California Forward continues its travels around the state to discuss ideas for fixing California and engage people to share their ideas.
Bay Area Council (San Francisco)
Governor Jerry Brown spoke to business leaders and organizations at the Bay Area Council meeting in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 12, 2010, focusing on the importance of running the state as efficiently as a successful business.
“I bring an interesting perspective to the job as the youngest governor of the 20th century and the oldest of the 21st,” said Brown. “I’m here and I’m not leaving until we get the problem solved.”
He mentioned the Redistricting Commission and the Open primary, two initiatives supported by CA Fwds, as “positives on the horizon” because candidates “won’t be put in strait jackets of either political party.”
Brown discussed the difficulty of building coalitions and getting things done, and used prisons as an example of how things have changed.
“It’s a management challenge. The last time I was Governor we had 23 fewer prisons. Today we have more correctional officers that we had men behind bars back then. That’s a 500% increase,” said Brown. “My plan will actually make California safer at a much better price.”
“We have a complex state and a prosperous state, and I have a message of optimism, confidence and reassurance,” he said. “CA has seen difficulties and triumphs. My forbearers didn’t have anything and they made their life here off the land and made their living with their pioneering spirit,” said Brown. We need that ”kind of pioneering spirit needed today.”
Those in attendance focused on the importance of creating a business-friendly environment to woo businesses and create jobs.
Association of Bay Area Governments (Oakland)
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) met in Oakland on Thursday, April 14, and CA Fwd was there to talk with attendees about their ideas to improve their communities.
Bay Area Mayors Ed Lee of San Francisco, Jean Quan of Oakland, and Chuck Reed of San Jose spoke about the importance of regional collaboration.
“We have to be the best in the world if we want to capture these jobs,” Reed said. “The jobs are being created here, but will they stay here? We have an opportunity and regional collaboration is critical to it.”
“More and more, because of the budget crisis, we have to move outside” our cities, Quan said. “A crisis is something we can use to do things, if we use political leadership…. I’ve been hanging out with these guys a lot lately, and I think that’s a good thing. We’ve been taking on a lot of issues.”
When asked what they can do to work better together, Reed said, “It’s a regional economy. As much as we like to compete with each other, the economy is integrated…. Organizations need to continue providing incentives for regional collaboration.”
“We’re already working well together on climate, (transportation), and the environment with our regional approach to launching the electronic vehicle initiative,” Lee said. “We want the Bay Area to be the EV capital of the country.”
Guest speaker Paul Saffo said he had great concerns about the direction of the state.
“I am deeply, profoundly alarmed by the damage being done to the college system. We are stealing from our future,” Saffo said.
“If there is one thing we could do in this region is to find a way to communicate with citizens that there are things they could do for themselves,” he said. It would “add to community cohesion and help people understand everything the government does for them.”
This week, CA Fwd also spoke with people at the Ventura South Rotary Club, Assembly Fellows in Sacramento, the Aptos Chamber of Commerce, and the Cities Association of Santa Clara County in Sunnyvale.