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Contra Costa Council News
The Contra Costa Council is a public policy advocacy organization
that promotes the economic vitality of Contra Costa County and the region.

1355 Willow Way, Suite 253, Concord CA 94520 / 925.246.1880 /
In This Issue
CEO Viewpoint: Don't miss Contra Costa USA and its all-star cast!
January 12 Reception: Council welcomes Karen Mitchoff as county supervisor-elect
December 15 Reception Recap: Celebration for Susan Bonilla benefits Monument Crisis Center
Contra Costa Economic Partnership News: Dr. Willard Daggett to keynote January 11 East Bay Business/Education Summit . . . Council approves plan for Economic Development Task Force to pursue aggregate renewable energy procurement program for region's agencies
December Special Event Recap: Young Women's Leadership Summit offers compelling stories by exemplary women
Advocacy Action: Council heralds legislation to establish Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area . . . Sustainable Communities Strategy: not there yet! . . . 1099 reporting mandate would place onerous burden on businesses
Member News: John Coleman to head Bay Planning Coalition . . . Council thanks Sue Rainey and Vicky De Young for extensive service . . . Ann Spaulding is new Water Task Force co-chair
Task Force Briefings: December and January meetings
New Members: Welcome, Robert Pyke, Consulting Engineer!
Quick Links
Upcoming Events
Reception for County Supervisor-elect Karen Mitchoff

Wednesday, January 12
5:30 to 7:30 pm

PMI offices
3003 Oak Road, Walnut Creek

Register here by January 7. Contact the Council office at 925.246.1880 (fax 925.674.1654) for more information or to sponsor this event.


Contra Costa USA 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011
8 am to 2 pm;
5:30 to 9 pm

Hilton Concord Hotel
1970 Diamond Blvd.

Join us for the Contra Costa Council's signature event!

8 am: Registration, networking and exhibits

9 am: "California Post November 2," by Dan WaltersThe Sacramento Bee political columnist; "The Economic Outlook for the Region and the State," by Christopher Thornberg, Beacon Economics

Panel: "It's Broken . . . How Do We Fix California Now?" Featuring Christopher Thornberg, Beacon Economics; Sunne McPeak, former state director of business, transportation and housing; and Michael Genest, former director of the California Department of Finance

11:30 am: Networking and exhibits

12 noon to 2 pm: Luncheon and keynote: "A Statesman's View of the State," by Willie Brown Jr. of the Willie L. Brown Jr. Institute on Politics and Public Service

5:30 pm: Reconvene and reception

7 pm: Dinner and keynote: "Inside the Obama White House," by Bob Woodward, Pulitzer Price-winning journalist, with Ann Notarangelo, journalist and CBS 5's Eyewitness News Weekend Edition anchor, emcee

Sponsorships at various levels and exhibit tables are still available. Contact the Council office at 925.246.1880 for details.

  December 2010
Don't keep the Council a secret!

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CEO Viewpoint
Linda Best Don't miss Contra Costa USA and its all-star cast!

By Linda Best, President and CEO, Contra Costa Council

You won't want to miss Contra Costa USA 2011 on Thursday, January 27. We have one of the most exciting lineups in many years.

We are very fortunate to have Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and investigative reporter Bob Woodward as our dinner keynote speaker. Mr. Woodward's topic will be "Inside the Obama White House." After his number-one national and New York Times bestselling book, Obama's Wars, Woodward has the deepest insight into how Obama decides and who he is. As Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll said of the book in The New Yorker this fall, "Exceptionally sharp . . . unfurls spreadsheet-like detail about decision making. . . . Woodward leaves us with Obama as a war president in full." Or, as President Obama said after an interview with Woodward this summer, "Sounds like you've got better sources than I do."
The New York Times has said, "Bob Woodward is the most famous investigative reporter in America." He has authored or co-authored more number-one best-selling nonfiction books than any other American writer, including All The President's Men; Veil; The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House; Bush at War; Plan of Attack; and State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III.

Our day program features an all-star cast of speakers who will discuss California's future following the November election, taking into account the massive deficit our state faces. Kicking off the morning will be Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters, who will offer his reflections on the election and California's future. Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics will then assess our regional and state economies. Following his presentation, Chris will participate on a panel with Sunne Wright Mc Peak, president and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund and member of California Forward's Leadership Council; and Mike Genest, former director of the state's Department of Finance. The group will discuss the state's fiscal crisis, the need for reform and what that reform should look like.

