Gwinnett Chamber travels to San Francisco for Strategic Leadership Visit

Gwinnett Chamber travels to San Francisco for Strategic Leadership Visit

A Model of Transit-Oriented Development Using Public/Private Partnerships
One of the most innovative transit-oriented development projects in California celebrated its grand opening on October 2, 2010. Innovations in financing, community participation, and public/private partnerships have all been employed to bring the Avalon Walnut Creek at Contra Costa Centre to fruition. The County of Contra Costa, the County’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA), BART, AvalonBay Communities, Inc., and Millennium Partners are all part of the story. The Contra Costa Centre Transit Village, a 125-acre district surrounding the Pleasant Hill BART Station is a model of transit-oriented development (TOD) that people can experience. Built in the early 1970’s, the Pleasant Hill Station is now strategically located where BART, I-680, a major sub-regional arterial, a regional trail, and a future light-rail corridor converge. The Contra Costa Centre Area is without challenge with respect to accessibility. The Contra Costa Centre program was explicitly designed to locate employment and housing next to this regional transportation hub. Today Contra Costa Centre hosts 7000 residents, 6,000 employees, and 6,000 BART customers a day. Development in the area, renamed Contra Costa Centre in 2005, provides for economic growth, new jobs and affordable housing, while also contributing part of the solution to the Bay Area’s transportation problems. Growth management elements of the Specific Plan include:

  • A regional approach to addressing development and traffic concerns;
  • Creation of a jobs/housing center around existing regional transportation hub;
  • Public/private financing of infrastructure improvements:
  • Requirements for transportation demand management and child care program;
  • Public financing of affordable housing projects through redevelopment tax increments and tax exempt bonds; and
  • Creation of jobs/housing balance.

Contra Costa Centre currently features approximately 2.2 million square feet of existing Class A office space, 423 hotel rooms (Embassy Suites and a Marriott Renaissance hotel), and almost 2300 multi-family residential units. At completion, the greater area will have approximately 2.8 million square feet of office and commercial development and 2800 residential units.

Transportation – Sharing Lessons Learned
Sharing examples of local transportation funding initiatives – particularly in Contra Costa and San Mateo Counties. Under California law, such local referenda require a super majority for passage. Both of these counties have had successful efforts in the past few years. Leaders from the region will share their perspective and “lessons learned” on these efforts.

Sharing the Bay Area’s perspective of Regional Transit Governance – The Bay Area has multiple transit providers, but oversight is provided through a coordinated regional governance structure. Leaders from the region will share their perspectives on how the current structure works and insights that can be of importance in the Atlanta region. S

haring the Bay Area experience with Public Private Partnerships. There have been a number of successful P3s in the Bay Area. Leaders from the region will share examples of these and lessons learned.

Entrepreneurial Investment- Access to Capital
Location, location, location. Other than weather, why is the San Francisco Bay Area such a world-wide hub for start-ups and successful corporations – particularly those focused on innovation? In spite of high taxes and occasional earthquakes, entrepreneurs still want to start and expand their business here because they have access to talent and money. There is a culture that encourages risk and is known for its “critical mass.” University policy supports and encourages students and faculty to take sabbaticals to develop innovative products and services and start new businesses. There are state legislative policies and incentives that encourage investors to invest in California companies.

Acelerator’s founder and CEO Jeff Haynie began his internet based app company in Atlanta. After one year relocated to the southern San Francisco Bay area. Other than the weather, what was the big attraction?

Why do seed, angel, and capital venture investment groups want to invest here? The Band of Angels is Silicon Valley’s oldest seed funding organization. They are a formal group of more than 130 former and current high tech executives who are interested in investing their time and money into new, cutting edge, startup companies. They’ve seeded over 225 companies with 50 profitable M&A exits and 9 Nasdaq IPOs. Band members have founded companies such as Symantec, Logitech, and National Semiconductor and have been senior executives at the likes of Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, and Intuit.

The Band meets monthly to formally consider three startups selected from among the more than 50 that are screened each month by the Band Deal Selection Process. Entrepreneurs can expect a thorough examination and, occasionally, an investment from some of Silicon Valley’s most accomplished entrepreneurs.

Redevelopment & Revitalization
Throughout the San Francisco Bay area, redevelopment and revitalization are a way of life. Public and private sector organizations work with community stakeholders to build the economic partnerships that work. The redevelopment block will focus on innovative redevelopment practices, the use of form-based codes, transit oriented development, transfer development rights and sustainable infill techniques. Panelists from the City of San Francisco, Community Benefit Districts and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency will share their unique role in overseeing large-scale urban redevelopment planning and implementation efforts. From encouraging new development projects, promoting job growth, and creating an environment that generates tax revenues in declining urban areas, these public and private partnerships are spurring economic growth to focus public investment in the city’s blighted areas.

