelines for the review of housing development proposals to determine if such proposals reflect our Vision principles and concepts of compact transit oriented development with a range of housing choices. These guidelines will be used by the Housing Action Coalition to decide whether or not they will endorse proposed developments.
– We held a Community Leaders Forum in April 2001 on the issues of efficient land use and affordable housing. Our objective was to bring focus on these issues, encourage community leaders to become involved in seeking solutions, and to gain opportunities to appear before Tri-Valley organizations to discuss the issues and gain better understanding of proposed solutions. Several attendees volunteered to serve on our Housing Action Coalition. Also many agreed to arrange for us to appear before the organizations they represent (Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, etc.) and present our case for compact development and affordable housing.
– In June 2001 we formed our Housing Action Coalition. The Coalition is focused on ensuring that the Tri-Valley has a complete range of housing choices, with emphasis on affordable housing and compact, mixed use development. The Coalition reviews housing proposals to determine if such proposals conform to Vision 2010 guidelines, and if they do, the group advocates for approval of these projects.
AGRICULTURAL ENHANCEMENT AND OPEN SPACE PLANNING, Sustainable Communities Leadership Program Fellow Bill Eisenstein developed a research report “Agricultural Enhancement and Open Space Conservation in the Tri-Valley” in August 1999. This became the basis for our committee discussions on these matters.
– Agricultural Sub-Committee formed in March 2000 to bring proper emphasis and focus on issues relating to agriculture. Sub-Committee developed 2010 Vision for Agriculture and identified barriers to success, then began work on development of an Agricultural Enhancement Plan.
– Two other sub-committees were formed, the Equestrian Sub-Committee and the Parks and Trails Sub-Committee. The Equestrian Group focuses on development of Equestrian Programs and Facilities. They are working on an Equestrian Plan to be included in the Agricultural Enhancement Plan.
– The Parks and Trails Sub-Committee is focused on identification of new opportunities for parks and trails, and opportunities to connect existing trails so that we have a more expansive regional trails network with improved opportunities for connected usage.
– Sustainable Communities Leadership Program Fellow Kristine Mazzei developed research report “Strategies to Enhance Agriculture in the Tri-Valley”
– In August 2000. This became the basis for the Agricultural Sub-Committees’ considerations of Agricultural Enhancement Program alternatives.
– Kristine Mazzei conducted Agricultural Demographics Study in December 2000. This outlines the issues faced by most of our local Agriculturists, highlights the lack of profitability under today’s agricultural product offerings and the need to improve if we want to preserve agriculture within the region.
– Conducted Agricultural Workshops in January and February 2001. About 70 people attended each. The workshops featured presentations by subject experts and Agriculturists who had successfully implemented enhancement programs in California. This allowed the attendees to gain understanding of successful practices and prepared them to decide which strategies they wanted to pursue.
– In March 2001 we held a Facilitated Meeting led by Nita Vail, a recognized and respected agricultural expert. This meeting included those who had attended the Workshops and focused on building upon what had been learned at those events to establish the framework for our local plan. The outcome was the development of the “Blueprint for Agricultural Enhancement in the Tri-Valley”.
– Finalized the Agricultural Enhancement Plan in April 2001. Turned the plan over to Alameda County for development of an Implementation Plan and actual implementation within 24 months. The plan has been developed within a “Working Landscape” concept to ensure proper consideration for natural habitat and environmental features.
– Worked with Alameda County Staff to develop By-Laws for an Alameda County Agricultural Advisory Committee. Also, developed agreement on individual expertise required for each member of the Committee. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved the By-Laws and the Commission as proposed on June 7, 2001. The Committee has accepted the Agricultural Enhancement Plan as the basis for their work.
– In October, 2001, we sponsored a Water Summit to bring focus on the issue of agricultural water supply. As a result of the summit, 75 people volunteered to serve on a Water Task Force and work together to seek consensus on a plan to obtain and fund water for increased agriculture. The task force has been organized into three committees: Water Committee, Working Landscape Committee and Finance and Governance Committee. The task force has set a June, 2003 target for completion of the plan.
ECONOMIC VITALITY Conducted 2001 review of Tri-Valley Infrastructure (Gas. Electric, Water, Wastewater, and Telecommunications) to determine capacity to support economic growth. Determined Electric and Water were issues. We are developing plans to advocate for improvements.
– Participated in Advisory Group to review proposed PG&E; Tri-Valley Electric Upgrade Project. Advocated with PUC to select one of the alternatives and allow the project to move forward on schedule. We are awaiting the final PUC decision.
