Published July 16, 2013
Volume 21, Number 7

East Bay Leadership Council Expands its Geographic Scope to Tri-Valley 

Regional advocacy for economic vitality and quality of life issues strengthened in June when the Concord-based Contra Costa Council became the East Bay Leadership Council (EBLC). The new name reflects a broader geographic scope for the private-sector, public-policy association, whose membership of roughly 250 organizations represents stakeholders from business, the nonprofit community, government, education, and labor.

Originally founded in 1937 as the Contra Costa Development Association, the Council has in recent years adopted a more regional approach in its task force work and public policy considerations. Among its recent successful initiatives are advocacy of the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore, Los Vaqueros Reservoir, the relocation of Vasco Road, the East Bay Broadband Consortium, a streamlined rooftop solar permitting process, and protection of the Delta.

The broadening perspective suggested it would be logical to extend the sphere of influence down the I-680 corridor to the Tri-Valley, including the Amador, Livermore and San Ramon valleys, according to Tom Terrill, the well-respected real estate developer who was tapped as EBLC President and CEO.

As Terrill observes, the Council’s task forces focus on the same issues that concern businesses throughout the East Bay--infrastructure, workforce training, permit streamlining, reform of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). “In addition, the people who are employed in the region’s businesses travel across county lines every day to and from their jobs, and they live throughout our region,” he points out.

Mindful of the blurring boundaries, EBLC committee members reached out to Tri-Valley community and business leaders, initiating discussions that ultimately led to the formal integration of the Tri-Valley Business Council into the East Bay Leadership Council.

“We took a deliberative approach in our due diligence, and received a very warm response from Tri-Valley leaders, who agree that we have many issues in common,” notes EBLC Chair Bob Brown.

With this additional strength, the Council will bring initiatives previously undertaken by the Tri-Valley Business Council under its own umbrella to better advance the current agenda as well as prepare for the future.

“Too often,” remarks Terrill, “the focus can become short term, rather than facing the significant challenges with the most positive impact on quality of life in the region. It is hard for someone not connected to the Delta to understand its importance both as a natural resource and a key water source. It is hard to maintain focus on a road project that takes years to conceptualize, design, permit, and build.”

In all these areas, the Council provides the opportunity to the broadest group of stakeholders to partner and work toward a common vision.

Along with its other regional successes, EBCL current projects include: improving the connectivity between East Contra Costa and I-580 in the Tri-Valley (SR 239), a project critical to the movement of people and goods; the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s One Bay Area Sustainable Communities Strategy; and STEM Workforce initiatives and collaboration with school districts to help reduce drop-out rates, improve skills, and provide opportunities in science and technology for the region’s students.

“This region will look very different 20 years from now,” Terrill comments. “Our challenge is to identify what we need to have in place to support and garner our share of the job growth for our current residents and those who will live here in the future.”

For more information, visit www.eastbayleadershipcouncil.com or via twitter @EBLConline.

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