Gilroy Chamber Business Focus January 2023
January 30, 2023
Gilroy Organizations’ New Leaders Talk 2023 and Beyond - Victoria Valencia
Some prominent organizations in Gilroy welcomed new faces at the helm as the calendar flipped to 2023.
Victoria Valencia is the new CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, Frank Johnson has taken over as executive director of Visit Gilroy and Jeff Orth is overseeing the Gilroy Downtown Business Association board as its chair.
All three noted a new energy is bubbling in Gilroy, as the city continues to pull away from the dark days of the Covid-19 pandemic and see many of its years-long projects come to life.
The Gilroy Dispatch recently sat down with them to learn about their plans for their respective roles.
Victoria Valencia is a South County native who has not only stayed in the area her entire life, but has been active in every position she’s held.
She graduated from Live Oak High School, where she led the charge in various student-organized activities, including as ASB president. It was during high school where Valencia said she gained a love for organizing events, so she earned a degree in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management from San Jose State University in 2016.
While at San Jose State, Valencia interned at the Pebble Beach Company, where she helped out with events such as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Concours d’Elegance.
She later worked at the Mt. Madonna YMCA as a member services coordinator, and oversaw events at the Gilroy Lodge on the Hill.
Valencia joined the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce in January 2019 as event manager. But with events all but eliminated in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, her role shifted to community relations manager, working with various other organizations on pandemic safety campaigns and other efforts.
Now, after longtime chamber CEO, Mark Turner, was elected mayor of Morgan Hill and left the organization, Valencia has stepped into the role.
“My goal is to continue to build the partnerships in place,” she said, while praising the work of the chamber’s staff and board. “We’re about to enter a super exciting time thanks to the work that’s already been done.”
Valencia aims to work more closely with the Gilroy Unified School District and Gavilan College, organizing job shadowing trips to major employers in the area as a way to expose students to the opportunities available to them locally and creating an internship program.
The chamber is also active in the initiatives of the Gilroy Economic Development Partnership: adding an ice rink to the Sports Park, developing an “adventure park” on the hillside behind Gilroy Gardens, and revitalizing downtown’s Gourmet Alley.
In 2022, the chamber, along with Visit Gilroy and the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation, embarked on a year-long “Why Gilroy” campaign, running promotional pieces in the Silicon Valley Business Journal to attract businesses to open up shop in the South County city.
“We’re hearing that people are excited about what’s happening in Gilroy,” she said, adding that those efforts are ongoing, including posting available commercial properties on the chamber website.
The Gilroy Chamber has a number of events lined up in 2023, including the State of the City on March 16, monthly breakfast meetings, Garlic City Car Show on June 17, and the Legislative Summit later in the year.
Valencia encouraged residents and businesses to reach out and be engaged with the chamber. For information, visit gilroy.org.
Gilroy Organizations’ New Leaders Talk 2023 and Beyond - Frank Johnson
Some prominent organizations in Gilroy welcomed new faces at the helm as the calendar flipped to 2023.
Frank Johnson sees Gilroy as a bit of an outlier in the Bay Area: it has open agricultural fields and majestic parks, many world-renowned wineries within a relatively small distance from each other, and a downtown that has maintained its historic appeal when so many others have been redeveloped.
It has much to offer not only to its residents, but for people around the globe. For Johnson, his new role is to find ways to get those tourists into local hotels and spending money locally.
Johnson was recently named executive director of Visit Gilroy and the California Welcome Center Gilroy, taking over from Jane Howard, who retired in 2022 after 17 years at the helm.
“Having traveled extensively and sought out every opportunity to learn about diverse cultures, I am excited to take on this new challenge as leader of Visit Gilroy,” he said. “I look forward to elevating Gilroy as a destination for visitors while forging meaningful and long-lasting business relationships within the community.”
Prior to joining Visit Gilroy, Johnson was executive director of the Museum of the Sierra in Shaver Lake.
He also previously served as the program and outreach manager at Friends of the Hunley, a museum and laboratory in Charleston, S.C. He also worked at the Charleston Visitors and Convention Bureau, in destination management for Cruz Bay Watersports in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and in various project management roles for digital media and marketing companies in California and Florida.
Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and journalism from California State University, Fresno, and is a veteran of the United States Air Force.
He said his passion for travel blossomed during his time in the service, where he explored much of Europe, as well as during his marketing career in Fresno, which took him throughout California.
“I love this area,” he said. “I’m very familiar with California. I’m passionate about all that Gilroy has to offer—our wonderful foods and wines, as well as our close proximity to hiking, coastal destinations and other attractions.”
Johnson pointed to the Gilroy City Council’s 2020 declaration that the city is a “recreation destination,” as well as the importance of its various initiatives, which include bringing an ice rink to the Sports Park, adding an “adventure park” behind Gilroy Gardens, and improving downtown’s Gourmet Alley.
Each one of those projects, should they fully come to fruition, will benefit Gilroy with not only increased hotel stays and the tax revenue that comes with it, but visitors will check out local restaurants and other establishments, further bolstering revenues, he said.
Johnson said he wants to promote the cultural and historical aspects of Gilroy, adding that he’s committed to working with indigenous residents to help tell their stories to the outside world.
Johnson praised the Visit Gilroy staff and board, as well as other local officials, who he said have been very supportive.
He’s also made another commitment to Gilroy.
“I made a personal promise to eat in Gilroy twice a week,” Johnson said. “I challenge everybody to do the same.”
Gilroy Organizations’ New Leaders Talk 2023 and Beyond - Jeff Orth
Some prominent organizations in Gilroy welcomed new faces at the helm as the calendar flipped to 2023.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Gilroy Downtown Business Association has a full 13-member board.
It’ll be led by new Chair Jeff Orth, who takes over the position from Gary Walton, who will remain on the board as past chair.
Orth, the owner of Integrated Financial Benefits Network, which is based in the historic Holloway House in downtown Gilroy, is an active member of the Gilroy Rotary Club who also served as the Governor for Rotary’s District 5170.
Since taking over as chair, Orth said he’s hit the ground running, having one-on-one meetings with city councilmembers, GDBA board members and others. He also plans on meeting monthly with Valencia, Johnson and City Administrator Jimmy Forbis.
Getting everyone on the same page is especially critical now, he noted, as more money is about to be poured into improving downtown, including $3.9 million from the state to upgrade Gourmet and Railroad alleys.
Finding ways to draw people to all areas of the city benefits everyone, he added. For instance, maybe people coming just to visit the wineries will also learn about downtown, and head there for dinner. They may also stay overnight to visit Gilroy Gardens the next day or shop at the Gilroy Premium Outlets.
“We can get some really good positive momentum here by collaborating with all the other organizations,” Orth said. “Working together will give people more of a reason to want to stay and play, and maybe even stay overnight in Gilroy.”
Orth said he is also making structural changes to GDBA for efficiency. Among those, the organization will hold fewer events in 2023 and instead spend more time planning to improve them, he said.
Each board member is also responsible for chairing an event, while others will have the same duties across all events, such as security and promotions, so as not to reinvent the wheel with each event.
