PUBLIC POLICY & ADVOCACY
Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
Statement of Purpose of the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce: To encourage and promote business and to stimulate a vibrant economy in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.
Mission of the Government Affairs Committee: To identify and analyze issues of interest and concern to Los Altos/Los Altos Hills and the business community, recommend to the Board of Directors advocacy positions on those issues that the committee deems appropriate, and communicate the Chamber's viewpoint clearly and strongly to our membership, elected officials, and the community at large.
Filters for Chamber review of issues:
1. Related to business, commercial and/or economics
2. Has legislative support/involvement at local, regional, state or federal level
3. Consistent with the Chamber’s statement of purpose and core functions
4. Reasonable ability to impact and/or influence outcome
To effectively serve as an advocate on issues of interest to the business community, the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has developed this Public Policy & Advocacy Guiding Principles document, which provides a philosophical framework for defining the chamber’s position on public issues: What the chamber stands for and why we engage on behalf of our members and the regional business community.
This document will be reviewed and updated as needed and presented to the Board of Directors annually. The chamber President, Chair or a member of the board designated by the Chair and/or President has the authority to determine and communicate, in a timely manner, the chamber’s position on issues that are defined in this document.
1. Business/Economic Development – support policies that enhance and encourage the development of a healthy and vibrant economy in Los Altos and the region. The commercial sector provides jobs, financial and volunteer resources, and financial support to the city/county/state through property and sales tax revenue.
a. Zoning ordinances/land use decisions
b. Development process – streamline time and cost
c. Eminent domain/private property rights
d. Community growth and change
e. Building impact fees
f. Business attraction, retention and growth
g. Jobs/housing balance
h. Professional licensing
2. Budget & Taxation – support responsible budget and taxation policy that allows Los Altos and all California businesses to remain competitive, and preserve necessary services for our businesses and citizens; support policies that assist the city, county and state administrations to maintain adequate and balanced budgets without overburdening the business sector.
a. Sales tax
b. Use tax
c. Utility tax
d. Internet tax e. Gas tax
f. Payroll tax
3. Environment – support initiatives that protect natural resources without placing unreasonable mandates that create an undue economic burden or create deterrents to quality business development; encourage the creation of environmentally sound policies.
c. Air Quality
d. California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
e. Land use policies
f. Storm water
4. Health Care & Human Services – support legislative and regulatory efforts that ensure access to, reasonable affordability, good quality and delivery of health care and health insurance in California; support workplace practices that ensure a productive work environment and do not place undue financial burdens on employers.
b. Worker’s Compensation
c. Wages & benefits
e. Employee benefits/leave policies
f. Independent contractors
g. Day workers/immigration
5. Education - support reforms in public education that are based on standards, effective assessment of student achievement and returning control over education policy and budgets to local school boards that will allow California public schools to compete more effectively; work with local educational systems and support legislation that provides for a well-trained flexible workforce in the region; support measures that maintain or enhance local academic programs.
6. Transportation – support local, county and state efforts to work together to bring relief to traffic congestion and to advocate for high levels of service while maintaining demands on our transportation system.
a. Mass transit
b. Traffic demand management
c. Traffic mitigation
d. Local roads/highways
f. Bicycle traffic
7. Good Government and Community Leadership – support and participate in processes and programs that solve local and regional issues through coalition and consensus building; partner with local chambers when appropriate to develop and coordinate a yearly lobbying trip to Sacramento and fly-ins to Washington DC for Chamber members; oppose government mandates and regulations that impose undue burdens and costs on private business and property; influence public policy through communication with members, their employees and the general public regarding the Chamber’s core objectives of creating a strong local economy, representing the interests of business with government and promoting the community.
