Environment

There’s More That Unites Us Than Could Ever Divide Us

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June 16  |  Environment  |   Carl Guardino
Honorees

Pictured: Honorees Green For All Director Vien Truong, Dolores Huerta and Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . There is more that unites us than could ever divide us.

At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group – when it comes to improving the quality of life for all of our citizens – we work to build bridges, not burn them down.

On June 9th, the Leadership Group was honored with the Environmental Leadership Award by the California League of Conservation Voters – a committed and respected environmental organization. Why did they honor a business organization of 400 Silicon Valley CEOs? Quite simply, common ground. As CEOs who care about the quality of life in our communities throughout California, we know the importance of clean air, clean water, urban parks, open space, affordable homes near transit, renewable energy and a healthy environment.

As engineers and entrepreneurs, we recognize we can have it all – a strong economy and a clean environment – which is why we co-led the campaign that established the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. It’s why we co-led numerous transportation measures that emphasize transit options that ease traffic congestion. It’s why we recently led the 9-County Bay Restoration Campaign, Measure AA, which passed region-wide with 70 percent of the vote.

These initiatives were not about “tax and spend.” When it comes to our quality of life and a clean environment, we know we must “invest and prosper.”

In our country today, there are too many voices that seek to divide us. In Silicon Valley and throughout California, the Leadership Group will continue to do its level best to champion issues that will unite us.

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The Power of “AND”

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June 8  |  Environment  |   Carl Guardino

The Power of “And.”

Tuesday’s election witnessed the passage of an historic nine-County parcel tax to preserve and protect the San Francisco Bay – Measure AA.

It demonstrated, once again, the Power of and. For five-plus years, two business groups and two environmental groups forged a powerful coalition throughout the 9-County Bay Area. We agreed to the uncommon approach of taxing ourselves for the common good – the restoration of an asset truly worthy of our support, the beauty we call the San Francisco Bay.

The $500 million that Measure AA will generate is – of course – the important front-page story. The back-story, however, is the delightful demonstration of and. You see, it is not, nor has it ever been, the false choice between the environment or the economy. It is not the false struggle between employers and environmentalists.

And unites us to a common purpose. Or divides us and leads to defeat.

Thank you – Bay Area Council, Resources Legacy Fund and Save the Bay. Measure AA is only “act one” in this on-going saga to Save our Bay. As we stay united, we can now work to secure State funds and Federal funds to protect, preserve and enhance this treasure that rests between the nine-counties, cherished by residents throughout our region. All because of the power of and.

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Our Beautiful Bay is At-Risk

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January 13  |  Environment  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Our beautiful Bay is at-risk

Crumbling infrastructure, rising sea levels and lack of natural barriers leave the Bay Area open to the risk of devastating floods. Compounding this danger, many critical elements of the Bay Area’s infrastructure, including airports, hospitals, water treatment plants and the headquarters of major employers, are built at or below sea level.

That means a severe storm or major flood could knock out huge parts of our regional economy, causing long-term damage to the Bay Area’s economic health.

Thankfully there are simple, relatively low-cost solutions that scientists and engineers confirm will protect our communities from flooding and our water from pollution, such as:

  • Building and repairing levees and other long outdated infrastructure.
  • Restoring wetlands, which naturally protect us from floods and filter pollution.

Failure to act is acting to fail: We must address potentially devastating consequences to the businesses and individuals that call the Bay Area home, as well as to California’s economy. Recognizing that business engagement is critical to the success of any plan to address these risks, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has been engaged in a years-long collaborative effort to develop a plan and secure the necessary funding to protect our region.

We are glad to learn that today the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority voted to place the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention, and Habitat Restoration Program, known as the “Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure,” on the June 2016 ballot in all nine Bay Area counties.

The measure would fund critical projects across the region that can secure the health of San Francisco Bay and protect our economy by reducing water pollution, expanding wildlife habitat, increasing bayside recreation opportunities, and protecting shoreline communities from flooding.

The measure is a critically important investment in our region’s future, which is why a broad coalition of labor, environmental and business groups, including Save the Bay, California Audubon, the Bay Area Council, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group support the measure and are actively engaged in the campaign.

You can visit Our Bay on the Brink for details about the threats facing the region and People for a Clean and Healthy Bay for more about the campaign to protect and secure our future.

Reducing Water Use One Household at a Time

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June 10  |  Environment  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Stanislaw Lec once said, “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

When it comes to coming to terms with year-four of an intense drought plaguing the Golden State, it is easy to feel overwhelmed as one individual or organization.

After all, in a state of nearly 39 million people, will what you or I do as individuals matter? The answer is yes, as our individual action or inaction adds up to the collective response we need.

Governor Brown has called for an average statewide water-use reduction of 30 percent. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has pushed for 30 percent within his city, even though their official requirement based on past performance is only 20 percent. They are both leading by example.

I was recently asked by 1590 KLIV whether I am leading by personal example. What is going on in the Guardino household that will make a difference?

It’s a fair question that deserves a thoughtful response:

  • First, since about one-third of home water use is for our lawns, we are down to watering our slightly brown lawn twice a week, 10 minutes per time, in the middle of the night when water-loss through evaporation is less.
  • Second, whether it’s dishes or laundry, only full loads are run.
  • Third, baths are almost non-existent, with short showers now the norm.
  • Fourth, our cars run just as well without looking clean and cared for on the outside.
  • Fifth, our toilets are no longer flushed with every use. “Nuf said.”

While there is undoubtedly more that we can be doing, the key is we have taken several steps that lead up to measurable reductions in water use.

Alone, the mountain in front of us seems insurmountable. Collectively, the efforts of each snowflake add up to an avalanche of answers to this latest challenge Californians face.

