Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reception for Michela Alioto-Pier for California Insurance Commissioner - December 2nd

Michela Alioto-Pier's campaign for California Insurance Commissioner is now in full swing.  Show your support for Michela by attending a fundraising reception on December 2nd at The Fairmont Hotel at 950 Mason Street, Penthouse Suite, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.  Click here for the details.  Please RSVP to Linh Nguyen at if you would like to attend.

BOMA San Francisco's PAC supports Michela Alioto-Pier California Insurance Commissioner.  To learn why Michela is the right candidate for Insurance Commissioner, click here.

The News Links - November 24-25, 2009

SF Examiner: Climb the bridge, generate revenue.

KQED Capitol Notes: Soulmates Arnold and Abel, soul searching for dems.

The Economist: Give us fiscal austerity, but not quite yet.

Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco

Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma
  • Daly City councilwoman charged with 12 counts of felony insurance fraud.


The Economy

Green Issues


Important: Muni Fare & Route Changes!

BOMA San Francisco members:

Over the next couple of months two Muni Changes will occur that may impact your business and employees.

Starting January 1, 2010, Muni will be changing the options for their monthly Fast Pass and will be offering Two Fast Pass options:
  • A $70 option to ride Muni and BART (within San Francisco) 
  • A $60 option to ride Muni only
If you are offering an employer paid subsidy under the SF Commuter Benefits Ordinance, you will be required to begin offering a subsidy of $70 or more per month starting in January 2010. For more information on the SF Commuter Benefits Ordinance, please click here.

Also, as we posted on the blog previously, starting December 5th, there will be major Muni Service changes, which may impact your employees. Please share the following SFMTA announcement with all Muni riders at your company:
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates Muni, will implement extensive changes to its transit services beginning Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 to help bridge a $129 million budget deficit. Specifically, service on more than half of Muni's routes and one rail line, the N Judah, will change. While some of these changes entail eliminating routes and/or route segments and reductions in service hours, we are also fortunate to offer our customers enhanced services on many routes serving the City's busiest corridors.
Know your options. To find out if your route is changing, please visit the SFMTA Web site at or call 311 for trip planning and assistance in other languages.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

San Francisco Director of Economic and Workforce Development - Michael Cohen - Receives Public Official of the Year Award from BOMA

Michael Cohen accepts BOMA's Public Official of the Year Award for 2009 from BOMA San Francisco, President-elect, Tom Kruggel.

At BOMA San Francisco's monthly membership luncheon on Thursday, November 19, the association was proud to not only welcome George Gascón, San Francisco's new Police Chief, but to also recognize Michael Cohen as our 2009 Public Official of the Year.  Mr. Cohen serves as the Director of the City of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and has extensive expertise in economic development and working with communities to promote investment, innovation and business growth in the City.

In accepting his award, Mr. Cohen offered up a few comments on San Francisco's current economic situation and what he saw for the City’s future.

Creativity is Key

Mr. Cohen stated that the City's economic outlook is bright and that San Francisco is still the "center of innovation" due to our well-known freedom of expression--the ability to allow people to create thriving new industries.  Mr. Cohen has a blog where he wrote an article entitled How Burning Man Saved San Francisco's Economy that talks about his thoughts on how San Francisco’s fostering of personal creativity has reaped economic benefit to San Francisco.

Cohen cautioned, however, that we still have a long ways to go to reduce the over-regulation, whether real or perceived, by local government on all businesses in the City, including new ones. He said part of the solution to keeping the City's economy rolling is to make sure San Francisco stays fun, interesting and edgy. In fact, supporting the arts and our multitude of counter-cultures is part of San Francisco's economic imperative. Staying fun means, for example, continuing to allow joggers to run nude in the Bay to Breakers race if they want to!

Increasing San Francisco's Economic Vitality

While fostering a creative spirit is an important auxiliary to job creation, the OEWD is involved in other areas to increase the economic vitality of San Francisco.  Mr. Cohen mentioned that the OEWD has been successful in drawing more biotech, digital media and IT industries to Mission Bay and other parts of the San Francisco.  It has been deeply involved in workforce development for San Francisco residents and businesses and attracting businesses from China to establish offices in San Francisco via the ChinaSF initiative to name just a few.