a. Fair and equal representation
b. Business coalitions
c. Candidate forums
d. Lobbying trips
RECORD OF ACTIONS
1. Business/Economic Development:
Supported Enchanté Hotel’s community plaza request, 2015; supported Measure A (Los Altos Community Center bond measure), 2015; opposed proposed First Street moratorium, 2015; Chamber Downtown Parking Subcommittee study/report, 2014; Supported Downtown Parking Management Plan, 2013-14; advocated expedient replacement for Economic Development Manager, 2013-14; support of 40 Main project, 2012; Support of First Street zoning changes, 2010; support of rezoning five parcels from CRS to CD, 2010; support of 100 First St. residential project, 2010; support of 1 Main hotel project, 2010; participation with Downtown Revitalization Committee, Downtown Zoning Committees, Sign Ordinance Task Force, Contiguous Retail Ad-Hoc Committee; Wayfinding Sign Committee; representation on Assemblymember Ira Ruskin’s and Rich Gordon’s Small Business Advisory Committees; opposed 2010 Proposition 16 relating to retail power business; support of amendments to OAD/CRS zone to allow flexibility of use but develop to CRS standards; support of Packard Foundation building project, 2010; support of Pilgrim Haven expansion, March 2009; support of Safeway development Feb.2008, etc.; support City of Los Altos financial support of Day Worker Center capital campaign, Mar. 2008; supported Prop 98, limiting use of eminent domain, Apr. 2008;supported 100 First Street and 45 Main development projects, June 2007; recommended story poles for 950 San Antonio Road project, Jan. 2007
2. Budget & Taxation
Opposed SB 1017, Oil Severance Tax, 2014; opposed Nov. 2014 ballot measure Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act; supported SB 629, restores ERAF rate requirements for Los Altos Hills, 2013; opposed Prop.24, repeal recently enacted tax benefits; opposed Prop 26, 2/3 majority for many fees, 2010; supported Prop 22, prohibiting State from taking/borrowing from local gov’t, 2010; supported LOCAL – Leave Our Community Assets Local
Supported Prop. 1 (Water Bond), Nov. 2014 ballot; supported MPROSD Measure AA, 2014; opposed Prop. 23, qualified suspension of AB 32, 2010; opposed 25-cent tax on plastic and paper shopping bags, Jan. 2009; opposed Prop 7, Renewable Energy Conservation, Sept. 2008; supported AB 2212, the Santa Clara Water District Enabling Act, Apr.2008; advocated for City of Los Altos to sign the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Act, Dec. 2007; partnered with GreenTown Los Altos to promote the Green Business Program, 2008
4. Health Care & Human Services:
Supported regional approach to minimum wage increase, 2015; supported AB 43 (refundable California Earned Income Tax Credit for working low-middle class families); opposed US Chamber’s anti-smoking restrictions, 2015; opposed Prop. 45, Nov. 2014 ballot (required public notice for insurance company rates); opposed AB 1522 mandated employee sick time, 2014; opposed Prop. 45, healthcare bureaucracy, 2014; supported SB 626,undercuts workers compensation reform, 2013; opposed Measure M, El Camino Hospital executives/administrators compensation limit, 2012; opposed San Jose Minimum Wage Initiative, 2012; opposed SB 104, farm workers unionizing, 2011; opposed Employee Free Choice Act, 2009; opposed AB 2716, Mandated Sick Leave, June 2008; supported Santa Clara County Healthy Workers program, Mar. 2008; opposed H.R. 4 – Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007
Supported AB 47 (high quality preschool for all California four-year olds), 2015; supported SB 850, pilot program, community college 4-year degrees, 2014; supported Santa Clara County Library Measure A, 2013; supported Measure E, LASD parcel tax; supported Measure E, Foothill-DeAnza parcel tax, 2010; supported Measure H renewing existing parcel tax for LASD, Sept. 2006; supported 2010 library parcel tax Measure L; supported MVLA High School District 2010 bond Measure A
Advocated for a downtown parking structure, 2014; supported Prop 1A – High Speed Rail, Nov. 2008; opposed Measure B – 1/8 cent sales tax for BART extension, Nov. 2008
7. Good Government and Community Leadership:
Endorsed Jean Mordo and Alex Glew for Los Altos City Council, 2014; adopted candidate endorsement policy, 2013; supported Prop. 14, Top Two Candidates, 2010; ACCESS Sacramento, April 2009; Card Check Washington DC fly-in, May 2009; supported Prop. 11, Redistricting, Sept. 2008; Annual State of the Cities event 2007-09; LACF Leadership Education Advancement Program (annually); Volunteer Services at City Hall policy 2009