July/August 1996 ~ No. 23


ABAG PLAN CELEBRATES 10 YEARS AS SUCCESSFUL INSURANCE POOL


Formed during an era of dramatically rising insurance costs in the mid-1980's, ABAG PLAN (the Pooled Liability Assurance Network) has proven true the adage that there is safety in numbers.

PLAN and its 29 members celebrate 10 years of safe and successful municipal liability insurance this summer. And there is ample cause for celebration. Starting from scratch, the insurance pool has now accumulated $27 million in total assets.

"More importantly, the pool maintains a 90% actuarial confidence level, better than many insurance companies," said Eugene Leong, Executive Director of ABAG.

To further improve the financial outlook, PLAN has recently completed a legal audit in order to scrutinize legal costs and devise a strategy to reduce them. This audit is an addition to the financial and claims administration audits performed annually.

PLAN has also formed a new Finance Committee, chaired by Rahn Becker from Millbrae. This committee is charged with monitoring the PLAN portfolio in order to ensure the security of investments, and provide necessary liquidity while maximizing yield.

In addition, the staff at PLAN is proactively working with members on risk management and loss prevention. PLAN Vice President Albert Fierro has consulted with Ross and Suisun City on their 4th of July celebrations, and with Millbrae on its summer recreation programs. He has also worked extensively with American Canyon and Milpitas on the development of new skateboard parks.

PLAN's mobile police training unit is completing its second year of operations; 1030 employees from 26 cities have been trained on the computerized driving simulators and the video/laser firearms training system.

In addition to liability coverage, PLAN now offers property and earthquake insurance, as well as public official bond insurance. PLAN will continue its vigilant claims administration and offer loss control training for all members.

For more information, contact Albert Fierro at 510/464-7969 or e-mail AlbertF@abag.ca.gov.



..........abagOnline...........


AWARD WINNING INTERNET SITE FOR BAY AREA LOCAL GOVERNMENTS


When abagOnline debuted in April 1994, the City of Palo Alto was the only other Bay Area jurisdiction with a web presence. Two years later, with the inspiration of ABAG Executive Director Eugene Leong and the help of a federal grant, abagOnline now offers access to 52 cities, 7 counties, 9 transportation/transit agencies, 3 parks, 7 utilities, and 4 regional agencies (including ABAG). abagOnline also provides services to school districts, universities, and links to state and federal agencies.

abagOnline means access to bay area governments Online. But the local government connection is just one of six categories available when calling up the abagOnline homepage. There are also buttons for Bay Area Projects, Commerce, Discussion Groups, Services, and What's New. Each button leads to an additional series of choices for that specific category.

The "best" of the site includes:

Sites like these help attract 5,000 to 6,000 people daily to abagOnline. In addition to reaching the homepage directly, abagOnline may also be accessed through links or pointers from more than 8,000 other websites.

abagOnline offers hosting and services for city and county web sites and training for local staff in Web document preparation.

abagOnline also provides information on the many services available through ABAG such as life or liability insurance, and bond pools; opportunities for employment or contracts with local governments and other business data; discussion groups for local government professionals; the calendar of events, including classes and seminars; and makes this newsletter available electronically.

The first council of governments (COG) with a web presence, ABAG was awarded the 1996 National Association of Regional Councils Meritous Achievement Award. The abagOnline website has also been designated a Magellen 3 Star Site.

Visit abagOnline at http://www.abag.ca.gov


ABAG'S FIRST SECURED ONLINE PURCHASE COMPLETED


Mr. Peter Algover of Danville has earned the distinction of being the first participant to use ABAG's Secured Online Purchasing Program by ordering the CD-ROM On Shaky Ground.

Mr. Algover had read about abagOnline in a newsletter and was particularly interested in the site's earthquake information.

An Internet-user since last summer, Mr. Algover now boasts five e-mail addresses, including two at work and one in a test group for Pacific Bell.

He is an employee of United Technologies and uses e-mail and the Internet nearly everyday.

Mr. Algover is not a frequent "online shopper" but he has purchased music CDs and CD-ROMs online, and is entirely comfortable with secured online purchases. "It's so convenient!" he said.

abagOnline uses state-of-the-art encryption technology. You can make secured online purchases of earthquake maps, the Bay Area Directory, Projections 96, Bay Trail maps and mailing label-- and more.


