December 30, 2019

Non-Profit of the Year – South County Tail Waggers

South County Tail Waggers mission is Saving Each Other — People Saving Dogs, and Dogs Saving People Right Back! The way they implement their mission every day is through their Community Influence Program. Volunteers take their adoptable Tail Waggers into the community to visit incarcerated minors, senior citizens, at-risk youth, and foster children. These special populations of people help socialize the Tail Waggers to get them ready for their forever homes and families, and in turn they receive back the unconditional love and understanding that they so desperately need and deserve. SCTW is so proud of the thousands of lives they have been able to touch and change through this crucial program that they have created for our community.

SCTW has saved over 400 dogs and adopted them to their forever homes and families. They focus on the dogs facing euthanasia for medical and/or behavioral issues, and roughly 90% of their rescues were facing this fate.

SCTW has created more than one instrumental program for South County in the last year. Aside from their Community Influence Program, they also created South County’s first ever free spay and neuter clinic for our residents in need. They also worked very closely with the Compassion Center and helped get the dogs living with their homeless companions spayed and neutered. When just one female and her unaltered litter can create over 100,000 puppies in just seven years, spaying and neutering is SCTW’s top priority. Finally, after seeing a real need, they also created the first free day camp for children with disabilities and their families. It was met with great success, and the gratitude from the kids and their parents meant the world to SCTW.

SCTW attributes their success to three things: Unwavering commitment, deep personal sacrifice, and their incredible team of volunteers, fosters, and donors. Managing a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit on top of their own personal and professional lives comes with its challenges. However, knowing that rescue never sleeps, and that there are a million more dogs waiting in line to be rescued, keeps them going every day.

SCTW has a lot in store for 2020 and beyond including expanding their Community influence program to working with the homeless population, children and adults with disabilities, and domestic abuse victims. They are going to create reading programs for kids, where they can practice reading in a safe space to adoptable Tail Waggers. They are currently planning Spring Fling luncheons for seniors that are unable to participate in social activities because of mobility issues, where the Tail Waggers and a plated lunch will come to them. They also are working on curriculum with retired teachers to bring animal welfare awareness, and the importance of spaying and neutering into the classroom for K-12.

Volunteer of the Year – Lisa Blagof

Lisa really enjoys the small town feel and the ability to “know her neighbors”. Coming from a very small town in Oregon, she appreciates that Gilroy is a bit larger, yet not so big that she gets lost in the masses. She loves the generosity of the community and the ability to pull together in a time of crisis across political and religious lines.

Lisa believes that when you help others you gain a better perspective of your own life. You can reach across barriers and bring comfort to others, giving your own life purpose or meaning. Lisa has been busy helping others for quite some time. Below is a list of different activities and organizations she’s been involved with:

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

  • Chamber Member
  • Ambassador
  • Ambassador Vice Chair 2018 & Chair 2019
  • Ambassador of the Year 2018
  • Greeter Mixers & Breakfast
  • Mixer Emcee
  • Beer Tent Cash Monitor
  • Paws in the Park Chairperson
  • Car Show – Show ‘N Shine(s) Greeter
  • Biz Expo Committee Member


Rotary International

  • Projects Director
  • Blood Drive
  • Murder Mystery
  • Golf Tournament Committee


South County Tail Waggers

  • Wag-a-thon Co-Chairperson
  • Car Show Raffle Tent & Ticket Sales


South County Realtors Alliance

  • Events Director
  • Member Appreciation Event
  • Holiday Can-Tree Breakfast
  • Seasonal Can-Tree Fundraisers
  • SCRA Golf Tournament Volunteer


Leadership Gilroy Class of 2019

  • Tame the Flame Class Project


Coldwell Banker Community Fundraising

  • Habitat for Humanity – Office Champion
  • Party in the Vineyard – Volunteer
  • Freedom Fest Parade – Volunteer


Community Solutions

  • Holiday Giving Program
  • Walk for a Wish Walk-a-thon


For Lisa, this quote sums it up best, “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote everyday about the kind of community you want to live in.”

December 23, 2019

Chamber files legal challenge to AB 51

Article written by Emily Alvarenga, The Signal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with the help of a coalition of businesses and led by the California Chamber of Commerce, has filed legal challenge to Assembly Bill 51.

AB 51, a bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October, prohibits arbitration with respect to workers, ensuring that new or current employees aren’t required to sign mandatory arbitration agreements that cover any claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The chamber is seeking to overturn AB 51, which it describes as a “job killer bill,” according to a statement issued by CalChamber on Tuesday.

“Over the course of the last several years, I have been steering businesses away from arbitration agreements because they’re expensive,” said Brian Koegle, a partner in the employment and labor law department at Poole Shaffery & Koegle LLP. “But the fascinating thing about this is that AB 51 is substantially similar to AB 3080, which was vetoed by Gov. (Jerry) Brown (last year) because the Federal Arbitration Act is going to preempt this provision.”

In addition to the veto, the California Supreme Court has held that state laws are preempted by federal laws in prior decisions.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Eastern District of California, asks the courts for an injunction that would pause the effective date in order to give the judicial system an opportunity to review the bill, as it wouldn’t be litigated by January.

“We shouldn’t implement a law until it has gone into a judicial review when there’s a viable challenge like this, and the law should be stayed while awaiting a decision by the judge,” Koegle said, adding that the legal argument that has been laid out seems strong.

The complaint states that not only will AB 51 result in more litigation and impose delays in California’s justice system, but it will also increase costs for businesses and workers alike.

