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Oakland schools An education victory Page 9

Inside Oakland

Guest speaker Mayor Quan Page 21

Mixer with a view San Leandro Marina Inn Page 23

August 2012

Dimond District Chamber & Wells Fargo join in salute to Oakland Page 24

Oakland Business Review

Visit for more business opportunities, news and event registration.


Proposed Safeway project passes Planning Council by Eleanor Hollander Nearly six years and $1 million already into the planning process, the proposed Safeway on College and Claremont avenues passed a significant hurdle to construction at the Oakland Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, July 25.

After a raucous meeting, the seven-person planning commission voted to certify the proposed project’s final EIR or Environmental Impact Report (assuming a project appeal is forthcoming), passing the matter onto the full City Council for consideration after its August recess. Commissioner Huntsman was absent, and new commissioner Moore recused himself, making the vote 5-0 in favor of adopting the staff report and moving the project forward. The EIR document, a two-volume behemoth of 1,800 pages, is exhaustive in its consideration of the environmental impacts of the proposed project. In the document, prepared by the Oakland Planning Department, every comment, letter, and – continued on page 22


Candidate debates – City elections take center stage Who will lead the city of Oakland? We have had spirited races for Mayor in recent elections. But the field for many of the City Council seats has not been this wide open for many years. With long-time incumbents stepping aside in the contest for three seats and potentially a contest featuring two incumbents in the At-Large race, there will be change this November. Add to all this – a battle for City Attorney – the first race for that office without the name John Russo on the ballot. Barbara Parker, the long-time number two in that office, was appointed to the top job last summer after Russo left for Alameda. Challenging Parker is veteran City Councilmember Jane Brunner. In an effort to help you get to know the candidates, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce will host a series of candidate forums during the last two weeks of August. A schedule is provided in the table below. It all gets started with a showdown between the two candidates to be City CONTEST EVENTS Attorney. This program is co-sponsored by all start at 6:30 p.m. the League of Women Voters and will be held at the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London City Attorney Tues. Aug. 21 Square. Like all the events, it will start at Waterfront Hotel – Jack London Sq. 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6) and is free to the District Three Weds. Aug. 22 public. Z Cafe – 27th & Broadway The debates for City Council seats are hosted exclusively by the Chamber and District One Mon. Aug. 27 will be held in locations within the various College Ave. Presbyterian Church 5951 College Ave. districts. While the events are free they will fill up fast. To guarantee your spot, contact District Five Tues. Aug. 28 Paul Junge or Amanda Medina at the Fruitvale-San Antonio Senior Center Chamber 3301 E. 12th St. or or by At-Large Weds. Aug. 29 phone at (510) 874-4800. Kaiser Auditorium – 300 Lakeside Dr.

> Chamber starts new Land Use Committee Beginning in August 2012, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (as supported by the Oakland Builders Alliance) will start a new committee of expert professionals in the field of land use in Oakland. Currently in the formation and information gathering stages, the group hopes to work closely with the city’s Office of Economic Development to encourage and be supportive of new and diverse development in Oakland. The committee is proposed to be called “Oakland Land Use Committee” or “OLUC” and will meet monthly at the Chamber offices. OLUC will be administered by the Economic Development program at the Chamber, with support from the Oakland Builders Alliance (OBA) executive director. The committee’s membership will be comprised of a balanced panel of private sector real estate professionals with a minimum of 15 years of experience each. The stated mission of OLUC is to be “collectively focused on the support and advocacy for the highest and best enhancement of land use in the City of Oakland.” The group seeks to offer advice and support to Oakland stakeholders including City Council staff and project developers on relevant Oakland projects concerning land use. Stay tuned for updates on this important committee’s future activities. ■

April 2010 |


> Mercedes-Benz of Oakland brings innovation and technology to the East Bay When people talk about high tech in the Bay Area, they usually think about Silicon Valley. But at Mercedes-Benz of Oakland, technology is just one of the many things they bring to the East Bay.

Mercedes-Benz has been an innovator in the automotive field since the invention of the car. In fact, Carl Benz invented the first “motorwagen” in 1886. This year’s new models are a testament to the constant innovation of Mercedes-Benz. The 2012 and 2013 models feature cutting edge technological breakthroughs in fuel economy and green technology, safety,

and performance. The entire line of BlueTec, clean diesel vehicles are at MercedesBenz of Oakland now. These aren’t the noisy diesel vehicles of old. These vehicles reduce smog-causing NOx emissions to harmless nitrogen and oxygen. From the affordable C-Class sedans and coupes to the luxurious GLK-Class SUV’s and the uncompromising performance of the SL-Class sports car, there’s something for everyone at Mercedes-Benz of Oakland. Of course, even the most advanced vehicles need maintenance from time to time. That’s why Mercedes-Benz of Oakland VIP Mercedes Service Department has the latest equipment and some of the industry’s most highly trained personnel. They also offer oneof-a-kind personal treatment, 23 service bays, free shuttle pick-up, and complimentary rental car with select scheduled maintenance, just to name a few highlights. Innovation is also a part of the Mercedes-Benz of Oakland buying experience. They constantly strive to find new ways to make their vehicles accessible and affordable. Their website,, combines their inventory and that of their partner, Mercedes-Benz of San Francisco, to offer more than 400 vehicles online. This includes some of the best,


| OBR Oakland Business Review |

well-maintained, high-quality luxury vehicles in the East Bay. It’s one reason they say, “Your Mercedes is waiting at Mercedes-Benz of Oakland.” At Mercedes-Benz of Oakland, they believe it’s the opinions of their customers that count. Like Scott A. from Walnut Creek who said, “At the end of the day, there’s so many place you can get a car from. It really comes down to the people and service and that’s why I ended up at Mercedes-Benz of Oakland.” And at Mercedes-Benz of Oakland it’s about more than offering the finest driving experience. It’s about giving back to the community. Since 1966 has been involved in the Oakland community. Mercedes Benz of Oakland has been proud to support local institutions like the Oakland Children’s Hospital and the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. They have also contributed to worthy endeavors such as local theater and music programs and small business groups in Oakland. ■

From the president | Joe Haraburda

Retail news, young professionals and Secret Service praise

> Join us for the Chamber’s 2012 Golf Classic

Progress made towards expanding Oakland retail! In past columns I have referred to the importance of the business community joining together to encourage a business friendly environment and business expansion. Well, we have a great example to report. The July 25 Planning Commission meeting was the culmination of a multi-year effort by city staff, Safeway management and staff and your Chamber’s own Retail Advisory Committee to increase shopping options and tax revenue for Oakland. Safeway’s College and Claremont Store expansion proposal was approved with a 5 to 0 vote. The Retail Advisory Committee of the Chamber is comprised of industry experts who over many months worked to support this and other projects, but most importantly engaged with the Mayor, city administration and city staff to raise the awareness of what retailers need to invest in Oakland. Congratulations and on to the next project needing approval! It is essential for our business leaders to get involved and use their expertise to raise the awareness of the projects that will be significant to the ultimate goal of fiscal stability and increased job opportunities in Oakland. As the new Visit Oakland campaign states, “Oakland – To Know It is to Love It.”

The Oakland Chamber is teeing up to bring our members another fabulous day of golf, quality networking, good food, and loads of fun.

If you’re a local businessperson looking for a day of relaxation, but with some important business mixed in, this is the perfect event for you. The 2012 Oakland Chamber Golf Classic and Academy is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 15 at Sequoyah Country Club in the Oakland hills. This annual, all-day tournament brings together some of the top business leaders in the city for breakfast and lunch, a shot-gun start, and the 19th Hole Awards dinner-reception. ■

Congrats, Young Professionals Well done to the new “Young Professionals” Committee! Their first official venture into volunteering was a success. The Young Professionals (OCYP) kicked off their first community service event on Saturday, July 14, with more than 20 young businesspeople participating in the “Downtown Oakland Clean-up” event, including team members from the soon-to-be-open Chase Bank. Following the clean-up, OCYP hosted a brunch for the attendees, and Oakland’s emerging leaders networked, shared best practices, and most importantly, had a great time. OCYP is a service-oriented professional development group and serves as a peer resource network to empower, engage, and advance Oakland’s young professionals. For more information about OCYP’s upcoming events, connect with us on LinkedIn and Facebook, or visit Overheard….in Oakland! Despite the radio issue for the Oakland Police during the President’s visit, our OPD leadership and officers were praised by the Secret Service as an organization for their professionalism and competence. Hat’s off to Chief Jordon and the force. ■

August 2012 | 3


| OBR Oakland Business Review |


> Introducing Lit San Leandro by Eleanor Hollander

Last month’s Economic Development Forum featured the force behind Lit San Leandro – Dr. Patrick Kennedy of OSI Soft, and Jeff Kay, AICP Business Development Manager at the city of San Leandro. Together this team took an innovative approach to attracting industry to San Leandro that relies on a high-speed internet connection for its work.

Dr. Kennedy launched the Lit San Leandro initiative in January of 2012 in San Leandro, a city composed primarily of industry and office space. This pilot location served as a testing ground for an initiative to rethink how the Internet access to data via high-speed cable should be pursued as the demand for data continues to increase in the coming decades. Dr. Kennedy explained that he has been working with computers and data storage since the early 1980s and he has “only seen the request for data increase over time.” For example, the near term outlook for data processing or “big data” is staggering. Today approximately one billion hand-held devices (e.g. PDA, Smartphones) exist in circulation (all requesting data); it is predicted that there will be three billion by 2015, and seven billion by 2020. Even more mind-boggling – there is 70 minutes of content uploaded to YouTube every minute. To handle this amount of data, Dr. Kennedy underscored that our current cable infrastructure soon won’t be adequate to support the needs of modern businesses, citing the example of a photo imaging company that generates high-quality images for the National Football League. The imagining company needs to be able to transmit its high-quality pictures quickly and is unable to do so with an average T-1 line (internet connection) available to most businesses. To combat this, Lit San Leandro has supplied its own data conduit of fiber optic cable. Underwritten by Dr. Kennedy’s funds, and the city of San Leandro’s general understanding of where the improved data service was needed – Lit San Leandro has run new, super-fast, highly connected internet cable known as Fiber Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM), with 80 Frequencies/Strand, 10 Gbps per Frequency and 288 Strands of Fiber woven together. In short, the new cable provides “the backbone that gets you into the cloud of computing on the internet” according to Dr. Kennedy. So far, the project has strung cable around nearly one-third of its planned route, and received lots of positive feedback from companies adjacent to it. Including some surprising customers, like the nearby auto dealership that has found service to be improved on their internal parts ordering and inventory systems. Other


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▲ At the Chamber’s Economic “connectivity rich businesses” such as Development Forum (left to medial facilities and video and animation right) – Pat Kennedy (Lit San studios have also benefited from the cable. Leandro), Chris Pattillo Jeff Kay called it, “the feel good story of (PGAdesign, Inc. and a member the year” and indicated that the City of the Oakland Planning Council has been very pleased with the Commission), Ruth Miller (UC progress on the project thus far. Berkeley), Jeff Kay (city of San Leandro), Charissa Frank (chair Following presentations, the Forum of the Chamber’s Economic attendees had a robust round of questions Development Department), for the speakers and discussion amongst and the Chamber’s Eleanor themselves about what sorts of industries Hollander (kneeling, holding a are best positioned to take advantage of high-speed Internet cable). this new type of super-fast connectivity and what it means for more traditional service providers. For more information on Lit San Leandro, visit ■ Eleanor Hollander is the Chamber’s director of economic development.

