Page 1


OAKLAND NAMED ONE OF TOP TEN best local food scenes Page 4

A look at the 2015 OAKLAND RAIDERS Page 7

Oakland’s Law Firms


New section begins on

Giveaway from the Port of Oakland

Page 10

Page 22

September 2015 Chamber calendar 3-month line-up Page 23

Oakland Business Review

Visit for more business opportunities, news and event registration.

> Self-taught Oakland INFORMATIVE PROGRAMS

> Provocative,

developer going to Panama to build software – by Barni Qaasim

exciting upcoming events Don’t miss the Chamber’s robust Public Policy and Economic Development programming. The Chamber has scheduled four outstanding events this fall – events that are informative and provocative. Make plans to join us. The events are: • Economic Development Forum – “What’s Your Solar Strategy,” featuring representatives from Sungevity, Wednesday, Sept. 9 • Oaklanders Talk Tech, featured speakers include Mayor Libby Schaaf, Mike Herring of Pandora and Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics with a panel discussion to follow on “Priorities for Oakland’s Tech Ecosystem,” hosted by Pandora (2100 Franklin St., 7th floor), with major sponsor Comcast and panel sponsor Donahue Fitzgerald LLP, Friday, Sept. 11

• Inside Oakland – “The State of the State,” featuring Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmond, and State Senator Loni Hancock, Friday, Sept. 25 • Women in Business luncheon, featuring Mills College President Alecia DeCoudreaux, speaking on “An Inspiring Leader’s Keys to Success,” Friday, Oct. 2.

See page 5 for details. ■

Devon Wesley (pictured above) was raised in East Oakland and is a self-taught software engineer. “I came to Devlabs about a year ago wanting to build a company that can make a social impact worldwide,”

Devlabs is a software start-up incubator based in downtown Oakland that works internationally. Devon walked into Devlabs and although he didn’t have a start-up idea yet, or any business or development training, everyone liked him and let him learn at the office. The incubator isn’t a coding bootcamp or a training service, but Devon’s ambition and good nature won the employees over and they let him use their computers and spend time with him. Devon began going to the Devlabs office every day and started teaching himself how to code using online training programs. He was able to ask questions and get help from all of the people in the office. “I was constantly asking questions,” he said. “Why do you do it that way? What were your mistakes? How can you do it better?” The first week he learned HTML and CSS, the second week Bootstrap, the third week JavaScript. The second month he began learning NodeJS and MeteorJS. By the end of the third month, Devlabs hired Devon to work as a developer for the companies that they support. “We invested our time in Devon because we believe in the people of Oakland. We believe that Oakland is talented and capable, and we see that Oakland talent is being undervalued,” said Ruben Hernandez, a partner at Devlabs. “We believe that the next billion dollar company is going to come from West Oakland or Temuco, Chile.” Now Devon is heading to Panama for three weeks to work for Tutorez, a company that connects tutors and learners. He will be using AngularJS to build out the front end of the new platform that they are selling to U.S. companies. “I am excited to work with Tutorez and to travel to Panama,” said Devon. “It’s a great opportunity for me to learn how entrepreneurs work in different countries and to get a glimpse into a developer culture outside of the Bay Area.” “We got to know Devon during our time at Devlabs and know that he can do the work,” said Vittorio Calcagno, co-founder and CTO for Tutorez. “We are lucky to have him join us and are excited to see how quickly we can get the new platform up and running.” Devon will be joined by Sheldon Troutman, a recent MIT graduate who has had experience with two other startup companies. Sheldon will be the lead engineer for the front

end team. They all met while at the Devlabs office in Oakland. “I already learned a lot from Sheldon and Vittorio and can’t wait to learn more,” said Devon. Devon founded his first startup,, a crowd funding platform to send medication internationally. Although it failed, Devon has stuck around with Devlabs, working as an engineer to help other startups from the network. This spring Devon built the MVP product for Vibosity, an Oakland-based startup measuring emotional health of youth. Devon also did trainings for startup teams in Jamaica and worked closely with several cohorts of entrepreneurs coming from Temuco, Chile. “It’s great to get outside of Oakland and Silicon Valley to understand that there are big problems that need to be solved all around the world,” he said. “Software development is a way to help people quickly from all around the globe; I’m proud to be a part of that.” Barni Qaasim is a partner at Devlabs.

> ECCO program is ‘hitting the mark’ Through the Linked Learning collaboration going on between the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and local businesses – in which the Chamber of Commerce has played a significant part – high school student interns in OUSD college and career pathways programs contribute thousands of hours to more than 60 local Oakland companies every July. This is one of the many benefits of Linked Learning – where students get real life work experience that relates to what they’re studying in the classroom, a proven way to keep kids in school and inspire higher achievement and graduation levels, while also teaching basic professional skills. Student interns prepare for their summer internship experience in Oakland companies for two years by participating in lessons and work-based learning opportunities through Oakland’s Exploring College and Career Options (ECCO) program. Fremont High School Media Academy teacher Jasmine Miranda reports that, “ECCO is hitting the mark. Hosts are so thrilled that ECCO students come with training, support, case management, and a year’s worth of internship prep curriculum under their belt.” The goals of the summer internship program are to promote students’ interest in post-secondary education and to develop the skills that are required to be successful in the 21st century workplace. The Chamber thanks those member businesses that have helped to sponsor the ECCO program. They are: • Acumen Building Enterprise, Inc. • East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) • Girls Inc. of Alameda County • Kaiser Permanente • Metropolitan Golf Links • Urban Planning Partners • YMCA of the East Bay


Names in the news • Community Bank of the Bay has welcomed Colleen Benatar as a vice president relationship manager based in the Danville office located at 156 Diablo Road. Benatar was formerly vice president relationship manager for Scott Valley Bank where she was responsible for managing the credit and deposit portfolios of businesses throughout the East Bay. She has been in the banking industry more than 30 years and has extensive experience working in the East Bay market. • Britt Strottman, a principal in the law firm of Meyers Nave, has been

named to the Daily Journal list of California’s “Top 100 Women Lawyers” for 2015. Representing her second consecutive year on the Britt Strottman

prestigious list, the Daily Journal highlighted her

ongoing role as special counsel for the city of San Bruno regarding the still unfolding aftermath of a deadly gas pipeline explosion and fire that occurred in 2010. Her pioneering work on behalf of the city has changed California’s utility regulatory landscape, helped awaken the nation to the risks posed by natural gas pipelines and earned her client a James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists. • Two outside sales professionals from FASTSIGNS® of Downtown Oakland have been recognized for outstanding sales achievements at the 2015 FASTSIGNS Outside Sales Summit, recently held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Michelle Darnell received the Gold Sales Award, one of only 11 outside sales professionals to receive this honor, and Marie Sescon received the Bronze Sales Award. • Margie Bennett, who has worked for Ala Costa Centers for 22 years and has been instrumental in the growth of its services, has been named interim executive director. During the past two years, she has been the site supervisor for the Berkeley site and then promoted to the program director position at the Oakland site. • Attend the seventh annual Volunteering for Oakland “Volunteer Fair” on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lakeview School Auditorium, 746 Grand Ave. Learn how you can volunteer to help Oakland students and youth. For information, visit • Landerholm Immigration will hold a series of three, free workshops in the fall, all starting at 3:30 p.m. at 1624 Franklin St., suite 310. “U-visas” will be discussed on Sept. 24, “asylum” on Oct. 23 and “green cards” on Nov. 20. Info: (415) 322-0960. • A “startling evening of mad science” is planned for the annual Starlight Gala of Chabot Space & Science Center on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 6 to

10 p.m. For information contact Stephanie Casenza at or at (510) 336-7338. ■


| OBR Oakland Business Review |

> Take advantage of the Chamber’s fall event and program offerings… – by Chamber President and CEO Barbara Leslie


S WE APPROACH THE Labor Day holiday

marking the official end of summer and we settle into our fall schedule, let me take a moment to thank you again for your membership in the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. Barbara Leslie

Based on our ongoing outreach there are three key areas most often requested with Chamber membership. They include opportunities to engage with peers and industry colleagues, current information on local civic and policy issues, and advocacy for policies to support and grow Oakland

business. We design our programming based on your priorities. Please check this month’s event information located on page 23 of this issue. There you will see programs focused on creating a solar strategy for your business, conversations with our three State Representatives, and a presentation from Oakland’s new City Administrator along with ample opportunities to mingle with your business colleagues. One new program we are kicking off on Sept. 11 is our “Oaklanders Talk Tech” series, hosted by Pandora. Pandora, headquartered in Oakland, is a committed community partner and is greatly contributing to Uptown’s renaissance. Along with participation from Pandora’s CFO Mike Herring, and comments by Mayor

Schaaf, this event will include a report on Oakland’s tech ecosystem from noted economist Chris Thornberg with Beacon Economics along with a panel of tech CEOs who have chosen Oakland as their home. We will also use this opportunity to hear a sixmonth update on the Chamber’s District indicator Project first published in March of this year. We endeavor to provide our members with information important to your businesses and encourage our policy makers to use this data when deliberating on local policies that impact our community. Given the attention and trajectory of the local Tech sector, our next series will be later this fall and will be focused on Incubating Oakland’s Tech Ecosystem and talent pipeline. Speaking of Oakland’s talent pipeline, the Chamber has commenced work with our local and regional education partners to strengthen the relationship between business and education with the long term goal of creating more opportunities for local youth to see, experience and ultimately work in their communities. And lastly, as the City Council resumes their sessions in early September, the Chamber will continue to monitor key issues the Council will consider this fall including Impact fees, Economic Development projects and the need for more housing. Please note that the Chamber has been an integral part / member on the Mayor’s Public Safety, Resiliency Commission and Oakland Promise convenings, providing business a seat at the table. As always please reach out to me directly if we can deepen our support for you and your business. And again, thank you. ■



restaurateurs to Kick Hunger Challenge

Cascade Training Center to Oakland

With Super Bowl 50 coming to the Bay Area this year, the NFL and its partners have a lot in store to help local nonprofits – including Oakland-based Alameda County Community Food Bank. This year’s Taste of the NFL – an annual fundraising initiative ▼“Summer Kitchen+ pairing local restaurants, current Bakeshop’s Paul Arenstam, and former NFL players, and left, and Oakland Raider’s hunger-relief organizations Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks, located in each of the 32 NFL center, (shown here with cities – has upped its game to Chef Calvin Rouse) have serve our local community. partnered for years to Through Taste of the NFL’s support Alameda County season long “Kick Hunger Community Food Bank Challenge,” Taste’s founder through the Taste of the NFL’s Wayne Kostroski and local “Kick Hunger Challenge.”

Cascade Training Center Oakland recently celebrated the opening of its newest facility in City Center with attendance from Bay Area Fire and EMS leadership. At the ribbon cutting ceremony at 1333 Broadway, suite P100 near the entrance to the City Center BART station, chief executive officer Mike Fiala (holding the scissors) makes the grand opening official. He was joined by employees, guests, and Chamber President Barbara Leslie (standing next to Fiala). There were a number of presentations at the event, including Bill Sugiyama, immediate past president of the International Association of EMS Chiefs and vice president of Client Services, Intermedix Corporation, discussing the importance of quality training and its impact on community resiliency. Cascade is committed to bringing the latest training and technology to first responders, healthcare professionals and the community to save lives. The company credentials healthcare providers in courses like BLS, ACLS, PEARS, PALS, TNCC, NRP and many more. ■

restaurant representative, Summer Kitchen’s Paul Arenstam, have issued a challenge to Oakland- and Alameda County-based restaurants to help with this year’s efforts. They’re seeking 25 restaurants to participate in a fundraising challenge to support the Food Bank, with an award on par with the Lombardi Tropy itself: a prized spot at the Taste of the NFL’s “Party With a Purpose” during Super Bowl weekend. Held on the eve of the Super Bowl, Party with a Purpose is one of the most sought-after events of Super Bowl weekend, attracting renowned chefs, all-star athletes, celebrities, nationally-recognized entertainment and VIPs from around the globe. But most importantly, the event goes to support hunger They’re seeking relief right here in our 25 restaurants to community. Alameda County participate in a Community Food Bank serves fundraising chal1 in 5 county residents – a rate lenge to support far outpacing the national ratio. the Food Bank, If your restaurant is with an award on interested in joining the Kick par with the Hunger Challenge and vying for Lombardi Tropy a spot at this prestigious event, itself: a prized please contact Alameda County spot at the Taste Community Food Bank’s Kathryn of the NFL’s Weber at (510) 635-3663 ext. 328 “Party With a or ■ Purpose” during Super Bowl weekend.