“It doesn’t make sense to place businesses at risk for criminal penalties for a practice that has been favored by California and federal law and consistently upheld by the courts,” Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of CalChamber, said in the statement. “While it may not serve the best interests of the trial lawyers, expeditious resolution through the arbitration process serves the interests of employees and employers.”

2020 Large Business of the Year – Cresco Equipment Rentals

As the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce prepares for its 67th Annual Dinner and Awards’ Ceremony, also known as the Spice of Life Awards Dinner, we wanted to take some time to highlight this year’s recipients beginning with the 2020 Large and Small Businesses of the Year.

2020 Large Business of the Year – Cresco Equipment Rentals

Chris Smith, President of Cresco Equipment Rentals said, “Cresco has always felt accepted and valued by the community of Gilroy. We do business in cities throughout Northern California. In many, they are just another face in the crowd. The Gilroy Chamber, the business community, events and people of Gilroy have always made us feel important. We are offered an incredibly diverse mix of customers from Gilroy. We are offered opportunities to rent on large public sector projects while also helping with fun and interesting small projects on people’s personal homes and property. In Gilroy we feel supported and safe doing our business. We feel as if our opinion matters and that we have a say in things that matter.”

One of the most important Core Values that drives Cresco’s culture is that of Service. Obviously, this applies to customer service. Cresco tries to provide service to their customers unparalleled in the industry. The profit they hope to make through their customer service is really the fuel that fires the more important application of service and that is service to the community.

As an organization Cresco lives by a simple credo that one never need ask permission to do the right thing. It turns out that many people need the things they have. Many people can not afford to rent them for very important projects which will benefit those in need. Chris said, “If Cresco can be part of a solution, we will be. If we can help kids in need, we will. If we can help a little league that is struggling, we do. If an Eagle Scout needs some tools for his project, we have what he needs. We are blessed with a wonderful business and most importantly one that puts us frequently in a position to serve. At our core, we are servants.”

Chris went on to say, “If we were not serving others, we would be left thinking about ourselves all of the time. What a miserable and sad experience that would become.”

Cresco supports hundreds of organizations each year both with equipment and monetary donations. A few examples would be:

  • UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and San Francisco
  • The Taylor Family Foundation
  • Red Cross
  • Build – 826 Valencia
  • Little Leagues
  • Youth Football
  • Eagle Scouts
  • Local churches
  • Schools

“One major accomplishment we’re most proud of,” Chris said, “has been our business partnership with The Gilroy Garlic Festival.”

Another very proud day for Cresco was their move from the smaller location on the corner of Chestnut to their current larger facility. Chris said, “We were so excited and proud that we could afford to make that move.”

Chris also said, “We are most grateful that we were able to survive the challenges of the 2008 recession and maintain our presence and services in Gilroy. That was certainly not the case for everyone.”

Cresco has served two US Open Golf Championships from their Gilroy location over the years as the primary rental equipment provider in addition to supporting many other smaller events at Pebble Beach.

When asked what advice he would give to other businesses, Chris said, “Commit to the towns in which you choose to do business. Serve those towns when it is profitable and when it is just the right thing to do. Do everything you can to hire people from the local community for your team. Find a way to love what you do no matter what the challenges. Listen to the community and make every effort to do business in the way they prefer. Always do the right thing.”

2020 Small Business of the Year – Straw Hat Pizza

Raj Nayyar was born in Punjab, India, the second of six children. His paternal grandparents migrated to the United States in the early 1970’s. After encouragement from his father, Raj’s father decided to immigrate to the United States in order to offer his children more opportunities. Raj’s father originally immigrated to the United States in the 1980’s and later was able to send for Raj and his sibling. The family settled in Union City, California, where Raj attended James Logan High School. After graduation he attended Ohlone College and Heald College where he took several business courses that would later be useful in his career.

Realizing that he wanted to run my own business and with no prior experience in the restaurant or pizza industry, Raj opened his first Straw Hat Pizza Parlor in May 2002 in Watsonville, California. After several years of successful operation in Santa Cruz County, Raj decided to open a second location. He opened a second Straw Hat in Hayward, California in June 2007. His third and largest Straw Hat was opened in Gilroy, California in November 2015. This location boasts 7,000+ square feet, with two separate private party rooms, arcade and over 40 High-Resolution large screen flat-screen Televisions.

Raj loves the town of Gilroy. Raj, said, “It’s a very family oriented, friendly and supportive place to be. It makes it easy for me as a business owner in Gilroy. Seeing such a tight knit community like Gilroy inspires me to be equally giving and generous.” Raj has always felt the need to give back to the community. He has sponsored numerous community organizations, such as South County Tail Wagger’s, Indian Association of South Santa Clara County, Christopher High School wrestling, Gilroy High School Football and wrestling teams and various Little League Teams, not to mention supporting Wreaths Across America.

Raj and his team at Straw Hat Pizza along with community volunteers stayed up all night after the incident at the Garlic Festival making and delivering pizzas to law enforcement personnel at Christmas Hill Park. Raj has also organized numerous fundraisers for various local groups such as the Gilroy Foundation in order to help the victims of the recent tragic shooting incident. Raj said, “We do these things not out of obligation, but out of love and appreciation for our neighbors and our neighborhood.”

As for advice to up and coming small businesses, Raj said, “I would offer one simple recommendation, prioritize good customer service. Pay attention to the people who not only provide for you and your family, but who provide for your employees and their families as well. Treat your customers as you would want to be treated if you were the customer.”

December 16, 2019

Gilroy Chamber Steps Back In To Economic Development Role

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, Mark Turner

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce will be responsible for economic development work during a transition period for the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation (GEDC). The Boards of the GEDC and the Chamber of Commerce came to terms on a plan that runs through June 30, 2020.

