The Grinch Loses out to Google

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October 18  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . When it comes to supporting some of San Jose’s most cherished holiday traditions, “the Grinch” loses out to Google when it comes to strengthening Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice.

Our Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation is pleased to announce that Google has generously stepped in to serve as our Title Sponsor for our 6th Annual “Santa Run Silicon Valley,” slated for Sunday afternoon, December 17.

Google’s generous support allows us to further grow our Santa Run Silicon Valley, with a stretch goal to attract 5,000 paid participants for the 5-k race, run or walk.

Nothing will make you smile wider than watching 5,000 men, women and children – all dressed like Santa – chasing “the Grinch” – County Assessor Larry Stone – through Downtown San Jose.

The 5,000 Santa Claus-clad participants will literally be chasing the Grinch through downtown, ending at Christmas in the Park, where each Santa Runner will cross the finish line to a snow machine, greeted with milk and cookies, and a Finisher’s Medal that doubles as a Christmas tree ornament, suitable for hanging.

The Grinch tried to steal Christmas, but Google’s generosity is helping to save and strengthen Christmas in the Park.

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Winning Together: Transformative Transportation Investments – It’s Electrifying!

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July 31  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

2017 has already gotten off to an amazing start.  Just six months into the year, the Leadership Group continues to add regional and statewide value to ease traffic in the Bay Area and throughout California.

>> Statewide Solutions through Senate Bill 1 – Thanks to the public sector leadership of State Senator Jim Beall, State Assemblyman Jim Frazier and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, with two-plus years of concerted advocacy by the Leadership Group, SB 1 passes through the Legislature with the required two-thirds vote in each House on April 7, with the Governor signing SB 1 three weeks later.  The Leadership Group met for one-on-one meetings with more than 60 State Legislators, including one-on-one sessions with 14 “swing” Legislators in the final 48 hours prior to the vote.  Twelve of the 14 “swing” legislators ended up voting “yes” for SB 1.

>> Caltrain – It’s Electrifying!”

21 years is a long time.  That’s how long the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has “Placed its wallets where its words are,” in taxing ourselves to both electrify and modernize Caltrain:

* Our 1996 “Measures A & B” included $44 million for Caltrain

* Our 2000 “Measure A” included $153 million for Caltrain

* Our 2016 “Measure B” included $1 billion & $14 million for Caltrain

As a CA Transportation Commissioner, Leadership Group CEO Guardino led the effort on the Commission to secure $106 million in funds towards the electrification of Caltrain in the summer of 2012.

In partnership with Senator Feinstein, and local Congressmembers Eshoo, Speier and Lofgren, with great leadership by Governor Jerry Brown and several private sector partners, the final matching funds were secured in May through the Federal Transit Administration for $647 million to electrify the line.  Kudos to sister business groups like SPUR, SAMCEDA and the Bay Area Council for this commitment to Caltrain.  In terms of the Leadership Group role, in addition to the efforts above, more than 130 CEOs/Senior Officers publicly signed a letter – under the umbrella of the Leadership Group – of their individual commitment to electrify the line.  Why is Caltrain electrification important?  It increases ridership capacity by 80 percent, from 62,000 weekday passenger trips to more than 110,000, while improving air quality by 97 percent, and increasing speed by another 15 percent.

Epilogue: Thanks to the bi-partisan, bicameral leadership of State Senator Jerry Hill and our entire “Caltrain Caucus” in the State Legislature, we are sponsoring state legislation – SB 797 (Hill) – to enable a three-county consolidated election for up to a one-eighth of one percent sales tax which would allow the funding to more than double Caltrain ridership capacity beyond electrification.  Such funding could increase service capacity from 110,000 weekday passenger trips to more than 250,000, which would be transformative for the crippling congestion in the Highway 101 Corridor.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: Year of the Campaign

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July 28  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

2016 was the most successful year on record for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, including the ability to simultaneously lead or co-lead three regional ballot initiatives – all successfully:

* June 7, 2016 – Our four year effort with Senator Feinstein, along with community partners Save the Bay and the Bay Area Council, are rewarded in the 9-County Bay Area with the successful passage of “Measure AA,” the Bay Restoration and Flood Protection initiative, which will secure $500 million of local funding to restore and save our Bay.