Oakland: One of Top Ten best local food scenes

USA Today has named Oakland one of its “10 Best Local Food

Scenes” in the United States for 2015. The list is voted upon by readers of USA Today and, the paper’s online travel guide. Oakland lands at the number seven spot. Oakland has been a trending culinary destination with the rise of new restaurants and chefs bringing their talents to the East Bay. Its diversity allows diners to enjoy a variety of food options throughout many neighborhoods. The city’s Oakland Restaurant Week has been celebrated as one of the best in the Bay Area for its inclusion of menus from all regions, tastes, and neighborhoods. Supplementing the restaurant scene is the Oakland Urban Wine Trail that brings the best of wine country with the city’s urban landscape. “We are so proud to be recognized as one of the most delicious and unique food scenes in the country,” says Alison Best, president and chief executive officer of Visit Oakland. “Local foodies consistently choose Oakland as the best city to eat in the Bay Area and we’re happy to spread the word to the rest of the nation.” The top six food destinations are Asheville (NC), Raleigh (NC), Providence, Nashville, Louisville, and MinneapolisSt. Paul. Oakland beat out New Orleans, Portland (ME) and Charleston (SC). The list was voted upon by popular vote from 20 nominees compiled by culinary experts. Other nominated Bay Area destinations included Napa and San Francisco, but Oakland is the only city represented on the West Coast, and only city in the Bay Area to make the list. ■


| OBR Oakland Business Review |

photo by Cristy Jorgensen, Cascade Training Center

> Chamber welcomes photo by Cristy Jorgensen, Cascade Training Center

> Food Bank calls for local



> Chamber continues to be a leader in the convening of Public Policy, Economic Development programming Make plans to attend these four outstanding, provocative events presented by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. To register, or for more information on any of the following, visit or contact Shaterica Sullivan at ssullivan@oakland or at (510) 874-4800, ext. 0.

> INSIDE OAKLAND – “THE STATE OF THE STATE” Friday, Sept 25 at a special time – 10 to 11:30 a.m., Chamber offices A panel discussion featuring:

• State Senator Loni Hancock A forceful advocate for open government, educational reform, environmental protection, economic development, and social justice. She was elected to the California State Senate in 2008.

> ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FORUM, “WHAT’S YOUR SOLAR STRATEGY?” Wednesday, Sept. 9, 3 to 4:30 p.m., Chamber offices Features a presentation by Dave Dunlap, Sungevity’s chief development officer, and Steve Birndorf, Sungevity’s director of commercial development. Learn how businesses save money and reduce uncertainty about future energy costs. • What types of businesses can benefit from solar power? • What’s changed in solar and why it’s time to take a second look. • The experiences of local businesses that went solar. ■

Loni Hancock

Rob Bonta

• Assemblymember Tony Thurmond Elected to represent California’s 15th Assembly District in November 2014. His focus is on the local and statewide economy, improving education from the ground up, and preventing crime. ■

> OAKLANDERS TALK TECH Friday, Sept. 11, 8 to 10 a.m., The Backstage at Pandora, 2100 Franklin St., 7th floor featured speakers include Mayor Libby Schaaf, Mike Herring of Pandora and Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics Libby Schaaf Mike Herring with a panel discussion to follow on “Priorities for Oakland’s Tech Ecosystem,” hosted by Pandora (2100 Franklin St., 7th floor), with major sponsor Comcast and panel sponsor Donahue Fitzgerald LLP, Friday, Sept. 11 ■

• Assemblymember Rob Bonta Elected to the California State Assembly’s 18th District in 2012, he has successfully passed legislation to keep neighborhoods safe, improve education, foster economic opportunity, and protect our social service safety net.

Tony Thurmond

> EAST BAY WOMEN IN BUSINESS LUNCHEON – MILLS COLLEGE PRESIDENT ALECIA DECOUDREAUX Friday, Oct. 2, 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square President DeCoudreaux will discuss “An Inspiring Leader’s Keys to Success.” ■ Alecia DeCoudreaux



Member update





Caviar is a food delivery company that partners with the best restaurants in cities all over the country. You can easily get the food you love, delivered, whether it’s a single entrée or lunch for an office meeting. We know you’ll love how easy lunch and dinner becomes with Caviar! Browse a picture menu, add items to your cart, and use real-time GPS to track your order. You can even pre-schedule meals up to a week in advance, making planning much easier. With no minimums and no delivery fee on your first order, we know you’ll love Caviar. Order online at or on their apps for iOS or Android to get started today. Added bonus, use code EBDELIVERY5 at check-out for $5 off your order! ■

The following is a list of new members of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and is an addendum to the Chamber’s 2015 Membership Directory & Buyers Guide. Please keep this page and refer to these members when you have a need for goods and services. Active Sports Clubs 1200 Clay St. Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 895-1010 Website: Ken Brendel Email: Health & Fitness Program Cascade Training Center 1333 Broadway, Suite P100 Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 488-6192 Website: Clayton Clabaugh Health Care Services Mountain Mike’s Pizza 1448A High St. Oakland, CA 94601 (510) 436-7988 Website: Raj Bhandaal Restaurant Oakland Heritage Alliance 446 17th St., Suite 301 Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 763-9218 Website: Joann Pavlinec Nonprofit OfficeWorks, Inc. 2140 Grand Ave., Suite 240 Chino Hills, CA 91709 (877) 463-3123 Website: Daniel Olivas Employment Agency Socotra Capital 2208 29th St. Sacramento, CA 95817 (510) 984-3685 Website: Chris Baumann Real Estate Loans Sparkart Group, Inc. 2201 Broadway, Suite 100 Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 420-0201 Website: Naveen Jain Digital Agency Square Inc., dba Caviar 1455 Market St., Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 500-5876 Website: Jenny Lee Restaurant Supplies Wag Hotels 39 4th St. Oakland, CA 94607 (866) WAG-LINE Kristen Rau Kennels


| OBR Oakland Business Review |

Wag Hotels Your pet’s dreams come true on Saturday, Sept. 12. Wag Hotels is opening its fourth location in Oakland at 39 4th St. near Jack London Square and is inviting pets and their owners to come celebrate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring your dog for a free doggie massage. Strike a pose with your pet in the photo booth. Glimpse into your pet’s future (or past) with pet physic Charles Peden. Belly up to the canine treat bar and enjoy a personalized pet caricature. Wag Hotels is also raising money to benefit local nonprofit rescue groups Oakland Animal Services, Berkeley Humane Society, and Cat Town. Wag Hotels Oakland features four themed Ultra Suites with 200 square feet of space, featuring 42” Internet-enabled TV, a queen-size bed, fireplace mantle, virtual updates via Skype, on demand Netflix with more than 4,000 movies, a bedtime story, and webcam access to view your pet from anywhere in the world 24 hours a day. With Wag Hotels All Day Play While staying at Wag, guests are given 24program, your dog can enjoy hour attention and care by the educated, experia fun-filled day of supervised enced and specially trained Wag staff. Focus is on play and the opportunity to the needs of not only the pets, but the peace of hang out and socialize with mind of the pet ownother dogs. Guests can romp ers as well. around, engage with human The facility will handlers, and do what dogs be open 24 hours a like to do – play!" day, seven days a Just mention that you are week. with the Oakland Chamber, For information, when calling in ! call (888) WAG-LINE. 888-WAG-LINE. ■ ■

Free offer


Oakland Raiders

> Raiders have offensive fire power this year by Carl Steward The Oakland Raiders have won just 11 games over the last three seasons and lost 37. They have gone 12 straight years without a winning season or a playoff berth, and they have had nine head coaches since Jon Gruden left after the 2001 season. So why is there such an anticipatory buzz about the Raiders in 2015 coming off a 3-13 campaign a year ago? Part of it is that a club with such low expectations doesn’t have to do much to get the rabid fan base excited. But the other part of it is that this longsuffering football franchise finally seems to be getting Carl Steward it right. They have a very promising young quarterback in Derek Carr, for starters. They have two solid young running backs with potential in Latavius Murray and Trent Richardson and a standout fullback in Marcel Reece, along with a pass-catching tight end in Mychal Rivera who had a breakout year in 2014. But the real excitement is in the receiving corps, where the Raiders hope they have drafted their next great wide-out who can follow in the footsteps of Tim Brown, who recently was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Amari Cooper was the fourth pick in the 2015 NFL draft out of the University of Alabama and he comes to Oakland not only with incredible skills and a long list of collegiate accomplishments, but he appears to be the kind of mature, polished and motivated young player who can be a major difference-maker right away. “You don’t hear any negatives about this guy,” said Raiders fourthDel Rio’s year general manager Reggie experience McKenzie. “There’s no wonder he’s as good as he is. The intangibles and expertise outside of his skill set are extremely should do high.” Cooper is big, strong and fast. He much to caught 124 passes for the Crimson turn around Tide in 2014 and was a bull after the catch, forcing 26 missed tackles and a Raiders scoring 16 touchdowns. He was the defensive Fred Biletnikoff Award winner as the best collegiate receiver in Division I unit that has and a unanimous All-American. been horrible Suffice it to say that just as the Raiders hadn’t had a young quarterfor years. back with long-term potential in ‘The new years before drafting Carr last season, they haven’t had a gamehead coach, breaking star receiver since Brown. to be sure, And for good measure, the Raiders signed 49ers free agent receiver won’t tolerate Michael Crabtree to lend him a hand softness, on the other side and show him the ropes. poor execu-

But all of that would mean a lot ▲ The Raiders have a promising less if the Raiders hadn’t made another young quarterback in Derek Carr. key addition to run the show from the sidelines. The hiring of Hayward hometown hero Jack Del Rio as the latest head coach could prove to be another bellwether moment in the club’s resurrection. Knowing his local legend, Del Rio was owner Mark Davis’ personal choice to try and lift the Raiders out of their long-standing doldrums. He was a smart, tough, winning player at every level and has impressive NFL credentials both as an assistant (he was an assistant coach for two franchises that made it to the Super Bowl – Baltimore and Denver) – and as a respected head coach for nine years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a very challenging place to win (the Jags are 9-39 since Del Rio was let go there in 2011). Del Rio’s experience and expertise should do much to turn around a Raiders defensive unit that has been horrible for years. He has some weapons to do it, most notably second-year defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack, another high draft pick in 2014 who showed glimpses of greatness in his first season, and should show even more this season now that he has a year in the NFL under his belt. The Raiders also hope to get more out of talented but oft-injured cornerback D.J. Hayden and free agent veteran defensive end Justin Tuck, and present a more hard-hitting, cohesive plan of attack under Del Rio. The new head coach, to be sure, won’t tolerate softness, poor execution or lack of conditioning. Oakland hasn’t made quite as much progress stockpiling defensive talent as they have on the offensive side of the ball, but there might be enough to protect the higher number of points the Raiders are expected to score this year. And it’s a proven fact – to win football games, the No. 1 objective is to score points. At long last, it looks as if the Raiders have the horses to do that. They might even have enough to pull off their first winning season in over a decade. If not, they should be exciting as they try. ■ Carl Steward is a sports columnist for the Oakland Tribune and Bay Area News Group.

tion or lack of conditioning.’

