THE AWARD-WINNING PUBLICATION OF THE OAKLAND METROPOLITAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | www.oaklandchamber.com | VOL XXXIX NO. 2
CHAMBER CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH
NOVEMBER ELECTIONS OakPAC will be busy this year Page 18
ADDENDUM Add to your Membership Directory Page 20
February 2012 ROCKRIDGE Wells Fargo salutes Oakland neighborhoods Page 24
Oakland Business Review
Leadership Oakland visits the Oakland Fire Department on Public Safety Day. See page 16.
> Dr. Teresa Swartz to speak April 6 on the ‘transformative power of education’ by Kim Y. Arnone
The East Bay Women in Business Roundtable’s (EBWIBR’s) 2012 luncheon series, “Women Defining the East Bay’s Future,” continues in April with a woman who educates many of the Bay Area’s upcoming business leaders. Dr. Teresa (Terri) Swartz, dean of the College of Dr. Teresa (Terri) Swartz Business and Economics and professor of marketing at California State University, East Bay, headlines the April 6 luncheon at the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square. Dr. Swartz will draw on her substantial experience as an instructor and university administrator to discuss the transformative power of education and how education can impact the development of business leaders and the businesses they run. She has a B.S. and M.B.A. from Clarion University and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Dr. Swartz was named dean of the College of Business and Economics at California State University, East Bay in December 2007. She spent 11 years on the faculty of Arizona State University where, among other positions, she was director of research for the Center for Service Leadership. Just prior to joining CSU East Bay, Dr. Swartz was a professor for 16 years at the Orfalea College of Business at California State University, San Luis Obispo. She has worked on marketing research projects in southern Africa, the Middle East and Europe, in addition to the United States. Dr. Swartz’s expertise and insight into how education is shaping business leaders, in particular, businesswomen, promises to make this event enlightening. Her vision and leadership has resulted in the selection of CSU East Bay's College of Business and Economics, as one of the best business schools in the United States by the Princeton Review for the sixth consecutive year. Dr. Swartz’s recent accolades also includes that she has been named, by the San Francisco Business Times, one of the Bay Area’s Most Influential Women for the past two years.
The April 6 EBWIBR luncheon will begin at 11:15 a.m. with the program beginning at 11:45 a.m. The event concludes with additional networking until 1:30 p.m. The cost is $35 for Chamber members and $45 for non-members. Same day registration increases the price by $10. The event will be held at the Waterfront Hotel at 10 Washington St. in Jack London Square. For questions or to register, visit www.oaklandcham ber.com or contact Amanda Medina at (510) 874-4800, ext. 319 or at email@example.com. Kim Y. Arnone, senior counsel at the law firm of Buchalter Nemer, is co-chair of the East Bay Women In Business Roundtable. ■
> Showcase your business at the 2012 Procurement Fair
Summit – May 4 The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is in the planning stages with the city of Oakland, the Port of Oakland, Bank of America and other stakeholders to maximize the impacts of the 2010 Northern California MegaRegion Collaboration and 2011 MegaRegion Export Initiative. Now in its third year, the MegaRegion Summit will gather business leaders, labor representatives, industry experts, technology innovators, government leaders, educators, development planners, and community partners to brainstorm solutions, identify obstacles and develop strategies to keep the Northern California region competitive. This year, the program will provide something for everyone, with a selection of themed mobile workshops that allow participants to explore Oakland – the thriving city at the heart of the MegaRegion. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org and save the date – May 4, 2012! ■
> Chamber now selling federal and state employment posters The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber is now selling 2012 California and Federal Employment Posters. If you get one thing to protect your company in 2012 from liability and government fines, it should be the labor law poster (regular or laminated), which is required for all businesses. Whether you have one employee or 1,000 employees, you’re required to post 16 state and federal notices. You can avoid fines in the thousands of dollars by purchasing a poster from the Chamber. For more information or to order your 2012 posters, contact Hank Masler at (510) 874-4808 or at email@example.com. ■
▲ The Oakland law firm Burnham Is it time to do a better job Brown featured a roulette wheel marketing your business? Do at its booth. you want to promote your products and services before some 200 Chamber members and guests? Here’s your chance. The Chamber’s annual East Bay Business and Procurement Fair will be held on Friday, March 2, bringing vendors, business organizations, public agencies and members of the local community together to facilitate business-to-business partnerships and create new customer leads. The fair, which will run from 2-5 p.m. at the Oakland Marriott City Center, is a great chance to network in a fun, professional environment. Booths are available starting as low as $199 if paid by Feb. 10. More information – including tickets and a regularly updated list of participating businesses and public agencies – can be found at www.oaklandchamber.com. If you are a new member of the Chamber, this is an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself and your products and services to the broader Oakland business community. Existing members, particularly those interested in procurement opportunities with state and county public agencies, are also recommended participants. Individual attendance is free and open to the public. Attendees will have the chance to network with procurement representatives from major public and private entities, and will enjoy the chance to learn about topical business issues directly from experts at the
▲ Don Landers, a sales new “Presentation Station.” representative from Folger Complete details can be Graphics, showed off a sample of found online at www.oak the firm’s printing capabilities at landchamber.com. Please last year’s East Bay Business and contact Amanda Medina at Procurement Fair. firstname.lastname@example.org or at (510) 874-4800, ext. 319 for details and to reserve a booth. ■ April 2010 |
Names in the news • Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP has elevated attorney Gregory Jung to partner. Jung is a member of Wendel Rosen’s litigation practice. In addition, the Oakland-based law firm has added Jennifer Tang as an associate to its litigation practice group. Tang earned her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings Gregory Jung
College of the Law in 2011, where she was a three-time recipient of the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence, bestowed upon the highest achieving student in select California law school courses. • Audrey Elbert, J.D., CPA has been admitted to the partnership of Williams Adley, a leading CPA firm located in Oakland. In addition,
Kenneth Yu, CPA, has been promoted to audit manager. Elbert joined the firm in 1992 and possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in audit and assurance services, while Yu, who joined the firm in 2004, has proven knowledge in audit and assurance.
• Chabot Space & Science Center has announced the election of Michael Levi as chair of the Joint Powers Agency (JPA) Board of Directors, which governs Chabot along with the Oakland Unified School District, the city of Oakland, the East Bay Regional Park District, and the Eastbay Astronomical Society. Levi had been serving as vice chair of the JPA Board.
He replaces Oakland Mayor Jean Quan at the end of her term as chair. Mayor Quan remains on the board. Levi is a practicing experimental astrophysicist and elementary particle physicist. • Veteran public law attorney Vincent Ewing has been named general counsel for AC Transit. As a former deputy city attorney for
Los Angeles, assistant city attorney for Santa Rosa, city attorney for East Palo Alto, and a prosecutor of violent crimes for the city of Los Angeles, Ewing brings vast experience in a variety of legal arenas, especially public law. • Olis Simmons, who directs Youth Uprising, a “youth transformation center”
in East Oakland, will be honored with a 2012 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award on Vincent Ewing
Monday, Feb. 13 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in
Sacramento. For information contact Melissa Shetler at (916) 448-3444 or at email@example.com. • Knowing how to collaborate is one of the keys to meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Join Bay Area Nonviolent Communication for the first workshop in a series designed to provide a fresh perspective, innovative tools, and increased resilience in the face of ongoing challenges. “Embracing Challenges to Increase Collaboration” will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 29 from 1-5 p.m. at the Chamber offices, 475 14th St. For information call (510) 433-0700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
| OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
From the President | Joe Haraburda
Black History Month / Upcoming Events / Welcome Art Martinez Working for your business success and community Remembering our past is a key to taking our today to a new level of humanitarianism! In September of 2011 we unveiled phase one of the largest bronze monument in the West – “Remember Them: Champions for Humanity.” Of the 25 humanitarians on the monument, artist Mario Chiodo selected seven who are celebrated during Black History Month. They are: • Ruby Bridges – “Each and every one of us is born with a clean heart…[we] know nothing about hate or racism.” • Maya Angelou – “The knowledge that human beings are more alike than unalike saves me from listening to the ignorance that would divide us.” • Frederick Douglass – “The soul that is within me no man can degrade.” • Rosa Parks – “I believe there is only one race – the human race.” • Ralph Abernathy – “Let us keep love in our hearts but fight until the walls of segregation crumble.” • Martin Luther King Jr. – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” • Coretta Scott King – “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” Other notable humanitarians – those from Oakland – are Joyce Taylor, “Mother” Mary Ann Wright and Dr. Marcus Foster. As you celebrate Black History Month take time to visit the monument in the Henry J Kaiser Memorial Park next to the Fox Theater in Downtown Oakland and reflect on the sacrifices and accomplishments of these ten among many! We are who we are today in many ways because of the lives they lived! Let us remember! Save the dates for these upcoming events The Chamber of Commerce is proud to provide our members with the highest quality of training, recognition, information and networking, as well as opportunities for community involvement in the Oakland metropolitan area. The following are just some of the many Chamber events that will be featured in 2002. Make a note of these informative and entertaining programs and plan to attend: • East Bay Business & Procurement Fair – Friday, March 2, Oakland Marriott City Center • Economic Summit – Join us in the Heart of the MegaRegion, Friday, May 4
to delve into the city of Oakland’s Economic Development Plan, get up close to the Port of Oakland and hear “Why Oakland” from successful local technology and innovation companies! We will convene at the new Jack London Square Market Building mid-day for presentations, followed by bus tours, an engaging panel on Green Technology, and an end-of-day reception sponsored by the Oakland Restaurant Association. For more information, contact Eleanor Hollander at email@example.com or at (510) 874-4800, ext 320. • 107th Annual Meeting & Chamber Awards – Wednesday, June 27, Oakland Marriott City Center • Golf Tournament – Monday, Oct. 15, Sequoyah Country Club • America’s Children’s Holiday Parade – Saturday, Dec. 1, through the streets of downtown Oakland Other notable events during 2012 are East Bay Women in Business luncheons at the Waterfront Hotel (the first Fridays of every other month beginning in February), two Chamber Day at the A’s (Friday, May 25 vs. the New York Yankees and Friday, June 22 vs. the San Francisco Giants) as well as various Power Breakfasts. For information on these and other Chamber of Commerce events, contact Amanda Medina of our staff at (510) 874-4800, ext. 319 or at amedina@oakland chamber.com. We welcome Art Martinez Congratulations are in order to long-time Chamber Board member and small business friend Emily Shanks, who has been promoted from being channel integration executive for small business and borrowing at Bank of America. Because she’ll now be covering five western states, she’s had to resign from our Board. But while we’re disappointed in losing Emily, we’re pleased to announce that Art Martinez, Bank of America’s small business banking manager, will be replacing her. Art has worked at Bank of America for more than 20 years and has held positions with the Merrill Lynch, Home Loans, Commercial and Art Martinez Business Banking departments. Art and his 15 Small Business Banking team are focused on building profitable new relationships and deepening existing ones with small business customers. They make approximately 750 visits to businesses every month. ■
We stand up for businesses in every part of Oakland.