> ORAC hears West Oakland plan The Chamber’s Oakland Retail Advisory Committee (ORAC), a group of 15 expert retail, development, and leasing professionals, recently hosted a presentation from city of Oakland staffers Jeff Chew (lead, West Oakland Specific Plan) and Elois Thornton (lead, West Oakland Specific Plan). Chew and Thornton gave an overview of the West Oakland Specific Plan area.

Then Morten Jensen (JRDV Architects) showed conceptual ▲ These two Chamber Board members and business leaders drawings and master planning areas continue to assist the Chamber in development. through our economic After the presentation, the development committees. ORAC members gave individual Solomon Ets-Hokin (right, feedback on the opportunity Colliers International), the sites/areas designated for retail. former chair of the Oakland The West Oakland Specific Plan Retail Advisory Committee (ORAC), is now chairing the new has the stated purpose “to develop Oakland Land Use Committee, comprehensive, multi-faceted while Ken Lowney (Lowney strategies for facilitating the Architecture) has taken his development of selected vacant place to head up ORAC. and/or under-utilized commercial and industrial properties within the West Oakland community.” The plan will be a tool for supporting, attracting and developing commercial and industrial enterprises to provide jobs and services needed by the West Oakland community and the city of Oakland at large. The meeting continued with a fishbowl-style panel discussion that critiqued and praised the project, specifically recommending parking design changes to the Magnolia Walkway in one of the opportunity areas to better facilitate successful retail store locations. New ORAC chair Ken Lowney (Lowney Architecture) noted that the experts in the room (combined) “had valuable feedback to offer” with the members’ varied experiences working in retail, and that the group was pleased to hear from the city staff at such an early stage in the project. Morten Jensen, lead designer and consultant on the project, said that he found the feedback “extremely useful” and as the West Oakland planning process moved forward he would be challenged to “incorporate this feedback into the designs.” In addition, Lowney accepted the resignation of ORAC member Jim Moore, who has recently been appointed to the city of Oakland Planning Commission and felt that he could no longer participate in ORAC due to a perceived conflict of interest. The committee congratulated Moore on his prestigious appointment. Future topics for the ORAC summer meeting series call for an evaluation of specific sites and areas including the already “retail successful” Hegenberger Corridor. More information on ORAC’s current members and meeting agenda topics can be found at ■

August 2012 |



Small business


> Employee bonus program leads to overtime class action by Cathy Arias and Allyson Cook

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston denied summary judgment and granted class certification after Office Depot failed to pay the named plaintiff $0.23 in overtime compensation.¹

This decision opens the door for significant damages claims over what many characterize as a few measly cents. Coming on the heels of recent employer victories in the California and U.S. Supreme Court, this case should chill employers to the bone and send a strong message that the wage and hour industry is evolving. Compliance with California’s Labor Code and Wage Orders is essential even when the money at stake is a few cents. Howard Provine worked at Office Depot for six months in 2010. The company offered an incentive to award employees for superior work performance. Eligible employees received “Bravo Cards” which were entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win $50.00. During Provine’s employment, he won the drawing twice. Office Depot did not account for the $50 awards when it calculated earnings on 19 minutes of overtime he worked totaling $0.23 in unpaid overtime. Since Office Depot did not pay him all wages owed at the Cathy Arias time his employment ended, Provine claimed it owed him waiting time penalties totaling $1,000.00 to $2,000.00. The primary legal arguments in this case centered on whether the $50.00 award was a discretionary bonus. Bonuses are discretionary if “both the fact that payment is to be made and the amount of payment are determined at the sole discretion of the employer” and “not pursuant to any prior contract, agreement or promise.” UnderAllyson Cook standing the distinction between discretionary and non discretionary bonuses is crucial because the latter must be included when calculating overtime. Office Depot argued the $50.00 was a discretionary bonus, and thus, need not be factored into overtime. Alternatively, it argued that Provine’s claims were barred because the unpaid amount at stake was de minimis. Judge Illston rejected these arguments ruling the awards are non-discretionary under the Labor Code because the amount ($50) was fixed and known to all employees in advance of the drawing. Judge Illston disallowed the de minimis defense when applied to hourly employees such as Provine. Judge Illston then certified a class of California Office Depot employees who received Bravo Awards from 2008 to the present. Office Depot estimates it distributed over 5,000 awards during that time. It is too soon to know if Office Depot will challenge the decision. However, even if overturned, the ruling is a wake-up call to employers. Office Depot has been punished dearly for its generosity towards its employees facing years of litigation over a purported failure to pay Provine less than $0.25. Employers should expect that with the anticipated decline in meal and rest break lawsuits, attorneys will feed on this decision and use it as a guideline to file similar cases. Accordingly, employers should commence with the following: • Understand discretionary versus non-discretionary bonuses. Employers should also appreciate what other forms of compensation must be factored into the regular rate of pay when calculating overtime. • Establish a payroll protocol to ensure non-discretionary bonuses are taken into account when paying overtime by calculating the proper rate of pay. • Consider auditing bonuses paid during the last four years to determine whether they were properly classified as discretionary. If misclassified, determine whether employees are owed additional monies for overtime. • Consult with an employment attorney to discuss your bonus programs and the results of your audits. ■ Cathy Arias is the chair of Burnham Brown's Employment Law Department and specializes in counseling and representing employers. She can be reached at (510) 835-6806 and Allyson Cook is a member of Burnham Brown’s Employment Law Department and specializes in employment and general litigation and can be reached at (510) 835-6816 or

¹ Howard David Provine, et al. v. Office Depot, Inc., United States District Court, Northern District of California Case No. C 11-00903 SI


| OBR Oakland Business Review |


> Ambassador of the Month Dawnn Hills, a seasoned Ambassador and sales representative for Vantage Business Support & Insurance Services, and who takes pride in her community and the well-being of her clients, has been named the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Month for the second consecutive month. She sincerely believes in what she calls “PHP” – People Helping People! She volunteers 20-25 hours per month with numerous organizations in addition to running a full-service insurance Dawnn Hills practice. Hills’ primary focus is business owners and entrepreneurs / individuals. She provides professional liability, personal lines and health care . . . which is why her tag line is “Dawnn Hills, ‘Insurance for your every need!’” Dawnn Hills has offices in both Alameda and San Ramon to accommodate her clients. She looks forward to learning more about you and your business. ■


Small business



> Offer employees a fun way

> Big benefits educating employees

to track fruit and vegetable intake

by Ana-Marie Jones

Kaiser Permanente has launched a new online nutrition program designed for employers to help their employees improve their daily eating habits by including more fruits and vegetables.

The “Mix It Up” program, from HealthWorks by Kaiser Permanente, emphasizes a varied selection of colorful produce and introduces participants to healthy eating patterns anyone can readily and easily adopt. There’s no calorie counting, fat-gram measuring or food weighing involved. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research shows fewer than 25 percent of American adults consume the ideal five-plus daily servings of fruits and vegetables. “Employers are uniquely positioned to support employees in making healthy changes,” says Jennifer Christian-Herman, PhD, executive director, HealthWorks by Kaiser Permanente. “Employees spend about 2,000 hours a year at work, so businesses are in a good position to promote prevention, influence employee decision-making and support their workforce in living healthier lives.” Employees sign up online with the goal of eating at least five servings of produce each day. Easy-to-remember daily food selections include more than 120 possible fruits and vegetables. Participants click on images of the foods they’ve eaten, drag them to a virtual blender and process their choices. Mix It Up does the rest by totaling numbers of fruits and vegetables consumed and tracking progress over time. This low-cost online program offers nutritional tips, features a team competition component, as well as one for individuals, and is accessible via computer and smartphones on the iPhone and Android platforms (available in the App Store and Google Play, formerly Android Market). “Mix It Up is a fun and easy way to engage their employees in making healthy changes to their diet. The team challenge component taps into the power of social networks, which supports, reinforces and sustains healthy behaviors,” adds Christian-Herman. A Mix It Up video explains how it works –

Employers face an ever-growing number of topics and issues to educate their employees about – sexual harassment, discrimination, occupational health, new technologies, and the list goes on. It’s no surprise that some topics get pushed to the back-burner. When there is no pressure or mandate to provide the education, like with healthy living choices, or when it’s a preferred topic to avoid, like disaster preparedness, the education often doesn’t Ana-Marie Jones happen. It turns out that combining those two topics – health and preparedness – creates a winning combination, with immediate benefits for both employers and employees. Prepare for health We've long known that healthier, more resilient people are better able to weather the rigors and stresses of responding to disasters, evacuating, sheltering, or simply participating in readiness activities. And, building the everyday health, wellness and resilience of employees can reap a multitude of benefits – reduced sick time, increased employee engagement, enhanced quality of life, etc. Start with the basics Water is a critical resource for maintaining everyday health, and in an emergency or disaster it will become an urgent need. Beyond having an adequate amount of water stored for emergencies, consider sharing and promoting these healthy water habits: 1) Ensure there is a personal emergency water supply at all workstations. 2) Encourage everyone to carry a refillable water bottle at all times. Spring for branded bottles with your logo to reap some extra marketing rewards. 3) Have multiple water selections in your vending machines. Creating a culture of health as a path to emergency preparedness (or viceversa) can be as simple as encouraging everyone to keep comfortable walking shoes or sneakers at work, and then using breaks to walk, climb some stairs or just move. For extra points have employees proactively get to know your neighbors and the safety resources of your neighborhood. A zealous person with comfy shoes, a bottle of water, and a map can collect lots of great information and then educate everyone else about local emergency resources. Perhaps one of the best things you can educate your employees about is breathing. Most people, unless they develop an interest in some holistic practice like yoga or Reiki, never learn to do deep, diaphragmatic breathing. In some military combat circles Tactical Breathing is promoted. It’s a brilliant preparedness skill to have, it’s entirely portable, it helps with many health issues, it’s easy to learn, and best of all – it can be practiced almost anywhere with no other accessories or tools needed. For more information about how you can embrace the “Prepare for Health” approach, call CARD at (510) 451-3140 or email ■ Ana-Marie Jones is the executive director of CARD – Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters –and the founding co-chair of the Chamber’s Nonprofit Roundtable.