– Developed an Energy Action Plan in response to the Electric Power Crisis. We used this plan as a guide to partner with each local jurisdiction to assess and address current and projected energy needs. We continue to meet with staff from our local jurisdictions as they develop plans for their electric power needs.
– Conducted Job Fair in February 2001. Purpose of the event was to make local residents more aware of career opportunities close to home, to highlight Tri-Valley companies and to attract qualified job candidates who live in, or commute through the Tri-Valley. There were 18 companies who participated, all indicated that they considered it very successful.
– Opened the Tri-Valley Technology Enterprise Center (TTEC) in August 2001. The center is located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It is a business assistance center for local start-up companies. Our objective is to provide advisory assistance, business services and space to these companies. We want to retain these companies in the Tri-Valley to support and strengthen the local economy. We also want to create a bridge between the National Laboratories and Tri-Valley businesses to facilitate the exchange of technology and develop opportunities for Technology Transfer and Commercialization programs.
TRANSPORTATION, In 1999 the Business Council and the Contra Costa Council formed the Solutions on Sunol (SOS) Coalition that included the Bay Area Council, the Silicon Valley Manufacturers Group, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, and Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher.
– The group defined a four-phased plan to solve the major congestion problem on the Sunol Grade. Within 9 months the group successfully lobbied for $72 million funding for First Phase improvements on Route 680 to fix the morning commute over the Grade from Route 84 to Route 237 and to change Federal and State laws that prohibited HOV lanes in unincorporated Alameda County. SOS discussions with CalTrans resulted in process changes that adjusted their scheduled project completion date from the year 2006 to 2002.
The first improvement, construction of an auxiliary lane at Mission Boulevard in Fremont, was completed in March 2001. Groundbreaking for the next improvement, a 12-mile southbound HOV Lane from Route 84 to Route 237 occurred on June 29. The work is scheduled to be completed within 12 months.
CalTrans has included funding Phase II – Improvements on Route 680 North from Route 237 to Route 84 – in the current State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) and planning is under way for the effort.
– We teamed with Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, Livermore Mayor Cathie Brown, Livermore/Amador Valley Transit Authority Chief Vic Sood and BART Director Pete Snyder to lobby successfully for the BART Extension to Livermore. This is proposed as part of an Inter-Regional Transit Hub at Greenville Road in Livermore that would connect 9 Transit Services from areas such as Stockton, Modesto, Tracy, and the ACE Train to BART. The BART Board of Directors approved the concept and has formed a Policy Advisory Committee to study this proposal and other alternatives. Three Vision 2010 Committee Members are serving on this Committee. We believe a Transit Village can be established at this site and present a great opportunity for a transit oriented compact development project.
– In January 2001, we joined the Regional Transportation Initiative. This is a Bay Area-wide coalition of Business and Economic Development organizations and major Corporations who have joined together to improve regional mobility. This group aims to develop a common position on an effective area-wide transportation program and priorities, and recommend a transportation improvement agenda for the next 20 years. Emphasis will be placed on lobbying with State and Federal agencies for major unfunded projects.
EDUCATION, Representatives of our Education Committee worked with Las Positas Community College and UC Davis to develop a Partnership Program for a BS Degree in Optical Science and Engineering. Under this program initiated in 2000, Las Positas College offers lower division courses in engineering, mathematics, and science. Upon successful completion of these courses, students automatically qualify for transfer to UC Davis to complete the advanced courses for a BS Degree in Optical Science and Engineering. This program has been further extended to allow qualified High School Students to take lower division courses at Las Positas under our “Seamless Schools” concept. Plans are now underway for a similar program in Biotechnology.
– We held our Fifth Annual Tri-Valley Science and Engineering Fair in April 2001. We sponsor this event to encourage students in Grades 7-12 to pursue their interest in science and engineering. There were 219 projects presented by 266 students and 18 schools participated. Each year the top Senior student winners in both the individual and the team projects win an expense paid trip to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Our team project won Third Place in the International Fair. Amazingly, this is the fourth straight year that our Tri-Valley contestants have won second or third place awards in the International event.
– In May 2001 we held an Education Forum for Tri-Valley students and parents to familiarize them with career opportunities in the Public Sector. The event featured speakers from law enforcement, city management, nursing, counseling, hospital management, and a Forensic/DNA Specialist. In addition there were booths with representatives from each public sector available to talk about career opportunities, education and experience requirements for positions, and respond to student or parent inquiries. This is part of the Education Committee program to promote student and parent awareness of career opportunities in the Tri-Valley and to encourage better preparation at the High School level or lower for education matched to career interest. Future events are planned featuring technology and other fields.