The Chamber will be involved in business attraction and expansion efforts which include website management, marketing and advertising, along with helping those looking to start or relocate their business in Gilroy.

In 1996, after several years of doing economic development work in-house, the Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Gilroy and the private sector, launched the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation. Since that time, the Gilroy Chamber has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the GEDC.

The Chamber will work closely with the GEDC Board, the City of Gilroy, Visit Gilroy and others to ensure a smooth transition. The Chamber looks forward to participating in a larger role of economic development as it aligns with several of its core competencies such as, “Building a Strong Local Economy” and “Promoting the Community.”

Wreaths Across America - South County

While more than 200,000 wreaths were being placed on Veterans’ graves in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, nearly 1,200 wreaths were placed on Veterans’ graves here in South County. Saturday, December 14 marked National Wreaths Across America Day, a movement to cover all Veteran’s graves with a Christmas wreath.

This is the 6th year volunteers have gathered at Gavilan Hills and St. Mary’s Cemeteries in Gilroy and Mt. Hope in Morgan Hill to take part in the wreath laying ceremony. More than 300 volunteers participated in this local annual event.

Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce and organizer of the local Wreaths Across America effort, said in his address to the crowd, “There is a spirit within the American military personnel that embodies the belief of our Founding Fathers, when they wrote these words in the Declaration of Independence, ‘And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.’”

Mayor Roland Velasco, who is a Veteran himself, made brief comments and noted heroic efforts of our military men and women while explaining the mission of Wreath Across America which is to Remember, Teach and Honor. Supervisor Mike Wasserman also attended the ceremonies and commented on the number of youths who were in attendance.

The ceremony included the presentation of the flag by Gilroy Boy Scout Troop 711. The Pledge of Allegiance and invocation was led by Pastor Greg Quirke of South Valley Community Church. The Gilroy High School Chamber Choir, led by Jonathan Souza, sang patriotic songs as the ceremony got started.

After the short ceremony, volunteers fanned out across both cemeteries placing wreaths on Veterans’ graves. Larry W. Carr with the Knights of Columbus coordinated the wreath laying effort at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Morgan Hill where approximately 350 veterans are laid to rest. At both locations, Taps was played marking the official end of the wreath laying ceremony.

Although National Wreaths Across America Day is the second Saturday in December, anyone interested in learning how they can support the effort can call the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce.



 Photo Courtesy of Santa Clara County Supervisor, Mike Wasserman

What’s New with Business?

The Gilroy Garlic Festival Association announced that Brian Bowe, who has served as Executive Director for the Festival for 14 years, has officially resigned. The Association will begin conducting an outside search for a new Executive Director; Bowe will stay on for a period of time to help with the transition. Tom Cline, President of the 2020 Gilroy Garlic Festival, stated, “On behalf of the entire Association and the more than 4,000 volunteers who work at the Festival every year, we are incredibly grateful to Brian Bowe for providing such outstanding leadership over the last 14 years. His tireless dedication to the Festival and all of the non-profit groups that we support has been unmatched. We wish him all the best in the future—and hope he will come visit us all at the 42nd annual Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 24, 25 and 26, 2020.”

In these cold winter months, a nice cup of tea is like a hug from the inside – and extremely beneficial and healthy. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition Science at Tufts University, one of the major benefits of drinking green or black tea is improving cardiovascular health. Furthermore, many studies have shown that tea reduces the risk of diabetes, helps with weight loss, and improves dental health. If someone wants to try green or black tea, Bobaloca, located at 767 1st Street in Gilroy serves both these teas as a cold and warm beverage. In addition, any flavor can be added to these teas if someone likes a particular flavor. They also have gift baskets for the holiday season if someone wants to give the wonderful “gift of tea” to someone special.

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce’s website includes valuable information on many different subjects. The Work Local page is available to any and all persons looking for employment in Gilroy. The City of Gilroy, Gilroy Premium Outlets, Cintas, McDonalds, ImageFirst, Wal-Mart and Gilroy Gardens are just a few of the businesses that have job postings listed. Every Gilroyan that is commuting outside the area should check out the local job listings. Go to to see jobs available in our community.

As the end of 2019 approaches, one can’t help but pause to think of all the lives that have been changed thanks to the programs offered by the Youth Alliance. It’s thanks to generous partners, ongoing supporters, and incredible allies that allow them to serve over 8,500 children, youth, and adults each year in San Benito County, Gilroy, and Morgan Hill. Youth Alliance has a powerful vision that promotes youth resiliency, youth healing through engaging activities, leadership that empowers youth to have their voice create positive change and advocacy that transforms lives and communities. Their mission is to provide innovative and culturally relevant services that strengthen and enrich youth, families, and the community.

Rotary International Focuses on Disease Prevention

Rotarians believe good health care is everyone’s right. Yet 400 million people in the world can’t afford or don’t have access to basic health care.

Disease results in misery, pain, and poverty for millions of people worldwide. That’s why treating and preventing disease is so important to us. We lead efforts both large and small. We set up temporary clinics, blood donation centers, and training facilities in under-served communities struggling with outbreaks and health care access. We design and build infrastructure that allows doctors, patients, and governments to work together.

Our members combat diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and polio. Prevention is important, which is why we also focus on health education and bringing people routine hearing, vision, and dental care.