February 2012 | 3
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> New start and finish venue for Oakland Running Festival On Sunday, March 25, runners from all over the world will participate in the third annual Oakland Running Festival. The two-day event featuring a health and fitness expo as well as races ranging from a full marathon to a kids’ fun run has sold out each of the first two years and has been declared an overwhelming success by both runners and the community. With current registration numbers pacing 43 percent ahead of last year’s pace, this year’s Oakland Running Festival is sure to build off its past success. The race will start and finish at a new venue – Snow Park, off the shores of Lake Merritt. This 4.2-acre park is located on the corner of a bustling business district and will give runners a great view of Lake Merritt, one of Oakland’s most scenic venues. Lee Corrigan, president and chief executive officer of Corrigan Sports Enterprises (CSE), said, “By moving our Start and Finish lines to Snow Park we will be able to continue to grow the event. Lake Merritt and Snow Park will serve as a spectacular backdrop and will leave a lasting memory for runners and fans. We anticipate huge crowds to gather around Lake Merritt, Oakland’s crown jewel, and fans will help propel runners to our finish line.” The Oakland Running Festival was created by Chamber member Corrigan Sports Enterprises, which has produced several highly successful running events and other sporting events on the East Coast, including the Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival. CSE’s first venture to the West Coast, the Oakland Running Festival (ORF), has become the city’s next big event, as has been the case with the Baltimore Running Festival over the last decade. In fact, organizers have seen growth of the ORF increase faster than Baltimore during the same time frame. By comparison, Baltimore’s 2011 field was 25,000 for its 11th annual event. The Festival gets underway on Saturday, March 24 with the Health and Fitness Expo beginning at 9 a.m. at the newly renovated Oakland Marriott City Center. The event features local companies as well as vendors from all over the country touting their area business and the latest in running and
nutritional products. Other race organizers also participate in the expo as they look to recruit participants. All runners are required to attend the Health and Fitness Expo in order to pick up their race-day numbers, timing chips and Greenlight runner’s premiums. The expo is free and open to the public, and closes at 5 p.m. On Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m., more than 1,500 harriers will line up at 19th Street and Harrison to begin their 26.2-mile trek through the streets of Oakland. This year’s course will allow participants to run past City Hall and the Fox Theater, the Remember Them monument, which was recently unveiled by the Chamber, the Paramount Theatre, Fairyland and other Oakland landmarks. Runners will traverse through many of the districts of Oakland, including Old Oakland, Downtown, Piedmont, Telegraph, Rockridge, Montclair, Dimond, Fruitvale, Chinatown, Jack London Square, West Oakland, Koreatown and Lake Merritt. After going down 27th Street, the field will take almost a complete lap around picturesque Lake Merritt and head to 19th Street for their final turn onto Telegraph Avenue and the finish line, where the Raiderettes await to congratulate them on their accomplishment. In between the start of the full and half marathons will be the 5k, which for the first time will be held on Sunday. Nearly 1,500 additional runners will take to the 3.1-mile course which circles Downtown Oakland. For the first time, the harriers will run exclusively on the streets and run through the same finish line as all the runners. Around 9:15 a.m., a slew of children up through age 12 will be participating in the Lucky Kids Fun Run, featuring two different distances. Throughout the day, the Celebration Village will take place at Snow Park. Just outside the finish line, runners will gather here to receive their medals, water, food and two free beers, courtesy of Coors Light. In addition, there will be live music provided by two local bands, games for kids and food vendors. The Oakland Running Festival has generated close to $5 million for the city of Oakland and nearly $500,000 for local charities such as the Ella Baker Center, Team in Training, and Running for a Better Oakland, to name a few. Through two years of the event, CSE has received a 97 percent approval – continued on page 19
February 2012 | 5
black history month A celebration of achievements by African Americans and important milestones throughout U.S. history
> Kaiser Permanente –
> Black History Month –
A champion of diverse hiring
A celebration shared by all Americans
by Nathaniel Oubré
by Stan Hébert, III
I am a second-generation Kaiser Permanente employee – my mother was a nurse for more than three decades in Los Angeles – and for me, this special month is also about pride in working for an organization that has been a health care leader and a champion of diverse hiring for more than 65 years. One of Kaiser Permanente’s founders, the industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, recruited and hired African Americans, women and other minorities in his ship-building projects in Richmond during World War II. Before corporations championed hiring diversity, Henry J. Kaiser practiced it in the defense industry. He and Dr. Sydney Garfield went on to form a health care system to serve their diverse workforce that today, with a national membership of 8.9 million, is a national model for total health. Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans, recognized for its quality care and diverse workforce. Nathaniel Oubré Oakland and Richmond’s 5,000-strong workforce is part of a national organization that is 74 percent women and 54 percent people of color. George Halvorson, Kaiser Permanente’s chief executive officer, told an interviewer for Profiles in Diversity: “In some industries, there are perhaps only vague connections between diversity and the work of the organization. Not with us. We have research which proves the connection between health care and diversity, and this knowledge gives us a compelling case for understanding, leveraging and embracing diversity and its applications in our business.” It is this commitment that has brought recognition to Kaiser Permanente. In 2011 Kaiser Permanente ranked No. 1 on Diversity Inc’s Top 50 companies for diversity, and is ranked third in top companies for African Americans. Among a list of “Best Places to Work,” Computer World, the San Francisco Business Times, and Diversity MBA Magazine, all cited Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to diversity, innovation and advocacy. Multicultural staff associations, diversity directors and diversity councils are in place within Kaiser Permanente, including our Kaiser Permanente African-American Professional Association, a resource for the African American community within the organization. Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to diversity extends to the community, with annual celebrations to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day of Service in January. Thousands of employees throughout the organization volunteer in community service projects that benefit organizations in need. Kaiser Permanente also nurtures its future workforce, and supports programs such as Job Shadow Day, a partnership with Oakland Technical High School’s Health Academy. Diversity also applies to Kaiser Permanente’s delivery of quality care. The Human Rights Campaign’s Health Care Equality Index gave Kaiser Permanente a perfect rating of 100 percent for its care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender members. As a not-for-profit health care system, our mission is improving the health of the communities we serve. That community is more multicultural and diverse than the shipyard workers Henry J. Kaiser sought to serve. It is the embodiment of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream. ■ In celebrating Black History Month in February, our nation reflects on and honors the legacy of African Americans, the measure of their sacrifice and contributions, the inequalities they endured and those over which they triumphed.
Nathaniel Oubré, a senior vice president and East Bay area manager, Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, is a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
Black History Month has been officially commemorated since 1976, on the 50th anniversary of “Negro History Week,” which was established in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
Dr. Woodson selected the second week of February because it included the birthdates of President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14), two significant figures in Black history. Along with the presentations, publications, panel discussions and pageants, Black History Month is an annual embrace of the scholarly work of people dedicated to identifying and preserving the human trials and triumphs experienced by Blacks. The work of these historians, sociologists, bibliophiles, writers, artists, and collectors add to the enormous value and importance of Black history. Arturo Alphonso Shomburg, W.E.B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Marion Thompson Wright, John Hope Franklin, Lerone Bennett, Jr., Edward France and so many more have made considerable contributions to the field of history in general and to Black history in particular. Collections of writings, manuscripts, photos, recording and other acStan Hébert, III counts are now available for all to review. The Shomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York, the African American History collections and exhibits in Washington, DC1, and the archival collections of the African American Museum in Oakland are only a few of the outstanding locations available to all Americans not only during Black History Month but throughout the year. At our sister campus, San Jose State University, there is a statue depicting a seminal moment in Black History – the silent protest at the 1968 Olympics by Tommie Smith and John Carlos (both San Jose State students), the Gold and Bronze winners of the 100 meter track event. The statue, dedicated in 2005, shows both athletes with the “Black Power salute” – clenched fists raised up. The memorial plaque reads, “Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood for Justice, Dignity, Equality and Peace.” Closer to home, Oakland is a Black History treasure trove. There are trailblazers who have gone before us and those who are still with us right here in Oakland. “Negro Trailblazers of California” was written in 1919 by Delilah Beasley who was also the first Black writer for the Oakland Tribune. Thomas L. Berkley was the co-founder of the West Coast Black Publishers Association and the first African American Port Commissioner in the country serving 11 years with the Port of Oakland. Among the living legends, Odell Sylvester was the first Black to achieve the rank of sergeant, lieutenant, captain and deputy chief in the Oakland Police Department. He later became Berkeley’s first African American police chief. His Oakland neighbor is Stan Hebert, Esq. who was the first African American student to ever attend Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was later the “highest ranking Negro in state government” when appointed to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Hebert also served 18 years as Port Attorney for the Port of Oakland before retiring. While Black History Month serves to foster continued interest in all Black achievements, each year embraces a specific theme. For 2012, the theme is “Black Women in American Culture and History.” According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the organization co-founded by Dr. Woodson in 1915, the intention has never been to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.2 Whether you attend a special event, view a historical exhibit or visit with a living history maker, Black History Month is a celebration shared by all Americans. Regardless of culture, language, lifestyle, religion or status, it is an opportunity to discover the historical links that connects us all. ■ 1
This collection and exhibit is a joint effort of the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. 2 Association for the Student of African American Life and History website http://www.asalh.org/themes_future.html.
Stan Hébert, III is associate vice president of student affairs at California State University, East Bay, and is a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
| OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
black history month A celebration of achievements by African Americans and important milestones throughout U.S. history
> A myriad of Oakland events for Black History Month Book Signing and Author Talk: The Sky’s the Limit Thursday, Feb. 9, 6-8 p.m., African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO), 659 14th St. Retired Judge Lise Pearlman’s book “The Sky’s the Limit” brings to life the 20th century protests that rocked America. Each headline trial serves as a window into its own era, but the author asserts that the 1968 murder trail of the Black Panther Party founder Huey Newton should head the list. Free Admission www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO/index.html Redefining Black Power: Reflections on the State of Black America Thursday, Feb. 9, 6:30-8 p.m., Marcus Bookstore, 3900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way A panel discussion on President Obama’s term thus far will be led by Joanne Griffith, award-winning international broadcast journalist and editor of “Redefining Black Power.” Free Admission www.marcusbooks.com Barbara Lee & Elihu Harris Lecture Series Thursday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m., Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway Presented by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center, this event features Jack O’Dell and Bob Zellner, who both worked directly with Dr. King. The men share their lives' work and experience in civil rights. Free Admission firstname.lastname@example.org Question Bridge: Black Males Blueprint Roundtable Saturday, Feb. 11, 1–3 p.m., Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St. A multi-generational panel of Black male youth, young adults and older community leaders discuss values, leadership and strategies for overcoming social issues that have emerged over the past 40 years. Admission Fee www.museumca.org Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War Saturday, Feb. 11, 2-4 p.m., AAMLO, 659 14th St. Monthly group discussions run through May 2012 with this month’s focus on the works of “Imagining War.” Presented by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Free Admission www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO/index.html Exhibition Opening Saturday, Feb. 11, 4-6 p.m., AAMLO, 659 14th St. Selected paintings from the 50 works inspired by the diverse, free-verse poetry from Milton Bowens’ “Words Left Over…The Possibilities” will be featured in this exhibition. Free Admission www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO/index.html
Walking Tour: New Era/New Politics Wednesday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m., Tour starts at AAMLO, 659 14th St. Stroll through downtown on this 90-minute walking tour and learn about Oakland’s African American leaders. Reservations encouraged. Free Admission www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours AAMLO Writers Workshop Saturday, Feb. 18, 2-4 p.m., AAMLO, 659 14th St. Presented by Charles and Chandra Chatmon, the workshop will focus on strategies for writing, publishing and marketing for new and aspiring authors. In honor of Black History Month, the Friends of the African American Museum and Library will be offering one-year free memberships to the first five women to sign for workshop. Free Admission www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO/index.html Tea Tasting Mixer Saturday, Feb. 18, 2-4 p.m., AAMLO, 659 14th St. A collaboration between AAMLO, FAAMLO and Take Your Sister To Lunch, Inc., the mixer encourages women to come together, share their experiences and make a difference. Free Admission www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO/index.html
“Black History Month provides us an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate past achievements, and to gather strength from outstanding African Americans who laid a solid foundation for everyone to excel.” – Alicia Bert, Government Relations Manager, PG&E
“This gives everyone the opportunity to learn more about the past, to be more determined in the present, and to have hope for the future.” – Marvin Clark, Partner, First Building Maintenance Company
“This month is about American men and women who changed the world. Because of their commitment to build a more perfect union, the pathway of opportunities became a reality for each and every one of us.” – Ken Maxey, Director of Government Affairs, Comcast
“Black History Month brings a sense of humbleness…humbleness for the rich history and contribution of African Americans past and present, and a sense of pride for what is yet to come by our young creative and talented youth.” – David Tucker, Municipal Affairs Manager, Waste Management of Alameda County
OMCA Family: Painting with Music Sunday, Feb. 19, noon-3 p.m., Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St. During this special Black History Month workshop for families, see works by California AfricanAmerican artists in the Art Gallery and make your own musical masterpiece by painting to music. Admission Fee www.museumca.org Walking Tour: New Era/New Politics Saturday, Feb. 25, 10 a.m., Tour starts at AAMLO, 659 14th St. Stroll through downtown on this 90-minute walking tour and learn about Oakland’s African American leaders. Reservations encouraged. Free Admission www.oaklandnet.com/walkingtours The Children’s Hour Saturday, Feb. 25, 1:30-3 p.m., AAMLO, 659 14th St. Captivating storytelling, song and crafts for children as AAMLO highlights this year’s Black History Month theme of Black Women in American History and Culture. Free Admission www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO/index.html Screening of “The Civil War – The Cause – 1861” Saturday, Feb. 25, 2-4 p.m., AAMLO, 659 14th St. Screening of episode one of a film by Ken Burns takes the audience to 1861 when the stage is set for war as the nation begins to tear apart. Opposition by the North to slavery in the South fuels a bitter debate on states’ rights. Free Admission www.oaklandlibrary.org/AAMLO/index.html
February 2012 | 7
SOCIAL MEDIA DISPUTES
> Insulating against Twitter by Dawn Newton
Businesses’ use of social media is on the rise, but so are disputes between employers and the employees helping to build online presences. This article highlights one recent dispute and outlines some steps which you can take to build your business and avoid costly disagreements. The PhoneDog suit In October 2010, Noah Kravitz left his position as the editor-in-chief of PhoneDog.com. While employed by PhoneDog, Kravitz became extremely influential in the Dawn Newton sphere of mobile phone reviews. To reach the public, Kravitz communicated through a variety of social media outlets, including a Twitter account @PhoneDog_Noah. Under this username, Kravitz accumulated 17,000 Twitter followers. When Kravitz left PhoneDog, the company asked him to turn over the Twitter account. Kravitz refused. Instead, he changed the Twitter account username to @noahkravitz and retained the account's 17,000 followers. PhoneDog sued Kravitz in federal court, alleging that Kravitz improperly took company resources, misappropriated trade secrets and was liable for interference with economic advantage. From the employer’s perspective, Kravitz had diverted the attention and focus of 17,000 PhoneDog.com fans, depriving the company of those relationships and allowing Kravitz to tweet about other matters, including potentially competitive businesses, and to draw those followers’ attention and resources to competitors. Kravitz’ counsel tried to get the matter dismissed, but the court concluded that PhoneDog had stated a claim as to misappropriation of trade secrets and conversion. Prevent this from happening The PhoneDog v. Kravitz case is just the latest action dealing with ownership/control issues of social media accounts. Companies whose employees or contractors have social media accounts used for work purposes should update existing employment handbooks and contracts to strengthen protections for the business while preserving free-speech rights. First, a company should be certain that it owns the social media accounts
| OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
that are its primary conduits of communicating with the public. Just as the company should hold the office lease in its own name, it should also be the named registrant of the social media points of contact. Second, employees and contractors should be directed to communicate with the public on behalf of the business or brand through the company's accounts, rather than personal accounts. If the business wants to have multiple accounts for different corporate representatives, these should still be registered in the name of the company. Not only does this protect the business’ ownership interests, it allows the company to prevent personal use of account, so the public hears about the business, not the employee’s personal life. A comprehensive employee handbook should address use of social media. For employees involved in marketing, a written agreement should spell out the ownership of accounts and approved/prohibited types of communications. A well-drafted agreement should do all of the following: • Provide guidelines for communications that leave the employee or contractor with room to communicate quickly and effectively (without having to get approval for every communication from layers of managers), but prevent communications that create liability or embarrassment as a result of harassment, defamation or a lapse in judgment. • Require the employee to notify the employer every time there is a password change or substantive administrative account change. • Prohibit use of the account in a way that affects the business’ branding or marketing goals, i.e., changing account backgrounds, icon pictures or usernames. Employers should also keep social media company spokespeople in the loop (or instruct them to stay silent) in the event of significant corporate events, such as a merger, or a scandal in the industry, until the company’s position has been determined. Social media comments are quoted frequently, and businesses should treat social media statements as press releases. Business should also keep in mind that the First Amendment and various related laws limit a company’s ability to prevent its employees from using their own personal social media accounts to comment on their employer. The National Labor Relations Board has filed recent unfair labor practice charges against employers who disciplined or discharged employees for commenting on working conditions, employee compensation, treatment by supervisors, and service to customers. Any employment policy should be drafted carefully so that it does not overstate the employer’s authority over employees’ use of personal social media accounts. ■ Dawn Newton is a certified legal specialist, Franchise and Distribution Law, and partner at the Oakland-based law firm of Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley LLP. She can be reached at email@example.com.
