THE AWARD-WINNING PUBLICATION OF THE OAKLAND METROPOLITAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | www.oaklandchamber.com | VOL XXXX NO.2
Chamber celebrates the Lunar New Year
Women in Business kicks off exciting new year February 7
The search for a permanent OUSD Superintendent
The Readiness Revolution! Page 4
A SALUTE TO BLACK HISTORY MONTH Page 8
Oakland Business Review
Visit www.oaklandchamber.com for more business opportunities, news and event registration.
> Register now for ‘illuminating ideas:
From the Chair
ENERGY & Sustainability Summit’ April 16 by Chamber Chair of the Board Shannon Pedder
Happy New Year! I hope your 2014 is off to a productive and successful start and that your resolutions are holding strong as we head into February.
by Eleanor Hollander
The Chamber’s spring economic development event tradition continues. Join us for an educational half-day conference and the fifth annual economic development summit entitled, “illuminating ideas: ENERGY and Sustainability Summit” on Wednesday, April 16 at the Oakland Convention Center. The event will continue the strong tradition of work in the Northern California MegaRegion, and identify priority economic development goals moving forward – the lasting message underscoring that Oakland’s port, city, and unique geographic position in the state makes it “open for business,” ready to capitalize on positive trends in the energy and sustainability sector, and expand the promise in our region for future generations. The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with regional stakeholders and business partners to develop the annual Northern California MegaRegion Summit event series. In May of 2012, the Chamber produced “Oakland: Heart of the MegaRegion” in conjunction with the city of Oakland, the Port of Oakland and other significant participants. This successful event was designed to maximize the impacts of the 2010 “Northern California MegaRegion Collaboration” and 2011 “MegaRegion Export Initiative.” In its fourth year (2013), the Economic Development Summit entitled “Building A Strong Economy: A Vision for 2020” engaged more than 300 business leaders, in which event participants revisited the strong regional sectors of the East Bay economy identified by the Oakland Partnership work of 2007, and envisioned a plan to create a world-class city by the year 2020. This year, 2014, the Chamber will engage a diverse group of stakeholders including technology innovators, government leaders, small business owners, educators, development planners, and community partners in an innovative half-day summit in downtown Oakland. Through a series of dynamic speakers and engaging panel discussions, participants will be invited to revisit a strong regional sector of the East Bay economy as identified by the Chamber-produced Oakland Partnership/McKinsey report of 2007 – “ENERGY, sustainability and green technology.” Following on the success of the 2013 Economic Development Summit, which re-examined the other identified sectors of strength from the Oakland Partnership report including healthcare, trade+ logistics, and arts + entertainment, 2014’s Economic Development Summit topic will complement the previous year’s work. Participants will convene in the early morning at the Oakland Marriott Convention Center for a real estate market briefing known as a “Real Estate Insider Update + Forecast” from Garrick Brown, director of market research at Cassidy Turley. Following that, participants will be treated to a keynote address. The lecture will highlight current trends in energy provision and innovation. At the keynote’s conclusion, participants will enjoy three breakout sessions (“panel discussion sessions”) offered on green infrastructure, green buildings, innovative technology and the public private partnership. Each panel discussion session (green infrastructure, green buildings, technology and the public private partnership) will feature experts in the field and provide conference attendees with a deeper understanding of the given topic. We hope that you will join us.
We have entered into a new era at the Oakland Chamber and are enjoying revitalization on many levels with higher Board engagement, enhanced internal and external Chamber communications, exciting upcoming events, and renewed collaboration with city and community partners. As of this writing, our Executive Search Committee is more than half way through the search process for the Chamber’s new chief executive officer. If everything stays on schedule, we hope to have Board ratification of our Shannon Pedder candidate at the end of February and have the new CEO in place by April at the latest. In the meantime, we are enjoying great leadership from our interim CEO Dan Quigley. Dan has come into the position with a ton of enthusiasm, interest, inquisitiveness, intelligence and professional foundation and fundraising experience that are helping us navigate the first four months of this year and through our transitional period. I evaluated and refined my goals as Chair upon entering the New Year as I had six months left in this position at the beginning of January. I wanted to keep them clear, not too complicated and achievable in the time I have left. Not only to keep myself accountable, but also in the spirit of full disclosure, I wanted to share the highlights with you… • Continue onboarding of interim CEO and same with permanent CEO. • Continue to chair and oversee search committee. • Create a renewed energy of collaboration and openness that includes more transparency and disclosure as needed. • Open up the channels of communication through conversation, both internal and external, and include cross pollination of all. • Empower all committee chairs and build out the necessary committees so they are strong, have heightened bandwidth and the ability to do their job to the best and highest good for the Chamber and the business community as a whole. • Gain full clarity on all financials and budgeting. • Revise the Board agenda and energize the meetings. • Complete the fundraising for the Strategic Plan. Collaboration is the name of the game in 2014 and it is time to step up to the table and into the conversation, so I invite you to commit to participating on a committee, attending our events and sponsoring the Chamber on its way to future success. My “virtual door” is always open so I look forwarded to your comments, suggestions and continued support. Many thanks! ■
– continued on page 22
April 2010 |
> The Year of the Horse
Names in the news • Governor Jerry Brown has announced the appointment of Donn Harris, the executive and artistic director of the Oakland School of the Arts, to the California Arts Council. Harris
was principal at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Academy of Arts and Sciences from 2001 to 2008. He held multiple positions at the Raoul Wallenberg Traditional Donn Harris
High School from 1997 to 2001 including principal and assistant principal, and held multiple positions at the Galileo Academy of Science and Technology from 1993 to 1997, including assistant principal and dean of students.
The Chinese Lunar New Year will be celebrated by the Oakland Asian Cultural Center on Saturday, Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public program is free and open to the public.
• The Airport Area Business Association (AABA), an organization of more than 100 member firms actively working to improve the Deborah Ale Flint
Above, the annual Lunar New Year Bazaar was held last month in Chinatown, celebrating the Year of the Horse. ■
economic and environmental conditions in the area near Oakland International Airport, has honored Port of Oakland Aviation Director Deborah Ale Flint with its first-ever Leadership Award. The award was established as a way to
> Register now for ‘illuminating
recognize exceptional individuals who are making a particular positive impact throughout
ideas: ENERGY & Sustainability Summit’ April 16
To secure your participation at this exciting economic development event, please visit the registration website today: http://business.oaklandchamber.com/events/ details/economic-development-summit-2823.
the Coliseum-Airport area of Oakland through his or her actions, words and deeds. Christopher Weills
• Crowning a year of rapid growth in 2013, the Ultimate Sports Guide was awarded a prestigious photo credential to shoot the Rose Bowl game (Stanford 20, Michigan State 24) in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2014. Said publisher Christopher Weills, “This honor reflects the growing respect the Ultimate Sports Guide is receiving and the enthusiasm readers have for our e-newsletter and Facebook page, which
C. Gregg Ankenman
have literally exploded. We could not have finished 2013 stronger.” • Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP Partner C. Gregg Ankenman has been re-elected to the National Retail Tenants Association (NRTA) Board of Governors. Ankenman currently serves as general counsel to the organization and will complete his second term on the Board in 2016. He was honored with the NRTA’s
Founders Service Award in 2005. • Blase Bova, who has more than 15 years of nonprofit leadership experience with St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), has been named executive director of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County. He previously served as the executive
director of SVdP in Marin County and as director of operations and development in Phoenix, Arizona, the largest St. Vincent de Paul in the Daniel Schact
U.S. He is a former recipient of a National Merit Scholarship and a Virginia G. Piper Fellowship. • The law firm of Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP has promoted Daniel Schacht to partner and welcomes Robert Walker as an associate. Both Schacht and Walker specialize in intellectual property and business law. Schacht has been employed with the firm since 2008. Walker earned his law degree from UC
| OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
Hastings College of Law in 2013. ■
> Your Chamber moving forward by Chamber Interim President Dan Quigley
This is a time for great innovation and investment in Oakland, and I’m finding tangible evidence of change across the city as we start 2014. And your Oakland Chamber is gearing up to help lead that change. We are looking for new ideas and connections. Are there ways to strengthen our support to members as the city’s economy strengthens and diversifies? Are there new ways to define and take action around a business-friendly agenda with City Hall that is consistent with Oakland’s community values? Please let us know your thoughts by talking to me or any of your great Chamber staff and by brainstorming with your fellow members. Partnership with other groups and individuals in Oakland has been a priority for the Chamber, and we are working to strengthen and expand our partnerships across the city. I joined a lunch in late January with Oakland’s African-American Chamber, the Hispanic Chamber of Alameda County, and the Oakland Chinatown Chamber and had a valuable discussion about ways to collaborate more fully. Dan Quigley I attended the Chamber’s Nonprofit Roundtable in January – what a lively group! – and asked them what Chamber services could help them be more successful. The Chamber’s Public Policy Committee expressed a strong interest in formulating an agenda and working with City Hall in new ways. Please join this ferment and share your thoughts with us! As many of you know, our vice president for public policy, Paul Junge, left in early January to accept a great job as vice president for local Chamber relations with the California Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento. We celebrate Paul’s three years with the Oakland Chamber and look forward to having an “inside contact” in Sacramento! We are lucky to have hired Isaac Kos-Read as a part-time consultant for the next few months to cover most public policy work for the Chamber. As you will see in his introduction on this page, he brings a wealth of experience, savvy, and contacts to the Chamber’s agenda. Your Chamber Board of Directors is interviewing a strong array of candidates to become the permanent president and chief executive officer of the Chamber later this spring. Take a look at the report of Board Chair Shannon Pedder in this issue of OBR and stay tuned for further updates. Thank you for your investment in the Oakland Chamber and please engage with us more in this great period of growth and change! ■
> Join us for ‘Battle of the Bay’ July 8 The Oakland A’s, the American League Western Division Champions for the past two years, will arrive in Phoenix this month to begin preparation for the 2014 season. And the Chamber is already making plans to help cheer them on to more victories once the season begins. The Chamber has reserved a section at one A’s game this year that should be of particular interest in the Bay Area. On Tuesday evening, July 8, join Chamber members and staff at O.co Coliseum for the Battle of the Bay – the A’s versus the San Francisco Giants. And then, just to make the game even more enticing, the Chamber has acquired reserved seats on the Plaza Level (second deck) overlooking third base. The first pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Tickets purchased for the game will be held at the Coliseum’s Will-Call window under your name, so you have the option to arrive at whatever time works for you. To reserve tickets for the A’s-Giants game – always a sellout – visit www.oakland chamber.com or contact Ivette Torres at itorres@oakland chamber.com or at (510) 8744800, ext. 319. Help the Chamber cheer the A’s on to victory! ■
February 2014 | 3
> 2014: The Readiness
> Welcome these new
by Ana-Marie Jones
While hard to believe, soon you won’t be able to avoid the reminders. Please, don’t be swayed by the drama and images from our past. This year Oakland has an unprecedented opportunity to share some amazing readiness successes with the world. First, let’s own that past. By interrupting game three of the 1989 World Series between the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants, hundreds of journalists in town for the big game suddenly became ﬁeld disaster correspondents. The unprecedented coverage of our response ranged from brilliant heroics to horriﬁc bureaucracy. The 6.9 magnitude earthquake killed 63 people, injured more than 3,500, and le thousands more homeless. The earthquake took down the Cypress Freeway, collapsed a section of the Bay Bridge, devastated the real estate market, crushed the convention and tourism industry, and wreaked havoc on small businesses across the region. Perhaps most notably, the 1989 earthquake exposed long-standing societal inequities and corresponding structural, political, and Ana-Marie Jones organizational weaknesses that had always le us unprepared and vulnerable. From that trauma, loss, and failure, brilliant successes and paradigm-changing knowledge emerged. That is both Oakland’s legacy, and it is the heart of her resilient future. Some of what we’ve learned since 1989: 1) The traditional preparedness messages about having kits and making plans simply don’t work. Our friends at FEMA and the American Red Cross even hosted a workshop in Washington D.C. with researchers sharing this hard-to-hear truth. It’s not that kits or plans aren’t great. But aer decades and countless millions of dollars, there is overwhelming evidence that this message consistently fails to motivate sustained action, it alienates many, and it is steeped in a profoundly aﬄuent sensibility about how people prioritize their mental, emotional, and ﬁnancial resources. 2) Technology is a readiness game-changer. Back in 1989 pay phones were abundant. We didn’t have computers in our homes, purses, and pockets. We weren’t connected via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, text messages, and other platforms. It could take days or weeks to ﬁnd out about loved ones and resources. To obtain research on past disasters you had to go to a bricks-and-mortar library. 3) Nonproﬁts and faith agencies are essential to keeping businesses open, serving and protecting our most vulnerable communities, and in disseminating culturally appropriate information, training, and materials. The mightiest of corporations can be brought to their post-disaster knees when working parents lose their daycare and aer-school programs. Our communities need elder care, food banks, and disability service providers to be resilient and brilliant in the face of crisis. CARD (Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters) was created by local agencies in response to Loma Prieta, and we now have research-based, fear-free approaches to preparedness, with free and low-cost interventions that even the least-resourced among us can use. 2014 is the year to end Oakland’s unrequited love aﬀair with threat-based messages, brochures, and binders. With international media attention for the upcoming anniversary coming our way, let’s give the reporters something to talk about. How about sharing Oakland’s readiness innovations, and positioning Oakland to be the most prepared city in the state? CARD is committed to having every Chamber of Chamber ready and able to declare a true readiness success story. Call us at (510) 451-3140 or write to us at AMJ@CARDcanhelp.org. Be part of the revolution! ■
Rather than making a 2014 New Year’s resolution to “prepare for emergencies,” Oakland businesses are instead invited to join the 2014 Oakland Readiness Revolution! on Oct. 17, the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Ana-Marie Jones is the executive director of Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD) and is co-chair of the Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee.
| OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
Anasa Yoga Studio 4232 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA 94619 Phone: (510) 482-9642 Jean Marie Moore Email: email@example.com Website: www.AnasaOakland.com Health & Wellness Programs Ashton 212, LLC 472 9th St. Oakland, CA 94607 Phone: (510) 836-0316 Mary Ann Munro Consultants Bay Oak Law 180 Grand Ave., Suite 700 Oakland, CA 94612 Phone: (510) 208-5500 Fax: (510) 208-5511 Andrew Jacobson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.bayoaklaw.com Attorneys Charlie Stimson – Organizational Consulting 11526 Bloomington Way Dublin, CA 94568 Phone: (925) 366-4998 Fax: (925) 474-3771 Charlie Stimson Email: email@example.com Business Consultants Conestoga-Rovers & Associates 5900 Hollis St., Suite A Emeryville, CA 94608 Phone: (510) 420-0700 Fax: (510) 420-9170 Peter Masson Website: www.CRAworld.com Engineers Edelstein Public Affairs 534 Fairbanks, Unit A Oakland, CA 94610 Phone: (510) 239-1102 Jason Edelsten Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.edelsteinpa.com Public Relations Macy Movers 200 Victory Court Oakland, CA 94607 Phone: (800) 332-6229 Stevie Alatorre Website: www.macymovers.com Moving & Storage Services
Marlon Bradford – State Farm Insurance 1201 Franklin St. Oakland, CA 94612 Phone: (510) 893-3300 Fax: (510) 893-3335 Email: marlon.bradford.k0wu@ statefarm.com Marlon Bradford Website: www.marlonbradford.com Insurance Agents & Brokers Oakland Community Organizations 7200 Bancroft Ave., Suite 2, Eastmont Town Center Oakland, CA 94605 Phone: (510) 639-1444 Fax: (510) 632-1225 Ken Johnson Email: email@example.com Website: www.oaklandcommunity.org Nonprofit Raphael & Associates 4922 Desmond St. Oakland, CA 94618 Phone: (510) 601-9600 Len Raphael Accountants The Law Offices of Trang La 109 Geary St., 4th Floor San Francisco, CA 94108 Phone: (510) 508-7093 Trang La Legal Services Veronica Gomez – State Farm Insurance 1475 66th St. Emeryville, CA 94608 Phone: (510) 596-1457 Veronica Gomez Email: veronica.gomez.cch7@ statefarm.com Website:www.myagencycareer. com/recruiters/veronica-gomez Insurance Windstream 2001 North Main St., Suite 310 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Phone: (925) 956-4952 Fax: (925) 937-1541 Anthony LeRoux Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.windstream.com Internet Service Providers
> Visit Oakland adopts
> Transforming children’s lives
Oakland tourism class
On Dec. 17, Visit Oakland visited Ralph Bunche High School in Oakland to donate industry textbooks to the “Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation” class. Visit Oakland has adopted the class of 11th and 12th graders and will help further their hospitality education by providing hands-on experiences at Oakland hotels, attractions and restaurants. Pictured above at the school are (le to right) Ester Dixon, teacher of the “Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation” class; Alison Best, president and chief executive oﬃcer of Visit Oakland; Oakland Mayor Jean Quan; a Ralph Bunche High School student; Jumoke Hinton Hodge, director of District 3, Oakland Uniﬁed School Board; Bostyon Johnson, visitor services coordinator, Visit Oakland; Gary Yee, OUSD Superintendent; and Kim Bardakian, director of public relations and partnerships for Visit Oakland. ■
The Chamber’s After Five Reception in January was held at the offices of the East Bay Community Foundation, located at 200 Frank Ogawa Plaza next to City Hall. The Foundation asks itself the question, “What is the most important thing we can do to transform lives in the East Bay?” Their answer? Build economic opportunities and the education that leads to it. As a result, the East Bay Community Foundation has worked with those who come out of the education pipeline with skills less than necessary to succeed, and has worked with young children as they go into the education pipeline to ensure they succeed in the education system and have economic opportunity as adults. For the past three years, those at the Foundation have harnessed financial capital, leadership and philanthropic expertise on these two related issues. Above, at the Chamber reception, which was held in the James Irvine Foundation Conference Center, interim Chamber president Dan Quigley (left) presents a 2014 wall calendar to Mike Christie, the Foundation’s operations coordinator. The conference center, which is available for meetings and conferences, features state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, internet access and catering capabilities. For information, call Christie at (510) 2080839 or email email@example.com. ■
> Kos-Read joins Chamber’s public policy effort Isaac Kos-Read, the former director of external affairs for the Port of Oakland, has been engaged as part-time public policy consultant for the Chamber of Commerce. Kos-Read will temporarily fill the void in the Public Policy Department following the departure of Paul Junge. Kos-Read spent three years with the Port, the fifth busiest container seaport in the U.S., which also oversees Oakland International Airport (OAK), the second busiest passenger airport and number Isaac Kos-Read one air cargo airport in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to joining the Port, Kos-Read was a deputy general manager and the senior director for government affairs at the Port of Los Angeles, the number one container seaport in the country. Since leaving the Port, Kos-Read founded Kos Read Group, Inc. (KRG), building on nearly a decade and a half of success in lobbying and communications in the private and public sectors. He has served a broad range of clients and focused on building a legacy of infrastructure, progress, trade development, job creation, and a cleaner and healthier environment. He has represented cities and their associated seaports and airports; public education institutions, including community colleges and classroom-based charter schools; water districts; cultural institutions such as museums and science centers; and private businesses, from local developers to multinational corporations. ■
February 2014 | 5
> Mandatory recycling now enforced in Alameda County In July 2012, the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) Mandatory Recycling Ordinance 2012-01 took effect in Alameda County, requiring businesses generating four or more cubic yards of garbage per week and multi-family properties with five or more units to provide adequate recycling collection service for the amount of recyclable material they produce.
Since then, hundreds of businesses and property managers have increased recycling activities, thereby helping to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alameda County and collectively saving more than $350,000 in reduced garbage bills. The ordinance is now being actively enforced through on-site inspections of covered accounts, and accounts that fail to comply with requirements could face a penalty. Upon the first observation of a violation an Official Notification will be issued, a second violation will result in a warning letter, and a third will result in a citation. At that point, a fine may be issued. Since enforcement began in January of 2013, more than 11,000 inspections have taken place resulting in more than 1,400 Official Notifications for Ordinance violations. Violations observed have been for failure to provide recycling collection service, disposal of “Covered Materials” in the garbage (cardboard, newspaper, white paper, mixed recyclable paper, recyclable glass food and beverage containers, aluminum and metal food and beverage containers, PET (#1) and HDPE (#2) plastic bottles), insufficient recycling collection service and refuse found in recycling containers. The most common violation observed has been failure to provide recycling collection service. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid violation through compliance, and free assistance is available to ensure that affected business and property managers know what recyclable materials are covered under the ordinance and what actions they need to take. Many businesses in Alameda County are proving how easy it is to recycle and going above and beyond in their efforts to improve their systems.
| OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
Twenty-four McDonald’s restaurants in Alameda County, including three in Livermore and one in Oakland, have recently been recognized as leaders in waste reduction. McDonald’s Pacific Sierra Region took a restaurant-by-restaurant approach to ensure every property had the resources needed to comply with cityspecific guidelines for implementing proper sorting practices. Employees at these model restaurants now collect recyclable and compostable materials from kitchens while customers sort materials for recycling and composting with the guidance of custom signage. The Mandatory Recycling Business Assistance team provided bilingual staff trainings to help launch the new programs. Phase 2 of the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance will go into effect July 1, 2014, expanding coverage to all businesses (including smaller ones with less than four cubic yards of weekly garbage service) and adding discarded food and compostable paper to the list of Covered Materials in jurisdictions that elect to participate. Covered accounts will have six months to comply before Phase 2 enforcement action begins on Jan. 1, 2015. For additional information about the Ordinance, including details about who is affected, how to comply, or to request free assistance, please visit www.RecyclingRulesAC.org or call (510) 891-6575. ■
> Oakland shines as an emerging destination Oakland is making national headlines, garnering positive attention for attracting top restaurants and chefs, emerging technology companies and new residents.
Oakland received more than 20 positive accolades in 2013, including “Most Exciting City in America” by Movoto, “6th Best Rising Star Destination” by The Huffington Post, and “5th Hippest City in the U.S.” by The Thrillist. “Oakland has always had a rich and diverse culture, great food and amazing music, and now the world is finally starting to take notice,” said Alison Best, president and chief executive officer of Visit Oakland. “We have three professional sports teams, 19 miles of waterfront, over 100,000 acres of parks and trails, a booming restaurant scene – the offerings in Oakland are endless, and there are still so many opportunities to look forward to. The Oakland International Airport will welcome new direct international flights in 2014, as well as the Airport Connector. Oakland is hot and we're thrilled to see the city receive the attention it deserves.” In 2012, the world recognized Oakland’s travel appeal when the destination was named the “#5 Place to Go in America” by The New York Times. Multiple outlets followed suit, listing Oakland as one of “America's Best Cities on the Rise,” “America's 50 Best Cities,” and “America's Coolest Cities.” According to The Huffington Post, Oakland deserves acclaim as a rising destination due to its “hip” factor, stating that “Brooklyn and Portland had better shuffle over and give Oakland some hipster room.” Walkscore.com recognized Oakland as the 9th most walkable large city in the U.S., proclaiming “Oakland isn’t the Bay Area’s second city anymore. With its stunning location on the shores of Lake Merritt and proximity to Silicon Valley employers, it’s come into its own.” The California Travel Association awarded Oakland chef Tanya Holland “California Chef of the Year” in 2013, based on her success in creating not one, but two, dining establishments that exemplify the best in culinary arts. Additional accolades for Oakland in 2013 included: • “11th Gayest City in America” – The Advocate • “Greenest City in the U.S.” – SheKnows.com • “One of America's Top 12 ArtPlaces” – Money Journal • “3rd Highest Hotel Room Demand in the U.S.” – Travel Weekly • “4th most Diverse City in America” – NerdWallet • “4th Best Destination For Nature-Lovers” – NerdWallet • “2nd Best California City for Singles” – Movoto • “Top 10 Best Cities to Own a Dog” – NerdWallet For up-to-date information on Oakland accolades, visit visitoakland.org or follow Visit Oakland on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ for updated press. ■
Economic Development CREATING A STRONG ECONOMY
> Chamber members hear
> A look at the new
‘state of retail’ in Oakland
Enterprise Zone tax credits
by Eleanor Hollander
by Susana Villarreal
Solomon Ets-Hokin, the national chair for the retail services group of Colliers International (and also a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors), gave a short overview of the history of retail in the Oakland area, and then led a spirited discussion on new retail developments in Oakland for the 40+ attendees at the event. First Ets-Hokin called on forum audience member John Jay, who is developing the Foothill Square project. Jay recounted that the opening of Foothill Square (set for March of 2014) will be the “largest retail development opening in Oakland in decades.” The project, with more than 200,000 square feet of retail space, will feature the largest Foods Co grocery store in Alameda County. Foothill Square is located off the 106th Street exit from Interstate 580 and is two blocks from San Leandro.