Among the events, the National Celebration of Garlic is on tap for April 15, and the Downtown Live Music Series is scheduled to begin in June and run weekly through the summer.
Orth also noted that planning is already underway for the Holiday Parade, and hinted that 2023 will be “the biggest, most memorable Holiday Parade in the history of this city.”
Board members have also been assigned a block of downtown, which they will frequently walk, meeting with business owners and talking with customers to learn what is and isn’t working for them.
“We want to really strengthen the perception of downtown Gilroy as a place that’s safe, clean, interesting, warm and welcoming,” Orth said.
California Economy Surges, but Future Cloudy
Dan Walters, CalMatters
Last year was a strong one for California’s $3.4 trillion economy.
The state added 621,400 jobs, finally regaining the nearly 3 million that were initially lost during the COVID-19 pandemic as Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down major economic sectors. The year ended with a near record-low 4.1% unemployment.
“California continues leading the nation’s economy,” Newsom boasted after the December employment report was issued this month. Earlier he projected that if California were a nation, it would be close to surpassing Germany as the globe’s 4th most powerful economy.
All good. In fact, some economists believe that California’s job growth is so strong that only a shortage of workers – due to a decline in the number of Californians seeking work – is a major impediment to expansion.
That’s the economic upside.
The downside is that no one seems to know whether the good times will continue or the state will experience one of its periodic recessions, which tend to hit about once a decade.
For the last few months, the Federal Reserve System has been attempting to dampen inflation by raising interest rates. Its stated hope is that the economy will cool off enough to curb inflation but avoid a sharp downturn into recession.
It’s not yet clear whether the system’s efforts will work as planned and economists are mixed in their projections of what lies ahead economically for the nation, not only because of the Federal Reserve’s actions but other factors, such as the war in the Ukraine.
Newsom’s proposed 2023-24 budget reflects that uncertainty.
“The uncertain future paths for inflation and Federal Reserve policy pose short-term risks,” the budget declares. “If high inflation persists longer than expected or if the Federal Reserve policy causes greater pullbacks by businesses or individuals, the economy could tip into a mild recession.
“This could lead to a steeper decline in investment and interest-sensitive consumption, which in turn could cause a larger decline in economic growth and reduced nonfarm employment and personal income growth.”
“The biggest economic threat is continued inflation,” an analysis by the Public Policy Institute of California contends. “While December consumer data marked six straight months of slowing inflation, prices have not yet abated enough. Until that happens, the Federal Reserve will likely continue to take steps to slow the economy, increasing the risk of a recession.”
Recession fears and other factors are already having an effect on the budget, turning what Newsom and legislators thought was a nearly $100 billion surplus last summer into a multi-billion-dollar deficit due to sharp declines in projected revenue, mostly taxes from high-income Californians.
The most powerful engine of California’s economy, and therefore of the state’s revenue stream, is the Bay Area-centered technology industry, whose major firms are sharply reducing payrolls through layoffs after expanding during the pandemic to serve the shift to work-at-home employment.
Despite the layoffs, the region was still adding jobs during December – in fact 84% of the jobs California gained during the month, which attests to the mixed economic signals the state is experiencing.
“We don’t see anything catastrophic happening with tech,” Patrick Kallerman, vice president of research with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, said. “I don’t see the tech industry collapsing.”
While economists debate over the economic future and Capitol politicians dicker over how to deal with the projected deficit, their constituents are turning sour.
A November poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found high pessimism about the economy with 69% of Californians surveyed saying they expect bad times in the next year and 62% expecting periods of higher unemployment during the next five years.
Department of Labor Penalties Increase for 2023
It should be noted that, with respect to certain notice and disclosure deadlines, a plan will not be in violation of ERISA
for a failure to timely furnish a notice, disclosure, or document throughout the duration of the Outbreak Period if the plan
and fiduciary operate in good faith and furnish the notice, disclosure, or document as soon as administratively practicable
(which may include the use of electronic means such as email and text messages).
Private employers, including non-profits, should ensure employees receive required notices timely (SBC, CHIP, SPD, etc.)
to prevent civil penalty assessments. In addition, employers should ensure Form 5500s are properly and timely filed,
if applicable. Finally, employers facing document requests from EBSA should ensure documents are provided timely,
Local Mattress Recycling Location
The Mattress Recycling Council recently announced a new public collection site for mattress collection located at Rosso Furniture in Morgan Hill.
Gilroy residents can drop off mattresses, free of charge, for recycling on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12 PM to 4 PM.
Mattress Recycling Drop-Off Location
Wednesdays & Fridays from 12 PM – 4 PM
Rosso Furniture & Décor
212 Tennant Avenue
Morgan Hill, CA 95023
This drop-off location is for mattresses ONLY. To recycle or dispose of other bulky items, residents should contact the San Martin Transfer Station located at 14070 Llagas Avenue, San Martin. Items recycled or disposed of at the San Martin Transfer Station may require a fee.
For more information, visit byebyemattress.com.
*El Concejo de Reciclaje de Colchones presentó hace poco un nuevo lugar de recolección pública de colchones en Rosso Furniture, Morgan Hill.
Los residentes de Gilroy pueden llevar sus colchones a reciclar sin costo alguno los miércoles y viernes 12 PM – 4 PM
Lugar de entrega de colchones para reciclar
Miércoles y viernes 12 PM – 4PM
Rosso Furniture & Décor
212 Tennant Avenue
Morgan Hill, CA 95023
Esta ubicación es SOLO para entregar colchones. Para reciclar o desechar otros objetos grandes, los residentes deben comunicarse con el centro de transferencia San Martin, ubicado en 14070 Llagas Avenue, San Martin. Es posible que deba pagar para reciclar o desechar los objetos que lleve a dicho centro de transferencia.
Para obtener más información, visite byebyemattress.com.
January 23, 2023
Gilroy Chamber Announces 2023 Spice of Life Award Recipients
Every year, the Gilroy Chamber recognizes and celebrates the wonderful businesses and people who make a difference in our community. This year, we are proud to announce the following people and businesses have been selected as our 2023 Spice of Life Award Recipients:
- Man of the Year: Mark Turner
- Woman of the Year: Jane Howard
- Large Business of the Year: Nissan of Gilroy
- Small Business of the Year: One Life Prints
- Educator of the Year: Michelle Anderson
- Volunteer of the Year: Mike Brownfield
- Non-Profit of the Year: Latino Family Fund
- Young Professional of the Year: Mark Jacobsen
- Student of the Year: Alexandra Beyret
Save the date! Join the Gilroy Chamber on Saturday, August 26, 2023 at Fortino Winery to celebrate this year’s recipients. More information coming soon!
City Administrator Update with Jimmy: Emergency Preparedness
Happy New Year, Gilroy! This month’s message focuses on the City’s emergency preparedness and, more specifically, where you can find information during times of inclement weather.
Just this month alone, Gilroy and surrounding areas have received over 12 inches of rain. For context, the annual average rainfall for the area is about 24 inches – we’ve received nearly half of our average yearly rainfall in the first two weeks of the year alone. Although we are happy to put a dent in our three-year drought, rain received this quickly can create inconveniences and could be potentially dangerous.