Also not to be missed is the Honorable Willie Brown, former speaker of the California State Assembly and mayor of San Francisco, who will share his observations at lunch on California's present and future.

Look for your invitation to this outstanding event right after the new year and register early to ensure you have a seat.

Sponsorships are still available. Contact the Council office at 925-246-1880 for more information.

Happy holidays to you all!
January 12 Reception
Council welcomes Karen Mitchoff as county supervisor-elect

Join the Contra Costa Council to celebrate our newly elected County Supervisor-elect Karen Mitchoff at a reception on Wednesday, January 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at PMI's offices, 3003 Oak Road, Walnut Creek.

Register here by January 7. Contact the Council office at 925-246-1880 (fax 925-674-1654) for more information or to sponsor this event.
December 15 Reception Recap
Susan Bonilla reception
Susan Bonilla with Erich Pfuehler of the East Bay Regional Park District and Lynn Baskett of John Muir Health
Celebration for Susan Bonilla benefits Monument Crisis Center

The reception to welcome new Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, held at the Monument Crisis Center in Concord on December 15, attracted a crowd of some 90 well-wishers, who together contributed 328 pounds of food for distribution to area families in need this holiday season.

Bonilla extended a warm welcome to the throng, who had the opportunity to tour the center and see firsthand how it operates. The mission of the center is to provide food, education, assistance and referrals to families and individuals in crisis situations. Special programs include Senior Moments, a gathering of senior participants; English as a Second Language classes; an after-school program that is planned, prepared and executed completely by local teen volunteers; and employment workshops.

Center Director Sandra Scherer welcomed guests and invited them to the center's annual benefit, Heartfelt 2011, which will be held February 3 at the Concord Hilton. For more information, visit the center's website or write Scherer at

The Council thanks event co-host, Chevron, and sponsors, AT&T, ConocoPhillips Rodeo, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Gray-Bowen, IBEW Local 302, John Muir Health, PB Americas and PG&E.
Contra Costa Economic Partnership News
Willard Daggett Dr. Willard Daggett to keynote January 11 East Bay Business/Education Summit
Renowned education futurist Dr. Willard Daggett, CEO of the New York-based International Center for Leadership in Education, will serve as keynote speaker at the 2011 East Bay Business/Education Leadership Summit: Education, Innovation and the East Bay Economy, on Tuesday, January 11, from 7:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Hilton Concord. Daggett (pictured at right) is recognized worldwide for his ability to move education systems toward more rigorous and relevant skills and knowledge for all students.
The conference will also feature Congressman George Miller, who chairs the House Education and Labor Committee (schedule permitting), and Dr. Gary Hoachlander, president of ConnectEd, the California Center for College and Career. The all-day event will focus on the challenge of raising student achievement. In addition to the key presenters, workshops will be offered on leading-edge concepts in education transformation, in addition to small-group discussions.
Members of the education, business, government and labor communities are invited to attend. Please register here by January 5.
April Treece, project director of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership's Workforce Initiative, is coordinating the event, which is presented by Chevron and John Muir Health. Additional supporting sponsors include Sutter East Bay Region, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 304, Wells Fargo and American College of Nursing. The event is made possible through collaboration with the Contra Costa Council's Workforce Development/Education Task Force and other partners, including the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and the Contra Costa Council.
For questions or to sign up as a sponsor, please contact April Treece at 925-672-3759,

Council approves plan for Economic Development Task Force to pursue aggregate renewable energy procurement program for region's agencies

As part of the industry-driven, tri-county clean technology cluster initiative, which is being spearheaded by the Contra Costa Economic Partnership, the Contra Costa Council approved a plan at its November 19 board meeting for its Economic Development Task Force to pursue an aggregate renewable energy procurement program for local agencies.

"If you work together, you can accomplish a lot," said Bobby Ram, managing director for SunPower Corporation, in his presentation to the board of directors at the November meeting. The initiative is modeled after the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network. Ram called the initiative "a public-private sector collaboration that takes a regional approach to solving regional problems." The Council would act as program lead and work with Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda counties to aggregate their facilities for a single competitive bid process in purchasing renewable energy. The program will create new local jobs and stimulate local business development.