Mr. Cohen elaborated on the ChinaSF initiative, and said he was bullish on new business growth from China, particularly Shanghai, where San Francisco has established its own outreach office. Cohen said attracting Chinese solar companies into the City was a major success story, and is helping bring other Chinese companies to SF, including banks, Chinese biotech, life science, and digital media companies.  

Removing Government Barriers to Business

Nurturing job creation and "getting out of the way" should be the primary functions of our local government, according to Mr. Cohen.  Specifically, removing or restructuring of San Francisco's archaic zoning laws would allow business to grow and adapt in an ever changing global economic environment.  "Industries of the future are not static, unchanging entities that can be put into a box. Rather, they are going to be dynamic, fast-growing, ever-changing organizations that will need a local government that is flexible and quickly responsive to their changing needs or they will leave," said Cohen

  • Click here to access the San Francisco Office of Workforce Development, and  here to access the San Francisco Center for Economic Development's November 2009 Quick Facts
About BOMA San Francisco's Public Official of the Year Award

BOMA San Francisco’s Public Official of the Year award acknowledges individual public servants for outstanding service benefiting the City. Selection criteria include: the impact of the nominee’s actions in making government more effective and efficient, taking into account the relevance of the issue or issues championed and the long-term benefit to the commercial real estate industry and the community at large.

We were proud to honor Michael Cohen with our Public Official of the Year Award for 2009.  We look forward to working with the him in the near future to promote the economic well-being of the commercial real estate industry.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The News Links - November 22-23, 2009

Sacramento Bee: Brown stances define issues, make waves.

San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. commercial properties seek tax relief.

The New Yorker: The fifth war

Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco
    Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma 

    • Schwarzenegger picks Maldonado for lieutenant governor.
    • After spending billions, state remains hampered by outmoded, unreliable computer systems.
    • Poor California: No money and no leadership.
    • Cal Forward: We ‘make no change’ in Sinclair.
    • Selling Meg Whitman in California.
    • Another California crisis: Unemployment fund facing $7.4 billion deficit.
    • Schwarzenegger announces new appointees to SCIF board.
    • Michela Alioto-Pier's campaign for California Insurance Commissioner is now in full swing!  Please join Michela for an intimate cocktail reception in honor of her campaign on Wednesday, December 2nd at 6:30 p.m. at the San Francisco home of Michelle and Joe Alioto, Sr. For more information or to RSVP click here, or contact Sarah Ballard at 415-402-0303.

    The Economy

    Green Issues
    • IMF: Climate change - some simple (and quite convenient) truths.
    • CO2 curve ticks upward as key climate talks loom.
    • What are the largest sources of global warming emissions in California? The list is out.
    • Climate breakthrough: Obama and China commit to change.


    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier Speaks to San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Members

    Your BOMA Advocacy Team attended the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce's Supes for Lunch meeting on Wednesday with Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier. Supervisor Alioto-Pier represents District 2, which includes the Presidio, Cow Hollow, Marina, Pacific Heights as well as part of the Richmond neighborhood.  She also serves as a member of the San Francisco Disaster Council and is the Board Representative on the State Legislative Committee.  The following are the highlights from the meeting:

    Open for Business

    Supervisor Alioto-Pier is dedicated to her constituency and is a fervent advocate for economic well being of the neighborhood businesses within District 2.  As in the rest of San Francisco, the commercial corridors in the district--Union Street, Chestnut Street, Sacramento Street and the Fillmore--have been hit hard by the economic downturn.  The Supervisor mentioned that on Union Street alone, there are 24 empty store fronts, most of which were occupied by local business owners.

    The Supervisor mentioned that she's supportive of removing barriers to opening a business. She also does not support mandatory bans or moratoriums against formula retail establishments, so-called “chain stores”, but she does support conditional use as a means of giving the proposed new business and the existing residents and neighborhood businesses the opportunity to negotiate through the planning process for a win-win resolution. She suggested, upon reaching her term-limit as a supervisor, that her successor would feel the same way.  The Supervisor was concerned that the introduction of too many chain stores would take away from the unique character of our city’s neighborhoods.  This scenario occurred, Supervisor Alioto-Pier stated, after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake where a number of local businesses had to close due to earthquake related destruction in the Marina and the subsequent lack of pedestrian traffic.  Most of the shuttered neighborhood businesses were, over time, replaced with non-local national retail establishments.