At last month’s Economic Development Forum, Chamber members were treated to an update on the state of retail in Oakland.
Other projects that were highlighted included Safeway’s three building projects in various stages of completion – College/Claremont, 51st/Pleasant Valley and Redwood Road. Tom Fitzpatrick, a project manager for Safeway’s real estate arm, Property Development Centers, indicated that the College/Claremont Safeway would be “coming out of the ground” in a “few weeks” time and that the Pleasant Valley location (when built out) will have more than 300,000 square feet of retail and “bay views” from the southwest corner of the lot. Construction is expected to begin in 2015. Retail developments in the area around the Broadway Valdez Triangle were also ▲ Guest speaker Solomon discussed. A new Sprouts grocery store is Ets-Hokin gave an overview of slated to go in at 30th and Broadway, and a many new retail projects in deal is in the works for another larger Oakland – from Foothill Square national retailer (firm yet to be named) to to three Safeway projects to take space at Harrison and 27th streets. Broadway Valdez. Ets-Hokin was optimistic about the state of retail for the remainder of 2014, citing two other forthcoming deals, the first with the city’s sports teams, and the second with the Sears building at 20th and Broadway. He also cautioned that with respect to comparison goods, it is hard to get the critical mass of retailers attracted to the city of Oakland because of the high cost of the land. Keira Williams from the city added that the top four things retailers need and want are (1) affordable land (2) site control (3) developers who believe in the power of the urban market, and (4) public assistance for parking costs. Following the presentation, the attendees had a robust round of questions for both Ets-Hokin and the assembled experts, mostly about the potential timeline for the future retail projects, and possible funding sources for the full cost of the land improvements. Please join us on Wednesday, February 12 at 3 p.m. at the Chamber for our next Economic Development Forum. The theme for 2014’s forum program will be “Economic Trends” at the macro level. ■ Eleanor Hollander is the Chamber’s director of economic development.
> Do you have an idea for a future Economic Development Forum? If so, email us at ehollander @oaklandchamber.com. It’s never too soon to plan topic ideas for the rest of 2014!
As a local business owner you are most likely aware that Governor Brown signed a bill in July 2013 repealing the state’s Enterprise Zone (EZ) program and replacing it with new incentives. As a result, the Enterprise Zone program expired on Dec. 31, 2013.
The replacement incentives are summarized as follows: • “Restructured Employee Hiring Tax Credit” (effective Jan. 1, 2014). • New statewide “California Competes Incentive Credit” (effective Jan. 1, 2014). Specific details of the California Competes Credit, which will be administered by the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz), are still being refined. However, GO-Biz has indicated that businesses located within an existing EZ boundary could potentially qualify for the new California Competes Credit. Oakland Enterprise Zone staff will continue to work closely with GO-Biz representatives to determine what necessary criterion, qualifications, and procedures will be required in order for businesses to compete for this replacement hiring credit incentive. • “Partial Sales Tax Exemption” for qualifying equipment purchases (effective July 1, 2014). Although the state’s Enterprise Zone program has expired, the state is allowing EZs to continue processing hiring tax credit voucher applications for eligible employees (hired prior to Dec. 31, 2013) through the end of calendar year 2014. The Oakland Enterprise Zone is now in the process of developing a plan to wind down activity for the program and will continue to support the administration of this program through the end 2014, which is the deadline for issuing hiring credit voucher certificates. The primary focus of Oakland Enterprise Zone’s efforts during this final wind down phase will be to collaborate with our regional economic stakeholders to broadly engage local businesses with the goal of maximizing program participation by assisting qualified businesses to take full advantage of remaining available tax credit incentives. Working with our economic development partners, chambers of commerce and business improvement districts and merchant associations, Oakland Enterprise Zone staff will continue to offer workshops, webinars and outreach meetings to help existing businesses take advantage of the tax credits. Businesses interested in the Enterprise Zone tax credit programs should visit http://www.caezonline.com/oakland/ to learn more about the benefits and submit the easy-to-use online application. For more information on how you can benefit, call (510) 238-7794 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
Susana Villarreal is coordinator of the Oakland Enterprise Zone.
> Alameda CTC receives AAA credit ratings Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services have both assigned a AAA rating, the highest-possible rating, to the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) sales tax. This top rating affirms Alameda CTC's high-quality financial management of Measure B, the county's transportation sales tax measure. This AAA credit rating comes just months after independent auditors and the independent Citizens Watchdog Committee publicly reported Alameda CTC's 11th consecutive year of 100 percent clean audits and full compliance on the delivery of voter-approved programs and projects funded by Measure B for county-wide transportation improvements. Alameda CTC is now the first transportation agency of its kind in the state of California with a credit rating of AAA on a sales tax revenue bond issuance. This rating has the potential to significantly reduce the interest cost over the life of the bonds. ■
February 2014 | 7
A myriad of Oakland events celebrate Black History Month Black History Month Walking Tour – Oakland Tours Program Feb. 5, 10 a.m. to noon African American Museum and Library at Oakland 659 14th St. This tour highlights African-American leaders who helped shape present-day Oakland. www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours 238-3234
Black Success Conference Feb. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business 101 Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Mills College’s first “Black Success” Conference is designed for graduate, undergraduate, junior college and high school students who identify as Black. Its mission is to promote academic and professional development, growth and success. It’s designed to give students and future professionals the tools they need to thrive at college, in rewarding careers and in life. www.mills.edu/academics/undergraduate/eths/ blackhistorymonth.php (510) 430-2080
Filmmaker Marion Bethel and Film Screening Freedom, Womanish Ways and Democracy: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the Bahamas: 1948-1962 Feb. 10, 7 to 9 p.m. Danforth Auditorium, Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd. This documentary narrates the story of the movement of the 1950s while paying homage to the five women who were central to the movement – Mary Ingraham, Mable Walker, Eugenia Lockhart, Georgiana Symonette and Dame Dr. Doris Johnson. The film will also explore the lives of the women activists who stood shoulder to shoulder with these leaders. www.mills.edu/academics/undergraduate/eths/black historymonth.php (510) 430-2080
African American Cultural Celebration Black History Weekend Feb. 13, 7 to 8:30 p.m. First Congregational Church 2501 Harrison St. at 27th St. Paul’s Episcopal School’s signature musical event is a knock-out evening of music presented by all students, grades K-8. (510) 285-9600
Black History Month Walking Tour – Oakland Tours Program Feb. 22, 10 a.m. to noon African American Museum and Library at Oakland 659 14th St. This tour highlights African-American leaders who helped shape present-day Oakland. www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours 238-3234
Who Are We?: Exploring Black Identities Feb. 22 Peralta Hacienda Center for History and Community 2488 Coolidge Ave. Join in a discussion of identity, connection and culture led by participants in the Peralta House “Storyhorse” exhibit, “What I hear, I keep: Stories from Oakland’s Griots.” peraltahacienda.org (510) 532-9142
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Community Building & Healing Through Mindful Drumming Feb. 22, 3 to 6 p.m. Attitudinal Healing Connection, Inc. 3278 West St. Mindful Drumming is a transformative learning process that offers individuals opportunities to experience diversity through rhythm and sound. Mindful Drumming is an art form that facilitates building relationships and synergistically builds community. www.ahc-oakland.org (510) 652-5530
The Art of Living Black – Open Studios Art Fair Feb. 22-23, 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Student Union, Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Part of “The Art of Living Black,” Bay Area Black Artists Exhibition and Art Tour 2014, sponsored by the Richmond Art Center. Featuring 15 Bay Area artists of African descent, including Mills Professor Ajuan Mance’s acrylic paintings. www.mills.edu/academics/undergraduate/eths/blackhistory month.php (510) 430-2080
OMCA Family Drop-in Workshop: HistoryMakers/ ScienceMakers Series Feb. 23, noon to 3 p.m. Oakland Museum of California 1000 Oak St. Celebrate Black History Month and explore the legacy of black pioneers in science and invention with presenters from the Museum of African American Technology Science Village. Cost is included with Museum admission. www.museumca.org/event/historymakers-sciencemakersfebruary-23 (510) 318-8400
Forty Years Strong: Dimensions Dance Theater Feb. 28, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Lisser Theater, Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Dimensions Dance Theater, the Bay Area’s preeminent African-American dance company, proudly presents “Forty Years Strong.” This momentous occasion will celebrate Dimensions’ rich cultural history of over four decades of creativity and community-building, during which time the company has premiered more than 50 evening-length works. www.mills.edu/academics/undergraduate/eths/blackhistory month.php (510) 430-2080
Black History Film Premier and Book Launch: “Unearthing the Dream” and “Proud Legacy: The ‘Colored’ Schools of Malvern, Arkansas and the Community that Made Them” March 6, 7 to 9 p.m. Danforth Auditorium, Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd. A multi-city tour of the new documentary “Unearthing the Dream” comes to Oakland with a film and book launch event sponsored by the Mills College Black Women's Collective and the Mills College Ethnic Studies Department. Named best documentary at this year’s Arkansas Black Independent Film Festival. www.mills.edu/academics/undergraduate/eths/blackhistory month.php (510) 430-2080 ■
> Complying with California’s energy benchmarking policy If you own a nonresidential building in Alameda County, you may soon have to comply with the California Energy Commission’s energy benchmarking policy, AB 1103.
The law requires owners of nonresidential buildings to disclose their building’s energy usage during all real estate transactions, including the sale, lease or financing of the entire building. Owners will need to use the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to receive a Statement of Energy Performance Report. The Portfolio Manager compares the building’s energy usage to similar buildings across the country and scores a building on a scale of 1-100 based on: • Energy and water consumption • Age of building • Type of use(s) • Operating hours • Heating and cooling needs Energy benchmarking is now a requirement, but it also benefits building owners – commercial buildings that consistently participate in benchmarking use 7 percent less energy over a three-year period, which can lead to cost savings. Additionally, studies have shown that rental prices for green office buildings are 3 to 5 percent higher than non-green buildings and selling prices of green buildings are 11 to 19 percent higher compared to non-green counterparts.