REWARDS OF DOING BUSINESS
> Use your calendar
> The sweet battle of becoming you
as a preparedness tool
by Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D.
by Ana-Marie Jones
A calendar is an often-overlooked tool in emergency preparedness.
Whether you use a wall calendar, a pocket diary, a web-based calendar or a smart phone, you have the opportunity to prepare for greatness throughout the year. The beginning of the year is a great time to plan for preparedness. Here are some ideas to get you started: • Copy recurring items from last year’s calendar. Include annual preparedness conferences, monthly emergency manager’s meetings, and any events where you share your preparedness efforts. Ana-Marie Jones •Create reminders to keep your supplies updated, batteries charged, food, water and medication fresh, and photos and information current. Changing to or from daylight saving time are good times to schedule. You may have other important annual dates that make sense for you as well. •Set dates now for renewals of important classes: staff preparedness, First Aid, CPR, fire suppression, etc. •Revisit your MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding), and otherwise ensure that your written relationships and agreements are still strong and valid – before you need them. Think about the things you never found time for this year – and look for ways to take control in the future! •When planning ahead, consider who else needs to know about this event and make sure it gets on their calendar as well. •Don’t forget preparedness planning for your family, community of faith, neighborhood, school or other groups you belong to. •Determine how much lead time you need to gather critical supplies, remind partners or book resources and put an appropriately timed reminder in your calendar. Using your calendar as an emergency preparedness tool isn’t limited to January, either. Anytime you create the space to plan ahead, you are planning for brilliance! ■
Ana-Marie Jones is the executive director of CARD – Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters.
The goal of life is to become who you are. This statement, stipulated by many a wise person over the span of recorded human history, is as simple as it is complex. To become who you are describes the process of stripping yourself naked of your ideas of the world, ideas more often than not made up of wishes and fantasies of how we would like the world and ourselves to be. In this process fantasies give way – often very slowly – to a more comprehensive understanding of the way we are, not in the way we would like ourselves to be. Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D. In everyday language we call this process “becoming more realistic” and generally mean that our view of the world has become larger, more encompassing, and thus has moved beyond the confines of our own personal perceptions. If the goal of life is to become who we are, I cannot think about any other occupation that helps this process move along more intensely and fiercely than being in business. The successes and failures in business – not necessarily measured in money alone but just as often in the way we feel about ourselves and the business we are building – continue to give us continual feedback as to how our personal perception compares to actual reality. For example, my business is to care for elders. Having been raised as a child by elders who taught me all I know today, I started this business some 20 years ago with the simple conviction that elders are the most valuable resource on the planet. As the planet’s most valuable resource, elders ought to be in the limelight of life, central to guiding and informing us younger in years. This was my conviction, remains my conviction. Equipped with this certainty, I thought I needed to simply show my teammates how I wanted to see such a belief implemented in an elder community. With a little back-office help, so I thought then, I would have the core of a business in place. If my business had not grown beyond this first elder community, this might even have been a correct assumption. But just as it is in the nature of the human being to continually grow and develop, so it is the nature of business to keep expanding. It wants to test itself, wants to know its limits. So the business grew and alongside of it I had no choice but to grow with it lest I would harm the health of the organization itself. This is a central point: whereas in many other occupations one might have an opportunity to slide by, perhaps even kick back and relax somewhat, business is ruthless: be open to learn and adapt, or else start over again. Such a tireless demand does not come without pain. In my case, the source of pain was the reluctance to let go of my ideals of how life ought to be. Enduring this pain indicated that I was on my way to becoming “more realistic” and understanding of the complexity of life. With this recognition of how my fantasies colored my perception of life came the rewards of being more appreciative of life as it showed itself in the way it is, not in the way I wanted it to be. Being in business is pushing me to understand life more comprehensively, that is “realistically.” These, then, are the rewards of doing business. It is a constant sweet battle with life where ideals and beliefs must confront reality as it is, where ideals are tested in how they measure up against reality, where reality is tested as to how it is willing and ready to grow and change itself. In becoming who we are we can enter into the role of the wise elder, giving back, mentoring, guiding, making this world a better, more loving place. This is a sweet reward, indeed. ■
Nader R. Shabahangi, Ph.D. is founder and chief executive officer of AgeSong.
February 2012 | 9
economic development Creating a strong economy
> BART GM Crunican addresses Economic Development Forum by Eleanor Hollander
More than 40 businesspeople attended the January meeting of the Chamber’s Economic Development Forum to hear the new general manager of BART, Grace Crunican, discuss the future of the regional transit system. Crunican paid special attention to Oakland as the “center of the system” and the city in general, celebrating the recent good news that Oakland was listed as the #5 top place to visit in 2012 by the New York Times travel section, just ahead of Tokyo. She stressed that with over 3,000 employees and its headquarters in Oakland, BART should continue its work in being a “good corporate partner” to Oakland as well. Crunican also commented on the status of several in-progress Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD) projects around stations in the BART system. Oakland is host to a number of these projects, including the Fruitvale development (valued at $100 million and $123 million for both phases), MacArthur ($350 million) and the Coliseum area (1.3 acres and approximately 100 residential units planned for the first phase of TOD). She also highlighted the need for “at-least” a “50-year vision” regarding the land around transit stations, stressing the need for denser housing so people will be able to commute to their workplace without having to rely solely on cars. Other stations in Oakland that have infill and TOD potential include 19th Street, Rockridge, West Oakland and Lake Merritt. Currently BART carries about 360,000 passengers per day (more than the number of cars on the Bay Bridge) and is projected to be supporting more than 500,000 riders per day in 50 years’ time. In light of this, BART is working on rolling out a strategic maintenance plan to increase system reliability and keep the 40+ year-old rail cars
running in decent shape until all 700 cars ▲ BART general manager Grace Crunican can be replaced, a nearly $3 to $4 billion project. After the presentation concluded, Crunican took a wide variety of questions from the audience including queries about dining cars on BART and combining transit agencies across the Bay Area, a project, which she stressed, was a “community decision.” ■ Eleanor Hollander is the Chamber’s economic development director.
> High Speed Rail plan update by Eleanor Hollander
Late last year the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee hosted California High Speed Rail (HSR) Board member Jim Hartnett for a conversation on the new business plan the CA HSR Authority released in late 2011. Hartnett, who was appointed to the CA HSR Board by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg in 2011, explained that he is one of nine members of the powerful High Speed Rail Board. The board is composed of five gubernatorial appointments, two Senate and two House of Representatives appointments. The features of the recently released CA HSR Authority business plan include that the CA High Speed Rail system should only be built in phases that can be individually financed to completion, and that the train right-of-way should only be built where actual dollars are committed (rather than leveraged or promised). Currently the estimated initial construction cost for the Central Valley portion of the system is stated at $2 billion, and the initial operating sections from central California to San Jose and from central California through the San Fernando Valley will likely be run by a private operator with a concession to operate over CA HSR system or regional transit tracks. This is part of the HSR commitment that Hartnett outlined to existing regional local transit systems – it’s often referred to as a “blended system.” Nearly $950 million of the High Speed Rail bond measure (Proposition 1A) is dedicated to go to local facilities and system connection improvements. If the local transit systems work closely with the high speed rail construction to enhance connectivity, it is likely even more funding could be leveraged from the state budget to support it. The three phases of construction outlined in the initial bond measure included Phase I laying track from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Phase II connecting Los Angeles to San Diego and Phase II linking Sacramento to San Francisco. All told, this would allow passengers to get from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours and 40 minutes via rail. Since the bond was passed by the California voters, the overall cost for the system has increased as construction continues to be pushed past the estimated start date and the price of materials rises. Current estimates put the total price tag for the full Phase I construction (San Francisco to Los Angeles) at $98 billion dollars (not including the blended system areas). Thus far the state has committed $9 billion in bond funds with the balance of the funding to come from federal High Speed Rail funding and private investment. The new business plan will go before the CA High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors meeting in February, and if approved, will move forward to the California Legislature for approval pending any comments and changes. Once approved, the project will be able to break ground in the Central Valley, likely in 2013. ■ Eleanor Hollander is the Chamber’s economic development director.
10 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
> Avoiding an IRS tax audit by Doug Regalia In the United States, we have a voluntary compliance system of taxation. This means we report to the government our income and deductions and compute the tax due ourselves. To insure that the tax laws are followed and the deductions on a return are legitimate, the IRS has the authority to audit our tax returns. There are several types of audits: Correspondence audit The IRS sends a letter asking you to verify certain items of income and deductions on your tax return. Generally, you can respond by mailing copies of your documentation. Never mail the original documents back to the IRS! If the IRS finds that you owe tax and you don’t agree, you may request an office audit. Doug Regalia
Office audit You receive a letter from a local IRS office requesting that you call for an appointment. The items in question will be listed in the letter. After making your appointment, you and/or your representative will take the records into the IRS office, and there you will verify your deductions and discuss with the agent any points of law on which you may not agree. If an agreement is reached with the auditor, your case will be closed. If you don’t reach an agreement, you may appeal. Field audit This type of audit is normally used for business. The auditor will come to your home or place of business. A field audit may also be conducted in your paid preparer’s office, an especially good idea. You will need to have all your records there, but your home or place of business will not be disrupted.
