Pleasanton Weekly

News - October 7, 2011

Mayors look for I-GATE, national labs to boost Tri-Valley

Hosterman calls for support of Obama's jobs program

by Jeb Bing

Echoing the nation refrain "jobs, jobs, jobs," the mayors of the five cities in the greater Tri-Valley have agreed that their main priority is keeping their constituents employed.

Citing new and expanded energy, green technology, open campus and entrepreneurial initiatives under way at Livermore and Sandia national laboratories and at Livermore's I-GATE business hub, the mayors talked about projections for another 5,000 jobs coming to the Tri-Valley that will help their cities.

"We're already adding jobs here faster than the state," said Mayor Jennifer Hosterman at this year's annual Tri-Valley Mayors Summit, which was hosted last Thursday by the Livermore Chamber of Commerce at Wente Bros. Winery.

Other mayors representing their cities were Karen Stepper, Danville; Tim Sbranti, Dublin; Marshall Kamena, Livermore, and Abram Wilson, San Ramon.

For Kamena and Wilson, this was their last Tri-Valley mayors' forum. Both are termed out of office in November, although each one is also seeking a seat on their respective City Councils. Hosterman will be termed out as mayor of Pleasanton in November 2012.

"When it comes to jobs, we're doing everything we can keep them here and add more," Hosterman said. "But the way we will achieve job growth in the country is by working on the infrastructure. We need to support President Obama's jobs act."

She added: "We're fortunate here to have IGATE and these new business hubs in our own back yard."

I-GATE is part of a regional effort to help businesses develop clean energy and transportation systems; the open campus is a push to help commercialize research and technology from the national labs.

Beaming with pride, Kamena pointed out that the "back yard" is Livermore, where I-GATE, the national laboratories and their new 110-acre open campus business and research facilities on Greenville Road are located.

He said that after four years of negotiations with the Department of Energy and other federal agencies, all of those are within his city, having been annexed recently.

"So now if the labs need permits to add something, that can be handled quickly by the city and they can move faster to get things done," he said.

Sbranti said the new research effort being undertaken by the labs in terms of new business opportunities and education "is a game changer for Dublin that we can tap into."

He expects some start-up businesses associated with the national lab and I-GATE programs may actually choose to locate in Dublin's new executive business center, closer to the West BART station.

"Many people who work at the labs live in Danville," Mayor Stepper said. "Now we're talking about 5,000 more jobs there over the next five years. We're excited as a community about that means to our local economy."

Wilson of San Ramon agreed.

"With I-GATE and the growth we see coming at the national labs, that adds to the focus on the Tri-Valley," Wilson said. "Success breeds success."

Kamena said that all Tri-Valley mayors should embrace the need for more job creation, technology and innovation in this region.

"These are key to the continued economic success of our coalition and partnerships as cities and for our 250,000 constituents in the Tri-Valley," he added.

Other points made by the mayors included:

* Mayor Hosterman of Pleasanton: More jobs are coming to Pleasanton, with Safeway opening a new Lifestyle supermarket in November and Clorox soon to move 1,100 employees into a new corporate center on Johnson Drive. Pleasanton's downtown is thriving with no vacant stores at this time.

* Mayor Stepper of Danville: Transportation continues to be a major problem. Although carpool lanes have been added on I-680, there are still major bottlenecks where the work hasn't been completed. Residents who have jobs to reach off I-580 spend too much time getting there. Danville doesn't have any of the large corporations, but it has many small businesses that the town supports. People live in Danville for the type of environment it offers.

* Mayor Sbranti of Dublin: The city once had some well-documented vacancies in the downtown, which some saw as a depressed area but others saw as opportunities for reinvestment. Dublin is booming now with new retail stores, centers and business parks. It has a second, and new, BART station. Los Positas College has purchased a new site on Dublin Boulevard. The community schools also must be supported, which is why the Dublin Council is working with the school district on imposing a joint utility tax to support its schools.

* Mayor Kamena of Livermore: Paragon is building a new 120-plus-store outlet mall at I-580 and El Charro Road, which is now employing 900 in the construction phase and ultimately will have jobs for more than 2,200. The five cities' Chambers of Commerce should work more collaboratively with the cities, possible giving mayors a seat on their boards.

Kamena also said he was the oldest living cancer survivor at the event whose life was saved with a stem cell transplant, a remark that drew loud applause.

* Mayor Wilson of San Ramon: Praised the mayors for working together, including making trips to Washington, D.C., to visit with federal legislators on key issues affecting the Tri-Valley. He said that while it's important for mayors to put their city's concerns first, joint collaborative efforts help all municipalities, too. Bishop Ranch continues to grow as a regional business center and soon UC Davis will be part of a business incubator there. Completion of a regional emergency communications system involving both Alameda and Contra Costa counties is still not finished 10 years after 9/11 showed its importance. It must remain a Tri-Valley mayors' priority.

Other points made by the mayors:

* Tri-Valley Television can be a driver for economic development in the communities it serves on Channels, 28, 29 and 30.

* Home foreclosures and the inability of homeowners to obtain loan modifications is an ongoing problem throughout the Tri-Valley.

* All Tri-Valley cities hold major events throughout the year and each city should alert its residents to support the others, including parades, car shows and holiday events.

Tri-Valley Community TV will broadcast the Mayors' Summit on Channel 30 at the following times: Sunday at 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday at 7 p.m., Tuesday at 2 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., Thursday at 11 p.m. and Friday at 5 p.m.

The program also can be viewed via Video on Demand on the Tri-Valley Community TV website at www.trivalleytv.org.

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