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Take a Stand

Author: Rick Wells
September, 2013 Issue
The San Rafael Chamber of Commerce is active and engaged in advocating for a healthier economy and community. Recently, we announced positions on three key issues of importance to the local community. First, the chamber announced its support of the upcoming bond measure that will rebuild the aging Marin General Hospital. Second, the chamber announced opposition to the recent efforts to recall the Marin County Supervisor in District 1. Third, the chamber voted to endorse efforts with regard to planning, development and workforce housing. These positions demonstrate the chamber’s serious commitment to examining and taking positions on issues of critical importance to our economic vitality and our community.

Supporting a healthy community

Our board is supporting the November bond measure for Marin General Hospital because the hospital generates enormous positive economic and community impact. Marin General Hospital is a community asset that should be preserved and enhanced for future generations. As a leading business organization in Marin County, the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of providing high-quality, state-of-the-art health care to all of the citizens of Marin County, including those who belong to other health care organizations or who cannot afford to pay for it. Nothing could be more vital to the health and well being of our community. We realize that Marin General Hospital is a 60-year-old medical facility that’s long overdue for a rebuild to bring it up to current seismic safety standards and to create a facility that better matches the way medicine is practiced today. We also appreciate the economic impact Marin General Hospital has on the community and the enhanced impact the construction of the hospital will bring to Marin. Marin General Hospital is a vital part of our local economy and our community. We encourage your support of the hospital’s future.

Opposing recall efforts

The San Rafael Chamber Board of Directors officially opposes the efforts to recall the Marin County Supervisor in District 1. This position is based primarily on the fact that this effort includes the potential waste of government funds at a time when government resources are extremely limited. The chamber board of directors believes that the open election process should be used as it’s designed. In less than one year (June 2014), constituents will have the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice in District 1 through the public election process. The chamber plans to consider the possible endorsement of a candidate at that time. We encourage all voters to exercise their right to vote to make sure their voice is heard.

Workforce housing and priority development areas

The chamber recently reaffirmed its support for the existing policies governing community development and workforce housing. The chamber adopted the following positions:
1. The chamber endorses the city of San Rafael’s citizen advisory committee processes used to develop visions for area plans.
2. The chamber supports the retention of the downtown and Civic Center SMART stations as Priority Development Area designations identified by the above processes.
3. The chamber supports the creation of mixed-use commercial space and workforce housing at Marinwood Plaza.
The chamber has a strong history of supporting a diverse housing stock in San Rafael and Marin, including providing a variety of housing options for our county’s workforce. It makes sense for our workforce to have options to live close to where they work. This improved balance of housing will reduce the pressure on infrastructure and help continue to improve our area’s diverse economic vitality. The San Rafael Chamber of Commerce believes that a healthy and diverse business community is invaluable to the community as a whole.

Programs that make a difference

Upcoming changes in health care will impact our businesses. The chamber is a resource for information about how businesses can best navigate the new Affordable Care Act. We are partnering with several organizations in Marin, including the Workforce Investment Board, to bring a panel of experts together for an informative and useful session about how businesses can best prepare for this new legislation. This free event will take place at 8:00 a.m. on September 24th. Space is limited.
The San Rafael Chamber Leadership Institute begins with a new class in October. There may not be time for you to join the 2013-2014 class, but now would be a great time to add your name to the waiting list for next year's class. The institute offers exceptional leadership development. This is the premier opportunity to learn about what makes Marin tick alongside business and civic leaders. Graduates are empowered with the skills to develop their own leadership vision and have gone on to take leadership roles at the local, regional, state, and national levels.
On September 11, you’re invited to join the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce at the largest networking and marketing opportunity of the year. Winner of the NorthBay biz BEST Of Award, the San Rafael Chamber Business Showcase is an annual premier event that “showcases” the products, services and ideas of the chamber member businesses to the business community and the general public. You can connect with more than 80 exhibitors, including caterers, mechanics, financial services, health care providers…and many more. Come experience the vibrancy and diversity that the San Rafael business community has to offer.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any feedback about these positions, the chamber’s advocacy efforts, chamber volunteer leadership or our organization in general. We want to hear from you.
Rick Wells is president/CEO of San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. You can reach him at or (415) 454-4163 x101.


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