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September 16, 2019

Nominate a Young Professional of the Year

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors invites the community to nominate individuals and businesses for the 2019 Spice of Life awards. Applications are available online at and at the Gilroy Chamber office with the deadline to submit Friday, October 4, 2019. Categories include:

2020 Man and Woman of the Year – designed to acknowledge those persons who have a history of unselfish service to the community, contributing to Gilroy’s welfare and betterment.

2020 Small and Large Business of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding Gilroy Chamber of Commerce business which has demonstrated an extraordinary level of excellence and success in areas such as management skills, innovation, personal commitment, community involvement and support, and a contribution to the entrepreneurial spirit. Separate categories are presented based on business size with small businesses being 25 full or part-time employees or less and large businesses with 26 and above full or part-time employees.

2020 Gilroy Educator of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution within the educational community of Gilroy.

2020 Firman B. Voorhies Volunteer of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding Gilroy Chamber of Commerce volunteer.

2020 Non-Profit of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding non-profit organization in Gilroy.

2020 Young Professional of the Year – designed to recognize the accomplishments of a highly motivated young professional who works or lives in South County. Nominees for this award must be between the ages of 21-40 years old.

The award recipients will be recognized at the annual Spice of Life awards ceremony on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at the Granada Theater in Morgan Hill.

Click here to nominate


Win a Two-Night South Lake Tahoe Vacation

How would you like to win a trip to South Lake Tahoe for 3 days and 2 nights? Purchase a pumpkin dish, item or drink from 10 or more of the participating restaurants listed below and you will qualify to be entered into a drawing for a two-night stay in South Lake Tahoe. The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the 6th Annual Pumpkin People Restaurant Passport Contest. Passports listing all 18 restaurants and their dishes will be available beginning Wednesday, September 25. You can pick one or more up at the Chamber of Commerce office as well as at all participating restaurants. After purchasing a pumpkin item from a participating restaurant, ask to have your passport stamped indicating your participation with that restaurant.

Patrons who return the passports to the Chamber office with stamps from 4 – 9 different participating restaurants will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant. Patrons who return their passports with 10 or more stamps from different participating restaurants will be entered into a drawing for a 2-night stay in South Lake Tahoe.

Return passports to the Chamber of Commerce office no later than Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Be sure your name and contact information is on your passport.

Westside Grill ~ Pumpkin Crème Brule
Old City Hall Restaurant ~ Pumpkin Pancakes, Pumpkin-Chorizo Pasta,  Artisan Pumpkin Pie
First Street Coffee ~ Pumpkin Pie Salty Frap, Pumpkin Holiday Pie Latte
Fifth Street Coffee ~ Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Muffins
Black Bear Diner ~ Pumpkin Pie
Straw Hat Pizza ~ Pumpkin Beer
Mama Mia’s Ristorante Italiano ~ Pumpkin Cheesecake
The Claddagh Pub & Restaurant ~ Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Martini
Café 152 Bread Company ~ Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Cookies
Garlic City Casino ~ Pumpkin Alfredo
Josephine’s Bakery & Cafe ~ Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin
Casa De Fruta ~ Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Ice Cream
Tealeaf ~ Classic Pumpkin Milk Tea
Pineapple Village ~ Garlic Crispy Pumpkin
El Charrito Market ~ Pumpkin Flower Quesadilla
Bartenders Union ~ Seasonal Beer
The Milias Restaurant ~ Pumpkin Martini, Weekly Special Pumpkin Dessert
Victoria’s Mexican Restaurant ~ Pumpkin Margarita

Purchasing more than one pumpkin dish from the same participating restaurant will only count as one visit to that participating restaurant.

To qualify for drawing, patrons must frequent at least 10 of the participating restaurants and purchase one of the pumpkin dishes, items, or drinks being offered.

Selection of dates for the South Lake Tahoe stay are based on availability. Holiday dates are not available.

Passports returned with no name and contact information will be automatically disqualified.


Deep-Rooted Secret at Gilroy Gardens

Written by Tori Peglar is Co-Brand and Content Director of National Park Trips Media

When Axel Erlandson died, he left behind his legendary circus trees. Here’s how two strangers saved them.

When children asked Axel Erlandson how he shaped his trees into giant baskets, bird cages and a telephone booth, he told them he talked to his trees.

What he whispered to his sycamores, box elders and ash trees, no one will ever know. Erlandson died in 1964, taking with him his deeply rooted secret. Not even his daughter, Wilma Erlandson, 90, was privy to his methods. But somehow, he tricked his trees into believing they could do more with their lives than just grow toward the sky in a straight line.

“For my father, they were like family,” recalls Wilma Erlandson, smiling at memories of her father fashioning his trees into wildly improbable shapes.

The fact that 25 of Erlandson’s trees are still alive is rather miraculous. Neglected by a developer who bought the land Erlandson once owned in Scotts Valley, the trees were saved first by architect Mark Primack and later by supermarket president Michael Bonfante, both of whom shared Erlandson’s passion for trees. Today, you can see the “circus trees” at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, Calif. Planted in different areas of the 536-acre park, the trees are part of founder Bonfante’s vision to inspire and educate young people about the natural world around them.