    Supervisor Alioto-Pier contended that barriers to businesses in San Francisco have been exacerbated by the onset of district supervisor elections in 2000.  The supervisor fervently suggested that the city's leaders need to have not only a social conscience, but a good in depth understanding of basic economics, and how the city fiscally operates. They need to "think outside of their districts".

    San Francisco Budget Woes

    The City and County of San Francisco has serious immediate and ongoing budget problems, and Supervisor Alioto-Pier stated that the Board of Supervisors will have to make some very tough decisions regarding City-funded services in the very near future.

    BOMA San Francisco appreciates our relationship with Supervisor Alioto-Pier and looks forward to working with her in the future.  Supervisor Alioto-Pier is also a declared candidate for California Insurance Commissioner, and will be on the Democratic Primary ballot next June for that state office. For details on that effort, click here.

    Allen Matkins-UCLA Anderson Economic Briefing in San Francisco & Silicon Valley

    Please consider attending an exclusive Allen Matkins briefing where Jerry Nickelsburg, an economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast, will present an overview of the current economic situation and the predictors and indicators for 2010.  Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will follow.

    3:30 pm - 4:00 pm registration/networking
    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm economic briefing
    5:00 pm - 6:30 pm cocktail reception

    Please RSVP by calling 415-273-7480 by November 23, 2009.  Note that the San Francisco location is full. BOMA San Francisco members should RSVP for the Palo Alto event to Laurie Schmitt at 

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009
    Four Seasons Hotel
    Silicon Valley
    2050 University Avenue
    East Palo Alto, CA
    Map and Directions

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009
    SPUR Urban Center
    654 Mission Street
    San Francisco, CA
    Map and Directions

      This event is part of the ongoing partnership that Allen Matkins has with the UCLA Anderson School of Business.  In addition to this briefing, the Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast Commercial Real Estate Survey is published bi-annually to provide accurate forecasting information in major California markets.

    SFMTA Letter Regarding Muni Service Changes on December 5th

    BOMA San Francisco members:

    Please take a moment to read the following letter, below, from Tom Nolan, Chairman, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors, and Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., Executive Director/CEO, SFMTA:

    Due to the global recession that has exacted a particularly heavy toll in California and our region, the SFMTA  had to take a number of difficult actions to close a $129 million deficit in the current fiscal year operating budget. These actions include service changes on more than half of Muni’s bus routes and one rail line which take effect on Saturday, December 5th.

    While some of the changes entail discontinued routes and route segments, and reduced frequencies on lightly used services, we are pleased to report that many of the changes mean expanded hours, route extensions and more frequent and faster service for residents and visitors. We also want to underscore that these changes were meticulously planned using the wealth of data on the Muni system that was generated and analyzed over the past two years as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project—the first comprehensive assessment and evaluation of Muni service in a generation.

    As we are all so acutely aware, a debilitating scenario of fare increases and services cuts is taking place across the nation as transit systems confront inescapable economic realities. Here in San Francisco we are exceedingly fortunate in being able to balance service reductions on lesser-used routes with new and expanded service levels along the busiest corridors in the City. Our ability to accomplish this during these dire economic times is the direct result of a strong and productive working relationship with the Office of Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors whose leadership continues to define our unique, Transit First City.

    Details about the December 5 service changes are set forth in this brochure that features maps of all the changes and nearby Muni service which also is available for viewing at This brochure also is available to customers on Muni vehicles and at other locations throughout the City. Customers can also call 311 in the City or 511 anywhere in the region. Moreover, we will field SFMTA Ambassadors at major transfer points, many other transit stops and on Muni vehicles later this month and into December to assist customers in adjusting to the changes. As many of your customers and employees live in or travel to San Francisco, we ask that you share this information about the December 5 Muni changes with them so that they can easily and conveniently adjust to the changes and get where they want to go on Muni.


