http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/02/22/2013-promises-to-be-pleasantons-best-year-yet


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - February 22, 2013

'2013 promises to be Pleasanton's best year yet'

We're encouraged by remarks made Tuesday by Mayor Jerry Thorne that he will push for reforms and more mutual cooperation to help businesses stay in California, come to California and expand their operations here. In his "State of the City" remarks to business leaders at a Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Thorne also talked about the importance of regional cooperation to make sure that Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley stay competitive with other cities and regions. To sustain municipal services, Pleasanton and our neighboring Tri-Valley cities need strong local and regional economies.

To achieve this, elected leaders need to create an environment where business is once again welcomed in the state of California. An important start would be to reform the unproductive regulations in the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. Thorne intends to ask the City Council as well as the League of California Cities, where he's a member, to join him in endorsing Gov. Jerry Brown's recent call for meaningful reform of CEQA. These overly restrictive environmental regulations are stifling business across the state with little benefit to the environment.

We're encouraged also by Thorne's intent to work regionally to freeze regional development impact fees. This will ultimately improve the environment for companies wishing to relocate to the Tri-Valley area.

We're encouraged, too, to see that Thorne recognizes that economic development doesn't stop at our city limits. Regional initiatives such as Innovation Tri-Valley and i-GATE are gaining momentum and adding to the collective recognition of the Tri-Valley as a center of entrepreneurship and enterprise. While Innovation Tri-Valley is a business-led initiative designed to create an inviting business climate that breaks new ground for innovation, the state-designated i-GATE innovation hub is a public-private partnership designed to maximize the economic potential of green transportation and clean-energy technologies by bringing cutting-edge research to the commercial market. Thorne wants Pleasanton to be actively involved in helping both organizations in creating pathways for new business formation and economic growth.

Thorne said he will do all of this in collaboration with local business partners -- the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, the Pleasanton Downtown Association, Hacienda Business Park, the Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Alameda County Fairgrounds and Stoneridge Shopping Center. And there's no doubt, he'll create new and exciting connections with other community-based organizations so that the Tri-Valley will work collectively to sustain the extraordinary quality of life we have here in Pleasanton, which attracts residents and companies alike.

We were also encouraged to hear Thorne vow to take whatever actions he can to promote Pleasanton as an excellent place to do business. From trade shows to town hall meetings, he said he will be talking about why Pleasanton is the Right Address for the 21st Century.

In his closing remarks Tuesday, Thorne said: "Pleasanton is great because we are building it together. We are committed to the truth of Pleasanton as a world class city. And if we hold fast to that truth, our journey moves forward, our future is bright and the state of our city will always be strong. This year is Pleasanton's 119th year and it promises to be its best yet."

A well-deserved standing ovation showed business leaders agree.

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