The City and its partners, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water), and the County of Santa Clara, have been preparing for several weeks for the inclement weather. This preparation has served our community well.
The City Public Works crews serve as first responders when localized flooding occurs, responding to reports of downed trees, blocked roadways, and localized flooding on city streets. During these times, they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help minimize the impacts of inclement weather on Gilroy residents.
However, to successfully “weather” the storm, it takes everyone’s help to plan and prepare. Keeping drains and gutters clean on and around your home will help direct runoff away from your home. An emergency preparedness kit will provide you with supplies should the power go out or you cannot leave your residence. Furthermore, knowing where to get the most up-to-date information is critical in helping you stay ahead of possibly dangerous situations.
First and foremost, please sign up for emergency alerts for BOTH the County and the City:
For ongoing storm information and updates, please utilize the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management website. There you will find information to help you and your loved ones stay safe, including:
- Weather Forecasting
- Creek/Road Flood Status/Road Closures
In coordination with Santa Clara County, the City’s Emergency Preparedness web page provides information about how to stay informed and what you can do to be prepared.
For anything City-related, you can always find the City of Gilroy updates through www.CityofGilroy.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
We expect even more much-needed rain in the next few weeks; please continue to be diligent by being prepared and informed and, most of all, staying safe.
Help Shape the Future of Transportation in Santa Clara County
VTP 2050 Online Community Meeting
Wednesday, January 25
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
When most people think of VTA, they think of buses and light rail. But VTA is actually involved in many facets of the region’s transportation system. As the transportation agency for Santa Clara County, VTA’s responsibilities also include constructing highway projects, planning bicycle and pedestrian improvements, coordinating land-use strategies with local jurisdictions, and more.
VTA is currently developing the Valley Transportation Plan 2050 (VTP 2050), a long-range, countywide, planning and policy framework that addresses all modes of travel, including highways, expressways, local streets and roads, transit, and bicycles/pedestrian infrastructure.
We want to hear from you. Community feedback is integral in developing a comprehensive transportation plan reflective of the community VTA serves. Have you identified local roads, interchanges, bike lanes or bus routes that can be improved? Please join us for a virtual meeting to learn more about the VTP 2050 and share your transportation vision for the region.
Please visit www.vta.org/VTP2050 for more information.
December 2022 Closes Out a Year of Consecutive Monthly Job Growth in California
In December 2022, California saw job growth for the fifteenth consecutive month, adding 16,200 jobs and bringing year-over-year job growth to 621,400. The continued job gains were reflected across California’s diverse economy as nine of the eleven industry sectors added jobs.
2022 by the Numbers:
- Year-over-year, California added 621,400 jobs and grew at a 3.6% annual pace in December 2022, outpacing the nation’s 3.0% annual gain.
- The education and health services, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and trade transportation and utilities sectors had the highest year-over-year job growth in 2022.
December 2022 by the Numbers:
- California added 16,200 jobs in December – the fifteenth consecutive month of job growth in the state.
- California’s December job gains reflected California’s diverse economy, as gains remained well-distributed amongst nine of the eleven industry sectors.
- California’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.1% in December – equaling the February 2020 unemployment rate, which is the month before the pandemic outbreak occurred.
- The state had 70,000 more jobs in December 2022 than it had entering the pandemic in February 2020.
Sacramento Court Pauses New Fast Food Council Law
By Ashley Hoffman, CalChamber
The Sacramento Superior Court last week ruled that a new law establishing a fast food sector council can’t be enforced until officials determine whether the industry challenge to the law can proceed.
The Save Local Restaurants coalition submitted signatures on December 5, 2022 to prevent the fast food council law, AB 257 (Holden; D-Pasadena; Chapter 246, Statutes of 2022), from taking effect until after California voters decide its fate when the referendum appears on the November 2024 ballot.
The California Department of Industrial Relations tried to put AB 257 into effect temporarily on January 1 of this year despite the pending signature verification process for the referendum, but the coalition sued to stop enforcement of the law.
The Sacramento Superior Court’s January 13 ruling found there is “very little harm” to the public in delaying enforcement of AB 257 until completion of the signature verification process, which the parties estimate will occur by January 27 or March 13 at the latest.
Once the referendum on AB 257 qualifies for the ballot, it cannot be enforced until voters have their say.
AB 257, opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, establishes the unelected Fast Food Council with unprecedented authority to write its own labor and employment laws for fast food restaurant employees.
The Secretary of State confirmed on December 9, 2022, that the coalition’s referendum petition contained more than the minimum number of required signatures. The counties have 30 working days from that date to perform a full check of signatures and report to the Secretary of State.
The Save Local Restaurants coalition is made up of small business owners, restaurateurs, franchisees, employees, consumers, and community-based organizations. The coalition effort is co-chaired by the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Franchise Association.
The coalition argues that AB 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Act) will increase the cost of food for the 70% of Californians who visit a counter-service restaurant each week and the working families who already are struggling with high gas, electricity and housing costs.
Moreover, the new government bureaucracy created by the FAST Act will cost California taxpayers millions of dollars every year. The new regulations will eliminate thousands of jobs in California and harm thousands of small, family-, minority- and woman-owned businesses across the state.
January 16, 2023
Proud Members of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce
The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce appreciates the support of our members. Investment dollars are dedicated to vital programs such as economic development, business marketing, leadership programs and more. We applaud each of you for helping make Gilroy a better place to live and work.
30 Years & over
Nob Hill Foods
Princevalle Pet Hospital, Inc.
Rapazzini Winery/The Garlic Shoppe
Rosso Furniture & Decor
Vanni & Humphrey, CPAs
20 Years & over
Aitken Associates Landscape Architects
Blossom Valley Foods
California Welcome Center – Gilroy
Coldwell Banker, Gilroy
Excel Auto Body & Paint
Gilroy Exchange Club
Vanni Properties, Inc.
Van Kuelen & Van Kuelen
10 Years & over
COMP – Connection, Inc.
Jane’s Answering Service
5 Years and over
Lapel’s Dry Cleaning
Poppy Jasper International Film Festival
Teri Fortino, Compass Realty
Drenched Californians Get an Extra Month to File Tax Returns
John Healy, LA Times
For more information on the Emergency Declaration signed by President Biden, click here.
The Internal Revenue Service offered a lifeboat of sorts Tuesday to California residents and businesses floundering in the atmospheric river: More time to pay their income taxes.
And on Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will follow the feds’ lead.
The IRS announced that taxpayers in any county covered by a federal emergency declaration would have until May 15 to file their income tax returns for 2022. So far, 41 of the state’s 58 counties are in that group, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Ventura counties; if the declaration is extended to more counties, the IRS will grant them the extra time as well.
The relief will be offered automatically to anyone whose address on file at the IRS is in a disaster area — no need to ask for help or alert the agency that you’ll be filing late. If the IRS sends you a penalty notice anyway because you missed a deadline that should have been waived, the agency advises you to call the number on the notice to have the penalty erased.
The delay to mid-May applies to everything that ordinarily would face deadlines of April 15 or earlier in 2023, including making tax-favored contributions to an IRA or a health savings account.