– Representatives of the Education Committee participated in the development of the Tri-Valley Connections Program, a partnership between business and education to link workplace with classroom learning. The program provides meaningful job internships for High School Juniors and Seniors, and Community College students that ties into their field of study or career interests. It serves as a one-stop point of contact between students and business. Before students are admitted into the program they must complete a Job Preparedness course at Las Positas College, for which they earn either high school or Las Positas credit. After completion of the course, students are eligible to apply for internships. The goal of the program is to make each internship a relevant learning experience for students while providing employers with an effective contributor to the needs of the company.
In October 1999 the Business Council released “The Golden Valley – A 2010 Vision for the Tri-Valley Region”. This represented a one-year effort to define a positive and achievable future based on the shared values of Tri-Valley residents. A key element of the vision is the protection of the urban boundaries of each city through the development of a greenbelt consisting of economically feasible agriculture and vineyards, as well as parks, trails, and other open space uses.
A Vision Leadership Team, a group of 50 civic entrepreneurs, led the project.
The Leadership Team is co-chaired by:
Scott Haggerty – Alameda County Supervisor
Tim Hunt – Tri-Valley Herald
Millie Greenberg – Danville Town Council
Phil Wente – Wente Vineyards
The team represented at least five people from each city and individuals from government, business, education, and environmental groups as well as community leaders.
The Leadership Team defined regional values and principles for action. As the values and action principles were developed they were presented to an Advisory Group of 150 people who provided feedback and comment. Also, a general population survey of 400 Tri-Valley residents was conducted by Field Research to test the values and determine community desires regarding quality of life.
The Vision includes a set of interdependent environmental, social and economic goals. It also will be supported by annual action plans developed and implemented by Vision Committees in the following areas:
- Community / Neighborhood Planning
- Open Space / Agriculture
- Economic Vitality
- Regional Mobility
A set of specific measures of progress has been established for each of the goals. We will publish an Annual Report reviewing the status of the progress measures and performance against the Annual Action Plans.
The basic goal of the Vision is to bring people together to take action now to ensure that the Tri-Valley achieves the proper balance between economic vitality and quality of life, and that plans and actions are in place to obtain the desired community in the year 2010.
Developed a “Crayons to Computers” surplus materials warehouse where local teachers can visit to collect materials, donated by local businesses, for their classrooms. This is a unique partnership between the Business Council, who manage the program; NASA, who provides the warehouse; the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, who built the warehouse infrastructure and staffs the facility, including computer refurbishment and repair activities; and the local school districts, who help collect the surplus material from local businesses.
Since its inception in 1996, the warehouse has given over 2600 computers to schools, with 1500 going directly to Tri-Valley schools, (with all current computers upgraded to Pentium level) and has donated over $3,000,000 in materials to the teachers and schools. There have been over 5,800 shopping visits by teachers.
Las Positas College, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, and the Business Council took the lead in forming a Science Technology Advisory Committee in January 1997. Partnership in the Committee was established with several science-based Tri-Valley businesses, secondary schools, the Regional Occupation Program, and California State University – Hayward. Through the work of the Advisory Committee, the Science Technology Associate Degree program was updated and redesigned, centered on a broad science and technology curriculum foundation with emphasis on either biological or physical science options. Graduates of this Program will be prepared to enter a variety of science/technology career fields, or transfer to a four-year institution. Also, a new Laser Technology Certificate program was developed to include four new Laser Technology careers, supported by course work in Electronics Technology and Vacuum Technology.
Las Positas College has demonstrated that it can revise and update an Associate Degree Program in less than a year, with the help of the Advisory Council Partnership. They are confident that they can respond, within the same timeframe, to the core curriculum requirements for software, scientific, and biomedical if the industry partnerships can be established in these areas.
In March 1999, the Business Council co-sponsored, with Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and the Blackhawk Automotive Museum, the Third Annual Regional Science and Engineering Fair for all schools in the region. 172 student exhibits were presented by 220 students in this competition and over 1000 people turned out to see the projects at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum. The top individual project winner and the top team project winners traveled to Philadelphia to compete in the Intel International Fair. For the second straight year our team project was a third place winner in the international competition.
We initiated a Work Keys Pilot Program in the high schools in Livermore, Pleasanton, and Dublin in the fall of 1998. Work Keys is a testing program developed by the American College Testing Program to assess a student’s readiness for entering the work force. The Pilot involved the development of skill requirement profiles for specific entry-level jobs from four Tri-Valley Businesses.