Good luck in the 2015 season! ABC Security Service, Inc.

Just win, Raiders! A Whole New Ball Game Go Raiders Full Court Press Communications

(510) 452-4565 233 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607




Oakland Raiders

> Oakland Raiders – It’s our time to shine by Rob Rivera

It is our time to make 2015 the year we took back the bay and reclaimed it once more as Raiders territory.

May the light be allowed to shine bright in THE BLACK HOLE this season! So here we go again, optimism overflowing and all our hopes held high in anticipation of a new year, a new team and a new direction for our Oakland Raiders. But this time around this optimism seems real, it seems to have truth to it and it seems to be able to have a chance to live up to itself. Jack is back, Del Rio that is... and this Bay Area legend (or East Bay as he stated clearly in his opening press conference) is eager to lead his group of men into battle each and every Sunday. Let's talk about Jack for a second and exactly what he means to us Raider fans and in particular Raider fans of THE BLACK HOLE. Let me preface the following first however. You see I am here to give you a BLACK HOLE perspective, for I am the president of THE BLACK HOLE ( fan club (more than 1,000 members) and while it is just a title with little significance it is one I am proud to hold. At the same time I do realize it is just football we are talking about here. Still, I do absolutely feel qualified to give you some insight into what we (THE BLACK HOLE) feel and how we look at things when it comes to Raider football. Jack Del Rio is a legend here. He, like a lot of us (including myself) in THE BLACK HOLE are from Hayward. But he, unlike most of us, made it big time! A three-sport stud at Hayward High School, then off to USC, and then playing linebacker in the NFL, Jack made his mark and made us Hayward Boys proud. While we may not have gone to the same school, we followed Jack throughout his career and wished him well most of the way (no way we wished him well while coaching at Denver).

go raiders

100 Filbert Street Oakland, CA 94607 510.444.7959

But now Jack is back and really, what does this mean? Simply put, it means that we will be Raiders once more! Raiders football will be back! You can count on it.... To drive this point let's rewind to his opening press conference. If you missed it you must find it for it was made clear on that day that this man was made to lead the way for our Silver and Black. He said, “I’m an East Bay guy. You have to be one or the other, you can’t be both. Don’t tell me you’re both. I don’t want to hear you’re both. I’m an East Bay ▲ Rob Rivera (right), president of The guy and I’ve always been an Black Hole, inducts five-time world East Bay guy.” boxing champion Tony “the Tiger” Lopez So what does this mean into the Black Hole Fan Club. to bringing back Raider football and regaining our glory once again? How does this translate into revising and revitalizing a once winning franchise into a winner once again? Easy, Raider football is a state of mind. It is a way of life, an attitude of invincibility and a gritty determination that if you haven't lived it you can never truly understand what it means. And I'm not talking about living it as a player; I'm talking about living it as a fan. You see, Jack is one of us. He grew up watching this type of true Raider football and understands what it takes to bring it back to life once more. Now don't get me wrong, we all understand that the game has changed, but the underlying will to succeed, the toughness it takes, the frame of mind to overcome adversity and the meaning of putting on sports’ greatest uniform (Silver and Black) is something that most common football fans cannot understand. Jack is a Raider. No, he never played for the Raiders, but he grew up – continued on page 9

Go all the way

Good Luck in 2015

and we’ll throw you a parade.

Visit us on the web at

The following members of the Chamber’s Ambassador Committee wish the Oakland Raiders a winning season.


Graig Brooks

Marvin A. Clark

Cynthia Dorsey

Cory and Gail Nott

Jaguar Productions

Sigma Beta Club

Oakland Chamber

Referral Institute

(510) 432-1429

(510) 867-8436



(510) 919-6830

(510) 986-4775

| OBR Oakland Business Review |


Oakland Raiders > Del Rio is back to lead his old favorite team by Carl Steward Even though he never played or coached for them, Jack Del Rio has been on the lips of Raiders fans for more than two decades, ever since he was a three-sport star at Hayward High, less than 20 miles from the Oakland Coliseum. The first-year Raiders head coach just seemed like a natural fit from the get-go. He grew up in a family of die-hard fans of the Silver & Black, and as a youth, spent many a Sunday afternoon watching his favorite team as a spectator. Somehow, it never worked out for him to stay in the East Bay after his legendary athletic career at Hayward. He was a collegiate star at USC, played 12 years as an NFL linebacker with five teams – New Orleans, Kansas City, Dallas, Minnesota and Miami – and then

Jack Del Rio

built his NFL coaching career in five other cities, including as the head coach for Jacksonville for nine seasons. Del Rio, 52, posted a creditable 68-71 record with the Jaguars and got them to the playoffs twice in a very tough small-market city to win. Now he’s coming to another small-market city with even loftier aspirations – Oakland, just a few long spirals from his hometown. He’s glad to be back, but he’s looking for more than just a ceremonial return to his roots. “Yes, it's coming home, yes I'm from this area, and yes, I'm a lifelong Raider,” Del Rio said at a press conference introducing him as their new head coach in January. “I've been a Raider fan all my life. My dad took me and I sat in the stands way back when. And so I followed them in my heart the entire time. But that's not the main reason I came back.” Del Rio liked the talent pieces general manager Reggie McKenzie had assembled the past couple of seasons watching from across the sideline as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. He was also attracted to owner Mark Davis’ intense desire to recapture the “commitment to excellence” mindset from the teams both he and Del Rio grew up watching. They had a natural rapport from the very outset. Del Rio also yearned to be a head coach again after his first goround in Jacksonville, with three subsequent years as a top-level assistant to ponder a second chance in the right situation. There wasn’t a more right situation than trying to resurrect the favorite team of his youth. No doubt his family gave him a new nudges, too, but his motivations were also deeply professional as opposed to personal. “You have an idea as a young coach of what you think it would be and then the reality of being a head coach sets in,” Del Rio said. “I think there's been tremendous growth. It also was very beneficial that after being a head coach to get the past three years to go back and be a coordinator in a successful group, because I was able to see things in a different perspective.” Del Rio was a local hero once in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and three decades later, he can be a hero again if he can bring the Raiders back to respectability and success. He might be more than that – he could be an East Bay legend in a whole new light. ■

Carl Steward is a sports columnist for the Oakland Tribune and Bay Area News Group.

> Raiders Building Oakland Together

Pipelines, Grading, Paving, Concrete, Landscape, Mechanical, Materials In Oakland since 1926 Phone: (510) 632-7676

– continued from page 8

rooting, following, learning and most importantly understanding that unspoken “vibe,” that unspoken vibration of what it is that makes a Raider a Raider. So believe you me, in a very short amount of time these Raiders of 2015 will certainly be True Raiders. And what follows that can only be wins, followed by more wins, followed by glory once again. But our excitement is also tempered because we wonder where this soon-to-be great team will play its future games. That, my friends, is the billion dollar question. ■ Rob Rivera is business development manager at AERC Recycling Solutions and is president of The Black Hole. He can be reached at or at




Law Offices of Oakland

> Work-related stress continues to cause disabilities by Brendan Brownfield

Employers are often confronted with the difficult question of how far they must go to accommodate disabilities which arise from workrelated stress.

The answer? Probably not as far as you might think. In Higgins-Williams v. Sutter Medical Foundation, 237 Cal. App. 4th 78 (2015), the California Court of Appeal recently held that an employee's stress-related inability to work under her particular supervisors did not qualify as a disability under the California Fair Employment & Housing Act ("FEHA"). Plaintiff Higgins-Williams worked for

Brendan Brownfield

Defendant Sutter Medical Foundation as a clinical assistant in Sutter's Shared

who reported to Perry. In June 2010, Higgins-Williams reported

Services Department, doing patient intake. Throughout Higgins-

to her physician that she was experiencing stress because of

Williams' employment, the Shared Services Department was

interactions at work with her manager and human resources.

overseen by Perry. Higgins-Williams' direct supervisor was Prince,

Higgins-Williams' physician diagnosed her with an “adjustment disorder with anxiety,” and Sutter granted her a stress-related leave of absence under the California Family Rights Act and the federal Family Medical Leave Act. Higgins-Williams exhausted this leave on Aug. 2, 2010, and returned to work the next day, Aug. 3. On Aug. 3, Prince gave Higgins-Williams a negative performance evaluation, a first for Higgins-Williams in multiple years of employment. Around Sept. 8, Perry began singling Higgins-Williams out for negative treatment, giving Higgins-Williams a disproportionate share of work and being curt and abrupt with her while being friendly to Higgins-Williams' co-workers. On Sept. 9, Prince inaccurately accused Higgins-Williams of being irresponsible in the care of her identification badge. That same day, Perry grabbed Higgins-Williams' arm and yelled at her, prompting Higgins-Williams to have a panic attack and leave work, never to return. Higgins-Williams then requested that Sutter accommodate her alleged disability – adjustment disorder with anxiety – in the form of a transfer to a different department, an extended leave of absence, and a specific hourly schedule. Sutter granted only the leave, and subsequently extended it for multiple months. As the end of the leave approached, Sutter requested that Plaintiff provide more specific information as to when she could return to work. Plaintiff was terminated when she failed to provide that information. Higgins-Williams filed suit in the Sacramento County Superior Court, alleging disability discrimination under FEHA, wrongful termination, and related claims. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Sutter on all of Plaintiff's disability discrimination claims and her wrongful termination claim, finding that Higgins-Williams' stress did not qualify as a disability. The Court of Appeal affirmed, premising its reasoning on a previous decision, Hobson v. Raychem Corp., 73 Cal. App. 4th 614, 628 (1999), which held that “the inability to perform one particular job, or to work under a particular supervisor, does not constitute a qualified disability” under FEHA.

10 | OBR Oakland Business Review |

Law Offices of Oakland


Acknowledging that certain aspects of Hobson had been disapproved or questioned by other cases, the Court nonetheless affirmed that Hobson's holding relevant to Higgins-Williams remains good law. Specifically, “an employee's inability to work

> Wendel Rosen helps launch law firms’ new assessment tool

under a particular supervisor because of anxiety and stress related to the supervisor’s standard oversight of the employee's job

Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP is participating in the

performance does not constitute a mental disability under FEHA.”

development and pilot launch of the Law Firm Sustainability

Given that the alleged disability underlying all of Higgins-

Network’s (LFSN) American Legal Industry Sustainability

Williams’ disability discrimination claims was her inability to work

Standard (ALISS) program. ALISS is an online assessment tool

under Perry and Prince due to stress related to their oversight of her

designed to allow law firms to measure their sustainability

performance, the Court affirmed summary judgment in favor of

efforts and identify opportunities to enhance their programs

Sutter on those claims. In so holding, the Court also appears to have

and practices.

implicitly found that the conduct of Perry and Prince amounted to “standard” oversight of Higgins-Williams' job performance. While the specific holding of Higgins-Williams is narrow, the

LFSN is a nonprofit organization of law firms and legal departments committed to promoting the benefits of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility

Court struck an important balance between the legitimate interests

throughout the legal industry. Its mission is to develop key per-

of employers in maintaining a productive workplace, and the rights

formance indicators, foster knowledge-sharing, develop best

of employees who experience work-related stress as a result of

practice guidelines, and recognize and promote sustainability

unreasonable or discriminatory supervisorial oversight to be

innovations in the U.S. legal sector.

protected from disability discrimination. This decision recognizes that normal workplace interactions between supervisors and

is an established law firm with offices in California and Nevada. We are a pre-eminent business counseling and litigation firm, offering clients leading-edge expertise and strategic guidance. Our philosophy is to provide a high level of service in an efficient and result-oriented manner. Our services and expertise are aligned with our clients' personal, commercial, and corporate goals. With every matter, we successfully combine the expertise and personal attention of a small practice with the resources of a large, full-service law firm, thus enabling our firm to incorporate our mission statement – “To provide our clients with excellent legal

ing as treasurer from 2012-2013. Maciula has been working with

degree of inherent conflict.