How Rotary Makes It Happen

We educate and equip communities to stop the spread of life-threatening diseases. Rotary members have hundreds of health projects underway around the world at any given time.
To read more about how local Rotarians are participating in the effort go to

If you’re interested in joining a group of Gilroyans who put “Service Above Self” and contribute to the betterment of our community and to those around the globe, consider joining the Rotary Club. The Gilroy Rotary Club is accepting applications for membership. Learn more by going to

California Regulators Clear the Way for Natural Gas Bans to Take Effect

Article written by Mallory Moench, The San Francisco Chronicle

The California Energy Commission cleared the way Wednesday for six local governments to limit the use of natural gas in many new buildings. The policies, which encourage the installation of all-electric appliances, are scheduled to take effect in January.

Environmental advocates pushing to scale back fossil fuels hailed the commission’s move as a victory, but opponents argue that the gas bans will increase costs, harm businesses and limit consumer choice. Some noted that the all-electric push comes despite Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s warning that wildfire-prevention power outages could persist for a decade.

Berkeley passed a trend-setting ban on gas appliances in new homes over the summer. Its example showed the way for more than 20 municipalities to pass similar ordinances, according to the Building Decarbonization Coalition.

As a result of the commission’s unanimous vote Wednesday, the cities of San Jose, Menlo Park, San Mateo, West Hollywood and Santa Monica, and Marin County will ban or limit gas appliances in many new buildings. Where gas is allowed, they will in some cases demand that new construction be more energy efficient than the state — a leader in energy savings — requires. Numerous other cities may come to the commission for approval of bans.

“We need to see innovation in new construction in order to meet decarbonization goals,” David Hochschild, chair of the commission, said at Wednesday’s meeting. The four commissioners present decided that the local regulations decreased energy usage, though they did not make any determination on the cost of the measures.

“We’re seeing enormous momentum across the state as cities adopt ‘reach’ codes,” Hochschild said, referring to laws that go beyond the state’s energy standards. More are expected to come to the commission for approval next year.

The gas bans have seen opposition from the gas industry, business groups and developers.

Ben Granholm, Regulatory Affairs Specialist at Western Propane Gas Association, told commissioners Wednesday that relying on a single energy source is “risky,” as power shut-offs left millions in the dark and cold this fire season.

Granholm argued for more diverse energy sources and support for propane, a relatively clean-burning byproduct of natural gas processing.

“Clean energy solutions should not have to compete against each other when they can so often complement each other, like propane and solar,” he said.

A representative of PG&E, which supplies gas as well as electricity across Northern California, said a multifaceted approach, including natural gas and hydrogen, is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Los Angeles County Business Federation, whose members in West Hollywood and Santa Monica will be affected by new gas policies, said in a statement that eliminating natural gas will do little to reduce climate emissions and instead will increase costs: “It’s not just about the environment but sustainability of jobs, sustainability of communities, and sustainability of the economy.”

Some organizations have taken their complaints to court. In November, the California Restaurant Association sued Berkeley, asking the U.S. District Court to stop the gas ban. The association argued the ban — which is to cover new commercial buildings and new homes — would cause “irreparable harm” to restaurants, many which use gas stoves. Also in November, two developers sued the Sonoma County town of Windsor over its gas ban, saying it would lead to increased use of generators, which carry risks during power shut-offs.

Rebecca Lucky, Menlo Park’s Sustainability Manager, said at Wednesday’s meeting that going electric saves on construction costs but it’s difficult to determine whether it will be cheaper to operate over time because electricity prices fluctuate.

Amid a housing boom and Facebook’s expansion plans, the city wanted to make sure that new development wasn’t contributing to climate change and sea level rise. Lucky said that the conversation with major developers “hasn’t been easy.”

The laws approved Wednesday are not all the same.

San Jose prohibits gas appliances in new single-family and low-rise residential buildings up to three stories. Other buildings, if they go with gas, must have efficiencies that exceed state standards.

Menlo Park requires electric power for space heating, water heating and dryers in new homes but allows gas stoves. High-rise and non-residential buildings also have to go electric, but exemptions apply to life science buildings and emergency operations centers. Restaurant and cafeteria kitchens can ask for an exemption. All buildings must meet a minimum solar requirement.

San Mateo doesn’t outright ban gas appliances, but it sets a higher energy efficiency standard for buildings that use them. Restaurants are exempted. The city is waiting on a state report on cost impacts for multi-family buildings before potentially introducing additional rules, according to Andrea Chow, the city’s sustainability analyst.

Marin County had a gas ban in effect since April 2018, but under Wednesday’s approval it will allow gas stoves and fireplaces in new construction if the buildings meet higher energy efficiency standards. Alice Zanmiller, planner on the county Community Development Agency’s sustainability team, said that some residents were reluctant to give up those particular appliances.

Berkeley’s gas ban also includes some exemptions. The city adopted its ban within the scope of its police powers, meaning it isn’t pre-empted by state law and doesn’t require Energy Commission approval. Spokesman Matthai Chakko said the city plans to submit its ordinance to a different body, the Building Standards Commission, before the end of the year.

Mallory Moench is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @mallorymoench

California Consumer Privacy Act

California Consumer Privacy Act – Employers Need to Be Ready January 1
Article written by James Ward, CalChamber

Starting January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) significantly changes California’s consumer data collection rules and give consumers more control over how businesses use their personal information. However, the broad language of the CCPA arguably encompasses employees and job applicants, including employment data. Although employment data has a one-year exemption, employers covered by the act still need to comply with certain requirements starting January 1.

Originally passed in 2018, the CCPA is primarily intended to limit disclosure of personal information collected for commercial/marketing purposes. Businesses subject to the CCPA are required to, among other things, give notice to consumers about the kinds of personal information collected about them and what it will be used for. Under a consumer’s request, businesses must disclose and deliver or even delete such information.

