Service Matters

March/April 1995, No. 15

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.

ABAG Launches Bay Area Telecommuting Assistance Project

ABAG has received a grant of $185,000 in AB 434 funds from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to implement a Bay Area-wide project to eliminate automobile trips by increasing the number of people telecommuting to work. The Bay Area Telecommuting Assistance Project is a partnership of ABAG and the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency who is providing matching funds.

The Telecommuting Project will target employers with 100 or more employees who must meet Air District requirements to reduce the number of automobile trips to their work site. The Project will provide a regional information and referral service to all employers and public agencies interested in telecommuting. The Project also includes providing one-on-one implementation assistance to selected employers and developing and providing training for employee transportation coordinators on how to implement a telecommuting program.

"Telecommuting benefits both the employer and the employee. Employers will gain an increase in productivity, and telecommuters will benefit from having less stress of commuting through difficult traffic and weather and spending more time working on the job. Other benefits include cleaner air, less congestion, and overall better quality of life," says Natalie Fay, Telecommuting Assistance Project Manager. She says that the most common challenge to implementing a telecommuting program is getting management support to make the necessary scheduling and technological changes.

Ms. Fay comes to ABAG from the City of Walnut Creek, where she was the transportation planner for the last nine years. She will be assisted by Janine Sanders, who was formerly with RIDES for Bay Area Commuters.

The Project, which is in the start-up phase, should have its services in place by late spring. For information, please contact the Project office at 510/ 464-7911.

ABAG Welcomes New Financial Services Manager, Clarke Howatt

A veteran investment banker , Clarke Howatt took over as Financial Services Manager February 1. He fills the position left open by Dari Barzel, who recently left the Agency to start her own company.

Clarke takes over responsibility for ABAG's pooled capital financing programs and other public finance services offered to the ABAG membership. He joins the Agency after ten years in public finance, including a seven-year stint in lower Manhattan. Interestingly enough, ABAG had been one of Clarke's clients, through the Agency's role as a conduit issuer for nonprofit corporations within its member jurisdiction.

Clarke's expertise has been in managing revenue bond structures, particularly for hospitals and universities, such as the $472,350,000 FHA-insured bond issue for St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan _ achievements he feels will be well put to use in his new position: "I'm really looking forward to putting my investment banking experience to work for ABAG's members."

"The agency currently offers several tremendously beneficial programs to its members which will continue to be very successful. My goal is for ABAG to offer a very high level of service in these programs as well as to develop new capital financing vehicles for our membership. We want to continue to run helpful and efficient programs even as capital financing issues for local government and the municipal market become more and more complex."

A Magna Cum Laude in Economics and Business from Santa Barbara's Westmont College, he did his graduate work at the University of Chicago Business School. For more information about ABAG's Financial Services, call 510/464-7932, or e-mail

ABAG's New Executive Director

Dr. Eugene Leong became ABAG's new Executive Director on February 11, 1995, replacing former director Revan Tranter, who held the position for 22 years. "Revan did an exceptional job of bringing the Association and its members through very difficult times for its members. He was also a first rate mentor," Leong says.

"I see a continuing period of transition for ABAG and local governments. They will be expected to pick up additional responsibilities as the federal and State government shifts more responsibility to the local level, especially with the recent changes in leadership.

The State is in financial flux, slowly emerging from its deepest recession, and still in trouble. "For the future, I see more flattening of hierarchies among federal, state and local governments. Faster communication media, such as the Internet and e-mail, are rapidly becoming the new tools of the private sector and government." Leong thinks that with the Internet, "communication and information are becoming the new capital of our economy. "We need to embrace it and help our members use telecommunications to become more efficient, effective and more able to work together. With a growing information-based economy, local governments need to learn quickly how to use computer-related tools to process and manage information during this info-revolution to give the Bay Area a competitive edge."

Leong says that in addition to ABAG's planning and services programs, such as financing, insurance, training, and HAZMACON, he envisions an evolution of the agency's programs to include information services, striving to achieve better communication between local governments. abagOnline is our newest service and it's catching on throughout the region.

With almost 20 years of service, Leong took ABAG's top position after having served as Associate Executive Director since 1989. In that position, he was responsible for personnel, budget preparation financial oversight, fiscal management, technical and project management and professional staff development. He has a doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA.