Arts Work
A panel featuring three leaders of Bay Area arts proponent organizations held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will spotlight why corporations, governments and citizens in San Francisco and Silicon Valley communities invest in the arts and see great returns. Learn about how San Francisco established and works hard to maintain its place as the arts and culture hub of the West Coast. Created by voters in 1932, the San Francisco Arts Commission is dedicated to making the arts accessible to all through murals and monuments, performance grants, teen programs, and a percent for arts program. The 1969 enactment of San Francisco’s Art Enrichment Ordinance provided a guaranteed funding mechanism for public art acquisition. Today, San Francisco boasts a Civic Art Collection of more than 3,000 public artworks.

United by the efforts of Theatre Bay Area since 1976, the performing arts have also thrived in the 11-county region where 365 theater and dance companies premiere more than 200 new works annually.

Established in 1982, Arts Council Silicon improves the quality of life for Santa Clara County residents by creating and fostering arts and culture throughout the region. The Council’s programs include grant making, fundraising support services for 140 arts organizations and artists, marketing and support services for 600 arts organizations and arts accessibility programs for youth.

Preparing Urban Students for the 21st Century World
Superintendent Carlos A. Garcia
In 2007 Dr. Carlos A. Garcia was named superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Under his leadership, the district has seen consistent improvement in achievement for all students. He also has led the way in developing district policies aimed at graduating all SFUSD students with bilingual skills and the credits required for admission to California’s university system. Before joining SFUSD, Dr. Garcia led several large urban school districts, including Fresno, California, and Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada, which was the fastest-growing district in the nation during his tenure, averaging one new school opening per month. Superintendent of a highly diverse district, Dr. Garcia often speaks about his own journey of assimilation as a Latino child who grew up in the Barrio of Los Angeles and went on to become one of the nation’s most successful, respected urban school leaders. Despite his acclaim as a superintendent, Dr. Garcia considers himself first and foremost a teacher.

Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA)
Since 1982, the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) has provided students with a rigorous and inspiring high school program in both artistic and academic disciplines. Students in grades 9-12 are admitted to SOTA through an audition and portfolio process. Once admitted, they are exposed to a rich curriculum that encompasses all aspects of the visual and performing arts. For example, students learn the intricacies of stagecraft, whether they aspire to be performers (actors, dancers, singers, musicians), directors, set or lighting designers, sound engineers, or playwrights. Painters, sculptors, videographers, musicians, and digital editors learn collaboratively in an environment that stresses creative and independent thinking as well as excellence and high achievement. SOTA students are not only taught by a staff of highly credentialed teachers, but also work alongside artists from the community who specialize in their chosen artistic disciplines. The Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts has been nationally recognized for its program, which serves one of the most ethnically diverse student populations in the city. This session is timely as Gwinnett County Public Schools hopes to develop its own performing arts high school in the coming years.

Innovative Pathways to Literacy for English-Language Learners
San Francisco Unified’s highly diverse student population includes over 16,000 English-language learners, a significant portion of the district’s enrollment. SFUSD meets the needs of these students through a comprehensive program of “English Learner Pathways” designed to help students develop the high levels of literacy needed for academic success. One approach that has drawn national attention is the Dual Language Immersion Pathway, which educates English-speaking students with children whose home language is Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, or Spanish. The innovative delivery model involves teaching students in the target language beginning in kindergarten, with the goal being to produce high levels of literacy in both languages among all the students by the end of elementary school. The Dual Language Immersion Pathway is popular with SFUSD parents and attracts frequent visitors from across the country eager to learn new ways of effectively educating large numbers of English-language learners.

Technology for Teaching and Learning in 21st Century Urban Schools
When the topic is transforming education for 21st Century learners, the role of technology invariably comes into play. Schools everywhere look for innovative ways to make instruction more relevant and engaging for students who have never known a world without technology. Teachers seek to personalize learning with digital and web-based content so every student can achieve at higher levels. Meanwhile districts must meet accountability mandates that depend on access to timely, accurate data about how their students are performing. To support all these demands effectively, a robust and efficient technology infrastructure must be in place. At the same time budget constraints and issues of equitable access to technology resources present daunting challenges to large, urban districts like SFUSD and GCPS. Staff from the information technology department will discuss how SFUSD is addressing these challenges, and share what is on the horizon for a district situated in close proximity to some of the world’s leading technology companies.

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