The presentation by Bobby Ram has been posted on the Economic Development Task Force page on the Council website. Watch for more information about these initiatives.
December Special Event Recap
Ginger Campbell, RN
Ginger Campbell, R.N., of Kaiser Permanente
Young Women's Leadership Summit offers compelling stories by exemplary women

A conversation about how people become leaders was the germ of an idea that became the inspirational "Young Women's Leadership Summit: Why Leadership Matters," a day-long event attended by about 80 young women, all juniors and seniors in area high schools. Held December 4 at the Walnut Creek Marriott, the workshop was the brainchild of Ron Wetter, community and government relations manager with Kaiser Permanente in Martinez and a member of the Contra Costa Council Executive Board.

The leadership summit was co-sponsored by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, Kaiser Permanente and the Contra Costa Council. Sponsors are interested in holding a similar summit in two years.

"While Kaiser Permanente employs many women across the organization, like many businesses and organizations, we are always  seeking ways to help and empower more women to take leadership roles," says Wetter. "Our thinking is that young women can learn a great deal from successful leaders, so we invited a few exemplary women to share their stories."

Ask questions and keep learning

Pam Comfort, associate superintendent of educational services, Contra Costa County Office of Education, opened the conversation with the observation that effective leaders "ask important questions and continue learning." Ginger Campbell, R.N., SVP and area manager, Kaiser Permanente, eloquently related her moving personal story. Campbell urged attendees to find a mentor whom they admire, "someone to influence you and keep you safe." She emphasized the importance of "listening to your instincts" and "owning who you are."

Contra Costa Council President and CEO Linda Best moderated the panel discussion, observing that leaders make a difference, improve the lives of other people and inspire others to follow. Panelists included Contra Costa Supervisor Mary Piepho, who offered candid observations about her pathway to leadership, adding that she never expected to run for political office; Reena Jadhav, founder and CEO of, a social media marketing forum, an admitted "serial entrepreneur" who advised attendees, "whatever you do, do the best you can"; and Tanir Ami, executive director of the Community Clinic Consortium, who suggested, "be solution oriented and forward moving . . . People like and are attracted to confident people, but you don't have to know everything!"

Finally, Lisa Marino, chief operating officer for game developer RockYou, who calls herself "a fixer," counseled teens to "never compromise your morals and ethics" and to "be brave and take educated risks," among other nuggets of wisdom.

One attendee observed that while none of the presenters may have planned to be leaders, and their individual career paths often zigzagged, they each grasped the opportunities presented to them. They worked hard, did their best, and leadership followed. As Lisa Marino noted, "... hanging around the hoop, you get opportunities."
Advocacy Action
Council heralds legislation to establish Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area

At the recommendation of the Contra Costa Council's Water Task Force, Council directors in November endorsed legislation that would establish the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area to promote the cultural, historical and natural assets of the region. The legislation, HR 6329 and S 3927, would establish the national heritage area and authorize $20 million ($2 million in any fiscal year) to the California Delta Protection Commission to implement the heritage area, with up to 50 percent federal cost-share for improvement projects. (Private property owners and tribes are explicitly protected in the legislation and capable of opting out of any recommendations.)

In a letter to national, state and county legislators urging passage of the legislation, Council President and CEO Linda Best noted that the Council has followed extensively the activities of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force and strongly supports the resulting Delta Vision and its endorsement of the co-equal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem health and restoration.

"We believe this legislation provides proper recognition of the Bay-Delta and its unique environmental, historical and cultural assets," wrote Best. "The matching funding authorized to the Delta Protection Commission for implementation will be a valuable tool for enhancing and strengthening the region. It will help make the Delta an international destination for tourism and recreation, adding to its economic sustainability."

Sustainable Communities Strategy: not there yet!

In a letter to James P. Spering, chair, and members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Planning Committee, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Administrative Committee and Joint Policy Committee, the Contra Costa Council and other Bay Area business and industry organizations called for additional changes to performance targets in the Sustainable Communities Strategy. The strategy is central to the Bay Area's implementation of Senate Bill 375, the state legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (For details on the draft strategy, visit

While praising significant improvement and progress over earlier iterations of the strategy, the group nevertheless called for changes in several areas, and representatives testified at a December 10 meeting. Letter signatories, in addition to the Council, include the Bay Area Council, Building Industry Association Bay Area, East Bay Economic Development Alliance, Jobs & Housing Coalition, the San Mateo County Economic Development Association, Signature Homes and Solano Economic Development Corporation.