“Personal information” is defined very broadly by the CCPA as “any information that identifies, relates to, describes, or is capable of being associated with, a particular individual,” with some exceptions for certain types of data.

Using this broad definition, employees may be able to go beyond requesting personnel files and payroll records, which they are entitled to request under existing laws, and potentially ask for all personal information employers have about them, including internal company documents/information to which employees are not otherwise entitled. Employees could also ask to have any of their personal information deleted.

To address this problem, the Legislature passed AB 25, which amends the CCPA, exempting employee data, i.e., information collected and used within the context of a person’s employment or application for employment, from most, but not all, of the provisions of the CCPA for one year.

Don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet! Employers subject to CCPA still must comply with some requirements starting January 1 — they still must disclose, at or before the time of collection, the categories of personal information collected about an applicant or employee and the purposes for which the information will be used.

Additionally, covered employers are still obligated to comply with the other CCPA provisions for non-employee/applicant consumers from whom they collect data (customers, clients, website visitors, etc).

The CCPA does not apply to all employers. Covered employers are any for-profit business entity doing business in California that meets one of the following:

  • Gross Revenue greater than $25 million;
  • Annually buys, receives, sells or shares the personal information of more than 50,000 consumers, households or devices for commercial purposes; or
  • Derives 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.

Employers should consult with legal counsel to determine whether they are covered by the CCPA and, if so, how to amend employee privacy notices or otherwise comply with their obligations under the CCPA.

December 9, 2019

Canceling Shifts on Short Notice May Lead to Reporting Time Pay

By Michelle Galbraith, CalChamber

How much notice must I give my employees that I’m canceling a shift in order to avoid paying reporting time?

Anytime an employee reports to work but is given less than half of the employee’s regular shift, the employer owes that employee reporting time pay.

The reporting time payment is equal to half of the scheduled or regular shift, no less than two hours and no more than four.

What ‘Reporting to Work’ Means Now

Traditionally, reporting time pay was required when an employee physically showed up to work and was sent home or given fewer than half the scheduled hours.

But as technology has advanced, and employees can check shift schedules online or via phone or text, it has become less clear what constitutes “reporting to work” so as to trigger reporting time pay.

For example, in a recent case, an employer that required its employees to call in two hours before the scheduled start of their shifts to determine whether they would be needed that day was ordered to pay reporting time pay if the employees were not given a shift. The court held that the act of calling in constituted “reporting” to work, even though the employees may never have left their houses.

This is because reporting time pay is designed not only to discourage employers from scheduling employees when there is insufficient work, but also to compensate employees for the costs of preparing to work (such as arranging child care, commuting, or turning down hours at other jobs).

If an employee learns immediately prior to leaving for work—or in the middle of a commute—that a shift has been canceled, that employee still will have incurred expenses related to preparing for work.

Some Local Requirements

Employers also should be aware that municipalities may set their own requirements for short notice changes to employee schedules; for example, some San Francisco retail workers are entitled to “predictability pay” of between one and four hours of regular wages when their schedule changes with less than a week’s notice.

However, absent requirements such as those in San Francisco, there is no specific number of hours of notice that an employer must give an employee to safely avoid paying reporting time pay. Employers should consult with counsel if they need to cancel shifts on short notice.

Court Must Fix Tax Vote Ambiguity

By Dan Walters, CalMatters

Sooner or later, the state Supreme Court must clear up a legal ambiguity it created over how many votes are needed to enact local tax increases.

It should be sooner, because a new election year is nigh, dozens — and perhaps hundreds — of local tax measures are being drafted and no one truly knows whether simple majorities or two-thirds votes are needed for those placed on the ballot via initiative.

Local judges have issued diametrically different rulings, making it impossible for election officials to know what’s legal and what’s not.

It all began two years ago when the Supreme Court decided a case involving an election date for a marijuana measure in Upland, a small city in Southern California.

The state constitution says that while general use tax increases sought by local governments — sales taxes, usually — require only simple majority approval, “special taxes” designated for specific purposes need two-thirds votes.

However, in writing the 5-2 majority opinion, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar declared, “Multiple provisions of the state Constitution explicitly constrain the power of local governments to raise taxes. But we will not lightly apply such restrictions on local governments to voter initiatives.”

He seemed to imply that special purpose taxes placed on the ballot via initiative were not bound by the two-thirds vote requirement. Thus, pro-tax forces, such as public employee unions, could sponsor ballot measures to raise those taxes with just simple majority votes.

An early test arose in two San Francisco tax measures, both placed on the ballot in 2018 via initiatives personally sponsored by members of the city’s Board of Supervisors, one for early childhood education, the other to battle homelessness.

Both received less than two-thirds votes, but a local judge, Ethan Schulman, validated them anyway, citing the Upland decision.

However, Fresno Superior Court Judge Kimberly Gaab had a 180-degree different view regarding a sales tax measure in 2018 to improve city parks. The tax hike received just 52.2% of the votes, but its sponsors sued to have it validated based on the Upland decision and lost.

“The two-thirds vote requirement applies to all special tax proposals, regardless of the proponent of the proposal,” Gaab wrote.

The newest wrinkle arose in Oakland, where a parcel tax measure for education and job readiness programs got 62% of votes in 2018.

Oakland’s city attorney had said it needed two-thirds approval, but after its apparent failure, city officials declared it a winner, citing the Upland case. Nevertheless, Superior Court Judge Ronnie MacLaren ruled otherwise in October.

“Allowing Measure AA to be enacted with less than two-thirds of the votes would constitute a fraud on the voters,” MacLaren wrote, noting that “the ballot measures prepared by the city unambiguously advised voters that Measure AA would require two-thirds of the votes to pass.”

