The New Year brings new opportunity for San Francisco. Opportunity to create jobs, grow the economy and accelerate economic resurgence. Only seven days into 2011, our city is off to a good start. But if we are to achieve sustained economic recovery, we must continue to prioritize job creation and economic growth throughout the year ahead.
The Chamber is optimistic about 2011. This weekend, four newly-elected members of the Board of Supervisors will be sworn into office. Supervisors Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell, Jane Kim and Scott Wiener will bring a more moderate and collegial balance to the Board, ushering in new opportunities for job and economy-boosting policies.
This newly-elected Board of Supervisors will also select an interim Mayor to serve out the remainder of Gavin Newsom’s term as he transitions to the post of Lieutenant Governor. The interim Mayor, appointed to carry-out Mayor Newsom’s centrist policies until voters have another say in November, will be able to address some of the city’s most pressing issues without facing the political pressures of a re-election campaign.
San Francisco’s opportunities go far beyond City Hall. On New Years Eve, San Francisco won the bid to host the 34th annual America’s Cup. This world-class series of sailing regattas is expected to create nearly 9,000 jobs and more than $1.2 billion of new economic activity over the next three years. The sporting event will also engage private capital to renovate port property that would otherwise remain neglected and undeveloped. Salesforce.com’s decision to stay in its hometown and build a new campus in Mission Bay was another tremendous vote of confidence in the city and its workforce. All major steps forward in the continued economic development of our city.
Travel and tourism are also on the rise – promising to benefit San Francisco’s numerous hospitality businesses and their employees. The number of international passengers to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) rose by 12 percent last year and domestic air passengers rose by six percent. The World Series Champion Giants will surely attract large numbers of Bay Area residents to the city this baseball season.
At the state-level, newly-elected Governor Jerry Brown has pledged prompt action on California’s fiscal crisis, which continues to cripple business, residents and local governments across the state. The state’s emerging clean energy economy will also get a boost in 2011 with the new cap-and-trade program approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) just before the holidays. This new market-driven system will help spur innovation, create clean energy jobs and cement California’s leadership in clean energy.
San Francisco is fortunate to have so many prospects for economic resurgence in 2011. Yet our sustained economic recovery remains uncertain. Will the newly-elected Board of Supervisors help create the 95,000 jobs that have been lost over the past decade? Will major developments such as the new California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) hospital complex and other new housing and retail projects be approved this year? Can the interim Mayor tackle the city’s looming $400 million budget deficit without negatively impacting jobs and our local economic recovery? Will business innovation continue to drive the economy forward? If we are to answer yes to these questions, every business, civic and government leader must continue to prioritize job creation and economic growth in the year ahead. The Chamber will work vigorously in 2011 to ensure that we do.