August 2012 | 7


> Effective marketing with Direct Mail

has regulations on the size of your mailer, and the postal rate varies on weight and size. I like to recommend the maximum letter rate size of 6.125” x 11.5,” It tends to stand out from the rest of the mail and gives extra room for those eye-catching graphics and brand elements you have developed with your design team.

by Don Landers

With the advent of email marketing, Direct Mail has taken a back seat over the last decade or more, but I believe direct mail is on the increase. There are sound reasons for this. In response to aggressive telemarketing techniques, telemarketing firms must honor “do not call” lists. Likewise, our email software has learned to identify SPAM, the nasty twin of telemarketing. That has left businesses with the good old mailbox as an avenue to promote their goods and services and win the hearts and minds of their prospects. Direct Mail develops brand recognition for your comDon Landers pany, reinforces your networking efforts, differentiates you from the competition, and drives customers to your business. A few statistics: Direct Mail increased company sales by $702 billion in 2010, and U.S. advertisers cumulatively spent $167 per person on direct mail to yield $2,095 in sales, a 1,300 percent return on investment. Direct Mail brings in 78 percent of revenues for nonprofit organizations. Should you decide that Direct Mail is a viable vehicle to promote your business, what are some of the details you should know? First and foremost, understand your market – know why your customer comes to you and what their hot buttons are. Secondly, understand the elements of a well-designed mailer. Have a clear call to action. Stick to one main thrust of your mailer. Do not try to cover all bases, thereby clouding your message with too much information. I once heard it said that if a person threw you three balls at once you were likely to catch none of them, whereas one ball thrown on target gets caught every time! Part of a great call to action is presenting your recipient with a free offer or significant discount. Integrated marketing – Ideally you want to drive people to your website to redeem this gift or free offer and obtain their permission to email market to them with items like your monthly e-newsletter. There are very cost-effective tools on the market to embed into your website that provide metrics and auto responders (some with video) to welcome your new contacts to your opt-in list, while advising you that you have a new subscriber. Size matters – The size of your direct mailer is important. The U.S. Postal Service

Your mail house – There is significant value in working with a qualified mail house. Not only will you get personal service, but tips and marketing experience from a team that does this on a daily basis. Acquisition of mailing lists, determining the demographics of your target audience, and weighing the differences between targeted marketing (sharpshooter) vs. blanket marketing (shotgun approach) are important details. Professional mail houses work closely with the USPS to obtain the very best postal rate for their customers, and since postage can often be the most costly component of any direct mail program it is paramount to obtain the best postal rate. How often? I believe it is important to have a system of repeated contact with your prospects and existing customers. Multiple exposures build brand recognition and touching them every couple of months is a great way to insure that they will find your information handy when they are ready to buy. Follow up The most effective direct mail campaigns have a follow-up system. This can be electronic or via telephone. But most preferable is the personal contact – the human connection with your customer. With all of the electronic/robotic responders these days, talking to a real human being is tremendously refreshing. ■ Don Landers is a print professional with Folger Graphics in Hayward, and can give you a consultative approach to all of your print and marketing needs.


Oakland, Fukuoka to celebrate sister city anniversary by Becky Taylor and Mark Morodomi

A number of fun, interesting events have been planned in Oakland from Aug. 17-20 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Sister City Agreement in 1962 between Oakland and Fukuoka, Japan. The events will help celebrate the hundreds of successful cultural, academic, business and youth exchanges that have been accomplished during that time. Fukuoka Mayor, The Honorable Soichiro Takashima, will lead a delegation of 35 officials and citizens to Oakland for these celebrations. The delegation will include sub-groups of members of the International Affairs Department, Port of Hakata officials, Fukuoka City Council Members, Fukuoka Firefighters, and a citizens group consisting of former high school exchange students that first visited Oakland in the early 1970s. In addition to the numerous events planned over the four-day period, there will be peer-to-peer meetings with both Mayors, Oakland Port officials, Oakland City Council, Oakland Fire Department officials, and reunions of past host families with their former exchange students. Mayors Takashima and Quan will announce and invite Oakland and East Bay businesses to accompany local officials and citizens when a delegation travels to Fukuoka in mid-November 2012 for an exchange visit. Fukuoka welcomes interested local businesses to explore economic opportunities within their city and region, a popular trend in recent years, according to Sister Cities International. Fukuoka’s International Economic Promotion Department staff will welcome Oakland/East Bay business inquiries and will be happy to make introductions, as appropriate, to further economic opportunities. To inquire about showcasing business products or services in Fukuoka and/or travel as a member of the delegation, email Becky Taylor at Fukuoka is Japan’s sixth largest city with a population of 1.5 million, increasing by 5,000-10,000 people every year. The public is invited to attend any of the events that will be held in Oakland to celebrate the 50th anniversary, including an exhibit and reception for the artist exchange on Friday, Aug. 17 to a jazz concert at Yoshi’s on Saturday, a dedication of ten Japanese lanterns near Lake Merritt and an Oakland A’s game on Sunday, and a disaster preparedness panel and gala farewell dinner on Monday. For information and reservations, email ■ Becky Taylor and Mark Morodomi are co-chairs of the Oakland Fukuoka Sister City 50th Anniversary Planning Committee.

> New QuickBooks seminar Anders Johansson CPA will present members and guests with an overview of QuickBooks and the different versions available at the Chamber offices on Wednesday, Aug. 15 from 2 to 4 p.m., and then present an Intermediate QuickBooks seminar at the Chamber two weeks later, on Wednesday, Aug. 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. Each seminar is $35 for members. For each seminar, bring your own laptop (not required). Materials are included. To reserve a space and for the class schedule, visit ■


| OBR Oakland Business Review |



> ‘Community Schools, Thriving Students’ – A victory for Oakland by Superintendent Tony Smith

lenging work – continued implementation of the plan – lies ahead of us. We are entering year four of our effort to transform OUSD from a district with pockets of excellence into one with a shared commitment to high quality and equitable education at every site and for every student ( I am encouraged by our progress and believe now, more than ever, that our focus on the whole child is essential if we hope to restore the promise of Oakland Public Schools so that all students reach their full potential. If we continue as we always have, we will get the results we’ve always known – and those are simply unacceptable. The hard work of changing practice is still necessary to realize our goals for students. Yet, this knowledge is balanced by our initial triumphs that point toward a bright future where OUSD is truly a Full-Service Community School District meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of all its students. ■ Dr. Tony Smith is the superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District.

> School for the Arts – Where creativity, innovation and inspiration flourish ▲ Superintendent Tony Smith Oakland is home to distinguished schools, national blue congratulates a Castlemont High ribbon winners, and individual School graduate. students who are performing at the highest levels. Oakland’s teachers and school staff are leading the way forward to equity and excellence for all. These successes come as the result of shared purpose, hard work, and focus on the needs of children. Yet, in our current system, some individuals have easy access to opportunity while others in Oakland have far dimmer prospects due to where they live. This is not acceptable and not healthy for our community as a whole. We must engage in new ways that connect individuals, communities, and institutions together with the understanding that our fates in Oakland are linked. If parts of Oakland are suffering, all of Oakland is suffering. We see a city where people are asking themselves, “As a result of my actions, How many more Oakland children are graduating from high school? How many more Oakland children are attending school 95 percent or more? How many more students have meaningful internships and/or paying jobs? And, how many more Oakland children have access to, and use, the health services they need?” In June of 2011, the Oakland Board of Education unanimously approved the “Community Schools, Thriving Students” plan in what I regard as a tremendous victory for our city. Throughout 2011-12, we built on that success. Last fall, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) extended its record as California’s most improved urban school district to seven years, and established itself as the school system with the most career academies of any California “Linked Learning” District, underscoring our emphasis on a curriculum that integrates college preparatory academics with technical and work-based education. In February 2012, OUSD became one of only eight school districts in the country sponsored by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), a partnership that moves us toward the goal of making social and emotional learning an essential part of every child’s education so students gain the skills needed for positive relationships, conflict resolution, emotion management, civic participation and responsible decision-making. Also, while districts all around us were instituting furlough days and implementing layoffs, OUSD made hard decisions that resulted in higher 2012-13 per-pupil allocation levels. These choices mean that each OUSD student receives 5 percent more dedicated funding than last year and, overall, we can invest more heavily in schools. Chamber of Commerce Power None of these acBreakfast featuring Dr. Tony Smith, complishments came superintendent of the Oakland easily and none of them came without tradeoffs, Unified School District and all of them were made in the service of Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8-9:30 a.m. children. Still, the most chalWaterfront Hotel at Jack London


by Donn Harris

The Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) is a public charter school located inside the Fox Theater and is proud to be one of the arts organizations that has come to characterize the energetic Uptown arts scene.

Students between the ages of 11 and 18 enroll in the school through an audition in one of eight arts areas. OSA was founded by former Oakland mayor, now California governor, Jerry Brown in 2002. The opening of school on Aug. 27 of this year marks the 10th anniversary of the institution. In an era where education can often be about test scores and statistical accountability measures, OSA is a place in which creativity, innovation and inspiration flourish. Students work in teams, collaborate on events and performances, and develop the capacity for personal expression. The school’s new tag line, “Find Your Voice,” sums up this attitude perfectly – students explore the endless possibilities of their creative voices on a daily basis. Oakland is one of the cities in the United States that has supported its young artists by committing the resources to house the school in a historic downtown building. Arts schools often express the pulse of a city, as can be readily seen throughout the school year as students populate the downtown area and bring their special creative energy to the streets and shops. Many of OSA’s performances become community events. This upcoming year, the school’s exciting Vocal Music concert will be held in The Fox Theater on May 2, 2013; the school musical “Hairspray” will be at the Scottish Rite auditorium on June 4 and 5. The millennium has brought an understanding to the educational world that the building blocks of success are rooted in the ability to think fluidly, solve problems creatively, and design innovations that address new challenges. The profound issues we face – global warming, economic progress, social justice, meaningful diversity – require a new kind of educational model. The OSA community believes that the arts develop these capacities in our students and prepare them for the world they will face upon graduation. OSA boasts a graduation and college acceptance rate well above 95 percent, and our students promise to be the creative leaders and inspired innovators of the future. And they know where they came from – there is a particular Oakland flavor to their creative endeavors and performances, and enormous pride in representing this wonderful, diverse city. ■ Donn Harris is the executive and artistic director at Oakland’s School for the Arts.


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> Upcoming open house: Cal State East Bay’s Oakland Center California State University, East Bay is looking to expand your career opportunities at its Continuing Education Open House on Thursday, Sept. 6 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at its Oakland Center in the Transpacific Building at 1000 Broadway.

Open House attendees will be able to explore the more than 40 degree and certificate programs ranging across a variety of industries and fields. Additional training is available in many specialized areas at all levels. Continuing Education faculty will be present along with staff to answer questions and discuss academic, professional, and lifelong learning opportunities at Cal State East Bay. Veterans Affairs and Career Counseling representatives will be on hand to consult on the resources and steps needed to pursue professional and academic pursuits. Center history This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of California State University, East Bay’s Oakland Center campus. Since opening, the university has expanded its programs and services in order to keep pace with growing demand. Over the past decade, the center has offered over 40 programs and served more than 21,000 students.

The Oakland Center traces its beginnings to the late 1990s when Mayor Elihu Harris deemed it imperative to extend the reach of continuing education opportunities to the community at large. A partnership between the city of Oakland and Cal State East Bay was formed to develop a centralized educational hub that would provide quality business certificate programs and other vital resources to a growing workforce that demanded increased training. The program’s popularity outgrew its small downtown office and paved the way for the creation of Cal State East Bay’s Oakland Professional Development and Conference Center in 2001. The Oakland Center serves approximately 2,500 continuing education students annually, offering programs that help Bay Area residents enhance their academic skills and expand their professional horizons. Working professionals and students who enroll in these courses not only benefit from industry-experienced instructors and small class sizes, but also take advantage of job placement assistance and internship opportunities. In addition, the Oakland Center operates as an affordable solution for corpo-

rate and nonprofit meeting and training needs. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Oakland, the Oakland Center accommodates groups as large as 160. All rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet access, A/V equipment, and video-conferencing capabilities. A high-speed computer training lab is also available.

