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Taking Risks to Strengthen Our Region

2018 – As Silicon Valley employers, it’s time we take risks rather than make excuses.

Our 350 member companies are gearing up to make a positive impact in the lives of millions of people in the Bay Area and beyond.  We may fall on our face and fail, but with your help and collective hard-work, we believe we can succeed.

Quick.  Ask yourself “What are the biggest challenges we face in the Bay Area?”  Chances are you listed at least one of the following four – Traffic, housing, education and income inequality.  If your list included any of these four, read on.

* Traffic: The scourge that slows down our quality of life and our economy.  While we’ve successfully led numerous countywide traffic relief initiatives, we  all know that much of the gridlock we endure crosses county lines. That’s why we’re co-championing “Regional Measure 3,” a nine-county Bay Area effort that will generate $4.5 billion for specific regional improvements.  Funded by $1 toll increases in 2019, 2022 and 2025 on the seven state-owned, Bay Area bridges, the goal is to alleviate bottlenecks with smart road improvements and transit options.  For Silicon Valley, notable improvements include funding for the Dumbarton Crossing, Highway 101 relief, Caltrain station improvements at Diridon in San Jose and Downtown San Francisco, the BART Segment Two extension to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara, Eastside Light Rail linking with BART, and increased Ferry Service across and around the Bay.

* Housing Affordability:  While most of us enjoy the opportunities a red-hot economy offers to working families, we can never forget that “Jobs need a place to go home and sleep at night.”  Of the roughly 200,000 new homes California needs each year, our state has annually produced less than 80,000 for the past decade.  Fewer homes mean fatter home prices.  That’s why, in November, we are co-championing the Statewide Housing Bond.  This $4 billion bond will help Californians, from those who are homeless, to hard-working families, to first-time home buyers wishing to put down roots.  $1 billion of the Housing Bond is also set aside for veterans.

* Education:  It’s exciting to see the strength of our innovation economy, yet we are failing our kids if they aren’t prepared for local jobs.  Our “Community College to Career” initiative is a partnership between 17 Bay Area Community Colleges and Innovation Economy employers. By providing internships, externships, skills-matching and job training, we can re-build our middle and upper-middle class with local students who better reflect our diverse region.

* Inequality:  Let’s face the facts – our innovation economy has not lifted all boats.  On any given night, tens of thousands of residents wonder where their next meal will come from, if they can afford medical care, or if there will be a decent shelter over their heads. That’s why we established the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation 16 years ago.  Our non-profit foundation aims to help local families, build community and encourage healthy lifestyles through the Applied Materials “Silicon Valley Turkey Trot,” the “Santa Run Silicon Valley” sponsored by Google, and our Lam Research “Heart & Soles” Run.  In 2018, we are rolling out “Turkey Trot: Mission-One-Million” to contribute $1 million to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, the Healthier Kids Foundation, Health Trust, Housing Trust Silicon Valley and the Food Bank of Santa Cruz County.

These are but four of more than 40 initiatives the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is launching in 2018 to make a positive, proactive difference in our region and state.  Please join us.  Our region has compelling and pressing needs.  Working together, we can make promising progress.

 

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