October 14, 2019

Garlic City Healthcare Webinar Announcement

Our team has been working on providing our members with an affordable healthcare solution and are proud to have recently launched the Garlic City Healthcare Program!

On Wednesday, October 16 from 8:30am-9:00am the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a FREE live webinar to go over all the details of this exciting program. The program offers multiple components that offer preventative care coverage, prescription drug coverage, telemedicine and cost sharing for larger, unforeseen medical expenses. The program is flexible and allows members the ability to customize their healthcare, while providing a comprehensive solution. And the best part, the program is saving members an average of 60% and report a 91% satisfaction rate!

As we near Open Enrollment we hope you will join us for this webinar. Our partners in the program, The Small Association Leadership Alliance (SALA), will be presenting the program components and answering all your questions. Many of your fellow members have already signed up, come find out why.

You can join this FREE webinar by selecting this link and joining us on Wednesday, October 16.

Visit Gilroy Clarifies Strategic Direction

California Welcome Center – Gilroy Director, Jane Howard

The Visit Gilroy board of directors met on Thursday, September 19, 2019 for a Strategy Design Planning Session. Facilitated by the President of SMG Consulting, Carl Ribaudo, the goal of the planning session was to develop and clarify a strategic direction for the organization given the dramatic changes that have occurred in the market and where its desired future is. Objectives included:

  • Understanding – to identify the existing and potential changes impacting Visit Gilroy and the impacts they may have on the organization.
  • Creating – to provide an opportunity for both board members and staff to develop a mutual direction that will effectively guide the organization over the next 18 – 24 months; to provide a forum for participants to understand a range of organizational perspectives and to determine a common one in response to the changing dynamics of the organization; and to create an opportunistic strategy that takes advantage of the current tourism community assets and the changing competitive environmental changes.
  • Transforming – to identify the steps necessary to implement the organization’s strategy.

Board members shared how each of them individually and as an organization/business are doing following the incident at the Garlic Festival There was a consensus that the tourism community needs to begin to step forward, respecting those members of the community that are still grieving, and to develop a plan to move forward. Gilroy has emerging opportunities that can transform the destination over the next five years. These opportunities not only offer the potential to transform infrastructure elements but also the culture of Gilroy, broadening its appeal.

The concept of “Adjacent Possibilities” was considered in depth as part of the emerging opportunities discussion. This concept attempts to identify the possibilities that could come from decisions that are not clearly in sight at the time of the decision. Mr. Ribaudo shared several examples to demonstrate this concept.

By the end of the day, board members were moving to turning the page to “What is Next” – Short Term Changes (1 – 2 years), Mid-Term Changes (3 – 5 years) and Long-Term Changes (8 – 10 years). Debrief notes from the strategy design planning session will be reviewed by the Visit Gilroy board of directors at the next board meeting scheduled for October 17, 2019. Next steps for the organization will be discussed at the October board meeting.

Costumes and Commerce

Nearly 350 people attended the Chamber’s Costumes and Commerce Business Expo at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park on Thursday evening, October 10. Kaiser Permanente, Gilroy Gardens and Heritage Bank of Commerce were the event sponsors where approximately 60 vendors took advantage of the opportunity to talk to attendees about their products and services.

Kneaded Bakery and Old City Hall Restaurant gave out free food while Café 152 Bread Co. offered up Gilroy’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Maui Wowi handed smoothies and Snowie by Solari cooled things off with their shaved ice. Attendees learned about insurance services, banking opportunities, local real estate agents, dental services and much more. Several attendees were even treated to a free haircut by Gilroy Barber Lounge.

The Costumes and Commerce Business Expo allows the Chamber to help create a strong local economy as well as promote the community, two of the Chamber’s Core Competencies.

One Party Supermajorities Rule

Business Interests Adjust as One Party Supermajorities Rule
Opinion written by Anthony Samson and Chris Micheli

The California Legislature is currently more progressive than ever before, and the business community is adjusting its strategy in Sacramento accordingly. California has long been home to an extraordinarily active Legislature that routinely passes laws with significant and far-reaching impacts on businesses throughout the state, as well as national and international businesses, most of which have an economic interest in the world’s fifth-largest economy.