Even better for businesses and other filers who pay estimated or interim taxes, the payments due in January, March and April have been postponed as well. You can make them when you file your annual return on or before May 15.
The same is true for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns, which ordinarily would be due Jan. 31 and April 30. But payroll and excise tax deposits due Jan. 8 will still have to be made by Jan. 23 to avoid penalties, the IRS said.
Granted, if you are due a refund, you still want to file as soon as you can. Otherwise, you’re giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan.
If you live outside the designated disaster area, you can still qualify for the delayed deadlines if you meet any of three conditions: Records you need to complete your return are inside the area (for example, if you’re a shareholder in an S corporation inside the affected area); your tax preparer is inside the disaster area and unable to complete the work on time; or you are helping the government or a recognized charity with relief efforts in the area. But you’ll need to let the IRS know by calling (866) 562-5227.
What about California taxes?
The Franchise Tax Board, which oversees state income taxes, says on its website that it “automatically follows the IRS extended deadlines to file/pay taxes until the date indicated for the specific disaster.” It then instructs filers to “Write the disaster name in blue or black ink at the top of your tax return to alert us your return is disaster related.”
Newsom made the policy official Friday, saying the state would hew to the May 15 deadline. “This relief applies to deadlines falling on or after Jan. 8, 2023, and before May 15, 2023, including the 2022 individual income tax returns due on April 18 and the quarterly estimated tax payments, typically due on Jan. 17, 2023, and April 18, 2023,” the governor’s office said.
If you receive a late filing notice after taking advantage of the new deadline, the office said, you should call the phone number on the notice and ask that the penalty be waived.
The FTB will also hold off sending collection notices for 30 days to taxpayers in arrears, the office said.
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, which oversees sales and excise taxes and various business fees, is already offering extensions of up to three months to businesses that were affected by the latest round of storms. But unlike the IRS, the CDTFA isn’t granting a blanket extension; instead, its website says, “this relief is offered to any taxpayer who was directly affected by the disasters … and who, as a result, cannot meet their filing and payment deadlines.”
You can apply for an extension at the CDTFA’s online services site. Log in to your account and navigate to “Submit a Relief Request,” which can be found under the “More” option in the “I want to” pull-down menu. The form is available in English and Spanish. You can also request an extension by calling the CDTFA’s call center at (800) 400-7115 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
If you don’t obtain an extension in time, you can apply to reverse a penalty for a late payment at the CDTFA’s online services site (through “Submit a Relief Request”). Or you can download form CDTFA-735, fill it out with the requested documentation, print it and return it to one of the offices listed on the form.
Newsom reminded taxpayers in affected areas that they can deduct their storm-related losses from their taxes, either on their 2022 or 2023 returns. That’s true for federal tax returns as well. For more information, see the FTB Publication 1034 and the IRS Instructions for Form 4684.
And L.A. County Assessor Jeff Prang says storm damage of more than $10,000 could qualify you for a reassessment that lowers your property taxes.
Valley Water Board of Directors Extends Declaration of Flood Emergency
The Valley Water Board of Directors unanimously voted Tuesday to extend the Countywide flood emergency declaration first signed by CEO Rick Callender on January 4, 2023.
Due to recent heavy rainfall over the past several days and additional storms in the forecast, flood emergency conditions continue to exist.
The Board’s decision to extend the declaration continues to provide Valley Water the legal authority to take immediate actions necessary to help protect public life and property from flooding and damaging winds in Santa Clara County.
Valley Water first activated its Emergency Operations Center on December 31, 2022, due to heavy rainfall and flooding, and provided relief operations throughout the county. As a result of a series of atmospheric rivers, localized flooding occurred along San Francisquito Creek, Upper Penitencia Creek, West Little Llagas Creek and Uvas Creek. Valley Water’s Emergency Operations Center remains activated, and will continue to monitor the forecasted storms and impacts to our reservoirs and waterways. Valley Water crews have been working around the clock to remove debris and other blockages from creeks and streams throughout the county.
The extension of the declaration of a Countywide flood emergency allows Valley Water to take quick, emergency action necessary to preserve life and property in Santa Clara County.
Essential Resources for Flood Preparedness
- Santa Clara County’s Emergency Alert and Warning System AlertSCC provides up-to-date information for emergencies and disasters happening in your area.
- Valley Water’s ALERT (Automated Local Evaluation in Real Time) System provides real-time data on surface water gauges (streams and reservoirs) and precipitation gauges.
- To learn if your home or business is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, please visit our Flood Zone Webpage.
- Sandbag distribution sites are listed here. There is high demand at Valley Water’s sandbag locations, and our agency is working to replenish these supplies as quickly as possible.
- Spills, blockages, or dumping in creeks can be reported by calling Valley Water’s watershed hotline at 408-630-2378.
- Flooded streets in your neighborhood can be reported to your city Public Works Department. A full list of Santa Clara County Public Works Departments by city can be found here.
Governor’s Budget Plans for Uncertain Economy
Loren Kaye, CalChamber
Governor Gavin Newsom presented a balanced budget this week with no new general tax increases. He identified a $22.5 billion “shortfall” between previously expected revenues and programmed spending, and addressed this gap with a variety of spending deferrals, loans, funding shifts, and cuts.
General Fund revenues will increase by a half billion dollars, so the source of the shortfall is annual expenditures that have outpaced revenues. This gap has been covered by extraordinary budget surpluses that are being whittled down as the operating expenses come in line with revenues.
California’s steeply progressive and volatile income tax, which is highly dependent on capital gains income, contributed to the deceleration of revenue growth. The top 1% of earners pay nearly half of all personal income taxes. Over the past two years, capital gains income is estimated to have plummeted by about $150 billion. The volatility of the state’s most important revenue source underscores the importance of diligently socking away budget reserves. The Newsom administration has done just that, and will not consider using these reserves to bolster the budget unless the fiscal situation further deteriorates.
Upon release of the proposed budget, CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera said, “Today, Governor Newsom’s budget highlighted the value of fiscal responsibility during the years when California experienced record budget surpluses. The disciplined approach California has taken in recent years to increase our reserves and pay down debt will allow us to continue to move our economy forward even in this challenging economic environment.
“CalChamber and our thousands of small business members urge the Governor and legislators to stand firm on commitments to keep costs as low as possible for employers so they can continue to invest in our economy and preserve the good-paying jobs that California needs. California businesses and workers were the source of record past budget surpluses, and only a healthy private sector can rescue the California economy from further deficits.
“As we begin the budget process, we look forward to actively engaging with the Governor and Legislature as these proposals and the state’s financial situation evolve.”
A disappointment to employers is the Governor’s proposal to roll back the legislative commitment from last year to add $750 million to the Unemployment Trust Fund to help restore the fund’s insolvency, stemming from the pandemic-caused unemployment spike in 2020. The Governor also proposed eliminating a future $500 million tax credit for small businesses to offset higher UI taxes related to the insolvent trust fund.
Governor’s Policy Priorities
Because the shortfall has been so far absorbed with typical budgeting tools, the Governor maintained most of his key policy priorities, including:
- K-12 education. Total funding for public schools will reach a record $23,723 per pupil next year, and provides school districts with an 8% cost of living adjustment for their basic state formula, plus additional discretionary funds. The budget maintains funding for transitional kindergarten and proposes new efforts to address COVID learning loss.