a team of Leadership Council law firm leaders since August 2011 to research, build, test and launch ALISS as a tool to help law

case, those interactions

firms and corporate legal departments track, improve and com-

sometimes result in stress

municate sustainable practices in their operations.

which does not qualify as a

“Since the launch of LFSN, we have made great strides in

disability, and thus may not

the industry to promote awareness of sustainability and corpo-

trigger the employer's

rate social responsibility, values that have been ingrained in the

obligations under FEHA to

Wendel Rosen culture for many, many years,” said Maciula.

engage in the interactive

“ALISS now gives law firms a formal tool designed specifically

process with the employee,

for the legal environment to measure their efforts. We know

or to provide a reasonable

that numbers produce results and are very hopeful that these

accommodation. On the other

transparent measurements will push firms to increase their sus-

hand, those employees who

tainability efforts. At Wendel Rosen our like-minded clients

experience work-related stress

greatly appreciate that sustainability is at the forefront of our

as a result of discriminatory or


unreasonable oversight from

Wendel Rosen has long been a pioneer when it comes to

their supervisors would

adopting and promoting sustainable business practices in the

potentially remain covered by

legal profession. In 2003, it became the first law firm in the

FEHA's disability discrimination

country certified as a green business (certification conducted


by the Bay Area Green Business Program) and launched its

We anticipate that subsequent decisions by the Court of Appeal will further

Green Business Practice Group. Since then, Wendel Rosen has won numerous awards for its leadership in the green economy. In addition, the firm co-chaired the effort to write and pass

define the circumstances under

California’s Benefit Corporation Law (AB361) and has been a

which work-related stress gives

Certified B Corporation since 2010.

rise to a qualifying disability

services that meet their objectives.” Located in Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Nevada, we serve our clients' needs across the nation. Our extensive experience enables us to offer quality legal representation with the benefit of local knowledge.

ecutive director Gina Maciula is on the Board of Directors, serv-

supervisees naturally involve a As in Higgins-Williams'

Burnham Brown

Wendel Rosen serves on LFSN’s Leadership Council, and ex-

The firm participated in the committee that drafted the

under FEHA, and will provide

State Bar of California “Voluntary State Bar of California

updates as this issue develops.

Lawyers Eco-Pledge and Voluntary Law Office Sustainability

Policy” and was a founding member of the United States Green Building Council – Northern California Chapter.

Brendan Brownfield is an associate with Burnham Brown. He can be reached at (510) 444-6800.

Wendel Rosen’s Green Business Practice is a member of 1 percent for the Planet, giving one percent of annual revenues to environmental causes. Firm attorneys and executives regularly speak and write for business audiences regarding the pursuit of sustainable business operations

SEPTEMBER 2015 | 11

12 | OBR Oakland Business Review |


Law Offices of Oakland

> Happy Birthday to You! Donahue Fitzgerald

by Daniel Schacht The name Donahue Fitzgerald may sound somewhat familiar. It’s because our attorneys have helped shape Most people are stunned to learn that someone claims a copyright “Happy Birthday the history, develop the community, and grow the to the song and collects millions of dollars in royalties for it. Now to You” is, businesses of the East Bay for over 100 years. the Oakland-based firm Donahue Fitzgerald is involved in what the according to the New York Times calls “a lawsuit for the ages” to prove that “Happy Guinness Book of Prior to our merger in 2014, the two firms of Donahue Birthday to You” is no longer under copyright and belongs to the World Records, Gallagher Woods and Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley had public. the most represented some of the Bay Area’s most recognizable The story of “Happy Birthday to You” started in 1893, when recognized song businesses, public agencies and nonprofits, such as Lucky Mildred and Patty Hill published “Song Stories for the Kindergarten,” in the English Stores and Safeway, the Port of Oakland and the Oakland a collection of songs that included “Good Morning to All” – the language. Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. Like the founding melody of “Happy Birthday to You” – with different lyrics. Mildred members of these legacy firms, Donahue Fitzgerald’s composed the music, while her sister, Patty, wrote the lyrics. Patty would bring songs into her kindergarten classes to make sure the passion is helping local businesses and Oakland thrive. songs were easy for young children to sing. “Good Morning to All” Among the numerous projects we have completed was adapted by teachers and schoolchildren for all kinds of occasions, in the East Bay and beyond since our merger, some including birthdays. highlights are: Sometime in the first decade or so after “Good Morning to All” • Closed merger and acquisition transactions appeared, children were singing “Happy Birthday to You” and the for the sale of a medical product company, a large lyrics started to appear in print. Despite the Hill sisters never claiming chain, and a medical technology company restaurant any rights to the lyrics of “Happy Birthday to You,” subsequent • Assisted business entities with capital restructuring publishers have claimed a copyright in the lyrics to continue to collect royalties on the song. and financing rounds Daniel Schacht Rupa Marya leads the band Rupa & the April Fishes and has been • Helped to establish an incubator in the energy, a long-time client of Donahue Fitzgerald. She recorded a live album at the San Francisco water and agricultural sector venue, The Independent, in April 2013. The show coincided with her birthday, and her band • Completed a series of real estate transactions and the audience broke into a spontaneous rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.” When she involving prominent Oakland redevelopment projects wanted to release that recording as a bonus track on her Live at the Independent CD, she • Completed the $20 million sale of a 200,000discovered Warner / Chappell claim to own the song. Rather than incur the threat of copyright square-foot, state-of-the-art warehouse / infringement, she paid $455 for a mechanical license to reproduce the song on her CDs. Rupa, however, decided to fight back. With the help of her attorneys at Donahue Fitzgerald distribution center in the East Bay and together with three filmmakers, who paid for a license for “Happy Birthday to You,” Rupa We have helped create business succession plans filed a class-action lawsuit in June 2013. They are asking the court to declare “Happy Birthday and instituted innovative tools to help minimize taxes to You” in the public domain and force Warner/Chappell to pay back all the musicians, filmand other expenses, so owners can rest assured makers and other artists who have wrongly paid licensing fees for “Happy Birthday to You.” their business will continue operations in the next The evidence has now been submitted to the court. The judge is expected to issue a ruling in generation. In the new economy fueled by fast-paced the next several weeks on whether “Happy Birthday to You” is in the public domain. technological innovation, we helped safeguard some Donahue Fitzgerald’s story started in 1883, ten years before the story of “Happy Birthday to of the most valuable intangible assets of East Bay You” began. The Brooklyn Bridge opened that year, setting a new record for the world’s longest suspension bridge, and Robert M. Fitzgerald opened a legal practice that still serves the Bay businesses: their intellectual property. Area and still bears his name: Donahue Fitzgerald. Along the way, Donahue Fitzgerald Aside from legal expertise, Donahue Fitzgerald attorneys represented the pioneers and innovators of their time. Before there was a Port of attorneys are engaging and informative presenters. Oakland, Donahue Fitzgerald helped Oakland develop its waterfront. Before BART, Donahue We have conducted in-house training for executives, Fitzgerald represented the Key System Transit Lines. The firm’s representation of Pacific Telemanagers and human resource professionals on a variety phone & Telegraph tells you all you need to know about the technology of that time. of topics, such as drafting employment policies and handDonahue Fitzgerald pioneered the enforcement of software copyrights back when softbooks to manage their workforce effectively. We hosted ware was still distributed by floppy disk and has recouped almost $250 million for their clients. Since then the firm’s copyright enforcement program has evolved with the emergence of new several complimentary seminars including the new wage software distribution channels and new threats to copyrights and trademarks. and paid sick leave laws that went into effect in March Robert Fitzgerald may not have had an inkling that his firm would one day represent the 2015. In December 2014, almost 200 people attended number one app or serve as co-counsel in “a lawsuit for the ages,” but he would have underour Annual Employment Law Update at the Claremont stood the commitment needed to serve such clients. Hotel. The “Happy Birthday to You” lawsuit is one of several promiDeeply connected to the nent intellectual property lawsuits in which Donahue Fitzgerald community, Donahue Fitzgerald has been involved. Donahue Fitzgerald served as lead counsel in attorneys serve as leaders for many the pioneering, and oft-cited, case of PhoneDog v. Kravitz, No. 11Note: The Oakland law firm of 03474 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2011), establishing that Twitter accounts cultural, educational and nonprofit can be a protectable trade secret. They helped establish in Vernor Donahue Fitzgerald will be a panel organizations, including Girls Inc., v. Autodesk, Inc., 621 F.3d 1102 (9th Cir. 2010), that their client’s sponsor at “Oaklanders Talk Tech,” GO Public Schools, Oakland Parks software is licensed, not sold. Serving as lead counsel in Autodesk, the Chamber’s thought-provoking, and Recreation Foundation, Friends Inc. v. RK Mace Engineering, Inc., 2004 WL 603382 (N.D. Cal. of the Oakland Public Library, Lake informative event on Friday, Sept. 11 March 11, 2004), Donahue Fitzgerald established that willful Merritt/Uptown CBD, Oakland copyright infringement establishes jurisdiction in the copyright from 8 to 10 a.m. at the offices of Rotary, and the Oakland Metropolitan owner’s place of business, further protecting the rights of content Pandora, 2100 Franklin St., seventh creators. Chamber of Commerce, to name just floor. Featured speakers include Mayor What “tech” means has changed a lot in the last 132 years. a few. Libby Schaaf, Pandora Chief Financial Neither Robert Fitzgerald nor the Hill sisters could have imagined Many of our attorneys are the technological revolutions that brought us here today or that Officer Mike Herring and Christopher recognized as leaders in the legal we’d still be fighting over the rights to a song whose melody first Thornberg of Beacon Economics, as well community. Most recently, Donahue appeared over a century ago. But staying abreast of technological as a panel of tech entrepreneurs disassociate Casey Williams was named changes, providing sophisticated and practical legal advice, and cussing “Key priorities for developing “Volunteer of the Year” by the helping content creators protect their rights is timeless. ■ Volunteer Legal Services Corporation Oakland’s technology ecosystem.” For Daniel Schacht is a partner at Donahue Fitzgerald and co-chairs for providing pro bono legal advice information contact Shaterica Sullivan at the firm’s Intellectual Property Group. He can be reached at and assistance to low-income or call (510) 451-3300. He will also be moderating a panel discussion at residents of Alameda County. ■ the Chamber’s “Oaklanders Talk Tech” event on Friday, Sept. 11, (510) 874-4800, ext. 0. hosted by Pandora.