The Oakland Center offers custom training solutions and has served as a meeting place for companies such as Franklin Covey Group, California Department of Education, The Clorox Corporation, and Kaiser Permanente. It also provides facilities for employee training, trade shows, product launches, benefits fairs, and professional conferences. For more information about the Oakland Center and to RSVP to the upcoming Continuing Education Open House, visit

> It takes a community . . . partnership by Michael Woo

When the doors open for the 5th Annual Health and Wellness Fair on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Oakland’s Eastmont Town Center (ETC), more than 1,000 people will discover nearly 70 Bay Area health and wellness providers standing ready to offer free services. Families, children, seniors – all are welcome to partake in the health and medical screenings, which include dental, vision, blood pressure, HIV/AIDS testing, child immunizations, senior health, smoking cessation, asthma, and much more. Michael Woo This free-to-the-public Health Fair, focused towards underserved and underinsured populations, is the result of a unique community partnership. Oakland-based Ramsell Corporation and its subsidiary, The Apothecary, the Alameda County Public Health Department, Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson and the Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI), have joined together to do what none of them could have accomplished on their own. “For nearly 50 years, Ramsell Corporation has been creating positive outcomes for the health and safety of underserved populations,” stated Eric Flowers, chief executive officer of Ramsell. “The Apothecary has held a Health Fair in East Oakland for the past four years. This year we wanted to attract a far larger audience to take advantage of all the free health services, but to do so, we needed to find partners.” As it turned out, the Alameda County Public Health Department and Assemblymember Swanson’s office had both held health fairs in the past, and the Centers for Elders’ Independence, a nonprofit health support organization for seniors, was hoping to hold a smaller health fair focused on seniors. Fortunately, when these organizations began to share their hopes and challenges, the opportunity for a health fair that would reach a broader audience began to take shape. “This unique partnership is a perfect example of what can happen when concerned community-focused organizations see a common goal,” commented Assemblymember Swanson. “Combining the abilities of these diverse for-profit, nonprofit and governmental organizations means that far more Oakland and East Bay residents will benefit from the services provided at the Health Fair.” There is a growing trend across the country for such cross-sector partnerships – partnerships combining two or more partners from the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors – to address societal challenges. Especially in these economic times, such partnerships are able to highly leverage multiple assets (financial, experience, personnel, locations, technology, etc.) and achieve far greater results than any one or two organizations would achieve by themselves. Angela Ball, director of public health nursing for the Alameda County Public Health Department, concluded, “Though the Health Fair is just one day, it will have a lasting effect on underserved and underinsured residents.” ■ Michael Woo is director of marketing at Ramsell Corporation.

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Education through medicine

> Patient education: A key to reducing health care costs and improving quality of life It’s no secret. Health care costs continue to rise at an unbearable rate. This is not only a burden for patients and their families, but also for those who pay the bulk of the bill – businesses and public sector payers.

Increasingly, educating patients in health promotion and disease prevention is seen as a key to reducing the need for medical care, as well as to improving health. While Alameda County Medical Center may be best known for its renowned medical education and training programs and its life-saving Trauma Center (see related article), it is also at the forefront of the movement to educate patients in how to stay healthy and prevent disease. As the public hospital system serving all residents of Alameda County, the Medical Center’s providers excel at delivering top-notch medical care within limited budgets. They also know first-hand the benefits of health education, and they’ve implemented many successful programs to support patients in maintaining and improving their health. As the nonprofit fundraising arm of the Medical Center, the Alameda County Health Care Foundation plays an essential role in raising funds for these programs, a few of which are described here. The Bite to Balance Program – A childhood obesity intervention developed by Dr. Robert Savio and Michele Bunker-Alberts, FNP educates youth participants and their parents on the benefits of a healthy diet and physical activity. It partners with West Oakland-based People’s Grocery to break down the barriers faced by low-income families – who often struggle to afford fresh produce – by providing free “grub bags” of locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Participants also engage in educational programs focused on culturallyappropriate food preparation and budgeting for healthy meals. The Foundation is seeking funding to expand this proven-effective program. The Infant Safety Program – Developed by Stefania Kaplanes, MSW, Highland’s community injury prevention coordinator, the program educates new parents on how to keep infants healthy and safe. The Foundation raises funds to provide newborns with “sleep sacks,” which support a supine sleeping position, and has been found to help prevent SIDS. At the other end of the spectrum, the Fall Prevention Center educates elderly patients on how to prevent falls, which often require costly medical care. The Foundation raises funds for equipment, such as shower seats, which enables seniors to remain independent in their own homes. Youth violence is a serious problem in many communities. Physicians at Highland Hospital created the award-winning Youth Violence Prevention Program, now a model for more than 19 hospitals across the country. The Foundation funds trained “intervention specialists” who mentor youth participants in preventing violence, retaliation and injuries, and guide them in turning their lives around through the pursuit of academic and career success. These are just a few examples of how education goes a long way in reducing the need for costly medical care, as well as in improving patients’ health status and our community’s quality of life. The Foundation is proud to partner with the Medical Center in these efforts. For more information, visit ■

> The foundation of healthy living for your pets is their diet by Gary Richter, MS, DVM

Healthy living is one of the keys to a long and healthy life. This is certainly true for animals as much as it is for people.

The decisions we make regarding nutrition, medical care, and lifestyle have an enormous impact on our pet’s quality of life. Given that we as pet owners are wholly responsible for making these decisions on behalf of our animals, it is important to put some thought into what is best for them.

Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine.” The foundation of healthy living for animals lies in what they are eating. Given the number of pet food choices available, it is no wonder there is some confusion regarding what is best. While there is no food that is right for everyone, the basics of nutrition for people apply to animals as well. For most individuals, good nutrition means feeding a diet that is as close to fresh, whole foods as possible. Raw foods and/or cooked fresh foods provide excellent nutrition for many animals. The specifics of what an individual can and should eat are variable, however, and may require a discussion with your veterinarian or an animal nutritionist.

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▲ The goal of holistic care is to We are fortunate in the Bay Area to support normal body systems truly have comprehensive medical care so the animal’s body can options for animals. There are many exovercome an injury or illness. cellent veterinary hospitals and veterinary specialists in the area that provide top notch medical and surgical care. The other side of this coin is the holistic health care approach. Holistic care looks at the patient as a whole and generally treats the patient as much as a disease or symptom. The goal of holistic care is to support normal body systems so the animal’s body can overcome an injury or illness. This is accomplished through the use of nutritional support, herbal medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical rehabilitation, etc. Both Western and Holistic medicine are powerful tools used to restore and maintain health. When both sides are integrated, however, the benefits increase exponentially. Truly integrated veterinary care means that your pet may have more than one health care provider. No one would expect their physician to also be an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, a physical therapist, and/or a nutritionist. We are accustomed to seeing the “expert” when our bodies have specific needs. The same is true for our pets. When they need “Western” care, the general practice veterinarian is the best place to go. However, other aspects of their health care may necessitate them being treated by a practitioner with a different area of expertise. Veterinarians who are looking out for their patient’s best interests know when to refer to a holistic veterinarian or a specialist. Healthy living is about choices. We not only make choices for ourselves, we also make them for our pets. Oakland and the Bay Area put healthy lifestyle options at our fingertips. After all, living a long and healthy life is we all want for ourselves, our families… and our pets. ■ Gary Richter, MS, DVM, a certified veterinary acupuncturist and certified veterinary chiropractor, is owner of Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, which recently was awarded the Chamber’s Small Business Innovator Award at the 107th Annual Meeting.


Education through medicine

> Highland Hospital has the ‘Power of Philanthropy’ to save patients’ lives So it was at the grand opening of Highland Hospital’s Combined Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Angiography Suite last year. Community leaders, Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC) staff and donors toured the facility, built with $2.6 million raised by the Alameda County Health Care Foundation. Only hours earlier, ACMC had received approval from the State of California to provide lifesaving procedures to heart attack patients. According to Heather Duke, director of Cardiovascular Services/ Radiology, a resident came rushing in during the community event to share results of an EKG with a cardiologist. It became apparent the act was not staged for the event; a woman was having a heart attack. “The cath lab made an enormous difference for our patients over the past year,” said Thomas Frohlich, MD, the cath lab’s medical director and chief of cardiology. “We treat many desperately sick patients, like the paIn medicine, as in business, timing can be everything.

▲ Dr. Thomas Frohlich reviews tient at the grand opening, who a patient image with members have multiple risk factors such as of the cath lab staff. hypertension, diabetes and smoking. These patients have often had difficulty getting adequate medical care. With an on-site cath lab, we can provide immediate and definitive diagnosis and treatment.” For the patient, it was a lifesaving moment. “We have no doubt that had our cath lab not been here the patient would not have survived her trip to an outside medical facility for treatment,” Duke said. “Today she is alive and well.” Adds Dr. Frohlich, “I have been a cardiologist for 25 years, and this cath lab is the best I’ve used for my procedures. Not only do we have state-of-the-art equipment, we have a phenomenal staff that is well trained, compassionate and eager. This is a spectacular place to care for patients. And I think the patients feel it; they can tell it’s a wonderful place to be treated.” Since opening, Highland’s cath lab has treated 407 patients, including 156 cardiac exams and 74 cardiac stents. “Faster intervention for our cardiac patients is key to their survival and recovery,” Duke said. “Many of our patients have had an improved chance for survival just based on quick intervention during their emergency – the ability to perform Cardiac Angioplasty/Stenting on site without having to transfer the patient to another facility.” Adds Duke, “None of this would have been possible without the support of the Alameda County Health Care Foundation.” Dr. Frohlich agrees. “Our state-of-the-art cath lab is a great example of the power of philanthropy to help fund the equipment health care providers need to save our patients’ lives.” ■

> Keep your batteries charged all day by Melissa Rodgers Morning is the most promising part of the day for many people. If you’ve had a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast, your energy level is at its peak and you’re ready to tackle whatever challenges come your way.

But as anyone who has managed in an office environment knows, workers’ batteries begin to run down as morning turns into afternoon, and by 3 or 4 p.m., the energy that was so palpable only several hours earlier is often gone. It doesn’t need to be that way, though. Encouraging office workers to take a few moments to care for their bodies and spirits can help them remain energized all day. Here are some easy steps anyone can take to keep their batteries charged and stay focused and productive all the way until the end of the day. Post these tips in the cafeteria, break room or department bulletin boards. And don’t forget to follow them yourself. Take regular breaks – Avoid sitting still for too long by taking short movement breaks and changing positions frequently. Moving around helps muscles relax and recover from static positions and increases blood flow. Ideally, move around at least every 30 minutes. Take a moment to stand up, look out the window, or stretch at your workspace. Use this time to do something that takes you away from the computer. After the mini-break, you can return to your work feeling refreshed and energized. Drink fluids – Keeping your body hydrated is vital to maintaining energy. This doesn’t mean more coffee or soda. The caffeine in coffee (and some sodas) can actually dehydrate you. The sugar in soda may give you a momentary boost, but it doesn’t last. Good old water is best. Keep a bottle or cup handy and sip frequently throughout the day. Instead of sugary drinks, try adding a slice of orange or lemon to your water for a boost of flavor. Snack – Several hours after lunch, blood-sugar levels drop and energy wanes. A mid-or late-afternoon snack is the antidote, but make sure it’s the right snack. Candy or other sweets offer only a momentary boost. Consider fresh fruits or vegetables, whole grain crackers, a small serving of nuts, or some low-fat yogurt. These revive energy in a way that lasts longer than candy. Walk – During a couple of those regular, timed breaks during the day (try for mid-morning and mid-afternoon), get up and leave your desk for five or ten minutes. If possible, walk outside and enjoy the sunshine. If not, take a lap around your floor, walk up and down a couple of flights of stairs, or take a stroll to the loading dock and back. Exercise stimulates blood flow throughout your body, including your brain, and allows you to return to work refreshed and refocused. Remember, short physical activities can contribute to your 30 minutes of recommended daily exercise. For information about walking as regular exercise, check out None of these tips is costly, but the benefits can be priceless. For you as an employer, the payoff likely will be a boost in productively. But your employees also have plenty to gain, and they might even thank you for showing them how to enliven their workdays. For more tips on how to eat better and stay active, at work and at home, use the tools on our free website ( live-healthy). If prompted, choose Northern California as your area. ■ Melissa Rodgers is program director for Employer Engagement and Worksite Wellness, Regional Health Education, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California.

