Santa Clara’s New Video Highlights Stadium, Super Bowl 50 and Silicon Valley

With the opening of the 68,500 seat Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara in August, 2014, thousands of fans will be visiting the city to watch 49ers football, college football, and other exciting events including Super Bowl 50 in February, 2016. In anticipation, the Santa Clara Tourism Improvement District (TID) in conjunction with the Santa Clara Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and XPlorIT Interactive Media have produced a virtual exploration experience to showcase the city and all its great attractions.

The high energy presentation can be viewed at SantaClara.org and includes videos highlighting Attractions, Accommodations, plus an Overview.  Visitors get an aerial 360 view of the city with transitional media that allows you to fly from one destination to another, visually walking through the city’s attractions.

One of the video elements is introduced by famed Santa Clara University alum and Women’s World Cup soccer star, Brandi Chastain. “Viewers are going to be surprised when they watch this video and see how much there is to see and do here,” says Steve Van Dorn, the CVB’s President & CEO.

XPlorIT Interactive Media has produced videos for LA Tourism, Huntington Beach, Mammoth Mountain, and Yosemite, among others. For more information, visit SantaClara.org.

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Travel & Tourism Roundtable Features Congressman Mike Honda

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The Bay Area Travel & Tourism Roundtable group toured Levi’s Stadium.

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Congressman Honda observing Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.

The U.S. Travel Association, partnering with the California Travel Association and travel and tourism industry leaders throughout Northern California, held its first ever Bay Area Travel & Tourism Roundtable last month at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The event featured California 17th District Congressman Mike Honda and several members of his congressional staff.

Policy matters discussed included the “Jobs Originated through Launching Travel” (JOLT) Act; reauthorization of the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) and Brand USA; and the Global Entry program. According to U.S. Travel Association representative Michael Jacobson “of the many events we’ve done similar to this, this event was the most engaged between attendees and Congressman.”

Participating organizations included California’s Great America, Destination Advantage, Mineta San Jose International Airport, San Francisco Travel Association, Santa Clara CVB, Santa Cruz CVC, and Visit Tri-Valley. After the event, Congressman Honda and the roundtable participants toured the 49ers new Levi’s Stadium.

Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce Continues to Oppose Single Use Plastic Bag Ban

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At a recent joint Government Relations Committee (GRC) and Industrial Commercial Economic Development (ICED) meeting, we reviewed (for the second time) both sides of the plastic bag ban issue.  As a point of clarification, the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce has had a long standing position of opposition to the banning of plastic bags.  We were urged to revisit our position once again and did take a hard look at both sides of the issue on September 10. 

As would be expected, both sides presented strong evidence for us to support their respective position.  The pro plastic ban speaker presented data that showed plastic bags represent 10% of the pollution that we find in our creeks, streams and oceans.  It was also pointed out that we are one of the few remaining cities in Santa Clara County still allowing the use of single carryout plastic bags.  Lastly, cities that have the bag ban in place have seen high percentages of reduced bag litter in their storm drain system.

Of course, the opposition to the bag ban supplied data that shows that less than .5% of the waste stream and less than 1% of the litter stream consists of plastic bags.  We were also reminded that plastic bags are 100% recyclable, reusable and made from natural gas, not oil, in the United States.  Plastic bags are also reused by 9 out of 10 people.  And most importantly, the plastic bag industry supports more than 1,900 jobs in California.

The GRC & ICED members voiced concerns about the additional costs passed onto consumers when they have to pay for their bags and to business owners for the costs of stocking and maintaining reusable bags.   There was a strong belief that educating the public about plastic bag recycling options would be a better alternative.  The overriding sentiment was solutions to issues such as this should not be punitive.

After thoroughly reviewing both sides of this issue, the GRC voted to recommend to the Chamber Board of Directors that we continue to oppose a single use plastic bag ban.  This recommendation was approved by the board of directors at their September 24 meeting.

The Santa Clara City Council will be considering a plastic bag ban very soon as it is one of the priority goals set for completion in March 2014.  Rest assured, the Chamber will be engaged in this process advocating for the business community.

What Do You Need To Know About Health Care Reform?

There has been much confusion with all the new changes in the country regarding health care coverage. You have heard the terms Affordable Care Act, Obama Care,  Insurance Marketplaces, Covered California.  You may have received a notice from your employer explaining your health insurance options under the new law, and  now you are expected to buy health insurance.

Where do you start? How much does health insurance cost? How do you qualify for a subsidy to help pay for it? Can you get health insurance for your dependents? There are a lot of questions to ask, and the answers can be complicated especially for business owners.  Here are some tips for getting your business in compliance:

  • Start by asking a trusted licensed insurance agent that can explain how healt reform affects you.
  • Research the state’s newly established insurance marketplace,  Covered California
  • For small business owners, it’s a smart decision to meet with your broker as soon as possible to renew your group plans early before Jan 1, 2014 to lock in your rates.  After Jan 1, 2014 rates will be skyrocketing by double digits due to the health care reform taking place.
  • Send the notice to your employees regarding the health care changes-this must be done starting October 1st.

Health insurance is vital, and when you have coverage, you have the security of knowing that if you or your dependents become ill or involved in an accident, you will be able to pay for the care needed.

This article was submitted by Lisa Nguyen, Business Development for Filice Insurance.  Filice has decades of experience with health insurance, health plans, and can help or guide you determine if a subsidy is available to you.  Please visit their website at Filice.com, or call (888) 887-4325.

Member of the Month: Century 21 M&M & Associates

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I am a Realtor with Century 21 M&M and Associates in Cupertino.  I like M&M because of the agents, and the support and name recognition from being with the highest producing Century 21.  As a longtime resident of the Silicon Valley, I have knowledge of the unique neighborhoods that other Realtors lack.  I speak four languages; English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Vietnamese.  It helps me when connecting with agents, international clientele and the public.

I have closed many deals in both down and up markets with happy clients. I have learned about successful negotiation, communication, and creating win-win situations. Much of my business comes from referrals from satisfied clients who trust me.

It’s a seller’s market and expect competing buyers, some with cash. Do not be deterred because there are still bargains out there. Sellers need to pay attention to the property condition and show availability to buyers. Lastly, school districts are important in determining the value of homes regardless of the market.