    Tom Nolan                                 Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr.
    Chairman                                    Executive Director/CEO
    SFMTA Board of Directors

    The News Links - November 19-20, 2009

    The Economist: America, China and climate change: Let's agree to agree.

    SF Examiner: Park homeless spurn outreach.

    Commercial Real Estate

    San Francisco

    Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma


    The Economy

    Green Issues


    San Francisco Hotel Group Urges Unite Here Local 2 to Negotiate Throughout the Holidays

    Local 2 Unite Here should end its destructive practice of calling rolling strikes at hotels around San Francisco and focus on talks at the negotiation table for the benefit of their members and the city’s hospitality industry.

    “San Francisco hotels want their employees on the job, not on the picket lines,” said Patricia Breslin, Executive Director of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “Our association wants to encourage productive contract talks through the holiday season for the benefit of all parties involved. The 3-day strikes orchestrated by Local 2 have not significantly impacted hotel operations and our members are welcoming back their workers without repercussions after these limited labor actions. But what union leaders are doing is harmful to San Francisco’s economy, tourism and international reputation.”

    The average hotel housekeeper makes $60,000 in salary and benefits, including healthcare for themselves and their families. Hotel workers in San Francisco are the second-highest paid workers in their industry in the country. San Francisco hotels compensate their employees at a rate 40 percent higher than their counterparts in the city of Chicago.

    “The truth is a majority of Local 2 members never voted to authorize these strike actions,” said Ms. Breslin. “It has taken the hotel industry 10 years to recover to levels of profitability last seen in 1999. This year, occupancy is down and room rates have been pushed even lower by national economic conditions while hotel operator costs are up. A sustainable economic and business model for the years ahead will be good for everyone.”

    The Hotel Council has hired Sam Singer, President of Singer Associates, to act as a spokesman for the trade group. Mr. Singer was named spokesperson of the year in 2008 by PR News and earlier this year helped the Bay Area Rapid Transit District successfully conclude more than four months of negotiations with its two largest unions.

    For more information, please visit the Hotel Council's website here.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    BOMA San Francisco Welcomes San Francisco Police Chief George Gascón

    Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco Director of Government and Public Affairs, and San Francisco Police Chief George Gascón

    BOMA San Francisco was honored to welcome George Gascón, San Francisco's new Police Chief, to our November luncheon at the City Club today to hear his thoughts on the future of San Francisco's Police Department. The following are the highlights from his address to the BOMA membership.

    SFPD Chief George Gascón - Background

    Police Chief George Gascón took lead of the San Francisco Police Department August 7, 2009. Prior to his move to San Francisco, Chief Gascón was the Chief of Police for the Mesa Police Department in Arizona for three years. Chief  Gascón proudly served the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for more than 28 years. In his final assignment before joining the Mesa Police Department, Gascón served as LAPD's Assistant Police Chief and Director over the Office of Operations.

    Chief Gascón's hard-earned expertise in police accountability, community policing, police training, hiring practices, management accountability, and use of force have been highlighted in numerous professional settings. He is a published author and has written articles concerning police training.  Chief Gascón received a B.A. degree in History from California State University, Long Beach, and a Juris Doctor Degree from Western State University, College of Law. He is an active member of the California Bar Association.

    Challenging Times

    Tuesday's dire news from the Controller's Office regarding San Francisco's short-term budget outlook bodes ill for all city departments, including the SFPD.  As underfunded as the Department is currently, Chief Gascón mentioned that he will have to find $6-7 million dollars in cuts from their operating budget in the next few weeks.  In addition, the SFPD is expecting cutbacks of 10% for 2010.

    The Good News

    Although the SFPD's budget woes show no signs of abating, Chief Gascón maintained that this budget challenge is a perfect opportunity to shape the Department's future; that is, to help promote efficiency.  Helping the SFPD do more with less will, according to Chief Gascón, require the help of every group in the city: business interests, labor organizations, non-profit groups, etc., and support from the current political leadership at City Hall.

    "Everyone will have to contribute," according to Gascón, “I'll do everything I can do to make this Police Department better and this City safer."