ONLINE ADVICE: AT WORK WITH JULIE


Do you have a workers' compensation question but are not ready to hire an expensive lawyer? Then get online with Julie!

Julie Carroll, ABAG Workers' Compensation Program Director, was approached to write a question and answer "column" for workers' compensation questions over the Internet. The abagOnline feature, "At Work with Julie," has caught fire and now receives questions on a regular basis. The questions are received anonymously via e-mail. Unless the party wishes to be contacted directly, the question along with the answer is posted online for public review.

Initially, Julie thought that most of the questions would come from employers; however, 95% of the questions received to date are from injured employees who do not understand the system and may not understand their rights. A number of interesting people have written to Julie, from a minor league baseball player, to a Hollywood screen writer, to a 17 year old who wanted to hire illegal aliens to do landscape work!

Julie can answer general questions related to workers' comp under California law, but cannot give legal advice.

The experience, says Julie, has been very rewarding. So, from the desk of "At Work with Julie," keep those e-mail cards and letters coming!

For more information, contact Julie Carroll at 510/464-7940 or e-mail juliec@abag.ca.gov. "At Work with Julie" is accessible through abagOnline at http://www.abag.ca.gov.

QUESTIONS FOR JULIE

Julie, I am interested to know what preventative measures or information a company is required to provide to its employees to avoid RSI and CTD disorders that occur in the workplace (i.e. carpal tunnel, etc.) Are there any resources that could tell me the government regulations controlling this information?

There was a bill in the California legislature last year that would have required employers to make ergonomic information available to their employees. Further, the law would have mandated that employers make ergonomic modification to avoid repetitive strain or cumulative trauma injuries. Those opposed to the law argued that ergonomics is an inexact science and that no one knows how to avoid these injuries in all cases. Further, they argued that forcing businesses to make these adjustments could bankrupt small employers. These arguments won out, and the bill did not become law. I suggest contacting CALOSHA, via the Department of Industrial Relations (they have their own WEB site). They have materials available, pamphlets, videos, etc., that are designed to help workers as well as businesses avoid repetitive injuries.


Julie, I slipped and fell at work the other night, and have already seen the company health provider for worker's comp. Upon falling, I initially hit my arm and lower back. Now, however, I've noticed lot of pain in my ribs and neck. I was only treated for my arm by the doctor. Now I'm wondering if I can still go back and have these other areas examined? Also, I was never offered the sheet to predesignate my doctor. Will I be able to do this for this injury?

It is quite normal for additional aches and pains to occur hours or days after an initial accident. Call the doctor's office that originally saw you and ask to be seen again. It is important to get all of your symptoms documented as soon as possible.

As for the predesignated doctor, unfortunately, you will not be able to go to that doctor for this injury. The predesignated doctor section of the Labor Code is relatively new. All new employees must be given the opportunity to predesignate a doctor. There are no specific directions for allowing established employees to do so. Many companies have included information about predesignating doctors during "open enrollment," the period when employees can make changes in their group health benefits.

The Labor Code specifies that your predesignated doctor must be someone that has treated you previously and has your medical records. You cannot predesignate a doctor that you have heard is good. You must see the doctor prior to predesignation. Thirty days following the date of your injury you are entitled to be treated by a doctor of your choice. I also suggest that you predesignate your preferred doctor, in writing, so that if you are ever injured again you will not have to wait to see your doctor.



..........Bay Trail...........


BAY TRAIL WORKS TO PROTECT AREA WILDLIFE


The Bay shoreline is teaming with egrets, geese, burrowing owls and other waterfowl. Nearly one million shorebirds and one million waterfowl use the Bay and its wetland habitats each year. Some live here year around, others spend the winter, and still others pass through on their annual migrations along the Pacific Flyway.

Bay Area residents, employees from businesses located near the shoreline, bird watchers and trail users all enjoy the wonders of this water-dependent wildlife.

We all want to preserve what we appreciate today, but we need to better understand how to do that effectively. We need to know if human presence on the nearly 200 miles of Bay Trail along the shoreline will affect this wildlife.

As the Bay Trail becomes more popular, and as the Bay Area's population increases, there is a growing concern that trail users, especially walkers with their dogs, are disrupting birds and other wildlife along the shoreline. Are the impacts causing wildlife fatalities, relocation, and/or anxiety? How does their behavior differ from what would occur naturally?

