Thursday, May 30, 2013


                 108TH Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon winners, just announced

Presented this year to Signature Development Group’s Mike Ghielmetti President and Sponsored by Wendel Rosen
California Commercial Investments, Phil Tagami President and Chief Executive Officer Sponsored by Visit Oakland and the Oakland Downtown Marriott

Flora Restaurant Owners Dona Savitsky and Thomas Schnetz
Sponsored by Sysco

Brian Kendall, Project Manager – Downtown Façade Improvement Program Sponsored by Colliers International and Lowney Architects

Martin Reynolds, Senior Editor for Community Engagement
Sponsored by Wells Fargo

A big thank you to all that participated and to all the nominees!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013


Oakland, CA – May 23, 2013 – The Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners proudly announces the appointment of maritime shipping industry veteran Chris Lytle as the new Executive Director of the Port of Oakland. This announcement comes after a four-month global search to find a world-class, transformative business leader who could quickly address the Port’s opportunities and challenges.

“The Port Commission set a high standard for its next leader and has successfully achieved this goal with the selection of Chris Lytle, who has a proven track record of growing business while engaging the community and ensuring leading environmental stewardship,” stated Board President Gilda Gonzales.

Under Mr. Lytle’s leadership, the Port of Oakland will continue its aggressive focus on growing maritime and aviation volumes and instilling new confidence in Port business and community partners. The Port of Oakland’s immediate goals include transforming the Port’s maritime business, continuing to grow aviation and cargo volumes through Oakland International Airport (OAK), rebuilding public trust through policy strengthening initiatives, restructuring the Port to be more market and community responsive, completing major development projects such as the Oakland Army Base redevelopment, enhancing the Port’s eighteen miles of waterfront including Jack London Square, and growing the positive job creation and economic impact of the Port throughout the region.

“The future of the Port of Oakland is bright, and I am excited to be a part of the team as we work to realize its tremendous potential. My family and I are also really looking forward to living and working in the Oakland area once again,” noted Mr. Lytle.

Chris Lytle currently serves as the Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach, the second busiest container seaport in North America, a position he has held since November 2011, after having served as the Port’s Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer from 2008 to 2011. He joined the Port of Long Beach in September 2006 as one of four Managing Directors; he oversaw the Port’s Trade Relations and Port Operations Bureau. Prior to his Port of Long Beach tenure, Mr. Lytle served as Vice President of West Coast Operations for the French-based shipping line CMA CGM, which has significant maritime and terminal operations at the Ports of Long Beach, Oakland, and Seattle. Mr. Lytle has also held executive positions at P&O Ports North America, Denmark-based APM (Maersk) Terminals, and Sea-Land Service, Inc., where he was based in Oakland from 1992-1995. Mr. Lytle holds an MBA from the University of Puget Sound and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Central Washington University.

Under Mr. Lytle’s leadership, the Port of Long Beach worked with the 2nd and 3rd largest global container lines, Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA-CGM, to establish the Port of Long Beach as their Southern California hub. The resulting realignment of terminals and services for those lines gave the Port of Long Beach an additional 900,000 containers and an estimated $22 million per year. He also worked closely with OOCL, a Hong Kong-based line, to negotiate a $4.5 billion 40-year lease with the Port of Long Beach – the largest lease in US container terminal history. When completed in 2019, the Middle Harbor Terminal will be the most state-of-the art container terminal in the world. Mr. Lytle was also instrumental in implementing numerous ground-breaking environmental initiatives that resulted in 75% reduction in diesel particulates in only five years. Under Mr. Lytle’s leadership, the Port of Long Beach also continued to win the designation as North America’s Best Seaport, a recognition it has earned 16 of the last 18 years, as based on an annual survey conducted by Cargonews Asia shipping trade publication.

While in Long Beach, Chris Lytle prioritized community awareness, support and interaction with the activities of the Port. Under his leadership, innovative programs helped make the Port a welcomed partner in the community. Harbor tours, rail tours, and the very well-received “Let’s Talk Port” series in the community educated the public about the Port’s beneficial initiatives and further established the Port’s role as an integral part of the local community and economy.

Chris Lytle is expected to begin his service as Executive Director of the Port of Oakland in July 2013. Until that time, Deborah Ale Flint will continue to serve as Acting Executive Director, and, upon Mr. Lytle’s arrival, she will continue in a senior Port executive leadership position.