And, many of these laws are trendsetters because they impact other states and the national policy agenda, and often serve as the basis for “copy-cat” legislation in those other states or in Congress. Influencing the way in which California legislation is crafted is therefore often an effective way of influencing the policy agenda nationwide.

For this reason, the business community simply cannot afford to avoid this massive state.

The 2018 elections solidified California’s role as the nation’s progressive policy leader. The California Assembly, comprised of 80 members, is now home to 61 Democrats. Speaker Anthony Rendon referred to this three-fourths majority, which had not been reached by Democrats in more than 100 years, as a “giga majority.”

Similarly, the California Senate comes close to having a so-called giga majority, with 29 Democratic senators in the 40-member upper chamber. Many have predicted that the 2020 elections could actually result in an increase in these dominant figures because the state’s Democratic electorate will be motivated to vote on an anti-Trump platform.

California’s Democratic supermajority — combined with a more progressive Gov. Newsom (in comparison to his predecessor) — is a recipe for an ambitious state policy agenda that will undoubtedly impact the business community for years to come.

If the 2019 Legislative Session is any indication for what is to come, the business community will continue to see strong legislative pushes in the areas of labor and employment, environmental regulation, consumer privacy and data security, litigation, health care, and consumer products regulation, among others.

In years past, the business community, with the help of a large bloc of moderate Democratic legislators in the Assembly, had greater strength and could often squash bills either on the Assembly Floor or before a bill was even put up for a vote. As long-time Capitol columnist Dan Walters stated in the Sacramento Bee in 2016, “[m]od squad influence is rarely demonstrated in showdown votes on specific bills. Rather, legislation that fails because of their presence is usually placed on the shelf without votes after legislative leaders count noses and come up short.”

But things are different today.

Now, the business community needs to convince a whopping 21 Democrats in the Assembly and 9 Democrats in the Senate to abstain or no vote for a measure in order to stop bills on their respective floors. In reality, even more Democratic votes are needed in order to demonstrate that the particular measure does not have a sufficient number of votes to pass.

While the moderate bloc of Democrats continues to wield some influence, the stark reality for the business community is that the numbers speak for themselves. For that reason, much of the business community appears to have adjusted its legislative strategy by expressing an increasing willingness to strike a compromise on high-profile legislation.

In other words, bills that the business community would have overwhelmingly opposed and successfully “killed” in previous years are now the subject of intense negotiations instead. The idea is that, if the business community determines early in the legislative process that a bill “has legs,” many have opted to sit at the negotiation table to make the bill as workable as possible, rather than risk the bill passing in an unworkable form without any input.

The result is that the business community has and indeed will need to continue to adjust its expectations in California, particularly from a national perspective. The more common question for businesses moving forward will be “how do we make this bill workable?” rather than “how can we defeat this bill?”

Making a bill more “workable” requires serious negotiation. And in order to negotiate effectively, one must have a deep understanding of the relevant issues and the ability to engage meaningfully and substantively in the legislative process. It would serve the business community well, therefore, to adjust to this new environment in Sacramento by ensuring that it has the requisite in-house expertise and outside counsel to create new opportunities in California and continue to do business in the state despite a challenging legal and regulatory environment.

This is not to say that the business community was not successful in defeating a number of bills in 2019, as we have seen only 2 of the 31 California Chamber of Commerce “Job Killer” bills make it to Governor Newsom’s Desk, or that the business community will not be successful in doing so moving forward. However, with some exception, those wins may only be temporary.

And, if predictions come true for the 2020 November elections, we could see even larger Democratic super-majorities in one or both of the houses of the California Legislature. This would make amending or defeating problematic California legislation even more difficult than it is today.

Stanford’s Deal with County Appear Grim

Stanford’s Development Deal with Santa Clara County Appear Grim
Written by Jody Meacham, Silicon Valley Business Journal

Santa Clara County supervisors are halfway through a series of four workshops and hearings on Stanford University’s request for a huge campus expansion over the next 20 years that would be the largest county-approved development in its history.