Make your plans now – Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum Friday, Aug. 24, 8:30-10 a.m. Featuring guest speaker Mayor Jean Quan

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> U.S. Olympic Committee

> Primary education vs. college:

names DeVry Inc. as official education provider

by Jan Stone

DeVry Inc., a global provider of educational services, has been named an official education provider of Team USA. As part of the agreement with the United States Olympic Committee, DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management initially will provide higher education opportunities at undergraduate and graduate levels, including scholarships and a dedicated DeVry staff, for U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes and training hopefuls through 2016. In subsequent years, DeVry will have the opportunity to offer the athletes scholarship opportunities to attend its other institutions. “Through this partnership with DeVry, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team members who give so much time and effort to the pursuit of their sporting goals will have access to quality education,” said Scott Blackmun, chief executive officer of the USOC. “The career-oriented, flexible course scheduling and commitment to students that DeVry and its family of education providers have demonstrated align well with the USOC’s goal of providing the resources to help Team USA athletes achieve success on and off the field of play.” DeVry University has more than 95 locations nationwide and a robust online environment for delivering quality academic instruction. This combination of onsite and online delivery methods will offer Team USA athletes flexible access to career-oriented associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. U.S. Olympians and Paralympians will have the freedom and flexibility to take advantage of a parallel path of athletic and college preparedness, so they can be ready for the Games and the transition from Olympic and Paralympic sport. “We take great pride in this opportunity to serve Team USA scholar athletes,” said Daniel Hamburger, president and chief executive officer of DeVry Inc. “Many of these athletes want to pursue their athletic and career dreams at the same time – DeVry’s educational institutions can make that happen. We are committed to providing the highest level of quality academic instruction with the flexible scheduling necessary so athletes can balance training and studying in pursuit of their goals.” The first class of Team USA athletes has already been accepted and have started classes with DeVry University. The participating athletes include undergraduate students Samantha Achterberg (modern pentathlon), Wilfred “BJ” Blanchard (shooting), Will Brady (modern pentathlon), Donovan Ford (weightlifting) and Aaron Trent (Paralympic cycling). Moza Fay (wrestling) has enrolled as a graduate student seeking an MBA in marketing. “This opportunity with DeVry has allowed me to get back into school and working toward my master's degree,” said Fay, Team USA wrestling athlete and London 2012 Olympic hopeful. “I am currently training full-time toward the goal of competing in London so the thing that really helps me is the convenience of the program, which gives me great flexibility and the ability to continue my education on my schedule.” The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. For more information, contact USOC Communications at (719) 866-4529 or visit DeVry’s purpose is to empower its students to achieve their educational and career goals. DeVry is a global provider of educational services and the parent organization of Advanced Academics, American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Becker Professional Education, Carrington College, Carrington College California, Chamberlain College of Nursing, DeVry Brasil, DeVry University, and Ross University Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. These institutions offer a wide array of programs in business, healthcare and technology. DeVry’s institutions serve students in secondary through postsecondary education and professionals in accounting and finance. For more information, visit ■

Which is more important? In 1983 the Reagan Administration issued a ground-breaking report, “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Education Reform.” Nearly 30 years later we are still faced with an education system that is failing our children and ultimately our economy. Recently the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science in Washington released a special report that identified the skills the modern workplace and lifestyle demand. As reported in Education Week, a “who’s who” team of experts collaborated for more than a year to define just what researchers, educators, and policymakers mean when they talk about "deeper learning" and "21st-century skills." The committee identified three categories of skills essential to career and life success: • Cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and analytic reasoning; • Interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and complex communication; and • Intrapersonal skills, such as resiliency and conscientiousness (the latter of which has also ▲ Sustainability been strongly associated with good career earnthrough collaboration: a ings and healthy lifestyles). garden-to-table Beacon Middle School project. These skills must be in place long before a student enters college. Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond, as noted in Education Week, was pleased with the report’s recommendation to focus more research and resources on interpersonal skills such as complex communication and teamwork and intrapersonal skills such as resiliency and resourcefulness. At Oakland’s Beacon Day School, students learn how to navigate, grow and thrive in the 21st century workplace and social environment. At Beacon the educators know children are entering a new age, when social and emotional skills will prove to be powerful differentiators, enablers, and resources for those who are properly prepared. Every aspect of the Beacon way promotes the life-skills of critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. The school’s innovative education program, based on decades of research on how children learn, and 30 years of practice, recognizes that early learning is critical. It may sound antithetical to suggest parents and society invest in primary education over college, however, without cognitive, interpersonal and intrapersonal skill development in the primary grades, success in college and life become far more challenging for our children and less of a benefit to society. A progressive primary education is an investment for individual parents as well as society, providing what our children need to grow and prosper. Good schools, such as Beacon, have been delivering on that investment for decades. ■ Jan Stone is the executive director of Beacon Day School, located on the Oakland waterfront between Embarcadero Cove and Union Point Park. For more information, visit

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> The urgency of now!

even allow ourselves to fail on the road to developing a more exacting and effective set of desired results; and honor our diversity. This may seem like it’s asking a lot, yet this is what many of us do on a regular basis anyway, which is why we are engaged, surviving by Elñora Tena Webb, Ph.D. and achieving. The degree to which we do these things, act honestly and function with Our responsibility to Too often we function within a paradigm of illusions integrity while accepting constructive criticism as part of ensuring our overall efficacy, that holds central that the “individual” must only be determines how we become best prepared to thrive. assume conscientious ultimately concerned about self; and that this is Yes, the consistent investment of time, energy and concerted efforts are necessary. roles in designing, somehow sufficient to ensure that neighborhoods – remember that even the most humbled, seemingly dormant and transfixed among Yet building and sustaining both local and regional – remain communities, rather us contributes to the conditions we face at all times. Let’s choose to forge the shared a healthier society for than simply streets, centers of activities, or areas of healthy society agenda to build what we know to be altruistic, and do it foremost us all is essential. commerce and trade. because our existence as an integral part of life itself necessitates it, but also just When I traverse our city of Oakland, the greater East Bay, the Northern California simply because we can. region as far up to the Oregon border, consistently I observe aspects At their best, colleges and universities provide substantive and soundly integrated of what we desire as individuals – hope actualized. Yet content – via theories, historical details, the arts, humanities, increasingly, many more environments within these same sciences and technologies as well as a host of practical settings reveal despair and greater levels of fear. experiences – so as to illuminate the connectedness of all . . . we must More individuals seem displaced and without the disciplines and industries. Foremost, they facilitate students listen for resources they require to address basic needs. Those needs to experience the clarity of their voices, creativity, innovation, cannot be simply addressed by the “self.” They require our and other tangible competencies and civic leadership responunderstanding collective will to deliberately attend to the etiology of the sibilities. Such educational preparation is a precondition to from those conditions and determine among the many solution sets, forming the “democracy” envisioned for these United States most affected; what may work best to address those critical issues, and of America. learn to then to systematically work to build a living framework that Let us remember this as we make policy decisions that is more humane and sustainable. impact hundreds of thousands and ultimately millions of collaborate as a part of using As history reminds us, the reason for the achievements of individuals within this state and beyond. We must ensure that the strengths and expertise of one is always informed by the insights, geniuses and actions the doors of accredited community colleges and four-year one another; demonstrate of others who are known and unknown to the one demoncolleges and universities remain open so that we can prepare respect for all; hold ourselves strating the successes. The degree to which we honor this more extraordinary individuals for such collective engagement and are deliberate in our efforts will determine our chances continuously solving societal problems in order to create in accountable for the roles and of purposefully launching a successful “healthy society” this healthier, and truly democratic, society. ■ responsibilities we assume; campaign. Such a campaign would be replete with a innovate and experiment and supportive infrastructure, especially addressing the mind Elñora Tena Webb, Ph.D. is the president of Laney even allow ourselves to fail on and spiritual power that, when leveraged, produces College. See the August 2011 Oakland Business awesome results. Review article “Strategic Leaders Transforming the road to developing a more Towards this end, we must listen for understanding from the Greater East Bay” for more details about exacting and effective set those most affected; learn to collaborate as a part of using Dr. Webb’s perspective on the mission and of desired results; and the strengths and expertise of one another; demonstrate opportunities provided by colleges and universities honor our diversity. respect for all; hold ourselves accountable for the roles and and their partners. responsibilities we assume; innovate and experiment and

– Elñora Tena Webb, Ph.D.

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> Samuel Merritt University – Working to increase diversity in nurse anesthesia The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) program at Samuel Merritt University (SMU) has partnered with “Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program” for developing a diverse workforce.

The national organization offers workshops and CRNA mentors to inform, empower and mentor underserved diverse populations with information to prepare for a successful career in nurse anesthesia. The university’s School of Nursing fully supports the program, and believes it is needed at every healthcare institution. This summer, nearly 100 registered nurses from across the United States who specialize in critical care, and nursing students preparing to become critical care nurses attended, the Diversity CRNA Information Session held on the SMU Oakland campus. “Like many other healthcare professional disciplines, nurse anesthesia education programs face the challenge of recruiting, retaining and graduating a sufficient number of qualified students to meet the healthcare workforce demands,” explains Celeste Villanueva, CRNA, MS, director of SMU’s Program of Nurse Anesthesia and of the university’s Health Sciences Simulation Center. “A significant aspect of this challenge is achieving an ethnically and culturally diverse student mix that reflects the patient population of the local community – in California, that population is highly likely to be comprised of a percentage of people with minority backgrounds far greater than 16 percent.” The two-day event started with a panel discussion about the need to increase diversity in nursing as a first step to increasing diversity in advanced practice nursing specialties. “The importance of mentorship is our core value and a diverse group of advance practice nurses as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is our immediate goal,” said Wallena Gould, CRNA, MSN, founder of Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program. On the last day of the workshop, attendees trained at the campus’ Health Sciences Simulation Center “Airway Simulation Lab.” The lab practice allowed them to increase their awareness of the challenges of a nurse anesthesia curriculum and provided a glimpse of the innovative learning methods utilized by the SMU faculty. More than six dozen nurses were guided through the hands-on experience on the anesthesia machine equipment designed to provide an accurate and continuous supply of medical gases into the airway. The attendees also interacted with the human-like mannequins that are managed by highly sophisticated computer software. “We take every opportunity to expose future healthcare professionals to the benefits of simulation-based education,” explains Villanueva. "With the immersive experiences and self-reflection that are characteristic of simulation instructional methods, healthcare providers have the opportunity to develop and refine their technical and decisionmaking skills without putting patients at risk.” Byron Anderson, critical care registered nurse from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said the experience at SMU helped him get a better understanding of what school will be like once he enters a CRNA program next year. “I wanted to get an extra jump-start on things, just to be more relaxed and gain more confidence in my decision making,” he said. “I think what they have here at SMU is awesome, especially the crisis management system they use.” Fanjini Singh, RN, has been working at Kaiser’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Sacramento for six years. This fall she is applying for the CRNA program at SMU. She applauds the university’s efforts to increase diversity in healthcare. “In today’s society we are very diverse, we speak different languages, we come from different countries and we have to be able to adapt,” she said. “We have to have healthcare professionals who are educated about different cultures, able to speak the language and to be culturally sensitive. It’s really important to have a

diverse healthcare workforce.” “This is where the future of America is,” states Krishneel Lall, SMU nursing student in the CRNA program. “If people are exposed to different opportunities they will take advantage of those opportunities. Exposure like this will bring a lot of minorities into new health fields where they have never been to before due to lack of support or mentors.” ■

▲ CRNA students at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland worked with human-like mannequins that are managed by highly sophisticated computer software. Pictured above are (left to right) Katherine La, Mark Keller, nursing student Ugo Umeh and Anthony Haire.