About the Port of Oakland:
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport offering over 300 daily passenger and cargo flights; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. Together, through Port operations and those of its tenants and users, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at




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Monday, May 20, 2013


SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. issued an official proclamation declaring the month of May as ‘California Small Business Month.’

“This month, we reaffirm our commitment to helping California’s small businesses thrive and prosper,” said Governor Brown. “The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, along with key agencies of state government, works to facilitate economic growth through collaboration with small businesses. Supporting small-scale private- sector job creators is among our most promising strategies to enhance California’s human capital, expand job opportunities and increase our competitive advantage in the global marketplace.”

As part of Small Business Month, California Small Business Advocate Barbara Vohryzek yesterday spoke to a wide array of business owners, city leaders, and small business advocates at San Francisco’s Small Business Week event. Vohryzek recognized the contributions and importance of California’s 3.5 million small business owners, the largest amount of any state.

“As the single biggest business sector of our state, California’s small businesses have been the foundation of our state’s continuing – and accelerating – recovery,” said Small Business Advocate Barbara Vohryzek. “As California’s Small Business Advocate I am proud to serve and support these dynamic business owners across the Golden State.”

Brown’s proclamation highlights the importance of the state’s 3.5 million small businesses which comprise 99 percent of all firms and employ 52 percent of the workforce. GO-Biz works closely with small business owners to provide resources and technical assistance, help them navigate the State’s regulatory and procurement processes. The Small Business Advocate has held a series of “GO-Biz Brown Bag It!” events across the state on issues crucial to California small businesses including implementing the Affordable Care Act, access to training funds, GO-Biz support services and more. The full text of the proclamation can be found HERE.

About GO-Biz
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as California’s single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, and much more. For more information visit:

To learn more about how the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber and the ASBDC can help your small your small business, visit

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Lunch and Learn -Healthy Eating and Living| A presentation from The Vegetarian Gourmet

May Program

Healthy Eating and Living| A presentation from The Vegetarian Gourmet

This lunch and learn session will discuss new trends in Healthy Eating and Living for 2013. The session will also discuss recent developments in food policy and nutrition. 

Topics covered will include other meditations on healthy eating and living including:

·         Why eating well is one of life’s great pleasures, and it’s vital to our health and well-being

·         Benefits of eating more plant based foods

·         Convenience foods may help create easy, quick meals but they don’t meet people’s nutritional needs

·         How to improve your eating habits and enjoy what you eat inventions,


Margaret Riesen

Owner – The Vegetarian Gourmet

Chef Margaret Riesen has successfully catered hundreds of all-vegetarian and vegan events, ranging from simple, back-yard parties to large weddings and celebrations of all kinds, whether at an elegant indoor or a casual outdoor setting. She also speaks five languages, enjoys Hiking, swimming, and flamenco dance. Chef Riesen has taught culinary arts through Santa Barbara’s Community College since 1997 and is a published writer – she wrote a food column in Malibu Monthly Magazine.


Come for a great FREE and educational discussion!

When:           THURSDay, May 23rd, 2013 | 12-1:15 PM
Where:            The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Board Room,
475 14th Street, Oakland, California, 94612.
About LUNCH & LEARN Seminars: This event is part of the Chamber’s Economic Development program. If you would like to attend as a guest of the Chamber, or produce future ‘Lunch and Learn’ programs, contact:
Eleanor Hollander, AICP | OMCC Economic Development Director at (510) 874-4800 x320 or email:






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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

8th Annual Walk to End Poverty- May 18th

What:       8th Annual Walk to End Poverty

Where:     Lake Merritt Bandstand (behind Fairyland)

                666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
When:      May 18, 2013

Schedule:          9 am                Registration begins

                        10 am              Walk begins

                        11 am – 1 pm  Entertainment and community fair, including hands-on activities for                                         children

Registration:     FREE to the public:

                        Registration includes snacks, water and lunch

Giveaways:      FREE t-shirt to first 400 people who bring a non-perishable food donation.


Information:    Visit or call 510-238-2362


Did you know that in the Bay Area 1 in 7 children live in poverty and in the City of Oakland that figure is 1 in 4?  To help educate the public awareness about the social issues that impact those who live in poverty, please join The Alameda County – Oakland Community Action Partnership for our 8th Annual Walk to End Poverty on Saturday, May 18, 2013.