- Higher education. The budget fully funds the second year of the multi-year compacts with the University of California and California State University by providing 5% funding boosts and an additional allocation to UC to encourage admission of resident undergraduates.
- Homelessness. The budget maintains past investments to address homelessness, plus fully funds the CARE Act, an initiative supported by CalChamber to provide mandatory care services to severely mentally ill homeless individuals.
Also of Interest to Business
Other issues of importance to businesses include:
- A $120 million one-time General Fund allocation for the third year of the expansion of the California Competes grant program.
- Extension of the Film and Television Tax Credit, adding $330 million per year beginning in 2025–26 to extend the existing program and make the credit refundable to benefit a wider range of productions and ensure the competitive program will maximize economic benefits to the state.
- An additional $11.7 million and 42 positions in 2023–24 for the Department of Industrial Relations to help address wage claim processing times by improving the efficiency of the claims intake and processing as well as automate portions of the claims processing activities within the Wage Claim Adjudication unit.
- Appropriating $250 million in one-time General Fund monies for Small Business and Nonprofit COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Grants for small businesses and nonprofits to offset costs of their employees who used the state’s supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave.
- The Governor provided some funding to address his 2022 Water Supply Strategy, including funds for planning and permitting new water supplies, modernizing water rights and recharging groundwater. The budget also addresses maintenance of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta levees and urban and Central Valley flood control.
- More than a half-billion dollars over three years to help local law enforcement combat retail theft and other crimes.
Several economic development infrastructure projects were delayed, including $400 million for ports and goods movement, and $1.1 billion for broadband “last mile” grants and program operation.
The Governor will update the budget proposal in May, and the Legislature must act on it by June 15.
January 2023 Spotlight: Prioritizing Council Goals
By Mayor Marie Blankley, City of Gilroy
Happy New Year, Gilroy! We begin 2023 with planning for the City’s next 2-year budget cycle for Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025, which begins on July 1. On Saturday, January 28, the Council will convene to prioritize goals that will direct city staff and city resources over the next two years. This strategic planning session is open to the public and brings transparency to Council deliberations on how to best prioritize unlimited goals with limited resources. The meeting will take place in Council Chambers, 7351 Rosanna St, from 9am to 1pm and will be streamed live on the City website. Please consider participating in this very important process that determines what we tackle in the next 2 years. Then, together we move forward in support of city staff achieving those goals.
Please join me and City Administrator Jimmy Forbis on the following Saturday, February 4, at 9:30am in Council Chambers for coffee and conversation on this strategic planning process and the priorities that will direct city staff for the next 2 years. Below I discuss some of the issues I expect Council will consider on January 28, though individual council members and the public alike may raise others. As I list through these potential priorities (in no particular order), keep in mind that city staff will keep us abreast of how far our available resources will go to meet the goals we set. To whatever degree you choose, thank you for taking part in Gilroy’s future. Happy 2023!
Current City Council Goals (Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023)
In July, 2021, the City Council adopted the FY 22 and FY 23 Operating Budget which included the following goals:
- Develop a Financially Resilient Organization that Relies on Local Revenues and Resources
- Maintain and Improve City Infrastructure Including Streets, Facilities, and Incorporates Green Energy Practices
- Promote Economic Development Activities that Create Opportunities for Quality Employment and Increase the City’s Tax Base
- Ensure Neighborhood Equity from City Services Including Public Safety, Streets, Parks, and Recreation
- Promote Availability of Safe, Affordable Housing for all Gilroy Residents
These goals were subsequently used by staff to produce the City’s workplans which is reflected in many of the projects and programs that the City completes and provides.
Potential Council Priorities for Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025
Street maintenance: In the prior budget cycle Council authorized funding for Years 1 and 2 of a 5-year street maintenance plan. In order to complete the 5-year street maintenance plan, funding for years 3 and 4 would need to be identified in this budget cycle.
Santa Teresa Fire Station: Council has authorized staff to move forward with construction of a 4th fire station, however provisions in the current development agreement with the Glen Loma Corporation that require them to pay for a substantial portion of the fire station have not yet been triggered and, thus, the City will construct a temporary fire station a few blocks from where the permanent station will ultimately be built. The City has identified the balance of the capital funds necessary to construct the station when the timing per the development agreement is triggered.
Tenth Street bridge: Like the Santa Teresa Fire Station, this bridge was initially contemplated as part of the 2005 Glen Loma Development agreement. The agreement provides for construction of the bridge (a continuation of 10th Street over Uvas Creek west of Gilroy High School) to be paid for by the City. Its current $28 million price tag requires a funding source we don’t currently have but may be forthcoming through a federal transportation grant, leaving us responsible for only a portion of the cost, say 20% for example. Even 20% of a number as high as $28 million is still a big number, and Council will need to decide where this fits in the list of priorities on which we want staff to focus. The City is currently conducting environmental analysis work in order to make the project “shovel-ready.”
Increasing Police Presence/Patrol: Whether to increase officer presence throughout the city in response to our businesses and residents is a subject for Council to consider as we prioritize the budget. We have already approved and are funding a partnership with Gilroy Unified School District for two police officers committed to school safety, known as School Resource Officers (SROs), and two Qualify of Life officers dedicated to encampment issues and connecting people to available help.
Drug rehab and mental health facilities at St. Louise: The city has no jurisdiction over the County hospital or the services it provides, and we do not receive our own funding for social services or behavioral health, but Council may direct city staff to pursue specific requests with the County and ensure our proportionate share of County funding and programs.
Non-permanent housing: These are shelter structures that are not on permanent foundations and are often referred to as emergency or interim housing. They come at no cost to the inhabitant who, in some instances, may reside there indefinitely. The cost of providing such sites comes primarily in funding the ongoing behavioral, case management, security and maintenance services that are required of any subsidized temporary or permanent housing program. I have visited two different sites – one in downtown San Francisco and another in South San Jose. The San Jose site is operated by HomeFirst, an independent provider of services and shelter for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. (Santa Clara County contracts with HomeFirst to operate the Gilroy Armory on Wren Ave. near Las Animas Park.) The annual operating cost of the San Jose site is $3.3 million for 80 inhabitants, which translates to an ongoing cost of $41,250 per person per year. At this site, over 90 percent of the inhabitants who occupied units when the site opened two years ago have not transitioned out and are still occupants today. The funding source for the ongoing operating costs determines who has the authority to place conditions on those who occupy a unit. The City of San Jose provides their own funding to cover operating costs and, therefore, has the authority to make their non-permanent housing sites drug and alcohol free. Most cities in Santa Clara County however, like Gilroy, depend on County funding for social services and are not permitted to place their own conditions on temporary housing sites. This is a very complicated issue that the Council has dedicated significant time and resources to and I expect that we will continue those discussions as part of the upcoming budget cycle.