The oldest tree in the park is the 93-year-old “Four-Legged Giant,” and you’ll find it elegantly rising above a bed of scarlet roses standing in Mission Plaza. There’s a little white sign next to it that reads, “I am the oldest, but I am in great shape!” Erlandson started working on the “The Four-Legged Giant” several years before Wilma was born in 1928. Up until that point, he had faced challenging times as a Swedish immigrant who arrived by box car in Hilmar, Calif., at age 17 with dreams of fertile land. Instead, he discovered dry earth that desperately needed irrigation.

When he wasn’t farming his 40-acre property in Hilmar, Calif., he spent time shaping four sycamore trees into one. As the Four-Legged Giant took shape, Erlandson grew hooked on his new hobby, eventually transforming 60-70 trees during his lifetime into diamonds, cathedrals and rings. For Erlandson, turning trees into art may have been a way of lightening the heaviness of trying to earn a living from an unforgiving land.

Over time, he realized the Four-Legged Giant deserved more in life than to just sit in a farm field. In 1946, Erlandson dug her up, moving her and his other trees to nearly an acre of land on a touristy stretch of Hwy. 17 in Scotts Valley 100 miles away. He hoped his trees would become a popular roadside attraction, bringing the family much needed income. While they survived the move and appeared in Life magazine in 1957 and Ripley’s Believe It or Not multiple times, they never drew the crowds he envisioned.

Time passed and the trees grew. Visitors came and went. But Erlandson’s health began to fail, and he realized he could no longer care for the trees. In 1963, he sold the land with his trees on it. He died a year later of heart failure.

As his property passed through different owners, the circus trees remained, but no one cared for them like Erlandson. One day, Santa Cruz architect Mark Primack caught sight of them while driving by the abandoned property. He stopped.

As a college student in Ireland, he had written about how living trees could be incorporated into architectural design. Before him stood the trees he had imagined years earlier. Determined to save the unusual trees, he trespassed on the property to document and care for them, eventually spearheading a community movement in the early 1980s to save them.

When Michael Bonfante, president of Nob Hill Foods, heard about the trees’ plight in 1983, he knew he had to save them. Earlier in his career, he had discovered that being around trees reduced his work-related stress. It led him to open up a tree business and travel around the world, researching how he could open a tree-themed park for the public.

At this point, only 31 circus trees were still alive. Bonfante bought them. Loading them carefully on flatbed trucks, he transported 25 of the healthiest circus trees to Gilroy, Calif., where he had already built a recreational park for his employees. The trees’ arrival pushed Bonfante closer to realizing his dream of what would become Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park.

But before he opened the park, Bonfante sold Nob Hill Foods, which he had grown to 27 stores with 2,500 employees. It was time for him to devote more of his resources to the park. In 2001 Gilroy Gardens opened to the public.

“Based on horticulture, and trees in particular, I wanted to share the pleasure and experience of trees with young kids,” says Bonfante, who notes the Basket Tree is his favorite of the circus trees. “The park has brought to the world an opportunity to feel the impact of mother nature.”

When you arrive at Gilroy Gardens, which features absolutely stunning gardens, trees from all over the world and 21 children’s rides fashioned into giant mushrooms, bananas and garlic bulbs, look for Erlandson’s circus trees, including the stunning Four-Legged Giant.With 500,000 visitors a year, Gilroy Gardens has helped the circus trees achieve the fame Erlandson dreamed of more than 70 years ago.

As you explore, you’ll pass an outdoor exhibit dedicated to the circus trees. On one of the panels, you’ll find the words of playwright William Shakespeare. They might as well been written by Erlandson himself.

“These trees shall be my books,” he wrote.

What's New with Business?

Volunteer with the YMCA! Like many well-oiled machines, they don’t run unless all the parts are working. Part of the YMCA’s mission and core values is volunteering within the communities they serve. If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, take a look at some of the needs within their community. Coaches are needed for: T-Ball, Flag Football and Cheer. You can also volunteer at the Teen Center in Morgan Hill or Gilroy, be a tutor to help with afterschool homework, be a mentor/caring adult role model or work on a team for their annual campaign. Volunteers are needed throughout the year. If you are interested in volunteering with the Y, please e-mail

A E Boggs Training focuses on industrial safety training of a variety of different lift trucks to certify lift truck operators in accordance of OSHA regulations. Regulations state that all truck operators must be certified in order to operate any industrial lift truck or work platform. They go to your facility or job site to train your staff. Their training consists of videos, demonstration models and lectures on safety. They start with a class session then proceed to an obstacle course to evaluate each driver’s operational skills. Certification includes a wallet certification for the driver and proof of certification for the employer. They have been training and certifying drivers for 25 years. You can contact them at or 408-472-3155.

Artist Katherine Filice has been “shortlisted” and named as a finalist for the prestigious 2019 ArtGeminiPrize. Her pen-and-ink work “Communion” will be featured in the Finalists Exhibition November 9-15, 2019, at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore. The ArtGeminiPrize is a celebration to promote international contemporary art for emerging and established artists. Founded in 2012 in London, the ArtGeminiPrize is an independent competition open to all artists from anywhere in the world that has attracted over 5,000 entries from 35 countries worldwide. Katherine Filice made her international debut at Artrooms 2018 in London and has also exhibited her works in Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and her hometown of Gilroy, California. Katherine Filice’s works explore human relationships through symbolism and intricate ink lines. For over 25 years, she has been the CEO and Executive Creative Director of Articulate Solutions, a creative services firm in downtown Gilroy.

