Friday, June 28, 2013

Keep the BART trains running

Everyone in the Bay Area needs BART to keep running. The undersigned groups represent thousands of employers across the Bay Area and employ hundreds of thousands of people.  All of us depend on a reliable multi-faceted transportation system.  Not just to get to and from work and to and from  school, but to make and receive deliveries, get to appointments and make all the routine trips needed to conduct our daily lives. 

Recent media reports suggest the possibility of a strike by BART's two largest unions, representing train operators, station agents, mechanics and maintenance workers. We urge all parties to remember the people you serve as you work out a new contract.  A strike will hurt millions of people who have no say in the negotiations.

As employers we recognize the need to manage costs.  We know the past few years have seen lost income and cutbacks for many  business owners and their employees.  Rising health care costs, pension costs and the need to keep capital equipment and facilities up to date are realities we all have to face.

So we understand the need for BART to normalize cost sharing with its’ employees.  To site just two examples, BART employees pay a flat rate of $92 per month regardless of the number of dependents they cover. It means, on average, BART employees pay just 5% of the total cost of the health insurance while BART pays the remaining 95%.  This is an unusually high cost for an employer to bear.

The imbalance is even greater when it comes to pensions. BART employees pay nothing toward their pensions. Most public and private employers share this cost with employees.

BART also must invest in new train cars and keep the system safe for riders and operators.  These investments don’t come cheap and provide all the more reason for smart spending and investment.

BART and the unions should dedicate themselves to the bargaining process to ensure the continuation of service tomorrow and the sustainability of the system in the future. This will require all parties to discuss the fundamental issue of costs and be committed to working towards a mutual agreement on cost sharing.


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Inside Oakland Breakfast with Dan Borenstein from Bay Area News Group- This FRIDAY!

Register HERE:

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Caltrans District 4-Subcontractor Info and Bonding Seminar on June 26th

Business Opportunity Spotlight

From time to time, the Chamber is made aware of local business opportunities and projects relevant to our members and other community based organizations. See below for the most recent opportunity spotlight:


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PopUp HOOD-Oakland Legal Workshops!


If you know of anyone who wants to attend low-cost legal workshops to help them with their small business, check out:

You can get more information @Facebook, Twitter or call Sarah at 510 761 6163 for more details.

Classes start June 19th.

Pass it on!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

West Oakland Job Resource Center Orientation: Tomorrow June 18, 2013



 Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 9:00am

West Oakland Branch Library Meeting Room

1801 Adeline St. Oakland CA 94607



·        Jobs in the construction Industry and how to access those jobs

·        Information on the trades, unions and their requirements

·        Pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training opportunities

·        Job placement assistance on construction projects in the local area


Job Seekers can pre-register to attend the orientations by calling:
or report to the Job Resource Center
promptly at 9:00 am on Tuesday, June 4th or 18th , 2013.  The orientation will last about two hours.  Seating is limited


1.     Can pass a drug test

2.       Have at least an eighth grade reading and math level (and preferably a GED or  
       High School diploma)

3.        Have documents proving legal eligibility to work in the United States

4.       Proof of Oakland residency for 6 months prior to registering with us, and

5.      Have a valid CA Driver’s License or CA ID, and access to reliable transportation

6.        Must be 18yrs old or older


Contact us at westoaklandjobresourcecenter@gmail or (510) 419-0509

1801 Adeline St. 2nd Floor Oakland, CA 94607

Job Resource Center Hours: Tuesday 11:30am – 5pm, Wednesday 10:00am - 5pm,

Thursday 10:00am – 5pm, Friday 12:00pm - 5pm

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Non-Profit Round Table Presents: Oakland's Hidden Gems

More info here:

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Friday, June 14, 2013

City of Oakland Hosts DADS & JAZZ Concert at Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate- This SUNDAY

Featuring Ric Alexander & Leah Tysee

City of Oakland Parks and Recreation (OPR) invites you to a special Father’s Day concert honoring fathers on June 16, 2013 from 2:00pm – 6:00pm at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate, located at 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA.