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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Upcoming Alameda County SBDC Events- FREE

Meet the Lenders (Fremont)

This seminar is a must for any business owner interested in securing debt or equity financing.
You will learn how a wide range of banks and other lending organizations evaluate your loan application and the types of funding they can provide.
This seminar is a panel discussion with lenders offering advice in today's tough lending environment. It is a must for any business owner interested in securing debt financing. You will learn how a wide range of banks and other lending organizations evaluate your loan application and the types of funding they can provide.
This seminar provides an overview of how to get "capital ready" before you approach a lender to insure a greater chance of success.

Date & time: 
Wed, 05/15/2013 - 9:30am - 11:00am
Fremont Public Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd.

TO RSVP, click here.

Marketing Savvy for Artists (Berkeley)

This seminar is presented with the intention of empowering artists to gain their creative freedom through business savvy. In this seminar you will learn to:
- develop your unique value proposition
- define your market
- learn a non-traditional approach to successfully market art
- generate sales without a gallery

Plus Win a chance to be one of up to three students to receive a mini-marketing makeover during the seminar ($500 in value).
Date & time: 
Thu, 05/23/2013 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge Street, 3rd Floor Community Room

To RSVP, click here.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

After 5 Reception- Hosted by Faz Restaurant


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Friday, May 10, 2013

OPD Gets a New Interim Chief

Just two days after Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan stepped down citing medical reasons, Sean Whent has been appointed Interim Chief of Police, effective immediately.


It’s part of a new executive leadership team of the Oakland Police Department announced today by Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna J. Santana.


Chief Whent is a 17-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department. His most recent job was Deputy Chief and commander of the Bureau of Risk Management with responsibility for overseeing the Training Section, Internal Affairs Division, Office of Inspector General, the Criminalistics Division and the Personnel Assessment Unit.

Interim Chief Whent has moved quickly to stabilize the leadership of the Oakland Police Department by announcing the following appointments:

Paul Figueroa: Acting Assistant Chief responsible for day-to-day operations of the Police Department.

Eric Breshears: Deputy Chief, Commander of Bureau of Strategic Initiatives including the Ceasefire program and Compstat.

Danielle Outlaw:  Acting Deputy Chief, Commander of the Bureau of Risk Management, which includes the Training Section, Internal Affairs Division, Office of Inspector General, and Criminalistics Division

David Downing: Acting Deputy Chief, Commander of Bureau of Field Operations

At the time of Howard Jordan’s medical leave the Assistant Chief was Anthony Toribio who said at the press conference today that he made a personal decision to step down to the position of Captain of Police and that he supports the new leadership.

Mayor Quan said a national search for a permanent Chief will begin immediately.  City Administrator Santana estimated the cost of the search at roughly $30,000 and Quan said it may be more as she adds community input to the process.  The Mayor indicated she hoped the appointment would come as soon as possible.

The selection of Whent and his subsequent selection of a leadership team came after consultations with Compliance Director Thomas Frazier.

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Save the Date- June 9th for LOVE OUR LAKE DAY

Come join the festivities!
To find out more about who will be there, check out the website:

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

You are Invited to the 108th Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon

We invite you to be part of our 108th Annual Meeting and Chamber Awards Luncheon presented by The Clorox Company on June 26, 2013. The luncheon presents members with an opportunity to celebrate a year of Chamber accomplishments, a chance to network with new and award-winning members, and a way to show support for the Chamber and our many programs. This year we are proud to have Donald R. Knauss, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Clorox Company as our keynote speaker. Plus, we will have introductions of our incoming Board of Directors, as well as a chance to hear directly from the Board Chair, Ms. Shannon Pedder, as she lays out the organization’s vision for 2014.

Your support of this important fundraiser will provide necessary funds for the Chamber’s continued operations and will help us to promote commerce and industry, enhance economic growth and enhance the quality of life in the City of Oakland. 

To learn more about the awards and the event visit our site,

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fundraising: the Chamber’s Nonprofit Roundtable Tackles Big Questions

In addition to welcoming the Oakland Chamber’s new Membership Director and Roundtable Liaison Nikki Mendez, the April Nonprofit Roundtable launched into an enthusiastic conversation based on the recent national study, UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising. With more than 10,000 nonprofit organizations serving Alameda County alone, the study provides significant information for the entire community.

To begin, Steve Lew, Project Director for CompassPoint (, the Bay Area nonprofit that serves other nonprofits with classes, workshops, studies and consultations, introduced the study and the results.