Ride the Aloha wave, and let Maui Wowi Hawaiian do the work. Whether you’re an event planner, coordinator or throwing your own beach party, have Maui Wowi Hawaiian serve fresh Hawaiian smoothies and their gourmet Hawaiian coffee at your event…everywhere and anywhere. After 35 years in the business, they know their way around a luau and hope to bring you a vacation in a cup. To find out how they can bring the Island Vibe and Aloha Spirit to your event or special occasion, contact Rosario Newell at or call 408-658-2510. You can also check them out at

South County Tail Waggers is a local dog-rescue 501(c)(3) organization based in Gilroy, however serve all of South County. They came together with the mission to help the forgotten homeless and abandoned dogs in our communities. Their greater mission is to build South County’s first ever private, no-kill, animal sanctuary with the purpose of people saving dogs, and dogs saving people right back with influential community programs. While they work towards this critical goal, they are currently fostering dogs in their homes while they search for the perfect families for each precious dog that give back so much in return.

Will You Be Ready When the Big One Hits?

Residents of California often hear warnings of the next big disaster, primarily, the next big earthquake. With September being National Disaster Preparedness Month, it’s a good reminder that a disaster isn’t just the kind that can be measured on the richter scale.

A disaster or emergency can take on many forms from natural to manmade, whether it be fire, flood, earthquake, or even a potential terrorist attack. The 2019 National Preparedness Month theme is, “Prepared, Not Scared.” The old adage, “better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it,” certainly applies here. Part of the planning is identifying the potential emergency that could take place. How will your family exit your home or apartment in the event of a fire? If family members are in different locations due to work, school, shopping, etc., what is the communication plan if a disaster strikes? Are there certain medical or dietary needs for a family member? How will you manage your pets? Developing a disaster plan is relatively simple with help from websites like and

What If You Own or Operate a Business?

If you’re a business owner, how will you safeguard your investment? Have you developed a business continuity plan? What’s at risk?

By following a simple step by step process in the Disaster Planning Toolkit, located on the Chamber’s website, a business owner or operator can create a disaster and recovery plan.
The toolkit provides a quick self-assessment, checklists, forms and more information critical to creating a plan of action.

Click here to preview the Disaster Planning Tool Kit.

What to Do If Immigration Officials Come Knocking

Written by CalChamber

Recently, CalChamber President Allan Zaremberg discussed with immigration expert Kevin Johnson, Dean of the UC Davis School of Law, what employers are required to do if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials raid a job site or ask to inspect records.

Under the Obama administration, ICE officials focused primarily on deporting undocumented immigrants who were in jail or prison, and more or less backed off of workplace enforcement. Now under the Trump administration, ICE has shifted more of its focus to the workplace, Johnson says.

Doing business in a state with high numbers of undocumented immigrants, employers in California need to know what to do in case of an ICE raid and how to be prepared.

“Roughly a quarter of [11 million undocumented immigrants nationwide] live in the state of California,” Johnson says. “They are residents of our communities, they attend our churches, they work often in agriculture, the service industries and some in construction. There are some industries that rely pretty heavily on undocumented labor and would have a hard time competing in the global marketplace without that labor.”

Although employers in all industry sectors should know what to do if ICE comes knocking, employers in the agricultural sector in particular, should be prepared. ICE is likely to focus heavily on this industry, Johnson says, due to the high number of workers located in one place, such as dairy farms and agricultural fields.

Johnson recommends employers have a human resources employee who knows how to be in accordance with federal law and can advise the employer on how to ensure compliance.

Workplace Raids—Warrant Required

Employers are required by law to allow ICE to conduct a raid if a court-ordered warrant has been issued.

“If ICE comes and wants to search a workplace, they have to have a warrant that is issued by a court,” Johnson explains. “That is where the rights…begin and end… If they do have a warrant, then they have to be allowed in the parts of the workplace covered by the warrant.”

Without a warrant, there is no requirement for employers to open the workplace to ICE authorities, he emphasizes. If ICE shows up on a worksite on a “tip”—without a warrant—then it’s up to the employer to decide whether to let ICE inspect the premises.

Johnson also recommends that employers carefully read any warrants issued since the warrant will detail what areas of the workplace are required to be open to ICE.

Although ICE cannot search a job site without a warrant, the agency can ask to inspect records, Johnson explains.

Notice of Inspection

ICE may ask employers to inspect, and verify the identity and employment eligibility documents of their employees. ICE may ask for Forms I-9, and other supporting documentation, such as a copy of the payroll, a list of current employees, articles of incorporation, and business licenses.

The Notice of Inspection requires advance notice, and will give employers a short period of time to gather the documents requested. Some people may refer to this practice as “paper raids,” Johnson says.

A notice to inspect employment records requires advance notice, and a physical raid requires a warrant, Johnson stresses.

Sanctuary Cities

Employers should know that even if their business is located in a sanctuary city or jurisdiction, federal laws govern immigration, not state or local authorities. All employers must comply with ICE requirements and warrants.

“In the end, even though the state has declared itself a sanctuary state…the federal immigration authorities are governed by the U.S. Constitution and U.S. immigration laws and the state can’t undermine that or interfere with that in any way,” Johnson tells Zaremberg.

When to Seek Legal Help

For employers struggling with how to prepare for a possible ICE raid, Johnson recommends meeting with a lawyer for assistance.

“If you get a notice from ICE, I would talk to a lawyer and find out the best way to present the material, collect the material and do all you can to comply with the law,” he says.