"First, we strongly support the revised Economic Vitality Performance Target based on increasing 'Regional' gross domestic product," wrote Council President and CEO Linda Best and her counterparts. "You have our commitment to work with you and your staff to flesh out this promising new direction.

"Second, we continue to have serious concerns with the proposed Environment Performance Target. The current draft proposal reads: 'Direct all new development within 2010 urban growth boundaries, city spheres of influence, and county urbanized areas.' While we agree with the public policy goal that this performance target appears intended to promote--more compact development patterns, densification and more efficient use of land--we think there are potentially significant unintended consequences associated with the current proposal, and that there are better options for advancing the underlying goal.

"With respect to unintended consequences, we are concerned that the language 'Direct all new development' is significantly overbroad. . . . It is reasonably foreseeable that future infrastructure projects such as high speed rail, water conveyance improvements, habitat and wetlands restoration projects, farming and agricultural improvements, etc., would represent development that may be unintentionally inconsistent with the current proposed performance target."

The group took issue with a "problematic" reference to "2010" boundaries, spheres, and areas. "Many UGB's [urban growth boundaries] and spheres are intended to be updated regularly--and in some instances may be legally required or simply ought to change based on sound public policy reasons. We therefore oppose incorporating a specific date into the performance target." The group also recommended that appropriate language accompany adoption of the performance targets, and suggested that the clarifying language sent by ABAG to Bay Area cities and counties following the adoption of performance targets for Projections 2009 would make clear that the performance targets are intended to be used as a tool by decision makers, stakeholders, and the public, and are not enforceable policies or objectives.

1099 reporting mandate would place onerous burden on businesses

The Contra Costa Council is urging legislation that would repeal Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before it becomes effective in 2012. The section requires that entities of all sizes file 1099s on virtually all non-credit card purchases totaling $600 or more with any vendor in a tax year.

"Unless this section, usually referred to as the 1099 reporting mandate, is repealed, 40 million entities, including governments, nonprofits and businesses of all sizes across the nation will be subjected to onerous data collection and IRS information filing burdens on virtually all non-credit card purchases totaling $600 or more with any vendor in a tax year," wrote Council President and CEO Linda Best to congressional representatives. "When the United States is depending on the private sector to generate jobs and stimulate economic growth, lawmakers are directing precious time and resources to collecting volumes of information and filling out mounds of new paperwork for the government."

While we understand the need to raise funds for health care for Americans, this provision, if implemented, would impose substantial paperwork and reporting burdens on the backs of governments, nonprofits and businesses--especially small businesses, said Best.
Member News
John Coleman to head Bay Planning Coalition

Contra Costa Council Director John Coleman has been named executive director of the Bay Planning Coalition, beginning January 1. He replaces Ellen Johnck, who is retiring. Coleman has been an elected member since 1990 and served as president and vice president of the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Council thanks Sue Rainey and Vicky De Young for extensive service

Sue Rainey and Vicky De Young were saluted for their years of dedicated service to the Contra Costa Council at the December board meeting, the last official meeting for the longtime directors. In addition to Rainey's well-known work for the city of Walnut Creek and De Young's role at Cornish & Carey Commercial real estate, both contributed significantly and tirelessly to the Council's activities, and served in leadership roles, including Council chair.

Ann Spaulding is new Water Task Force co-chair

Ann Spaulding, a longtime Contra Costa Council and Water Task Force member and environmental consultant based in Orinda, joins Bob Whitley as co-chair of the Water Task Force. She replaces Mitch Randall, who has resigned.
Task Force Briefings
December and January meetings . . .

New and prospective Council members are welcome to attend task force meetings. Please notify a task force co-chair prior to the meeting to confirm time and location, as details may change. To view task force agendas, policy papers and recent presentations, visit the individual task force pages on the Council website.