AB 1103 implementation schedule: • On or after January 1, 2014, for a building with a total gross floor area measuring more than 10,000 square feet and up to 50,000 square feet. • On or after July 1, 2014, for a building with a total gross floor area measuring at least 5,000 square feet and up to 10,000 square feet. Get ahead of these requirements by signing up for ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager today and see how your building performs. For more information on the AB 1103 law, visit http://www.energy.ca.gov/ab1103/. To get started benchmarking your building, visit http://www.pge.com/en/mybusiness/account/diy/benchmarking.page ?WT.mc_id=Vanity_benchmarking. ■
> StopWaste awards celebration On Thursday, March 13, local public agency StopWaste will celebrate the 2014 StopWaste Business Efficiency Awards. This inspiring event will recognize businesses from around the county – including several from Oakland – for outstanding achievements in waste reduc- tion and business efficiency. The industries represented by this year’s awardees include manufactur- ing, restaurants, food production, social media innovation, building material suppliers, compost producers, as well as commercial and residential property management. Help celebrate the winners, hear their success stories, and learn how your own company can reduce waste and become more efficient. The awards ceremony on March 13 will run from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at the Zero Net Energy Center, 14600 Catalina St. in San Leandro. A light breakfast will be served. The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. Following the recognition program, guests are invited to join an optional 30-minute tour of the Zero Net Energy Center, the largest commercial building in California that produces more energy than it consumes. The facility’s renewable energy systems and state-of-the-art efficiency features also serve as hands-on models for the center’s electrical industry training programs. The event is free of charge, but an RSVP is required. For more information and to register, visit www.StopWaste .org/2014Awards. ■
> Annual all-city luncheon set for April 29 Plan to attend the annual All-City Luncheon of the League of Women Voters on Tuesday, April 29. The theme of the luncheon, “Building Citizens for the Future,” will be explored by guest speaker California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye. The Chief Justice co-chairs the statewide task force on civics education in our schools. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye was appointed to the California Supreme Court by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Following her confirmation hearing and statewide election, she was sworn into office on Jan. 3, 2011 as the first Asian-Filipina-American and the second woman to serve as Chief Justice of California. She chairs the Judicial Council of California, the administrative policymaking body of state courts, and the Commission on Judicial Appointments. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye served for more than 20 years on California appellate and trial courts before her appointment to the California Supreme Court. She received her B.A., with honors, from the University of California at Davis in 1980 and her J.D. from U.C. Davis, School of Law in 1984. Invitations to the League of Women Voters of Oakland’s 23rd annual All-City Luncheon will be mailed in mid-March. Save the date – Tuesday, April 29. ■
> Making music for Oakland youth Founded in 1974, the Oakland Youth Chorus (OYC) is the oldest and longest running youth chorus in the East Bay with multicultural music education and performance programs for youth, fostering talent, confidence and community. OYC trains youth to learn and perform a varied repertoire, supporting the Oakland community’s rich artistic diversity by providing communitybased music education programs that reflect the cultural richness of Oakland. OYC youth develop self-confidence, a knowledge of the music of several cultures, and a lifelong love of music. Recently, at an OYC gathering (above), executive director Keri Butkevich (holding the scissors) joins her participants and friends for a ribbon cutting. ■
February 2014 | 9
Women in Business Roundtable
> Community Connection: Small Business Innovators Panel April 4 by Kim Arnone
The guest speakers are: • Sarah Filley, co-founder of PopUpHood, sharing how her small business incubator is revitalizing Oakland one block at a time; • Erin Kilmer-Neel, executive director, Sustainable Business Alliance & Oakland Grown, highlighting the power of co-marketing Oakland’s local sustainable businesses and artists; • Konda Mason, co-founder and chief executive officer of Impact HUB Oakland, talking about how the HUB helps grow businesses by offering coworking space, an entrepreneurial incubator and community of socially engaged people; • Anca Mosoiu, founder, Tech Liminal, discussing how her company is assisting small and solo technology businesses by offering co-working space for technology projects, classes, web design and technology consulting; and • Angela Tsay, chief executive officer and creative director of Oaklandish, discussing the development of one of Oakland’s most successful community-focused
The East Bay Women in Business Roundtable has compiled an amazing panel of women who are some of the best small business innovators in Oakland. On Friday, April 4, we will hear from five women who are running successful and acclaimed businesses – each one with a strong and unique community focus and connection. Learn how each one of them harnesses their personal connection and commitment to Oakland to drive their businesses. Join us and learn how you can put their experience, resources and know-how to use to strengthen your own business and community ties.
Save the dates Feb. 7
Erin Kilmer-Neel Dana King Konda Mason Dr. Deborah Merrill-Sands Anca Mosoiu Angela Tsay Carol Williams (invited)
EAST BAY WOMEN IN BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE LUNCHEON SPEAKER SERIES
‘RISING TO THE TOP”
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Each time you register for a “Rising to the Top” luncheon, you will enter a drawing to win two roundtrip tickets to any Southwest Airlines destination (the winner must be present at the October luncheon to win).
retail businesses. How does their focus on community help their businesses thrive? How do they build and nurture their community connection? What are the rewards and challenges of doing business in Oakland? These questions and others will be addressed at the luncheon, which will also provide time to network with other business and civic leaders. The luncheon will be held on Friday, April 4 at the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square. Networking begins at 11 a.m. and lunch and the program begin at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $35 for members of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and $45 for prospective members. Register now to reserve your space – visit www.oaklandchamber.com or call Ivette Torres at (510) 874-4800, ext. 319. ■ Kim Y. Arnone is a senior attorney at Katovich & Kassan Law Group focusing on assisting businesses with corporate formation, capital raising, securities offerings, and employment issues.
> Join the conversation as Women in Business kicks off exciting year by Jamie Rudman
Interested in meeting other local businesspeople? Hoping to get inspired to take your business or business career to the next level? The East Bay Women in Business Roundtable (EBWIBR) provides exciting opportunities for the businesswomen of Oakland and the East Bay to build and strengthen both their relationships and our local business community through exciting luncheons featuring local business leaders and other networking opportunities.
The EBWIBR celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2013 with a special evening event honoring the many volunteers who have helped build the group and awarded its first “Trailblazer Award.” This year, EBWIBR is continuing its extremely popular luncheon series and expanding the opportunities it provides local businesswomen by adding evening networking opportunities and increasing the size of the prestigious EBWIBR Steering Committee. The EBWIBR will kick off the “Rising to the Top” 2014 luncheon speaker series on Friday, Feb. 7 when Dr. Deborah Merrill-Sands will provide her perspective on women in leadership. As the dean of the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College, Dr. Merrill-Sands is herself a leader and she both interacts with other local business luminaries and trains the next generation of business leaders in the community. “Rising to the Top” will feature four other inspiring luncheons on the first Fridays of April, June, August and October. Topics include community stewardship, featuring Suzan Bateson, the executive director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Two luncheons will showcase dynamic business leaders/creators with panel discussions about small business innovators and the thriving Oakland art scene. As an added bonus, each time you register for a “Rising to the Top” luncheon, you will enter a drawing to win two roundtrip tickets to any Southwest Airlines destination (the winner must be present at the October luncheon to win). If you are looking to deepen your commitment to the Chamber or expand your network, consider joining the EBWIBR Steering Committee. Volunteer members plan the EBWIBR events, including the luncheons, and have the opportunity to meet the speakers and shape the agenda. For more information, or to purchase tickets to a “Rising to the Top” luncheon, visit www.oaklandchamber.com or call Ivette Torres at the Chamber at (510) 874-4800, ext. 319. ■
Jamie Rudman is a management-side labor and employment attorney with Sanchez & Amador, LLP in downtown Oakland and a Steering Committee member for the East Bay Women in Business Roundtable.
Finance and Taxation
> A look at two new taxes resulting from the 2010 Health Care Act by Raymond Evans The 2010 Health Care Act created two new taxes as a means of paying for the
Net investment income does not include Social Security income,
costs of health care reform. Beginning in
tax-exempt interest, retirement income, alimony, or any item taken
2013 an additional .9 percent Medicare
into account in determining self-employment income for the tax
tax is imposed upon the earned income
year; however, a portion of these items may increase MAGI and
of high income individuals, raising the
cause more net investment income to be subject to the surtax.
employee portion of the Medicare tax from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent. Raymond Evans
held in an active trade or business.
The 2010 Health Care Act also imposed
We have identified a few strategies that should be considered in navigating the new tax. Participate more in the business or real estate activity. A
a 3.8 percent tax on high income individuals, trusts and estates' net
passive activity is any activity which involves the conduct of any
trade or business in which the taxpayer does not materially
This article will briefly summarize the 3.8 percent net
participate. Individuals use one of seven tests (including the 500
investment income tax (NIIT) and discuss some planning
hour rule) to establish material participation to avoid passive
opportunities to minimize your exposure to the new tax.
For individuals, the NIIT applies only if your Modified Adjusted
Rental income is passive regardless of participation, but can be
Gross Income (MAGI) exceeds $250,000 if married filing jointly,
excluded from NIIT if the taxpayer qualifies as a real estate
$200,000 if single or head of household, and $125,000 if married
professional (750 hour test and more than 50 percent of the
filing separately. The tax applies to the lesser of net investment
personal services of the taxpayer performed in real property trade or
income or the amount of AGI in excess of the MAGI thresholds
business), materially participates in the rental activity by meeting
the 500 hour test.
Net Investment income includes the following: 1) Gross income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, and rents (unless derived in the ordinary course of business). 2) Gross income from a trade or business that is either a passive activity or a financial instruments or commodities business. 3) Net gain from the disposition of property other than property
Taxpayers in 2013 or 2014 can, if subject to the NIIT, make an election to regroup their activities to meet the hours requirement and qualify for nonpassive treatment. Note that once a grouping election is made the taxpayer may not regroup in subsequent years. Invest in tax-exempt investments: Consider investment in tax-exempt bonds. The return on investment would be higher in comparison to taxable interest investments when factoring in the new Medicare rate. Time stock sales: Recognize losses to offset gains during the year. Wealth transfer: Consider gifting assets that generate NIIT to children who are below AGI limit or creating a Family Limited Partnership (FLP). A FLP can serve as a vehicle to shelter a portion of the net investment income by gifting partnership interests to younger generations. Contribute to your Roth 401(k): Higher-income employees should use designated Roth accounts if their retirement plans offer this option, and if they expect their MAGI to trigger NIIT during retirement. Unlike regular Roth IRAs, where contributions canâ€™t be made by higher-income individuals, there is no income limitation on annual contributions to a designated Roth 401(k) retirement account. Qualified distributions from your Roth 401(k) are tax-free and thus won't be included in MAGI. By contrast, distributions from regular 401(k) contributions will be included in MAGI, although excluded from NII. Required Minimum Distributions: Taxpayers who attain age 70 1/2 in 2014 have until their required beginning date of April 15, 2015 to take their first required minimum distribution. Consider taking your first distribution in 2014 if a higher MAGI is expected. These are just a few of the strategies that taxpayers should consider in limiting their exposure to a significant 3.8 percent tax. Because of the complexity and interplay of these regulations, it is critical to consult with experienced tax professionals. â– Raymond Evans is a tax shareholder with RINA Accountancy Corporation.
February 2014 | 11
Finance and Taxation
> Choosing the right tax preparer by Mittie Grigsby
Your tax preparation needs will dictate the attributes you look for in a tax preparer. Be aware that not all tax preparers and consultants have the same set of skills and expertise; therefore, not just anyone will do for your particular situation.
HETHER YOU ARE IN need of a tax preparer (someone who prepares or reviews your annual tax returns) or a tax consultant (a professional who can assist you with tax planning or tax problem resolution), you are encouraged to do your due diligence and consider the following:
Professional designation If you only require tax preparation you will want to ensure that he or she is properly licensed and trained to prepare taxes. Be sure that your tax preparer is either a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), Enrolled Agent (licensed by the federal government), or a Registered Tax Preparer (certified by the federal government). All tax preparers who are paid to prepare taxes must have one of these designations. If you are unsure, request the preparer’s PTIN number. Need tax planning for your estate or business? Look for a tax professional who specializes in tax planning and strategies. This individual may be a CPA or a tax attorney and can provide insight into and guidance for your future tax issues. Training How many years of experience does the professional have? What is his or her expertise? Is he or her skilled enough to assist you with your complex tax issues? Integrity We all want to pay the least amount of taxes possible, but we should also ensure that the returns we file are accurate. Choose a professional who prides himself or herself on accurate filings. Be wary of anyone willing to “stretch the truth.” Remember, in the end, it will be you who is responsible for paying the additional taxes, interest and/or penalties.
