Carl’s Comments: Turning the Page from 2018 to 2019

Let’s celebrate our successes, but work on our weaknesses.

By all accounts, 2018 was an amazing year for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. We were Four-for-Four on key ballot measures that will have a positive impact on families, communities and our economy – two for traffic improvements, two to help the homeless:

· In June, it was “Regional Measure 3,” the first 9-County Bay Area transportation initiative, which will generate $4.45 billion over the next 25 years to provide regional funds for 35 specific traffic relief and transit alternatives. Think BART to San Jose & Santa Clara, Caltrain electrification & modernization, and the SMART Train in Marin and Sonoma Counties.

· In November, it was a triple-effort and triple success, co-leading statewide Propositions 1 & 2, which will generate $6 billion primarily to help provide housing for the homeless, the working poor and the most vulnerable residents throughout our state. The employees of Silicon Valley Leadership Group Member Companies will not, by and large, benefit from this multi-billion investment. But we all benefit when we reach out to help others – that person who seeks your help on the streets; the ones that we often nervously look away from due to our own discomfort with those who are homeless or living on the edge. We should never forget that many of us are one medical emergency, one lost job, one broken relationship, one mental health issue, from a similar circumstance.

· The November election also allowed us to play a leadership role in the Bay Area to prevent the loss of $5.2 billion annually in critical road repair, traffic relief and transit funds by defeating the ill-conceived “Proposition 6,” which would have delayed or derailed 6,500 transportation improvements currently under construction.

Yet after each of these four successful campaigns, the overwhelming feeling on each Election Night was relief – a quiet thanks that we had not let those who had believed in us down.

In each of these efforts, five members of our small Leadership Group staff were on-loan for months at a time to deliver each of these four wins. I’m indebted to each of them and to our colleagues who picked up the slack on the Leadership Group’s 40 other 2018 priorities, while the five of us were gone.

Yes, with thanks we celebrate these successes, but are also strongly reminded that we must work on our weaknesses. As we look ahead to 2019, we know that our region remains painfully impacted by a lack of housing three decades in the making, which has made housing costs spiral out of control. We won’t solve our housing crisis overnight, and we won’t make meaningful change alone. It will mean coalition-building like never before; listening and learning from those with whom we have not always seen eye-to-eye. Searching for solutions in ways that do not always make us comfortable will be the order of the day in 2019. We must set aside pride and reach out to opponents and unlikely allies in the fight against the housing and traffic issues that are tearing apart our communities and our economy.

We will not agree on the solutions 100 percent of the time, but if we focus on the areas in which we can agree – with humility rather than hubris – then we can re-build our region in a way that serves all of our residents.

–  Carl Guardino, CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group