    The San Francisco Police Department

    Chief Gascón postulated that SFPD is comprised of high-performing individuals within a low-performing police department. Gascón pointed to the Department's antiquated business model, which is based on when San Francisco was "smaller" and, frankly, not what it is today.  He elaborated that the Department's centralization of  investigative resources is counter-productive and that each police station should share both patrol and investigative units to facilitate information sharing, which will bolster neighborhood relationship building efforts. This fundamental change in the structure of the City's police stations will allow for neighborhood resolution of casework and will also help bridge the communication gap that currently exists with the SFPD and some communities, according to Chief Gascón.  It is paramount, Gascón continued, to establish a structure that allows for regular and open communication with all members of the public. Doing so will increase their willingness to report criminal activity, and help solve crimes when they’re committed. However, that can’t happen until we build trust, and that can’t happen until we take our investigative units down into the various communities of San Francisco.

    Of course, there are always some consequences to making changes, and in this case, the city’s district police stations were not physically built to accommodate additional personnel. The work spaces for the investigative units will initially be very small and cramped. Still, that is a small price to pay if we can increase the effectiveness and frequency of our officers’ communications with our City’s residents in reporting and reducing crime.

    At Issue: SFPD Discipline Cases

    SFPD discipline procedures are "broken-down with a capital 'B'" according to Chief Gascón.  To make matters worse, internal discipline procedures are written into the City Charter.  As such, in order for Gascón to make any changes, he needs to get approval from the San Francisco voters.

    Chief Gascón elaborated on the realities of this issue:
    • There is a 3-6 year waiting period for adjudication of officer discipline cases.
    • It's demoralizing to wait that amount of time for a hearing, and it keeps officers from being fully productive. Within this group, there are good people who simply made a mistake, and the Police Chief should be able to determine who should be disciplined, what that disciplinary action should be, and allow those officers to proceed with a fresh start on their career.
    • Of the approximately 200 active disciplinary cases, only a handful, in Gascon’s opinion, would warrant “a career adjustment”.    
    Gascón clearly stated that the Chief of Police should be in control of disciplining officers and that this effort is not "an assault on oversight" by the Office of Citizens Complaints or the Police Commission. As such, Chief Gascón will submit a measure on changing internal disciplinary procedures to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on December 15th with the intention of submitting the measure to the voters in June 2010.


    San Francisco is "the most ill-equipped police department in the free world" to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, according to Chief Gascón.  While most cities have a well-established intelligence unit, the City and County of San Francisco does not.  We are completely dependent on other agencies (e.g., the FBI) for these functions.

    Everyone, in Gascón’s opinion, needs to get involved to remedy this deficiency.  He will be addressing this issue in more detail in the next few months as well as future intelligence gathering. Of course, addressing this need is complicated by the current city budget deficit.

    BOMA San Francisco appreciated SFPD Chief Gascón's address to the membership today and we look forward to working closely with him via the Emergency Preparedness Committee to address issues related to the Police Department and the commercial real estate industry in the very near future.

    The News Links - November 18-19, 2009

     Wall Street Journal: San Francisco Ferry Building proves a tough model to follow.

     SF Examiner: Strikes may upset shopping season.  Image retrieved here.

    Wall Street Journal: Budget gap widens in Sacramento.

    Commercial Real Estate
    • Will CTA put a split-roll initiative on the 2010 ballot?
    • New draft San Francisco Transbay Development Plan unveiled today.
    • Office delinquencies latest driver of CMBS troubles.
    • Starwood Properties’ Barry Sternlicht on CNBC.
    • Banks face major commercial real estate storm.
    • Sam Zell disses Wilbur Ross, commercial real estate ‘savants’.
    • Developers diversified, Goldman Sachs put CMBS deals back in action.

    San Francisco

    Marin/Sonoma/San Mateo


    The Economy
    • U.S. Department of Labor's weekly unemployment report can be found here.
    • Hollywood's catered stimulus: Why $23 million creates just 21 jobs.
    • Obama warns of a 'double dip' recession.
    • AIA: Architecture Billings Index shows contraction.

    Green Issues

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    San Francisco's JOBS NOW! program

    The San Francisco Human Services Agency (SF-HSA) is using newly available federal stimulus funds to expand subsidized employment opportunities, with a goal of placing 1,000 participants in jobs between May 2009 and September 2010.  This new program is called JOBS NOW!