Reform Not in Near Future

Federal lawmakers are at a stalemate on comprehensive immigration reform, and a workable solution does not seem to be coming soon. The dialog, Zaremberg notes, is often driven by states that do not have a stake in whether a solution is passed.

Johnson agrees:
“This state has a large immigrant population, and it’s going to be very much affected by whether there is immigration reform or no immigration reform, whether there are raids or no raids. And our economy, which is quite vibrant, has benefited over time from immigrants and immigrant labor. We as a state really have moved to a better understanding of that economic reality.”

September 9, 2019

Nominate Woman of the Year

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors invites the community to nominate individuals and businesses for the 2019 Spice of Life awards. Applications are available online at and at the Gilroy Chamber office with the deadline to submit Friday, October 4, 2019. Categories include:

2020 Man and Woman of the Year – designed to acknowledge those persons who have a history of unselfish service to the community, contributing to Gilroy’s welfare and betterment.

2020 Small and Large Business of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding Gilroy Chamber of Commerce business which has demonstrated an extraordinary level of excellence and success in areas such as management skills, innovation, personal commitment, community involvement and support, and a contribution to the entrepreneurial spirit. Separate categories are presented based on business size with small businesses being 25 full or part-time employees or less and large businesses with 26 and above full or part-time employees.

2020 Gilroy Educator of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution within the educational community of Gilroy.

2020 Firman B. Voorhies Volunteer of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding Gilroy Chamber of Commerce volunteer.

2020 Non-Profit of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding non-profit organization in Gilroy.

2020 Young Professional of the Year – designed to recognize the accomplishments of a highly motivated young professional who works or lives in South County. Nominees for this award must be between the ages of 21-40 years old.

The award recipients will be recognized at the annual Spice of Life awards ceremony on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at the Granada Theater in Morgan Hill.

Click here to nominate


2019 Hall of Fame Recipients Named

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce will be inducting four individuals into the Gilroy Hall of Fame at a lunch ceremony on Saturday, October 26 at Old City Hall Restaurant.

The four individuals are, Mike Bonfante, Karen LaCorte, Edith Edde and Tom Carr. These individuals have made significant contributions to the community of Gilroy over their lifetimes and will be recognized for their efforts. The Hall of Fame Luncheon is from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The cost of the luncheon is only $35 per person.

The induction of Bonfante, LaCorte, Edde and Carr will bring the grand total of inductees to 144. The Gilroy Hall of Fame was first introduced back in 1983 by then Chamber of Commerce Board Chair, Bob Dyer. Dyer believed the Hall of Fame was a way of honoring those who lived and worked in Gilroy and who made a lasting contribution to the community.

While the Hall of Fame recognition ended in 1994, Bob Dyer was the catalyst for restarting the ceremony again in 2015.

Reserve your tickets today


California is Experiencing a Housing Shortage

California is Experiencing a Housing Shortage. Why are Housing Permits Down 20 Percent?
Article written by Dan Schnur, Special to the Sacramento Bee

This was going to be the year that California’s political leaders fought and won the war against the skyrocketing cost of unaffordable housing. They promised to do everything possible to build more homes and bring down the state’s mind-numbing housing prices. But new data from the respected Construction Industry Research Board illustrates the scope of that challenge: in the first six months of 2019, there was almost a 20 percent decrease in housing permits statewide compared to the same time period last year.

“We’re still going in the wrong direction,” said Dan Dunmoyer, California Building Industry Association president..

Notwithstanding the near universal opinion that California is in a housing crisis, and our homeless population is skyrocketing, it is getting harder everyday to build homes in California.”

Carl Guardino, president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, acknowledged that this is a problem that has festered over many years and can’t be fixed overnight. But he also warned that voters are impatient for solutions.

“Whenever we talk about the need for more homes for hard-working California families, we must never forget the… three-decade drought in building the annual number of homes needed to keep up with our population growth,” Guardino said. “While California residents… list the lack of homes affordable to people of all incomes as our state’s number one need, it is still difficult politically for elected leaders at the state and local levels to build on that firm foundation of voter support.”

Several of McClatchy’s California influencers proposed an enhanced role for the public sector to bolster housing starts.

“The slowing of private sector construction activity is a reflection of the waning economic cycle. It demonstrates that the public sector needs to be more proactive in funding and building the kind of housing that working families need,” said Cesar Diaz, legislative and political director for the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. “Public sector construction activity is a proven tool for economic growth. If we can build dams, bridges and power plants, there is no reason why we cannot build more homes.”

But even more Influencers focused on dramatic increases in development fees charged by local governments for housing construction, putting the cost of homes even further out of reach of many Californians.

“Because of how significantly these fees affect overall project costs, these fees are often passed along to buyers in the form of higher home prices, especially in high demand markets,” said Jennifer Svec of the California Association of Realtors. “Until our state leaders get a handle on… pre-development costs, future generations of Californians will continue to suffer and homeownership rates will continue to decline.”

Tia Boatman Patterson, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s senior housing adviser, cited a range of causes for the construction shortfall, but reiterated the governor’s belief in the need for an enhanced role for state government.

“There are structural barriers to production, many of which are at the local level where the final housing construction decisions are made,” said Patterson, who pointed to increased funding for local housing projects in Newsom’s budget, while also reinforcing the governor’s carrot-and-stick approach. “Meanwhile, our Governor and State legislators have worked to strengthen the consequences for those jurisdictions that continually refuse to even plan for enough housing.”