But the university seems to be fighting an uphill battle in its effort to negotiate a separate agreement defining a list of community benefits such as housing and traffic mitigation measures it would commit to. Stanford officials say such an agreement is needed to provide certainty in what they’re required to do.

Four of the five supervisors — including Joe Simitian, the board’s president — made comments in Tuesday’s public hearing on Stanford’s application for a general use permit, or GUP, expressing doubt whether negotiations to create an additional development agreement sought by the school would be in the county’s interests.

“I have to tell you, every time I speak with somebody different, I’m less and less convinced that we can’t accomplish all we want under the GUP itself and not need a DA (development agreement),” Supervisor Dave Wasserman said in a comment directed to Catherine Palter, an associate vice president of Stanford who led the university’s presentation.

Simitian and Cindy Chavez, vice president of the board, were authorized last year to negotiate a development agreement. But those talks ended after Stanford negotiated a benefit deal with Palo Alto’s public school district outside the county talks.

Chavez and Simitian recently met again with Stanford representatives but Chavez said the university wanted to negotiate benefits “that started far below what the conditions of (GUP) approval were. … We would essentially begin … by negotiating against ourselves, particularly in the area of affordable housing.”

Stanford has proposed what it values as $4.7 billion in community benefits. County officials say only about 4 percent is really something in addition to what would be required by the GUP.

In a colloquy resembling the cross-examination of a courtroom witness, Palter answered affirmatively when Simitian asked: “So your position is that housing you chose to build to meet existing demand from students should be used to mitigate future demand from workforce folks who have not yet arrived?”

Palter told the board that the county’s proposed housing conditions “extend beyond the legal authority of the county.”

Based on what has come out in public meetings, Supervisor Dave Cortese, who last month criticized the county staff for poor communication about the Stanford talks, said the university, “by putting specific housing numbers out that are, are different and don’t appear to exceed the level of affordable housing in the ordinances … it’s very difficult to proceed to step two and negotiate or talk about all these other things and these other paragraphs like school impact, transportation, sustainability, open space and so forth.”

The public hearing will continue Oct. 22 at Palo Alto City Hall.

October 7, 2019

Garlic City Healthcare Webinar Announcement

Our team has been working on providing our members with an affordable healthcare solution and are proud to have recently launched the Garlic City Healthcare Program!

On Wednesday, October 16 from 8:30am-9:00am the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a FREE live webinar to go over all the details of this exciting program. The program offers multiple components that offer preventative care coverage, prescription drug coverage, telemedicine and cost sharing for larger, unforeseen medical expenses. The program is flexible and allows members the ability to customize their healthcare, while providing a comprehensive solution. And the best part, the program is saving members an average of 60% and report a 91% satisfaction rate!

As we near Open Enrollment we hope you will join us for this webinar. Our partners in the program, The Small Association Leadership Alliance (SALA), will be presenting the program components and answering all your questions. Many of your fellow members have already signed up, come find out why.

You can join this FREE webinar by selecting this link and joining us on Wednesday, October 16.


Rivas Bill to be Signed by Governor

Housing Bill to be Signed by Governor
Written by The Gilroy Dispatch Staff

The Farmworker Housing Act of 2019, introduced by Assemblymember Robert Rivas of Hollister, passed the California Assembly and State Senate.

For Rivas, who represents the 30th district in the Assembly, the passage of the bill in his first term is personal. His grandfather was a farmworker, and when Rivas was younger, he and his family lived in farmworker housing.

The bill creates a streamlined process for farmworker housing to be built on agricultural land. Several cities within Rivas’ district supported the bill, including Hollister, Morgan Hill, Salinas, San Juan Bautista and Soledad.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill. If Newsom signs the bill into law, then it will become active Jan. 1, 2020. The Farmworker Housing Act of 2019 passed the Assembly with a concurrence vote of 57 to 16 and the state Senate with a vote of 27 to 10.

Rivas told this paper he has worked with Newsom and is hopeful Newsom will sign the bill.