    Consistent with the goals of the federal stimulus package, the primary objectives of the JOBS NOW! program are to provide an immediate source of income for low-income families and to stimulate local economic recovery.  JOBS NOW! builds upon several successful transitional jobs programs already in place at SF-HSA, which were designed to help unemployed individuals address barriers to employment, develop soft skills, gain work experience and progress toward self-sufficiency. JOBS NOW! participants will exit the program with stable employment history, leaving them better positioned to obtain an unsubsidized job when the stimulus period ends. The JOBS NOW! program benefits local employers by providing referrals of qualified workers and by subsidizing 100% of their wages until September 30, 2010.  It's a win-win!

    Thank you to SF Works for promoting this program.  If you'd like more information on JOBS NOW! for private and nonprofit employers please click here

    BOMA 360 Performance Program™

    BOMA International is pleased to announce the development of the BOMA 360 Performance Program, a groundbreaking new program designed to validate and recognize commercial properties that demonstrate best practices in all major areas of building operations and management. A BOMA 360 Performance Building designates that a property is being managed to the highest standards of excellence.

    The BOMA 360 Performance Program is an online self-assessment that evaluates six major areas of building operations and management and benchmarks a building’s performance against industry standards. Applicants must achieve the required number of points to be recognized as a BOMA 360 Performance Building. Only occupied commercial office buildings and industrial buildings are eligible for the BOMA 360 Performance Program designation. Additionally, there are four prerequisites that must be met to apply for the designation. Applications for the BOMA 360 Performance Program may be submitted at any time during the year, with designations conferred quarterly. There is an application fee that is tiered based on the property’s total square footage. The designation requires an annual renewal. A nine-member, independent BOMA 360 Performance Program Council has been appointed to confer the designations, provide administrative oversight and to provide continuous review and updates to keep the program current with industry best practices and standards.

    Please click here for more information, including the BOMA 360 application, instructions, frequently asked questions, and much more!

    If you have any questions about the BOMA 360 Performance Program, please send an e-mail to

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    The News Links - November 16-17, 2009

    TIME: U.S.-China Trade: Prepare for continued imbalance.

    LA Times: Angelides commission staffs up for investigation of 2008 financial meltdown.

    Commercial Real Estate

      San Francisco

      Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma


      The Economy

      Green Issues


      BOMA California Names 2010 Leadership

      Leaders from the eight metropolitan Building Owners and Managers Associations have chosen the following individuals to helm their statewide organization, BOMA California, for 2010:

      PRESIDENT: Cindi Langendoen, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts, CB Richard Ellis (BOMA Greater Los Angeles)
      VICE PRESIDENT: Ray Magnussen, Principal, Paragon Services (BOMA San Diego)
      SECRETARY: Tod McKelvy, Executive Director, Berding & Weil, (BOMA Oakland/East Bay)
      TREASURER: Sandra Boyle, Executive Vice President of Development, Glenborough (BOMA San Francisco)

      BOMA California is the statewide professional association representing each of California's eight regional Building Owners and Managers Associations (Greater Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Orange County, Sacramento, Oakland/East Bay, San Diego, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley), in statewide legislative and regulatory matters.

      Members of BOMA California represent all facets of the commercial real estate industry, including property managers, facility managers, owners, asset managers, engineers, and leasing brokers. BOMA California is dedicated to professional and ethical property management and provides members with legislative advocacy, industry information, and professional education opportunities.

      Newly elected BOMA California President Cindi Langendoen is a National Strategic Accounts Senior Director responsible for the CBRE Investors – CalSTRS portfolio in excess of 12 million square feet of Class A office and industrial product. She provides services through single-point accountability, focusing on the client’s long-term goals, while assisting with operations, transitions, management, leasing, investment sales, and financial reporting on real estate assets worth $3 billion. Ms. Langendoen has more than 20 years of commercial real estate experience and has been on the Board of BOMA California since 2002.

      BOMA California engages directly in the legislative, regulatory, and political processes, to protect the interests of the commercial real estate industry. In 2009 our organization tracked more than 500 bills with a potential impact on the commercial real estate industry, and worked on broad range of issues from tax code changes and Workers’ Compensation to energy policy and green building regulations.