The city is now appealing.

Obviously, the vote threshold for initiative tax measures is completely up in the air, which is why the Supreme Court must act as soon as possible to either affirm Cuéllar’s implication of a simple majority requirement or reinforce the state constitution’s two-thirds standard.

Local governments and school districts have seen their operating expenses grow faster than revenues, even during this period of record-level economic expansion — largely due to fast-rising pension costs.
We saw a strong wave of local tax measures in 2018, and we’ll likely see an even wider array in 2020. Without clarification, voters will be left in dark about taxes placed on their ballots by initiative.


Smaller loaves are coming to a bread aisle near you
From the online publication, The Hustle

The bread eaters have spoken, and they want smaller portions. The Wall Street Journal reports that bakers are responding to new data about American bread preferences and designing smaller products: half loaves, more thinly sliced.

Why would consumers prefer less of something delicious?

After decades of campaigns against food waste by environmentalists, consumers are finally beginning to worry about throwing out stale bread.

According to a survey by the American Bakers Association, 75% of Generation Z and millennial consumers (ages 18 to 41) surveyed don’t enjoy putting bread in the trash can (our team is actively investigating the other 25%). More than half said they would buy more bread if there were smaller options.

Dietary concerns about calories, carbs, and gluten have also contributed to demand for smaller loaves. And interest in smaller bread is strong among people who live alone — a demographic that has begun to wield major power over other markets, including those for large appliances and paper goods.

It turns out that people are weird when it comes to bread

Here are some other curious, generational bread stats:

  • 27% (!) of younger millennials freeze their bread (the highest percentage of any generation).
  • 65% of Gen X-ers store their bread at room temperature, meaning Gen X also has the highest percentage of normal human beings.

Trump vs. Newsom

Oil, Trump and Newsom 
By CalMatters

California is clamping down on oil exploration. Washington is expediting rights to drill on nearly 2 million acres of federal land here.

California and Uncle Sam clearly have different takes on the future of fossil fuel extraction in the Golden State, CalMatters’ Julie Cart writes.

The story:

  • After a lengthy legal fight, Trump administration land managers finalized a plan to allow oil leases on more than 700,000 acres in 11 Central California counties.
  • A more significant proposal to include parcels on more than 1 million acres in the Bakersfield area is due in the next few months.

That effort clashes with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent decision to impose a moratorium on high-pressure injections and mandate additional oversight of fracking permits.

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources secretary:

  • “The Trump administration has moved federal agencies’ policies toward aggressive expansion of fossil fuel development on public lands. … The governor has been clear that we need to reduce our reliance on oil and gas.”

TBD-1: How this schism will play out, beyond aggravating the already fraught relationship between the governor and president.

TBD-2: Even with nearly 2 million acres open to drilling leases, will energy companies will show any interest? That comes down to dollars, demand and the price of oil.

To read Cart’s full report, please click here.

A Big Reason to Shop Small

Why Shop Small?

When you shop at locally owned, independent businesses more money is kept in the community because local businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms.

Buying locally helps grow other businesses as well as our region’s tax base. Non Profits Receive Greater Support.

Give Back to our Community!

Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses.

Why Shop Local?

It helps local businesses succeed and strengthens the area economy. It also provides sales tax revenue to the Town, which is needed to provide core services like police and fire protection and road and park maintenance.

Strengthen our Local Economy!

Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns 3 times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain (almost 50 times more than buying from an online mega-retailer) — a benefit we all can bank on.

December 2, 2019

For Leaders Only

Forging 5 Leadership Lessons from the Valley Forge Experience

Mark Turner, President of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

While no battle was fought at Valley Forge, it became the turning point of the Revolutionary War. It was at Valley Forge that the Continental Army was desperately against the ropes and ready to quit. Even General Washington conceded, “If the army does not get help soon, in all likelihood it will disband.”

This rag-tag group of rebels that made up Washington’s troops were beaten and battle-weary. Their lack of experience, supplies and equipment began to take its toll. With many of these individuals without shoes or boots, one can only imagine the trail of bloody footprints leading into Valley Forge that cold December. A long cold winter awaited these men who were driven by a vision of American independence.

Part of the six month Valley Forge experience brought hunger, disease, and discouragement. The bitter cold weather alone was almost more than anyone could ask the soldiers to endure.  The future did not appear to be bright.

For some, the extreme cold combined with the shortage of food and uncertainty were more than they could take. As a result, dozens of men deserted the effort. Disease was rampant and death was an ever present reminder of their desperate condition.

Early spring began to see a slight improvement. In February the brutal cold weather began to ease.

General Nathanael Greene was appointed head of the Commissary Department in March. His oversight improved the flow of food and supplies to the soldiers. By April, Baron von Steuben, whose experience as a General Staff Member in the Prussian Army, began to train and educate the soldiers helping to transform these threadbare troops into a fighting force.

The same month Baron von Steuben began transforming the troops, the Conway Cabal, a plot to remove George Washington from power by others who were disappointed with the lack of success, was finally put down never to be discussed again. More good news flowed in as word of the French Alliance was confirmed. This alliance would bring much needed military and financial support from France.  Although the Revolutionary War would not end for another 5 years, the tide was beginning to turn for the Continental Army.

On June 19, 1778, exactly six months after the Americans arrived, a new army anxious to fight the British streamed out of Valley Forge toward New Jersey. They had been transformed from Rebel into a Mature Army.

Lessons Learned

This Valley Forge experience is a good reminder that at times individuals and organizations can experience a “season” of discouragement after suffering a loss. That loss could be in the form of a large contract failing to be signed, a key employee accepting a job with a competitor, a leader making the wrong decision, a large sale not coming to fruition or a relationship with a strategic vendor falling apart.