The Bay Trail Project has received initial grants from the National Park Service and Cargill Salt to accurately assess possible impacts of trail users on wildlife. The study will collect data on the effects of typical Bay Trail users_ walkers, dogs, bicyclists, photographers, bird watchers and in-line skaters_ and on the behavioral responses and species diversity and abundance of typical salt-marsh and brackish marsh birds. The data will help answer whether trails cause changes in species diversity and abundance when compared to non-trail areas.

Many agencies which have mandates to provide public access, including the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the Coastal Commission, will benefit greatly by understanding when and how access may be provided to minimize wildlife impacts.

Agencies charged with protecting resources, especially the Department of Fish and Game, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Army Corps of Engineers, may find these results helpful in determining when public access should be limited for the good of the fauna.

The research design is now being reviewed by interested organizations and other researchers to ensure that the methodology can be implemented, answers important questions, and is statistically valid.

To receive a copy of the research methodology and/or to comment on the study, please contact Project Manager Jill Keimach at 510/464-7935 or e-mail JillK@abag.ca.gov.

Come join El Cerrito Mayor Cathie Kosel; Emeryville Mayor Nora Davis; and San Ramon Councilmember Ronald Raab as they "compete" in The World's Shortest Political Race.

CHEVRON'S BAY TRAIL CRITERIUM
The World's Shortest Political Race

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3, 1996
OAKLANDS LAKE MERRITT

The only race between elected officials where the last one to finish wins!!

To sign up for the event and be included in all pre-event publicity, call Jill Keimach at 510/464-7935 or email JillK@abag.ca.gov.



..........ABAG News..........


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE


The Association of Bay Area Governments has adopted the following positions on state legislation:

AB 2033 - Oppose
AB 2062 - Support
AB 2072 - Support
AB 2228 - Support in Concept
AB 2797 - Support in Concept
AB 2828 - Support
AB 2887 - Oppose
AB 3190 - Support
AB 3053 - Oppose
ACA 32 - Support
ACA 38 - Oppose
ACA 49 - Support in Concept
SB 1073 - Support
SB 1590 - Support
SB 1865 - Support in Concept
SB 1887 - Support
SB 1896 - Oppose
SB 1958 - Support
SB 1993 - Support in Concept
SCA 2 - Support
SCA 26 - Support
SCA 39 - Support in Concept

SB 1590 (O'Connell) is the bill which would make the holding of the Santa County/Guardino case regarding Proposition 62 prospective.

The two main measurers carrying the proposals from the California Constitution Revision Commission are ACA 49 (Isenberg) and SCA 39 (Killea).

Call 510/464-7922 for more info, or e-mail MichelleF@abag.ca.gov.

- - GOVERNMENTAL AND LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION ONLINE - -

State Senate / legislative inquiries: http://www.senate.ca.gov
State Assembly / legislative inquiries: http://www.assembly.ca.gov
Legislative Analyst: http://www.lao.ca.gov
Department of Finance: http://www.dof.ca.gov
California Constitution Revision Commission: (via) http://www.ca.gov



..........Focus on Solano County...........


SOLANO COUNTY ON THE REBOUND


Solano County is one of the most active growth areas in the nine-county Bay region, with the highest percentage growth in both population and jobs over the next twenty years. Strategically located between San Francisco and Sacramento, Solano has a long-term development advantage which has translated into an expanded population, housing and commerce base.

From 1995 to 2015, Solano County is expected to grow by more than 150,000 residents - a 40% increase. The City of Fairfield is predicted to gain nearly 60,000 people, second only to San Jose.

The mean household income for the county is projected to increase from $54,900 to $72,500.

Solano County is slated to gain more than 80,000 jobs by the year 2015. ABAG researchers forecast an 80% increase in services employment between 1995 and 2015, a 100% increase in retail trade jobs, and a whopping 280% increase in manufacturing and wholesale trade employment.