SEPTEMBER 2015 | 13


Law Offices of Oakland

> Wendel Rosen honored Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP has announced that partners Penn Ayers Butler, Michael Cooper, Patricia Curtin, Michael Dean, Matthew Graham, Charles Hansen, Roger Hughes, Howard Lind, Pamela Schock Mintzer and Richard Waxman have been selected by their peers for inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America” © 2016 (Copyright 2015 by Woodward / White, Inc., of Aiken, SC). Five Wendel Rosen partners make their inaugural appearance on the list this year, including managing partner Richard Waxman, honoring a total of ten attorneys representing various practice areas. In addition to name partner Michael Dean’s impressive 33-year appearance, Partner Patricia Curtin was named the Best Lawyers Land Use and Zoning Law “Lawyer of the Year” in California in 2015. In other Wendel Rosen news: • Robert Selna has been named an attorney in Wendel Rosen’s Land Use and Real Estate Practice Groups. Most recently, Selna ran a solo practice in Oakland. Prior to practicing law, he served as a San Francisco Supervisor’s chief of staff and had a lengthy newspaper reporting career. He represents business and development teams in a broad spectrum of land use, real estate and business matters. • Wendel, Rosen Partner Margaret (“Maggie”) Grover has been named to the Board of Directors of Oakland’s historic Art

14 | OBR Oakland Business Review |

Deco Paramount Theatre. A long-time patron of the venue, her term begins immediately. Grover’s legal practice has focused on employment matters for nearly 30 years, representing both employers and employees. She advises clients on a wide range of issues including harassment, discrimination, Affordable Care Act, Family and Medical Leave and Family Rights Acts, Americans with Disabilities Act, wage and hour matters, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, workplace security, severance, and workplace privacy. • Stephen Brindle and Kevin Rodriguez have been named associates to the Real Estate and Trusts and Estates Practice Groups, respectively. Brindle joins Wendel Rosen from an inhouse position at Gap Inc. in San Francisco, where he was a contract attorney for the company’s fleet of stores throughout North America. Most recently a trusts and estates litigation associate at Hopkins & Carley in San Jose and Palo Alto, Rodriguez represents fiduciaries, beneficiaries and nonprofit organizations in contested trust, estate, conservatorship and elder abuse matters. ■


Law Offices of Oakland

> Wendel Rosen draws on history, experience to support thriving food and beverage scene

– by Richard A. Lyons

If you’ve lived or worked in Oakland for any amount of time, you’ve had a front row seat to the city’s continuing transformation. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in our food and entertainment scene. A city with a downtown that used to be nearly void of recreation and retail options saw 200 new restaurants and a dozen or more new bars open between 2011 and 2014. The “record-breaking” year for tourism in 2014, which saw overall hotel occupancy hit 79 percent, and the demand for more restaurants, bars and retail shops to serve visitors, is Richard A. Lyons also helping to drive unprecedented growth. In addition to the retail scene, another side of this renaissance may be seen in the number of food and beverage manufacturers found in Oakland. Reasonable real estate prices and available industrial-sized space have made Oakland an ideal launching pad for these businesses. Legacy buildings that once housed old-style companies, like Mother’s Cookies, now host a new generation of organic and natural food companies. While this progression in Oakland’s economy is positive and exciting on many fronts, explosive growth presents unique considerations and challenges for new and expanding businesses. As a law firm, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean has grown with the city since 1909. In recent years, this has included the organization of dedicated groups adept at serving particular industries, while also addressing core general and green business, employment, land use/real estate and intellectual property issues. This depth of targeted experience allows the attorneys in the firm’s Food & Beverage Group to work closely with clients in the restaurant, food manufacturing, branded products, winery, craft brewing and hospitality areas through the full range of their legal and business needs. With this focus, and the firm’s deep roots and established East Bay connections, Wendel Rosen has a number of long-standing client relationships in the industry. For example, firm-wide Managing Partner Richard Waxman has been counsel for the East Bay-based Nation’s Giant Hamburgers chain for several years. In this role, he has assisted the company in its expansion to a 28-location diner empire locally and eastward to the Sacramento area. Wendel Rosen provides multiple legal services to Nation’s, including corporate governance, property leasing and acquisitions, formation of entities, and regulatory, employment and other compliance counsel. Within the industry, “natural and organic” has become an established way of life. As such, the group works with numerous companies to address the scrutiny and regulations that a company operating a business with these claims must consider. We have had a relationship with Oakland-based Premier Organics, which locally produces raw, organic nut butters and chocolate, for nearly seven years. Throughout this time, Wendel Rosen has helped Premier Organics achieve their goals of sustained growth while remaining environmentally responsible and committed to the all-natural and organic production of its products. Working with the company through labeling, employment and leasing issues, among others, we are gratified to see this manufacturer’s growth to about 60 local employees representing a diverse population. The company not only appreciates Wendel Rosen’s ability to pull in experienced attorneys from a range of disciplines, but, like Premier Organics, our firm has exhibited a long-term commitment to green and sustainable business practices. The Food & Beverage Group also works with VCs making investments in organic and natural food companies. These investors may be “patient capital,” not only providing financing, but willing to help their portfolio companies build real value. Another subset, and perhaps the most exciting to beer aficionados, is the firm’s niche in representing craft breweries and cider makers – markets that show no sign of slowing. Our attorneys work with clients on the range of legal needs in this space, from entity formation to trademark issues to advertising and marketing concerns. The next growth area on the horizon for the group – and the city – is “mixeduse” projects, driven by restaurateurs’ and hoteliers’ development desires. These joint ventures range from nightlife operations incorporating live music with food and cocktails, to hotel projects including street-level retail shops and dining options. Many don’t consider the complications involved in using space for a variety of purposes, including challenges in permitting and licensing, particularly in the case of liquor licenses. Wendel Rosen is adept at early coordination with the multiple parties involved, including the city, neighborhood groups and private owners and developers, to minimize these could-be project roadblocks. Oakland is a vibrant city, and we are proud to be part of it. Wendel Rosen is excited about the positive growth and changes to come, and we look forward to continuing to work with our long-standing food and beverage industry clients, as well as new ones, to achieve their goals. ■ Richard A. Lyons is chair of Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP’s Food & Beverage Group. He can be reached at (510) 834-6600 or

SEPTEMBER 2015 | 15


Law Offices of Oakland


> Uber’s business model is under attack by Andrew Kozlow For many people living in urban areas in California and throughout the United States, Uber has become a way of life. For the uninitiated, Uber provides an application for individuals to utilize on their smart phones where they can summon a ride from an Uber driver near them. Drivers sign up with Uber to provide services, utilize their own vehicle and decide when they will make themselves “available” for riders to request a ride. The ride fare is automatically generated based on the city and mileage of the ride. The driver receives a percentage of the total fare. Andrew Kozlow Since its inception, Uber has touted itself, not as an employer of these drivers, but rather, as a company that provides a platform for riders and drivers to connect. Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors and treats them as such. This distinction is critical, as an employee in California is entitled to much greater protections under California wage and hour and anti-discrimination laws than if classified as an independent contractor. In addition, an employer – as opposed to a mere “hirer” of an independent contractor – has a legal duty towards an employee in areas such as payroll taxes, overtime, worker’s compensation insurance, and reimbursement of business expenses. In recent months, this classification has been the subject of multiple challenges, threatening the business model of Uber and similar “ride-sharing” companies. First, this past June, the California Labor Commissioner’s office ruled in favor of an Uber driver who claimed she was an employee, rather than an

independent contractor. The Commissioner’s office disagreed with Uber’s position that it was merely a platform that connected drivers. In using long-standing factors in analyzing the employee v. independent contractor distinction, the Commissioner highlighted that Uber controlled nearly all aspects of the relationship, including vetting the drivers, only allowing approved drivers to use the Uber California coverage – The firm was technology and setting the price established in California in 1950. of the trip. As such, the Our seven law offices cover the 58 Commissioner awarded the counties in this amazingly diverse driver $4,152.20 in employee state. Our centrally located Los Anexpenses, including mileage geles and Sacramento offices serve reimbursements. While the major metropolitan areas. The enamount of damages awarded to tire Bay Area is covered by the San the driver are minimal and the Francisco, San Jose and Oakland ofdecision itself only applies to fices. The Fresno office serves the that specific driver, the effect state’s growing Central Valley. of the decision with respect to future claims filed with the Local knowledge – Through the Labor Commission are northern and southern California significant. offices, our attorneys have repreAlthough the immediate sented local and national clients in effect of this decision may be jurisdictions all over the state. We limited, it likely is a signal of know the local courts and judges, how California courts (and other the variations in jury pools in differjurisdictions) may be leaning on ent parts of the state, and we probthis issue. Uber is currently ably know most of the expert appealing the decision. witnesses you’re likely to encounter. There also remains an ongoing federal class-action suit Personal relationships – Each offiled by Uber drivers challenging fice is large enough to handle comindependent contractor plex litigation and small enough to classification of its drivers. allow direct contact with individual (O’Connor et al v. Uber attorneys. Responsiveness and Technologies, Case No. CV communication are essential to de13-03826). Most recently, on livering the best client service, Aug. 6, 2015, the federal court in which is one of Ericksen ArbuthSan Francisco heard arguments not’s greatest strengths. ■ on whether or not to grant class action status to the purported class of 160,000 Uber drivers in California. Uber argues that its drivers are too different and distinct to all be grouped together in one class represented by the three drivers who filed the lawsuit. In addition, Uber argues there are multiple, different contracts that control the different Uber drivers, further supporting a claim that class status is not appropriate. The drivers argue exactly the opposite. The potential effect of the district court’s decision is far reaching, in that if the court grants classaction status, the lawsuit not only would involve the claims (and damages) of the three drivers who filed the lawsuit, but all 160,000 Uber drivers in California. The judge likely will not issue a decision on the class action motion for many weeks, which can be then appealed by either party. Once the class action question is answered, then the case will move forward to determine if the drivers truly are independent contractors. If class action status is achieved, and the case is determined adverse to Uber, the damages could be substantial and would challenge Uber’s model and similar companies who utilized ride-share technology. One of Uber’s primary arguments in favor of the independent contractor model is that many of its drivers enjoy the freedom the independent contractor model allows them and would not want to be employees. The drivers in the federal lawsuit argue the independent contractor-employee distinction is not about preference and convenience, but rather detailed protections and rights under the law. These issues are yet another representation of scenarios where aspects of the new economy intersect long-standing employment laws in California. Uncertainty is the enemy of entrepreneurs and business owners, thus the hope is the courts will provide guidance on these crucial issues to assist businesses seeking to utilize these new technological advances. ■ Andrew Kozlow is a partner in the Oakland office of Ericksen Arbuthnot and a member of the firm’s Employment Law Practice Group. He can be reached at (510) 832-7770 or

16 | OBR Oakland Business Review |


Law Offices of Oakland

> Business succession: Planning for the ‘What Ifs’ before they happen by Brian Ripley Business owners are often surprised that I ask them about their exit strategy when they first meet me. “I’m years away from retirement. Why should I worry about that now?” The simple answer is that you can’t plan your path without first determining your ultimate destination. Are you building a legacy company to pass on to your children or Brian Ripley employees? Are you creating a business to be sold to a stranger? Or some other scenario altogether? Without understanding your intention, you can’t develop and implement the strategies and actions necessary to reach your goals. If you’re in business with someone else, the failure to determine if you share the same vision may result in insurmountable conflict when the continuation of the business is threatened by disability, retirement, death, divorce or other traumatic event. Many small business owners have more than half of their wealth tied up in their business. Aside from their home, it likely represents their family’s single largest asset – and the foundation of their long-term financial security. Nearly 80 percent of business owners say they want their businesses to survive them. And yet less than 25 percent have any type of written succession plan or “exit strategy.” The all too frequent result is that businesses devolve into conflict and chaos when a founder dies or becomes disabled. Decades of blood, sweat and sacrifice go quickly down the drain, all for want of a simple plan. A well-crafted succession plan is as important as determining the type of business entity best suited for the company, including which will provide the most legal protection and financial benefit; utilizing contracts and agreements that accurately reflect and protect business decisions; and understanding the legal requirements and procedures necessary to retain the financial and legal protections a business entity provides. Throughout the world are ancient structures that have withstood the ravages of time: the pyramids at Giza, Angkor Wat, Maccu Piccu, Hagia Sofia and others. In each instance, the builders of those marvels spent enormous amounts of time planning the foundations before a single brick was laid. The same lessons apply to business – the more thought, time and planning one spends in creating a company’s foundation, the more likely that business will weather the storms and quakes of an uncertain world. Over the 30+ years counseling business owners, I have become more passionate in advocating these concepts. Without exception, businesses fail because their owners were so eager to “get out of the gate” that they overlooked the key building blocks necessary to ensure their long-term viability and success. My intention is that my business-owner clients don’t become a statistic. Together, we craft a strong and enduring foundation, including a succession plan that preserves the value of the business by establishing a clear transition process while also providing the monetary resources necessary to implement the plan without jeopardizing the ongoing financial stability of the company. This way everyone can sleep better at night. ■

Recognized in the Bay Area and beyond as among the foremost business transaction attorneys, the Law Office of Brian Ripley breaks down complicated legal issues in accessible and clear language, empowering business owners to make intelligent, informed strategic decisions about their companies. Since 1983, we have represented companies of every type, size and description, from Fortune 100 multinational conglomerates to “mom-and-pop” businesses and “solopreneurs.” Our clients represent a broad spectrum of industries, from health care, architecture, construction, equipment supply, real estate investments, legal and financial services, consumer products, and technology to the arts. Business owners who are provided with clear information regarding the full range of available options, coupled with an understanding of how the law impacts their company, supported by proactive, strategic counseling, have the best chance of long-term success and profitability. Based in downtown Oakland, our legal services include guiding business owners every step of the way. We help owners select the right type of business entity and analyze the risks involved. We counsel clients on “best practices” concerning how to respond quickly and effectively when legal problems arise. We specialize in creating and implementing effective business succession plans. And we give back to the community by supporting worthy local projects and charities. Proactive business planning is far preferable to reactive management, and less costly in the long run. With decades of civil litigation experience, we have a deep understanding about how legal protections break down over time. If your company has vulnerable areas, we are constantly on the alert for ways to fine-tune your business practices and documents. That way, problems that arise are less like a tsunami and more like a ripple on a smooth pond. To protect your business, hire a great lawyer. For a complimentary initial consultation, contact our office at (510) 596-1745 to schedule an appointment. ■

Brian Ripley is principal at the Law Office of Brian Ripley. He can be reached at (510) 596-1745.