UnderDeveloped ( is a joint project that CompassPoint undertook with the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to examine the status of fundraising in the nonprofit sector. CompassPoint surveyed approximately 2,700 Executive Directors and Senior Development Officers and compiled the results.

According to CompassPoint, “With startling clarity, the national study reveals that many nonprofit organizations are stuck in a vicious cycle that threatens their ability to raise the resources they need to succeed.” The study succinctly reveals the instability of the role of the Development Director throughout the sector and in organizations of all sizes.

Key findings were divided into three specific areas: 1) Revolving Door – high turnover and long vacancies in the Development Director position; 2) Help Wanted – lack of qualified candidates, performance issues and a lack of basic fundraising skills among lead development staff; and 3) Organizational Structure – lack of capacity, systems and culture to support fundraising success. The statistics are alarming:

·         Vacancy length in the chief development position of six months on average, with nearly half even longer;

·         50% of Development Directors anticipate leaving their current jobs in two years or less;

·         50% of Executive Directors said their last search didn’t produce enough candidates with the right mix of skills and experience;

·         25% of Executive Directors fired their last Development Director;

·         25% of Executive Directors said their Development Directors have no experience or are novice at current and prospective donor research and at securing gifts;

·         23% of the organizations have no fundraising plan in place; 21% have no fundraising database;

·         75% of Board Member engagement is insufficient; and

·         Less than half of Development Directors say they have a strong relationship with their Executive Director.

However, the study goes further by providing several “calls to action” to strengthen fundraising within an organization and the sector as a whole:


·         Embrace fund development at the organization, or, as consultant Simone P. Joyaux states, create a “Culture of Philanthropy;”

·         Elevate the field of fundraising;

·         Strengthen and diversify the talent pool (like Executive Directors, Development Directors are predominantly over 40, female, and white);

·         Train Boards of Directors differently (again creating a Culture of Philanthropy);

·         Set realistic development goals; and

·         Share accountability for fundraising results (the Development Director’s success is inextricably linked to staff, Executive Director and Board success).

Discussing the study with Lew and each other led to an even broader conversation on the status of the Oakland area’s nonprofit sector. This conversation enabled those representing organizations of all sizes to ask questions, posit answers, complain, share ideas and support each other. The enthusiasm and diligence of those in attendance created a marvelous atmosphere that was only limited by time constraints.

Roundtable Co-chairs Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD ( and Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners ( invite those in and outside of the nonprofit sector to join us as we continue this critical conversation.


* * * * *

The next Oakland Chamber Non-Profit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. All Chamber members and non-profit organizations interested in networking are welcome.Stay tuned for more details!

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Oakland Deemed "Most Exciting City in America"

According to the folks over at the real estate blog Movoto, Oakland is THE MOST EXCITING CITY IN AMERICA (seriously), beating out Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, Portland, and, yes, New York City.

The designation was based on ten factors, including the abundance of parks, young (and diverse) people, bars, movie theaters, museums, theater companies, and music venues, and the lack of fast food restaurants and big box stores. We agree, bars and greenery and diversity are pretty great.

“When we think of an exciting place to live, we think about places where there is always something to do—whether it’s eating at new restaurants or jogging through a park,” the report concluded. “This sounds a lot like Oakland, so we really weren’t that surprised.”

From Movoto:
How did we decide this? Recently, we got to thinking about cities and what makes them exciting and interesting places to live. We compiled a list of criteria and set out to determine which U.S. cities have the most zest for life (a full explanation of which can be found below). Here’s our list:
  1. Oakland, CA
  2. Boston, MA
  3. San Francisco, CA

To read more about the criteria, go to

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Call for Nominations, vote today!

Please submit to or fax to 510-839-8817.

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Pollinate Farm & Garden-Grand Opening This Weekend

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

CEQA Reform One Step Closer to Reality

Earlier today SB 731, a CEQA reform bill authored by California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, passed out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.   CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) is a 40 year old law that has helped protect our environment but has over the years developed provisions that can be abused to halt environmentally sound projects and unnecessarily add cost to developments with no corresponding benefit.

 The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and a state wide coalition for CEQA reform, support Governor Brown who has called for CEQA reform this year.  Today’s action is a step in the right direction and SB 731 is a good starting point.  But a long negotiation process remains to craft legislation that will provide certainty and truly accomplish meaningful reform.

To learn more about the legislation, click here.

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