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Yes on Props 1 and 2

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October 15  |  Environment, Tax Policy  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . California needs rain, and also needs to save for a rainy day.

On this November’s ballot, Californians will be voting on state Propositions 1 and 2. I personally support both, as does my organization, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

Here’s why:

Proposition 1 is a thoughtful, bi-partisan water bond, to invest in $7.5 billion worth of improvements for additional storage, conservation, efficiency and water safety. The drought reminds us all as to why Proposition 1 is so important to the health of our state. It is equally important to the economic health of our state, including here in Silicon Valley.

I’m even more impressed that Governor Brown insisted on the Water Bond’s specific improvements not be cherry picked to curry political favor. Instead, the specific projects will be competitively selected to best meet the needs of our state.

Proposition 2 is equally important. If the Prop 1 Water Bond is about our need for rain, then Prop 2 is about our need to save for a rainy day.

Proposition 2 is also a bi-partisan solution to address our state’s habit to spend too much in the good times, without setting money aside for the bad times. Here in Silicon Valley, we know and appreciate the boom and bust cycles of our economy better than most. That means saving for a rainy day, which is precisely what Prop 2 requires our state Legislature to do.

Yes votes for Prop 1 and Prop 2 – the choice is clear. We need to pass both to protect our future. Visit www.yesonprops1and2.com for more information.

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Measure Q: Vote Yes for Open Space for Future Generations

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October 3  |  Environment  |   Carl Guardino

David Packard’s commitment to the environment was one of his biggest priorities. As the founder of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and co-founder and former CEO of HP, he organized a hike for fellow CEOs on the Leadership Group’s board of directors when residents in Santa Clara County started pushing for the creation of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority back in the 1980s. Packard was one of many people who helped lay the foundation for the Authority’s eventual creation.

Forward to today: The Authority has preserved more than 16,000 acres of open space, providing hiking trails, watershed protection and vital wildlife habitat within the Authority’s boundaries – Morgan Hill, San Jose, Campbell, Milpitas and Santa Clara, as well as unincorporated areas throughout the County.

We have an opportunity this election to expand the important work of the Open Space Authority by passing Measure Q, a modest parcel tax of $24 per year to help acquire and fund open space acquisition and access. The Leadership Group strongly supports this measure and encourages a yes vote.

In the spirit of David Packard’s call for citizen engagement, we also want to encourage you to do more than just vote yes on Measure Q. The Leadership Group, along with other organizations, are hosting phone banks to ensure Measure Q will gain the two-thirds vote required for passage. Visit the campaign website to find out more about volunteering.

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Join the Conspiracy

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December 11  |  Community, Environment  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Christmas – That time of year when we spend money on people we don’t like, for things they don’t need, with funds we cannot afford.

Let’s reset. Join me in a conspiracy – an Advent Conspiracy – by cutting out even one gift and giving to someone truly in need.

Here’s perspective:
• In the U.S. alone, Americans will spend $450 billion during the holiday season.
• For $10 billion, we could ensure fresh, clean drinking water for every person on the planet.

Why does fresh drinking water matter? Currently, one in nine people on the globe – 785 million people – lack access to fresh drinking water.

Fifty percent of the people on the planet have lower water quality than that enjoyed by citizens of Rome 2,000 years ago.

In Cambodia, three of every four deaths are the result of water-borne diseases.

Every 20 seconds a child dies due to lack of access to clean drinking water.

Just think – money saved on one less gift can save one additional life.

Join the conspiracy. Whether around the world or around your block, give to someone in need.

Happy Holidays!

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Partnerships and Progress

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June 5  |  Education, Environment, Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Someone once said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Last Friday, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group was honored to bring together more than 20 vital community partners for our 2nd Annual “Regional Economic Forum,” with nearly 400 diverse Valley leaders in interactive dialogue on Regional Competitiveness, California Competitiveness, and U.S. Competitiveness.

With our diversity, we found unity – around the need for meaningful California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform, comprehensive immigration reform, and bold education reforms that put kids – rather than adults – first.

Our Regional Economic Forum was one of 16 forums around the state, leading up to the November 7-8 Statewide Economic Summit to be held in Los Angeles, thanks to the leadership of California Forward and the California Stewardship Panel.

We often ask, do these forums ever move from rhetoric to results? At last year’s forum, we gathered momentum and allies in our efforts to secure a Regional Patent Office (success) and movement for CEQA Reform (progress).

To learn more about last week’s Forum, read the San Jose Mercury News article here. More important, contact me directly to engage on your priority issues in our work plan. At the Leadership Group, our Members set and direct our agenda, leading to powerful results and meaningful partnerships. Join us.

(Note: The Forum panels were all recorded and will be broadcast on 1590 AM KLIV. One panel will air each week on Friday at 8 pm and you’ll be able to find the podcasts at http://svlg.org/press/ceo-show)

 

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CEO Business Climate Survey: Celebrate our Strengths, Work on our Weaknesses

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March 6  |  Education, Environment, Government Relations, Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

We recently released our tenth annual CEO Business Climate Survey – completed by 177 Silicon Valley CEOs and senior officers, who drive the earth’s innovation economy.

The message was clear – celebrate our strengths, while also acknowledging and addressing our weaknesses.

First, our strengths, which I call the “six “t’s” of Silicon Valley’s secret sauce:

* Access to skilled labor – talent
* Entrepreneurial mindset – temperament
* Proximity to customers and competitors – territory
* World class universities – training
* Access to venture capital – treasure
* The climate and weather – temperature

Second, our weaknesses:

* High housing costs
* High personal income tax rates for our workers and families
* Business regulations – especially the misuse of the California Environmental Quality Act
* Traffic congestion

The full survey results are available on our web site at svlg.org. Let’s make time to make a difference.

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.