The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce has charted its path for the city’s economic future, with the release of the organization’s latest economic vision document.
The fourth version of its vision — originally developed in 1992 — presents the chamber’s core values and economic principles and serves as a guide for how the community can achieve greater prosperity. It offers a six-point economic strategy, which acts as a roadmap for the community as it goes about accomplishing its goals. The six points are:
• Proactively protect and enhance the city’s quality of life;
• Nurture and protect existing businesses and jobs;
• Support and attract future-oriented companies, especially those that enhance sustainability;
• Build partnerships with Cal Poly and Cuesta College;
• Use community-enhancing tourism as an economic development engine; and
• Modernize the area’s physical and regulatory infrastructure and fairly distribute the costs.
“It’s the most significant revision since it was introduced and comes out at an absolutely perfect time as we start to come out of the recession and look at where we go from here,” said Jeff Buckingham, chairman of the chamber’s Economic Vision Task Force.
Buckingham said many of the ideas that laid the groundwork for the chamber’s vision came as a result of a spring 2008 trip to Boulder, Colo., where community leaders saw firsthand a city that “can be very business friendly and have tremendous head of household jobs, and base-level jobs that really help build a local economy.” Boulder has national labs and start-up companies, and was extremely bike-friendly, he added.
The community also was environmentally minded and had a great quality of life, he said.
“That was a real eye-opener for us,” he said.
The chamber vision has come a long way since its first document in the early 1990s, Buckingham said. Of particular significance, he said, is the emphasis not only on protecting jobs and quality of life, but using tourism as a means to attract the kind of future residents that could potentially bring business with them.
“Where we used to say, ‘Come to San Luis Obispo, spend money, but you don’t have to stay,’ now we say, ‘If you’re one of these creative class people who is willing to live here, and you see the value in living here in spite of the numbers, you’d be a great employee or someone who could start a company or move a company here.’ ”
In addition, the chamber wants to establish a greater connection between Cal Poly and Cuesta College as a way to bring “amazing technologies” into the community.
Right now, Buckingham said the chamber has been spreading the word about its vision, talking with local groups and asking that community members and leaders check it out on the chamber’s Web site at www.slochamber.org.
— Julie Lynem
Koory, Ernst are Lawyers of the Year
The Central Coast Trial Lawyers Association named San Luis Obispo attorneys Louis Koory and Don Ernst as the 2009 Trial Lawyers of the Year.
Koory, a staff attorney with James McKiernan Lawyers, was recognized for his jury verdicts in a slip-and-fall case against the Wal-Mart store in Santa Maria and in a personal injury case against the San Luis Coastal Unified School District.
Koory was also recognized for his jury acquittal of a San Luis Obispo businessman charged with resisting arrest and the subsequent excessive force case against the San Luis Obispo Police Department in which the department agreed to pay $195,000 to settle the case prior to trial.
“We’re excited and pleased that Lou got this recognition that’s perhaps long overdue,” James McKiernan said. “He has excellent trial abilities in the civil and criminal court.”
Ernst was recognized for his wrongful death jury verdict against shipping company DHL — stemming from a fatal wreck in Nipomo — and his recent settlement of a statewide class-action suit.
— Nick Wilson
Mission Linen gets state certification
The state Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently approved the Morro Bay facility of Mission Linen Supply for certification in its Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program.
By being certified in the program, Mission receives a reduction in Workers’ Compensation costs.
The Morro Bay facility qualified for the certification by successfully meeting or exceeding U.S. OSHA safety attributes and maintaining a four-year average total recordable injury rate below 90 percent of the industry standard.
Cal/OSHA also requires that the recipient demonstrate an effective working relationship between management and labor to ensure that best practices and communication are employed.
Mission operates 43 plants in California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Oregon and is headquartered in Santa Barbara.
— Julia Hickey