SEPTEMBER 2015 | 17


Law Offices of Oakland > Modern hieroglyphs: Intellectual property signs of the times by Leonard E. Marquez You see them every day – those funnylooking characters and symbols splashed all over goods and advertisements. Ⓡ. Ⓒ. Our friends “TM” and “SM” and even Ⓟ. Like modern hieroglyphs, we know that these symbols have some cryptic meaning or purpose, but what do they really mean and why use them? These symbols are sign-posts, signaling to the world that somebody has or is claiming intellectual property rights. The Ⓡ symbol tells a viewer that the Leonard E. Marquez owner has a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It puts that person on notice – take heed that someone has important and protectable rights in this particular name or mark, and unauthorized use could result in damages for infringement. Absent such notice, the trademark owner can only recover damages if he can show that the infringer had actual notice of the trademark registration. Misuse of the Ⓡ symbol for an unregistered trademark, however, may preclude the owner from obtaining registration of an otherwise valid mark as well as raising the spectre of civil or criminal liability. The “TM” and “SM” symbols tell the viewer that the owner claims an unregistered trademark or “servicemark.” The former signals a claimed trademark, while the latter is used with servicemarks (a servicemark is a trademark used to identify a service rather than a product). No specific federal statutes authorize the use of the “TM” symbol, limits its use, or states definitively what it does or does not convey to the public. Historically, however, the designation has been used as a way of alerting the public to a claim of ownership of a trademark and use of these symbols can help establish a trademark. The courts may consider such use as evidence demonstrating that a name or mark is being used in the sense of a trademark or servicemark to reflect the origin of the goods or services, a factor in the overall determination of the existence of trademark protection. The absence of a symbol is evidence that the mark is not being used as a trademark. The copyright related symbols Ⓒ and Ⓟ indicate ownership rights in “original works of authorship” but the parameters of those rights is a bit more complicated. There are several formats for this notice proscribed by federal statute. Federal law specifies that the notice may be in any one of the following forms: (1) the symbol Ⓒ (the letter C in a circle), (2) the word “Copyright” or (3) the abbreviation “Copr.” For sound recordings, a different form of notice is used – the symbol Ⓟ (the letter P in a circle) along with the year of first publication and the designation of the owner. While not required, including a copyright notice on a published work can negate an infringer’s ability to rely on the “innocent infringement” defense to avoid the imposition of certain damages. A copyright notice was required for works published before March 1, 1989 (the effective date, as to the United States, of the international copyright treaty known as the Berne Convention). General publication before that date without a copyright notice could cause a work to enter the public domain if the copyright owner failed to cure the omission of the mandatory copyright notice. There are, however, some limited circumstances in which the omission of the copyright notice from authorized copies distributed by the copyright owner does not invalidate the copyright in a work. For example, a copyright is not lost if an otherwise required copyright notice was left off in violation of an express written requirement contained in the owner’s authorization of the public distribution of the work. Unless you are adept at reading hieroglyphs, consulting with a trademark attorney before making use of any of these symbols in corporate logos, advertisements or other communications is a must.

■ Leonard E. Marquez is a partner at the law firm of Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP.

18 | OBR Oakland Business Review |

> Don’t get run over by the Cadillac tax: Nine strategies for employers to consider by Jeanette Mone The last major wave of reform brought on by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is set to take effect in 2018. Effective with taxable years beginning on Jan. 1 of that year, the excise tax, or “Cadillac” tax, will be imposed on all group-sponsored plans. The law imposes a 40 percent excise tax on plan costs that exceed pre-determined dollar limits. When the ACA was initially written, the tax was supposed to affect only a small Jeanette Mone percentage of plans that offered very rich benefits. Unfortunately, with continued rising costs, increasing chronic disease, and an aging U.S. population, by the time 2018 arrives we could see anywhere from 20-51 percent* of plans impacted by the tax. In response, many employers are taking steps to avoid or mitigate their Cadillac tax exposure. Here are some strategies that we suggest to ensure employers minimize their tax risk: 1. Reduce the medical plan design value. This is where many plan sponsors will first turn, because it’s simple and effective. Employers need to be careful that they don’t reduce the plan design benefits to levels that are too low. Otherwise, they risk dropping the plan design below the 60 percent actuarial minimum value standard applicable under the ACA’s employer play-or-pay mandate. 2. Consider other plan modifications. Rather than just reducing the plan design, employers can consider alternative plan changes. Examples include a reduction in the size of the provider network, a shift to a value-based plan design structure, or the promotion of medical tourism. 3. Increase health and productivity measures. Another way to reduce costs is to improve the health of the covered population. Investing in more robust wellness and care management programs, along with more analysis of the health drivers using data warehousing tools, can propel savings and help lower the trend of the plan. This will help employers stay under the penalty thresholds longer. 4. Manage funding of HSA account-based plans. As of now, pre-tax contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) will count toward the tax calculation. Eliminating, reducing, or moving contributions to post-tax will help lower plan costs subject to the tax. An employer eliminating HSA contributions furthers the strategy of reducing the plan design value of the core group health plan, but in turn erodes their support of consumerism. This tactic would require careful communications. Alternatively, making HSA contributions uniformly through the year rather than by lump sum would be less disruptive than eliminating contributions. 5. Optimize plan rate tiers. Many plans have their rates set on a three or four-tier basis. The cost thresholds for the tax are only two-tier (self-only and other than self-only). Since the tax owed is assessed per individual, there may be an opportunity to convert rates to a two-tier basis and re-calculate the difference between single and family rates to either avoid or reduce the tax. 6. Restrict spousal coverage. We’ve seen an ongoing trend where employers do not allow employees to elect spousal coverage if their spouses are eligible for benefits elsewhere. A softer approach may be to impose a spousal surcharge, which might discourage the enrollment of spouses. This approach would have a less disruptive impact on employees. 7. Have employees pay excepted benefits on a post-tax basis. Products such as accident, critical illness, or cancer insurance are becoming more common, and if these benefits are paid post-tax by the employee, they do not aggregate toward the excise thresholds. 8. Establish dental and vision plans as stand-alone benefits. If the dental and vision benefits are integrated into the medical plan, their costs will be included in the tax calculations. If separated from the medical plan and provided on an insured basis, they will not be included. Employers should evaluate these strategies further to determine their impact on their particular cultures and benefits strategies. Partner with your insurance broker and employee benefits advisor. Your broker and benefits advisor can help set a realistic expectation of your health care costs and develop a plan that meets your financial goals. ■ Jeanette Mone is a member of the Bay Area’s Employee Benefits Department for Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc. She can be reached at (925) 407-7338 or at

Economic Development photo by Harry Hamilton, City of Oakland


> Lake Merritt Sailboat House Shoreline Project complete The Lake Merritt Sailboat House Shoreline project, funded by voter-approved Measure DD, continues the water quality, wildlife habitat, pedestrian and cycling improvements that have transformed the lake in recent years.

“Lake Merritt is our city’s crown jewel,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Recognizing the need to restore and protect this precious asset, voters approved Measure DD. Those dollars have been wisely invested to refurbish and enhance the lake for broader and more sustainable public use. These improvements to our lakefront have brought Oaklanders closer together, helping to revitalize our city and create an even more vibrant community.” While joggers, strollers and cyclists are familiar with the pathway around Lake Merritt, the lake itself is an important site for the Oakland Parks & Recreation (OPR) Lake Merritt Boating Center Programs. Specific components of the $7.37 million Sailboat House Shoreline project included:

• Constructing a new plaza for large public and private events that welcomes visitors to the Sailboat House and Lake Merritt Boating Center with fabulous views. • Upgrading the outdoor public restrooms to meet today’s ADA access standards. • Installing a new boat launch ramp and new boat hoists to improve everyone’s boating experience. • Moving the parking lot inland and moving the pathway around the lake closer to the shoreline which also creates access for educational opportunities. • Upgrading ADA access from Bellevue Avenue which provides easier access to the boating center, shoreline and pathway. • Replacing aging infrastructure with a new seawall to improve safety. • Removing the old and failing timber retaining walls and constructing a new marsh habitat. • Installing two “bioswales” to help protect the lake’s water quality from storm water runoff. Project funding The Lake Merritt Sailboat House Shoreline project construction began in 2014 and was managed by Oakland Public Works. The project cost $7.37 million, with $300,000 coming from the California State Coastal Conservancy and the balance from Measure DD bond funds. In November 2002, Oakland voters approved Measure DD – the Oakland Trust for Clean Water and Safe Parks – a $198 million bond measure to fund parks, trails, bridges, a recreation center, historic building renovations, land acquisition and creek restoration. Measure DD work at Lake Merritt includes a variety of projects to expand parkland, renovate buildings, enhance Children’s Fairyland, improve water quality and wildlife habitat, calm traffic and improve pedestrian and bicycle access around the lake and down the channel. With oversight by the Measure DD Community Coalition, proceeds from the DD bonds fund projects throughout Oakland, including those at Lake Merritt, the nation’s largest saltwater tidal lake and the nation’s oldest wildlife preserve. ■

> Another move to Oakland DTZ, a global leader in commercial real estate services, has announced that Brown & Toland Physicians has completed a lease transaction to relocate its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to downtown Oakland. The company plans to move to its new headquarters by April 2016.