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Thoroughness Work with the professional who goes that extra step and interviews you about your situation to ensure he or she is covering all aspects of income, credits and deductions that apply to you. Remember that he or she is the professional and should be able to enlighten you on opportunities to legitimately minimize your tax liability, not the other way around. Accessibility You should be able to contact your tax preparer after you file your return. Be certain that your chosen professional is available to your after the filing of your return to answer questions that may arise as a result of the work performed. Fees Tax professionals are not regulated on what they can charge in fees, so choose a professional whose fee structure fits within your personal or business budget. Be careful not to choose a professional simply for low fees; you want the best professional with the right skill set for your situation to be your first priority. Accuracy and timeliness An accurately and timely prepared tax return can save you time and money! Interview a prospective tax preparer about his or her concern for accuracy and timeliness of filing. Ask if he or she will cover interest and penalty charges if an error on their part results in a late or inaccurate tax filing. Take it upon yourself to do the due diligence necessary to make this tax season a worry-free one, and select and work with a tax professional who cares about you and your business. Report abusive or fraudulent tax preparers You can report abusive preparers and those you suspect of fraud to the IRS by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). ■ Mittie Grigsby is owner of Grigsby Finance and Tax Services in Oakland, and is an Enrolled Agent, licensed to practice before the IRS. She can be reached at (510) 6384878.
Finance and Taxation
> IRS introduces new regulations related to partnership terminations by Doug Regalia
The Internal Revenue Code and its related regulations stretch over 70,000 pages long – but that does not mean every issue is addressed. N EARLY DECEMBER THE IRS released proposed regulations on contentious issues related to partnership terminations. The IRS has now concluded that under Section 708, partnerships may not deduct unamortized startup or organizational costs at technical Doug Regalia termination. Here is a breakdown of the details and a few examples of how the newly proposed regulations work.
Technical terminations Section 708 considers a partnership terminated if either of the following apply: 1. The partners no longer perform any type or portion of the business of the partnership. 2. The partnership sells or exchanges 50 percent or more of the partnership interests in any 12-month period. This is what the IRS considers a technical termination. Legally, the partnership still exists, but from a tax perspective it does not. Instead, a new partnership is created for tax purposes under Reg. Section 1.708-1(b)(4). The new partnership is technically born through a two-step process. First, the old partnership is deemed to have contributed all its assets and liabilities under Section 721 in exchange for an interest in the new partnership. Second, under Section 731, the newly created partnership immediately distributes interest in itself to the partners of the technically terminated entity.
15-year period. Take a look at the following example of these rules. Excelon (a partnership) incurs $8,000 of organizational costs and $12,000 of startup costs during its first year of operations. Excelon is allowed to deduct $5,000 each of the organizational costs and startup costs. The $3,000 of organizational costs and $7,000 of startup costs cannot be deducted, but can be amortized over a 15-year period. You might be wondering what happens if the partnership liquidates before it can fully amortize the expenses. In this case, whatever portion remains is deductible in the year of liquidation. ■ Doug Regalia is a partner with Regalia & Associates, CPAs. He can be reached at (925) 314-0390.
Startup and organizational costs Partnerships regularly have necessary expenses such as legal fees to set up and form the business. These are what the IRS refers to as “organizational expenses.” Expenses incurred after this formation period but before the start of active trade or business activities are considered startup costs. Startup costs typically include expenses such as marketing, advertising and training costs. Generally, organizational and startup costs are not deductible because they have an indefinite useful life. Code sections 709(b) and 195(b), however, allow the deduction of up to $5,000 of organizational costs and an additional $5,000 of startup costs during the first year the partnership is in business. These deductions are limited, dollar for dollar, for every dollar these expenses are over $50,000. Costs that cannot be deducted right away are allowed to be amortized over a
February 2014 | 13
Finance and Taxation
> Discover ‘secret’ tax break for employees – Benefits of company stock in retirement plan by Robert “Bob” Griffin, CPA
One of the best-kept secrets in the tax law is a unique opportunity available to employees, including business owners, who own company stock in their retirement plan. If you play your cards right, you can avoid tax on the appreciation in the stock’s value, called the “net unrealized appreciation” (NUA) on a distribution, as well as benefitting from favorable capital gain rates on a sale. Of course, you should not “put all your eggs in one basket.” Make sure your retirement account is properly diversified. Nevertheless, the tax benefits for this technique are undeniable. Background If you receive a retirement plan payout Robert “Bob” Griffin in the form of company stock, you only pay tax on the original cost of the stock. There is no tax due on the NUA. Furthermore, any subsequent gain on the NUA is treated as long-term capital gain if you have held the stock for more than one year. To qualify for these breaks, a distribution must meet the following three requirements: 1. It must be from a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k), pension, or profit-sharing or stock bonus plan. 2. The distribution must be due to death, after attaining 59½ years of age; or separation from service. 3. It must be made in one tax year. Currently, the maximum tax rate on long-term capital gain for most taxpayers is 15 percent, increasing to 20 percent if you are a single filer with taxable income above $400,000 or a joint filer above $450,000 (indexed to $406,750 and $457,600, respectively, for 2014). This still compares favorably to the top ordinary income tax rate of 39.6 percent. Example You have acquired 20,000 shares of company stock in your 401(k) over the years. The shares are currently worth $1 million. Originally, the stock was $5 a share, but now it is valued at $50 a share. If you sell the stock inside the plan and then take a cash distribution, you will receive $1 million. However, the entire distribution will be taxed as ordinary income. If you are already in the 39.6 percent tax bracket in the year of retirement, you owe federal income tax of $396,000 on the distribution (39.6 percent of $1 million). Conversely, if you take the distribution in the form of company stock, you are taxed on the original cost of $100,000 (20,000 shares at $5 a share). Result Your federal income tax bill is only $39,600. Suppose you immediately sell the stock at $50 a share for a total of $1 million. Assuming all
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of your $900,000 gain is taxed as long-term capital gain at the 20 percent rate, you pay $180,000 in capital gains tax (20 percent of $900,000). Therefore, your total federal income tax bill is $219,600 ($39,600 + $180,000), a tax savings of $176,400 ($396,000 – $219,600). Note that other tax factors, including the 3.8 percent Medicare surtax, and state and local taxes, may also come into play. Congress has threatened to close this tax loophole in the past, but it remains in place, at least for the time being. This may be an opportune time to take advantage of the NUA tax breaks. Consult your professional advisers. ■ Robert “Bob” Griffin, CPA is the managing partner of Williams Adley & Company-CA, LLP, located in downtown Oakland.
> The importance of insurance by Dawnn Hills As an insurance professional I have conversations on a daily basis about the importance of insurance. However, a conversation regarding taxes is not normally associated with life insurance as a positive option.
The following is important information from Lifehappens.org. Most high-income earners are familiar with the burden of writing large checks to the IRS. These high income individuals often look to lower today’s taxes through traditional planning methods such as maxing out 401(k)s or other qualified retirement plans. This essentially defers the tax bill to a future date when taxes may in fact be higher. These qualified accounts also have maximum contribution limits, which may equal a small percentage of their gross income – making it difficult to put away enough to continue to have an adequate lifestyle in the
retirement years. Would you like to retain the following goals? Take a look at the accompanying websites: • Reduce current taxation http://www.lifehappens.org/blog/20-reason-you-may-need-lifeinsurance-after-60/ • Contribute an unlimited amount (subject to insurance companies financial guidelines) http://www.lifehappens.org/blog/20-reason-you-may-need-lifeinsurance-after-60/ • Provide tax-free income in retirement http://www.lifehappens.org/blog/20-reason-you-may-need-lifeinsurance-after-60/ • Provide an income tax free lump sum to the family http://www.lifehappens.org/blog/20-reason-you-may-need-lifeinsurance-after-60/ • Help employers retain top employees http://www.lifehappens.org/blog/20-reason-you-may-need-lifeinsurance-after-60/ ■ Dawnn Hills is a financial representative with Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.
Finance and Taxation
> 2013 federal tax year in review by Dennis Kaneshiro
As 2014 begins, it is a valuable time to look back at some of the important federal tax developments in 2013 and their impact on the new year and beyond. Some of these developments were anticipated; others were surprises. In nearly all cases, the developments open tax planning opportunities. Tax legislation – 2014 has commenced in a very different budgetary and fiscal climate in Washington compared to the same time last year. At the end of 2012, lawmakers were in tough negotiations over the fiscal cliff. The result was the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), which finally passed Congress on Jan. 1, Dennis Kaneshiro 2013. The new law extended permanently the Bush-era tax cuts for lower and moderate income taxpayers, including reduced income tax brackets, marriage penalty relief, some education incentives, and much more. ATRA also increased taxes on higher income individuals by restoring the 39.6 percent tax bracket and revising other provisions. These and other changes made by ATRA are reflected on 2013 returns filed in 2014. Extenders – Although ATRA resolved uncertainty about the Bush-era tax cuts, it did not make permanent many other temporary incentives. After 2013, a host of temporary incentives, known as tax extenders, expired. The impact of the expiration of these incentives will not be felt until taxpayers file 2014 returns in 2015. That effectively gives Congress time to extend the expired incentives. Affordable Care Act (ACA) – The ACA continued to generate new rules, regulations and controversies in 2013. The Obama administration surprised many observers with a one-year delay in the so-called employer mandate. The individual mandate, which generally requires individuals to carry minimum essential health coverage or pay a penalty unless exempt, will go into effect on March 31, 2014. Some individuals whose existing policies were cancelled because they did not meet new standards under the ACA may be eligible for a hardship exemption to the penalty. New Medicare taxes – 2014 will be the start of two new Medicare taxes imposed by the ACA: the Net Investment Income (NII) tax and the Additional Medicare Tax. These two taxes generally impact higher income taxpayers, but they have some especially complex features that complicate tax planning. Final NII tax regulations are intended to shed light on the many types of income that could be subject to the tax. Same sex marriage and domestic partners – On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The IRS announced that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. This impacts not only a taxpayer’s filing status. It also applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit. The IRS also reminded domestic partners and individuals in civil
unions that they are not married for federal tax purposes. Repair regulations – In September, the IRS issued final regulations on the treatment of amounts paid to acquire, produce, or improve tangible property. The complex regulations reach nearly every type of taxpayer. Their complexity should not be a barrier to taking advantage of some of the taxpayer-friendly provisions. For example, the final regulations include a de minimis safe harbor, a safe harbor for small taxpayers to assist them in applying the general rules for improvements to buildings, and more. Foreign compliance activities – In 2014, foreign financial institutions will have new reporting obligations under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). FATCA, its supporters argue, will significantly boost taxpayer compliance. Its detractors counter that the law is too complex and sweeps in its reach taxpayers who have no intention to purposefully evade U.S. taxation. Along with FATCA, the U.S. has been expanding its tax treaties and information agreements with foreign jurisdictions to encourage greater transparency. This trend is likely to continue in 2014. 2014 is an election year and new tax legislation before the elections are doubtful. However, there is still a chance for tax legislation before 2014 ends, some of which may be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014. Although this uncertainty makes it very difficult to do any tax planning for 2014, tax planning opportunities still exists. ■ Dennis Kaneshiro is a partner in the Oakland-based accounting firm of Timpson Garcia LLP. He can be reached at (510) 832-2325.