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> Preparing for the new era

Let’s create a ‘learning’ community

in public education

by Elsie Lum

by superintendent Sheila Jordan

“To be partners and leaders for innovative learning and development of individuals and organizations.”

This is the vision of the Alameda County Training & Education Center, which provides an ideal venue for stimulating thought, learning new trends in industry, and skill development. The facility provides state-of-the-art multi-media equipment to enhance your education and meetings or events. It has become the “go to” place for affordable, high quality training and meeting space. The Training & Education Center is an affordable meeting place for seminars, workshops, or meetings. The community is welcome to attend some of its innovative programs: • Workshops on leadership for all levels – executives, managers, supervisors, team leaders • Customer service skills training • Coaching of managers/leaders/staff • Consulting to improve the way you do business • Technology – Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Adobe, graphics and much more The venue is great for: • Conferences • Special events • Small business group meetings • Off-site retreats To enhance educational opportunities for their employees, the Training & Education Center has partnered with both Peralta College for onsite Management Certificate programs and California State University, East Bay for Masters’ in Public Administration and Health Care Administration degree programs. Such training and education/degree opportunities increase morale and productivity among existing staff, preparing them to accept additional responsibilities during these lean times. Education is for the development of the “whole person,” as stated by one of the center’s participants: “This class was a good review of who I am, who I am

Educators are embracing the new changes in public education teaching and assessment policies as a welcome and much needed change to the system of high stakes testing and the resulting narrow curriculum. It is an exciting time that will impact the way we teach and the way we support teachers, administrators and districts.

The new Common Core standards and Smarter Balanced assessments provide a way to demonstrate what students really understand and can do with the knowledge gained in school. New assessments can be used to inform curriculum improvements and teacher development – rather than to punish students, teachers, or schools – thereby supporting higherquality instruction and more engaged learning.

To experience the full benefit of ▲ Superintendent Sheila these changes, we need to work to Jordan (second from the left) discusses a project ensure that schools across the state are with community and on solid financial footing – that school business partners. doors remain open and students remain in class, learning. I urge the community to support Governor Brown's initiative to provide much-needed funding to schools so we can move ahead with this important work. We need engaging, content-driven and culturally relevant curriculum to educate our youth. With changes to the new Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts scheduled for 2014-15, there is no time to waste; we must begin taking on the challenging task of preparing educators to make the shift immediately. We are challenged I urge the community as a state to prepare a workforce of 295,000 teachers for this critical shift to support Governor toward curricula and teaching strategies that builds student knowledge and Brown’s initiative to the skills they need to apply their provide much-needed knowledge. Schools, districts, and teacher funding to schools so preparation programs will require coordinated and coherent support to we can move ahead transition professional development with this important and preparation programs for deeper learning and new performance work. assessments. With our regional infrastructure, county offices of – Superintendent Sheila Jordan education are uniquely qualified to work with SMART consortium, professional development support providers and higher education to respond in a customized fashion to the professional development needs of educators. With a renewed focus on quality, integrated learning and improved, comprehensive assessments, we are ready to work with community and .business partners to build on the successful practices that support educating the whole child for success in school and in life. ■

not, and who I want to be, both in and ▲ The Alameda County Training & Education Center is an affordout of my work environment.” able meeting place for seminars, The staff really cares about the workshops, or meetings. customers. When someone cares to listen and hear the needs of the person and organization, one can recommend learning and changes that will help improve not just the person, but the entire environment they work and live in. As stated by another, “The Training & Education Center makes it a point to treat my staff and myself as people vs. a number, always looking for our interests and recommending more appropriate courses to meet our objectives (in our business). We are very pleased with the outstanding training.” Whether you need training and development for your employees, or assistance with your organizational challenges, consider contacting the Alameda County Training & Education Center. It is conveniently located near the Lake Merritt BART station and all major freeways in the East Bay, just minutes away from Oakland International Airport and San Francisco’s financial district. To register, call (510) 272-6467 or email ■ Elsie Lum is director of the Alameda County Training & Education Center, which is committed to inspiring the community to learn, network, take risks for innovation, while having fun and being creative.

18 | OBR Oakland Business Review |

Sheila Jordan is the superintendent of Alameda County Schools.



> Partnering with the region

> Just ask! Questions to guide

to create a more vibrant economy

an independent school search

Editor’s note: The author of this story, José M. Ortiz, Ed.D, is the new chancellor of the Peralta Community College District. Prior to his appointment on July 2, 2012, Ortiz served as superintendent/president of Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California, and is a former Laney College vice president.

by Katrina Hale Lappin

by José M. Ortiz, Ed.D

As the new chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, I want to ensure that our four colleges – College of Alameda, Berkeley City College, Laney College, and Merritt College – help meet our region’s educational and workforce training needs so it can grow and thrive. You know that manual skills, no matter how well-developed, are no longer sufficient to succeed in this economy. We must be better educated than ever before, because knowledge and learning skills drive the innovation and entrepreneurship for which America and the Bay Area are known. The Peralta Colleges can help you identify and implement José M. Ortiz, Ed.D creative solutions to workforce-related problems that confront your business. In concert with the presidents of our four colleges, I will be more engaged in the community to improve dialogue with the elected and business leadership of the six cities we serve to resolve existing and emerging educational needs. Every person has the potential to be a creative and productive member of society. It is the lack of knowledge and learning skills that often holds us back, preventing us from realizing our potential. The Peralta Colleges already offer accessible, high-quality learning opportunities for adults of all ages to meet the needs of this vibrant, multicultural East Bay community. Through our existing classes and comprehensive career and technical programs, we can help you or your employees acquire new skills that will enable you to address the many challenges facing your business or career. Although public education throughout California has experienced deep funding cuts during the past four years, with $809 million eliminated from the state’s community colleges alone, the Peralta Colleges – your community colleges – remain committed to partnering with other organizations to bring innovative approaches to education that will serve as a foundation for social and economic growth in the East Bay. This requires us to pursue more entrepreneurial initiatives to delivering learning opportunities to the business community. For example, we can offer the flexibility and convenience of bringing the academy to your workplace or online. Customized courses or a comprehensive curriculum to teach employees new skills, update existing expertise or provide training to maintain or attain industry mandated or recognized certifications can be developed to meet specific needs. This is in addition to the affordable, relevant and hands-on training and skills development learning opportunities we deliver at our four colleges, from welding to biotechnology to construction management to landscape horticulture. And, we can do it better than any other educational institution in the region. In addition to workforce development training, the Peralta Colleges provide a cost-effective option for employers to encourage continuing education for promising employees seeking to return to school to complete a bachelor’s degree or needing selected courses to meet prerequisites for a master’s program. We offer all the necessary courses to transfer to any four-year college or university in the nation. With our expertise in career, technical and vocational training, the Peralta Colleges helps to fuel workforce development in the region. We look forward to working more closely with the region’s business leadership. ■

José M. Ortiz, Ed.D is chancellor of the Peralta Community College District.

For families embarking on a school search, the fall season can be both exciting and daunting. The most important part of this process is, of course, finding the right community for your family – a place where you can imagine your child growing, stretching, and succeeding.

Part of finding this “fit” requires that you trust your intuition when you walk into a school and observe the community and classrooms in action. The most basic question is this – does this school inspire you? As you discover schools that strike a chord with your family, you will find yourself sorting through websites, brochures, and books. It’s easy to hit information overload! Despite the desire on the part of admissions offices to produce materials that really shows value and unique programs, all the materials can soon start to run together. Because of this, we encourage you to talk to us and ask lots of questions. Hopefully the following questions will help you formulate your own list: • Does the school’s mission statement ring true to your family’s values? Do the words of the mission seem to drive the curriculum, teachers, administrators, and children? • How big is the campus and what is the enrollment? • What is the class size? • How diverse is the school? What does the school mean by diversity and how does it support a diverse community? • Is the school accredited? • How are faculty and staff supported in professional development? • Are standardized tests administered? • What sports programs are offered? • What specialist classes are offered? How are they connected to the core curriculum? • How does the school respond to, and work with families on issues of discipline, bullying, and social development? • How are health and safety issues taught? • How do parents, teachers, and students communicate? • How are parents/guardians involved? • What is the school’s financial aid program? • How much is tuition? What is the typical annual increase? • What fundraising takes place during the year? How will these funds impact your child’s educational experience? As a parent or guardian and a consumer of independent schools, it is essential that you know, trust, and value the program in which you enroll your child. Questions before enrollment will help your family become part of a thriving school community that is just right for you. ■

Katrina Hale Lappin is the director of admissions and financial aid at Redwood Day School, an independent K-8 school in Oakland.

August 2012 | 19




East Bay CAN – Helping Oakland youth attend college

In 2010 the state of California had 91,000 high school graduates who were eligible for, but did not receive, a Pell Grant to support their college education.

As costs continue to soar, the East Bay College Access Network (East Bay CAN) seeks to maximize the number of eligible Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) graduates receiving the vital aid needed to access, persist and complete college. East Bay CAN is a new collaborative whose goal is to increase college-going among OUSD graduates through providing greater access to federal, state, and private sources of financial aid. As founding members, the East Bay Consortium, the East Oakland Youth Development Center, Centro Legal de la Raza, and the Marcus Foster Education Fund successfully collaborated during the 2011-12 school year and increased the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates at the Fremont, Castlemont, and McClymonds campuses. Additionally, the bourgeoning partnership, in conjunction with OUSD, achieved a district-wide Cal-Grant GPA upload. “This computer application maximized the opportunities for the OUSD class of 2012 to receive state college aid and ultimately increases their long-term chances of college success,” said Alicia Dixon, executive director of the Marcus Foster Education Fund. According to a report released by McKinsey & Company in 2009, the achievement gap in this country is responsible for a 2-4 percent reduction of GDP annually. East Bay CAN holds as a core belief that Oakland can ameliorate this issue through our level of engagement with students, their families, OUSD and the Peralta Community College District around college-going. In the coming school year, East Bay CAN plans to directly tackle this issue with “The Four Phases of Financial Aid©,” a four-pronged approach spanning preparation for applying to multiple sources of aid, completion of the FAFSA and other private aid applications, college selection and financial aid advising, and ensuring that financial aid is maximized upon college entry. This fall, the work of East Bay CAN will deepen with these programmatic enhancements, one additional school site and new partners such as the Peralta Community College District. Ultimately, and in short order, East Bay CAN will expand to serve all students in OUSD with the goal of realizing a drastic improvement in the numbers of OUSD graduates entering and persisting through college. President Obama’s Council of Advisers estimates that we will need to increase our number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates by 34 percent to keep up with economic demand. This fact highlights the systems and societal disconnect resulting in the national economy missing out on $500 million in federal financial aid due to low FAFSA application completion numbers last year. These conditions highlight extraordinary growth opportunities for a city like Oakland. Since 2007, reforms within OUSD have driven a 15 percent increase in the number of high school graduates eligible to


> To improve Oakland public schools,

vote from the bottom up, not top down by Jonathan Klein

It’s election year. Obama against Romney. A crowded state ballot. Five Oakland City Council seats up.

