Monthly Archives: March 2015

D.C. by the Numbers

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March 25  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . “D.C.” may actually stand for “Different Culture.”

Comparing Silicon Valley, the world’s “innovation capitol” with Washington, D.C., our “nation’s capitol” is like comparing the sun and the moon . . . both important, interesting, even intriguing, but very different.


Silicon Valley Leadership Group Board Chair and Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker and new San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo meeting with Rep. Anna Eshoo, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Zoe Lofgren during our Spring D.C. Advocacy Trip.

Last week, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo led a delegation of 55 CEOs, senior officers and local elected officials to our nation’s capitol.

Here are the results, by the numbers: The executives invested 48 hours in meetings with 85 House members, 19 Senators and 10 Administration officials, on seven core issues of importance to our innovation economy:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Immigration reform
  • Patent litigation reform
  • Funding for BART to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara
  • Funding to further improve Caltrain Commuter Rail Service
  • Tax reform
  • Competitiveness

We have some traits in common – often smart, committed, passionate people working to make a difference. However, the pace of change is eons apart. In Silicon Valley, a product life cycle is as brief as six months. In D.C., even a minor piece of legislation can take years, decades, from inception to completion.

Democracy, especially in our nation’s capitol, is not for the faint of heart. Progress is measured in years, not days or weeks, so we will continue to build the bridges needed to bring together innovators with policy makers.

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Building Community by Building Bridges

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March 17  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . We can build community by building bridges.

It was at Independence High School in the heart of East San Jose that new San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo held his inaugural State of the City address.

Whether it was his comments about building all four BART Stations in San Jose, bringing all sides to the bargaining table to refine Measure B’s pension reforms, seeking summer jobs for at-risk youth or engaging caring adults in our “1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds” tutoring initiative, the Mayor’s messages were spot-on. We are best when we build – our Valley, our City, our communities and our neighbors.

No issue looms larger for San Jose than public safety. Even though the objective FBI data clearly show crime is down, we all know we are best served with more police officers patrolling our streets. That means thoughtful adjustments to pension reform. The most important step the Mayor and city unions can take is the step toward each other, at the negotiating table.

Yet reducing crime isn’t all about police protection, it is also, as the Mayor eloquently stated, about “replacing a rap sheet with a resume.” That’s why his summer jobs for at-risk youth program is an imperative, and why our “1,000 Hearts” tutoring initiative for K-8 students is essential.

We have a Mayor who is moving San Jose in a positive and productive direction. Engage with him. Great cities are made from the ground up – by good people taking the time to get involved. To build bridges that build a community.

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$2 Trillion for D.C. to Act On

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March 11  |  Tax Policy  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . $2 trillion.

Now that is a lot of money, even by Washington, D.C. standards.

Yet that is what might be available, thanks to innovative, creative, globally-competitive American employers who have successfully won in overseas markets around the world.

Here’s where Washington comes in – two Senators, one perceived to be on the far left; California’s own Barbara Boxer, and one perceived to be on the far right; Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, have forged a bipartisan proposal that would encourage employers to bring those hard-won dollars back to the United States, by offering a temporary tax rate of 6 percent and investing those tax dollars to rebuild America’s crumbling transportation system.

This could be a triple-win:

  • American workers, families, employers and our economy win by re-investing in our roads, highways, transit and bridges, which are currently crumbled and congested.
  • American employers and workers win by billions of dollars, earned overseas, coming back to the United States for investments in employees, facilities, equipment, Research & Development and shareholders.
  • Our federal government wins by proving it can work together in bi-partisan fashion to secure funds that would otherwise never come back to the United States, due to a broken tax system that penalizes American employers with the least-competitive tax rate in the world.

Are there sound reasons for our federal government to act? Yes, I can think of two trillion of them.