The Continental Army’s experience of limping into Valley Forge only to emerge as a fierce fighting force can help us to learn five principles for dealing with defeat, disappointment and discouragement in our own lives and the lives of our teams.


After suffering a series of losses, organizations, sports teams and military planners will often regroup in order to determine where there may be a problem. Regrouping isn’t looking for and identifying a scapegoat, but an opportunity to study the game plan, shore up a weakness or make a necessary change.

Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to perfect is to change often.”


It’s easy to lose sight of the goal and the reasons for attempting to achieve it when everything around you seems to be falling apart. Failing to see an individual or team effort achieve success can be disheartening. The lack of victories, food, clothing, shelter and supplies created a distraction for many in the Continental Army which is why so many of them deserted. Teams can easily become distracted when they experience multiple defeats.

A football team that starts off the season with an 0-4 record can easily be so discouraged they cannot bounce back. In 1992 the San Diego Charges beat all the odds after a dismal start ending up 0-4 to begin with. After bi-week, they were able to refocus their efforts and won 9 of their next 10 games becoming the only team to qualify for the play-offs after an 0-4 start. Refocusing on the goal, mission or desired results can sometimes be necessary to bring things back into perspective.

It’s been said the successful person is the average person focused.


With the efforts of Baron von Steuben, the once individually minded members of the Continental Army became a refined fighting force who understood the significance of working as a team. No longer did troops do their own thing, they worked together, understood the objective and were all on the same page. When teams and organizations regroup and refocus, they sometimes learn part of the refining process is making necessary changes. Refusing to make adjustments can bring about disastrous results.

Through the pitch-black night, the captain sees a light dead ahead on a collision course with his ship. He sends a signal: “Change your course ten degrees east.” The light signals back: “Change yours, ten degrees west.” Angry, the captain sends: “I’m a Navy captain! Change your course, sir!” “I’m a seaman, second class,” comes the reply. “Change your course, sir.” Now the captain is furious. “I’m a battleship! I’m not changing course!” There’s one last reply. “I’m a lighthouse. Your call.”

Occasionally, a change of direction is required to bring about the desired results.


As the Continental Army marched out of Valley Forge that June morning in 1778, they were renewed and re-energized. What appeared to be their darkest hour exactly six months earlier became their brightest moment. The long winter, as difficult as it was, allowed time to be trained, drilled and educated in the ways of military operations. As a result, their confidence in themselves and each other grew immensely. They were transformed from bloody and beaten into a battle ready brigade of fighting men.


After making it through the long winter months, it would have been easy to call it a day and disband. Why go through another series of battles only to suffer loss and defeat? There’s no comparing what occurs in the board room to what occurs on the battle field. But much can be learned from military strategy and the men and women who carry it out.

Defeat, disappointment and discouragement are part of life, however, they don’t have to be the final statement of one’s life. Defeat, disappointment and discouragement should be the motivating factors that drive the desire for success.

After a failure, loss, or defeat, whether in one’s personal or professional life, it’s understandable and sometimes necessary to pull back. The final part of that equation is to come back.

It’s important to take time to regroup, refocus, refine, be re-energized and most importantly, re-engage in the process.


Find Out What's New With Local Businesses

Eric Howard, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Business Relationship Manager

Advanced Blind & Shade has been serving clients since 1991 and are the premier seller of window coverings. As certified manufacturers and distributors of most name brand blinds, shades and shutters, they provide high quality products at a price often cheaper than the “big box” stores. They custom make most blinds and shades right in their own shops, using the latest industry technology. Made Right. Made Right Here. Thousands of satisfied customers depend on them to design, install, repair and clean their window coverings for both home and office. Whether residential or commercial, contact Advanced Blind & Shade and find out how wonderful your windows can be. Advanced Blind & Shade serves the entire bay area from Gilroy, Santa Clara, San Jose, Santa Cruz & Salinas to Carmel and Monterey. You will appreciate the great selection and helpful staff by calling Robert Green at 831-290-8668.

Did you know that ostriches can grow to be 9 feet tall? Did you know they can run up to 40 MPH? Did you know that ostriches are the largest bird on the planet? Well, find out all about ostriches in Gilroy’s very own Gilroy Ostrich Farm. Located at 5560 Pacheco Pass Hwy. on a 114-acre property that also houses alpacas, chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits and pot-bellied pigs. Self-guided tours are available Friday through Monday with guided tours available for groups of 10 or more. For more information go to: or › other-attraction=gilroy-ostrich-farm.

The Golden Circle of Champions is an initiative conceived by the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo in Santa Maria, CA. It raises funds for families with children fighting cancer with support being provided directly to the families to aid with urgent needs such as paying bills, buying medicine and more. The California Rodeo Salinas is once again one of ten rodeos chosen to participate by sponsoring a child to attend special events and the rodeo in Las Vegas. Nine year old Julian Castillo and his family will travel from Salinas to Las Vegas to enjoy the festivities. Julian is currently in maintenance treatments for leukemia which he was diagnosed with in 2017. The California Rodeo Salinas will fund the flights and travel expenses while Las Vegas Events will provide their accommodations and two tickets for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Sunday, December 8th. For more information:

Mount Madonna School (MMS) has received its Santa Cruz County Green Business recertification and was acknowledged alongside other recipients during a ceremony held at the County Board of Supervisors’ Chambers on November 19. “We developed a ‘Green Team’ to manage the workload,” Mount Madonna School’s Office Manager, Monique Smith. “Still, each team member was also busy with their regular day-to-day duties and sometimes it was challenging to coordinate assigned tasks.” To earn the recertification, MMS completed 80 measures in the categories of energy, pollution prevention, solid waste, transportation, wastewater, water, and community. The recertification is valid through June 2023. MMS was already in compliance with most of the certification requirements, yet that compliance required documenting. There were challenging aspects, too, such as getting all of the campus lighting up to the appropriate standards, given the varied array of lighting situations around the lower and upper campus facilities.