2012 is a political animal’s dream.

School board races don’t often rate high on the interest list of political animals, but public education is way up there on most Oaklanders’ list. Indeed, in a recent survey of Oakland voters by EMC research, public education was the key issue – 70 percent of all voters surveyed stated that Oakland public education was a “top priority.” Oakland voters – it’s simple: Obama-Romney may be the draw, but fill your ballot out from the bottom up. Vote for school board and work your way up to the presidential race. Unfortunately, there is an historic lack of interest in school board elections in Oakland. Here’s some context: • The board is made up of seven directors who serve four-year terms, with elections on offsetting even years. • During the last four election cycles there have been 14 school board races. In eight of those races, candidates have run uncontested. • Of the six races with more than one candidate, very few have been competitive; just two of the races had candidates finish within ten percentage points of one and other. This must change. Oakland public schools won’t become the world-class places our students need them to be until Oaklanders get engaged. And this is the year to do it – four of seven school board seats are up, a full majority. School board members make crucial decisions for our city and our children. They hire the superintendent, set the almost $600 million budget, and make policy related to topics from graduation requirements to school site autonomy over curriculum and schedule. They must be held accountable to us – the voters who put them there. So how do we do it? Great Oakland Public Schools (GO) is working on it. Our GO network has actively recruited great candidates and has endorsed in two of the four races. Our network will work hard to help elect these strong candidates and hold them accountable for results for our school children when they win. In District 7 (East Oakland), GO has endorsed former teacher James Harris ( In District 3 (West Oakland, Adam’s Point Downtown, Jack London), GO has dually endorsed Jumoke Hinton Hodge ( and Sheilagh Polk ( The GO network is on target to endorse a candidate in District 5 (Fruitvale) by the end of August. GO will support great candidates and get them elected, but we must also work hard to motivate Oaklanders. If 70 percent of us believe improving public education is the top priority in Oakland, we need to vote for great school board leadership. Great Oakland Public Schools (GO) is a nonprofit network of hundreds of families, educators, and community leaders working together so that all Oakland children have access to quality public schools. GO’s members share a vision of an Oakland where all children receive the schooling and support they need to live successful, fulfilling lives. For more information visit What: 2012 Oakland School Board Elections How: Fill Your Ballot Out From the Bottom Up Who: District 3: Jumoke Hinton Hodge and Sheilagh Polk District 5: TBD District 7: James Harris. When: November 6, 2012 Why: All Oakland students deserve high quality public schools. Our public schools won’t improve until our school board leadership does. ■ Jonathan Klein is co-founder and executive director of Great Oakland Public Schools.

▲ Dion Campbell (left), a Metwest High School graduate, and Elihamira Hassizilon, a graduate of Oakland High School, stand beside a photo of the Marcus Foster Education Fund’s 2012 scholars. They are two of the 89 scholarship awardees who attended the Scholarship Awards Ceremony held recently at Holy Names University.

attend a UC or CSU. Furthermore, in 2010 OUSD implemented Linked Learning, a program that has established 27 career pathways to provide students with career awareness and experience in high school. The environment within OUSD is maximizing the college-going aspirations of our youth. Collectively, we can move the bar even further. ■

20 | OBR Oakland Business Review |


> What’s new at the zoo? Dr. Joel Parrott, president and chief executive officer of the Oakland Zoo, was the guest speaker at the Chamber’s Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum in July. Dr. Parrott proudly explained that the zoo has a higher paid attendance than the San Francisco Zoo and is the only zoo in the ▲ Dr. Joel Parrott brought along three speworld that has a view cial friends to his Inside Oakland presentaof the Golden Gate tion. Left to right, Chantal Burnett, the Bridge. zoo’s educations reservations assistant, The zoo gets 19 shows off a bearded dragon from Australia; percent of its members Nik Dehejia, director of strategic initiatives, and 15 percent of its handles a chinchilla from Chile; and Dr. Parvisitors from the city of rott holds a turtle that was originally disOakland, but since there covered walking along Ashby Avenue in are no school buses in Berkeley. Alameda County, making it difficult for students to make classroom visits. Among the improvements at the zoo is a new 17,000-square-foot Veterinary Hospital – scheduled to open in the fall of 2012 – that is being designed for the safe and efficient care of the facility’s varied species. The new hospital will feature both small and large animal exam and surgery rooms, a radiology suite, and an intensive care ward. Additionally, a separate wing of the building is being designated for those animals requiring hospitalization. The wing will contain multiple pens with both indoor and outdoor access, an aquatic animal pen with an indoor pool, and several climate-controlled rooms for animals. Dr. Parrott ended his discussion by presenting three friends – a bearded dragon from Australia, a Chilean chinchilla, and a turtle that was originally found walking along Ashby Avenue! ■

> A tale of two mixers The Chamber’s June After Five Reception (above) was hosted by the newly opened City Lights Café on the plaza of Cathedral of Christ the Light at 2121 Harrison St. The café’s food is prepared onsite including the popular Breakfast Wellington (sausage, egg and creamed spinach in pastry), artisan Panini sandwiches, and daily, fresh-made soups. The café also serves Verve coffee – the award-winning espresso, farm-level direct trade coffee. The reception included a ribbon cutting ceremony for City Lights. Holding the scissors is owner Joe Van Noy.

▲ Dr. Joel Parrott of the Oakland Zoo (third from the left) discussed zoo expansion with Chamber members and guests at Inside Oakland.

Mayor Jean Quan Friday, Aug. 24 • 8:30 - 10 a.m. Come to “Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum” and hear from people who affect the policies and progress of the city in which we live and do business.

In July, the After Five Reception was hosted by Z Café & Bar in the heart of Auto Row at 2735 Broadway. The restaurant, which has been open for seven years, serves contemporary American Bistro fare using fresh, locally grown ingredients and has everything from seafood and steak to burgers and pasta. It also serves more than 100 different kinds of vodka. The facility also comes complete with two different event centers, with the larger one at 4,000 square feet with a capacity of 200 people. For parties and special events, call (510) 828-6564. At the mixer, owner Mehdi Zarekari (second from the left) accepts an Oakland coffee table book from Shannon Pedder, the Chamber’s new chair of the Board. Looking on were Chamber President Joe Haraburda (left) and Board member John Dolby (Cassidy Turley). ■


Chamber members for this informative breakfast at the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, 475 14th Street. This event is free to Chamber members and $10.00 for non-members. To attend, you must RSVP by Wednesday, Aug. 22.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE AND REGISTER ONLINE Have questions? Contact Paul Junge at (510) 874-4817 or at

Have a fun day on the greens Chamber’s Annual Golf Tournament Monday, Oct. 15 Sequoyah Country Club, Oakland

August 2012 | 21

> Recession far from over for Food Bank clients by Allison Pratt

The Alameda County Community Food Bank has been helping families put food on the table in challenging times for more than 26 years. Our vast network of 275 pantries and soup kitchens is currently serving one in six Alameda County residents – more than a quarter of a million people. Throughout economic ebbs and flows we have responded to a lot of change. Between 2006 and 2010 unemployment in Alameda County ballooned from 4.6 percent to 11.4 percent. During this same period the Allison Pratt number of referrals we provided households for sameday emergency food assistance increased 200 percent. As job losses mounted we began receiving more calls from people who never imagined they would need help with something as basic as food; people who once gave time and money to the Food Bank now find themselves asking for help. This trend continues today. About 10 percent of our referrals are first-time callers. Yet even as things are changing so rapidly, a lot remains the same. Children and seniors consistently make up about two-thirds of those we serve. Households with children are more vulnerable to poverty, and in turn are more likely to skip meals. Seniors are often living on fixed incomes, trying to cope with failing health and rising costs of living in an already-pricey Bay Area. Working families consistently constitute a high percentage of our clients – 42 percent of households are supported by earned income – however, we have seen a rise in under-employment as jobs like construction become less viable in today’s economy. Despite recent glimmers of economic hope, the families we serve will likely not share in the gains, at least in the short-run. History shows us that low-wage earners do not prosper when the economy is healthy, and the gap between lowand high-wage earners continues to widen. The Food Bank and our network of agencies have adjusted to a “new normal” of high demand for our services, even as signs point to an improved economy. We are fortunate to have strong community support, but need continues to grow. We must continue to expand and adapt our services. While community support is critical, so is government support for our community – yet public support for our network has been sharply eroded over the last several years. In

Sacramento and Washington, D.C. we hear the same thing: we must share the pain while asking our children, seniors, and people with disabilities to bear the brunt of nearly every cut. With billions of dollars being cut from programs that help the poor meet basic needs, private nonprofits are being asked to take on the impossible burden of filling these enormous gaps. The Food Bank stands ready to nourish our community, but we cannot and should not do it alone. To solve the problem of hunger, we need to leverage public resources, in addition to private ones. Will you stand with us to demand that no one in America should ever go hungry? Visit to find out how you can join us. ■ Allison Pratt is the director of policy and services at the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

> Safeway project

– continued from page 1

concern made in writing during the Draft EIR’s extended 45-day comment period is individually responded to and addressed by Oakland planners, making this project dubbed by some opponents of the project as an “oversized retail bomb being dropped on a neighborhood,” one of the most studied development projects in Oakland’s recent history. Background In 2007, Safeway Stores, headquartered in Pleasanton, announced that the current Safeway in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland (built in the mid-1960s) was slated for improvement and expansion. The recent closing of an adjacent gas station, had allowed Safeway to expand its land area footprint and reconfigure its store design significantly.

Safeway proposed to construct a new state-of-the-art “Lifestyle” store at 6310 College Ave., designed by one of Oakland’s most respected firms, Lowney Architecture. The firm, headed by Ken Lowney, who lives in the immediate neighborhood, has worked closely with community members and stakeholders as well as with a dynamic team of designers and consultants to come up with a proposal that expands the existing Safeway floor area but also promises to deliver unique retail and public spaces adapted to specific site conditions. To arrive at this final proposed design, Safeway conducted more than ten community meetings (some attended by over 300 people) from the local community to introduce and get feedback on the new design. This updated design met all stakeholder concerns, except one – the physical size of the store. The schema, reworked again after comments received at the Plan Commission Design Review hearing in October 2011, is the result of meticulous revision. The proposed redesign includes underground parking and truck delivery, increasing the Safeway store to two stories, adding a rooftop garden, restaurant, pedestrian passageway and smaller spaces for independent retail shops. According to the city of Oakland’s staff report, the project involves demolition of the existing 25,000-square-foot store, parking lot, and adjacent service station, and the construction of a “two-story, approximately 62,000-square-foot building that would contain a Safeway store of 51,500 square feet, 10,500 square feet of ground floor retail spaces (for approximately seven retail shops and one restaurant), and a partially below-grade and upper level parking garage with 171 parking spaces.” Chamber support The Safeway on College project has been supported by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (OMCC) since its early days of design conception. In a letter of support addressed to the Planning Commission on July 24, 2012, OMCC cited the “expanded shopping, improved pedestrian walkways, smarter traffic movement, [and] hidden parking lot” as the type of project that “has everything we should want in a commercial upgrade.” The Chamber also underscored that “Safeway has invested millions of dollars and incorporated hundreds of community suggestions in to what promises to be a real asset for our community,” pointing to the high numbers of construction and permanent jobs the project will create, and adding that “the city can expect to realize nearly one half million dollars annually in increased tax revenue” with the proposed project in place.

