CalRegions Volume VII, Issue 1 - January 2006
I. 2006 A Year of Change for CCRL
II. 2006 A Year for Strategic State Infrastructure Investments for California’s Regions -- How Did We Get Here?
III. If 2006 is Truly the Year of Infrastructure, What Might We Expect -- and How Should We Be Involved?
IV. Infrastructure Policy-Related Resources
V. Thanks to CCRL’s Supporters
2006: A Year of Change for CCRL
Long-anticipated State Policy Opportunity for the Regions of California
This will be my last CalRegions newsletter as the President of CCRL, but I want to convey my profound optimism about the future of the organization and about the opportunities for major state policy initiatives that could benefit the regions of California for years to come. I also want to extend my deepest thanks to the CCRL Board and staff and our Regional Collaborative partners for giving me almost six years of every person’s dream: being able to work every day on matters dearest to one’s heart. I also want to thank our philanthropic and corporate supporters, without whom none of this would have been possible.
With every best wish for continued progress toward a more sustainable California,
I. 2006: A Year of Change for CCRL
It is my honor and pleasure to announce the selection of Bonny L. Herman as the next President and CEO of the California Center for Regional Leadership. Bonny will take her new position on February 1. For the past nineteen years, Bonny has been the CEO of VICA, a prominent --and, under her leadership -- very influential business organization in the San Fernando Valley. Addressing a broad range of issues fundamental to the economic progress and quality of life in that community, VICA and Bonny have brought an effective stewardship voice to local, regional and statewide policymakers. Bonny is a quintessential civic entrepreneur, and we are confident that under her leadership CCRL and its network of Regional Collaborative partner organizations will carry the voice of regional civic and business leaders directly into the halls of the state government. More on that in a moment.
As for me, I will continue on as an adviser to CCRL until March 31, and the Board asked me to continue as a member of the Board. I will continue to do everything in my ability to support Bonny as she takes the organization forward. In the transition, three of our very valuable staff members have also moved on to new vistas, and I want to thank them for their years of dedicated and effective service to CCRL. Kala Venugopal, who has so ably managed our work with Regional Collaboratives over the years, including organizing the Civic Entrepreneur Summit, is experiencing the wonder of new motherhood, as many of you know. While she no longer serves as a full-time staff member, she will continue to consult with CCRL on specific projects as she also spends time with her dear Kailash. Sarah Henry, who brought our electronic communications program to a new level of sophistication and effectiveness, has moved on to become a Program Officer with Next Ten, the new organization founded by Noel Perry with whom we partnered to launch the California Budget Challenge. We expect great things of Next Ten. If you haven't visited their website recently, I would encourage you to do so (www.next-ten.org). And Nooshin Navidi, our able program assistant, will be traveling abroad over the next few months. Happily, Trish Kelly, who has served as CCRL's Sacramento liaison and leader of many of our important projects, will continue with us, as will Senior Program Officer Seth Miller, who has and continues to lead our work on growth planning, housing, transportation and related state policy matters. And Sandra Ivancich continues as our Administrator, keeping us all organized and orderly in a very pleasant and professional manner.
We have also added new members to our governing board: Bob Hertzberg, former Speaker of the State Assembly, who continues to provide civic and political vision and leadership for the Los Angeles region and statewide; Randal Hernandez, who returned to the Bank of America as its Senior Government Relations Executive, after a stint as Governor Schwarzenegger's Appointments Secretary; and Hope Boonshaft; until recently Vice President for External Affairs at Sony Pictures and a prominent civic and community leader in Los Angeles. Welcome to all!
II. 2006: A Year for Strategic State Infrastructure Investments for California's Regions - How Did We Get Here?
California’s foundations, regional civic and business leaders and CCRL and its many nonprofit partners have been working on infrastructure planning and investment for many years. It is useful to remind ourselves of how they have helped to “set the table,” and why they must be involved in the very important policy deliberations within state government and among the voters of California over the next several months.
