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Our e-discussions: Economic Development

Original post made by Hal Bailey on Apr 19, 2008

Dear neighbors,

Among several messages this morning to CDSI Research from Diablo Vista region neighbors were references to George Avalos' article on Jobs in the SRV Times business section. The significant downturn in jobs are related to the overbuilt inventory of homes in Contra Costa County that cannot attract enough qualified, interested buyers at the inventory's price levels. Mr. Avalos clearly summarized the dependence of Contra Costa County economy on residential development and we should expect an impact on government revenues in our county.

Our e-exchanges this morning were looking at growth industries that have been less than welcome during the building boom years and now need new consideration. Technology development among medical device, biochemistry, solar, alternative energy, solid state data storage, and other microtechnologies have been proposed for new industrial partnership and commercialization (IPAC) centers in Richmond, Concord, Byron, Oakley, and even Alamo over the past 5-7 years. Such technology start-up generates new industries for industrial parks to surround such IPAC centers.

Unfortunately, our regional governments have opposed such centers and parks in favor of housing construction and the related tax revenues. A short-sighted viewpoint had resisted such technology and industrial development due to trade zone taxation holidays. The obvious value of high-level job creation for potential home buyers was not considered. The influence of global capital in such development of facilities and portfolio companies was considered opposition to our county's aggregated political supporters and a threat to in-place political leadership.

May we have your thoughts on economic development and how such development should fit into Contra Costa County and our local region?

Hal Bailey
Member, CDSI Research Fellowship

Comments (7)

Posted by Jim Weldon, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Apr 20, 2008 at 11:03 am

Posted at the request of the author

George Avalos' article and CDSI summary of the issues of economic development in Contra Costa County provide important lessons for our governments. Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Walnut Creek have led the efforts to create major commercial and technological centers in their cities, but others including Richmond and Concord have focused minimal attention on such planned development.

Recent confrontation between the Richmond Mayor and Chevron illustrates the inability of governments to form commercial consensus with diverse industries that create jobs and allow balance in job opportunity. As we have seen, Contra Costa County governments have put emphasis on housing and related industries and the collapse of that industry has had dire impact on our unbalanced lack of commercial and industrial diversity.

The Concord Naval Weapons Station will be the test of our governments to illustrate a rational balance of technology, commercial, industrial, professional, high-density residential and homes in a planned community that provides affective infrastructure including transportation and employment for its residents.

Outreach to new technology development and diverse commercial/industrial operations will answer present issues of dependence on the housing and older industries that will have declining role in our east bay region. Certainly, answering commute distances and affective public transportation to regional technology centers will be positive to traffic and quality of life issues.

Let's hear from our government representatives!

Jim Weldon, HSVT, Walnut Creek

Posted from Iron Horse neighbors e-exchanges

Posted by Susan West, a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2008 at 7:27 am

Posted by request of the author

Dear neighbors,

An important condition must be considered in developing new commercial, technical and institution operations in established cities and unincorporated regions. We must designate the districts of such economic development and protect our neighborhoods from become commute corridors to such commercial facilities that would be located in our neighborhoods.

The ugly example of this reality is the SRV YMCA commercial facilities being build deep in our region's Hemme neighborhood. If business districts were established in our Diablo Vista (Alamo) region, then this commercial development would have never been approved.

Learn by example, neighbors,

Susan West
North Iron Horse neighborhoods
Diablo Vista region

Posted from Iron Horse neighbors' e-exchange

Posted by Jane Murphy, a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2008 at 7:43 am

Posted by the CDSI membership

Dear neighbors,

Establishing commercial districts allows application of various free trade zone and enterprise zone designations for businesses within the districts. Such tax and other benefits of such zones invite global capital to establish planned campuses for technology development, engineering, commercialization and logistics. In our members' viewpoint, the airports in Concord, Byron and Livermore offer significant opportunity for such industrial partnership and commercialization (IPAC) campuses. Such campuses have laboratories, engineering centers, commercial launch facilities, and logistics operations combined with high-density residential, hotel, retail and financial services.

IPAC campuses fulfill the need for designated districts and protection of neighborhoods.

Jane Murphy, Ph.D.
Host Member, CDSI (
HSVT Innovation Centers Fund

Posted by Dale Lawson, a resident of Walnut Creek
on Apr 21, 2008 at 7:54 am

Posted by request of the author

Dear neighbors,

Who should replace Dennis Barry at Contra Costa County Community Development Department?

In my view, we need a broader conceptual planning effort that creates community among commercial, industrial, technical and residential districts and neighborhoods. What I have seen is large scale home contruction with malls interspersed but no expertise or relationships that would include commercial, technical and industrial campuses. We have seen in-fill include inappropriate commercial facilities such as SRV YMCA within the Hemme neighborhoods.

Let's consider a new job description for Community Development Director.

Dale Lawson
Hemme neighborhoods
Iron Horse neighbors

Posted by Iron Horse neighbors

Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Dear neighbors,

Thank you to local developers for sending concepts for inclusion of commercial and technical facilities in their business centers planned within various housing development. Of special interest is East County cities and communities that want a high-technology base to their commercial development.

To make sure that all requests and commentary received in-depth consideration, I have forwarded messages received at to strategic capital groups and their source funding alliances. These groups, as part of major technology corporations, seek the very nature of the East County offering of a professional and skilled employee component and local leadership in creation of such high-value centers.

Great response, neighbors, thank you,

Hal Bailey
Member, CDSI Research Fellowship

Posted by Hal Bailey, CDSI, a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2008 at 8:25 am

Dear neighbors,

Please read George Avalos' informative column on venture capital funding in the SRV Times business section today. The focus of such investment can be a guideline to county and city governments in economic development. With such review, as voters, we might ask our supervisor and assembly candidates to specify their support for economic development of a new economy for our region and even test their know-how in creating such development.

Housing and related industries cannot recover in the East Bay until our region is part of a new economy with centers for technology and clean industry growth.

What are your thoughts?

Hal Bailey
Member, CDSI Research Fellowship

Posted by Kathy Bell, a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2008 at 8:38 am

Posted at request of the author

Dear neighbors,

In welcoming Alamo business district owners, corporations and investors to our discussions, we have just completed a focused discussion of expansion and renovation of the business district as commercial, retail, professional, technical (institutional funding) and high-density residential Mall. Special district boundaries have been presented and discussed and formation planning document is in process.

In e-exchange responses, we are seeing broad support for expansion, rejuvenation and broader retail and commercial offerings, but we invite Forum readers to post their concerns and comments of a new Alamo business district.

Please comment,

Kathy Bell
Iron Horse neighbors
Diablo Vista region

Posted from Iron Horse neighbors e-exchanges

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