Next steps The final EIR for the project was published on July 6, 2012, and now, after the Planning Commission meeting of July 25, where the certification of the final Environmental Impact Report and the related California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) findings were adopted by the Planning Commission, the next action taken on the proposed project will likely be at the level of the Oakland City Council. The Planning Commission’s decision may be appealed to the Oakland City Council until Aug. 5, at which point the full City Council will make a decision on the Safeway Store’s application for the proper permits to construct the project.

You can learn more about the proposed Safeway on College project and see detailed architect renderings of the site at ■ Eleanor Hollander is the Chamber’s director of economic development.

Save the date – Power Breakfast Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8-9:30 a.m. Featuring School Superintendent Dr. Tony Smith

22 | OBR Oakland Business Review |

All events held at Chamber offices, 475 14th Street, unless otherwise noted. Call 874-4800 to confirm dates and times. Meetings are open to all Chamber members.

After Five Reception August 23 | San Leandro Marina Inn

Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum August 24 | Mayor Jean Quan

Women in Business Roundtable October 5 | Featuring Jessica Steel

Annual Golf Tournament October 15 | Sequoyah Country Club

Keeping you connected and informed



3 | East Bay Women in Business Roundtable luncheon EX ECUT I VE CO MM I TTE E Chair of the Board SHANNON PEDDER BRAND: CREATIVE Vice Chair MARIO CHIODO Chiodo Art Development DAN COHEN Full Court Press CHARISSA FRANK Swinerton Builders ERIC KISSHAUER Pankow Builders DAVID TUCKER Waste Management of Alameda County ZACK WASSERMAN Ex Officio Corporate Counsel Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP KEN WHITE Fidelity Roof Company MICHAEL ZIEMANN Summit Bank Immediate Past Chair JOHN NELSON murakami/Nelson


RON FOREST Matson Navigation Co. GARY FOSS Recology East Bay JOHN GOODING The Quadric Group STAN HEBERT California State University, East Bay MICHAEL HESTER McGuire & Hester VICTORIA JONES The Clorox Company

featuring guest speaker Kathy Lancaster, executive vice president of Strategic Planning and chief financial officer for Kaiser Permanente, discussing a holistic approach to health to make your employees happier and healthier, Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square, $35 for Chamber members, $45 for non-members

featuring guest speaker Jessica Steel, executive vice president of Business & Corporate Development for Pandora, discussing “The New Era of Business: Technology Trends,” Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square, $35 for Chamber members, $45 for non-members


IKE MMEJE Alta Bates Summit Medical Center NATHAN NAYMAN Visa NATHANIEL OUBRE, JR. Kaiser Permanente MICKY RANDHAWA Wells Fargo ELÑORA TENA WEBB, PH.D. Laney College RICHARD WHITE Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley LLC JOSEPH HARABURDA President and CEO

MARK EVERTON Waterfront Hotel / Miss Pearl’s

The purpose of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is to promote commerce and industry, to advance economic growth and to enhance the quality of life in the city of Oakland.

OBR OAKLAND BUSINESS REVIEW (ISSN 1092-7220) is published monthly at $100.00 a year by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, 475 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612-1903. Membership dues include subscription. Periodicals postage at Oakland, CA. Contents can’t be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to OAKLAND BUSINESS REVIEW, 475 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612.

Sequoyah Country Club, 4550 Heafey Road in the Oakland hills, 19th Hole Reception follows event

16 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting

| 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. 18 | Breakfast at the Chamber

| 7:30 - 9 a.m. an update of Chamber activities for prospective, new and long-time members

25 | After Five Reception 10 | Economic Development Forum | 3 - 4:30 p.m.

16 | Breakfast at the Chamber


10 | Ambassador Committee meeting | noon - 1 p.m.

8 | Ambassador Committee


ART MARTINEZ Bank of America

5 | East Bay Women in Business Roundtable luncheon

| 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

meeting | noon - 1 p.m.

KEN LOWNEY Lowney Architecture

15 | Annual Golf Classic & Clinic,


| 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

ISAAC KOS-REED Port of Oakland



| 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. no charge for Chamber members, $15 for non-members

| 7:30 - 9 a.m. an update of Chamber activities for prospective, new and long-time members

21 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting



After Five Reception

| 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. 23 | After Five Reception

| 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. San Leandro Marina Inn, 68 Monarch Bay Drive, no charge for Chamber members, $15 for non-members

24 | Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum | 8:30 - 10 a.m. featuring guest speaker Mayor Jean Quan, no charge for Chamber members, $10 for non-members



12 | Ambassador Committee meeting | noon - 1 p.m.

San Leandro Marina Inn 68 Monarch Bay Drive

12 | Economic Development Forum | 3 - 4:30 p.m.

18 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting

No charge for Chamber members. $15 for non-members.

| 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. 20 | Breakfast at the Chamber

| 7:30 - 9 a.m. an update of Chamber activities for prospective, new and long-time members

27 | After Five Reception Editor

| 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

HANK MASLER, (510) 874-4808

Sequoyah Country Club, 4550 Heafey Road in the Oakland hills, no charge for Chamber members, $15 for non-members |

Design/Production Editor

CARTER DESIGNS The articles published in this publication do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

28 | Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum | 8:30 - 10 a.m. no charge for Chamber members, $10 for non-members

August 2012 | 23

A neighborhood salute > In the Dimond – A commitment to achieving a safe and commercially vibrant community by Daniel Swafford

The desire to once again make Oakland’s Dimond District something special has driven many residents and business owners to wholeheartedly commit to achieving a safe and commercially vibrant community. If recent history is any indication, the effort has resulted in a pattern of success that positions the commercial district toward prosperity. The 2006 commitment by the owners of Farmer Joe’s Marketplace to restore an old vaudeville theatre building would create the anchor that attracted a La Farine Bakery, and a Peet’s Coffee, and helped other restaurants and retailers open up to a new audience. The public pressure for policing and service support was backed up with feet on the street and community action. Homegrown public art installations created character and a sense of ownership, translating into respect, pride, and positive decision-making, especially among the youth involved. Attendees at “Oaktoberfest” or Dimond Night Out help fuel the engines that fund community development efforts. This form of activity-based funding arose in response to a lack of secured resources to implement ongoing revitalization projects. Addressing the district’s needs since 1953, the Dimond Improvement Association’s motto is “Involvement Builds Community,” and the results from an involved community are clearly visible, with many new developments underway.


provides an inviting gateway to Dimond businesses. The dedication of the Transit Plaza at Fruitvale and MacArthur is scheduled for this summer. Development and commercial investment opportunities continue to open. Two properties of more than 6,000 square feet are on the market, an Oakland Fire Department firehouse, and what was once a bowling alley. The DIA is working with the city and Councilmember Schaaf on the remediation of a brownfield, ultimately leading to new construction in the heart of the commercial district. With modern infrastructure and full use of the height limits, the neighborhood demographics are ripe for a family restaurant or brewpub, and can sustain trending retail business. “Area incomes are a third higher than the national average,” says Fran Donohue of Highland Partners Reality, “and a strong interest in housing has helped property values in Dimond rebound quickly in what has been an inherently stable market.” A collective approach A notable disparity in the Dimond is that many regional and national corporations have a significant physical presence, yet remain disconnected, unwilling to support efforts to improve the district. Exceptions do occur, where a strong manager takes initiative, but for the most part the small business owners and area residents provide the money and the muscle.

A team of 25 Keep Dimond Clean volunteers remove litter and graffiti each week, amounting to 12,000 pounds of debris each year. Keep Dimond Clean is sponsored by La Farine Bakery, offering pastries as a thank you to volunteers. Residents also plant, maintain, and irrigate the pocket parks, medians, and sidewalk planters. Park and trail maintenance is aided by neighbors often in partnership with the nonprofit, Friends of Sausal Creek. The DIA is currently in the process of awarding four grants for public art projects through the Dimond Public Art program seeded by a $20,000 donation from Peet’s Coffee & Tea. A mural entitled “Dimond’s Hidden Jewels,” partially funded by the program, spans the MacArthur side of Farmer Joe’s Marketplace. The mural depicts Dimond history from Ohlone civilizations through the present day. Original drawings were made by Sequoia Elementary students. Murals, mosaics, and public gardens dot the district, most all community organized and funded. Thanksgiving Day at Two Star Market crystalizes the image of involvement; a hundred volunteers serve dinner to the entire community, everything donated by restaurants and businesses.

Infrastructure developments

Neighborhood driven

The new Transit Plaza at Fruitvale and MacArthur represents the latest public improvement in the district. This hard-won architectural gem is the centerpiece of over $2.6 million in transportation improvements spearheaded by the Dimond Improvement Association (DIA). The intersection was originally developed as the center of an appealing “trolley car” ▼ Attendees at Oaktoberfest help suburb two miles from downtown. fuel the engines that fund Growth came with public amenities community development efforts. like the Dimond Branch Library and a U.S. Post Office.

The DIA and the Dimond Merchants Association host the Oaktoberfest in the Dimond street festival. The event is a fundraiser for sustained community development, and assists participating groups with their fundraising and awareness building. Oaktoberfest also works to showcase the incredible entrepreneurs, artists, community organizations, and dedicated individuals of Oakland.

The Dimond Park and Rec Center and Lions Pool is one of the most profitable centers for Oakland Parks & Recreation. Visitors from across Oakland find 3.5 miles of nature trails that follow Sausal Creek through Dimond Park connecting Dimond to Glenview, Oakmore, Montclair, and offer access to Joaquin Miller Park and Redwood Regional. Dimond’s infrastructure makeover reflects renewed interest in livable communities. The “Fruitvale Alive!” streetscape project delivered needed safety features and enhanced community character. Improvements included pedestrian-oriented streetlamps, bikeways, bulb-outs, decorative crosswalks, street trees, rod iron bus benches and litter containers, and directional signage. A landscaped Fruitvale Avenue median

The marketing and draw of the event spans the Bay Area, introducing people to an East Oakland neighborhood, and to future partnerships with the Oaktoberfest family and the Dimond community. This volunteer driven event has enjoyed growing success over the past five years, attracting tens of thousands and raising over $20,000 among the nonprofit participants. A major challenge has been finding presenting partners to help underwrite the infrastructure costs. Donations can be made to help cover nonprofit, school, and artist participation through Your involvement sustains progress, and helps build a vibrant community. ■ Daniel Swafford is a member of the Board of the Dimond Improvement Association and is managing director of Oaktoberfest. He and a number of contributors helped in the writing of this story.

Credit: Ron Rifkin

24 | OBR Oakland Business Review |

Oakland Business Review August 2012  

Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce monthly newspaper, August 2012 Issue. Contains a special section on Education.

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