But San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford argued development fees were often a result of a lack of state financial support.

“Cities have been left to figure out how to fund parks, recreation, public safety, and other needs on their own,” said Rutherford, who also called for comprehensive reform of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). “This has led to the fees and regulations that are now strangling the housing sector.”

California Business Roundtable President Rob Lapsley disagreed.

“Excessive development fees are a hidden tax that are decreasing new housing starts while driving up the costs,” Lapsley said. “As cities and local governments continue to increase spending on their expanded programs and employee costs, California families should not have to pay the price just for a place to live.”

Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle criticized the “cost of uncertainty,” suggesting an unpredictable approval process was an even greater deterrent for builders than fees and regulations.

“The time it takes to secure land, jump through the regulatory hurdles and get development approvals make many developers pause with concern – thus housing starts will slow,” Pringle said. “Cities and school districts should defer development fees… until each housing unit is sold or occupied, taking away a large upfront cost and reducing development risk.”

Dan Schnur, a veteran analyst and longtime participant in California politics, is director of the California Influencers series for McClatchy.

Newsom Announces Deal to Cap Rising Rent Prices

Article written by Kathleen Ronayne

California Gov. Gavin Newsom reached a deal with apartment owners and developers Friday on legislation that would cap how rapidly rents can rise as the state grapples with a housing crisis.

The deal would cap annual rent increases at 5% plus inflation, with a 10% maximum increase. That’s lower than the 7% threshold lawmakers had previously negotiated amid strong resistance from the real estate and development industries. Staff members Newsom’s office shared details of the deal, which is not yet in print.

It marks a victory for renters who say they are being priced out as rents rise, though many renters and social justice groups likely want an even stricter proposal. Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco, the bill’s author, had made numerous concessions to the real estate and development industries to even get the bill to the state Senate.

While the new deal is in renters’ favor by lowering the allowable rent increase from 7% to 5%, it changes the exemption for newer properties from those built within the last 10 years to within the last 15. The rent caps would sunset in 2030. The cost of inflation would be determined on a regional basis, meaning it could be a different percentage in San Francisco than in the Central Valley.
The proposal still needs to clear the state Legislature, which adjourns for the year in two weeks.

The California Apartment Association said it will not oppose the bill.

“Now we must get serious about moving forward on production, which is the only way we address our housing crisis,” Debra Carlton, senior vice president for public affairs, said in an email.

The California Building Industry Association is also neutral on the bill, Newsom’s office said.

“The bill will protect millions of renters from rent-gouging and evictions and build on the Legislature’s work this year to address our broader housing crisis,” Newsom, Chiu, and legislative leaders say in a statement.

A rent cap is different than rent control, which California law bans on apartments built after 1995 and single family homes. An effort to lift those restrictions failed at the ballot last November. Backers of that ballot measure have threatened to mount another initiative if lawmakers don’t act. It wasn’t immediately clear if were satisfied with Newsom’s proposal, which would not change that state law.

California needs to build about 180,000 new homes each year to meet demand for its nearly 40 million people. But the state has averaged 80,000 new homes in each of the past 10 years, according to a report from the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

This year, lawmakers proposed a number of bills that would have addressed the crisis. But many of them failed to pass. One high-profile measure by Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener would have overridden local zoning rules to allow for more housing in some areas, including near transit. It failed to get out of the state Senate.

Lawmakers Reject Ban on Long Receipts

Article written by Melody Gutierrez, Los Angeles Times

Props, costumes and a Jimmy Kimmel joke weren’t enough to prevent the California Senate from trashing a bill Friday that would have restricted retailers from routinely handing out unwanted and unusually long receipts.

Assembly Bill 161 by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) would have required stores to ask consumers if they wanted receipts before printing them in an effort to reduce paper waste in the state. The bill had been significantly scaled back in recent months after criticism from the paper industry and business groups. Finally, it stalled in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“We are very disappointed,” Ting said, adding that he will probably try again next year. “We think this bill made a lot of sense and had clear environmental impacts.”

The bill initially would have required businesses by 2022 to provide customers electronic receipts unless a paper printout was requested. Provisions calling for digital receipts prompted privacy concerns and were ultimately dropped.

The version of the bill that was sidelined Friday would have required businesses to ask customers before printing a receipt, and then required that those not include coupons or advertisements unless also requested. AB 161 also sought to ban certain chemicals from being used on the paper receipts.

In Los Angeles, cash register receipts made from thermal paper are not recyclable and should be placed in the black trash bin. The Bureau of Sanitation recommends that residents seal the receipts in garbage bags or combine them with other trash so they don’t float away.

The American Forest and Paper Assn., an industry group that opposed the bill, estimated that 180,000 tons of paper receipts a year are generated nationwide. That is a small percentage of total paper waste, the group argued.

“Public policy should be based on facts and sound science, not misinformation and unsubstantiated claims,” said Jessica Mause of the opposition group Keep the Receipt, which was funded by the American Forest and Paper Assn. “We’re pleased that legislators recognized paper receipts are not only preferred by the majority of consumers, but are also safe for consumers and employees.”

The Department of Justice estimated it would cost $717,000 a year for the added staff to enforce AB 161, which carried financial penalties for businesses that did not comply.

Consumers have taken to social media in recent years to express frustration with excessively long receipts that they photograph as props. Ting turned to a campy ploy to draw attention to the bill, having a legislative staff member wear a costume that looked like an oversize receipt, naming him Skip the Slip.