How a return is selected for audit The IRS uses a computer-generated program that compares your return to others in your income bracket and compares the differences in deductions you are taking against the average in your group. This highly secretive program which determines the DIF (discriminate function) score is used to select returns that will generate the highest probability of additional audit revenue. Quite simply, the IRS program is looking for the likelihood that you are under-reporting income or over-reporting deductions. High-risk areas The risk of being audited is not spread evenly across the population. The IRS uses the same cost-benefit ratio used by business when considering a potential audit. If you are in a low income bracket, it may not be worth the agent’s time to bring you in for an audit that will yield only a few dollars in disallowed deductions. Obviously, if having a low income decreases your chance of being audited, being a high-income taxpayer will definitely increase your risk. Being selfemployed will increase it even further. The IRS is aware that the potential tax deductions available to self-employed individuals are tremendously greater than those available to wage-earners. Statistics show that deductions for travel, auto and entertainment are the top of the IRS’ target list. Why? Because all too many people either fail to keep the required documentation or they take deductions that have dubious business purposes (such as taking a spouse to a conference in Hawaii). Professions that deal heavily in cash transactions have also faced a greater degree of audit risk. Employees in the food service and entertainment industries are typically audited for under-reporting of tips and other cash income. What to do in the event of an audit What should you do if you’re called in for an audit? First of all, find your records and get them in order. The more organized and professional you appear to be, the more likely it is that your records will be taken seriously. Secondly, call your tax return preparer. He or she can sit down with you and review your return and your records in order to determine where your potential risks may lie. It may actually be better to have your CPA represent you before the IRS. All too often, taxpayers will begin speaking and volunteer much more information to the IRS agent than was necessary to respond to the inquiries. Overall, your risk of being audited is less than 2 percent. Of course, if your return has one of the red flags mentioned above, that risk increases dramatically. Legally, under the statute of limitations, the IRS has three years to pull your return for an audit (unless they can prove fraud). In real practice, however, since the audit process takes time, most returns are audited within one to two years after filing. Finally, if your return was filed incorrectly and the likelihood of an audit is high, it may be better to file an amended return now and avoid the high penalties that could be involved with an audit. ■ Doug Regalia is a partner with Regalia & Associates, CPAs. He can be reached at (925) 314-0390.
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February 2012 | 11
> 1099 IRS reporting requirements
> Highlights of 2012 tax code changes
by Iryna Oreshkova, CPA
by Dennis Kaneshiro
Few business sectors embody today’s entrepreneurial spirit, drive for innovation and unwavering perseverance more than the small business community. From creating the majority of net new jobs in the country to employing more than half of the private industry’s workforce, its 29 million members not only personify the American dream but also serve as the growth engine of the U.S. economy. Although uncertainty continues to cloud the nation’s financial forecast, small businesses have Iryna Oreshkova remained a powerful force in the U.S. economy. Bolstering their position are a number of tax laws that have presented small businesses with opportunities for reducing taxes, lowering expenses and encouraging investment in employees and equipment. However, understanding the full range of the latest tax laws, and correctly applying them, can be a daunting task, especially when meeting new business demands and growing competition, which are consuming a greater amount of small business owners’ time and resources. For example, changes have been made to reporting rules for the 1099 IRS form. The IRS says these rules will start closing the gap of unpaid taxes, and they will affect most businesses. Here is a short overview to help you understand the changes. After 2011, merchants conducting credit card, debit card or gift card transactions will receive a Form 1099-K from the card processing company, which will also file a copy with the IRS. Payments made through a third party such as PayPal or eBay will be reported only if the payee receives more than $20,000 in aggregate and the total number of payment transactions exceeds 200. Although the 1099-K reporting requirement does not oblige merchants to file any new information with the IRS, the reporting requirement will increase the information the IRS receives with respect to merchants and requires merchants to establish new accounting procedures. Backup withholding may apply to a merchant if the merchant does not provide a correct taxpayer identification number (TIN), such as an employer identification number (EIN), to the card processing company, but the IRS has delayed this requirement until after 2012. Businesses were almost subject to two other new reporting requirements, but after pushback from the business community, the AICPA and others, these rules were repealed before they could come into full effect. The first provision would have required that businesses that make payments to a service provider aggregating $600 or more to report payments (on 1099 MISC) to corporations starting in 2011. The second provision would have required individuals receiving rental income from real estate to file information returns for payments made after Dec. 31, 2010. A penalty may be imposed for persons who fail to file a correct and timely information statement with the IRS or who fail to furnish a correct and timely payee statement. The amounts of these penalties have increased for returns filed on or after Jan. 1, 2011. Both penalties are now $100 per return, reduced to $30 for returns fewer than 30 days late and to $60 for returns 30 or more days late that are filed before Aug. 1. The penalties are capped at a certain amount, depending on the amount of the per-return penalty and the gross receipts of the business. The penalties may be waived for reasonable cause or increased in cases of intentional disregard. Should you have any questions or concerns as you evaluate your business’s financial situation throughout the year – a CPA can help by reviewing your overall position and providing you with the expert tax planning counsel you need today and in the years ahead. By combining unrivaled education, training and experience with a focus on your financial situation, a CPA can recommend sound strategies designed to make your goals a reality. ■
Iryna Oreshkova, MBA, CPA is founder and president of Iryna Accountancy Corporation.
12 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
Tax returns for 2011 have barely begun, but it is not too early to think about 2012 tax planning strategies.This is by no means an all-encompassing list, so be sure to discuss your specific situation with your tax professional. Some important 2012 tax code changes are: Individuals • Each personal and dependent exemption is $3,800, an increase of $100 over 2011. • The 2012 standard itemized deduction rose slightly. Dennis Kaneshiro A taxpayer filing as single (or married filing separately) saw a $150 increase to the basic deduction as it rose to $5,950. Married couples filing a joint return gained a $300 deduction to $11,900. Those filing as Head of Household have an additional $200 deduction as the amount increased to $8,700. • The maximum earned income tax credit for low and moderate income workers rose to $5,891 for 2012, a $140 increase from 2011. • Standard mileage rates regarding charitable miles driven remained unchanged at 14 cents per mile. The deduction for medical mileage changed to 23 cents per mile. Business miles driven increased to 55.5 cents per mile for most vehicles earlier in 2011 and that amount remains unchanged going into 2012. • Though the credit amounts don’t change for 2012, the modified adjusted gross income threshold at which the lifetime learning education credit begins to phase out is $104,000 for joint filers and $52,000 for single filers. This is up from $102,000 and $51,000, respectively. • Perhaps the item with the potential for greatest impact is the decreased Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) exemption from $74,500 to $45,000 for a married couple. Single taxpayers and those filing Head of Household experience an exemption decrease from $48,450 to $33,750. Be sure to discuss this change with your tax professional – the potential impact could be significant. • Lastly, the FICA ceiling rose to $110,100 from $106,800. The good news is that the employee rate remains at 4.2 percent at least through Feb. 29, 2012. Currently that rate is slated to increase to the historic rate of 6.2 percent after that date, but many believe the lower rate will be extended for the entire year. Touch base with your CPA in mid-February to see what happens. Businesses • Depreciation is often a significant deduction for businesses. Unfortunately, two significant depreciation deductions decreased for 2012. The Code Section 179 deduction for equipment purchases is $139,000 of the first $560,000 of business property placed in service during 2012. This is down from $500,000 of the first $2,000,000 in 2011. First-year bonus depreciation also decreased to 50 percent of qualified property (down from 100 percent). • Many other specific changes occurred regarding certain employee fringe benefits, estimated tax payments and qualified retirement plans, to mention just a few. Keep in mind there likely will be further changes in 2012. Due to current economic conditions – and the fact that this is an election year – it is more important than ever to keep in contact with your CPA. Income tax planning is only one of many ways to increase wealth potential! ■
Dennis Kaneshiro is a partner in the Oakland-based accounting firm of Timpson Garcia LLP.
> U.S. taxation of foreign investment in U.S. real estate by Tom Neff Over the past several years, international buyers have been increasingly attracted to United States real estate. In a study conducted by the Wisconsin School of Business, the U.S. is regarded as having the best opportunity by a wide margin over second place Brazil, for appreciation in real estate values. U.S. real estate professionals should be careful to advise these potential foreign buyers of the rules of the “Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act” Tom Neff (FIRPTA), which are increasingly coming under fire by foreign investors. Generally, foreign persons making investments in the U.S. are not taxed in this country on capital gains when those investments are sold at a profit. For example, a foreign person’s gain on sale of U.S. stocks is not subject to taxation in the U.S. This rule used to apply to real estate investments as well; however, with the passage in 1980 of the FIRPTA, foreign persons are subject to capital gains on real estate sales at the same rate as U.S. citizens. This rule applies whether the real estate is owned directly or through an entity such as a partnership or corporation. The types of real estate that are subject to these rules includes land, buildings, improvements, growing crops and timber, mines, wells, natural deposits, and personal property associated with the use of real property. An interest in real property also includes a fee ownership, co-ownership, leasehold, time-share, life estate, remainder, or reversionary interest in real property. Buyers of U.S. real property interests (“USRPI”) are required to withhold 10 percent of the full sales price on any purchase of a USRPI from a foreign person. Foreign persons that dispose of USRPIs are required to file U.S. tax returns to report the disposition. Withholding is not required when: • The seller of a USRPI is not a foreign person and provides a certificate of non-foreign status to the buyer.
• The transferred property is stock in a U.S. corporation that is publicly traded. • The transferred property is stock in a U.S. corporation that is not publicly traded and the corporation provides the buyer with the required certification. • A buyer acquires a USRPI for use as a residence for a price of $300,000 or less. • Withholding may be reduced or eliminated pursuant to a withholding certificate issued by the IRS. For more information about these rules, call me at RINA Accountancy at (510) 893-6908. ■
Tom Neff is a stockholder with RINA Accountancy Corp.
> Does that 1099 really matter? by Robert H. Griffin, CPA 1099s are playing an ever increasing role in the compliance policies of both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Franchise Tax Board (FTB). Given a tough economy and declines in tax revenues, both agencies are scrutinizing issuers of 1099s more closely. Both the IRS and FTB maintain programs to step up enforcement against employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors. The IRS’s new Robert H. Griffin Voluntary Classification Settlement Program allows taxpayers to reclassify workers on a go-forward basis while providing partial relief on any old tax amounts due. Effective Jan. 1, 2012, California Senate Bill 459 (SB 459) significantly increases the penalties that can be assessed against employers who willfully misclassify as independent contractors individuals who should be treated as employees. Before you can determine how to treat the payments that you make, you must determine the business relationship between you and the person performing the service. The individual performing the service may be: • an independent contractor • an employee • a statutory employee • a statutory non-employee Several tests are used to evaluate and properly classify a worker as an employee or contractor. In summary, three key questions to ask are: 1. Does the company have the right to control how the worker performs his or her duties, and does the company have the right to control what those duties are? 2. Are the business aspects of the worker controlled by the company? Are tools, equipment and supplies provided? Are expenses reimbursed? 3. Are written contracts utilized, or are employee type benefits provided? If you have questions as either a payer or payee, you can complete Form SS-8 and submit it to the IRS for a determination. Beware – as anyone who has ever called the IRS or FTB knows, it takes a while to get an answer. In this case, it could take up to six months. If you misclassify an employee as an independent contractor and you have no reasonable basis for doing so, you may be held liable for employment taxes as well as penalties and interest. Misclassified workers can file Social Security Form 8919 – Uncollected Social Security and Medicare Taxes on Wages to report the employee’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes due. We strongly encourage you to consult with legal counsel or an accountant experienced in employment practice matters to review your independent contractor relationships, to determine the appropriateness of these classifications, and to assist you if re-classifications are required to mitigate potential legal exposures. In the meantime, call our office at (510) 893-8114 should you have any questions or would like to receive more information. You can also visit our website, www.ca.williamsadley.com. ■
Robert “Bob” Griffin, CPA is the managing partner of Williams Adley & Company-CA, LLP, located in downtown Oakland.
February 2012 | 13
> Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 by Justin James The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 temporarily extends the two percentage point payroll tax cut for employees, continuing the reduction of their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of wages paid through Feb. 29, 2012. This reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on employees’ future Social Security benefits. Employers should implement the Justin James new payroll tax rate as soon as possible in 2012, but should have done it no later than Jan. 31. For any Social Security tax over-withheld during January, employers should make an offsetting adjustment in workers’ pay as soon as possible but no later than March 31, 2012. Recapture provision Under the terms negotiated by Congress, the law also includes a new “recapture” provision. If an employee’s wages during the first two months of 2012 exceed $18,350*, an amount equal to 2 percent of those excess wages would ultimately be recaptured on the worker’s individual tax return for 2012. However, this rule would only apply if the payroll tax reduction is not extended for the remainder of 2012. The IRS will issue additional guidance as needed to implement the provisions of this new two-month extension, including revised employment tax forms and instructions and information for employees who may be subject to the new “recapture” provision. For most employers, the quarterly employment tax return for the quarter ending March 31, 2012 is due April 30, 2012. Continued IRS focus on proper worker classification To help collect more tax revenue in this era of budget deficits, the IRS is ramping up its enforcement efforts in several areas – one focus is worker misclassification (1099 Independent Contractor vs. W2 Employees). In 2010 and 2011, they kicked off an employment tax audit program that carries into 2012. To determine worker status, the IRS considers whether a business has the right to direct or control what work is to be done and the means, or how it is to be done. The IRS reviews the following three criteria: • Behavioral Control looks at facts that illustrate whether there is a right to direct or control how the worker performs the specific task through training, instructions, or other means. • Financial Control covers facts that show whether the business has a right to control the financial and business aspects of the worker’s job. • Type of Relationship covers facts that illustrate how the parties perceive their relationship. Inaccurate classifications of workers could result in owed back taxes, accrued overtime and benefits, and substantial assessments and penalties to the employer. Action items • Employers should proactively review your current employment tax processes/practices. • Identify clients that have a limited understanding of worker classification and tax obligations. • Employers should examine worker status and review contractual agreements with each independent contractor to ensure they clearly explain the intended relationship of the parties. ■ * This amount represents two months of the full-year amount, based on the 2012 Social Security wage base of $110,100. Justin James is a payroll and benefits consultant with Paychex Inc.