February 2014 | 15
Finance and Taxation
> Chase provides grant to San Francisco retailer Chase and Google have announced that San Francisco retailer Milagros de Mexico is one of 12 small businesses chosen nationwide to receive a $250,000 grant through Mission Main Street Grants, a campaign to support American small business.
N ADDITION TO THE GRANT, GOOGLE
Milagros de Mexico, a five-store health and
WILL HOST Milagros – which also has an
wellness retail chain based in San Francisco. “Many
Oakland location – and the other businesses
Latinos are struggling with health issues, including
for an exclusive marketing workshop at Google
obesity and diabetes. It is my hope that by provid-
headquarters next month.
ing vitamins, herbs, weight loss and skin care
“Chase serves almost 25,000 small businesses across San Francisco, so we have a first-hand
products with Spanish language labels, my customers can begin their journey toward healthy living.”
appreciation of the
important role they play in the commu-
nity and the
Vice President and
Mexico can use its
Street Grant to continue expanding its retail
recovery,” said David Chavern, U.S. Chamber
presence across the Bay Area in its quest to bring
executive vice president and chief operating
health and wellness alternatives to the Latino
officer. “This year’s winners prove that with hard
work and determination, there are still many
Nearly 35,000 small businesses from all 50 states submitted applications for consideration to
success stories to be told.” “The 12 grant recipients are a great
receive a $250,000 grant from Chase and a trip to
representation of the incredible businesses all
Google headquarters. More than 1.7 million people
across the country, and we were very impressed
showed their support for those participating
by the thousands of businesses that submitted
businesses by voting on Mission MainStreet-
applications,” said Jon Kaplan, vice president of
Grants.com. Applications submitted by businesses
U.S. Sales & Operations, Google Inc. “We know
that received at least 250 votes were eligible to
how important a successful web presence is for
continue onto the judging phase.
any company, and we’re excited to host the chosen
“We are thrilled to accept the Mission Main Street Grant,” said Mauricio Simbeck, owner of
16 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
businesses to discuss ways that they can market themselves in today’s digital age.” ■
Public Policy REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENT
> Panel explores public safety benefits, discusses Measure Y future by Isaac Kos-Read
This year is a big one for public safety in Oakland. Measure Y, the Violence Prevention & Public Safety Act, which was overwhelmingly passed in 2004, expires at the end of the year. Unless renewed, the city’s already resource-constrained police, fire, and social services budgets face further cuts. Funding for Measure Y comes from a $97.62 parcel tax and 8.5 percent surcharge on commercial parking lots. Around $19 million is generated annually, with $4 million going to fire prevention, a particularly important issue given the severe drought we are facing. 60 percent of the remaining, or about $9 million, goes to hiring at least 63 Problem Solving Officers for the Oakland Police Department. The remaining 40 percent, or about $5 million, goes to violence prevention and intervention programs that are targeting the hottest crime spots in the city with research-tested policies that are yielding tangible results. At the Inside Oakland event on Jan. 24, a panel of representatives from the city of Oakland, Oakland Police Department, a local nonprofit organization, and a small business owner and blogger discussed the benefits of Measure Y, how it has been improved over time, and what further enhancements are needed.
▲ At the Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum (left to right) – guest speaker Len Raphael, local CPA and blogger; Dan Quigley, the Chamber’s interim president; Paul Figueroa, Deputy Chief of the Oakland Police Department; guest speakers Sara Bedford, interim human services director for
“This is an ethical approach to addressing violent crime – and it’s working,” explained Deputy Chief Paul Figueroa, who as an officer in the 90s was involved in drug busts that contributed to around 30,000 arrests annually in Oakland. He noted that last year the number of arrests was around 8,000 while overall violent crime is down. Meanwhile, as was widely reported earlier this month, Oakland saw a 33 percent decrease in the homicide rate last year from the year prior, reaching its lowest level since 2004. Yet no one would disagree that even one homicide is one too many, and that Oakland businesses and residents continue to face a real and perceived crime threat. This is one of the central critiques of Measure Y, which is not, for example, focused on property crime. OPD contends, however, that tackling violent crime helps reduce overall crime levels, including property crime. “We’ve made improvements and continue to make more,” noted Interim City Human Services Director Sara Bedford, adding, “This is only one small piece of a package of programs that the city and other agencies are implementing to address all crime in Oakland.” Yet the fate of Measure Y is unclear. The city administrator’s office has engaged a consultant to look at polling, conduct outreach and education around the measure, and determine what can and should be taken to the voters in November. This review and evaluation will take place over the next six months. The Chamber plans to be front and center in helping foster a constructive dialogue around this vital issue for Oakland. Please keep on the lookout for future events, and check out the presentations from the Inside Oakland event on the Chamber’s website, www.oaklandchamber.com. ■ Isaac Kos-Read is the new public affairs consultant of the Chamber of Commerce.
the city of Oakland and Anne Marks, executive director of Youth Alive; and Isaac Kos-Read, the Chamber’s public affairs consultant. The group discussed the future of Measure Y, Oakland’s Violence Prevention & Public Safety Act,
February 2014 | 17
ASK THE EXPERT
PORT OF OAKLAND
> ‘ADA’ boys all around! –
> Driscoll named Port’s
Sens. Steinberg and Dutton reform ADA litigation
director of maritime
by Brian Sanders
When the governor approved SB 1186 on Sept. 19, 2012, it heralded a new day in ADA litigation in California. The legislation, shepherded through the legislature by senators Darrell Steinberg (D) and Bob Dutton (R), reins in so-called “serial plaintiffs” by placing obstacles in their paths – both to settlement money and to the courthouse.
We have all heard of a particular group of plaintiffs and their attorneys (sometimes the same person) who visit a business and, after merely viewing the premises, file disabled access claims. It has gotten so common that phrases like “drive-by ADA” have become part of our vocabulary. Some plaintiffs have gone so far as to visit the same business multiple times to “stack” their complaints to increase their recovery under the statutes. Such plaintiffs send demand letters to the owners and occupants of the premises, demanding money to avoid lawsuits. The demands are often no more than the minimum statutory damages for each claim, making it less expensive to simply pay the claims rather than defend against them. SB 1186 – which took effect immediately upon Governor Brown’s signature – enacts numerous controls on the process of filing ADA lawsuits in California, including the following: • “Stacking” – the practice of visiting the same premises multiple times each day in order to increase the alleged number of violations the plaintiff can claim – should be dramatically curtailed by the statute’s Brian Sanders provision treating multiple violations in a single day as one violation. Plaintiffs could try to evade the operation of this provision by sending more than one person to the premises in order to allege separate claims for each person, but the statute also requires the court to determine whether the plaintiffs’ conduct in visiting the premises is reasonable. Adroit defense counsel should argue that, having once visited the premises for the purpose of assessing ADA compliance in anticipation of litigation, the plaintiffs should not re-visit before the claim is noticed to the putative defendant and there has been an opportunity to resolve it. • The minimum statutory damages are reduced from $4,000 per claim to $2,000, or even as little as $1,000. The amount depends on (among other things) whether the claimed deficiency is corrected in 30 days or 60 days from the notice of the condition, and whether the recipient of such notice is a small business owner. • A written notice must be provided with each demand letter and complaint. In a new requirement, legal counsel must state facts about the claim that are sufficient to give a reasonable owner enough information to identify the actual basis for the claim (i.e., the specific condition complained of). • Complaints filed with respect to construction-related accessibility claims must be verified – meaning the plaintiff must affirm the claims under penalty of perjury. • The demand letter and notice may not contain a request or demand for money or make a settlement offer to the business owner that involves paying money to the plaintiff. Attorneys issuing such letters may be subject to State Bar disciplinary action. • The law provides assistance to lessees/tenants as well. Owners of commercial real estate must disclose, in their lease agreements executed on or after July 1, 2013, whether the leased/rented property has been inspected by a certified specialist. If it has, then the lessee and owner may be able to take advantage of additional statutory advantages if the condition complained of was set forth in the specialist’s report and corrected before the ADA plaintiff’s visit to the premises. It seems the legislature has taken significant steps to substantially reduce the cottage industry of making money by filing specious Federal ADA-based accessibility claims in California. More is needed, but this legislation is an encouraging development in the eyes of the California ADA defense bar. ■ Brian Sanders is a partner in the Oakland office of Ericksen Arbuthnot. He can be reached at (510) 832-7770 or at email@example.com.
18 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
John Driscoll, who has more than 30 years of commercial experience in international maritime transportation, has been named the director of maritime for the Port of Oakland. Driscoll most recently served as the vice president of export sales CMA CGM (America) LLC, a leading global container shipping group. As director of maritime, Driscoll is responsible for building and growing maritime business through efficient operations, stakeholder engagement and strategic planning. He will oversee the full range of maritime operations including administration, finance, customer service, planning and development, and seaport security. Driscoll has worked for Sea-Land Service, Maersk Line and CMA CGM. He has also served in an executive capacity with CMA CGM since 2005. ■
> Ambassador of the Month Cynthia Dorsey, the president of the Oakland Chamber Toastmasters Club, has been named the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Month for the second time in three months. Dorsey has served on the Ambassador Committee for several years. She enjoys networking with other Chamber members and attending the activities. Her role as an Ambassador offers her the opportunity to be a founding member of the Toastmasters Club, which meets twice a month Cynthia Dorsey on the first and third Fridays at 12:30 p.m. The club’s goal for 2014 is to become a “Distinguished Club.” To reach that goal they need to collaborate with you. Dorsey’s career path is in transportation, tourism and marketing. She enjoyed a long tenure at AC Transit as a senior marketing and communications representative, and as the chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). She was recently appointed to the Citizen’s Watchdog Committee for ACTC by the Mayor’s Conference, and has served on the board for Visit Oakland. Dorsey enjoys developing collaborative business partnerships. She is currently a marketing and communications consultant, and her hobbies include travel, gardening, property and project management. Would you like to increase your client base? Build your selfconfidence? And make more money? Dorsey enjoys Toastmasters and its philosophy of improving personal communications skills. Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 14,350 clubs in 122 countries that make up its global network of meeting locations. Membership in Toastmasters is one of the greatest investments you can make. At $36 every six months, it is also one of the most costeffective, self-paced, skill-building tools available anywhere. Cynthia Dorsey can be reached at (510) 444-0945. For more information about Toastmasters visit, www.toastmasters.org. ■
SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCATE
> 2014 employment updates – A check list by Christine K. Noma
As every employer knows, the start of each new year brings in a bevy of new laws or clarification of existing laws. This year is no exception. Some changes are significant and others are technical.
Christine K. Noma
The following is a list of the key changes in California employment laws for 2014: New wage and hour laws • Minimum Wage – Effective July 1, 2014, the California minimum is increased to: $9 per hour. Effective Jan. 1, 2016 the California minimum is increased to: $10 per hour. In San Francisco, effective Jan. 1, 2015, the minimum wage is $10.55 per hour. • Minimum Wage Violations Liquidated Damages: In a Labor Commissioner hearing, the employee can recover liquidated damages, equal to the unpaid minimum wage amount. No retaliation against employees filing complaints • Prohibits retaliation against employees for filing a written or oral complaint that he/she is owed unpaid wages. A civil penalty of up to $10,000 per employee per violation.
