Message From The CEO – Cecil Russel
January is our annual health issue and we have health and health-related articles that should be very enlightening for you. Get Fit was a presenter at our Central Valley Business Summit last October and there were many people who attended their breakout and asked for more information relating to their health and their employees’ health. Hopefully you will find Get Fit’s article as well as all of the other health-related articles helpful as we leap into 2016.
Speaking of health, we are looking forward to a healthier business climate in Modesto. The city council has recently approved two large projects in North Modesto. The first one is mixed-use development just north of Vintage Fair Mall; this property has been vacant for many years and will be developed with one hundred seventy homes with some commercial property that will front Dale Road. The other large project will be out further on Dale by Kaiser Hospital. This will be commercial property. Both of these projects will start in the spring of 2016.
The runoff election for Mayor of Modesto will be a by mail vote with ballots going out the first week of January. This election is important to determine the future direction of Modesto. The mayor, along with the new and returning city council, will have the opportunity to influence the economic future for all of the citizens of Modesto.
After careful consideration and evaluation, the Chamber has endorsed Ted Brandvold for Mayor. How did we get to this decision? Back in October, the Government Relations Committee (GRC) formed a subcommittee to evaluate candidates for office for the city council and mayors races. After evaluating the candidates in various races and noting the strength of the candidates, the subcommittee determined two things; that defeating Measure I should be the single focus of the Chamber and the mayor’s race could again be evaluated once the field for the runoff was known.
At the regularly scheduled December Board meeting, the GRC recommended the Chamber weigh in on the mayor’s race. Board members discussed the decision at length. The board chose the decision of backing Brandvold because there was clear consensus. An opportunity exists to turn the page in Modesto given the seating of three new council members and the opportunity to make a change is at the top.
In the final analysis, the board felt that collaboration with the business community and residents on matters of economic development and jobs should be the primary focus of the mayor’s office. The economy in Modesto has been limping along for some time and the effort from city hall in bringing jobs to Modesto is not at par. The board felt a new face and different perspective is needed and hence the decision was made to endorse Ted Brandvold.
We are looking forward to a better 2016 for a number of reasons. Our city manager Jim Holgersson has assembled a number of committees and task forces to help tackle issues facing Modesto and we have been invited to participate. Some of these are Beautify 99, a group working with the county and other cities in our county to not only clean up highway 99 but also to add landscape to make our freeway more attractive. Another group is undertaking the task of helping a better vison for tourists and visitors to our community. This group, titled Destination Modesto, is comprised of local businesses and people in the hospitality industry. The goal will be to help make a strategic plan to improve our image and the economic climate for tourism in our community. One other group’s mission is to be a sounding board for public safety and safer neighborhood improvements for our city. These are just some of the groups, there are many others and they are all focused on helping Modesto to be a better place to live and improve quality of life for everyone.
I would like to personally invite you to join us for our biggest event of the year, the 102nd Annual Gala Members Choice Awards. Tickets can be purchased online, www.modchaber.org or by calling the office 209.577.5757. We look forwarding to seeing you there!
I am looking forward to a Happy New Year.