Lucasfilm’s decision not to build their new studio in Marin County is a wake-up call we cannot ignore. The project would have been a boon for the local economy by generating hundreds of jobs and millions of tax dollars. The facility would have been a powerful endorsement of the county and encouraged others to expand or move here.
But instead of bragging rights, we have a black eye.
Unless we take immediate steps to make Marin more business friendly, the Lucasfilm decision could be a preview of coming attractions. Who will leave next? Which growth-minded companies will now cross us off their lists? The community opposition George Lucas faced was a poor way to thank someone who helped create so many jobs here.
- About the Coalition
The Keep Marin Working Coalition seeks to save, create and attract new jobs in Marin County, California. Members of the coalition represent organizations that employ half the county’s 100,000-member workforce.
The coalition educates the public and local governments about the importance of maintaining and generating jobs in order to sustain Marin’s quality of life; shares and uses the collective expertise of the business community to stabilize and grow the workforce; and advocates policies and programs that are good for the economy and employment.
Marin Economic Forum. With a network of over 100 Marin County employers, the Forum engages business, non-profit organizations and local government in public policy formation around economic vitality, social equity and environmental balance. www.marineconomicforum.org.
Coalition members include:
Marin Builders Association, whose 700 members employ about 16,000 people in the County. (www.marinba.org)
• North Bay Leadership Council, which represents 43 leading employers in the region with a collective workforce of 12,500 in Marin. (www.northbayleadership.org)
• San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, which has 570 members representing more than 10,000 employees. (www.srchamber.org)
• Novato Chamber of Commerce, which represents 550 businesses who employ 9,000 individuals. (www.novatochamber.com)
• Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Marin, with 200 members representing about 2,500 workers. (www.hccmarin.com)
• Marin Association of REALTORS®, whose 1,400 members work in 230 company offices across the County. (www.MarinCountyRealtors.com)
• Latino Council, a 190-member network that represents about 1,000 employees (www.twitter.com/latinocouncil)
- It’s Time for a Reality Check about Marin’s Economy
Reality No. 1
Marin needs to keep working. Unless we take steps now to keep, create and attract jobs, the consequences will be devastating: Essential funding for public safety and other government services will be curtailed. Our quality of life will decline. We will lose the competitive advantage we have with other counties. Much of what we take for granted here will be called into question.
Reality No. 2
Fortunately, we do have a foundation to build upon. More than 10,000 retail and export-oriented businesses now help sustain about 100,000 jobs. They, in turn, help drive the Marin economy and produce tax-generated income for county and local governments that provide a range of services on which we all depend.
Reality No. 3
Without a strong and growing business-based foundation, we run the risk of losing important parts of our infrastructure such as schools, roads, housing, parks, hospitals, cultural attractions, and shopping centers. The Marin we know and love will cease to exist without the jobs those businesses provide and the tens of millions of dollars in property, payroll and sales taxes they generate.
Reality No. 4
Without the business community, most of us would not be able to live or work in the paradise we call Marin. If those 10,000 companies disappeared tomorrow, very few of us who live here could afford to stay here.
Reality No. 5
The local business community needs many advocates. In 2010, Marin Independent Journal reporter Nels Johnson wrote that the county’s 10,000 companies need help. “Despite a welter of chambers of commerce, trade associations, committees and other groups, the county's business community remains fragmented and lacks a key advocate.”
We disagree. The issues that face Marin are too important to rely on “a key advocate” for salvation. Instead of a soloist, we need a chorus – a chorus made up of those 10,000 businesses who already know what they need in order to survive or thrive in these challenging times. Their voices are needed now to send a loud and clear message to decision makers about what is needed in order to keep Marin working and prevent another Lucasfilm-like debacle.
We need a conductor to provide our business chorus with guidance, coordination and direction. That’s why we formed the Keep Marin Working coalition, which represents thousands of employers and half of the workforce in the county. Our group includes representatives of the Marin Builders Association, North Bay Leadership Council, Marin Economic Forum, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, Novato Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Marin, Marin Association of REALTORS® and the Latino Council.
The Coalition has three primary goals: (1) Help connect the dots for those who do not realize that there is an obvious link between maintaining and creating jobs today and sustaining our quality of life tomorrow. (2) Share and use the collective expertise of the business community to help keep, attract and produce more jobs. (3) Create awareness about what needs to be done, and then advocate the steps to make it happen.
If we are successful, the entire community will benefit. If we fail, everyone loses.
- Press Room
- How You Can Help Save, Grow and Attract Jobs
Add your voice to the growing chorus of individuals, organizations and businesses who are working to save, grow and at tract jobs to Marin.
Click here to send us your contact information and join the coalition.
Tell your local elected officials that you want them to do all they can to help save, grow and attract jobs here.
Ask your elected officials to declare a “Business Appreciation Week” in their community. Click below for their contact information.
- Contact Us