- Many if not most of the Regional Collaboratives have long been advocates of local and regional infrastructure investments, including passage of local sales taxes for transportation investments; adoption of local school, library and parks bonds to meet the needs of a growing population; and establishment of local and regional housing trust funds to meet affordable and workforce housing needs. In addition, many of the Regional Collaboratives have cooperated with regional agencies to develop long-range, comprehensive regional visions and plans, sometimes called "Blueprints," to ensure that infrastructure investment dollars are spent wisely to meet highest priority needs in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
- During the 1990’s the The James Irvine Foundation and its partners in Californians and the Land (the Hewlett, Packard and Environment Now foundations and Bank of America) commissioned Steve Levy of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy to produce two reports, “Land Use and the California Economy” and “Smart Public Investments and the California Economy.” Affectionately known as the LUCE and SPICE reports, they documented the importance of wise and substantial infrastructure planning and investment—to ensure that California’s economy and quality of life continue to improve, even in the face of a growing population.
- From 2000-2002, CCRL and many of the Regional Collaborative leaders participated in the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism, which advocated sound and substantial state investments in infrastructure, attuned to the diverse and particular needs of California's urban, metropolitan and rural regions. Among other things, the Commission advocated:
- Infrastructure investment as economic policy. Businesses will not start, stay or expand in California unless we have adequate housing, transportation, parks and other vital infrastructure.
- Workforce investment to enable all our people to be productive and employable in a fiercely competitive global economy, and to be ready to take the jobs that will be made available through infrastructure spending.
- State-local fiscal reform that provides adequate, stable revenues for state and local government and encourages development of housing, located close to jobs, and in adequate supply to meet the needs of a growing population. Without fiscal reform, we run the danger that long-term infrastructure debt-financing will be seen as competitive with other needs in the annual budget process: K-12 education, health and social services, higher education and other needs.
- Economic and social opportunity for all, promoted through all state programs, not just those targeted on the poor.
- Improved regional planning, through collaboration among local governments and the private and civic sector. Especially important to extract the most value from infrastructure investments.
- Investment in school facilities as centers of vital communities and joint-use facilities.
- Stewardship protection of our most precious rural and urban natural resources.
- Enhanced civic and voter participation to ensure that better policies have the public will necessary for sustained support.
- During the same period (2000-2002) many of our partners served on the Governor's Commission on Building for the 21st Century, and CCRL helped to staff that effort. The Report of the Commission provides wise and useful guidance on how to most effectively meet our infrastructure needs over the long-term, setting forth a policy framework and principles that would ensure efficient investments. Among other principles advanced by the Commission:
- Invest within a “Three E’s” policy framework: Economy, Environment, social Equity.
- Optimize the use of existing assets—“fix it first.”
- Use new information and technological innovation to get the most out of existing and new investments.
- Utilize comprehensive, integrated planning to ensure investments in different program areas aren’t made at cross-purposes.
- Test every investment against “life-cycle,” return-on-investment measures to maximize the positive impact of scarce infrastructure investment funds.
- Leverage private investment in public-infrastructure, through innovative financing arrangements, public-private partnerships and fee-based financing (“user pays”).
- Educate the public on infrastructure needs and strategies.
- Establish a permanent capacity, called the “California Infrastructure Partnership,” to ensure continuous attention to infrastructure needs and measurement of investment performance.
- In 2003 and 2004, CCRL collaborated with several other organizations in a project called the California Policy Reform Network. With support from Bank of America, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, Morgan Family Foundation and the Surdna Foundation, CPRN convened more than 40 regional and statewide educational dialogues on critical state issues. Most of these sessions focused on the importance of infrastructure and fiscal policy reform. Involving thousands of California leaders from all sectors, the dialogues helped set the stage for informed, active civic engagement on these crucial issues.
- From 2003-2005, CCRL convened on behalf of the Governor’s Cabinet, in association with our Regional Collaborative partners, a dozen regional Economic Vitality Conversations, in which local business, government and community leaders called for infrastructure investments as a critical component of a state economic strategy. We also convened a Rural Economic Vitality Conversation with the Cabinet and rural leaders, which called for special attention to the particular investment needs of our state's diverse rural regions.
- Over the past year, CCRL has helped to facilitate the Governor's BTH/Resources Advisory Group (formerly the CEQA Improvement Advisory Group), a multi-stakeholder public dialogue on how best to meet the state’s growth planning and investment needs, while assuring environmental quality and economic and social justice. We also conducted five regional dialogues across the state with local government, business and community leaders, to ensure that their voices were brought into the deliberations. This work will continue in 2006.