14 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
> Loans can be a good thing by Alex Nguyen Many people balk at the thought of taking out loans. Interest must be paid over time as the loan is being repaid and, in addition, some have the nagging feeling that they don’t really own the item until it is paid off. However, it’s time to start looking at loans in a more positive light – and how they can help you achieve your lifetime goals. Keep in mind that using loans can enhance one’s personal situation. Most Americans would not be able to afford their own home if they did not take out a mortgage, and many people would not be able to attend college without a bit of extra financial assistance. When considering loans, you should ▲ Lending Manager always ask the advice of a financial representative and Vice President so that you can implement sound management Alex Nguyen (left) of Comerica Bank strategies. is welcomed to the A good plan for some may fall along these lines: Chamber by Leverage – It can be worthwhile to pay down President Joe some debt in order to increase your personal cash Haraburda. flow. In fact, for high net worth individuals, this may even make more sense in the long run, so they can effectively balance out their finances. Leverage may help with this. Leverage allows a person to use borrowed capital or credit in order to get more cash. Those who choose leverage can expect a higher equity return and greater purchasing power – potentially ideal for high-net small business owners or those with a great deal of fiscal obligation. With this extra funding, the investor then has the chance to diversify his or her assets and this can help reduce their loss risk. In a sense, this process can help some achieve their financial goals if they spread their assets widely. Saving for retirement – Everyone hopes they will live comfortably when they no longer have to work. One way to achieve that is to apply some of your extra leveraged funds to paying off a mortgage, thus balancing your financial
obligations in order to own your home. This may seem daunting for some, but the process really just involves a bit of fiscal organization as opposed to an additional burden. When managing loans, some people are curious about different rates and terms, or how they can balance their debts versus returns on investments. It is important to review your debt structure and how it can be covered with an additional loan. A good advisor should be able to suggest the most effective loan strategies that maximize flexibility to accommodate the changing market. For example, it might be a good idea to keep questions in mind like, “Have you determined whether or not it may be appropriate to pay down your existing debt or invest your excess cash flow?” This can help you best understand your wealth management plan for the future. ■ Alex Nguyen is a banking center manager at Comerica Bank in downtown Oakland.
> Tax preparation tips by Sandra Garsele Looking to save some time and money during the tax season? The most obvious (and most difficult) rule is to submit your tax information early. But if you don’t live in a perfect world, the following guidelines should get you back on track. Organize your records, so your CPA doesn’t have to. This will not only improve your CPA’s cost-effectiveness, but also give you a clearer picture of your finances. Complete the questionnaire your CPA provides. This is a tool to reveal the information your CPA needs most. It may seem monotonous, but it will help your CPA organize essential information. Review your tax folder from the previous year to ensure you haven’t overlooked income or deductions that may still have an impact. These have a tendency to sneak up and bite you in the ankle. Take a little time to save yourself a potential hassle. Submit your tax documents all at once to keep your data cohesive and organized for all parties involved, thereby limiting the chance something gets lost in the shuffle. Provide business entity (e.g. LLC) financial reports and schedules (i.e. fixed assets). Simply put: the more information the better – your tax records create a story, so be sure to include all the major characters. Provide cost basis and holding period for investments sold during the year. Again, these are major characters in your tax story that you can’t afford to overlook. Discuss major changes in your tax situation up front, so your CPA knows in what context to interpret your information and what adjustments have to be made prior to getting elbow deep in the process. Request your CPA’s preference for receiving tax data: mail, fax, or email? By following suit, your data will be received quicker and already in the preferred working format to be reviewed promptly and efficiently. Abide by these basic principles and you’ll be headed in the right direction – saving your CPA time, and consequently making your dollar go further. ■
Sandra Garsele is managing consultant for Hilliard Management Group.
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February 2012 | 15
> A new set of leaders in Oakland by Catherine Brewer The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce recognizes the following individuals as the 2012 class of Leadership Oakland and thanks their sponsoring organizations: • • • • • • • • • • •
Sabrina Aery, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Inc. Luis Aguilar, East Bay Community Foundation Jamil Akoni, Kaiser Permanente Margie Favro, Kaiser Permanente Julie Fishman, Starline Supply Company Nancy Golis Flynn, Holy Names University Beth Frankland, Ramsell Corporation Pedrito Gella, Waste Management Dale Marie Golden, Torrey Pines Bank Beverly Greene, AC Transit Eleanor Hollander, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
• Sherril Jackson, SEJ Design • Cristy Johnston-Limon, Destiny Arts Center • Paul Junge, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce • Fred Kelley, Parsons Brinckerhoff • Lily Marquez, Samuel Merritt University • Amanda Medina, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce • Sofia Navarro, The Unity Council • Kristina Owyoung, Pankow Builders • Ryan Rubio, Goodwill Industries • Guy Swaggerty, Goodwill Industries
Participants began their Leadership Oakland journey in October with an introduction to the program from the director and various alum, as well as exercises and activities in personal communication skills and leadership development. Leadership Oakland would like to thank Homewood Suites for generously donating their conference room for the Leadership orientation. November’s session was dedicated to a tour of Councilmember Desley Brooks’ district and discussions led by Joe Haraburda, the Chamber’s president and chief executive officer, and by Leadership Oakland alum and Chamber Board Vice Chair Shannon Pedder. ■ Catherine Brewer is the executive director of Leadership Oakland.
> Health and Human Services Day by Margie Favro, Sabrina Aery and Beth Frankland The 2012 Leadership Oakland participants had an informative day learning about the latest innovations in health care at Health and Human Services Day in January. Participants learned how health care providers in Oakland are preparing for health care reform, and discussed the complicated financial support needed to serve our diverse communities through both the government and the private sector. The participants also learned about a very successful human services agency, East Bay Agency for Children, through Executive Director Steve Eckert, a 2011 Leadership Oakland Alum of the Year. The program was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and was held at the Sidney Garfield Innovation Center in San Leandro. At this first and one-of-a-kind innovation center, the Leadership team toured the innovation zones and learned how Kaiser Permanente tests ideas and designs in a prototype environment, where all ideas are valued and innovation can thrive. The day was kicked off by Nate Oubre, Sr., vice president and area manager of East Bay Service Area, Kaiser Permanente. Oubre shared information on the Kaiser facilities in the East Bay, with special emphasis on the new Oakland hospital due to open up in mid-2014. Dr. Jeanne Reisman, chief of health education for Kaiser, Oakland, demonstrated how Kaiser’s electronic medical record (HealthConnect) provides for more efficient and cost effective delivery of care, while increasing the quality of outcomes for its members. And Tom Carter, vice president of sales and broker relations at Kaiser Permanente, provided participants with strategies to support worksite wellness in their own worksites. Carter emphasized how implementing a wellness program can improve the health of employees, which brings about a more productive workforce and ultimately can help control the rising costs of healthcare. The highlight of the day was a presentation by Alex Briscoe, agency director at the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. The Leadership team learned what Alameda County is doing in health care services, and how the County is uniquely positioned – ahead of the curve – to benefit from federal subsidies. He discussed his strategies on contracting with community-based health care clinics and cross-agency collaborations such as partnerships with local firehouses, which allows for better efficiencies, helps control costs, and supports the culturally diverse populations in the county. And lastly, as mentioned above, the group was educated on the history of EBAC and how the agency was initially established 60 years ago to support children with autism and now has various programs including pre-school for hard-to-serve children, Special Education Day Treatment Programs, life-skills training for adolescents, and grief and illness support, to name a few. Eckert explained that EBAC, like other nonprofits, is on a very tight budget and thus the success of the program comes through leveraging part-
16 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
nerships with other nonprofits, private sector and public agencies. The Health and Human Services Day provided for many insightful presentations and interesting conversations. While many health service disparities persist, especially with scare resources, Oakland is on the right path to provide needed health and human services to its population and, in many ways, is considered a leader in innovation and change. ■ Margie Favro is an area director, account management, for Kaiser Permanente; Sabrina Aery is a senior region director, West Coast Government Operations, for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Inc.; and Beth Frankland is a senior executive administrator in the office of the chief executive officer at Ramsell Corporation. All three are participants of Leadership Oakland.
> Public Safety Day by Amanda Medina and Fred Kelley, PTP The Oakland Chamber’s Leadership Oakland program kicked off its third 2011-2012 session at Fire Station 1 for Public Safety Day, a behind-the-scenes view of the various city departments that strive to keep Oakland safe. Oakland firefighter Larry Hendricks began the day by discussing the stress and emotional strain that firefighter duties take on their officers. In order to replace bad memories from the job with good memories, Hendricks created “Oakland Firefighters Random Acts” in 2001. Its goal is to empower firefighters to do good things in their communities and complete 1,000 random acts of kindness in ten years while sticking to the motto: “No Egos, No Badges, No Resume Boosters.” The Oakland Firefighters Random Acts coordinates one of the biggest holiday toy drives in the city, donates thousands of dollars in school supplies to Oakland Unified School District schools, and visits Children’s Hospital every two months. Oakland’s Random Acts program has received national recognition and has served as the model for several other fire departments in New Mexico, Oregon, and Nevada. Later in the day, Leadership Oakland toured the Office of Emergency Services and Fire Station 1. Program participants were able to try on the 40plus pounds of equipment that fire fighters must wear when they are called to a fire. Fire Station 1 is equipped with both a fire engine and fire truck, both of which have so many components that their average purchase price costs the city $1 million each. Due to these high dollar amounts, many of Oakland’s fire engines and trucks are more than ten years old. Ana-Marie Jones, the executive director of CARD (Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters), also addressed the Leadership Oakland class about the recent history of emergency preparedness in Alameda County. Her discussion detailed the somewhat fragmented efforts following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1991 Oakland Hills fire to the progress that has been made in recent years. Jones discussed everyday measures she advocates, such as having a visible ICE (In Case of Emergency number) programmed into or visible on your cell phone, keeping cash handy for emergency situations, the use of technology (Facebook, et al) to communicate in emergencies when phone lines are down, and maintaining emergency supplies at home and the workplace. Despite the many stories you have heard about staying safe in an earthquake, positioning yourself under a desk is still the safest place for you to go when the big one hits. Jones challenged us all to be aware and more savvy when it comes to thinking ahead about emergency preparedness. Captain Paul Figueroa, currently head of the Oakland Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division, was the last speaker of the day for Leadership Oakland’s February Public Safety session. Capt Figueroa talked ▲ Chamber staff member Amanda passionately about a positive Medina is joined by Fire Station 1 childhood experience with an firefighters after trying on 40 pounds OPD sergeant and how that of firefighting equipment at Leadership encounter inspired him to Oakland’s Public Safety Day in become a police officer. He December. discussed his advancement in the department during his 17-year career from patrol officer, sergeant and lieutenant to captain, and how that childhood encounter has helped shape the way he views the importance of OPD maintaining a positive relationship with the community. Capt. Figueroa outlined what he described as the three C’s….Crime (what’s happening on the streets), Cost (department layoffs and budget crisis) and Conduct (which has resulted in federal oversight) and its impact on the OPD and the Oakland community as a whole. OPD is trying to implement more innovative programs aimed at suppressing violent gang activity through a collaborative effort with churches, social service agencies and the community in general to reduce gun crimes in Oakland. ■ Amanda Medina is the operations coordinator for the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber and Commerce, and Fred Kelley, PTP, is a senior supervising engineer with Parsons Brinckerhoff.