Public Transportation messaging: As a VTA Board member and active alternate since 2018, I can attest to the disproportionate allocation of public transportation services that continues to exist from south county (Gilroy and Morgan Hill). As lesser expensive housing attracts residents to move farther and farther away from job centers to the north, viable public transportation options are critical to addressing our worsening highway congestion. While not under the control or jurisdiction of the Gilroy City Council, we can recognize that but for the VTA 68 bus line, we are without a single “high-quality transit” option, which is defined as a line of public transportation with a frequency of 15 minutes or less. Gilroy’s bus lines are mostly hourly (but for the 68 bus and the 568 bus that depart the Transit Center at 15-minute and 30-minute intervals, respectively), and train service is limited to 3 weekday trains departing Gilroy at 5:54am, 6:31am and 6:52am. Council may prioritize what role in messaging city staff should play to publicize public transportation options that do exist and may work for some, as well as stronger staff support through our Technical Advisory Committee for proportionate allocation of transportation services.
Recreational Facility Needs: At several city council meetings last year we heard requests to pursue various recreational facility initiatives. A community center was considered as part of the ice rink additions to the Gilroy Sports Park, but the location was deemed too far from central to the city and less ideal for residents of all ages and all neighborhoods to access. The City was also approached about recreational facilities for pickleball and a BMX park. The development process for some of these facilities, such as a community center, takes years in the making, but it’s time we form a plan to work towards addressing the recreational needs of the entire community.
Agricultural uses on residential property within city limits: At one of our recent City Council meetings, the council majority chose to consider permitting agricultural activities, including beehives, on residential property within the city, activities that are currently allowed in the unincorporated parts of Gilroy only. Housing density is far higher in the city than in the county, making agricultural uses of property potentially more sensitive among neighbors. Also to be considered are the disadvantages that present to those who cannot afford properties that provide some buffer from the agricultural activities of their neighbors.
While these subjects and more may come up as we plan for the next 2 years, we are still committed to the completion of the multi-purpose Gourmet Parking Lot at 7th and Eigleberry, the downtown improvements to Gourmet Alley and Railroad Alley between 4th and 7th Streets, the funding for Year 2 of our 5-year street maintenance plan, the improved but still temporary Santa Teresa Fire Station, and the 2 ice rinks at our Sports Park to be operated by the Sharks organization for which we hope to see construction begin by this summer and a timeline of 18-24 months to completion.
All in all, what a great way to start 2023!
January 9, 2023
Maximize Your Chamber Membership
The Gilroy Chamber has several free and low-cost platforms where our members can promote, advertise and market their businesses and specials.
Here are some of the ways you can gain exposure on the Gilroy Chamber website:
Call (408.842.6437) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) the Gilroy Chamber to start posting today.
For an overview of the benefits of being a Gilroy Chamber member, visit gilroy.org/member-benefits.
County of Santa Clara Reopens Microbusiness Grant Application Portal
Qualified businesses affected by COVID-19 could be granted $2,500. The application portal will be open until the funds are exhausted.
Microbusinesses must have made less than $50,000 in total revenue (not net) in each of the last three years to qualify for the $2,500 grant.
The business also needs to be operating in 2022, had been open in 2019, been negatively impacted by COVID-19, and have less than five employees.
Apply here: https://www.accesssbdc.org/mbcrg/
Stay Informed During Emergencies to Make Informed Decisions
The City of Gilroy utilizes Nixle to share community-related public safety information. Notifications through Nixle may be sent via text or email and will be posted to the 95020 Nixle Alert page.
The City of Gilroy may also utilize AlertSCC, the County’s official emergency and alert notification system. Notifications through AlertSCC may be sent via text, phone call, or email.
Registering for BOTH Nixle and AlertSCC is one of the fastest and easiest things you can do to better prepare for an emergency.
For more information, visit the City’s Emergency Preparedness webpage: https://www.cityofgilroy.org/174/Emergency-Preparedness
SIGN UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS
For more information about Nixle or to sign up for Nixle Alerts, visit https://local.nixle.com/register/
SIGN UP FOR ALERTSCC ALERTS
For more information about AlertSCC, visit https://emergencymanagement.sccgov.org/AlertSCC
Gilroy Assistance League Accepting Grant Requests for 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gilroy Assistance League
GILROY – January 2023 – The Gilroy Assistance League is accepting grant requests beginning January 5 through February 24, 2023. Each year, Gilroy Assistance League accepts grant requests that will benefit youth organizations, programs, and schools. Any South Santa Clara County youth-related organization or school is eligible to apply for a grant. Funds will be distributed in late April 2023.
The Gilroy Assistance League is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the welfare and development of youth in South Santa Clara County through their annual grant cycle. Proceeds from their Annual Home + Garden Tour & Boutique fund these grants. Since 1993, GALs has distributed over $360,000 in grants to local programs.
According to Gilroy Assistance League President, Lori Kent, “In 2022, the Gilroy Assistance League was thrilled to award over $21,000 in grants to eight very-deserving organizations. But the news gets better… in 2023 we are increasing our giving by 50%. We’re projecting to grant over $31,000! That’s quite an increase and all due to the incredible generosity of our Annual Home & Garden Tour supporters, sponsors, and participants.”
“We’re calling on youth organizations throughout South Santa Clara County,” explains GALS Grants Committee Chair Paula Goldsmith. “Think of the wish list you have for your organization. Is limited funding keeping your goals from becoming reality? Gilroy Assistance League grants can provide youth-oriented organizations with an opportunity to fund an existing need or expand outreach or services. If your mission meets our criteria, please consider applying.”
A formal grant request proposal must be completed and returned no later than Friday, February 24, 2023. Forms may be downloaded from the web site at www.gilroyassistanceleague.org.
For more information, contact Gilroy Assistance League Grants Chair, Paula Goldsmith at email@example.com.
The Real Cause of California’s Homelessness Crisis
Opinion Piece by Dan Walters, CalMatters
A new article in Atlantic magazine lays bare the real reason California and other blue states have a homeless crisis while red states don’t.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, newly inaugurated Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and legislative leaders are pledging decisive action on California’s homelessness crisis, which raises a pithy question: Why did it erupt during a period of strong economic growth?
The reasons often offered include a moderate climate, the availability of generous welfare benefits, mental health and drug abuse. However, a lengthy and meticulously sourced article in the current issue of Atlantic magazine demolishes all of those supposed causes.
Rather, the article argues persuasively, California and other left-leaning states tend to have the nation’s most egregious levels of homelessness because they have made it extraordinarily difficult to build enough housing to meet demands.
Author Jerusalem Demsas contends that the progressive politics of California and other states are “largely to blame for the homelessness crisis: A contradiction at the core of liberal ideology has precluded Democratic politicians, who run most of the cities where homelessness is most acute, from addressing the issue.
“Liberals have stated preferences that housing should be affordable, particularly for marginalized groups … But local politicians seeking to protect the interests of incumbent homeowners spawned a web of regulations, laws, and norms that has made blocking the development of new housing pitifully simple.”
Demsas singles out Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area as examples of how environmentalists, architectural preservationists, homeowner groups and left-leaning organizations joined hands to enact a thicket of difficult procedural hurdles that became “veto points” to thwart efforts to build the new housing needed in prosperous “superstar cities.”