MARE ISLAND OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Although the impact of the Mare Island closure will be sharply felt, especially by the City of Vallejo, the loss will be offset by a projected 300 jobs retained in an extended environmental remediation program and by reuse of the base. The Island currently has six leasing tenants and is aggressively pursuing others.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE
With the assistance of the Solano County Economic Development Corporation (SEDCORP), and a $25,000 grant from BAYTRADE, Solano County is positioned to take advantage of it's proximity to Bay Area ports and to the Pacific Rim. Poised to promote exports and international trade, SEDCORP has formed an International Trade Network. Two surveys - one on community options regarding international trade and the other structured to seek out companies interested in entering the global market - will determine whether the county will submit a formal application for status as a foreign (or "free") trade zone or whether it will expand from one of the existing ports.

BIOTECH GROWTH
In 1994, Genentech announced its decision to expand operations beyond its headquarters in South San Francisco. After an evaluation of some 50 sites located throughout the United States and Europe, Vacaville was selected for construction of a 280,000 square foot manufacturing operation. When completed and licensed by the FDA, the plant will be used to manufacture pharmaceuticals and will employ a projected 350 people.

Factors leading to Genentech's decision were Vacaville's proximity to research and educational centers at UC Davis and Berkeley, a relatively low risk of seismic activity, the availability of skilled labor, affordable housing, large tracts of low-cost land, utilities and a streamlined permitting process, a significant incentive package, a proactive local government staff experienced in working with biotech firms, and a strong pro-business political environment.



..........Heads Up!..........

SAN JOSE DRAWS THE GREENLINE
To contain development in the long-term, San Jose's City Council recently approved a "greenline" around the city to contain future urban development. Expected to closely resemble the present urban services boundary, the greenline will reinforce this boundary by incorporating language into the general plan allowing major modifications to the boundary once every ten years (when the General Plan is updated) instead of annually, as policy previously allowed. By disallowing external growth, the greenline is expected to encourage infill development and limit the costs associated with service delivery to outlying areas. For more information contact Mike Flores, Regional Planner, City of San Jose, 408-277-4576.

NOVEMBER BALLOT INITIATIVES
Campaign Contributions and Spending Limits. Limits campaign contributions per candidate to $100 for all local districts of less than 100,000, $250 for larger districts, and $500 for statewide elections. Committees of small contributors can contribute twice the limit. Contribution limits approximately double for candidates who agree to limit spending. Limits total contributions from political parties, and specified committees and individuals. Prohibits transfers between candidates. Limits fundraising to specified time before election. Prohibits lobbyists from making and arranging contributions to those they influence. Requires disclosure of top contributors on ballot measure advertising. Increases penalties.

Right to Vote on Taxes - Signatures Being Counted. This initiative provides that all taxes imposed by any local government shall be deemed to be either general taxes or special taxes_requiring either a majority or two-thirds vote. Special purpose district agencies, including school districts, would have no power to levy general taxes. The initiative also provides that no local government shall impose, extend, or increase any tax unless, and until such tax is submitted to the electorate and approved by the required vote.

MAXIMIZING FEDERAL DOLLARS TO COUNTIES
In an effort to assist counties with cuts in state funding, the Financial Services Center (FSC) of the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the New York Association of Counties (NYSAC) have joined forces and established a program which helps counties maximize receipt of federal funds.

The focus of the NYSAC program includes Medicare, emergency assistance to families, child welfare services, general assistance conversions, Medicaid for early intervention, disabled preschool children's programs, county hospital "bad debt" and juvenile justice medical costs. The first six months of the project have yielded more than $40 million in federal revenue and the state's Division of Finance has estimated that this number will climb in excess of $200 million for FY 96-97. For more information contact Steve Swendiman at the NACo FSC at 202-942-4282.

REGISTER TO VOTE ONLINE
You can now register to vote from your home computer via the Internet. MTV's "Rock the Vote" has joined together with MCI to create NetVote '96, the first-ever comprehensive online voter registration program located at http://www.NetVote96.mci.com.

BAD IS GOOD - THE BAY AREA DIRECTORY
The Bay Area Directory of city and county government information lists names, addresses, phone and fax numbers for 100 cities and 9 counties around the Bay.

The electronic format allows you to identify all the city managers in the region, for instance, or all the planning directors; create mailing lists and labels, or lists for broadcasts faxes. A single copy of the Directory is available for $75 ($60 for members or public libraries); the paper copy and electronic version are available together for $125 ($100 for members and public libraries). Call ABAG at 510/464-7900 to order.