Brown & Toland executed a multi-year lease for ±60,000 square feet at the Clorox Building in the City Center complex in downtown Oakland. The company, with doctors, clinicians, and patients in San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, will also maintain a satellite office in San Francisco. The relocation of the corporate office to the East Bay will unite Brown & Toland employees in Emeryville with those currently located in San Francisco, bringing most of the company’s employees together in one location. Tim Hogan and John Dolby with DTZ's San Francisco and Oakland offices represented Brown & Toland in the lease transaction. Additionally, the company hired DTZ’s Project and Development Services team to provide tenant improvement work on its new customized space, an effort being led by Rick Coeur, LEED AP. “This is the largest relocation of a tenant from San Francisco to downtown Oakland we have tracked, with Matson Navigation in 2003 (52,000 square feet) and Koret of California in 1998 (51,000 square feet) among the others,” said Dolby. “This new occupancy will bring Class A vacancy in downtown Oakland to below 8 percent; meanwhile Class B is less than 6 percent. With just one single block of space larger than 50,000 square feet currently available, Oakland will need to build new inventory to attract other large tenants.” Dolby is also a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. ■

SEPTEMBER 2015 | 19

> Sausalito, Tiburon...Oakland?! Visit Oakland has announced a slew of brand new attractions to the Oakland waterfront, making it the one-stop shop for boaters and land-dwellers alike. In addition to kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding from California Canoe & Kayak, plentiful waterfront dining options, and the Oakland Urban Wine Trail, Oakland now has even more to offer. WATER – f you’re looking to learn to sail or operate a powerboat, book a private yacht charter, or simply go for a short fun cruise, Passage Nautical, a Platinum Beneteau dealer, recently opened at Jack London Square and features new Beneteau sail and powerboats and Lagoon Catamarans. Boats range from 22 feet to 48 feet. Most activities and skippered charters accommodate six passengers, but special arrangements can be made for larger groups. Nautical Passage offers a personal, intimate experience to the bay. For those wanting to learn some nautical history, the Port of Oakland has introduced free Harbor Tours due to popular demand. Through the month of October, guests will get up close to some of the world’s largest cranes while cruising the USS Potomac, the legendary floating White House of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the 90-minute narrated cruise, guests will learn about the Port, the Oakland estuary, and all five marine terminals.

Registration for Harbor Tours is open the first Monday of every month for reservations approximately three weeks from the registration date. Cruises aboard the USS Potomac are also available to the public as well as dockside docent-led tours every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Visitors can catch a boat ride on the Bay Area’s only cross bay water taxi service from Tideline Water Taxi. It’s the first ondemand, all-weather transportation service. Smaller vessels carry six passengers while larger boats can accommodate 42. Tideline Water Taxi stops at the most sought-after destinations in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Schedule your on-demand reservation online. In addition to the waterfront’s accessibility to public transportation, including the Jack London Square Ferry Terminal, Amtrak and the free B Shuttle bus which connects downtown Oakland to the waterfront, the estuary is also one of the most convenient locations for boaters. There is plentiful guest berthing (up to three hours) at the guest dock at the base of Broadway and alongside the iconic Scott’s Seafood Restaurant. For boaters who wish to stay over, check in with the Oakland Marinas fuel dock for overnight guest slips and spend the night at one of the hotels conveniently located in Jack London Square or along the Embarcadero. LAND – Visitors are encouraged to make a whole day out of their Oakland waterfront experience. Ride along the shore with a bicycle rental from Bay Area Bikes located right in Jack London Square. Experience Oakland wine tasting with Rosenblum Cellars, Cerruti Cellars and Jeff Cohn Cellars, all steps away from boat berth moorage. Or bowl a few frames with family and friends at plank, Oakland’s hottest entertainment hub that also boasts an indoor arcade, outdoor bocce ball courts and a beer garden. Spend the night in Oakland and relax. There are several waterfront properties in the area. The Waterfront Hotel, a Joie de

20 | OBR Oakland Business Review |

Vivre property, is located right in Jack London Square. Located just two blocks away is The Inn at Jack London Square, with easy access to downtown as well as all the waterfront activities. Further down the Oakland estuary with picturesque views of the water at sunrise and sunset are the Executive Inn & Suites, The Best Western Plus Bayside Hotel and the Homewood Suites by Hilton. DINE – Don’t forget the plethora of dining choices in the Jack London Square area. For a taste of the south, kick up your heels and engage in line dancing and drinks at Overland, the newest country bar and restaurant in town. Try Italian-inspired Lungomare, or Michelin-star rated chef Daniel Patterson’s Haven. Share some Pan-American tapas at Bocanova, oysters at Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House, or a slice of pizza at Forge. Share a drink at the historic Heinold’s First and Last Chance or bond over beers at Brozeit Lokal. Or berth your boat and stock up on fresh California produce during the Jack London Square Farmer’s Market every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or full your fridge on board at BevMo, also located in the square. Whatever you want to do, the Oakland waterfront has what you’re looking for. For more things to do in Oakland, go to ■


Small Business



it hides


by Ana-Marie Jones

by Sarah Heegaard Rush

On July 21 a 4.0 earthquake in Fremont set off a social media storm when a USGS scientist was reported to have said that a major earthquake was expected “any day now.” The real message (as clarified by Tom Brocher, a research geophysicist with USGS) was that a major earthquake can hit the Bay Area “at any time.” Kathryn Shultz, in her July 20, 2015 article, “The Really Big One” (published in the New Yorker) details the catastrophic earthquake that looms for the Pacific Northwest. A FEMA Region X Ana-Marie Jones official quoted in the article says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.” This back-to-back hyperbolic news sparked action. Some of it was from well-intentioned people hoping to inform and protect their loved ones and communities. And some of it was from people promoting a message of doom: where only people with stockpiled provisions and guns will survive the “roving gangs” that come after the inevitable collapse of our infrastructure. For the sake of agreement (and to respect our history, our science, and our research): can we all just agree that a major earthquake will indeed someday strike our region? Can we all agree that the city of Oakland really doesn’t need another fear/threat banner flying overhead? And please, oh please, can we just simply agree that we can’t afford to waste more money on ineffective approaches that also cause harm? With total respect and appreciation for the awesome Oakland inventions of the Mai Tai, Fantasy Football, the Squeegee, the Popsicle, and the Fortune Cooking Folding Machine – shouldn’t we give at least equal billing to the life-saving innovations in emergency readiness that have been created in our town? Here are few highlights: Oakland was the urban impact area of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the launch pad for the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) (that followed the 1991 Oakland Firestorm), and we became the epicenter of the nonprofit preparedness movement. We have the first curriculum designed to serve the unique needs of the LGBT community, we have ways to successfully engage the poorest communities, and we know how to use preparedness to help combat poverty, promote equality, and perhaps above all, foster social cohesion. In Oakland, we have tools that cost less, do more, they are all fear-free, backed by research, and designed for the vibrant, multi-ethnic, progressive city that we are at our core. Oh yes, and they kill fewer trees. Under the haze of the latest click-bait and over-hyped disaster stories, buried beneath the politics of preparedness, most of our innovations remain unfunded, unheralded, and unable to make our city strong and resilient – when we could be true leaders in a multi-billion dollar gamechanging conversation. In the United States alone, more than $130 billion was spent on Y2K preparedness, and we’ll never know how much was collectively scammed from our elders and more vulnerable people, who remain the preferred prey of disaster scammers. By 2000 the burnout from hazard-hyping had taken its toll, and thus preparedness was an even harder sell. After Sept. 11, 2001, we discovered that many businesses hadn’t touched their disaster plans or rotated supplies since they had put them on the shelf. Since then Homeland Security, bio-terror, cyber-terror, and ever too many active shooter events have brought more awareness and billions more dollars to the readiness and public safety conversation. So why aren’t we a sustainably prepared community, when here in Oakland we now know how to do it differently? Well, saying “No!” to the status quo takes real courage. No major business or philanthropist has reached down to pull up Oakland’s grassroots solutions into the light. We haven’t had the political will to unite around this issue. Celebrities covet (and give generously in) the post-disaster “hero” spotlight, but effective, sustainable preparedness solutions haven’t yet captured hearts or mainstream media attention. When YOU take action, you are part of the solution, and Oakland needs more heroes. To get your cape and tools, call CARD at (510) 4513140, or email ■

Six steps every same-sex couple should consider taking If you’re worried about having enough money to someday retire with your loved one to a comfortable lifestyle, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, retirement is the number-one financial concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. That concern may only grow as laws pertaining to same-sex marriages continue to evolve and couples plan for a shared retirement in uncertain times. The good news is that there are steps sameSarah Heegaard Rush sex couples can take right now to create a unified understanding – and a shared confidence – of how and when you’ll both be able to retire.

> Disaster hype and the solutions

Ana-Marie Jones is the founder and co-chair of the Chamber’s Nonprofit Roundtable Committee, and the executive director of CARD – Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters.

> Creating a ‘Shared Retirement

Step 1: Review your current financial statuses and goals The first step is to start the conversation about where you are today. Together, review how much you have in checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, and other investment accounts. Then discuss your current financial goals. For instance, do you foresee buying a new home in the future? Are there upcoming educational funding needs? Do you want to be debt-free by a certain date? Coming to an agreement on your right-now goals is necessary before you can begin to plan for retirement. Step 2: Discuss your lifestyle expectations for retirement Take the time now to discuss your expectations and hopes for retirement. Together, answer questions such as: Is downsizing after retirement a good idea? Is travel a priority? Where do you want to live? Is continuing to give to charity important? Once you’ve established your joint vision, it’s easier to work together to ensure your financial retirement strategy is on track. Step 3: Do the preliminary math The next step is to figure out, given your collective vision, what types of monthly expenses you’ll have after retirement and how much monthly income you’ll eventually need to afford the retirement lifestyle you’ve agreed on. With this information, you’ll gain a better understanding of what your retirement financial goals should be. Plus, you’ll have a better idea of when it might make sense for each of you to retire, given how much you need to save. Step 4: Make beneficiary naming a priority Part of developing a shared confidence in the long-term future is knowing you’ll each have surviving-partner access to your combined assets, no matter where your state stands on legalizing same-sex marriage. That’s why it’s essential for all same-sex couples to have written wills and to clearly name their partners as a beneficiary on banking, investment, and retirement accounts. You’ll also want to check to see whether or not your surviving partner will be able to roll any inherited retirement benefits directly into their own retirement account. This will depend on your state’s statutes and specific employer rules. Step 5: Know the current rules on Social Security benefits Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision, legally married same-sex couples can claim spousal-related Social Security benefits – an important factor in retirement financial planning. However, the Social Security Administration currently does not provide spousal benefits for same-sex married couples if they live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. The exception is if your state has laws that allow for inheritance rights for civil unions or domestic partnerships. Some experts believe this will change in the near future, though, and there may even be a chance for retroactive benefits. Step 6: Schedule a meeting with a financial advisor Retirement planning is complicated, perhaps even more so for same-sex couples today. So even if you think you have a handle on your joint plans, it’s a good idea to meet with a financial advisor who is aware of the nuances of retirement planning for same-sex couples and who can help you navigate your way, together, with certainty. An excellent resource is Wells Fargo’s team of financial advisors. Visit for more information. ■ Sarah Heegaard Rush is a senior financial advisor with Wells Fargo.

SEPTEMBER 2015 | 21

Economic Development > Port of Oakland sponsors back-to-school giveaway The Port of Oakland has donated 370 backpacks to every student at Preparatory Literary Academy of Cultural Excellence (P.L.A.C.E.) at Prescott Elementary School. The Port is partnering with Oakland-based Lend A Hand Foundation (LAHF) to help disadvantaged youth in the Oakland Unified School District.