The concert will feature Ric Alexander. He has been nominated as “Best Jazz Musician” for an East Bay Area Music Award. He recently performed at six sold out shows at Yoshi’s. Ric comes with a profile of shared stage with various well known artists such as Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz, Shirley Ceasar, Edwin and Walter Hawkins, Ledisi, Goapele, Tony Toni Ton’e, Shiela E. and a host of others.

Ric will be joined by Leah Tysee whose debut album, 'Real Good Fire' was released in 2007 and features the song "You Don't Scare Me" which won Billboard's Best R&B/Blues Song of 2007 award.

 “This jazz series is to honor and celebrate fathers and to encourage a healthy active and fit lifestyle. It will be a day to not only honor fathers, but honor all men who have acted as father-figures, step-fathers, uncles, grandfathers, or Big Brothers. Every one will be able to enjoy great music, food, drinks, vendors and a free tour of the Mansion,” says Deborah F. Cooper, DHHE Estate Manager.

This program is held in partnership with East Oakland Sports Center, Lake Chabot Golf Course; and Get Blue 4 Life.
For Tickets: $20 Adults and $10 for children aged 12 years and under, available by visiting or calling 510-238-3052.



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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Now is NOT the time to abandon good budget policy

The City of Oakland has unfunded pension liabilities (approximately $1.5 billion) and negative fund balances (approximately $100 million).  Health care costs and other required payments to the State of California are forecasted to go higher in the coming years. 

And while the current two year budget cycle appears susceptible to balance, it should be noted that in the three years that follow (FY 2015-18) every annual budget shows a NINE FIGURE DEFICIT, ranging from a low of $111 million to a high of $200 million.  

Just four years ago this Council recognized the folly of spending windfall revenues to fund on-going obligations.  With that in mind the Council passed a rule about the Real Estate Transfer Tax.  Any revenue above $40 million in one year was to go to a reserve or to pay down negative fund balances or paying for capital improvements.  In adopting the rule the Council recognized that responsible fiscal planning required using one-time funds to pay down debt and not create new continuing obligations.

It would be a mistake to abandon this policy the first time it would actually take effect. And yet the City Council is considering that very move today.

To abandon the rule demonstrates a lack of fiscal discipline.  A rule was set to show responsibility - it is a good rule and to abandon it the first time it would apply shows the same old spend whatever we have even when we are in debt. 

Further it leads to the likelihood of repeating past mistakes.  The City got in a tough spot in past years when it took a spike in certain income (particularly real estate transfer taxes) and spent it as ongoing income.  It was wise to set a rule saying any income above some amount will be used to put our long term finances in order NOT to leverage us up further.

The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce urges the City Council to maintain the real estate transfer tax policy it adopted just four years ago,  thereby demonstrating a your commitment to responsible budgeting and to serving all the citizens of Oakland.


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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SUPPORT: Council President Amendments to Mayor’s Proposed Budget

It is always important in budgeting to be responsible, sustainable and make choices among competing priorities.  Choices are not easy and reasonable people can disagree.  Today the clear need in Oakland is to address crime and promote job growth. 

There are three principal budget proposals: (1) Mayor Quan, (2) Council President Amendments (dated May 30,2013) and (3) Councilmembers Brooks/Gallo/Reid  (dated May 30,2013).  We salute the work and sincere advocacy each effort embodies.  As noted above budgets require making choices.

The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce supports the Council President Amendments which we recognize as building on the good work done by Mayor Quan.  The Amendments add elements to the budget made possible by a slight revenue increase since the Mayor established her budget.  That these improvements are possible is testament to the prudent, careful work done by the Mayor.

The City of Oakland spends over one billion dollars every year, the General Purpose Fund makes up about $430 million of that.  Because the competing proposals agree in many ways and have a few critical differences we want to lay out our priorities and explain some of the suggestions we find most problematic.

The Council President Amendments budget does the best job of focusing on public safety.  It maintains the Mayor’s plan to run four Police Academy classes and add to civilian staff at OPD.  Spending on police makes up only twenty percent of the total budget.  Over the past six years while city staffing has fallen 16%, sworn OPD staff has dropped 27% and civilian staff has fallen 34%! A focus on rebuilding OPD is needed.