The Oakland Restaurant Association
> > Chef’s Corner – Devon Boisen
> Matchmaker wanted: Organic farmer wants to meet Oakland restaurateur by Mark Everton
Chef Devon Boisen and Heidi Berger, general manager The Terrace Room • 1800 Madison St. • (510) 903-3771 •www.theterraceroom.com BACKGROUND I grew up on a farm in north- western Montana and split my time between there and St. Louis, MO. I got my first chef position at Big Sky Café in Webster Groves and then moved on to my first Executive Chef position at J Bucks restaurant in Clayton, MO for the sports casting family of Jack, Joe and Julie Buck. In the turn of the Millennium I moved to the West Coast. I started my adventure in Portland, OR at McCormick & Schmicks restaurant group, which took me to Seattle, and then from there to Honolulu. After “mainland fever” I came back to Portland and back to McCormick & Schmicks. In 2007 I moved to the Bay Area, care of McCormick & Schmicks restaurant group to breathe some life back into Spengers Fresh Fish Grotto on 4th Street in Berkeley. Now I am honored to be a part of the Oakland culinary scene, and a part of such a beautiful restaurant overlooking Lake Merritt. First job? I got a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant named Tippin’s in St. Louis at the age of 14. Education? I graduated from Webster Groves High School and spent a year at SIUC, and then ran away back to home. I went to culinary school at St. Louis Community College Forrest Park. Residence? I live in Walnut Creek with my wife, who is the general manager of Revival Bar and Kitchen in Berkeley. BUSINESS STRATEGY How’s business? Business gets better day after day. We have a lot of work to do, but I am very proud with what we have done and where we are headed. Biggest challenge that you face? Overall exposure is the biggest problem that we face. Whether it be a preconceived notion of the restaurant, the hotel we are located in, or a negative experience had by patrons in the past, we are in the process of winning people back with our amazing restaurant. Personal goal yet to be achieved? A Michelin Star. Why people like working for you? People like working for me because I make every day better than the last. Every day is a new opportunity to have fun, experiment and learn with fun foods and methods of cooking, and a chance to prove to our guests why we are one of the best restaurants in Oakland. Mentor? I never had one person that I considered my mentor. However, throughout the years I have worked with a lot of amazing chefs who in turn each taught me something valuable that I still carry with me. What do you like most about your job? I like the fact that every single day can be completely different. I have the power to change whatever I do not like. What do you like least about your job? Paperwork. Best meal/dish you ever created and to whom was it served? No such thing. I have obviously had a chance to make some great food and serve it to some great people. I do have a lot of fun on a monthly basis with One Fermented Evening. This is a monthly pairing dinner that we do. Simply put, it is a night of debauchery. Most respected competitor? The Oakland restaurant scene is an amazing place right now. I have a lot of respect for the chefs and the restaurants that are turning this into the environment that it is. PREFERENCES Stranded on a desert island; what cookbook would you want? “How to Turn Sand, Coconuts and Tropical Fish into Roasted Pork. (Soon to be written by…me, if I ever get stranded on a desert Island.) Lunch with Julia Child - one question for her? Do you want to come over for dinner? Favorite cause? Sprouts Cooking Club for Kids. Favorite movie? Pulp Fiction. Favorite restaurant? Yan’s China Bistro for their crispy, smokey duck. Favorite way to spend spare time? Skiing. What’s on your iPod? Grunge, Alt Rock, Metal, Punk…a little bit of everything (except Country). Automobile? A bad-ass Jeep. ■
The headline above is not what you would expect to find at Match.com, but is clearly a need in Oakland. Small local farms, a long-term staple of local farmer’s markets, are finding it a challenge to get their products into Oakland restaurant kitchens. The number of certified organic farms is growing rapidly as are the number of Oakland chefs who prefer to procure products from the local sustainable farms. Mark Everton Hence, the matchmaker paradox – how to match up the local farms with Oakland’s chefs in an efficient and sustainable way. A search on Yelp for Oakland organic restaurants lists an amazing 464 restaurants. The list of Oakland’s restaurants that feature organic or sustainable menu offerings reads like a Who’s Who of great Oakland restaurants, including Pizzaiolo, Commis, Café Gratitude, Asmara, Wood Tavern, A Coté, Encuentro. Making the decision to consistently offer local organic and sustainable ingredients is a daily challenge for Oakland chefs. Ingredients have to be procured from numerous farms, the availability is limited by season, multiple daily deliveries, numerous invoices and orders have to be processed each day. Oakland chefs have to adjust and design their menus to reflect what is available today while the products they need may not be available next week. California is the leading state in organic and sustainable food production. In 2008, California had 430,000 acres certified as organic (40 percent of California’s farmland). The amount of acres that are converted each year in California dwarfs the rest of the nation. Many local farms are carving out niche organic plots while larger farms are converting large areas of their acreage to organic. The challenges that the organic farms face is not only in the more-challenging production process to maintain organic, it is the added challenge of marketing their unique products to Oakland restaurants and transporting the products to Oakland. A recent analysis of a small local farm sent their delivery truck to deliver eight cases of organic greens to restaurants. The carbon footprint of a single truck delivering eight cases to restaurants over 40 miles away was substantial. Many organic farmers have been looking for middlemen (matchmakers) to pair up their products to restaurants and to streamline the delivery process. Sysco, America’s largest food service distributor, is not a company that first comes to mind when thinking of organic and sustainable food. Sysco embarked on an ambitious plan in 2005 to unveil their new tag line, “Good things come from Sysco.” To back up the “good things” promise, Sysco enhanced their Fresh Point division by supporting and acquiring local organic and sustainable farms. To date, Sysco has created 31 regional sub-companies nationwide. Much of the organic produce grown in Northern California is produced through Sysco’s Fresh Point. Sysco’s leadership in the organic and sustainable farming area has led to reduced chemical use on farms through integrated pest management processes, and revamped truck routes using hybrid and bio fuel trucks. From northern California’s organic farms and ranches, Sysco procures grass-fed beef, antibiotic-free and humanely-raised animals, and seasonal and organic produce. These organic products are delivered daily to Oakland restaurants alongside the canned and frozen staples that the restaurants need. The lyric, “Matchmaker, find me a match…”, could easily be the theme song of Sysco’s matchmaking prowess with building and enhancing the relationship between Oakland’s restaurants and the organic sustainable producers throughout California. The next time you are at one of Oakland’s farmers markets and wish the morningpicked organic broccoli that you are holding could be found in your local restaurant, fret not – it probably already is. ■ Mark Everton, the co-chair of the Oakland Restaurant Association, is general manager of the Waterfront Hotel and Miss Pearl’s Jam House in Jack London Square. Watch for Miss Pearl’s re-opening in late February (after a devastating flood in October).
February 2012 | 17
Come to “Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum” and hear from people who affect the policies and progress of the city in which we live and do business.
Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby February 24 | 8:30 – 10 a.m. Come to “Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum” and hear from people who affect the policies and progress of the city in which we live and do business. JOIN Chamber members for this informative breakfast at the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, 475 14th Street. This event is free to Chamber members and $10.00 for non-members. To attend, you must RSVP by Wednesday, February 22. VISIT OUR WEBSITE AND REGISTER ONLINE www.oaklandchamber.com. Have questions? Contact Paul Junge at (510) 874-4817 or at email@example.com.
Public Policy Creating a strong economy
> Have a say in this year’s election – Join OakPAC Elections provide an opportunity to impact the laws and policies that affect our lives. Five of eight seats on the Oakland City Council are on the ballot this November. Two of the long-term incumbents say they will not run for re-election. In the meanwhile, the race for City Attorney promises to be spirited. A number of ballot measures may gain the necessary signatures. Contested races for seats on a variety of other boards, as well as state and county races, will help make 2012 an eventful political year. There is an opportunity for the Oakland business community to have an impact on these races. OakPAC is one of the oldest and most influential political action groups in the region. The purpose of OakPAC is to promote commerce and industry, to advance economic growth, and to enhance the quality of life in the city of Oakland by supporting candidates and issues that reflect our goals and objectives. To achieve these ends, OakPAC takes actions appropriate to those goals including recruiting business-oriented candidates for local elected offices, solicitation of funds from individuals or corporations to make contributions and independent expenditures in support of and in opposition to candidates for elected office, and to support political education efforts and participate in ballot issues. OakPAC members will be active this year recruiting and evaluating candidates for office. With the new rules selecting the top two vote getters in non-city elections and with rank choice voting still relatively new in the city, it promises to be a busy summer and fall. If you are interested in getting involved with OakPAC, as a contributor, a member, or a candidate running for office, contact OakPAC’s Executive Director Paul Junge at (510) 874-4817 or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
> Redevelopment ends – City loses $25+ million per year by Paul Junge
After more than 50 years of operation, the Oakland Redevelopment Agency (RDA) ceased to exist on Feb. 1, 2012. Over that time the agency grew to have an annual budget of more than $25 million. The city of Oakland used that money to pay for a variety of city services including 17 sworn police officers, 15 people in the City Attorney’s office, 12 in the City Administrator’s office, and over 80 people in the Community and Economic Development Agency. The RDA even paid half the salaries of all eight City Council members and the Mayor. A total of 158 full-time equivalents (FTEs) were funded by RDA. The loss of the RDA money meant the city had to make changes to its budget to stay in balance. The city did not simply cut the positions and salaries of people who were funded by RDA money. For example, all 17 sworn police officers remain on duty. To balance the budget, the city moved some positions to other city funds; left some vacant positions unfilled; and eliminated other positions. The city also reorganized in anticipation of some economic development powers being restored by the state legislature and to best provide services with fewer funds. Of course after 50 years there remain many RDA projects and debts. The law that ended Redevelopment Agencies all over the state called for the establishment of Successor Agency’s to the terminated RDAs. The city of Oakland is the Successor Agency to the Oakland RDA. The Successor Agency is allowed a small percentage (5 percent this year, 3 percent next year) of RDA funds to wind down the former RDA’s business in an efficient and cost effective manner. The same law that ended redevelopment agencies in California also created a seven-person Oversight Board to monitor how the debts, assets and obligations of the RDAs are closed out. The California State Director of Finance will also have veto power over the Successor Agency’s decisions on how to handle the former RDAs property and obligations. The Oversight Board for the Oakland RDA will review the actions the city of Oakland takes as the Successor Agency to the Oakland RDA. The seven members are appointed by the following officials: • County Board of Supervisors – 2 members • Mayor - 2 members (one a former RDA employee) • County Superintendent of Education – 1 member • Chancellor of California Community Colleges – 1 member • Largest special district taxing agency (possibly AC Transit) – 1 member This Oversight Board must be appointed by May 1, 2012. ■ Paul Junge is the Chamber’s director of public policy.
18 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
> Class B office sales market heats up with owner/user opportunities
by John Dolby and Dane Hooks
While the office leasing market has remained flat for the last couple of years in Oakland, one sector of the market is seeing some healthy activity. The Class B office market had a number of owner/user property sales in 2011 and that trend appears likely to continue in 2012.
In June of 2011, Girl, Inc. , a national nonprofit serving more than 150,000 girls ages 6-18, decided to purchase 510 16th St. from the Legal Aid Society for $4 million or $121 per square foot. Starting in early 2012, the nonprofit will be close neighbors with another Oakland nonprofit that also owns its building, Youth Radio at 1701 Broadway. In late September of 2011, the East Bay Asian Development Corp. (EBALC) purchased 1825 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland for $1.5 million or $77 per square foot. Built in 1925 and renovated in 1988, the two-story building totals 19,431 square feet and has been used as a community shelter for the past ten years. In December of 2011, the Tribune Tower was sold to an owner/user from China by the name of
efficiency and sustainability consulting. Other owner/user buildings that are new to the market include 274 14th St., 2001 Broadway, and 1750 Broadway. 274 14th St., once home to the Holmes Book Store for 71 years, has been renovated into an ideal owner/user opportunity with the second floor office space containing hardwood floors and high ceilings with a strong retail tenant on the first floor. The I. Magnin building (2001 Broadway), John Dolby known as one of Oakland’s “Emerald Jewels” because of its distinctive green terra cotta, is another ideal owner/user opportunity new to the market. The building was completely rehabbed in 2000 and sits on top of the 19th Street BART station in the heart of Uptown adjacent to the Paramount Theatre. 1750 Broadway, the Community Bank of the Bay building (24,000 square feet), is also on the market and ideal for an owner/user. The first and second floors have plenty of glass, high ceilings, and open spaces while the third floor has 9,500 square feet of office space. The property also Dane Hooks features a 35-stall parking lot. The Class B office sales market will continue to remain active and healthy in 2012 as owner/users and investors look to buy properties at current low market prices. ■ John Dolby is senior vice president and Dane Hooks is an associate with Grubb & Ellis Company.
> Win Southwest Airlines tickets Do you know a business that would benefit from Chamber membership? If you refer a potential member – and they join – you will be entered into a drawing to win two Southwest Airlines roundtrip tickets valued at $800. Chamber applications must be received by Thursday, Feb. 16 to qualify. The winner will be selected and announced at the Chamber’s February After Five Reception on Thursday, Feb. 23 at Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar in Jack London Square. For more information contact Triche Christmon at email@example.com or at (510) 874-4800, ext. 321.