“Backpacks get students excited about the new school year,” said Amy Tharpe, Port of Oakland director of social responsibility. “As a West Oakland neighbor and partner, the Port of Oakland is doing its part to help local school children.” The Port purchased backpacks and school supplies while employees donated their time to prepare the backpacks for distribution. The Port’s goal is to make sure that students are better equipped for learning. The backpacks are filled with school supplies to help parents focus on other priorities such as food and clothing. This year marks the 16th year that Oakland-based LAHF has donated school supplies to local youth. According to LAHF, there are approximately 30,000 low-income youth in Oakland alone who are in need of financial support. What’s in the box? A look at the Port’s top commodities Did you know that the Port of Oakland moves 99 percent of the containerized goods that come through Northern California? What’s in the box? Anything from furniture to glassware to machinery is coming into the U.S. through Oakland. Outbound, containers are filled with products like edible fruits and nuts, meat, and beverages. Imports – Top commodities through Oakland in 2014 Source - Datamyne 1. Furniture, bedding, and lamps 2. Packaging to support the beverage industries 3. Glass and Glassware 4. Machinery 5. Electrical machinery Exports – Top commodities through Oakland in 2014 1. Wood pulp (Used in making furniture, paper, and hardboard) 2. Edible fruits and nuts 3. Meat and fish 4. Beverages, spirits and vinegar 5. Grains and Seeds Although people see huge ships every day going to and from the Port of Oakland, it’s probably not well understood as to what’s inside those colorful boxes. The Port of Oakland has created a video called “What’s in the box?” to explain what goods are transported through the seaport. Where are the goods coming from and where are they going? Asia is the Port of Oakland’s major trading partner at 76 percent with Europe in second position at 14 percent. Five percent of the Port’s trade is with Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, and the remaining five percent is with other countries. The total value of imports and exports through the Oakland seaport is more than $40 billion annually. ■

> Not a beauty pageant, but a ‘brainy’ pageant An East Bay family recently continued an effort to prevent teen violence. They are doing it by empowering young girls competing in a pageant. Nineteen-year-old Jasmine Johnson received a two-year $300 stipend after being crowned Queen of the 2014 Oakland Empowerment Scholarship Program. She’ll be attending Peralta College this fall and is preparing to transfer to a university in 2016. “Since winning the pageant I had so many doors opened,” said Johnson. “I went to college right after I finished.” Winning wasn’t easy. Along with writing an essay, the contestants are judged on various academic skills, including speaking foreign languages. It’s not about a beauty pageant; it’s about a brainy pageant. Celebrity chef Nikki Shaw is the chair of the nonprofit organization that created the scholarship program. “We want to empower teens,” she said. “We believe that if you change the young women, you will change the community.” Shaw’s mother Paula Welsh, a long-time Chamber member representing Welsh Marketing/ Public Relations and Event Planning, founded the scholarship program after learning that Oakland ranked No. 2 in human trafficking. “We thought it was our responsibility to try to do something to prevent girls from getting caught in violence,” she said. Historic Sweet’s Ballroom in downtown Oakland was the location for the second annual event. ■

22 | OBR Oakland Business Review |


> A major boost in Maker and Manufacturing education by Margot Lederer Prado September and October are active months in the Bay Area Maker / Manufacturing scene, with National Manufacturing Day being celebrated on Oct. 2 with various open houses around the bay. Other events include: • Sept. 9, Manufacturers Innovators Panel, Oakland Marriott • Sept. 12, The Crucible Fall Open House, “Tools to Table” • Sept. 18, East Bay Manufacturing Summit, Zero Net Energy Center, San Leandro • Oct. 2, City Economic Development, Parks & Recreation with Oakland Makers, facilitated student tour of manufacturing facilities; • Oct. 18, East Bay Mini Maker Faire, Park Day School. One of the main challenges to manufacturing in the Bay Area, besides the cost and scarcity of real estate, is the loss of skilled labor through retirement, and the need for a new workforce with skills in digital technology, fabrication, and new innovative means of production. The education of young Makers in key areas of design, engineering and fabrication is crucial to the future of our business competitiveness, and to the career success of our youth. Oakland is lucky to have a number of nationally-acclaimed institutions addressing Maker Education: 1. Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed). Maker Ed is a nonprofit organization that supports and empowers educators and communities – particularly, those in underserved areas –to facilitate meaningful making and learning experiences with youth. Maker Ed is dedicated to creating more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making. 2. Lighthouse Creativity Lab (LCL) at Lighthouse Community Charter School. The K-12 program integrates designing and making into the core curriculum, after-school program, and a variety of electives. LCL’s work is aimed at shifting learners' mindsets to being life-long problem solvers. In addition, LCL offers professional development for educators and is working to directly support interested Oakland schools in integrating making into their own programs. Learn more at or email to arrange a tour or discuss possible partnership. 3. Oakland Park and Recreation (OPR). The Urban Electronics / Renewable Energy education course through OPR teaches Oakland youth how to produce, store and use the clean energy of the future through use of wind turbine kits, solar photovoltaic panel, an electrolyzer, a PEM fuel cell and a hydrogen storage system. 4. The Sustainable Urban Design Academy (SUDA) at Castlemont High School empowers students through a rigorous, engaging and supportive learning environment for college, career and life as designers and leaders in sustainability. SUDA houses 3D printers, a CNC router, laser cutter, silver bullet, carvewright and many power tools and hand tools. The program has a Linked Learning career pathways emphasis, so a job program is incorporated with academics. 5. The Crucible nonprofit industrial art education facility. Last year nearly 3,000 young people participated, exploring their creativity in classes, camps, workshops, internships, and field trips, firing up young imaginations and opening new doors to personal growth. The Fall Open House, “Tools to Tables,” is on Sept. 12. 6. Laney College Fab Lab, conceived and implemented through a grant, is a state-of-the-art space for training of instructors and encourages collaborations from its Carpentry, Machine Shop, Math, Culinary and Welding departments. Planned community partnerships will open the space to include students of all ages and skill levels. ■ Margot Lederer Prado is a senior economic development specialist for the city of Oakland.

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.

What’s your solar strategy? Economic Development Forum

Hosted by Pandora


Inside Oakland Breakfast Forum

| Sept. 11

Selling from the Inside Out

| Sept. 25


| Sept. 11

State of the State

Women in Business Mills College President to speak

| Oct. 2

| Sept. 9

Keeping you connected and informed

> SEPTEMBER 2015 9 | Ambassador Committee meeting

| noon - 1 p.m. E X ECUTI V E COM MI T TEE


Chair of the Board MARK EVERTON Waterfront Hotel


Vice Chair CHARISSA FRANK FMG Architects GREG CHAN East Bay Municipal Utility District DAN COHEN Full Court Press HILARY PEARSON Sungevity DAVID TUCKER Waste Management of Alameda County ZACK WASSERMAN Ex Officio Corporate Counsel Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP

VICTORIA JONES The Clorox Company PAMELA KERSHAW Port of Oakland MICHAEL LEBLANC PICÁN Restaurant KEN LOWNEY Lowney Architecture KEN MAXEY Comcast ED MCFARLAN JRDV Urban International SAM NASSIF Creative Hospitality Corporation



KIM ARNONE Cutting Edge Capital

JACKIE LYNN RAY Schnitzer Steel Industries


JENNIFER SCANLON Kaiser Permanente DENNIS SCHRAG UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland DAVID STEIN Donahue Fitzgerald LLP KEITH TURNER Safeway Bj WASHINGTON J.P. Morgan Chase

9 | Economic Development Forum

|3 - 4:30 p.m. featuring a discussion of “What’s Your Solar Strategy,” with Dave Dunlap, chief development officer for Sungevity, and Steve Birndorf, Sungevity’s director of commercial development; learn how solar power is helping businesses save money and reduce uncertainty about future energy costs

featuring guest speakers Mayor Libby Schaaf, Pandora CFO Mike Herring, and Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economic, as well as a panel of tech entrepreneurs discussing “Key priorities for developing Oakland’s technology ecosystem,” hosted by Pandora (2100 Franklin St., 7th floor) with major sponsor Comcast and panel sponsor Donahue Fitzgerald LLP

14 | Economic Development



| 8:30-10 a.m. featuring guest speaker Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth

|3 - 4:30 p.m. featuring a presentation by Sam Veltri, project manager at SunCal, who will discuss developing the Oak Knoll master-planned community in the Oakland hills 16 | Small Business

20 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting | 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

> NOVEMBER 2015 11 | Ambassador Committee meeting

| noon - 1 p.m. 11 | Economic Development Forum

|3 - 4:30 p.m.

@OaklandChamber #OaklandChamber #TheOaklandAdvantage

11 | Small Business Seminar | noon - 1 p.m. featuring guest speaker Anna Scott of Anna Scott Consulting, discussing “Selling from the Inside Out,” $10 for members, $15 for non-members, lunch is provided

15 | Nonprofit Roundtable Committee meeting | 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

24 | New member luncheon | noon - 1 p.m.

24 | After 5 Reception

25 | Inside Oakland Breakfast

Design/Production Editor

25 | Inside Oakland Breakfast

$10 for Chamber members, $15 for non-members, and lunch is provided

STACEY WELLS Alta Bates Summit Medical Center |

| noon - 1 p.m.

| 8 - 10 a.m

STAN HEBERT California State University, East Bay

HANK MASLER, (510) 874-4808

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

| noon-1 p.m.




11 | Oaklanders Talk Tech

| 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Visit for location and details.

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.

22 | After 5 Reception

Seminar series

BENJAMIN HARRISON Colliers International

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.

14 | Ambassador Committee

Email marketing We work with you and your team to connect your product

Forum | 10 - 11:30 a.m. special meeting time featuring a discussion on the “State of the State,” with Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmond, and State Senator Loni Hancock

or service with your target. We create quality publications and websites that help build your brand – annual reports, brochures, logos, corporate newsletters, Emma marketing email, advertising, sales kits and WordPress sites.

> OCTOBER 2015 2 | East Bay Women in Business luncheon

| 11:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m. featuring Mills College President Alecia DeCoudreaux, discussing “An Inspiring Leader’s Keys to Success,” Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square

C ARTER = DESIGNS C O M M U N I C AT I O N D E S I G N T H AT R E A L LY M E A N S B U S I N E S S 510. 653. 2153 • c c @ c h e r i e ca r t e r d e s i g n s . c o m

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

SEPTEMBER 2015 | 23

> About Town – News from the BIDs

The following is another in a series of columns featuring news and events in Oakland’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

> Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt-Uptown Recently, the Lake Merritt/Uptown and Downtown Oakland Community Benefit Districts announced that they will be implementing a program that will significantly cut back the number of cigarette butts that are dropped all over the city with a “Cigarette Waste Brigade.” The Uptown/Downtown CBDs will be teaming up with Terracycle to begin the program within three months. According to Terracycle, the Cigarette Waste Brigade® is the world’s first global solution for tobaccorelated waste. This program is completely free, and for every pound of cigarette waste collected, $1 is donated to Keep America Beautiful and another $1 is donated to The Downtown Oakland Association and Lake Merritt/Uptown Association. Around Uptown and Downtown, you will see rectangular pole-mounted receptacles that have the capacity to hold approximately 700 butts. Once each container is full, the butts will then be collected by a CBD Ambassador, packaged appropriately and mailed to Terracycle for their next life. Cigarette butts are processed by Terracycle and turned into a variety of plastic industrial products. “It is our hope that this program will reduce the amount of cigarette butts that end up going down the drains and into Lake Merritt and the bay,” said Andrew Jones, Lake Merritt/Uptown & Downtown Oakland CBD district services manager. See more on Terracycle’s programs at ■

> Media doesn’t cover enough of the good news in Oakland, reporters agree Chamber members and guests were treated to an interesting, entertaining panel discussion last month on the subject of Oakland in the media at the East Bay Women in Business Roundtable luncheon. On hand were three of the area’s top journalists – reporters Christin Ayres of KPIX Channel 5 and Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Susan Mernit, chief executive officer of the Center for Media Change and Oakland Local. The panel was moderated by Karen Boyd of the city of Oakland. The panelists agreed that there was plenty of good news in Oakland, but media tend to focus attention on what they call “hard” news, such as crime and conflict. Boyd, who is optimistic about how media coverage is trending, said, “The mainstream media coverage of newsworthy events happening in Oakland is improving. We are confident that Oakland’s stories will be reported with a more positive perspective going forward.” The luncheon was held at the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square. ■ At the Women in Business luncheon – (left to right) moderator Karen Boyd and panelists Christin Ayres, Susan Mernit and Joe Garofoli.

24 | OBR Oakland Business Review |

Oakland Business Review September 2015  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you