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Banker named to run California-China trade office

A prominent Bay-Area based international banker has been tapped to run the California-China Office of Trade and Investment, established last year by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Kenneth Petrilla“The hiring of Ken Petrilla, one of the most experienced international banking executives in California, shows how serious California is about its trade relationship with China,” Mike Rossi, Brown’s senior jobs advisor, said in a news release.

Petrilla, 68, of Ross, has served for several years in San Francisco as head of the China desk at Wells Fargo, facilitating opportunities involving Chinese companies doing business in the United States.

Brown created the California-China Office of Trade and Investment to serve as a hub for California companies interested in entering or expanding in China – the world’s second largest economy – and for Chinese companies seeking investment opportunities in California – the world’s eighth largest economy by GDP. California exported $24.2 billion to mainland China and Hong Kong in 2013, as the combined China region became the Golden State’s number one export market.

“There is a Chinese expression that opportunities multiply as they are seized, and Ken Petrilla is just the person California needs to seize these opportunities,” said Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, which manages the Trade Office for the state.

Petrilla said it’s hard to imagine a more exciting job “than straddling two of the world’s most dynamic economies and lending my expertise to helping them both grow more intertwined.

“The people of California and China have so much to gain as trade shifts into what many people have called the Century of the Pacific,” he added. “I hope in this role I can give back to California as much as this state has given to me.”

Petrilla earlier held other posts within Wells Fargo, including responsibilities for all Wells Fargo business and activities within Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Under: economy, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown | 1 Comment »

CD11: Bay Area Council worries about losing clout

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier’s decision to run for Congress when Rep. George Miller, D-Concord, retires has the Bay Area Council worried the region will lose clout in Sacramento. With DeSaulnier no longer being considered for Senate President Pro Tem, will leadership posts in state Senate and Assembly both go to electeds from the south?


Here’s what Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman had to say about it:

Northern California Threatened by Leadership Vote 

By Jim Wunderman 

If you are worried about the drought, growing traffic, the funding at your children’s schools, or a whole host of other issues and you live in Northern California, you should be very worried about upcoming elections in the state legislature for the next Assembly Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore.  

For 40 years there has been an unspoken – and unbroken – rule that Southern California splits leadership of the legislature with the Bay Area and greater Northern California.  This year, Southern California leaders could seize complete control of the state legislature, winning leadership of both the Senate and the Assembly.  We respect the importance of Southern California and often work closely with leaders there on key issues, but, for the good of California, we must continue to share leadership.   As a region, therefore, we face an enormous and historic political test.

Northern California’s Senators and Assemblymembers should stand up for their districts, their voters, their region, and this historic balance of power, and ensure that either the next as the next leader of the Senate or the Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary | 2 Comments »

Bay Area Council lauds Fed nominee Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen, a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business whom President Obama nominated Wednesday to chair the Federal Reserve Bank, was “a thoughtful and engaged member” of the Bay Area Council’s executive committee, the council said Thursday.

Summers withdraws from Fed chief consideration, Janet Yellen considered strong candidate“Janet Yellen provided an incisive voice on economic policy during her tenure with the Bay Area Council,” council president and CEO Jim Wunderman said in a news release. “Janet was an active and valuable leader … providing thoughtful and timely insights on the regional, state and national trends that were shaping our economy leading up to and entering the Great Recession.”

The Bay Area Council is a public policy advocacy organization composed of more than 275 of the nine-county region’s biggest employers. Yellen, 67, served on its executive committee from 2004 to 2010 during her tenure as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

She was a frequent speaker at Bay Area Council conferences and meetings, including an April 2008 address to hundreds of CEOs and leading executives in which she shared her perspectives on the emerging financial crisis that would soon become the Great Recession. She also spoke at the 2006 Outlook Conference, discussing the forces driving the economic boom at the time and the surging housing market.

Posted on Thursday, October 10th, 2013
Under: Obama presidency | No Comments »

Mark DeSaulnier named ‘Regionalist of the Year’

The Bay Area Council, a public policy group consisting of the region’s 275 largest employers, has named state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier as its inaugural “Regionalist of the Year.”

Mark DeSaulnierThe council called DeSaulnier, D-Concord, a champion of regional cooperation and solutions on issues of transportation, healthcare, economic, housing, land-use planning and environmental protection, among others.

“Sen. DeSaulnier throughout his career of service at the city, county and state levels has exhibited his commitment to the Bay Area as a region and his commitment to serve the needs of the Bay Area and all the people of this region not just those who voted for him,” council president and CEO Jim Wunderman said in a news release. “Mark understands that cities and counties and districts cannot succeed unless the region as a whole is working together to accomplish common and mutually beneficial goals. Sometimes regionalism does not play well at home, but Mark has always exhibited the political courage to do what is right for our region.”