> Oakland Running Festival – continued from page 5
rating as runners have remarked about the great course support from the community. Additionally, out-of-town visitors have stated that their impression of Oakland has changed dramatically after participating in the event. Many have come back to dine at local establishments such as Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar, Pacific Coast Brewery, Miss Pearl’s Jam House and Luka’s. Several local affiliates and companies, including the Alameda County Medical Center, Lucky Supermarkets, The Oakland Tribune, East Bay Express, Paramedics Plus, Gu, the Oakland A’s, the Oakland Raiders, Golden State Warriors, Transports, Sports Basement, KTVU/KICU, Lohnes and Wright, the city of Oakland, the Oakland Police Department, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, have already become allied with the event in its first two years and have helped to make the Running Festival a success. There are still a few sponsorship opportunities available and there is still time to get involved in 2012. For a list of ways for your company to sponsor or participate in the event, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Oakland Running Festival, visit www.oaklandmarathon.com. ■
▲ Other owner/user buildings that CallSocket LP for $8 million or $94 per are new to the market include 274 square foot. The international company 14th St. in downtown Oakland. plans to establish a call center in the building and create hundreds of new jobs in Oakland over the next three years. Also closed in December was the sale of the Broadway Atrium (449 15th St.) for $10.4 million or $105 per foot. The building (60,000 square feet) was purchased by Energy Solutions, an Oakland-based engineering firm that provides energy
February 2012 | 19
OAKLAND METROPOLITAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
> 2012 Membership Directory Addendum
The following companies are recent additions to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce team, thereby missing entry into the 2012 Membership Directory & Buyers Guide. Please keep this list with your directory and remember to do business with these companies and with other Chamber members. And be sure to share this material with your Purchasing Department. Whether it’s a product or service that you need, check your directory, call a member, identify yourself as a fellow member, and watch the networking grow. Future addendums will be printed and distributed periodically through Oakland Business Review. ■
On the Runway
3407 High St.
Oakland, CA 94607
Oakland, CA 94619
Fax: (510) 272-1117
Fax: (510) 842-3911
Faz Poursohi Restaurants
tique.com Angela Ajetemobi Retail
Gateway Bank 2201 Broadway, Suite 404
Oakland, CA 94612
333 Hegenberger Road, Suite 250
Oakland, CA 94621
Fax: (510) 899-6788
A’s Referral Team
6211 La Salle Ave.
524 Estudillo Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
San Leandro, CA 94577
Holiday Inn Express Hotel &
6321 Outlook Ave
Fax: (510) 339-3747
Fax: (510) 895-0706
P.O. Box 14507
Oakland, CA 94605
Oakland, CA 94614
Fax: (510) 569-4441
Ascot Staffing Cerebral Palsy Center
Oakland, CA 94612
for the Bay Area
166 Santa Clara Ave., Suite 200
4500 Lincoln Ave.
Fax: (510) 839-9502
Joy Soulier & Associates
5940 College Ave.
Fax: (510) 531-2990
Oakland, CA 94618
Home Health Care Services
Employment Agencies, Services
Fax: (510) 208-4582
Sharp Business Systems
470 Boulder Court
Classic Cable Car Sightseeing
499 9th St.
190 Napoleon St
(925) 417-8400, ext. 4954
Oakland, CA 94607
San Francisco, CA 94124
LeTip – Oakland
Fax: (510) 251-8771
Fax: (415) 922-1336
362 Joaquin Ave.
Office Furniture, Supplies & Repair
San Leandro, CA 94577
Tiger Natural Gas, Inc.
1422 East 71st St., Suite J
Tulsa, OK 71436
1939 Harrison St., Suite 150
& Consultants B Restaurant
Email: email@example.com Restaurants
Blaisdell's Business Products
Fax: (918) 491-6659
1000 Broadway, Suite 460
Stephen Hendrix Natural Gas
San Leandro, CA 94577
Oakland, CA 94607
151 Hegenberger Road
Fax: (510) 483-0959
Fax: (510) 267-2501
Oakland, CA 94621
Top Grade Construction
Fax: (510) 635-1900
1155 Third St., Suite 250
International Trade Finance
Oakland, CA 94607
Motorcycles & Motor Scooters
Fax: (925) 449-5875
East Bay Black Professional
1951 Telegraph Ave., Suite 102
7717 Outlook Ave.
Oakland Heritage Alliance
Oakland, CA 94612
Oakland, CA 94605
446 17th St., Suite 301
Oakland, CA 94612
Contractors – General
Fax: (510) 826-3945 Website: www.blisscities.com
Fax: (510) 654-9764
W.O.W. (Women Organized
330 Park View Terrace, Suite 108 Oakland, CA 94610
Body Mechanix Fitness Co-Op
Farber & Foote, LLP
292 4th St.
436 14th St., Suite 1520
Oakland Military Institute,
Oakland, CA 94607
Oakland, CA 94612
College Prep Academy
Fax: (510) 763-8770
3877 Lusk St.
Fax: (866) 819-6169
Emeryville, CA 94608
Fax: (510) 597-9886
Health & Wellness Programs
Website: www.oakmil.org John Wells Nonprofit
20 | OBR Oakland Business Review | www.oaklandchamber.com
> Ambassador of the Year – Yeda Altes Yeda Altes, the fire safety education coordinator with the Oakland Fire Department, has been named the Chamber’s 2011 Ambassador of the Year. Altes, who can be seen at countless Chamber meetings and events, delivers business leads and offers members outreach opportunities that enhance her efforts in the Wildfire Prevention Assessment District (WPAD) to prevent wildland fires. She reminds us about the benefits of the WPAD and the following services it provides: • Goat grazing – Herds of goats are utilized to clear the excess brush that allows fires to spread rapidly. The goats remove vegetation from the large public open space areas within the assessment district boundaries. Look for them in late spring, early summer. • Vegetation management – Private contractors and city crews provide the district’s vegetation reduction and management programs where the goats are not able to graze. This includes open space and canyon hill parcels, firebreaks and roadside clearance along public streets and evacuation routes within the district. Fire fighters and the vegetation management inspectors annually inspect district properties. When they identify a property that is in violation, they ensure that it becomes in compliance with the Oakland Fire Code so it, neighbors, and all, are preventing wildland fires. • Property owner chipping services – This program assists private property owners by providing a convenient way to dispose of tree branches, brush and other yard waste that can fuel fires. The district provides crews to process a property owner’s yard waste into wood chips or mulch for the owner’s use or provide other means of disposal. It’s more cost efficient when the chipper arrives on a block or area where several properties coordinate a “Chipping Party.” • Fire prevention, education and training – Public Outreach staff provides special training to district neighborhoods, homeowner associations, and schools. To assist with fire prevention and in the event of a fire, staff helps with defensible space and safe evacuation route plans. • Roving fire patrols – This program provides additional fire patrols to monitor properties within the boundaries of the assessment district during high fire hazard days. The patrols monitor, correct, and report potential fire hazards to the Fire Department. The high fire danger area is within the Oakland hills and surrounding areas because the properties are uniquely located among extreme dense vegetation. It puts them at a high risk of loss or damage if a wildland fire was to start and spread as did in the 1991 Firestorm; 25 lives were lost and over 3,000 homes destroyed. It’s crucial that we all assist and avoid a repeat of such devastation. You can participate by sharing outreach and prevention education materials. The Fire Department now has a new short educational DVD that can be reproduced for the 22,000 parcels in the hills. Contributions to the 501c3, Friends of the Oakland Fire Department, and earmarked for WPAD, will allow sponsors to have their logo printed on the DVDs and/or the packaging. For more information, visit www.OaklandWPD.org. If your property is in the WPAD, call in advance to schedule curbside tree and brush chipping at (510) 238-7388. ■
> Ambassador of the Month Chadwick Spell, a business account executive with Comcast Business Class, has been named the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Month. Says Spell, “I thank the Chamber and all members for the honor of being able to be a part of a community that is based on cooperation, partnership and support. When I was introduced to the Chamber I had the same questions many have, ‘What is the benefit of being in the Chamber?’ and ‘What does an Ambassador do?’ The Chamber is the one place ▲ Ambassador of the Month Chadwick Spell (right) hosted “Breakfast at the Chamber” as a businessperson, I can in January. He was presented with a connect, learn, and develop proclamation by Chamber President Joe relationships with other Haraburda. professionals in Oakland. Helping one another and coming together to assist in the growth and development of our businesses and this great city.” Spell continues, “The Chamber staff and Ambassadors all are a family working toward creating an Oakland that is supportive of business and community. As an Ambassador and account executive with Comcast Business Class, I see 2012 being the best year yet, as we launch the Comcast Chamber Infinity Program and continue my mission to be an asset to all who I am honored to encounter.” ■
> A tale of two mixers The Chamber’s special holiday After Five Reception continued its tradition of good food, good music, outstanding networking and holiday cheer at the Claremont Resort and Spa in December. Some 200 Chamber members and guests were on hand for the festivities. At right, Chamber President Joe Haraburda presented a special “Remember Them: Champions for Humanity” book to Kathy Marti, the Claremont’s director of catering and conference services. The Claremont is currently running numerous special promotions and packages, including a Valentine’s Special through Feb. 19.
The Chamber’s After Five Reception in January was held at the offices of CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) in City Center, which showed off its new 5-Star Worldwide program, which revolves around a revolutionary new service philosophy – treat tenants like guests. Designed to provide services and amenities to increase tenant productivity and satisfaction, the 5-Star program combines the attributes of a concierge service, building conference center with services such as conference center management and booking, event coordination, transportation arrangements, area recommendations and reservation assistance. With its 5-Star program, the Oakland City Center property management team becomes an extension of their tenants’ staff. At the mixer, pictured behind a scale model of City Center, are (left to right) Chamber Board member Shannon Pedder (BRAND: CREATIVE); Chamber Public Policy Director Paul Junge; CBRE General Manager and Director Kathy Claussen; CBRE 5 Star Manager Karissa Obeso-Govan; and Chamber Board member Eric Kisshauer (Pankow Builders). ■
> Mayor’s Economic Forecast set for Feb. 14 The annual Mayors’ Economic Forecast sponsored by the San Francisco Business Times and Grubb & Ellis will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 7:45 to 10 a.m. in the West Hall of the Oakland Convention Center within the Oakland Marriott. From city budget challenges to the “Occupy” movement, 2011 was a busy year for the mayors of Oakland and San Francisco, and they’ll be on hand to provide a look at 2012 – Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Other guest speakers are Daniel Cressman of Grubb & Ellis, who will review the real estate forecast, and Paul Single of City National Bank, who will discuss the economic outlook. Businesspeople can register at www.sanfranciscobusiness times.com/event/57601. For more information contact Jacquie Bischoff at (415) 288-4972 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
February 2012 | 21
> Junior CEOs off and running Right after the new year, 20 students from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) gathered at the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to learn, share, grow and participate in linked learning. The Junior Community Entrepreneurs of Oakland (Junior CEOs) program convened for its inaugural class, and the group is already off to a great start. The workshops, designed to assist students with creating business plans and developing community leadership, include a wide range of subjects led by Oakland business representatives. The focus of the first session was leadership – and Cat Brewer of Strong Brew Communications led the group of 10th and 11th graders through a series of self reflective and communal activities aimed at strengthening the Junior CEOs’ skills. The students began their first workshop with introductions and then a “commonality” activity to prove that while everyone is different, there are many universal ties that bind us together. In keeping with the theme of “community,” the group was divided into small groups in order to develop a definition of leadership – a norm to guide and lead the group. The result – “Leadership is taking the initiative and motivating others in a positive way to keep an open mind and go the extra mile for the greater good.” After a short break, the group reconvened and was led through a communication-style exercise that proved eye-opening for many of the students. The
Kaiser Permanente representatives to educate Bay Area youth on the importance of healthy eating and active living. This past summer, the Warriors, Kaiser Permanente and the Good Tidings Foundation refurbished basketball courts at Oakland’s Mosswood Park, which is located adjacent to the site on which Kaiser Permanente is building its new hospital, which is scheduled to be completed in 2014. “At Kaiser Permanente we strongly believe we have a responsibility to play a leading role in improving the health and well-being of our communities, and through our ongoing partnerships with organizations such as the Warriors, the Oakland Unified School District, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center, we are actively working to strengthen our communities and make them better places to live, work and play,” said Yvette Radford, vice president of external and community affairs for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. The comprehensive partnership between the Warriors and Kaiser Permanente covers sales and marketing elements related to the 2011-12 season, including television, radio, print, outdoor, online, and in-arena messaging. Kaiser Permanente is tied into the “Big Things Are Coming” initiative that the Warriors and NBA rolled out and is the focus of the team’s current marketing efforts. For more information on the Golden State Warriors 2011-12 season, presented by Kaiser Permanente, visit warriors.com. ■
> Peers launches mask exhibit to educate public about mental health
students divided into groups according to their most prominent communication style and then discussed the pros and cons as it relates to group dynamics and collaborations. The evening ended with a brief discussion about the value of all “types” of leaders, personal leadership experiences as well as leadership “heroes.” Before the students were dismissed, the Junior CEOs were given homework assignments for the next session (late January), a workshop on creating business vision and analyzing community impact (facilitated by Wendy Walleigh). The assignment – write down three business ideas and set three to five-year goals for each. The students present in the room seemed up for the challenge. In the end, the experience was exciting for everyone involved. If you would like to get involved in the Junior CEO program, contact the OUSD College and Career Readiness Office at (510) 273-2360. ■