New 2020 Labor Laws Affecting California Employers

By James W. Ward, J.D.; Employment Law Subject Matter Expert/Legal Writer and Editor, CalChamber

Of the 2,625 bills introduced in the Legislature this year, 1,042 bills reached Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. He signed 870 and vetoed 172 — and many of those signed will affect California employers.

Some bills made significant changes to California employment law, such as the much publicized independent contractor bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 5. Others made small but important changes of which employers must be aware, such as those changing the mandatory harassment prevention training deadlines.

The governor also vetoed several CalChamber-opposed bills, including AB 589, which would have created overly burdensome requirements for employers to post and provide employees with a “Worker’s Bill of Rights,” among other things. The governor also vetoed Senate Bill (SB) 218, which would have amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to allow local governments in Los Angeles County to enact their own anti-discrimination ordinances similar to the FEHA, creating uncertainty, inconsistency and confusion regarding the FEHA’s application and interpretation.

New laws have been passed in recruiting and hiring; discrimination, harassment and retaliation protections; leaves of absence and benefits; workplace safety; arbitration; privacy; and wage and hour. Unless otherwise noted, the new laws take effect on January 1, 2020.

For more information, click here

The Blob: Wet or Dry Year in 2020?

By Valerie Nera, CalChamber


The Blob is back in the Pacific Ocean. The Blob is a massive pool of water that is warmer than normal in the Pacific Ocean and runs from Alaska past Southern California down to Baja. It’s caused by persistent high-pressure ridges in the atmosphere above the ocean’s surface. The lack of wind allows the sun to warm the water’s surface while at the same time preventing waves that help churn and mix cooler water up from the ocean’s depth to reduce the overall temperature.

The last time it appeared was during 2012 to 2016 drought. There was considerable scientific speculation about its role in the extreme weather of those times. Which came first? The Blob or the drought? That is unknown. The persistent high-pressure ridge above California exacerbated and prolonged the last drought. It is likely that 2018 -2019 water year which ends September 30 will be recorded as an average water year though the southeastern part of the state has been dry. But what will 2020 be – wet, average, or dry?

The last Blob negatively affected marine ecosystems and resulted in extensive commercial fishery closures across the west coast. It caused sea lions to forage farther out into the ocean leaving their pups to wash up on beaches starving and whales to forage into coastal waters and ultimately to tangle in commercial fishing lines. It triggered the largest and most toxic algae bloom ever seen in the region. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this Blob is almost the same size as the prior one and is “the second largest marine heatwave in terms of area in the northern Pacific Ocean in the last 40 years.” A NOAA research scientist says it’s on trajectory to be as strong as the last Blob event.

A climate scientist at Stanford University said, “Very warm water over the northeast Pacific is a statistical predictor of circulation patterns that tend to promote warm, dry conditions here in California.” However, science isn’t at the point where it is able to forecast drought a season ahead, so it is unknown at this time if 2020 will be a dry year. What is different about this year as compared to the drought years is the lack of an El Niño, a warmer than normal large swath of water in the tropical Pacific Ocean. El Niño’s tend to have significant impacts on weather across the world. It is thought that the combination of the Blob and an El Niño made the drought so pervasive and deep.

More sophisticated forecasting tools are needed to efficiently operate water infrastructure and to plan for droughts. Until then, more water storage strategically developed around the state is needed to capture water from large storm events to be used in drier years.

Water Wars Continue

By Valerie Nera, CalChamber

Another lawsuit in the water arena is not news. Anything to do with water is complicated, controversial, and likely to take years to resolve if it’s possible to resolve. Nevertheless, the Newsom Administration just announced that it intends to sue the federal government over its plan to ship more water through the Delta saying the biological opinions supporting the plan are insufficient to protect endangered fish. The back and forth sparring between the Newsom Administration and the Trump Administration continues unabated.

The state laid out its own plan for managing water flows in the Delta in a lengthy environmental report released Thursday. The state plan is more protective of endangered species according to some environmentalists but still does not go far enough in their view. The federal plan is viewed by them as a give way to the San Joaquin farmers at the expense of endangered fish and exploitation of the fragile Delta ecosystem.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation operates the Central Valley Project (CVP) providing domestic, agricultural, and industrial water supplies to the Central Valley and parts of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay areas. The Department of Water Resources operates the State Water Project (SWP) which supplies water for Northern California, the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast and Southern California. The two projects work cooperatively to deliver water throughout the state under a series of state, federal, and local agreements. Historically, the state has relied on the federal government to set the rules on how the projects work together to move water throughout the state.

Ideally, the two parties should work together melding their plans. Should the federal government go its own way, the state would have to make up any water shortages seriously jeopardizing water supply reliability. Also, at risk are the Voluntary Settlement Agreements being negotiated as an alternative to strict water flow reductions on the San Joaquin River required under the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. The Newsom Administration reiterated the Governor’s support for the voluntary settlement agreement process as a more durable and broader suite of tools to meet water quality objectives, protect the environment and native fish while still providing enough water for agriculture and municipal purposes.

Resolution to the problem of differing plans to operate the SWP and CVP will be difficult and time consuming. Just another day in the water wars.