Currently, if a farm owner wants to build worker housing on farm property, it is a long process of zoning changes, with smaller farm owners unable to provide the kind of housing their workers need. Rivas’ bill provides exemptions to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for farmworker housing, and does not require property owners to apply for a zoning change.

The federal government currently provides a program known as H-2A that allows farm owners to sponsor temporary workers from foreign countries. Rivas has said that the Farmworker Housing Act would provide an option for the 75 percent of farmworkers who are U.S. residents and for the small farm owners who cannot afford to participate in H-2A.

One of the amendments made to the bill before its passage capped the number of units allowed in each development at 36.

In a press release sent by Rivas, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta offered support for the plan. “It is an important first step in addressing our farmworker housing crisis and an opportunity for employers and farmworkers to work together,” said Huerta.

Rivas said farm owners would be eligible to use state funding to partially fund the projects, allowing them to provide low- or no-rent housing. After being built, the developments would be run by local non-profit organizations.

“AB 1783 would have a direct impact on the farmworkers in our community because it would increase housing production for farm workers who currently cannot afford to live, and raise their families where they work because of the extremely high cost of rents and home ownership in California,” Rivas told this paper in an email.

“This bill would protect our farmworkers from housing instability and displacement because it would incentivize farm owners and operators to build more affordable farmworker housing on their private lands, which would ensure that farmworkers be housed in dignified, quality housing.”


What's New with Business?

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Business Relationship Manager, Eric Howard

Postal Graphics is a family owned business located at 1760 Airline Highway, Ste. F in Hollister. Ron, Jill and Mari Martin have owned Postal Graphics for 21 years. It started as Postnet (a franchise) in 1995. The Martins changed the name to Postal Graphics in 2008. They are primarily a print shop with shipping being a big part of the business. Postal Graphics likes to think of themselves as a one stop shop. They can print your business cards, notarize your document and send it off, next day delivery, with FedEx, UPS or USPS. Their core business services are: Printing (all aspects), shipping, packaging, boxes, faxing and mailboxes. Give them a call at 831-636-3787 or stop in if they can assist you in any way.

Take a Peek Boutique, located at 60 W. Fifth Street, offers the only 2D, 3D, 4D and HD prenatal elective ultrasound in South County. Combining cutting-edge technology with a comfortable and relaxing environment, they bring unbelievable images of your unborn baby to life! Their goal is to provide quality, impeccable ultrasounds for their customers. Now you can see your baby up close and personal. Find out the gender of your baby as early as 14 weeks. Take a Peek also offers gift certificates which are great for your pregnant friends and family members. Come by and take a look at their baby boutique. Don’t forget the heartbeat animals. You’ll have a forever keepsake of your baby’s heartbeat which has been proven to help soothe them outside the womb. For more information or to make an appointment call 408-430-3354 or go to takeapeekboutique.com.

Gavilan Employer Advisory Council (GEAC) is presenting their seminar, Recognizing and Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. This seminar will be at the Gilroy Hilton Garden Inn, located at 6070 Monterey Street, on Wednesday, October 23 from 7:30-10:00 am
The cost of the seminar is $40 for members and $55 for non-members, breakfast is included.
To register, call David Sambrano 408-216-6145.

Lisa Faria-Fleming moved to Gilroy in 1987. She raised her three children Jason, Michael and Katelin Faria in Gilroy. She has been involved with Gilroy Exchange Club since 2001 as secretary, treasurer, president, past president and will be a forever member. She is remaking her brand and will be selling as Lisa Stringfellow in 2020. Why Compass? They invite only the most talented, highest integrity agents to join them and then give an incredible amount of support. Lisa loves real estate and takes a client centric approach and is dedicated to help everyone find their place in the world. To contact Lisa for any real estate need, call 408-857-9924.

Fight for PG&E Control

Article provided by CalMatter

Plaintiffs attorneys, wildfire victims and a group of hedge funds have formed an alliance in an effort to seize control of Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest electric utility.

The Sacramento Bee’s Dale Kasler describes the alliance as “a jolt to PG&E Corp.” The hobbled company is in bankruptcy court in San Francisco, facing billions of dollars in liability from wildfires that include the Camp Fire, which killed 86 people.

