Santa Clara Convention Center On Pace to Host 500+ Events

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The Santa Clara Convention Center continues its trend as a premier meeting and event space in Silicon Valley. After hosting 515 events in fiscal year 2012-13, the Convention Center is again on pace to top the 500 mark. The award-winning venue has hosted 470 events during fiscal year 2013-14 through March. Nearly 350,000 meeting and event attendees conduct business annually at the Santa Clara Convention Center and help fill hotels during the lucrative mid-week period and on weekends.

The Convention Center, a previous “Best Event Venue” winner by the Silicon Valley Concierge Association, is also annually recognized by the Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) for its recycling and conservation efforts.

Convention Center President & CEO Steve Van Dorn credits the Convention Center’s success to the staff’s high quality of service as well as the addition of the five year old 22,400 sq. ft. Mission City Ballroom. “Our clients consistently give us high marks in all areas, and the Mission City Ballroom has become a hot commodity,” said Van Dorn.

Event and meeting planners looking to book a meeting or event at the Santa Clara Convention Center can do so online at www.SiliconValleyMeetings.com.

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Chamber Board of Directors Reach Out to Members for 2014-15 Program of Work

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At the beginning of the fiscal year, the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chair David Tobkin asked the Board of Directors if they would consider a new approach for our Annual Board of Directors Retreat. The retreat is where the Chamber’s Program of Work is planned for the upcoming year. He felt it was time the board reached out to the Chamber membership and ask them what we are doing well and where can we improve.

Prior to the retreat, board members reached out to over 200 members asking them several important questions: How is your business doing? What is the Chamber doing well to help your business grow? What can the Chamber do differently to help your business grow?

Over a four week period and after making several phone calls and personal visits, some interesting data came to light:

  • Overall, our member businesses are doing well and are optimistic about the future.
  • Members are interested in being kept up to date on how Levi’s Stadium and the surrounding development projects will impact their business.
  • Educational seminars are important and help your business stay current with the ever changing laws that impact your business.
  • You want the Chamber to be your number one resource for your business.

Of course, there were many other great suggestions made that will also be considered for our 2014-15 Program of Work. Rest assured your Board of Directors and Chamber staff will continue to provide programs, information and connections so that we continue to be your number one resource for your business growth.

Santa Clara Chamber Strongly Supports SB 1451 Environmental Quality: Document Dumping

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SB 1451 (Hill), as amended April 11, 2014, would substantially decrease the occurrence of an increasingly used tactic known as “document dumping.”

Over the past decade, project opponents—including individual businesses, unions, environmental groups and others—have sought to intentionally delay project approvals by submitting lengthy, detailed comment letters and extensive documentation on the day the project is scheduled to be approved. Document dumping is used by would-be litigants for all types of project approvals, including public works projects, renewable energy facilities, hospital construction and upgrades, affordable housing developments, and others.

Document dumping presents two distinct problems: (1) It is nearly impossible to address late comments during the hearing, which typically must be delayed weeks or months after the late comments are received; (2) Late comments may typically be used as a basis for a subsequent legal challenge on the project, even though the comments are presented for the first time on the day of the hearing and could have otherwise been presented earlier in the environmental review process.

SB 1451 would reduce the use of the document dumping tactic by placing modest limitations on when certain issues may be raised during the environmental review process in order to sue on those issues in litigation following project approval. Specifically, the bill would require all comments to be presented during the designated public comment period provided under CEQA, unless the comments could not have been presented during the public comment period. Examples of comments that could not have been presented during the public comment period include developments that occur after the close of the public comment period, including, but not limited to, a change in the scope of the project, the identification of a new environmental impact, or the adoption of a new mitigation measure Under SB 1451, comments pertaining to such issues may be presented until the day of the hearing and serve as a basis for a subsequent lawsuit because comments of this type could not, of course, have been presented during the designated public comment period.

Importantly, nothing in SB 1451 prevents interested parties from making comments or raising issues to the lead agency at any time during the environmental review process. All parties remain empowered to petition decision makers and make their concerns heard at hearings, in writing or otherwise at any time. This bill simply requires a would-be litigant to raise his or her issues as early in the environmental review process as possible in order to give the lead agency adequate time and opportunity to address those issues.

Please join us in supporting SB 1451 by calling your State Senator Ellen Corbett 510-577-2310 to express your support of this very important bill.

Demand for Santa Clara Hotels Continues in 1st Quarter

Hyatt Regency Santa ClaraThe eight full service hotels near the Santa Clara Convention Center and California’s Great America theme park continue on a hot pace, recording higher occupancy and average daily rate (ADR) in the first quarter of 2014.  Santa Clara hotel occupancy was up 2% year over year to 76% while the Santa Clara hotels ADR for the 1st quarter jumped to $183, a $15 increase compared to 2013.

Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and Convention-Visitors Bureau President and CEO Steve Van Dorn says “The mix of Convention Center business, corporate travelers, and leisure visitors to California’s Great America theme park on weekends make us one of the hottest hotel markets in the U.S. right now. We are cautiously optimistic this will continue throughout 2014,” said Van Dorn.

The averages compiled by the Santa Clara Convention and Visitors Bureau include the Avatar Hotel, Biltmore Hotel & Suites, Embassy Suites, Hilton Santa Clara, Hyatt house, Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, Marriott Santa Clara, and the Plaza Suites.

Joint Venture Initiative Receives Grant to Build EV Charging Center Near Convention Center

Joint Venture Garage

The California Energy Commission has awarded a $469,000 grant to a public-private group that includes Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s SEEDZ Initiative to build a destination Electric Vehicle Charging Center in the new Tasman Parking Garage adjacent to the Santa Clara Convention Center and across the street from Levi’s Stadium and California’s Great America theme park.

Collectively, these venues will attract more than 4.5 million visits a year, making it a high-value destination site for placement of EV charging infrastructure. The EV charging center will demonstrate new approaches for energy management and charging station utilization, and will serve as an example for creating similar destination-based charging centers around the state and beyond.

Member Referrals

We would like to recognize and acknowledge member referrals for the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce. The following new members were referred by an existing member of the Chamber, and we would like to recognize and thank them for their support.

Joe Siecinski with ActionCoach of Santa Clara referred Brandi Madison with Party Club Entertainment. If you are looking for a fun way to network socially, check out Brandi’s website, www.Partyclubentertainment.com to find out more about her upcoming dance and networking events.

Joe Siecinski also referred Benny D. Valenzuela with Instant Author Status. Have some ideas that you want to write about? Perhaps Benny can assist you in creating a publication. To find out more, contact Benny at (252) 285-9993.

To create more time in your busy day, contact Joe at (408) 899-6737 and learn how to more effectively manage your time and grow your business.

Great job on referring new members, Joe!!!

Want to see your name here? If someone you know would benefit by joining the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce, please refer them to Carol Zimring, (408) 380-1236. Every month we will publish any new members who have joined and were referred by an existing member. When a member has referred a total of three new members, they will receive a $100.00 advertising credit.