Focus is placed on eight core skills:
- Reading for Information
- Applied Mathematics
- Applied Technology
- Locating Information
390 students from 13 classes in five high schools were assessed to determine their skill levels in the eight core skills. The student profile results were then compared with the job profile requirements and the students, parents, and teachers will receive the results and feedback regarding the students’ readiness for entering the work force. The schools are evaluating results of the Pilot Program to determine future use of Work Keys as well as need for curriculum adjustments.
In 1997 we sponsored a Student Leadership Study Project where local high school students studied, with the assistance of business mentors, public policy issues in housing, transportation, health care, public education, water, community services, and arts and culture. We hosted a public summit meeting in May 1997, where eight student groups reported their conclusions and recommendations to elected officials, business leaders, community members, and the regional media representatives.
In 1997, the Business Council participated in an Economic Vitality Project. The purpose of the project was to study the Tri-Valley Regional Economy, identify the primary industries that drive the economy, and determine actions required to ensure the economic vitality and growth of those high-value industries. The high-value industries identified were: software development and support; communications services and support; scientific/biomedical devices and materials; and wine, hospitality and lifestyle services.
The outcome of the project was the identification of five public initiatives to ensure future economic vitality of the Tri-Valley’s high-value industries. The Business Council formed committees to address these needs and the committees each assumed responsibility to address the action needed. These Committees are:
Regional Marketing Committee
Develop a Tri-Valley Regional Vision. Determine regional assets and a strategy program for marketing the region. This led to the origination of the Regional Vision Project discussed earlier.
Workforce Initiative Committee
Satisfy the growing demand for well-prepared workers for the Tri-Valley’s software, communications, and scientific/biomedical materials industries. Form network of business, education and training providers to address immediate workforce shortages while also developing a “pipeline” to meet longer-term workforce needs.
Specific actions have resulted from the Workforce Initiative Committee:
Seven Career Fairs have been held within the past three years. These fairs are held to highlight Tri-Valley employers and to attract job candidates who live in the Tri-Valley, or commute through the Tri-Valley. The objective is to continue to expand the local workforce. The most recent Career Fair was held in February of 2001.
The creation of a Workforce Services Center was a primary objective of the Workforce Initiative Committee. The center opened in April 1998. This is a one-stop career center where employers can market their job requirements; where job seekers can have ready access to information about job opportunities (by visiting the Center or via Internet); information is available on the local labor market; telephones, faxes, copiers are available. Las Positas College or local employers will conduct seminars and workshops. Career Counselors are available to help students or job seekers to determine education requirements for specific career opportunities.
The committee is currently working on development of Career Pathway definitions to outline career opportunities in the Tri-Valley.
Technology Bridge Committee
Increase flow and commercialization of technology from the national laboratories to local business, creating opportunities for new products, business, and jobs. This led to the October 1998 formation of the Technology Enterprise Partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
The partnership is working on development of a Technology Enterprise Center that would include a business incubator. The incubator would provide space and value-added assistance and services to entrepreneurs and small businesses. A nationally recognized business incubation consultant, Claggett Wolfe Associates, conducted a Market Feasibility Study and developed a Business Plan for the Center. In June 1999 we initiated action to acquire funding for rental of a 20,000 square foot facility in Livermore that would be utilized as our Business Incubator. We have targeted an early year 2000 opening for the Incubator.
Regional Mobility Committee
Develop a mobility system with an emphasis on recreation and tourism, including signage to promote smooth movement of people and goods through the region, and making it easy to use diverse modes of travel. The committee has developed a Regional Attractions Map and is working on signage to support routes defined in the map.
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The Business Council co-sponsored a Second Forum on Regional Transportation in May 1999. More than 150 federal, state and local elected officials and business leaders attended. The focus was on regional transportation problems and development of action plans to resolve these problems, including identification of funding opportunities from federal, state, and local sources. We will focus on regional advocacy efforts to obtain the required funding and priority action.
The Transportation Committee is highly active with federal, state, and local elected officials to identify and acquire funding sources to resolve regional transportation issues. Our focus is on I-580/680, Route 84, the Sunol Grade, and BART extensions.
Regarding the Sunol Grade: In 1998, the Business Council, along with the Contra Costa Council, initiated the Solutions on Sunol (SOS) Coalition. We then joined efforts with the Santa Clara Manufacturers Group, the Bay Area Council, and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, to focus on resolving the Sunol Grade congestion problem. Chris Kinzel, TJKM Transportation Consultants, had recently concluded a study that outlined actions required to solve the problem.
The SOS Coalition focused on obtaining local, state, and federal funding for the project. We were successful in acquiring funding from all of these sources to allow for initiation of Phase One of the project. Cal Trans originally scheduled the year 2003 for construction and the Coalition was successful in getting the construction date moved up to 2001.
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