Monthly Archives: August 2012

When is Half a Loaf Enough?

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August 31  |  Government Relations, Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s Food for Thought…When is half a loaf enough? First, kudos to Governor Brown. He released a moderate and measurable 12-point plan last October, which the Leadership Group endorsed early, reinforcing that it should serve as “a floor, rather than a ceiling,” for negotiations.

Second, kudos to the Governor, again, for taking on an issue that was much bolder than most Democrat leaders would attempt, and most Republican leaders could achieve. As a result, he has been attacked by many interests on both sides.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group supports the pension reform proposal, while also making clear that much more needs to be done.  Sadly, we expect more city bankruptcies in the months and years ahead, requiring additional reforms. In addition, as the Governor notes, the board structure at CalPERs needs objective oversight which it currently lacks. This requires a constitutional amendment, according to the Governor, which we need to help him lead.

The current system is unsustainable for workers earning their pension benefits, and unfair to taxpayers shouldering too much of the burden. This is not an issue solved by one piece of legislation.

While this may be “half a loaf”, it is certainly a bigger slice than has ever been taken in the past.

CEQA: A great law that’s been greatly abused

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August 28  |  Environment  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s Food for Thought . . . CEQA – the California Environmental Quality Act – is a great law that’s been greatly abused.  With thoughtful leadership in Sacramento this fall, it can be modernized to meet its original intent – protecting our environment.

Here’s context: CEQA became law in 1970, signed by Governor Ronald Reagan, to help protect the environment. Since then, 120 state, federal and local environmental laws have been passed, like the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

42 years later, the intent of CEQA, to mitigate a development’s environmental impact, has instead been used as a club to sue and stop projects, often for non-environmental purposes.

* Netflix proposed a new building in Los Gatos for 800 high-wage, high-skill, high-tech jobs, across from its current campus and approved by the Town Council. A CEQA lawsuit may very well prevent those jobs from ever happening here.

* The transit-oriented development next to the BART station being built in Milpitas risks added costs and fewer homes due to a CEQA lawsuit.

* A small gas station in east San Jose – Mo’s Gas – wanted to add one set of new pumps and was sued by the gas station across the street, using CEQA to stop a competitor, not to strengthen the environment.

Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker John Perez, and state Senator Michael Rubio, have all called for reforms to save CEQA, while ending the abuses. Senate President Darrell Steinberg announced his intent to engage this fall. We can have a healthy environment and a strong economy. We can modernize CEQA and end the abuse. Email the Leadership Group to get involved.

Serious Times Require Substantive Leaders

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August 15  |  Federal Issues, Government Relations  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s Food for Thought . . . Serious times require substantive leaders.

In 1862, the North was losing the Civil War. America’s economy was in shambles and many wondered if the nation would survive.

Yet under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln, the 37th Congress rose to the tasks that faced our fledgling nation:

  • First, President Lincoln insisted that the dome above the capitol continue to be constructed. Some wanted to divert the steel to the war effort.  He wanted to show symbolically there would still be a nation when the war was over.
  • Then, Congress passed the Morrill Act, establishing America’s system of public universities.
  • They passed the Homestead Act, opening up affordable land across the West.
  • They passed the Pacific Railroad Act, to construct the Transcontinental Railroad.
  • They established the National Academy of Sciences, which still serves our nation today.

Tough times.  Tenacious leadership.

A message to Washington, D.C. Rise to the occasion. Grapple with important issues like immigration reform, tax reform, the debt and deficit, and create a climate in which we can keep and create jobs. It takes leaders – and that is the role to which we elected you.