What have we been up to? Update on 2012 Summit progress–and a look ahead at 2013

150 150 John Guenther

A little over a month before the California Economic Summit on November 7-8 in Los Angeles, the final updates to the Signature Initiatives identified at the 2012 Summit have been added to the Summit’s Progress Tracker.

Several of these initiatives (Regulations, Infrastructure, Workforce, and Capital) continue to have active action teams working on plans for 2013—with last year’s Water action team now joining Infrastructure and last year’s CEQA team incorporated into Regulations.

Three new action teams have been formed ahead of the 2013 Summit, including Housing, Working Landscapes, and Advancing Manufacturing (which has picked up the 2012 Innovation team’s charter).

All of the 2013 action teams are finalizing action plans that will be shared with participants for review at this year’s Summit. (Click here to register.)

A summary of the latest progress of the 2012 Signature Initiatives:


Progress towards modernization of California’s water system is accelerating, with the Summit continuing to push for a comprehensive, integrated state water plan. Action team members are meeting with legislative and executive staff on two of the state’s top water priorities: the governor’s planned $25 billion project to build two tunnels under the Sacramento Delta and a separate legislative effort to put a water bond on the 2014 ballot.

  • BDCP: This spring and summer, preliminary draft chapters were released of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (the governor’s Delta tunnel project). In August, BDCP announced a realignment of its plan, shortening the tunnels slightly and rerouting them to avoid impacts on private land.
  • Water bond: The Senate held a joint committee hearing in September examining two potential water bond measures, one of which lawmakers hope to put before voters in November 2014 to pay for other upgrades to the state’s water system.
  • Other water planning efforts: The Delta Stewardship Council also released its own Delta Water Plan this spring, aimed at achieving the co-equal goals of providing a reliable supply of water for Californians and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. Summit action team members have continued to make progress building a statewide coalition of diverse stakeholders in support of a comprehensive water plan. The Department of Water Resources is expected to release a draft of its statewide Water Action Plan this fall.


While the 2012 Regulations Action Team focused on assisting with implementation of SB 617, a law that requires a regulatory impact analysis for major new or amended regulations, the 2013 Regulations team has approved a charter for the next year that aims at two new goals:

  • Ensuring state regulations are streamlined and modernized: The team has proposed creating a team to assist the governor and GO-Biz in an effort to streamline a group of two to four yet-to-be-identified regulations—first by assessing the current regulatory process and then looking for opportunities to remove steps and use technology for tracking.
  • Support continuing CEQA dialogue: SB 743, Sen. Steinberg’s final CEQA reform bill, was signed by the governor in September. The bill aims to streamline the CEQA process for a new Sacramento Kings arena and infill areas across the state. While reviewing this legislation, the Regulations Action Team is continuing to support the Summit’s educational efforts highlighting how CEQA can be updated in a way that protects the environment—and also encourages the vital sustainable development the state needs to reduce sprawl and combat climate change.


The Summit’s new 2013 Infrastructure Action Team has approved a charter expanding on last year’s Summit proposals by developing a comprehensive infrastructure investment strategy for the state—one that focuses on looming challenges facing the state’s transportation and water systems, in particular. The team’s new approach will encourage the state to produce greater value for the dollars invested by focusing on results, build public confidence in how projects are delivered, include adequate revenue for the public agencies responsible for maintaining the state’s infrastructure system, and provide both state and local governments with the tools they need to utilize private investment. The team has also created an online infrastructure hub featuring stories, video, and the latest research on how the state can tackle its infrastructure challenge.


One of the Innovation Action Team’s biggest achievements last year, the opening of a new regional patent office in Silicon Valley, remains on hold indefinitely (a victim of the federal sequester). But the team achieved much of what it set out to do in 2012, from reinforcing the state’s network of Regional Innovation Centers (iHubs) to pushing the state to develop an economic competitiveness plan. The team’s work has also been picked up by the 2013 Advancing Manufacturing Action Team, whose charter underscores its renewed focus on pushing the state to develop a strategy that will help manufacturing remain a foundation of California’s economy. Some of the Innovation Team’s achievements this year include:

  • Economic strategy: The Legislature took an important step this year when it passed AB 53 (Pérez), a bill requiring the state to adopt a statewide economic strategy, one that includes input from regional leaders about how to best keep the California economic competitive. The bill was vetoed by the governor, who said Go-Biz is already implementing a similar economic development initiative.
  • iHubs: The Legislature also made great progress in expanding the state iHub program, passing AB 250, a bill that will move the program into Go-Biz. The legislation will also allow emerging technology companies to partner with the state to demonstrate new innovative technologies on underutilized state properties. The bill was signed by the governor in September.


The 2012 Workforce action team focused largely on promoting partnerships between existing workforce training programs and regional industry, successfully meeting all of its goals. In 2013, a new Workforce team adopted a charter to continue pursuing these regional partnerships, while also looking for ways to expand career-technical education in high-demand fields—especially science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The 2012 team’s progress toward aligning workforce training with regional industry included:

  • 2012 legislative session: The team supported the passage of two major bills last year. SB 1070 (Steinberg) focused the state on improving the linkages between high schools, community colleges, and the state’s regional economies, while SB 1402 (Lieu) reauthorized the California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Program.
  • 2013 legislative session: The Workforce team was equally successful in the legislative arena this year. Lawmakers have passed several bills that would remove systemic barriers to effective regional partnerships: SB 594 (Steinberg) would create new financial incentives for regions to engage business, education, and workforce institutions to prepare workers for high-growth occupations. SB 118 (Lieu) would target resources for workforce training in specific, high-growth industry clusters. Both are awaiting the governor’s signature.
  • Executive action: The team has supported the California’s State Workforce Investment Board as it calls for Local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) to adopt a comprehensive local planning process, one that includes criteria assessment of high performing WIBs, prioritization of investment in worker training, and adoption and use of sector partnerships as a key service delivery strategy.


For the second year, a majority of regions identified helping businesses get access to capital as a top priority for the state’s economy, and a new Capital action team has developed a charter to build on the work of last year’s team to increase capital investment in local economies, with an emphasis on generating economic as well as social and environmental returns.

The 2012 Capital Action Team worked closely last year with the California Financial Opportunities Roundtable (CalFOR), a group of statewide leaders from financial institutions, economic development organizations, and government agencies to help produce an “Access to Capital” guidebook that provides a one-stop-shop resource for anyone seeking capital in a straightforward, easy-to-use format.

This year, the team is focused on identifying examples of capital intermediaries that can close gaps in access to capital in regions across California. The team will convene supporters to bolster these intermediaries—and seek to create stronger capital ecosystems in regions across California. 


John Guenther

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