Labor commissioner lien • The amount due under a Labor Commissioner order, decision or award that has become final shall create a lien that may be recorded on the employer’s real property.
immigration status or suspected immigration status of an individual, or his/her relative or a member of his/her family is criminal extortion. • Driver’s License for Undocumented Immigrants: Effective on Jan. 1, 2015 or on the date the DMV’s director executes a specified declaration, whichever is sooner: The DMV must issue a driver’s license to an undocumented person who can prove identity and California residency and who can meet all other licensing requirements. New leaves of absence • Time Off for Crime Victims: Employer cannot fire, retaliate or discriminate against any employee for attending court proceedings if the employee (or the employee’s spouse, parent, child, sibling or guardian) is a victim of murder, rape, felony child abuse, stalking, domestic violence, kidnapping, carjacking or vehicular manslaughter while under the influence. • Time Off for Domestic Violence Victims: Existing law provides protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The new law expands the requirements to include stalking victims. Employers must provide time off to allow a victim to seek legal relief. • Time Off for Emergency Duty: Employers with 50+ employees must provide time off of up to 14 days per calendar year for reserve peace officers and emergency rescue personnel to receive “emergency rescue training” in addition to the existing protections for fire or law enforcement training. • Paid Family Leave (PLF) Benefits: Effective July 1, 2014, PFL wage-replacement benefits for employees is expanded to include benefits for time taken off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law. ■ Christine K. Noma is a partner at Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP in Oakland. She may be reached at (510) 834-6600 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorneys’ fees for wage claims • Employers who win wage claim lawsuits may recover attorneys’ fees and costs from the employee only if a trial court finds that the employee filed the lawsuit in bad faith. Discrimination • Military and Veteran Status is added to the list of categories protected from employment discrimination. • Sexually Harassing Conduct Expanded. Sexually harassing conduct need not be motivated by any sexual desire. If harassment is based upon “sex” of the employee and creates a hostile work environment, it can constitute sexual harassment. • Sexually Harassing Conduct Expanded - Gender. It is unlawful to harass an employee based upon the employee’s gender identity or expression.
> New employment laws The Oakland law firm of Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean will host a seminar on “14 New Employment Laws in 2004” and how they impact how your business must operate on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at 1111 Broadway, 19th floor. Topics will include the expanded definition of “sexually harassing conduct,” newly created protections for employees who are victims of stalking, new penalties if businesses threaten to report employees with questionable immigration status, new limits on criminal background checks for job applicants, and ten more employment issues impacting businesses. RSVP by Feb. 10 to email@example.com, or for more information call (510) 834-6600.
Whistleblower protections • Whistleblower protections have been expanded to include reports alleging a violation of a local rule or regulation, in addition to reporting violations of a federal or state statute. Employee – Immigrant laws • Retaliation: Employers are prohibited from retaliating against immigrant workers who complain about unfair wages or working conditions. • Business License Revocation: An employer’s business license may be revoked or suspended if the employer reports, or threatens to report, the immigration status of any employee (or family members) because the employee makes a complaint about employment issues. • Criminal Extortion: Threatening to report the
February 2014 | 19
> The search for a permanent superintendent by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gary Yee
Last year, when I was asked by the Board President to become the acting superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District, I had to give up a job I loved (Linked Learning Consultant for the Career Ladders Project) and being on the board with colleagues.
I did it because we wanted to be sure that the ﬁveyear plan, Community Schools, Thriving Students, was going to move forward with integrity, and I wanted to be sure that the board would be able to take its time recruiting and selecting just the right superintendent. Adopting the district budget (in June) and selecting and evaluating the superintendent are considered the two most important responsibilities for a school board. I want to share with you what I think we as a community need to watch for in that selection process. First, the next superintendent should have a clear connection with our instructional initiatives that are starting to bear fruit. We have begun a concerted eﬀort to signiﬁcantly transform our high schools. Linked Learning, the Common Core, Social Emotional Learning, and our belief that our students need extended instructional time and opportunities are just four of the strategies that need strong instructional leadership to continue. Some of our elementary schools are becoming k-8s, and others are becoming 6-12, and the new superintendent will need to support instructional ﬂexibility. Second, our accountability tools, anchored by our Balanced Scorecard, means that we will have a transparent and consistent tool to assess our progress. Our Community Schools, Thriving Dr. Gary Yee Students plan means that we want our students to graduate with a clear sense of college, career, and community success. Our scorecard includes student academic progress, indicators of social emotional learning, and factors such as discipline and attendance that are indicators of positive culture and climate in the schools. The next superintendent should be able to use data to clearly explain program success and priorities. Finally, our ﬁscal outlook is improving, with the Governor’s commitment to simplifying and accelerating state support for our schools. While we have not yet even made up the losses of the past four years, and we worry about the federal capacity to support special education and other mandated programs, we appreciate the Governor’s priority on education. We need to make sure that we fund the basic programs at every school and that we fulﬁll the commitment to extra funding for students and schools with more needs. At the same time, voters committed to modernizing our infrastructure through our Measure J bonds, and we will also need signiﬁcant upgrades and improvements in our operational systems to ensure that our state audit ﬁndings are minimized. The next superintendent will need to work with our board to make sure that these precious public funds are used wisely. Above all else, what I think has deﬁned this year’s work is an overriding commitment by the board and the superintendent to work together, in our
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20 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
common support for the strategic plan, with a sense of mutual respect and communication. Our schools sometimes seem to be in constant turmoil – but the fact that Oakland’s elected board could lead our district through a successful superintendent search that brought Dr. Tony Smith ﬁve years ago – could decide in this interim year to prepare for the next permanent superintendent, and is about to embark on a community informed process to select my successor. It’s really a remarkable expression of local democratic leadership. The next superintendent should understand and appreciate this board, every resident and student, and this city. For more information on the superintendent search, and to add your comments about what you would like to see in the new superintendent, please visit our website, ousd.k12.ca.us, review the calendar for the superintendent search, and take the quick survey! ■ Dr. Gary Yee is superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District.
> Kaiser Permanente honored Kaiser Permanente Northern California is the top-ranked commercial health plan in the state – and seventh in the country – in the 2013 ranking of more than 480 health plans in the U.S., according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
Among the more than 400 Medicare plans surveyed, Kaiser Permanente Northern California ranked second in the nation.
The NCQA, established in 1990, is a private, not-for-proﬁt organization dedicated to improving health-care quality. Its surveys are among the most comprehensive and widely respected in the nation, and cover a wide range of clinical and service measures. Health plans are scored on dozens of measures of care covering preventive medicine, reproductive health, mental and behavioral health, management of chronic conditions, and cancer screening. It has also been announced that Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare plans in California again have received an overall rating of 5 stars for parts C and D, the highest rating possible from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Through the Medicare Star Quality Rating System, CMS assigns scores of 1 to 5 stars to Medicare plans based on more than 50 care and service quality measures across nine categories including staying healthy, managing chronic conditions, member satisfaction, customer service, and pharmacy services. For the ﬁrst time, all of Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare health plans have earned 5 stars. The 5-star rating applies to Kaiser Permanente’s 2014 Medicare health plans that operate in California, Hawaii, Colorado, Georgia, Mid-Atlantic States (Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia) and Northwest (Oregon and Washington). ■
The Oakland Restaurant Association
> Chef’s / Owner’s Corner – Michael Erwin
What do you like least about your job? Dealing with bad attitudes. Best meal/dish you ever created and to whom was it served? Barbecued oysters, Boston clam chowder, Caesar salad, beef tournedos with asparagus and Zabaglione for my hunting buddies before our poker night. Most respected competitor? Any successful “Joe’s” style operation. This style has unique challenges. PREFERENCES Stranded on a desert island; what cookbook would you want? “The Silver Palate.” Lunch with Julia Child - one question for her? What was it like working with Jacques Pepin? Favorite cause? American Red Cross. Favorite movie? The Thornbirds. Favorite restaurant? Chez Panisse. Favorite way to spend spare time? With wife and family. What’s on your iPod? Gladiator. ■
> Dine & Unwind – Bocanova-style Chef Michael Erwin, Francesco’s Restaurant, 8520 Pardee Drive at Hegenberger Road near Oakland International Airport, (510) 569-0653, www.francescosrestaurant.com BACKGROUND I was born in Colorado and moved to California when I was 12. I worked at Francesco’s for 13 years and then moved on to other restaurants for several years – Manzella’s, Girasole and La Rochelle. I spent some time with Ogden Aviation, in-flight catering, and on to Sodexho as food services manager. First job? Delivered newspapers when I was 10. Education? Culinary Arts Program at Laney College. Residence? Castro Valley BUSINESS STRATEGY What’s your business strategy? Purchase wisely without sacrificing quality. Listen to your customers How’s business? Business seems to be on the up-swing. I’m noticing more banquet activity. Biggest challenge that you face? Trying to maintain a stable food cost with such a fluctuating market. Personal goal yet to be achieved? Retiring with some sanity. Why people like working for you? I am a team player. I treat people with respect. Mentor? Bud Hanks (Laney College Culinary Arts) and Bob Viani, a talented chef at Francesco’s in the 1970s. What do you like most about your job? I like the daily challenges that pop up. I enjoy cooking and creating and the personal interaction with customers.
Bocanova in Jack London Square was the scene for January’s Dine & Unwind, a series of monthly featured events hosted by some of Oakland’s top restaurants focusing on wine or beer tastings and cutting edge cuisine at various Oakland-based venues. The series is presented by the Oakland Restaurant Association in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Visit Oakland. The dinner benefited the Oakland Lighthouse Community Charter School, with Bocanova donating 15 percent of proceeds. The five-course, family-style menu featured sustainable ▼ Martha Dotti of Stage seafood dishes. Left Cellars (left) and Martha For more information on Bocanova, Rueca-Gustaffson of Roland call (510) 444-1233. Rosario Cellars served their For more information on the Dine & wines at January’s Dine and Unwind event at Bocanova Unwind series, visit www.oakland in Jack London Square. chamber.com. ■
February 2014 | 21
> Leadership takes a close look at public safety by Robin Gentz, Joanne Karchmer, Nikki Mendez and Tarik Scott
The early morning panel included Sara Bedford, director of the city’s Department of Human Services; Dr. Patricia Bennett, president of Resource Development Associates and Measure Y’s independent evaluator; and Kevin Grant and Emilio Mena, both of whom work for the city’s Department of Human Services and are involved in street outreach and gang intervention. Measure Y is a 2004 ballot measure approved by Oakland voters that provides nearly $19 million annually – violence prevention ($5 million), additional police officers ($9 million) and fires services ($4 million) – over a 10-year period. Its violence prevention program areas are Domestic Violence and Sexually Exploited Minors, focused Youth Services, Re-entry Employment, and Crisis Intervention. The outcomes are significant among clients served: 57 percent reduction in arrests, 86 percent decline in school suspensions, 87 percent enrolled in employment training and 67 percent employed. While the results are impressive, the violence prevention programs are limited to a small number of high risk individuals under current funding levels. Measure Y sunsets this year, and city leaders will need to determine what type of reauthorization they want to present to Oakland voters. The second panel discussion was focused on community policing and whether it can work in Oakland with long-time neighborhood activist, Don Link and Oakland Police Department Deputy Police Chief Paul Figueroa. Link and Officer Figueroa shared details on the collaboration between the Oakland Police Department and community-based public safety efforts, and
The December 2013 Leadership Oakland session focused on public safety. The panel presentations included discussions about Oakland’s Measure Y and its outcomes related to violence prevention services, community policing, what Oakland residents can do to improve public safety in their community, and Oakland’s Fire Department and emergency preparedness programs.
discussed the benefits of collaboration ▲ At Public Safety Day, between the police department and comone panel featured Bishop Bob Jackson (left), pastor of munity members. Reciprocal relationship Acts Full Gospel Church; City building between officers and the Councilmember Noel Gallo; communities they serve fosters a sense of and former Chamber trust between the two groups that lowers President Joe Haraburda the anonymity of crime and keeps (not shown). communities safe. The afternoon panel – A Call to Action to Make Oakland a Safer City – included Bishop Bob Jackson, pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church; Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee; and former Chamber of Commerce President Joe Haraburda. Councilmember Gallo stressed that there are many examples of excellence that get lost in people’s perceptions of Oakland. However, Oakland needs to develop a clear strategic direction regarding its public safety goals. Bishop Jackson emphasized the need for accountability in programs that are funded to address violence and the need for strong mentorship programs such as his Our Kids Program. Both Councilmember Gallo and Haraburda emphasized quality education and bringing back business to create more jobs. Haraburda also stressed mentorship, support of education bonds, and increasing the number of police officers as part of the Measure Y reauthorization in 2014. In the final presentation of the day, Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hoffmann presented an overview of the Oakland Fire Department, which has 24 engines and seven ladder trucks. He talked about Citizens Organized for Response to Emergencies (CORE), which trains residents how to assist themselves and neighbors in the event of a major disaster. He noted that a big change he has witnessed in his nearly 30 years of service in Oakland is the difference that technology has made in emergency response. Following Deputy Chief Hoffman’s remarks, the group received a tour of the fire station, dispatch center and emergency operations center ■ Robin Gentz is director of government affairs at The Clorox Company, Joanne Karchmer is a government affairs representative at the Port of Oakland, Nikki Mendez is the director of membership at the Chamber of Commerce, and Tarik Scott is site director at BUILD.