While thriving economies drew workers to these regions, their lack of housing manifested itself in soaring rents and home prices that drove those on the lower rungs of the economy into homelessness.
“The small-c conservative belief that people who already live in a community should have veto power over changes to it has wormed its way into liberal ideology,” Demsas writes. “This pervasive localism is the key to understanding why officials who seem genuinely shaken by the homelessness crisis too rarely take serious action to address it.”
The syndrome that Demsas details is well known in California political circles and Newsom and the Legislature have taken some steps to reduce – or bypass – the procedural hurdles to increasing construction of new housing, particularly projects to serve the working class families most in danger of being priced out of the market and therefore becoming homeless.
The state is finally enforcing the quotas it sets on regional and local governments for zoning enough land for needed housing. It has also exempted some forms of housing from local zoning rules, and has talked about cracking down on cities that impose impossible land use or design criteria on developers. However, the state’s mostly Democratic politicians have largely been unwilling to put their ideological brethren and allies, such as environmental groups, on the hot seat.
That reluctance is symbolized by their persistent reluctance to make a much-needed overhaul of the California Environmental Quality Act, which is often misused by anti-growth activists and labor unions to tie up housing projects.
It should be embarrassing to California officials that while their state deals with a seemingly intractable homelessness crisis, red states, as Demsas points out, don’t have similar problems because they don’t have structural aversion to construction and therefore don’t have the high housing costs that drive people into streets.
The governor, legislators and others who profess commitment to ending homelessness in California should begin by reading the message of truth to power provided by Atlantic, whose own ideological bent is also to the left.
January 2, 2023
The Vital Role of Hospitality in Gilroy and California Restaurant Month
Happy New Year from Visit Gilroy! We want to recognize our local hospitality partners for encouraging visitors to come (and return) to Gilroy. Every one of them is a valuable part of Gilroy’s business community and economy. An estimated 10% of the global GDP is attributed to the hospitality industry, with that percentage is expected to rise in 2023. The staff at our family theme park, restaurants, drink establishments, hotels, wineries, artistic venues, produce stands, and our California Welcome Center Gilroy all draw visitors to the area, customers to local businesses, and tax dollars to the local economy.
Each hotel front desk employee, restaurant server, winery pourer, and Gilroy Gardens gate attendant is on the frontlines of our hospitality industry and is an impression-giver of our “community with a spice for life.” When they greet guests with a warm smile and friendly conversation and work to meet the visitors’ needs, they are creating a welcoming experience for them. This encourages return visitors and means they are likely to share their experience with others. According to a statistic shared by Help Scout, 72% of customers will tell six or more people if they have a satisfying experience. Our best hospitality workers in any role will bring people to Gilroy.
We also see all our community members as hospitality partners, even if they are not in a traditional hospitality industry. A visitor may stop in at the grocery store, a mechanic’s shop, or a realtor’s office. Each customer interaction is an opportunity make those guests feel welcome and encourage them to return, as well as tell others about their experience. Visit Gilroy encourages all our locals to be hospitality ambassadors for Gilroy.
California Restaurant Month
January is California Restaurant Month. Our local restaurants play an important role in creating an enjoyable experience for those who visit and live in Gilroy. Visit Gilroy supports our restaurants with listings and blogs on our website, printed guides, and posts on our social media, including a social media campaign this January focused on local restaurants. We encourage you to support our local restaurants in January. Take your family out to breakfast, go to lunch with your co-workers, or enjoy dinner or drinks with some friends.
Thank you to all our hospitality partners and businesses for making Gilroy an enjoyable place to visit and to live.
The New Year Brings New Minimum Wages by State, City, & County
Giuliana Gabriel, J.D., HR Compliance Director, California Employers Association
Finished with your 2023 budget? Don’t forget about the minimum wage increases effective in California on January 1!
Finally, we’ll be back to one standard state minimum wage rate of $15.50/hour for ALL employers in 2023, instead of one rate for small employers and another amount for larger employers. However, there are many local minimum wage ordinances that will supersede California’s State minimum wage and require higher minimum wages in their geographical boundaries. See the list below.
Another consideration is whether you have remote/hybrid workers who live out of state or in a geographic location different from your main office, that falls in one of the cities or counties below. Remember, local minimum wage ordinances are based on where your worker is physically working, not necessarily where your office or headquarters is located. Any hourly employees who are sent to visit a client or do any work in a city or county with a higher minimum wage will also be entitled to a higher pay rate during those working hours.
Last, but not least, consider your salaried exempt employees who work and live in California. The new state minimum wage increases the minimum salary threshold for a salaried exempt employee to $64,480 on January 1. This amount is derived by taking the state minimum wage of $15.50, multiplying it by two, and then multiplying that amount by 2080 hours (a full-time schedule). If any of your salaried employees are not earning $64,480 you will either need to give them a raise to this amount or change their status to an hourly non-exempt employee on January 1, 2023. You will want to remind someone whose exemption status changes to hourly that they need to be mindful of taking required breaks and lunches and clock in and out for meal periods.
Local minimum wage increases that go above and beyond California’s State Minimum wage of $15.50, effective January 1, 2023, include:
- Belmont: $16.75/hour
- Burlingame: $16.47/hour
- Cupertino: $17.20/hour
- Daly City: $16.07/hour
- El Cerrito: $17.35/hour
- Foster City: $16.50/hour
- Half Moon Bay: $16.45/hour
- Hayward: $16.34/hour (26 or more employees); $15.50/hour (25 or fewer employees)
- Los Altos: $17.20/hour
- Menlo Park: $16.20/hour
- Mountain View: $18.15/hour
- Novato: $16.32/hour (100 or more employees); $16.07/hour (26-99 employees); $15.53/hour (25 or fewer employees)
- Oakland: $15.97/hour
- Palo Alto: $17.25/hour
- Petaluma: $17.06/hour
- Redwood City: $17.00/hour
- Richmond: $16.17/hour
- San Carlos: $16.32/hour
- San Jose: $17.00/hour
- San Mateo (City): $16.75/hour
- Santa Clara: $17.20/hour
- Santa Rosa: $17.06/hour
- Sonoma (City): $17.00/hour (26 or more employees); $16.00/hour (25 or fewer employees)
- South San Francisco: $16.70/hour
- Sunnyvale: $17.95/hour
- San Diego (City): $16.30/hour
- West Hollywood: $17.50/hour (50 or more employees); $17.00/hour (49 or fewer employees)
Current Minimum Wages
Need a list of all current local minimum wages? We have you covered with our Local Minimum Wages and PSL Fact Sheet!
Gilroy, a Destination to do Business
The City of Gilroy, Visit Gilroy, Gilroy Economic Development Corporation, and the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce continue their monthly effort advertising in the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Along with becoming a recreation destination, the advertising effort in the Silicon Valley Business Journal is designed to promote Gilroy as a destination to do business. The ads, designed by Articulate Solutions, help capture the feel for what Gilroy can provide companies interested in opening or relocating their business to our community.
Gilroy is ideally located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101, CA State Highway 152, and CA State Highway 156. With our close proximity to San Jose, as well as the Monterey Peninsula and Salinas Valley, we are the perfect spot to launch or relocate a business.