- Finally, at CCRL’s 2005 Civic Entrepreneur Summit last September, leading thinkers and agents of change from the state government and the regional public and private sectors gathered to discuss new opportunities in:
- Goods Movement, the “Logistics” Economy and Environmental Mitigation
- Affordable, Workforce Housing Construction and Finance
- Urban Parks and Rural Resource Protection
- Long-range, Comprehensive Infrastructure Planning at the State and Regional Levels
- Collaborative Investment for our Rural Regions, and the Necessity for an Urban-Rural Nexus
- Budget Basics—Ensuring the Adequacy of Public Funds and their Efficient Uses for Highest Priority Needs
III. If 2006 is truly the Year of Infrastructure, what might we expect -- and how should we be involved?
First, the issue of what infrastructure to fund, and where -- and how to pay for it -- will be complex. It is essential that regional leaders become thoroughly familiar with the issues. CCRL will be helping them to do so, through a series of regional educational dialogues and reports.
Second, because state leaders have expressed their intention of bringing a bond measure, and perhaps associated policy measures, to the voters for approval, regional leaders can help to educate the broader public on the issues, their particular meaning for the regions, and arguments for and against the proposals.
Third, because these issues are the most important opportunity in years for regional leaders to make their voices heard, there will be a vital need for their direct advocacy with policymakers, not only to ensure that the true needs of the regions are met in the proposals ultimately adopted and put before the voters. But also, with the cacophony of special interest voices that predictably will surround the policymakers as they make crucial decisions, regional leaders can help find common ground, and help to assure that the broad public interest is served, not just those with the loudest voices.
Finally, because state policies and funding proposals will only be effective if they link collaboratively with local and regional public and private policies and financing decisions, true state government collaboration with regional and local leaders is essential to assure a fully synergistic outcome on the ground. We cannot afford to waste precious infrastructure dollars on plans or projects that don't achieve high leverage and partnership with local infrastructure investments.
So, dear friends, please stay with us. With CCRL's new professional and governance leadership and the direct involvement of Regional Collaborative leaders, together we can assure that this Year of Infrastructure Opportunity is indeed a Year of Infrastructure Achievement. Let's get to work!
IV. Infrastructure Policy-related Resources for Your Interest
The on-going work of the Regional Collaboratives
Land Use and the California Economy [PDF]
Smart Public Investments and the California Economy
Report of the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism
Report of the Commission on Building for the 21st Century
California Policy Reform Network
Reports from the CCRL-Cabinet Economic Vitality Conversations [PDF]
CCRL-Cabinet Rural Economic Vitality Conversation [PDF]
Materials related to the Business Transportation & Housing -- Resources Agency Advisory Group (formerly the CEQA Improvement Advisory Group)
CCRL's 2003 report, "Growth: the California Story"
Report from CCRL's 2005 Civic Entrepreneur Summit
V. Thanks to CCRL’s Supporters
Our special thanks to those foundations and corporations that have been stalwarts over the years:
- The James Irvine Foundation, without whose start-up support CCRL would not have been possible.
- The Morgan Family Foundation, whose vision and funding have sustained CCRL over the years, and enabled us to undertake the current transition to new leadership.
- The William and Flora Hewlett and Surdna Foundations, which have supported our policy research and regional and statewide dialogue activities for many years in the fields of infrastructure; regional planning; and land use, housing and transportation planning and investment.
- Bank of America and Pacific Gas and Electric, who understand that the economic future of California is tied to the intelligent application of public policy through public-private partnerships.
In support of its 2005 programs, CCRL was most fortunate to receive funds from a wide variety of corporate, public, philanthropic and individual funders (more than 40 in all!):
|Association of Bay Area Governments
Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments
Bank of America
California Building Industry Association
California Business Roundtable
The California Endowment
California Department of Housing and Community Development
California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley (through the Fresno Business Council)
Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County
First American Corporation
Fresno Council of Governments
Gateway Business Bank
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Humboldt Area Foundation
The Irvine Company
The James Irvine Foundation
Lewis Group of Companies
| Long Beach City College
Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Morgan Family Foundation
Next Ten and Noel Perry
Pajaro Valley Workforce Investment Board
Pacific Gas and Electric
Public Policy Institute of California
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Resources Legacy Fund (from the Packard Foundation)
Sacramento Area Council of Governments
Southern California Edison
Southern California Logistics Airport
San Bernardino Association of Governments
San Diego Association of Governments
Southern California Association of Governments