Service Matters

May/June 1995, No. 16

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.

General Assembly: Partnerships for Economic Vitality

"International competitiveness" - this may be the crucial phrase for the Bay Area in the 21st Century.

Emerging from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the Bay Area must capitalize on its unique economic advantages to launch the region out of recession and into recovery.

These issues were the focus of ABAG's General Assembly on April 21 in San Francisco. The speakers concurred with the theme that partnerships are key to economic vitality.

According to ABAG Research Director Dr. Raymond Brady, the Bay Area has three distinct economic advantages for future growth: the highest per capita income compared to competing regions; the fastest growth in the value of international exports during the past several years; and the highest number of individuals over 25 with bachelor degrees.

While the Bay Area boasts a wealth of college educated persons, the growth industries of telecommunications, bioscience, business exports, environmental technology and multimedia will demand technical education as well.

Fred Dorey, Director of the Bay Area Bioscience Center, cites the Berkeley Biotech Education program as one which is helping to fill the need for technical education. Using a "2+2" method, this program provides instruction and internships in biotechnology for Berkeley students in their last two years of high school plus two years of community college.

Another concern voiced by Harry Fuller, Vice President of General Management at KPIX Channel 5, was for the growing "electronic underclass." While we are bounding into the future, we must ensure that technological advances are available to all levels of society in part, by making computers available in libraries, community kiosks and all schools.

Dr. Greg Schmid, Director of Strategy Planning for the Institute of the Future, warned that partnerships must be forged to keep Bay Area industries healthy: by advancing innovation and locating global markets for those innovations; fostering R&D; supporting education; promoting the Bay Area as a world magnet for ideas and trade; and providing an efficient infrastructure for support.

The Bay Area Economic Forum is an example of such a partnership, said Dr. Julius Krevans, who serves as its chairman. Its mission is to promote the vitality of the regional economy through public-private collaboration and it has done so by supporting the National Wind Tunnel Complex at NASA Ames Research Center; organizing the Bay Area Defense Conversion Action Team (BADCAT); and by launching BAYTRADE to promote exports and international trade in the Bay Area.

"Our potential to compete with other regions depends on our local officials thinking regionally about international marketing," said Oakland's Vice Mayor Dick Spees, "and working smart locally to create the economic and regulatory climate that supports international trade."

"The obstacles in developing a robust information infrastructure are organizational and social, not technical," said Dr. Harry J. Saal, President and CEO of Smart Valley, Inc. "ABAG's members can help set the policies that will assure the Bay Area reaps the benefits of the explosion in information technology. Get involved."

Mobile Police Training Put to the Test

ABAG PLAN's Mobile Police Training Unit has been utilized by 350 of the Bay Area's finest including officers from the City of Newark whose training was recently put to a real test.

Less than 100 days after refining their emergency response skills with the mobile training unit, Newark police officers came up against Sean Whittington, suspected of killing an Oakland schools police officer.

For more than four hours, Newark officers tracked Whittington, who fired an estimated 30 rounds, ten at an officer, and critically injured two civilians.

Newark, and other jurisdictions participating in ABAG PLAN (the Pooled Liability Assurance Network), refined their emergency response skills on the mobile unit's state-of the-art driving simulators as well as FATS, the Firearms Training System.

FATS is comprised of a computerized video system and laser-activated training weapons. Officers face a video screen, on which a variety of emergency scenarios are projected, and "act out" their response as if they were "on the scene." With the aid of the computer, instructors can alter the situation appearing on screen. Video "suspects" may be harmless and cooperate, surrender hidden weapons, or appear to shoot at the trainee. If officers choose to utilize their laser-equipped weapons as part of their response, the training system can score their performance by recording the number of simulated "hits and misses."

However, the ultimate goal of the FATS training is to help officers prevent or de-escalate violent situations by getting the kind of practice that cannot obtained in real life.

The mobile training unit also houses four driving simulators. "Vehicle training is just as important as the weapons training," said ABAG PLAN Risk Manager Albert Fierro. "We must heighten officer awareneness of the potential danger of their vehicles, and the cost of unnecessary accidents."

Fierro cites a recent $100,000 PLAN liability settlement as an example. An officer in pursuit of a DUI suspect failed to clear an intersection before entering against a red light, and struck a third vehicle at nearly 70 m.p.h.

The amount of the settlement was one-sixth the cost of the entire mobile training unit. Had the accident occurred onscreen, the officer could simply try again.

New Incentive to Join ABAG Life Insurance

Contact ABAG Finance Director Joe Chan at 510/464-7944 or e-mail to for details.

New Features for abagOnline

abagOnline, the region's rapidly growing presence on the Internet, offers two new features in May.

An upcoming abagOnline feature will be an Employment Bulletin a place for jurisdictions to post job listings. Look for more details in future issues of Service Matters.

Persons interested in abagOnline are invited to attend monthly informational meetings in the MetroCenter Auditorium, 8th and Oak Streets, in Oakland. The next scheduled meetings are May 15 and June 12, both at 1:30 p.m.

Please call Kathi Carkhuff at 510/464-7960 or e-mail to for more information.

abagOnline, including the ABAG Contracts Exchange may be accessed by modem (settings N-8-1; dial 510-464-8482; and login as contract) or via the Internet in one of three ways: by World Wide Web the address is; by Telnet the address is and login as contract; or by gopher at


Erosion Control Manual Now Available from ABAG

Call ABAG at 510/464-7900 to order a copy of the new manual.

Conference: Water Supply Impacts on Bay Area Economic Growth and Competitiveness

Wednesday, June 14, 1995, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Emeryville Holiday Inn

Registrations before June 5th are $75. Late registrations $85. Call ABAG at 510/464-7964 for more information.

Sponsored by The Bay Area Council & the Bay Area Water Resources Council

ABAG Earthquake Preparedness: Open House and Release of Earthquake Shaking Hazard Maps

Thursday, May 4, 1995, 10 am to Noon in the MetroCenter Auditorium, 8th and Oak St., Oakland

Shaken Awake! A Workshop on Projected Housing Losses and Shelter Needs for Future Bay Area Earthquakes

Thursday, June 1, 1995, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

MetroCenter Auditorium, 8th and Oak St., Oakland

Cost including lunch is $30.

Contact Ben Chuaqui at 510/464-7939 for more information.

The Bay Trail Awards Innovative Designs

Conference on the Deregulation of Electrical Power : Opportunities for Local Governments

Thursday, June 22, 1995, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Parc Oakland Hotel

Featuring representatives from the California Public Utilities Commission, The State Legislature, California Energy Markets, Chevron, the Energy Regulatory Commission, Jefferson Electric, Morrison & Foerster, the Northern California Power Agency, PG&E, Resource Mgmt. International, and Western Area Power Administration

Cost is $230 for members; $275 for non-members.

Call 510/464-7900 for more information.

ABAG Officers

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

Newsletter Credits

Cathryn A. Hilliard, Director of Government & Public Affairs
Michelle Fadelli, Editor

To Write or Call ABAG:

P.O. Box 2050, Oakland, CA 94604-2050
Telephone 510/464-7900
Fax 510/464-7970

Go back to ABAG Publications

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