Leong has been catalyst and principal architect of most of ABAG's Service programs, including financial services, HAZMACON, ABAG PLAN, workers' compensation administration, and training programs. More recently, he directed ABAG's efforts onto the information superhighway, or Internet. He welcomes any thoughts or suggestions you might have about how ABAG can better assist its member governments. Feel free to call him at 510/464-7900 or e-mail to

abagOnline Grows, Gets a Program Manager

ABAG's online service project for local governments is underway! Michael Dufner has joined ABAG as the program manager for abagOnline project. His primary duties are to maintain the Web pages and HTML documents, write programs to track the project's progress, and to support and promote the project's activities.

During the project's first quarter, efforts have been made to reach out to local government representatives and provide information about the advantages of "getting online". Michael has been supporting ABAG's presence on the Internet and promoting the project by conducting on-site demonstrations on new ways governments can use the Internet to distribute information to citizens. He has also been encouraging local governments to take that "extra step" to become publishers of information and not just end-users. With the Internet, information can be distributed more effectively and efficiently, with the benefit of more unique opportunities to interact with citizens. The Internet can be a powerful tool that citizens can use to quickly access the appropriate manager or government official to address their concerns.

For now, Michael's challenge is convincing groups to get online as soon as possible and to become publishers. "Local governments need to get over their initial hesitation about getting on the Internet. The longer a local government waits to get on board, the more difficult it will be to provide these advantages to their citizens."The number of people getting online on the Internet is exploding.

Michael comes to ABAG from the Internal Revenue Service where he developed a wide area network time and attendance system adopted for nation-wide use by the IRS. Michael's background includes a Master's degree in French from the University of Montana with work in journalism at U.C. Berkeley and in statistics at the University of Paris as a Fulbright scholar. He has worked as a programmer, university instructor, reporter, and adventure travel guide, among other jobs.

The next abagOnline meeting date is Monday, April 10, 1995 at 1:30 p.m., at the Association of Bay Area Governments. The topic will focus on getting RFP's on the Internet. For more information about this meeting, contact Kathi Carkhuff at 510/464-7960 or e-mail

For more information, contact Michael Dufner at 510/464-7996 (voice) or at (e-mail). abagOnline may be accessed three ways: (1) via Web, the URL is; (2) via gopher to; or (3) via Telnet to and login as www for text or as gopher for gopher server.

San Francisco Estuary Project Boaters' Education Program

"Don't Dump, Use the Pump!" is the message being sent to Bay Area recreational boaters through a San Francisco Estuary Project outreach campaign currently underway. The campaign encourages boaters to use pumpout and dump stations to dispose of sewage rather than discharging directly into Estuary waters. Funding for the campaign, which implements an action in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, comes from a $120,000 grant from the California Department of Boating and Waterways under a $40 million federal clean-up initiative.

The Estuary Project's Joan Patton says vessel discharges threaten water quality and public health, especially in marinas and harbors with minimal water flushing. Wastes from houseboats and other liveaboards have created problems in Richardson Bay, Alviso Slough, Redwood Creek and the Delta, she says.

The Estuary Project staff will spread the clean boating word at upcoming boat shows, workshops and presentations. Free fact sheets about boat sewage and its effects on the environment and maps showing the locations of pumpout stations in the Bay and Delta are available by contacting the Estuary Project at (510) 286-0734.

Give Us Your Feedback on ABAG Programs!

Let us hear from you; on ABAG programs, with questions, comments and suggestions, in response to Service Matters Articles or with innovative ideas. If your jurisdiction is doing something worthwhile sharing with others, let us know.

Address your comments to:

ABAG's Feedback Department
P.O. Box 2050
Oakland, CA 94604-2050
Fax #510/464-7970

or e-mail to:

ABAG Hosts HAZMACON '95 The Environmental Solutions Expo

April 4-6, 1995, San Jose Convention Center

For registration information, call ABAG at:

For exhibit information, call SHO, Inc. at 415/949-2050


ABAG Officers

Supervisor Tom Torlakson, President; Charlotte Powers, Vice President; Supervisor Mary Griffin, Immediate Past President; Eugene Y. Leong, Secretary/Treasurer and Executive Director. Cathryn A. Hilliard, Public Affairs Director, Editor.

To Write or Call ABAG:

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

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mld 3/15/95