CVS Health, a national pharmacy chain, has been a frequent target for criticism for printing coupon-filled receipts taller than consumers. Or, as Kimmel pointed out in his most recent dig at CVS: “I believe a receipt for a pack of gum should not be tall enough to ride Space Mountain.”

September 3, 2019

Nominations for the 2020 Spice of Life Awards

Chamber Board Seeks Nominations for the 2020 Spice of Life Awards

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors invites the community to nominate individuals and businesses for the 2019 Spice of Life awards. Applications are available online at and at the Gilroy Chamber office with the deadline to submit Friday, October 4, 2019. Categories include:

  • 2020 Man and Woman of the Year – designed to acknowledge those persons who have a history of unselfish service to the community, contributing to Gilroy’s welfare and betterment.
  • 2020 Small and Large Business of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding Gilroy Chamber of Commerce business which has demonstrated an extraordinary level of excellence and success in areas such as management skills, innovation, personal commitment, community involvement and support, and a contribution to the entrepreneurial spirit. Separate categories are presented based on business size with small businesses being 25 full or part-time employees or less and large businesses with 26 and above full or part-time employees.
  • 2020 Gilroy Educator of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution within the educational community of Gilroy.
  • 2020 Firman B. Voorhies Volunteer of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding Gilroy Chamber of Commerce volunteer.
  • 2020 Non-Profit of the Year – designed to recognize an outstanding non-profit organization in Gilroy.
  • 2020 Young Professional of the Year – designed to recognize the accomplishments of a highly motivated young professional who works or lives in South County. Nominees for this award must be between the ages of 21-40 years old.

The award recipients will be recognized at the annual Spice of Life awards ceremony on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at the Granada Theater in Morgan Hill.

Click here to nominate


For Leaders Only

How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity
Written by Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.

Research shows that most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation. Complaining is tempting because it feels good, but like many other things that are enjoyable—such as smoking or eating a pound of bacon for breakfast—complaining isn’t good for you.

Your brain loves efficiency and doesn’t like to work any harder than it has to. When you repeat a behavior, such as complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information. This makes it much easier to repeat that behavior in the future—so easy, in fact, that you might not even realize you’re doing it.

You can’t blame your brain. Who’d want to build a temporary bridge every time you need to cross a river? It makes a lot more sense to construct a permanent bridge. So, your neurons grow closer together, and the connections between them become more permanent. Scientists like to describe this process as, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.

And here’s the kicker: complaining damages other areas of your brain as well. Research from Stanford University has shown that complaining shrinks the hippocampus—an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Damage to the hippocampus is scary, especially when you consider that it’s one of the primary brain areas destroyed by Alzheimer’s.

Complaining Is Also Bad for Your Health

While it’s not an exaggeration to say that complaining leads to brain damage, it doesn’t stop there. When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol shifts you into fight-or-flight mode, directing oxygen, blood, and energy away from everything but the systems that are essential to immediate survival. One effect of cortisol, for example, is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar so that you’ll be prepared to either escape or defend yourself.

All the extra cortisol released by frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.

It’s Not Just You…

Since human beings are inherently social, our brains naturally and unconsciously mimic the moods of those around us, particularly people we spend a great deal of time with. This process is called neuronal mirroring, and it’s the basis for our ability to feel empathy. The flip side, however, is that it makes complaining a lot like smoking—you don’t have to do it yourself to suffer the ill effects. You need to be cautious about spending time with people who complain about everything. Complainers want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers.

The Solution to Complaining

There are two things you can do when you feel the need to complain. One is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. That is, when you feel like complaining, shift your attention to something that you’re grateful for. Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood and energy and substantially less anxiety due to lower cortisol levels. Any time you experience negative or pessimistic thoughts, use this as a cue to shift gears and to think about something positive. In time, a positive attitude will become a way of life.

The second thing you can do—and only when you have something that is truly worth complaining about—is to engage in solution-oriented complaining. Think of it as complaining with a purpose. Solution-oriented complaining should do the following:

  • Have a clear purpose. Before complaining, know what outcome you’re looking for. If you can’t identify a purpose, there’s a good chance you just want to complain for its own sake, and that’s the kind of complaining you should nip in the bud.
  • Start with something positive. It may seem counterintuitive to start a complaint with a compliment, but starting with a positive helps keep the other person from getting defensive. For example, before launching into a complaint about poor customer service, you could say something like, “I’ve been a customer for a very long time and have always been thrilled with your service…”
  • Be specific. When you’re complaining it’s not a good time to dredge up every minor annoyance from the past 20 years. Just address the current situation and be as specific as possible. Instead of saying, “Your employee was rude to me,” describe specifically what the employee did that seemed rude.
  • End on a positive. If you end your complaint with, “I’m never shopping here again,” the person who’s listening has no motivation to act on your complaint. In that case, you’re just venting, or complaining with no purpose other than to complain. Instead, restate your purpose, as well as your hope that the desired result can be achieved, for example, “I’d like to work this out so that we can keep our business relationship intact.”

Bringing It All Together

Just like smoking, drinking too much, and lying on the couch watching TV all day, complaining is bad for you. Put my advice to use, and you’ll reap the physical, mental, and performance benefits that come with a positive frame of mind.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart® the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries.