The alternative suggested by Brooks/Gallo/Reid has several particulars with which we disagree.  Eliminating the CHP support contracts that add patrols to Oakland would be a terrible loss.  Cutting the number of civilian staff being added to OPD would undermine the effort to increase the number of officers on the street and could hinder the solving of crimes and the crime reduction strategy just now being implemented. That plan also puts the funding for police academies on a less certain footing – which puts in danger the ability to grow OPD above 700 officers (and perhaps even above current levels). 

Instead among other things it uses that money to reinstate spending in City Council office budgets and most significantly adds several million for a COLA for city employees.  We understand the City is negotiating with employee unions and we encourage that work continue.  It is worth nothing that while the economy shows signs of improving, the unemployment rate in the City of Oakland is still high and thousands of people in the private sector have seen wage reductions, benefit reductions and other challenges.  In a choice at current levels between spending to increase OPD staffing and offering pay increases we choose public safety.

One other note on spending to address crime.  At current levels one of the biggest factors restricting job growth in Oakland is crime.  In previous communications, we have shared with you anecdotal evidence that fear of crime may cause some employers to leave and prevent others from coming to Oakland.  Investments in public safety today won’t just hopefully save lives and property but pay dividends in increased investment, more jobs and a broader, more robust tax base that will make greater city spending possible.  

Problems remain.  There are negative fund balances, underfunded pension and health liabilities, increased contribution demands coming from state programs and the normal upward pressure on costs.  Revenue streams are scheduled to expire and there are no guarantees that current revenue upticks will continue.  This Council and Mayor will need to find ways to do more with less and serve the needs of the businesses and citizens of Oakland.

The Council President Amendments to Mayor Quan’s Proposed Budget is the best option and deserves your support.  It has ours.


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Monday, June 10, 2013

Bankers shared their products and options at the May Non-Profit Roundtable

Banking. We all do it--as individuals, couples and at our companies and organizations. Who we utilize for our banking services and how we bank is critical to sound financial management. At its May 21 meeting, the Oakland Chamber's Non-Profit Roundtable hosted several representatives from chamber member banks and credit unions, who shared their particular institution's products and opportunities for non-profit organizations.

As is our practice, we started our conversation with those attending sharing their earliest banking memories. Several recalled using quarter folders in school while others remembered having passbooks either at school or at a bank. A few recalled that their first time using a bank occurred when cashing their first paycheck. And, of course, everyone remembered getting lollipops.

Following the introductions, the panelists introduced themselves and gave a brief summary of their institution's services. The panelists were Jeremy Williams, VP & Community Relations Manager of Bank of America (; Anthony Thompson, SVP & Relationships Manager of Bank of Alameda (; Alex Nguyen, Assistant VP & Banking Center Manager of Comerica Bank (; Claudia Gomez, Branch Sales Manager of Golden1 Credit Union (; and Dale Marie Golden, VP & Private Banker of Torrey Pines Bank (

A lively Q&A period followed. Attendees learned, significantly, that while many banks and branches provide special services and amenities to their own clients, formal grantmaking was not connected to banking with them. All of the banks provide or participate in financial management training, which is crucial for organizations serving youth and low income populations, in particular.

One participant noted that a child with a savings account is seven times more likely to go to college than one without.

Perhaps the most significant recommendation was for organizations (and individuals) to not only develop a relationship with a bank, but also form a relationship with a personal banker. All of the representative banks provide that important service and further welcome non-profit professionals and anyone who would like, to contact them for further conversation.

* * * * *

Please join us for he next Oakland Chamber Non-Profit Roundtable meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. It’s Hospitality Month at the Chamber, so we’ll be uncovering and sharing Oakland’s hidden gems. All Chamber members and non-profit organizations interested in networking are welcome.

Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (
Chamber Liaison Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Reminder Love our Lake Day is this Sunday

For more information on the complete program, see below or click here:

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Subcontractor “Meet and Greet” brought to you by Turner

You are invited to attend a subcontractor "Meet and Greet" outreach meeting on Thursday, June 6th at 1PM at 75 Hawthorne St. Representatives from Turner will be present to answer questions regarding the bid packages, timing, schedules and certification

Bidders are encouraged to seek certification for SBE/VOSB/SDVOSB/HubZone SBE/SDB and WBE for this project.

Project: 75 Hawthorne Capital Improvements and Interior Improvements

Owner: Hawthorne Plaza Associates

This project includes MEPF, Architectural and Structural Upgrades of the existing building at 75 Hawthorne

The following trade packages will be bid as a part of this project

2.0 Demolition, 2.5 Paving, 3.3 Concrete, 4.2 Masonry, 5.1 Structural Steel, 6.2 Millwork 8.1 Doors, Frames and Hardware, 8.3 Coiling Doors, 8.9 Glass and Glazing, 9.2 Drywall, 9.3 Tile/Stone, 9.5 Acoustical Ceilings, 9.6 Flooring, 9.9 Painting, 10.1 Toilet Partitions/Accessories, 10.6 Folding Doors, 10.8 Signage, 11.1 Furniture Rental, 12.4 Window Shades, 15.4 Plumbing, 15.5 Fire Protection, 15.6 HVAC, and 16.1 Electrical Fire Alarm, Building Management Systems

Trade packages will be released for bid in approximately 1-2 months

Plans, Specs and Bid Documents will be released during the bid phase. Contact Brendan Crockett at for access to drawings and specs.

For information on how to Prequalify with Turner, please contact Brendan Crockett

Turner has a 20% SBE/VOSB/SDVOSB/HubZone SBE/SDB and WBE goal for this project.

Please direct all questions to Brendan Crockett at 510.267.8239 or

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

ConAgra Mills Ribbon Cutting Party-Tomorrow Thursday the 6th of June 2013

new chamber logo

ConAgra Mills and the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce would be honored to have you attend the community celebration for ConAgra Mills' newly expanded Oakland Mill. The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at noon on Thursday the 6th of June 2013, at the mill's waterfront property, located at 2201 E. 7th Street in the 5th District.

 To celebrate the Oakland Mill's commitment to the community and sustainable milling, there will be a day-long open house for customers, Oakland Unified School District fourth and fifth grade children, as well as members of the Oakland City Council, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and local businesses. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour and learn about the history, expansion and sustainable efforts of the mill while interactive stations will allow participants to experience wheat's field-to-fork story, from a milling demonstration all the way to the making of pizza dough. Throughout the day, Oakland based food trucks, including Cupkate's and Fist of Flour, will be at the event serving foods made with ConAgra Mills' flour.
After $21.5 million of capital investments, ConAgra Mills is celebrating improvements at the Oakland Mill, which features upgraded milling, sustainable and environmental capabilities that improve efficiencies and take advantage of state-of-the-art equipment, allowing ConAgra Mills to better service both local and regional customers including leading Oakland companies like Bimbo, Safeway, Sterling and Boudin Bakery.
ConAgra Mills' investment in Oakland goes beyond sustainable practices. In addition to the facility upgrades, the Oakland Mill has a strong civic commitment to the community. ConAgra Mills has a passionate commitment to end child hunger and provides ongoing donations and volunteers to the local food bank. At the upcoming celebration, ConAgra Mills will be presenting a $2,500 donation to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. 
Originally built as a feed mill in 1927 and then converted to a flour mill in 1965, ConAgra's Oakland Mill is a hallmark of the city's proud industrial history. ConAgra Mills operates 23 community mills across the United States and Puerto Rico and is proud to be a part of the City of Oakland and one of the nation's leading suppliers of flour and other premium wheat/flour brands, such as King Midas®, Kyrol®, Full Power®, Minnesota Girl® and Occident® heritage brands that have helped define the foods of the American table for over a century.
We would be honored by your participation as we acknowledge our commitment to sustainability and celebrate the Oakland business and residential communities we serve. To confirm your attendance or for further details please RSVP for the event at the following link:
See you there!

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Oakland the new place for sustainable & socially responsible companies

Register HERE:

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