> ENERGY summit – continued from page 1
Event details “illuminating ideas: ENERGY & Sustainability Summit” will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the Oakland Convention Center (550 10th St.) on Wednesday, April 16 and will include breakfast with registration. To secure your participation at this exciting economic development event, please visit the registration website today: http://business.oaklandchamber.com/events/details /economic-development-summit-2823. Note: Many conference sponsorship packages are still available; please email itorres@oakland chamber.com for more information. ■ Eleanor Hollander is the Chamber’s director of Economic Development.
22 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
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.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS LUNCHEON | FEBRUARY 7
Economic Development Forum Port of Oakland strategic outlook
Featuring Dr. Deborah Merrill-Sands
| FEBRUARY 12
Maximize your Chamber benefits
AFTER FIVE RECEPTION
Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum
| FEBRUARY 28
| FEBRUARY 20
| FEBRUARY 27
Keeping you connected and informed
> FEBRUARY E X ECUTI V E COM MI T TEE
RON FOREST Matson Navigation Company
Chair of the Board SHANNON PEDDER BRAND: CREATIVE
JOHN GOODING The Quadric Group
Vice Chair MARK EVERTON Waterfront Hotel
STAN HEBERT California State University, East Bay
DAN COHEN Full Court Press
MICHAEL HESTER McGuire & Hester
CHARISSA FRANK FMG Architects
VICTORIA JONES The Clorox Company
DAVID TUCKER Waste Management of Alameda County
ISAAC KOS-READ Port of Oakland
ZACK WASSERMAN Ex Officio Corporate Counsel Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP KEN WHITE Fidelity Roof Company Immediate Past Chair JOHN NELSON murakami/Nelson
B OA RD O F D IR ECTOR S KIM ARNONE Katovich & Kassan Law Group (representing Women in Business Roundtable)
MICHAEL LEBLANC PICÁN Restaurant BARBARA LESLIE AT&T KEN LOWNEY Lowney Architecture KEN MAXEY Comcast IKE MMEJE Alta Bates Summit Medical Center SAM NASSIF Creative Hospitality Corporation NATHANIEL OUBRE, JR. Kaiser Permanente
HARMINDER BAINS Securitas
HILARY PEARSON Sungevity
ALICIA BERT PG&E
MARK PHILLIPS Chase
ALISON BEST Visit Oakland
CHUCK RAMANUJAM Bank of America
DAVE CANNON Barney & Barney LLC
MICKY RANDHAWA Wells Fargo
GREG CHAN East Bay Municipal Utility District
KEITH TURNER Safeway
CYNTHIA CHIARAPPA Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland
ELÑORA TENA WEBB, PH.D. Laney College
JOHN DOLBY Cassidy Turley SOLOMON ETS-HOKIN Colliers International
3 | Oakland Young
3 | Oakland Young
Professionals (OCYP) committee meeting
Professionals (OCYP) committee meeting
| 5:30 - 7 p.m.
| 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Spice Monkey Restaurant, 1628 Webster St.
Spice Monkey Restaurant, 1628 Webster St.
6 | OCYP Lunch-n-Learn
| noon - 1 p.m. “Making a Good Life Happen,” featuring Jim and Bonnie Bell from Bell Investment
7 | East Bay Women in Business Roundtable luncheon
| 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. featuring Dr. Deborah Merrill-Sands, dean of the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College. Discussing “Women in Leadership – What Does Gender Have to Do With It,” Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square
12 | Ambassador Committee meeting | noon - 1 p.m.
JOSEPH HARABURDA President and CEO
27 | After Five Reception
| 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Golden Gate Fields Turf Club, a joint mixer with the Oakland Chamber Young Professionals, 1100 Eastshore Highway, Berkeley
12 | Ambassador Committee meeting | noon - 1 p.m. 13 | East Bay Women in
28 | Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum
| 8:30 - 10 a.m.
Business Roundtable committee meeting
Business Roundtable luncheon
| 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.
| 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
4 | East Bay Women in
18 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting
| 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. 20 | Chamber 101
| 7:30 - 9 a.m. learn how to maximize your Chamber benefits. Free marketing and networking opportunities. Special offers available
“Small Business Innovators: Connection with Community,” featuring successful small business owners – Angela Tsay (Oaklandish), Konda Mason (Impact HUB Oakland), Erin Kilmer-Neel (Sustainable Business Alliance & Oakland Grown), Anca Mosoui (Tech Liminal) and Sarah Filley (PopUpHood), Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square
12 | Economic Development Forum | 3 - 4:30 p.m. featuring a discussion of the Port of Oakland Strategic Outlook and Capital Program Status with guest speaker Jean Banker, the Port’s acting maritime director
13 | East Bay Women in Business Roundtable committee meeting
| 3 - 4:30 p.m. 18 | Nonprofit Roundtable
RICHARD WHITE Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley LLC
| 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
After Five Reception
and Oakland Chamber Young Professionals Mixer
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February 2014 | 23
Small Business Development Center
> Introducing technology products to market by Gerry Baranano Editor’s note: The following story is the first in a series of articles written by Gerry Baranano, who is principal of The RevLaunch Company, an entrepreneur in residence for the Tech Futures Group, and an Alameda County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) business advisor. The series will cover the unique challenges companies face when introducing innovative technology products to the marketplace.
It all starts with understanding two things quickly: 1. The kind of technological innovation that you have; and, 2. The maturity level of your technological innovation – whether you have a product or a technology. Tony Davila, in his book “Making Innovation Work,” has the following innovation matrix, which is useful in answering the first question.
Innovation Matrix Where your company’s technology innovation falls on this matrix determines which market introduction strategies and tactics will be most effective in introducing your innovation to the Radical Semi-Radical New market. I will address the marketing needs of the upper right and left-hand corners of this chart because these innovations require new technologies. As part of the upper right-hand corner, radical Near to the innovations are sometimes called discontinuous or Semi-Radical Incremental Existing disruptive innovations. These types of innovations typically come from new companies. Their challenge is to disrupt existing markets, existing market relationships, and Nearthe togame. the New fundamentally change Existing An example would be the iPod shuffle, which disrupted the entire
music industry and destroyed the portable CD player market. As part of the upper left-hand corner, semi-radical innovations are sometimes viewed as breakthrough products. These represent a step change in performance and the value given to users. An example would be the iPhone, a huge improvement in terms of simplicity of use, computing power, and beauty. Existing clamshell-based phones competing on their small size or even the larger Palm Treo immediately lost market share. Companies offering these phones scrambled for several years to offer an iPhone-competitive phone. The second question is to understand whether you have a “product” or simply a “technology.” A “product” incorporates your technological innovation, its performance can be reliably repeated, it has been tested, prototypes are available, and manufacturing has begun. In other words, you can give a sample to a customer today. It may be a prototype, but a customer can use it today. A “technology” is still in a developmental stage. Typically it is still in the lab and further research is required. There may be a “lab hero” that works well on one bench but its performance cannot be repeated. These technologies are in still in the research and experimentation phase. Technologies need to be introduced to the market but in an entirely different way from products. For an innovation that is a “product,” you want to meet with potential distributors, marketers to sell your product. For an innovation that is in an earlier stage and still a “technology,” you want to meet with and “market” to technical Gerry Baranano groups in target companies, such as researchers in the office of the chief technical officer. You may also attend research symposiums, technical meetings, standards bodies, and so forth. In the next series of articles, I will cover how to choose and o learn more segment a market, the importance of positioning your about the business product, how to evangelize a counseling, technical technological innovation, and go-to-market strategies. ■ assistance, seminars,
For more information call (510) 828-7243.
online courses and other services offered by the ACSBDC, visit www.acsbdc.org.
24 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
> 2014 free seminar calendar The following calendar of free seminars is presented by the Alameda County Small Business Development Center (ACSBDC). To register for any of the workshops, visit www.acsbdc.org/events2. For free business counseling, visit www.acsbdc.org. Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media Wednesday, Feb 5, 2 p.m. Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St., 3rd Floor Community Room, Berkeley Many businesses seek the right strategies and tactics to make their marketing efforts effective. But between Facebook, Twitter, email, mobile and coupons, the possibilities can be overwhelming. In this seminar, you will learn: how to combine email and social media; what to offer in a campaign; how to get your email opened, read, shared and socially visible; how to engage with your existing supporters and reach new prospects; how to establish good marketing goals. Using Census Data to Get Funded Thursday, Feb. 13, 1 p.m. Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room #4, Oakland The market research section of your business plan can be a critical element for getting debt or equity funding. But how can you get the hard data to back up your intuition and assumptions? The Census Bureau website and database can provide the facts you may need. In this workshop you will learn to use census data to: measure business competition and market share, get population characteristics and other market data, create customized maps, examine potential site locations, analyze trade area, examine trends for market planning and measure sales performance. Meet the Lenders • Thursday, Feb. 20, 9 a.m. Fremont Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont • Wednesday, Feb. 26, 8 a.m. Dublin Public Library, 200 Civic Plaza, Community Room, Dublin • Wednesday, March 5, 2 p.m. Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St., 3rd Floor Community Room, Berkeley This seminar is an interactive panel discussion with lenders offering advice in today's tough lending environment. You will learn how a wide range of banks and other lending organizations evaluate your loan application and the types of funding they can provide. This seminar provides an overview of how to get “capital ready” to insure a greater chance of success. Panelists to include a micro lender, 7a lender, 504 lender, alternative financing lender, and the SBA. Successful Business Plans Thursday, March 6, 9 a.m. Fremont Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont This seminar is a building block for any small business owner or entrepreneur in search of a simple and sure-fired way to understand the fundamentals of writing an excellent business plan for their specific business. The business plan is the foundation for profitable growth, raising capital, communicating with employees, vendors and customers. Without one, the business simply isn't being well managed and won't be successful. This seminar is a must for business in all industries, of all types and at all stages of development. Starting a Business Wednesday, April 2, 2 p.m. Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St., 3rd Floor Community Room, Berkeley This seminar discusses several elements necessary for starting a successful new business. These elements include: business planning, accessing capital, legal, technology, and human resource issues. Understanding these issues is critical to being a successful entrepreneur. A must for anyone interested in starting a business and is designed to work in concert with other Alameda County SBDC seminars. There will be a panel discussion as part of the program and time for networking at the end. Social Media Monday, April 21, 6 p.m. Fremont Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont In the Social Media for Small Business course you will learn the importance of social networking as an integrated marketing tool for your business. Are you curious about all the buzz surrounding social media but not sure where to start, and not sure if it’s worth the time and effort? Find out how to market your business using social networking tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and LinkedIn. Learn how to establish a true dialogue with your customer base. This course will help you decide the best social networking tools to use in a business context, and how to leverage existing social networks to market your business. ■