* November 8, 2016 – Traffic Relief, Road Repairs and Transit Alternatives are successful on the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County ballots, thanks to the multi-year leadership of the Leadership Group.

>>Measure B in Santa Clara County -Three-plus years in the making, voters approve Santa Clara County “Measure B” by the resounding margin of 71.78 percent, securing a 30-year half-cent sales tax to fund the local share for “BART Segment Two” to Downtown San Jose and on to Santa Clara, plus more than $1 billion to further modernize Caltrain Commuter Rail Service, along with strategically important road, rail and transit improvements that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to ease traffic and repair roads throughout the Valley.

>>Measure D in Santa Cruz County: By loaning out Leadership Group executive Casey Beyer to assist with Santa Cruz County’s transportation sales tax measure, his expertise and enthusiasm helps secure support of 68 percent of Santa Cruz County voters for a sales tax measure which will generate $400-500 million in funds for strategic transportation improvements.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: Innovation is Open for Business

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July 27  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

After more than five years of leadership – fighting for federal legislation, two federal “sequestrations,” and winning out over 500 separate applications, Silicon Valley is awarded one of only three competitively selected locations for our nation’s first “Regional Patent Office” located outside of Alexandria, Virginia.

Thanks for the public sector partnership with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and her peers Anna Eshoo and others; along with local leadership by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is the private sector force to successfully champion the Patent Office dream from vision to reality.

On October 15, 2015, the five year effort pays off with the opening within San Jose City Hall.  With 80 Patent Examiners and 20 Patent Judges, innovators and entrepreneurs now do not always need to fly all the way across the country to make their case before a patent examiner or judge.

Thanks to former Tessera CEO Hank Nothhaft for his leadership during the early years of this effort.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: Have a Heart – Help Feed Hungry Kids

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July 26  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Nearly 1,600 runners joined Heart & Soles 5k Run on February 11, 2015 to help fund 65 salad bars for 64 schools, serving 42,000 local students

Inspired by a bike ride with State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson and Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, the request is made by the Superintendent for the Leadership Group to champion one of only four “pilot programs” to fund “Salad Bars in Schools.”  The Superintendent asks the Leadership Group to fund and equip up to 20 schools with Salad Bars.  The Leadership Group counters that it is only worthwhile if we secure funds for 100 schools over three years, rather than just 20.  The Superintendent agrees.

To further underscore the community commitment, the Leadership Group Foundation creates a new community/charity run, “Heart & Soles” for Schools, to fundraise for Salad Bars.  Lam Research CEO Martin Anstice and Vice President Kyra Whitten step forward for salad bars, as the multi-year Title Sponsor of the new community event, along with more than 20 Member Company CEOs (most anonymously), companies and community partners.  In just the first 3 years, the Lam Research “Heart & Soles” for schools run provides funding for Salad Bars in 195 public schools, providing healthy meal options for 145,000 local students, most from schools in under-served communities.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: Taking Flight

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July 25  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

After a multi-year effort by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, the San Jose Airport and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a major international flight is landed to link San Jose with Tokyo.  All Nippon Airlines, ANA, is secured through a Leadership Group letter signed by more than 90 CEOs/Senior Officers that the daily international flight will be supported.  In a leap of faith, the new international air service is launched on January 11, 2013.  Battery issues with the new 787 Dreamliner delay future flights until a re-launch in June of 2013, with continuous – successful – service ever since.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: The Grinch that Almost Stole Christmas (In the Park, that is!)