REGIONAL PLANNING COMMITTEE FOCUSES ON SUBURBAN SPRAWL AT AUG. 7 MEETING

Discussion of the issue of suburban sprawl, and review of two related reports from the Building Industry Association (now known as the Home Builders Association) and the Bank of America/Greenbelt Alliance, has been extended to the next meeting of ABAG's Regional Planning Committee. That meeting is open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, August 7 at 1:30 p.m. in the MetroCenter Auditorium in Oakland.

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE NEXT POWER CONFERENCE:

Municipal Options in the Era of Electric Deregulation
September 12, 1996
8:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Oakland Marriott Hotel

Call Kathi Carkhuff at (510) 464-7960 for more information.



..........ABAG Awards..........


ABAG AWARDED FOR OUTSTANDING PLANNING


The Northern Section of the California Chapter of American Planning Association (CCAPA) has selected ABAG to receive the 1996 Distinguished Leadership Award for an Agency for its Collaborative Subregional Planning Program. The award recognized ABAG for demonstrated outstanding achievement in public or private planning.

The impetus for the Collaborative Subregional Planning Program was the need for a comprehensive regionwide process that was responsive to both local and regional needs. ABAG provided grants for two pilot projects, one in the Tri-Valley area and one in Sonoma.


TELECOMMUTING PROJECT AWARDED FOR EXCELLENCE


ABAG's Bay Area Telecommuting Assistance Project received an award for Excellence in Promoting Telecommuting - Regionally from the International Telework Association. Natalie Fay, Project Director of the Telecommuting Assistance Project, accepted the award on behalf of the project at the annual TAC conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Telecommuting Assistance Project provides a regional information and referral service to all Bay Area employers and public agencies interested in telecommuting.



..........Calendar..........

July 18. 11 a.m.
Earthquakes and Transportation Recovery Review Committee.
ABAG Room 106B, MetroCenter, Oakland.

July 18. 3:30 p.m.
Legislation and Governmental Organization Committee. ABAG Room 106B, MetroCenter.

July 18. 5:00 p.m.
Finance and Personnel Committee.
ABAG Room 102A, MetroCenter, Oakland.

July 18. 7:30 p.m.
EXECUTIVE BOARD.
MetroCenter Auditorium, Oakland.

July 19. 10 a.m.
Regional Steering Committee for Homelessness and Housing.
MetroCenter Auditorium, Oakland.

July 18. 11 a.m.
Earthquakes and Transportation Recovery Review Committee.
ABAG Room 106B, MetroCenter, Oakland.

July 22. 8 a.m.
8-Hour OSHA Annual Refresher.
ABAG Training Center, MetroCenter, Oakland.

July 23. 2 p.m.
Semi-Annual Bay Trail Board Meeting.
Point Isabel, Richmond.

August 3. 8 a.m.
Chevron Bay Trail Criterium.
Lake Merritt, Oakland.

August 7. 1:30 p.m.
Regional Planning Committee.
MetroCenter Auditorium, Oakland.

August 13. 3 p.m.
Bay Trail Steering Committee.
Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center.

August 19-21. 8 a.m.
OSHA 24-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations Training Certification.
ABAG Training Center, MetroCenter.

August 19-23. 8 a.m.
OSHA 40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations Training Certification.
ABAG Training Center, MetroCenter.

August 22-23. 8 a.m.
OSHA 16-Hour Supplemental Hazardous Waste Operations Training.
ABAG Training Center, MetroCenter.

September 12. 8:30 a.m.
Power Conference: Municipal Options in the Era of Electric Deregulation.
Oakland Marriott Hotel.



Service Matters is a publication of the Association of Bay Area Governments, the planning and services agency for the San Francisco Bay Area's 9 counties and 100 cities.



..........Officers..........


Councilwoman Charlotte Powers, President
Supervisor Mary King, Vice President
Supervisor Tom Torlakson, Immediate Past President
Eugene Y. Leong, Secretary/Treasurer and Executive Director

Michelle Fadelli, Editor
Jeannie Yee Balido, Associate Editor
Marcie Adams, Contributing Writer.



..........For More Information..........

P.O. Box 2050, Oakland, CA 94604-2050
Phone: 510/464-7900
Fax: 510/464-7970
E-mail: info@abag.ca.gov