Monthly Archives: March 2016

San Jose City Council Candidate Questionnaires

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March 30  |  Government Relations  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Kudos to candidates for revealing responses.

Each year, candidates for elected office are flooded with questionnaires. Interest groups subject would-be elected leaders with questions ranging from politics to policy to the incredibly personal, as they try to ascertain how each candidate will vote on important issues.

The candidate questionnaire to San Jose City Council candidates sent from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is different than most questionnaires in three ways:

First, “less is more.” The Leadership Group questionnaire contains only five questions. Our questions focus on issues of importance not only to executives in their board rooms, but also workers and their families in their living rooms. We call them “THEE Issues” – Traffic, Housing, Education and the Environment.

Second, we want to learn about the “horse,” not the “horse race.” The Leadership Group doesn’t ask candidates political questions, like how much money have you raised? Who’s your political consultant? How are you doing in the polls? There are enough folks who focus solely on the “horse race.” We believe San Jose voters would like to learn more about each candidate’s views on the policy issues that impact each of our lives and livelihoods.

Third, a little sunshine please. The Leadership Group questionnaire is made public. Both our questions, and each candidate’s unfiltered responses, are available on-line to anyone who would like to learn more. All too many candidate questionnaires are kept secret, jealously guarded by both the interest groups sending out the questionnaire and the candidates completing them. Transparency should trump secrecy. If a candidate is proud of their position on an issue, make it public. If an interest group wants to judge a candidate on a particular stance, let all of us know about it.

To read where 19 San Jose City Council candidates stand on “THEE Issues” facing San Jose and Silicon Valley, please visit our web site at Together, let’s make informed choices on June 7.


Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project

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March 9  |  Education, Housing, Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . There are two ways to weather a storm – buy umbrellas or build boats.

In Silicon Valley, to battle the economic storms of international competition, the better way – the most successful way – is to build boats that lift everyone in our Valley when the inevitable rainstorms occur.

That’s why we commission the “Silicon Valley Competitiveness & Innovation Project,” in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, comparing Silicon Valley with the other top five tech regions in the United States, as well as international regions like London, Seoul, Berlin and Beijing.

The findings – like our Valley – show that we have “high-highs” and some “low-lows.”

Our strengths are to be celebrated:
* Talent, risk-capitol and R&D, idea generation, commercialization and business innovation, labor productivity and jobs in innovation industries.

Our challenges are to be assessed and addressed:
* Cost of doing business, home and rental rates, traffic congestion, math proficiency in 8th grade, reading proficiency in 3rd grade and pre-school enrollment.

Take traffic – The average Silicon Valley commuter loses 75 minutes each week due to traffic congestion, above their normal commute time. As a region, we lose $5.4 billion annually due to congestion – in lost productivity, vehicle wear and tear and increased gas usage. During commute hours, our economy – literally – comes to a stand-still.

Concerned? Read more at Silicon Valley is still the innovation engine of the world, but resting on our laurels will move us from the driver’s seat to the back seat, which we cannot allow to happen.

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Deep Fried Fat

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March 2  |  Education, Health Policy  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Deep Fried Fat.

When I was a kid, the three words I heard most often from my mom were “eat your veggies.” I was fortunate to grow up in a middle-class home that focused on healthy foods and had the income to provide them.

Sadly, in many of our poorest neighborhoods, healthy food choices are less common, and foods often offered in our school cafeterias emphasize less healthy fare. “Eat your veggies” is all too often replaced with “deep fried fat.”

With your help, we are changing the game.

Our Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation, in partnership with Lam Research, is providing our schools and students with better options, through our “Salad Bars for Schools” initiative, funded through our Lam Research “Heart & Soles 5K” run or walk.

On Saturday morning, March 12th, at beautiful Lake Cunningham Park in East San Jose, please join me, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, State Assemblywoman Nora Campos, County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, City Councilman Ash Kalra, Lam Research CEO Martin Anstice, and County Office of Education Superintendent Jon Gundry for our 5K run or walk. Registration is easy here.

Context: In just the past two years, thanks to the generosity of our title sponsor Lam Research, The Health Trust and dozens of Leadership Group member company CEOs, we have already funded salad bars in 120 Silicon Valley schools, providing fresh fruits and vegetables every school day to 97,000 local students. This year, our ambitious goal is to provide salad bars to another 70 local schools, serving nearly 50,000 more kids.

Please join us. Bring family and friends. To meet our goal, we need at least 2,000 paid registrations for our 5K run or walk. Please register here today. If you cannot come, but want to contribute, you can do so at our “Heart & Soles 5K” website at

Thanks for your support. I look forward to seeing you Saturday morning, March 12.

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