      For more information about BOMA California, please click here.

      2010 CREW Network Benchmarking Survey

      As members of BOMA, we are asking for your support in an important industry research initiative. We are assisting Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) NETWORK in conducting a benchmark survey about the commercial real estate industry.   Begin the survey now by clicking here.

      As a follow up to CREW Network’s first benchmark study, Commercial Real Estate Women: 2005, this study will identify what advancements women have made in commercial real estate in the past five years. We anticipate that this data will once again be relied upon heavily by the media and thought leaders in the industry. As a member of the commercial real estate industry, it is important that your voice be heard.

      We thank you for your time and attention to this important project. It is important that you complete the survey by Monday, December 7. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes and can be completed in more than one session if needed. To access and complete the survey, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.

      The research is being conducted by Cornell University Program in Real Estate. If you experience any technical difficulties, please contact Sung Won Suh directly at

      Supervisor Carmen Chu's 2010 Re-Election Campaign Kick-Off - November 21st

      You're invited to attend Supervisor Carmen Chu's 2010 re-election campaign  kick-off at the Park Chalet this Saturday from 12 Noon to 3 p.m.  The details are below.  Please click here for copy of the invitation and contribution form.

      Monday, November 16, 2009

      RED ALERT – Split Roll Property Tax Initiatives Filed

      The hammer has finally dropped and two initiatives have been filed for Title and Summary with the Attorney General’s Office to change Proposition 13 and end tax protections for commercial real estate by enacting a Split Roll Property Tax. It is reported from multiple sources that the California Teachers Association (CTA) is the source for both of these measures.

      These two initiatives join one other measure introduced last month, and come after successfully defending Proposition 13 in several different venues this past year, including legislative measures, in the state budget, and at the Tax Commission.

      As we have discussed there are several different approaches that can be taken to enact a split roll.  One of CTA’s measures increases all commercial taxes by .55%.  The other requires continuous reassessment and bases taxation on current value.

      Both of CTA’s measures have political “sweeteners” thrown in like doubling the homeowners property tax exemption, doubling the renters tax exemption, and increasing the types of agricultural properties that are not subject to the commercial assessment. One of the measures lists a whole bunch of benefits to education, meant not only as a way to fully control the monies raised from this tax increase, but to also sway voters who naturally want to support their public schools.

      Although this is the beginning of the official process, we are already taking actions to prepare for the battle, such as meeting with those responsible for writing the ballot analysis, analyzing the economics of the measures, formulating an opposition campaign, and beginning our fundraising efforts to defeat these measures. 

      In addition to these three measures, we are also expecting to see split roll measures from at least one public employee union and from the SF Assessor Phil Ting led group “Close the Loophole,” which was registered this year specifically to pursue a proposition.

      These measures seek ways to allow California State Government to continue spending your taxpayer dollars without addressing the issues of realistically setting wages and benefits for state employees and dealing with overspending and regulatory inefficiency, such as not allowing workers to put in 40 hours a week in four days, if they desired, instead of requiring overtime for any hours worked over 8 in a single day. 

      If you have any doubt about the negative impacts of a split roll, please click here to read the study entitled "The Economic Effects of California Adopting a Split Roll Property Tax."

      These propositions are clearly an immediate threat to anyone who owns commercial property in this state. BOMA members will need to step up and be counted if we are to defeat these ill-conceived measures.

      See below for highlights of the provisions and links to read the full measures.

      CTA Measure 1:  EDUCATION AND TAXPAYER FAIRNESS ACT - Submitted to the CA Attorney General’s Office for Title and Summary on November 05, 2009.


      By adding a new .55 percent ad valorem property tax (on top of existing 1% tax) to the “full cash value” of non-exempt non-residential property (commercial property).

      To make the tax increase on businesses more palatable the measure also does the following:
      • Doubles the homeowner property tax exemption from $7,000 to $14,000.
      • Doubles the Renters’ Tax Exemption.
      • Exempts first $1,000,000 of personal property tax to “protect small businesses.”
      • Exempts property that is zoned and used for “agricultural production” (expands current ag exemption).
      • Exempts all residential properties including multi-family.
      Money bypasses State’s General Fund and goes directly to “Public School Investment and Accountability Fund” for distribution to K-12 districts (78%), Community Colleges (11%), and CSU (11%).  University of California does not receive any funds.