Dr. Bradberry is a LinkedIn Influencer and a regular contributor to Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, The World Economic Forum, and The Huffington Post. He has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Fast Company, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

What's New with Business?

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Business Relationship Manager, Eric Howard

Here Come the Brides! Visit Gilroy is hosting the second annual “Ever After” Gilroy Dream Wedding Expo at Gilroy Gardens on Sunday, September 8. At this event, brides and grooms can explore lovely local venues, meet with 50+ vendors, and find everything they need to plan their special day in our “hidden gem” of a wedding destination. Brides and grooms, along with friends and family, are invited to attend. Online price is $15 and $20 at the gate. Brides get in FREE and every couple who attends will be entered in a drawing to win a fantastic honeymoon package to the exclusive Rosewood CordeValle Resort! Learn more and order discount tickets online at

Where can you find Costumes and Commerce all in one location? At the 2019 Business Expo and Safe Trick or Treat, hosted by the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce. This annual event will be held, Thursday, October 10, 2019 from 5:00-8:00 pm at Gilroy Gardens. This is your opportunity to showcase your products and services in a casual, creative, exciting and fun environment. Help generate new leads, establish new accounts, launch a new product, increase sales and broaden your market share. This event will be during Gilroy Gardens’ Halloween@Night theme where attendees can enjoy the experience for only $5.00. RSVP to reserve your location. Early Bird Pricing available until Friday, September 6. (Application and payment must be received by September 6 to receive the Early Bird Pricing). E-mail Victoria at or call 408-842-6437.

The Youth Alliance is having their marquee fundraising event, “Change Makers,” at Leal Vineyards’ The Barn on September 21, 2019 from 5:30-10:00 pm. This year’s event is not to be missed. It will include entertainment by Funky Sound Experience, raffles, auctions, celebration of Change Makers (like yourself), and special recognition of Monica and Raymond Rodriguez as the 2019 Change Makers and Aphrodite Ayala as the 2019 Youth Inspiration honoree. Your continued generosity through sponsorship, partnership, volunteer work and donations, ensures that Youth Alliance is able to continue its mission to effect change and create a more aspiring and engaging community for our youth. Your support of their campaign will help with building out youth impact centers, awarding scholarships/fellowships to local youth, as well as expanding highly needed outreach support services in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Benito County. Tickets can be found at

Join local non-profit One Heart to Another for “A Night in the Vineyard” at the beautiful La Vigna Event Center at Hecker Pass Winery on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 5:00 pm. Enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Laurel, silent auction and benefit drawing. This will be a night to remember and a night to make a difference in the lives of local at-risk youth and families in need. You can purchase tickets at

2019 Hall of Fame Recipients Named
AB5 Strips Gig Workers

AB5 Strips Gig Workers of Their Independence

Opinion by The Press Democrat Editorial Board

Helen Megan of Santa Rosa and at least a dozen other Northern California travel agents have written to The Press Democrat, warning that they will be put out of work if Assembly Bill 5 becomes law.

“I have been an independent travel adviser in California for more than 10 years,” Megan wrote in a letter published July 26. “It allowed me to work at home while taking care of my husband who was post-polio and had Alzheimer’s. It also allowed me to take him on cruises at reduced rates, as a concierge host. This was a very effective business model for our situation and allowed me to pay taxes to support our government, too. My husband is dead, now, but I continue to work. This will be my best year ever.”

Travel agents aren’t the only people whose livelihoods are threatened by AB 5.

The bill, which is nearing a final vote with strong backing from organized labor, would disrupt the work lives of 2 million Californians who earn their living as gig workers or independent contractors. It surfaced after a 2018 state Supreme Court decision involving a Southern California delivery company called Dynamex, which reclassified its drivers as independent contractors. In its decision, the court established a three-part test to distinguish independent contractors from employees, but the ruling limited its employee protections to wages and hours.

AB 5 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, goes much further, requiring employers to provide unemployment and workers compensation insurance, sick leave and family leave and other benefits to people previously classified as independent contractors. As employees, they also would be subject to payroll taxes.

The likely result would be a purge of contract workers, many of whom operate as small businesses, have other jobs or simply prefer the flexibility of mixing work with child care, elder care or other pursuits.

Moreover, the state Department of Finance predicts there would be substantial taxpayer costs for enforcement and unemployment claims.

The primary targets of AB 5 are companies like Uber, Lyft, and Postmates — online platforms that match customers with drivers, repairmen, food deliver and other services.

But the impact would extend far beyond Silicon Valley — rewriting the rules for everyone from building contractors and interpreters to freelance writers and the people who deliver newspapers.

A handful of exemptions have been granted to politically influential employers and contractors, among them physicians and surgeons, insurers, securities dealers and licensed sales people, such as real estate agents.

When news publishers requested exemptions for freelance writers, Gonzalez amended her to bill to allow them up to 25 articles per publication per year. The arbitrary limit might not stand up to First Amendment scrutiny, but her failure to exempt newspaper carriers — who have been recognized by the state as independent contractors since 1987 — could force some publications to scrap their print editions and rely solely on online publishing.

AB 5 cleared the Assembly, with all three of Sonoma County’s representatives — Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Marc Levine and Jim Wood — voting yes. The bill is awaiting action in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t taken a position, and Sens. Bill Dodd and Mike McGuire have yet to cast votes. We urge them to oppose AB 5 unless it is amended to ensure that Helen Megan and other contractors don’t lose their independence.