> Pankow achieves double gold Pankow, a leading design-builder for 48 years, has been awarded LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for both its Oakland and San Francisco office locations. “Pankow is committed to environmentally responsible construction and to sustainability in our own operations,” said Scott Anderson, vice president for Northern California. “By creating a workplace that supports both lean and green practices, we have a platform for enhanced client service. We are excited to get a double gold.” Through the design-build process, the team was able to find the most sustainable features and solutions, adopting strategies to save energy and create healthier, more comfortable work environments. Pankow Oakland’s 11,700-square-foot office is gaining from 40 percent in energy savings, 80 percent of construction waste was recycled, and has 90 percent of employees with unobstructed views to the outside. ■
A mask exhibit displaying the art of four individuals with mental health challenges has opened in downtown Oakland and serves to educate the public and foster dialogue around mental health stigma and discrimination. Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (PEERS) is sponsoring the exhibit as part of the Alameda County Social Inclusion Campaign. The campaign is a county-wide effort to eliminate mental health stigma and discrimination, with a special emphasis on the African American community. One in five Californians is diagnosed with a mental health issue and many struggle with stigma and discrimination, making it impossible for them to gain access to basic needs such as housing, employment, medical care, or credit, just to name a few. “The goal of this display is for the public to internalize the campaign message of ‘See me, not my diagnosis,’” said PEERS Associate Director Lisa Smusz. “We want to educate the public on what mental health is and how harmful labels and stereotypes can be. We want to show that those with mental health challenges (consumers) have a lot to offer society, and want to allow these consumer artists to share their processes and stories of recovery in their own words.” Located at 2021 Broadway, the exhibit allows viewers to dial a number on their cell phones to listen to each artist describe his or her mask. “By listening to the stories while seeing the artwork, we believe that passers-by will make a connection and feel a sense of contact with the person on the other end,” Smusz said. “We want people to realize that mental health issues are common and real, that nearly everyone is affected, and that a diagnosis does not equate with inability or ineptitude.” Artist stories are also available via the PEERS Podcast at: www.peersnet.org/radio. Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services, or PEERS, is a consumer-run organization that promotes wellness for people with mental health difficulties and their families. PEERS leads the Social Inclusion Campaign, a groundbreaking effort to end stigma and discrimination against people with mental health issues throughout Alameda County. ■
> The Wendel Forum now hosted by 960 KNEW
> Kaiser Permanente is Warriors 2012 presenting sponsor The Golden State Warriors have announced that Kaiser Permanente will be the team’s presenting sponsor for the 2011-12 season, marking the team’s first Warriors Gold Alliance partner and its first-ever season-long presenting partnership. “We’re excited to officially launch this partnership with Kaiser Permanente,” said Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts. “Not only are we thrilled to have them as the franchise’s first presenting sponsor, we’re even more excited to have Kaiser Permanente as our initial Warriors Gold Alliance Partner. As Oakland’s single largest company, Kaiser Permanente is just the type of organization that we are looking to align ourselves with to help us usher in a new era of Warriors’ basketball. Through our combined efforts we will continue to use this platform to positively impact the Bay Area community.” Kaiser Permanente and the Warriors have partnered on a variety of community-focused initiatives over the past several years, including the Get Fit Timeout program in which Warriors players, coaches and personalities join
Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP has announced that The Wendel Forum, the weekly radio segment addressing legal aspects of the green economy and hosted by Green Business Group Partners Richard (Dick) Lyons and William (Bill) Acevedo, is now broadcast by 960 KNEW (www.960KNEW.com). Green 960 AM, the Bay Area talk radio station that has aired the segment since its inception in February 2011, restructured as 960 KNEW last month and now features both green and general business programming dubbed: “Opinions. Finance. Advice.” The Wendel Forum continues as a half-hour show on Saturday mornings at a new time slot: 9:30 to 10 a.m. The program remains a part of the Green Morning Lineup, alongside Sea Change Radio, An Organic Conversation and other segments addressing sustainable living and business issues. Out-ofrange listeners will still be able to tune in to The Wendel Forum via the station’s website and www.iHeartRadio.com. The Wendel Forum features interviews with Wendel Rosen attorneys and other green leaders on business and legal trends, tackling a wide range of issues such as organics and natural products, renewable energy, green building, clean tech and intellectual property. Listeners can find more information, listen to recent broadcasts and provide feedback for future segments by logging on to The Wendel Forum’s blog (www.TheWendelForum.com). ■
| OBR Oakland Business Review | 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.
Economic Development Forum | February 8, 3 - 4:30 p.m.
Breakfast at the Chamber | February 16
Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum | February 24
Hosted by Torrey Pines Bank
Guest speaker Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby
“Corporate Social Responsibility, Stimulating Workforce Development Through Partnerships”
Keeping you connected and informed
3 | East Bay Women in Business Roundtable luncheon E X ECUTI V E COM MI T TEE Chair of the Board JOHN NELSON murakami/Nelson Vice Chair MARIO CHIODO Chiodo Art Development Vice Chair SHANNON PEDDER BRAND: CREATIVE DAN COHEN Full Court Press CHARRISA FRANK Swinerton Builders ERIC KISSHAUER Pankow Builders DICK SPEES Honorary Member ZACK WASSERMAN Ex Officio Corporate Counsel Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP KEN WHITE Fidelity Roof Company MICHAEL ZIEMANN Summit Bank
B OA RD O F D I RECTOR S
SOLOMON ETS-HOKIN Colliers International MARK EVERTON Waterfront Hotel / Miss Pearl’s Jam House ALLYSON FATTORE Sunwest Bank JOHN GOODING The Quadric Group GEORGE GRANGER AT&T STAN HEBERT California State University, East Bay MICHAEL HESTER McGuire & Hester VICTORIA JONES The Clorox Company ISAAC KOS-REED Port of Oakland MICHAEL LEBLANC Picán KEN MAXEY Comcast IKE MMEJE Alta Bates Summit Medical Center NATHAN NAYMAN Visa
MANETTE BELLIVEAU Visit Oakland
NATHANIEL OUBRE, JR. Kaiser Permanente
ALICIA BERT PG&E
MICKY RANDHAWA Wells Fargo
TERRY BRADY Securitas Security Services
EMILY SHANKS Bank of America
DAVE CANNON Barney & Barney LLC ANA CHRETIEN ABC Security Service KIM DELEVETT Southwest Airlines
DAVID TUCKER Waste Management of Alameda County ELÑORA TENA WEBB, PH.D. Laney College RICHARD WHITE Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley LLC
JOHN DOLBY Grubb & Ellis CHRIS DONOHOE CIM Group
JOSEPH HARABURDA President and CEO
The purpose of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is to promote commerce and industry, to advance economic growth and to enhance the quality of life in the city of Oakland.
OBR OAKLAND BUSINESS REVIEW (ISSN 1092-7220) is published monthly at $100.00 a year by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, 475 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612-1903. Membership dues include subscription. Periodicals postage at Oakland, CA. Contents can’t be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to OAKLAND BUSINESS REVIEW, 475 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612.
| 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. featuring Nicole Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the East Bay Community Foundation, Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square, $35 for Chamber members, $45 for non-members
8 | Ambassador Committee meeting | noon - 1 p.m. 8 | Economic Development Forum
| 3 - 4:30 p.m. featuring a representative from Chevron and Solomon Belette, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of the East Bay, discussing “Corporate Social Responsibility, Stimulating Workforce Development Through Partnerships”
HANK MASLER, (510) 874-4808
| 7:30 - 9 a.m. an update of Chamber activities for prospective, new and long-time members, hosted by Hilliard Management Group
20 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting
| 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. 22 | After Five Reception
| 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. JDB Event Center, 2500 Embarcadero, no charge for Chamber members, $15 for non-members
23 | Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum | 8:30 - 10 a.m. no charge for Chamber members, $10 for non-members
16 | Breakfast at the Chamber
| 7:30 - 9 a.m.
6 | East Bay Women in Business
an update of Chamber activities for prospective, new and long-time members, hosted by Torrey Pines Bank
| 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
21 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting
| 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
11 | Ambassador Committee meeting | noon - 1 p.m. 11 | Economic Development Forum | 3 - 4:30 p.m. featuring Doug Johnson of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) discussing “Update on Plan Bay Area: A Regional Land Use and Transportation Plan to 2040”
17 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting
| 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. 19 | Breakfast at the Chamber
| 7:30 - 9 a.m.
an update of Chamber activities for prospective, new and long-time members, hosted by Fountain Cafe
26 | After Five Reception
| 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Roundtable luncheon featuring guest speaker Terri Swartz, dean of the College of Business & Economics at California State University, East Bay, Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square, $35 for Chamber members, $45 for non-members
23 | After Five Reception
Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Drive, facing Lake Merritt, no charge for Chamber members, $15 for non-members
27 | Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum | 8:30 - 10 a.m. featuring guest speaker Alameda City Manager John Russo, no charge for Chamber members, $10 for non-members
| 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar, Jack London Square, no charge for Chamber members, $15 for non-members
24 | Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum | 8:30 - 10 a.m. featuring guest speaker Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby, no charge for Chamber members, $10 for non-members
After Five Reception
2 | Annual Oakland and East Bay Business and Procurement Fair
| 2 - 5 p.m. bringing together vendors, business organizations, public agencies and members of the local community to facilitate business-to-business partnerships and create new customer leads. Display table – $199 for Chamber members ($159 for returning participants) and $299 for non-members ($239 for returnees) – if paid by Feb. 10, Oakland Marriott City Center. Individual attendance is free.
14 | Ambassador Committee
Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar Jack London Square
meeting | noon - 1 p.m.
email@example.com | www.oaklandchamber.com
15 | Breakfast at the Chamber
14 | Economic Development Forum | 3 - 4:30 p.m. featuring Bob Doyle, general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, and other EBRPD panelists for a discussion on the economic value of the parks
No charge for Chamber members. $15 for non-members. 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
The articles published in this publication do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
February 2012 | 23
A neighborhood salute
SPONSORED BY WELLS FARGO
> Rockridge boasts successful holiday shopping season by Chris Jackson The Rockridge District is a commercial and residential neighborhood in North Oakland with a commercial corridor that’s defined as the area along College Avenue, south of Alcatraz and bounded by 51st Street and Broadway on its southern end.
The main thoroughfare of College Avenue is home to many eateries, fine dining restaurants, wine bars and upscale retail stores, including bookstores and boutiques. Many consider Rockridge the “toniest” shopping experience Oakland has to offer. I'm happy to say that we are coming off a very successful holiday shopping season here on College Avenue. Many of the retailers have reported some of their best numbers in several years. This begs the question – is this uptick a flash in the pan or have we really turned that retail corner? Ongoing economic problems both locally and worldwide and the growth of e-commerce put the spotlight on retail
merchants with brick and mortar stores. Is it time to rethink and perhaps retool their approach to doing business in the internet age? Sometimes it seems the only thing not currently available online is the experience of a fine meal out. As far as Oakland is concerned, we've only begun to scratch the surface of a city experiencing serious financial straits. With both the city and retailers' resources stretched to the max, how do our merchants adapt? It seems some have not yet realized times have dramatically changed since the 1990s when money was much more free-flowing and the internet had only a minor impact on a business's bottom line. Let me offer my perspective/opinion as Business Improvement District (BID) manager of the Rockridge District. Coming from an educational and sales background, I now have three years under my belt. First, I’m hoping that our recent economic success on the Avenue will continue, but I'm still being questioned: where are the customers and why is there so much available parking? From our little corner of the world we cannot control whether a double dip recession emerges or if the Europeans will successfully deal with their economic woes. However, there are many things we can do as a shopping district to help stack the odds in our favor to keep shoppers coming back. As BID manager it is my job to help create the best "on street" experience resources can provide for our shoppers. This gives visitors a solid reason to come back, enjoy the Avenue, and hopefully spend money. At very least, it has been a major challenge to deal with sidewalks and tree wells in disrepair, various public safety concerns and money issues, plus an understaffed and overworked Police Department challenged by other social ills of a large metropolitan city. I have become a master in relationship building in order to keep things evolving and running smoothly. This is how we must approach business development on College Avenue. To merchants, it is imperative to offer a retail space that is inviting and a pleasure to be in, offering customers the experience of shopping and a reason not to go online. People visiting the Avenue are looking for that unique opportunity and pleasure of pure shopping and being out and about with family and friends; this is something you cannot get online. On the other hand, it's important not to underestimate the power of high-tech. Large retailers are using every possible trick in the book to attract shoppers. If we look at what the big guys are doing they not only offer an attractive space for one's shopping pleasure but additionally offer online deals, in-store savings and anything else to move product. My suggestions to merchants is to utilize all internet tools that are available including, but not limited to, websites, e-mail campaigns, QR codes and more. Have you or your staff tweeted lately or used Facebook to help drive business? Presently, I think we are at a time of growth and change here in Oakland, with many opportunities for small business. The economy will turn around with more people be working from home and other unforeseen developments in the retail sphere. This will only present a need for stronger and more vibrant neighborhoods, which is what small business is all about. Come visit us in Rockridge and yes, we do have a website – www.rockridgedistrict.com. ■ Chris Jackson is the Rockridge District manager.