Most members of the Santa Cruz City Council say that they're pro-business, but it remains to be seen how much they're going to step up on that issue.
At last week's Business Council panel discussion at Chaminade, several business leaders expressed both their willingness to work with local government -- and they called on local leaders to work with them.
Here's how Seaside Co. president Charles Canfield put it, ever so gently: "We have to educate the public officials. They don't come out of a business environment, and they don't really understand what our issues are." He also called on the business community to do more: "We have a lot going for us, but sometimes we don't know how to present (ourselves) well."
It's too bad that no public officials showed up to the event. They also would have heard Graniterock CEO Bruce Woolpert complain against what he called "gotcha legislation" from the state. He defined such legislation as new laws that are poorly defined and then used by lawyers to file nuisance lawsuits against companies. One example, he said, is a bill proposed by State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, that would protect workers from being disciplined for smoking pot -- unless the public's safety is threatened. But, Woolpert said, the "public safety" part of the equation is not explained -- leaving it up to unclear interpretations and, of course, lawsuits.
"This is why businesses don't locate in California," he said.
That's not to say that local folks are throwing up roadblocks that bad. Nevertheless, a deeper understanding of how local business works would be helpful. More on that on a future post.