Monthly Archives: January 2013

Abuse of a Great Environmental Law

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January 29  |  Environment, Government Relations  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Why is a great environmental law being used to stymie environmental protection?

CEQA – The California Environmental Quality Act – was signed into law by Republican Governor Ronald Reagan in 1970, intended to protect the environment and ensure a transparent process. Sadly, this great law is all too often greatly abused for non-environmental purposes.

The law firm of Holland and Knight recently completed a study of all 95 published court cases over the past 15 years, and the results are troubling:

* Nearly 60 percent of the projects sued were infill, often transit-oriented developments.

* Nearly four in ten were public agency projects like schools, hospitals, roads and colleges.

CEQA lawsuits shelter anonymous interests, with nearly 75 percent filed by organizations who won’t reveal their members or financial sources. This has led to economic competitors suing each other for anything but protecting the environment.

This year, for the first time in the law’s 43-year history, we may see real reform. Let’s protect the environment and prevent the abuse.

Passenger Safety Before Profits

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January 22  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s Food for Thought . . . Passenger safety before profits.

On January 11, I boarded the inaugural flight on ANA’s 787 Dreamliner between San Jose and Tokyo. The plane lived up to its name – a dream . . . In fuel efficiency, leg room, customer service and spaciousness.

Days later, ANA made the wise, proactive decision to postpone future 787 Dreamliner flights until Boeing works out some electrical issues related to the battery system on the plane. Nearly 24 hours later, the FAA followed with the same decision.

While inconvenient to passengers like me trying to fly back from Tokyo, I admire ANA’s CEO Shinichiro Ito’s decision. Passenger safety before profits. Better a cancelled plane than the risk of a crashed plane.

In Silicon Valley, we have a phrase. . . Version 2.0 . . . It means that the first release of a product has room for improvement. With airplanes, there is no room for error.

Landing the direct flight between San Jose and Tokyo was a major victory for the city of San Jose, our airport and the Leadership Group. Ensuring passenger safety on each and every Dreamliner is even more important.

Inaugural ANA flight

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January 16  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Show horses are great, but work horses are better.

As we prepared for the inaugural flight of All Nippon Airlines’ Dreamliner 787 from San Jose to Tokyo, looking at 13 television cameras along with print and radio media, all I could think was that three years of hard work had paid off.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, classy as always, took the podium to thank our staffs at City Hall, the airport and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. After 36 months since the effort was launched, nearly two years since the mayor and I traveled to Tokyo to meet with ANA CEO Shinichiro Ito, the flight is now reality.

Our message to ANA had always been simple – you supply the planes and we’ll supply the passengers.

Making a promise is easy. Keeping it is where the real work begins. For the past year, our teams have reached out to hundreds of companies, scores of CEOs, underscoring the ease in which they and their employees could now fly between Silicon Valley and Tokyo. No more would they have to drive past one of our nation’s most on-time airports to slog up the Peninsula to fly from one of the least on-time airports.

Here is to those work horses who made our dream a reality: Bena Chang, Jessica Zenk, Ed Nelson, Joe Hedges, Kim Walesh, Ed Shikada, Ru Weerakoon and so many more.

Thanks to your efforts, Silicon Valley benefits.  It’s time to take your bow.

“Daily CEO Inspiration”

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January 9  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

As you start each work day, do you wake up inspired or tired?

We work hard in Silicon Valley, with many of us starting our days at “o-dark-thirty” and ending each day back in the dark again.

A word of inspiration certainly helps to kick-start our work day.

That’s why in 2013 the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has launched our “CEO Inspirational Quote” calendar.  Each work day – 253 in all – we will post an inspiring, original quote from a different senior officer working right here in Silicon Valley:

* Like eSilicon CEO Jack Harding, who says ” ‘Brilliant strategy’ is often just the folklore ascribed after being lucky.”

* Tropos CEO Tom Ayers who says “The real job of an entrepreneur doesn’t begin until someone says ‘no’.”

* Or Luxim CEO Tony McGettigan who says, “Better to build the future than bandaid the past.”

The voices we hear are choices we make; we can be lifted up or torn down. Follow us on facebook, tune in on twitter or simply go to our events calendar at for a daily dose of inspiration.

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

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January 2  |  Federal Issues, Government Relations, Tax Policy, Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . What have you done for me lately?

At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, our 375 member company CEO’s deserve a strong return on their investment as we work to strengthen job creation in our region, state and nation.

In 2012, we delivered, with 38 quantifiable goals completed in our business plan. These included the direct flight between San Jose and Tokyo on ANA, $900 million in federal funds for our BART extension, $1 billion to improve and electrify Cal-train and the launch of a regional patent office in silicon valley in 2013.

All good, but now it’s time to focus on 2013, with equally ambitious goals. These include modernizing the California Environmental Quality Act, and resolving long-sought priorities in Washington, D.C., like immigration reform for highly-skilled workers and comprehensive corporate tax reform.

We don’t look back to applaud 2012 successes. Instead, we look forward with the quiet confidence that we have a firm foundation to aim even higher to strengthen our region, state and nation.

For a full list of 2012 accomplishments and 2013 goals, check out our web site at Better yet, join us. There is much to do, and much we can do together.