The idea of creating a Chief Innovation Officer is arguably one of the mayor's best ideas so far. The CIO as its called, is a position to attract new companies to the city as part of the fiber optics project being developed by Patrick Kennedy of OSI soft.
At one point last year I wrote here at the SLPatch that the city should create a similar position which I jokingly called an Ambassador to Silicon Valley. This more or less is what the CIO would be. We are a stone's throw away from the South Bay and Silicon Valley, which is one of the most innovative regions in the world. California has been able to win 40 percent of the country's venture capital money and 50 percent of the countries IPO's , an incredible feat, much of which comes out of Silicon Valley.
I would suggest a few ideas about kicking off this project.
First, invite Ro Khanna , Obama's former Deputy Secretary of Commerce, to give a reading of his new book "Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still the Key to America's Future" at the new high school media center or library. Khanna may be running for Pete Stark's seat in 2 years and might be very willing to share some of his insights with our community, even though we are no longer in Stark's district. He is a very well connected Silicon Valley attorney with an office in Palo Alto.He has recently appeared on CSPAN and the Chris Hayes program and has shown a sincere interest in dealing with the domestic manufacturing issue.
Another idea might be taking a look at Chicago and the city's program to work with companies through their community college system. Some of the apprenticeship programs involve transportation companies like UPS and Fed Ex as well as airlines and O'Hare airport. It might be possible to develop programs through Oakland Airport companies to expand their facilities, jobs and training programs, like what is happening in Chicago.
Third they it might be possible to look beyond our borders to European companies specifically Germany who are also high tech giants and might be interested in expansion in the Silicon Valley neighborhood. The Goethe Institute in San Francisco would be a local contact for a German companies.
The city is very fortunate to have so many construction projects going on at the same time. The Lit San Leandro project may be just what the city needs to serve the area beyond the construction boom.
Hats off to both Cassidy and Kennedy.