Five Questions for Split Roll Proponent

Opinion written by Loren Kaye, president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Proponents of an $11 billion statewide property tax increase re-filed their ballot initiative last week, claiming “notable improvements to implementation dates, expansive new small business tax relief, clarified education financing and stronger zoning language to ensure large corporations cannot avoid reassessment.”

Breaking down the changes, one can’t help but conclude that proponents would not have thrown away $3.5 million in donors’ money spent to qualify the original measure to add a very minor change in the definition of business property or – even more laughably – to give a handful of property owners a pass on the tax increase.

The most likely reason for this expensive do-over is incompetent drafting that left some school districts out of the money, and language that may have required a retroactive tax increase.

Given the slapdash writing and slapstick marketing of this ballot measure, I still have some questions for proponents about how or whether this measure will stumble to the November 2020 ballot:

  1. Will you withdraw the flawed measure, even if you don’t qualify the replacement?
    You spent $3.5 million to draft a measure that’s now lining your canary cage. It will cost millions more to gather the even higher number of signatures you now must collect. Will you keep the discredited but qualified measure in your back pocket in case you fail in round two? Is a lousy but lucrative measure better than none at all?
  2. Will you go back to the same donors to re-qualify your measure?
    You raised and spent millions on an “oops” initiative, including $1.5 million from government unions and millions from foundations and social justice organizations. Pfft! Not to mention flushing out to sea contributions from dozens of small donors. Are they good to go for another few mil to paint over your boo-boo? Have you promised them you’ve got it right this time?
  3. What about the rival tax measure?
    You’re not the only player at the tax table. An erstwhile ally, the California School Boards Association, is marketing a similarly massive tax increase for voter consideration in 2020, an $11 billion hike in personal and corporate income taxes. Do you believe voters’ appetite for tax increases is that voracious, or will you gather in a smoke-free room to hammer out a compromise?
  4. Are you convinced we actually need a tax increase?
    Governor Newsom just signed a state budget with a surplus north of $20 billion. And it’s still growing! School funding per pupil has increased 70 percent since the depths of the recession. Governor Newsom has even thrown in extra funds this year to staunch the vexatious cost of pensions. With money raining down on government treasuries, can you with a straight face claim you need even more?
  5. More to the point, are voters convinced we need a tax increase?
    Some polls show a bare majority of Californians supportive; others reveal the measure unable to reach majority support. This is hardly encouraging with the prospect of a well-funded opposition campaign in the wings. But more daunting is the dry run in Los Angeles last June. A mini-split roll property tax proposal by the Los Angeles Unified School District could not even muster a simple majority support in a famously liberal electorate. The omens are not propitious! My advice – embrace your error! Everyone makes mistakes. Use this opportunity to take the offramp away from a bruising and unwinnable ballot fight.

Loren Kaye is president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education. This article first appeared in Fox and Hounds Daily.

Regulatory Changes Affecting Business

Standards Board Has Multiple Regulatory Changes in Pipeline
By Mel Davis, CalChamber

As the owner of a small manufacturing business, I would like to know if there are any new regulations being considered by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) that will affect my company.

Since the beginning of 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has presented seven rulemaking packages for public comment. To date only one of the seven has been completed—the emergency rulemaking for Protection from Wildfire Smoke.

Rules Pending

Pending regulations are listed below by the date of the public hearing.

  • January 17. Fall Protection in Telecommunications. Section 8615(g) of the Telecommunications Safety Orders was revised as the result of a petition and federal rulemaking. The term “fall restraint system” was substituted for “travel restricting equipment,” an exception relating to inclement weather was deleted, and it is required the “system” meet the applicable requirements of section 1670 of the construction safety orders and 2940.6(c) of the electrical safety orders.
  • March 18. Employee Access to Injury and Illness Prevention Program. New Section 3203(a)(8) is the result of a petition. The new section delineates the process by which an employee or his/her authorized representative may obtain a copy of the employer’s injury and illness prevention program, or by agreement, receive an electronic copy.
  • April 18. Outdoor Agricultural Operations During Hours of Darkness. Revisions to Sections 3441(g) and 3449 were requested by Cal/OSHA. Section 3441(g) will require onsite trucks and farm equipment to have at least one light on the front and one light on the back of the vehicle. The front light will illuminate at least 50 feet in the line of travel. Section 3449 is a table of illumination levels for specified work tasks at the site.
  • April 18. Single-User Toilet Facilities. Revisions to Construction Safety Orders Sections 1504, 1506, 1526, General Industry Safety Orders Sections 3361, 3364, 3437, 3457 and 5192 bring Title 8 into compliance with Health and Safety Code (HSC) Section 118600 concerning single-use toilet facilities. The proposal does so by making allowances for additional gender-neutral means of compliance with pre-existing Title 8 requirements while conforming to the single-user toilet facility of HSC Section 118600.
  • May 16. Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment. Electrical Safety Orders Sections 2300, 2305.2 and High Voltage Safety Orders Section 2940.2 and Appendix A to Article 36. The revisions to these sections are technical and editorial, correcting typographical and formatting errors to be consistent with the federal regulations.
  • June 20. Operator Qualification for Cranes and Derricks in Construction. Construction Safety Orders Sections 1618.1 and 1618.4 have been revised to ensure that California’s qualifications for operators of cranes and derricks in construction remain at least as effective as the counterpart federal regulations. Under the Horcher process, the revisions will go into effect the same day they are submitted to the Secretary of State.