Here’s What You Need to Know About California’s New Pay Transparency Law
Article by Grace Gedye, CalMatters
Lea este artículo en español.
Starting on Jan. 1, employers with at least 15 workers will have to include pay ranges in job postings. Employees will also be able to ask for the pay range for their own position, and larger companies will have to provide more detailed pay data to California’s Civil Rights Department than previously required.
California isn’t the first state to force businesses to put their cards on the table. Colorado took that step in 2019, and a similar requirement went into effect in New York City in November. Washington state has its own version that will also kick in on Jan. 1, and a similar statewide bill in New York was just signed by the governor.
The goal of the California law is to reduce gender and racial pay gaps. But New York City’s measure had a bumpy start, with some employers posting unhelpfully wide ranges the first day the law was in place. When Colorado rolled out its law at the beginning of 2021, some companies posted remote jobs that they said could be done from anywhere in the U.S. — except Colorado — dodging the requirement. That wasn’t widespread; about 1% of remote job listings included a Colorado carveout, according to reporting in The Atlantic.
But since California has nearly 7 times as many people as Colorado, according to U.S. Census data, excluding Californians in a remote job listing would come at a higher cost.
“California’s just such a huge economic center,” said Lisa Wallace, co-founder of Assemble, a compensation management platform. “There just aren’t that many industries that are not going to be touched by this.”
What’s the pay range?
Here’s what California job seekers can expect to see more frequently come January: $44 an hour to be a plumber in Berkeley; $18.38-$28.51 an hour for an assistant teacher job in Los Angeles; $74,600 – $141,000 per year for a future compensation analyst in Davis. If companies aren’t adding ranges, people can sue or file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s Office, which can issue a penalty of $100 to $10,000 per violation. Companies that don’t have pay ranges in job postings won’t get penalized for their first violation, so long as they add the information.
In addition to preparing to post pay ranges in job listings, companies that don’t already have pay bands for current employees should put them in place, and they should make sure that there aren’t pay disparities based on race, sex, or other protected classes between employees doing substantially similar work, said Jacklin Rad, a lawyer who advises employers on California workplace laws at Jackson Lewis, a law firm.
Businesses are about to have their pay scrutinized by job candidates and employees, said Wallace, the compensation platform company co-founder. “You better make sure that you have a really strong answer for why an employee is paid less,” than the posted range for a similar-looking job, she said. The new California law is uncovering that a lot of organizations have been operating without pay bands, Wallace said. Many of the company’s earliest customers were tech and biotech businesses, Wallace said, but since the bill was signed into law she’s seen increased interest from other sectors, including manufacturing and utilities.
One question that arose immediately when New York City’s law went into effect was how wide can a pay range be without violating the law? Some postings included ranges where the high end was about $100,000 more than the low end.
California’s law explains the required payscale as “the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.”
“It’s really ambiguous,” said Rad, the lawyer. “A lot of attorneys that work in this sphere ask themselves: ‘You know, if the range is too wide, then does that defeat the purpose of pay transparency?’”
CalMatters reached out to the Labor Commissioner’s office, which is charged with enforcing the payscale component of the law. The office didn’t make anyone available to be interviewed, and did not respond to a detailed list of questions about how the law will be interpreted.
California government agencies include pay scales in job postings, and some of the ranges are large. The Civil Rights Department, for example, recently had a posting for an “Assistant Deputy Director, Workforce Data Officer” with a listed pay range of $7,976 – $19,321 per month, which translates to about $96,000 – $232,000 per year. Another posting, for a Deputy Chief Counsel at the Civil Rights Department had a similar range.
Pay ranges are set by the state’s human resources agency, CalHR, and are influenced by bargaining with unions, said Adam Romero, deputy director of executive programs at California’s Civil Rights Department. Those two positions are “very senior,” and most roles don’t have pay ranges that wide, Romero said.
Reporting pay data
The second major component of the new law is that businesses with 100 or more employees will have to start reporting more detailed data on what they pay workers to the state.
It builds on a 2020 law that required companies to submit reports to the state’s Civil Rights Department breaking down how many employees they have in each job category and pay band by sex, race, and ethnicity. The goal was to enable state agencies to more identify wage disparities more efficiently, and to prompt companies to assess their own pay.
The reports are used “in individual investigations of complaints of pay discrimination or other types of complaints of civil rights violations against employers,” said Romero at the Civil Rights Department. The data on its own doesn’t prove there’s been a violation of the law, but it provides context, said Romero. The Civil Rights Department cited the pay data, for example, when it sued Tesla for race discrimination and harassment in February.
The law taking effect Jan. 1 requires employers to add median and mean hourly rate for each demographic group within each job category and include pay data for contractors.
“We are really trying to shine more light on this growing shadow workforce of contract workers,” said Mariko Yoshihara, policy director for the California Employment Lawyers Association, which supported the new law. Google, for example, has more temps and contractors than full-time employees, according to New York Times’ reporting. The new law will reveal how contractors’ pay compares to that of full-time employees, Yoshihara said.
An early version of the new law would have made each company’s pay data public. But after intense pushback from business groups — who said the data is not a reliable measure of pay disparities and that it would “set up employers for public criticism with incomplete, uncontextualized reports and create a false impression of wage discrimination where none may exist” — the bill was amended to keep the reports private.
If companies don’t submit their pay data, the Civil Rights department can take action. It sued Michaels, the craft store chain, and JP Morgan Chase Bank for not submitting the data; both companies settled, paying a combined total of about $23,500 to cover the department’s fees and costs.
Caltrain Gains Federal Funds to Complete Electrification
PROJECT WILL MODERNIZE PUBLIC TRAIN SYSTEM BY FALL 2024
By:OLIVIA WYNKOOP, Copyright © 2022 Bay City News, Inc.
Caltrain will use $43 million in federal funds to complete its fleet electrification project by fall 2024, officials announced Dec. 23.
Officials expect President Joe Biden to sign off on the recently passed $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, which will fund military and government agencies until next September.
The electrification project is the first of its kind in North America, adding more modernized trains with new safety equipment and digital trip information for passengers.
Electrification also helps Caltrain reach regional and state goals to lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
“It is with great pride that the Democratic Congress has passed an omnibus appropriations package that delivers for San Franciscans and working families across our nation,” U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “As a proud Representative of San Francisco, it was my privilege to help ensure that this legislation invests in quieter neighborhoods, cleaner air and faster commutes for the Bay Area. With $33 million in new funding for Caltrain’s electrification, this legislative package marks a key step toward a fully electrified rail corridor across our region.”
Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard said the electrification of Caltrain is one of the biggest milestones in its 160-year history.
“We are one step closer thanks to our supporters who truly know what this means in terms of addressing climate change and providing the modernized transportation service that our communities deserve,” Bouchard said in a statement.
Ten million dollars of the federal funding was secured by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) as a community project, and $33 million came from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program for pre-existing projects with grants.
“I am proud to have secured funding to support Caltrain’s Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project that will help complete California’s first electrified commuter rail system,” said Padilla. “With this investment, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, eliminating pollution caused by the aging diesel engines, and helping Caltrain meet its goal of tripling capacity by 2040.”