Lawyers for hedge funds that hold billions in PG&E bonds made a joint filing with wildfire victims in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Thursday. They’re seeking bankruptcy court approval to take control of PG&E, and are proposing to inject $28 billion into PG&E.

  • Wildfire victims stand to receive $12 billion, plus stock in the reorganized company. That’s significantly more than PG&E’s current ownership has offered victims.

The Bee: The alliance with fire victims gives the bondholder hedge funds, which have been trying for months to take over PG&E, a potentially powerful new ally that has considerable sympathy in the Capitol.

PG&E’s statement: “PG&E remains focused on doing right by the customers and communities we serve. By contrast, the bondholders’ plan is an attempt to pay themselves more than they are entitled to under the law and costs customers billions of dollars.”

California Economy Continues Growing

California Economy Continues Growing; Some Declines Due to Ongoing Trade Wars
Written by Dave Kilby, CalChamber

While still savoring the fact that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a record-breaking expansion, attention has suddenly shifted to questions about when the next recession will begin.

Admittedly, there are a number of mounting concerns: U.S. trade conflicts, weaker global economic conditions, Brexit, and the inverted yield curve.

Still, despite the uncertainty that has fueled these concerns, and despite chronic homegrown problems with respect to the labor force and housing, California’s economy has performed solidly through the first half of the year, and will stay on track into 2020.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Looking beyond the rhetoric and headline-catching hyperbole, data clearly show a California economy that is humming along. The state’s unemployment rate, having hit a record low of 4.1% in July 2018, has been skating along at that rate, or slightly above, in the months since.

Jobs grew statewide at a year-over-year rate of 1.8% in July 2019, comfortably above the long-run growth rate (since 1991) of 1.2% and a just a hair behind last year’s 1.9% rate of expansion. And with a tight labor market and steady job growth, wages continue to climb.

California Job Gains

California added 311,800 jobs year-over-year as of July, and has accounted for 16% of job gains nationally through the first seven months of 2019, essentially unchanged from the previous five years.

Health Care, Professional Scientific and Technical Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Construction led the way in absolute terms, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the state’s total job gains.

Each of these industries is driven by its own dynamic. Health Care has been on a sustained growth path for several years, while the advances in Professional Scientific and Technical Services show the strength of the state’s tech sector. Meanwhile, gains in Leisure and Hospitality employment are a reflection of spending from household and business discretionary income.

Construction, Professional Scientific and Technical Services, and Health Care were also leaders in percentage terms, followed by Information.

On the other hand, five of the state’s 17 major industries contracted, losing a total of 13,600 jobs from July 2018 to July 2019 (less than 0.1% of the state’s total payroll employment).

Evidence of growth also can be seen early in the year, in real gross state product, which was up 2.7% year-to-year in the first quarter, and in nominal personal income, which advanced by 3.1% over the same period, slightly off the national pace in both cases.

When viewed alongside the 8.1% increase in statewide taxable sales over this same period, it appears that both household and business spending have the wherewithal to fuel continued spending.

Regional Performance Varies

Regionally, Los Angeles County led the state in job growth in July 2019 with an increase of 59,400 positions, followed by the San Francisco Metropolitan District (41,100), the Inland Empire (35,700), and San Jose (33,500).

All but two metro areas in the state added jobs in yearly terms in July. While every region in California is on track to experience job growth for the year as a whole, performance varies across the state depending on underlying fundamentals and the leading industries in each region: steady tech growth in the Bay Area; the energy sector in Bakersfield; tourism, retail, and professional services in Orange County; and logistics in the Inland Empire.

Problem Areas

To be sure, California is not without problems. Retail Trade lost 11,000 jobs year-over-year in July, wage and job gains are stronger in some parts of the state than in others, and the housing market is struggling in many regions.

Median home prices are a mixed bag, up across most of the state, but flat or decreasing in others. Home sales declined steadily last year in response to rising mortgage rates. However, with rates turning down since late 2018, sales improved modestly in the first half of 2019, and sales in the second half of the year should improve over the first.