As a Contra Costa County supervisor, DeSaulnier served on the boards of all three of the Bay Area’s regional agencies: the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. He also served on the California Air Resources Board, and the council says he was “an early and ardent proponent of taking an integrated, regional approach to housing, land use and transportation planning – long before the approach was officially codified through the current Sustainable Communities Strategy.”

DeSaulnier played a key role in creating the Joint Policy Committee, a leadership group of the Bay Area’s main regional agencies aimed at improving their efficiency and integration. And he has championed several critical regional transportation projects, including the expansion of Highway 4, BART to eastern Contra Costa County, and the Caldecott Tunnel’s fourth bore.

Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2013
Under: California State Senate, economy, Environment, housing, Mark DeSaulnier, Transportation | 4 Comments »

Reax to Gov. Jerry Brown’s ‘State of the State’

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“We enter 2013 surrounded by the most positive atmosphere in several years, and the Governor’s State of the State address points us toward the great potential that lies ahead for California. With bold action, the Legislature worked with Governor Brown to weather the storm of fiscal adversity in perhaps the most difficult period in modern California history. We handled that well; we can also handle success in the better times that lie ahead.

“I join the Governor in his call for fiscal restraint, but neither can we be afraid to be bold in our vision for California. We cannot spend money that we don’t have, and we won’t. As the economy grows, we will develop smart strategies to pay down debt, to build-up our reserves, and also to begin restoring what’s been lost when the opportunity is there to do so.

“We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work to further restore the promise of this great state.”

From state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar:

“We share the Governor’s optimism and celebration of California’s entrepreneurial spirit, business community and educators. We are encouraged by the Governor’s acknowledgement that we need to pay down debt, develop a rainy day fund, and avoid saddling our college students with more tuition increases.

“We look forward to working with the Governor on education reforms to ensure that all California students can obtain a world class education.

“While the Governor acknowledged the loss of jobs in California and focused on job creation in Silicon Valley, he did not offer any substantive proposals for job creation or helping California’s working families. The long-term solution to California’s economic challenges is to get Californians back to work.”

From Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:

“Governor Brown’s State of the State address was a breath of fresh air and the first time since my start in the Assembly that the dark cloud of deficits was lifted.

“To the naysayers who doubted California’s ability to bounce back from the worst global economic collapse in recent memory, the Governor reminded us that together Sacramento and California voters acted decisively and proved them wrong. Our state is on its way to economic recovery.

“I commend Governor Brown for his message of optimism and boldness that reflects a return to California the great. He outlined our past and present efforts that will continue to secure California’s status as the golden state with unparalleled education opportunities, global leadership on transportation, clean energy and climate change and an innovative, growing economy.

“While restraint is necessary to not invite the next bust cycle, restoration of essential safety net services is also important to support Californians still hurting from the economic downturn.

“I am proud that, among the achievements mentioned by Governor Brown, legislation I authored is among accomplishments that have helped pave the way for internet sales taxes, responsible for over 1,000 new jobs in the state and California’s achievement of more than 20 percent renewable energy this year.

“It’s an exciting time for California – and a proud moment for all – as we continue the work ahead of shaping a stronger economy, fueling technology, expanding health care, supporting education and combatting climate change.”

From California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro:

“Today, the Governor wasn’t so much kicking the can down the road as he was hiding the can entirely. And while we’re glad he embraced a number of key Republican proposals, there’s still no plan to create jobs. If you’re unemployed, you want action, not rhetoric.

“His bold proclamations of an economic turnaround conveniently ignored the facts: our cities are going bankrupt because they can’t pay off pension obligations, 4.4 million taxpayers have left the state since 1998 while job creators are fleeing the worst business climate in the nation, and continuing government waste and abuse undermines any promise of fiscal restraint. It’s time for a reality check.

“The overall picture of California’s economy is not nearly as good as Gov. Brown paints it, mainly because Democrats raised taxes retroactively and have virtually guaranteed future job losses to add to the millions of Californians out of work today. This all may be ‘par for the course’ for Jerry Brown, but not for those living with less through no fault of their own. They have a much more realistic outlook and our leadership would do well to accept that reality instead of trying to blur the facts.”

Much more, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, Jerry Brown, Leland Yee, Mark DeSaulnier, Nancy Skinner, Paul Fong | No Comments »

Bill Clinton, Condi Rice to speak in San Jose

Former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Jerry Brown and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will headline the Bay Area Council’s 2012 Outlook Conference on Thursday, May 3 in San Jose’s California Theater.

The council – a public-policy group comprised of the region’s largest employers – invites attendees to “join an audience of hundreds of CEOs and top executives, plus civic leaders from across California … to hear the best thinking available about the future of our economy, our country and our world.”

Other scheduled speakers for the five-hour event include Dupont Chairwoman and CEO Ellen Kullman; Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO George Halvorson; LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner; and PG&E Chairman, President and CEO Anthony Earley.

Tickets start at $750 each and are available online.

Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Under: Bill Clinton, Jerry Brown | No Comments »

East Bay events round-up

Here’s a look at upcoming political events:

Cyberspace

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, is the first congressman to host a mobile video town hall.