Health Care Task Force . . . Thursday, December 2 . . . 8:30 to 10 a.m. . . . Morgan Miller Blair, 1331 N. California Blvd., Suite 200, Walnut Creek. Discussion of health community principles, goals for 2011, and legislative and policy updates. Next meeting is January 6 (first Thursday). Co-chairs: Lynn Baskett and Steve Van Wart

Environmental/Manufacturing Task Force . . . Friday, December 3, 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. . . . Brown and Caldwell, 201 N. Civic Drive, Suite 200, Walnut Creek . . . Will Travis, executive director of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), discussed the issues of global warming and sea-level rise. Next meeting is January 7 (first Friday), 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. Co-chairs: Peter McGaw and George Smith

Transportation Task Force . . . Tuesday, December 7, 8 to 9 a.m. . . . PMI Offices, 3003 Oak Road, Walnut Creek (across from Pleasant Hill BART). Representatives from Congressman John Garamendi's office discussed his outlook on the reauthorization of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) and transportation projects in Contra Costa County, plus the "Make It In America" campaign. No meeting in January. Co-chairs: Kris Johnson and Jim Melino

Land Use Task Force . . . Wednesday, December 8, 8 to 9:30 a.m. . . . Archer Norris, 2033 No. Main Street, Suite 800, Walnut Creek (note new location). Discussed proposed performance targets of the Joint Policy Committee, composed of Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission staff, required by SB 375. Also worked to finalize the Land Use Policy Paper. Next meeting is January 12. Co-chairs: Mike McGill and Dan Muller

Social Responsibility Task Force . . . Thursday, December 9, 8 to 9:30 a.m. . . . Brandman University, 2950 Buskirk Ave., Room 307, Walnut Creek. Presentation by Carol Finis Perez on the Earn It! Keep it! Save it! (EKS) campaign; adopted policy paper and discussed 2011 workplan. Next meeting is January 19 (please note special time and day). Co-chairs: Kate Ertz-Berger and Mark Hughes

Economic Development Task Force . . . Wednesday, December 15, 8 to 9 a.m. . . . City National Bank, 2001 N. Main St., Suite 200, Walnut Creek. Planned for the year ahead, which will focus on public finance, higher education, clean technology and industrial activity. Next meeting is January 26. Co-chairs: Mike Conlon and Gary Craft

Small Business/Entrepreneur Task Force . . . Next meeting TBA . . . De La Housaye & Associates, 1655 N. Main St., Suite 260, Walnut Creek. Held quarterly meeting in November with chamber and legislative representatives. Heard from Lupe Schoenberger and John Frankel of Senator Mark DeSaulnier's office regarding Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) concerns with SB 1608 implementation; also about the new Cal CAP loan program. Co-chairs: Angela De La Housaye and Zachary Sahar

Water Task Force . . . (no meeting in December) . . . Wednesday, January 19, 8:15 to 10 a.m. . . . Location TBA. Dr. Robert Bea of UC Berkeley's College of Engineering, who has served as lead investigator of natural and human-made disasters, including the Katrina-caused levee failures and the BP Deepwater Horizon well failure, will discuss his experiences and observations about the Delta levee situation. Co-chairs: Bob Whitley and Mitch Randall

Workforce Development/Education Task Force . . . (no meeting in December or January) . . . Wednesday, February 2, 8:30 to 10 a.m. . . . Contra Costa Workforce Development Board Offices, 300 Ellinwood Drive, Bodega Room, Pleasant Hill. Task force members have identified issues and activities that will shape the task force's work in the year ahead, and will be attending the Business/Education Summit on January 11 at the Hilton Concord (see article, this issue). Next meeting is March 2 (first Wednesday; note new meeting date). Co-chairs: Joanne Durkee and Kathleen Robinson
New Members
Please welcome a new Contra Costa Council member!

Robert Pyke, President
Consulting Engineer
1076 Carol Lane, Ste. 136
Lafayette, CA 94549
925.323.7338 ph

Individual consultant on non-routine geotechnical, earthquake and water resource engineering issues
About the Council

The Contra Costa Council is a public policy advocacy organization that promotes the economic vitality and quality of life of Contra Costa County and the Greater East Bay region. The Council engages on issues of critical importance to the business community and residents of the county, balancing the needs of a diverse region through policy efforts that provide for local and regional economic development while retaining our quality of life.

Through its task forces, the Council develops and supports policy positions to further its mission and sponsors educational forums for its members and the community.

For more information about the Council, please visit our website.

To comment on items in this newsletter, please contact Linda Best at the Contra Costa Council.

This issue was edited for the Contra Costa Council by Molly A. Walker of Walker Communications.

2010 Contra Costa Council