      Funds are specifically directed to be spent on class size reduction, instructional supplies & equipment, school librarians/nurses/counselors, staff development for teachers designed by teachers, to provide for planning time for teachers, art/music/vocational programs, increased compensation for teachers, and school safety.

      CTA Measure 2: PROTECT HOMEOWNERS AND CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOPHOLES ACT - Submitted to the CA Attorney General’s Office for Title and Summary on November 05, 2009.

      • By mandating an immediate reassessment of non-exempt non-residential property (commercial property).
      • Mandates a reassessment of commercial property a least every three years.
      • The “full cash value” becomes the new “fair market value".
      To make the tax increase on businesses more palatable the measure also does the following:
        • Exempts property that is zoned and used for “agricultural production” (expands current ag exemption).
        • Exempts first $1,000,000 of personal property tax to “protect small businesses.”
        • Doubles the homeowner property tax exemption from $7,000 to $14,000.
        • Doubles the Renters’ Tax Exemption.
        • Gives counties cut of new tax revenue to pay for administrative costs of reassessments.
        • Gives counties 10% of these tax revenues after assessment expenses.
        • Revenue goes directly to state General Fund – does not direct how funds are spent.

        PARCEL TAX - THE LOCAL VOTER CONTROL & GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY ACT - Submitted to the CA Attorney General’s Office for Title and Summary on October 09, 2009

        • By reducing from 2/3 vote requirement to 55% vote requirement the ability to increase certain local property taxes.

        PG&E One Time Credit and January 2010 Rate Changes

        All PG&E customers should have received a bill insert with their July 2009 electric bills that indicated PG&E had over-collected for their generation costs and that there would be a year-end alignment to correct PG&E's discrepancy that would yield a January 2010 rate reduction of around 10%.  Recently, PG&E announced that they would be giving customers a credit on their November and December 2009 bills of approximately 4% of the annual electric charges to clear the company's oversight.  We've received confirmation from the PG&E Rates Department that the 4% credit is a substitute for the expected January rate reduction. In fact, PG&E is now planning a small 0.7% rate increase for January 2010.

        BOMA San Francisco members should consider revising their 2010 budgets to factor in this small rate increase as opposed to a large decrease.

        BOMA San Francisco Environment Committee's Earth Awards Workshop

        Chris Wong, producer extraordinaire of the Earth Awards Workshop and Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs.

        From left to right: Zach Brown, Chair, BOMA San Francisco's Environment Committee. Tom Van Ess, San Francisco Business Times and Tom Williamson, Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company

        Derek Schulze, Able Services and Jenna Hattersley, The Swig Company

        From left to right: Tom Kruggel, President Elect, BOMA San Francisco; Delyn Kies, Kies Strategies; Jack Macy, SF Department of the Environment; and, Ken Cleaveland.

        On November 3, 2009, the BOMA San Francisco Environment Committee hosted a free workshop at One Market, Spear Tower, 41st floor, to help BOMA San Francisco members learn how to achieve a higher level of sustainability in their office building operations by participating in the 2010 EARTH Awards Program

        The BOMA San Francisco EARTH Award recognizes member buildings that utilize the most comprehensive resource management programs, including commercial recycling programs, energy and water conservation efforts, air quality and toxics reduction programs, support for public transportation, and effective use of tenant education programs geared to promoting sustainability practices in commercial office buildings. The EARTH Award program is an opportunity for BOMA members to consider the entire spectrum of programs and practices that constitute an effective "sustainability program" for office buildings including what policies and procedures should be adopted that can help move a property toward becoming "green".

        Every year, the BOMA San Francisco EARTH Awards program increases in popularity and represents a larger cross-section of commercial real estate properties in the City.  As such, the workshop allowed members the opportunity to consult with previous Earth Award recipients with questions regarding the Earth Award application, and to converse with associate members who could help with resource sustainability and, at the same time, help members increase their comparative advantage in the judging process.

        Congratulations to Chris Wong with The Swig Company and the members of the BOMA San Francisco Environment Committee for a very successful and well-attended workshop!