Meanwhile, rents have continued to rise over the year against a backdrop of stable or declining vacancy rates, and statewide residential construction has declined compared to last year’s levels, making an already-chronic housing shortfall even worse.

California Continues Growing Despite Trade Wars

Beginning with withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership upon entering the White House, the Trump administration has aggressively challenged U.S. trading partners and has sought to reshape U.S. trade policy.

As home to the largest port complex in the Western Hemisphere and significant cross-border and trans-Pacific trade activity, California’s trade-related and trade-dependent industries have a lot at stake.

Partly because of sustained strength in the economies of the United States and its trading partners, but also because of efforts to stay ahead of forthcoming tariffs and trade restrictions, California exports and imports advanced to new record high levels in 2017 and 2018 despite the Trump administration’s machinations. Of course, some industries and commodities experienced declines over this period in contrast to the overall gains.

Shifting to the first half of this year, both California exports and imports are down in year-to-date terms. However, in light of the fact that the state labor market remains tight, that job gains continue on a sustained basis, and that many of the state’s key industries continue to advance, it is clear that the California economy has been bruised, but not broken, by ongoing trade conflicts.

Newsom Bucks His Own Party

Newsom Bucks His Own Party on Water
Opinion written by Dan Walters, CalMatters

It had to happen sooner or later.

At some point, California’s “resistance” to President Donald Trump would move beyond flowery rhetoric, tweets and lawsuits and seriously affect Californians.

It happened in the wee hours of Saturday, just before the Legislature adjourned for the year. Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1, the self-described California Environmental, Public Health and Workers Defense Act of 2019, and Gov. Gavin Newsom immediately signaled that he would veto it.

Carried by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, SB 1 would, if enacted, lodge in state law dozens of federal regulations that Trump’s administration had rolled back.

The most important, at least politically, have to do with water. Critics of the measure said that, purposely or not, the bill would sabotage years of very delicate negotiations aimed at bringing an end to California’s political and legal battles over the precious liquid.

Those negotiations revolve around the fate of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, through which the state’s major rivers flow on their way to San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, and from which water is diverted to supply San Joaquin Valley farms and Southern Californians’ thirsts.

Environmental groups have sought enhanced flows through the Delta to preserve its role as an estuary important for the survival of fish and other species. But more water for the Delta’s wildlife inevitably means less water for human uses, especially agriculture, by far California’s biggest water user.

The battles have been fought in political arenas, both in California and Washington, and Trump has openly favored farmers, giving urgency to the drafting of so-called voluntary agreements that would reallocate water in ways acceptable to the dozens of contending interest groups.

The negotiations began under former Gov. Jerry Brown and have continued under successor Newsom, who would like nothing better than to announce an end to water wars.

Agricultural interests, with the support of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a key player in the water negotiations, complained loudly that SB 1 would, by adopting pre-Trump rules regarding endangered species, undermine the peace talks.

Democratic legislators from rural areas, along with Republicans, backed their position. Newsom weighed in privately, seeking either changes in the bill or a postponement until next year.

Atkins appeared to be wavering, but at the last moment, she pushed the measure through both legislative houses.

It forced Newsom’s hand. He quickly declared that he supports the “principles behind Senate Bill 1: to defeat efforts by the President and Congress to undermine vital federal protections that protect clean air, clean water and endangered species.” He added, “Senate Bill 1 does not, however, provide the state with any new authority to push back against the Trump administration’s environmental policies and it limits the state’s ability to rely upon the best available science to protect our environment.”

By blocking SB 1, Newsom alienates some of his Democratic Party’s most important constituencies, the 41 environmental groups and labor unions listed as its supporters. But he placates an even greater number of business and agricultural groups that opposed it, including the California Chamber of Commerce, which had tagged the bill as a “job killer.”

“SB 1 posed a major threat to California’s water supply and reliability, and the governor has shown outstanding leadership in announcing his veto of this measure,” the chamber said.

To neutralize the political fallout from his veto threat, Newsom must now deliver on a water agreement. Failure would be infinitely embarrassing.