On Tuesday, starting at 6:16 p.m., residents may sign up for the video conference through Visible Vote’s free application for Facebook and smartphones including iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Viewers may watch the congressman answer questions real-time posed from those who have signed up for video conference. Many elected officials already deploy the use of telephone town halls, which allow thousands of people to listen and ask questions via the telephone.

But this is the first opportunity for constituents to see Garamendi on their phones as he answers their questions.

Learn how to set up Visible Vote is available at http://visiblevote.us/get-started. php. A video on how Visible Vote works is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=HulPk2dJ3OA.

Concord

Contra Costa Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Gayle Uilkema will deliver the annual State of the County Address at a Feb. 10 luncheon sponsored by the Contra Costa Council.

The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Boulevard, Concord.

Tickets at $35 for council members and elected official and $45 for nonmembers.

The council is a nonpartisan public policy advocacy organization funded through membership of businesses and other local groups.

For more information, visit www.contracostacouncil.com, e-mail info@contracostacouncil.com or call 925-246-1880.

Pleasant Hill

UC-Berkeley Statewide Database Director Karin MacDonald is the keynote speaker at the inaugural Feb. 22 lunch meeting of Community Connections, a lecture series sponsored by Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

MacDonald leads the research center that will process Census 2010 data and geographic information system mapping for use in the state’s redrawing of its congressional and state legislative boundaries.

For the first time, an independent commission of residents will draw the boundaries after voters stripped legislators of the job.

The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. at Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill.

A lunch ticket costs $35. Prices for tickets to the full series vary from $1,000 to $100, depending on the type of membership. Proceeds benefit Mitchoff’s officeholder account, a non-campaign fund managed by elected officials.

San Francisco

Experts will discuss California’s unsustainable public pension system at a March 9 forum sponsored by the Bay Area Council.

The event, entitled, “Is California Headed for a Super Storm of Unfunded Pension Liabilities,” will feature San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster; California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility President Marcia Fritz, and Stanford professor and former state Assemblyman Joe Nation.

The forum will be held from 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. at the offices of SNR Denton, 525 Market Street, 26th Floor, in San Francisco.

“California’s public pension system has been described by some as a ‘time bomb’ or a ‘tsunami’ and by others as an over blown hoax,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “This forum is a chance to get down to the facts and see how much we actually owe, and to examine how to make reforms to get the state back on track.”

For more information, contact www.bayareacouncil.org or call 415-946-8710.

Posted on Monday, February 7th, 2011
Under: Political calendar, Political events | 1 Comment »

Forum weighs pros and cons of AB 32, Prop. 23

The Bay Area Council held a terrific forum yesterday on AB 32, California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction law, and this November’s Proposition 23, which would suspend the law’s implementation.

The Council, a public policy advocacy organization representing the region’s largest employers, long has been a supporter of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and is already on record in opposition to Prop. 23, which would suspend AB 32’s implementation until the state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive quarters.

Still, the council invited not only opponents of the measure, but also a consultant to the Yes on 23 campaign to address three to four dozen businesspeople at Thursday’s forum in the downtown Oakland offices of the Wendel Rosen Black & Dean law firm.

The forum was lengthy and chock full of interesting but complex information, so this’ll be a long one. Follow me after the jump for the full readout…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, ballot measures, economy, energy, Environment, Global warming | 2 Comments »

America’s Cup would create Bay Area jobs

Americas Cup

America's Cup

In the interest of full disclosure, I am biased on this subject. I am an avid sailor and would love to see the America’s Cup come to the San Francisco Bay.

That said, a report released today by the Bay Area Council says the famous, international sporting event would bring $1.4 billion and 8,840 jobs to the Bay Area.

Many people may not realize it, but the San Francisco Bay is one of the world’s premier sailing venues. Its predictable summertime afternoon winds produce some of the best sailing anywhere.

Holding the event in the San Francisco Bay poses political and physical challenges but this report will provide advocates with strong, favorable winds.

Read on for the full news release.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 19th, 2010
Under: sailing | 7 Comments »

Constitutional Convention effort ends

The campaign to put a Constitutional Convention ballot measure on the November ballot has come to end. Backers say they have run out of money.

“The challenge has been that the high level of citizen interest did not match the financial commitment,” said Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, the chief organizer of the campaign. “As a result, we have to press the pause button.”

Repair California was gathering signatures for two ballot measures that would have convened a Constitutional Convention and charged its members with rewriting the way the state governs itself.

The group needed nearly 2 million signatures by mid-April in order to qualify the measures for the November ballot.

Wunderman, whose members at the Bay Area Council pledged $2 million to the effort, pointed to the poor economy.

Campaign manager Clint Reilly estimated it would cost as much as $4 million to gather the signatures but they had only raised $1 million.

“We were not even close,” Reilly said during a press conference this morning in San Francisco.

Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010
Under: constitutional reform | 3 Comments »