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July 24  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

In 2011, the California Legislature saw fit to abolish “Redevelopment Agencies” in the State of California.  Putting statewide politics aside, the Leadership Group focused on local impacts with community solutions.  One impact of eliminating “RDA’s,” the loss of local funding for “Christmas in the Park” in Downtown San Jose, enjoyed annually by more than 600,000 people from throughout our region.

As emergency effort is launched in 2011 by then San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Downtown San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to “Save & Strengthen Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice.”  Phone Calls & Fundraisers are launched by the three leaders to keep Christmas in the Park whole, but it is quickly recognized as a stop-gap effort, rather than a permanent solution.

For 2012, the Leadership Group Foundation steps forward with an idea – to build community and once again serve needy families, the primary audience of the “free-of-charge” tradition known as Christmas in the Park.  With less than a year to plan, a new community/charity race is launched, with the finish line at Christmas in the Park, called “Santa Run Silicon Valley.”  In that first year of December, 2012, more than 2,300 people – all dressed like Santa Claus – run and walk to benefit Christmas in the Park.  In just four years, the 2016 “Christmas in the Park” grew to a sold-out crowd of nearly 4,500 paid participants.  Register today for the 2017 “Santa Run Silicon Valley” on Sunday afternoon, December 17, at “Santa Run Silicon Valley.”

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: Celebrate, then Motivate

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July 21  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

April 12 of 2012 was “Kind of a Big Day.”  It started with a lunch-time launch, a celebration, with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, with 450 Valley leaders hosted by Member Company Marvell.  The reason to celebrate?  Our $900 million “Full Funding Grant Agreement” had been awarded by the Federal Transit Administration as “matching funds” for the first ten-mile extension of BART to Silicon Valley, with stations in Milpitas and the north San Jose neighborhood of Berryessa. 

Coupled with $740 million in matching funds through the California Transportation Commission, construction of the first ten-mile segment is allowed to proceed (as the 2008 “Measure B” ballot language stipulated that the new 1/8 of one percent sales tax could only begin once the federal and state matching funds had been secured).  

Never one to waste a large crowd of leaders, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Senator Feinstein agreed in advance to not only celebrate the BART matching funds, but to motivate the gathered leaders for our next big mutual effort – to “Save San Francisco Bay” through a Bay Restoration and Flood Protection initiative.  On-stage, CEO Carl Guardino and Senator Feinstein briefed the audience about this new partnership, with great partners like Save the Bay and the Bay Area Council in attendance.  A new four-year effort of collaboration is launched.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: 1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds

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July 20  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Through the vision of then San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a new education initiative – relying solely on the generosity of volunteers – is launched.  “1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds” envisions a volunteer army of busy tech employees, senior citizens and adults who donate one hour each week, for as short a duration as 15 weeks, to tutor a student in the “safe space” of a local public school, in reading, science or math.  

Over the next five years, nearly 750 adults volunteer within existing organizations like “Reading Partners” and “We Teach Science” to help students in traditionally underserved communities.  The results are measurable and meaningful, with marked improvements in the lives of children eager to learn.  

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.

Winning Together: Keeping CalTrain On-Track!

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July 19  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

San Francisco and San Jose Railroad Company provide the foundation for Silicon Valley’s Caltrain

It’s January 11, 2011, and an emergency meeting is held with 200 grassroots and grasstops leaders from throughout the region, gathered together for the express purpose to save and strengthen Caltrain.  Budget issues and a bad economy threatened service on the venerable train, in continuous operation since Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States.  The Caltrain Joint Powers Board was faced with slashing 50 percent of the service to keep the train in operation.  The Leadership Group stepped forward to rally the region to save the train, in partnership with Congressmembers Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo and a host of public, private and non-profit leaders.  Eight Town Halls from San Francisco to Gilroy were held, along with extensive polling to determine if Caltrain might secure a dedicated, permanent source of revenues for its operations.  

Through belt-tightening and a slightly better economy, the worst of the service cuts were avoided.

Join us for our 40th Anniversary Celebration on Friday evening, July 28.