Tips from the Chamber
Published February 1st, 2012
Millbrae moves forward with plastic bag ban
January 25, 2012, By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff (reprinted with permission)
Those planning to shop in Millbrae on or after Sept. 1 should bring a reusable bag or plan to spend an extra dime per bag after the City Council moved forward last night with a ban on single-use bags by retail businesses.
Millbrae discussed banning single-use carryout bags from five grocery stores and supermarkets in town last year but expanded the law, at the direction of the council, to include all retail businesses. As proposed, about 50 businesses will be affected. On Tuesday night, the council held a public hearing and adopted a negative declaration of environmental impact. While many spoke in favor of the measure, John Ford, CEO of the Millbrae Chamber of Commerce, noted the board was against the rule change which would put local businesses at a disadvantage. But the council unanimously opted to move forward with the ordinance. If approved during a second reading, the rules would go into effect Sept. 1.
“Millbrae is taking a step forward here and I think it’s an important step,” said Vice Mayor Gina Papan who added it was brought up years ago and put aside in hopes of the state creating a measure. “This is going to be, probably at one point in time, very universal to all the cities.”
Under the current proposal, businesses would not be able to distribute single-use bags and free paper carryout bags, Popp wrote. Stores can charge a minimum of 10 cents per bag, should a customer need to purchase one. Those paper bags must be comprised of at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled materials. Thicker reusable plastic bags are allowed but would also need to be imprinted showing the bag is made of at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled materials, Public Works Director Popp wrote.
Ford said the Millbrae Chamber of Commerce isn’t opposed to the goal of reducing the number of single-use bags and promoting reusable bags. However, it had concerns about economic disadvantages, financial impacts for possibly needing to redesign checkout stands and additional work to tally the number of bags sold.
Councilwoman Nadia Holober didn’t believe the ordinance would be that intrusive. Papan agreed, asking staff to check in on that to be sure it doesn’t create too many problems for the businesses. If it does, those issues could be revisited, she said.
Millbrae’s proposal isn’t an outright ban as there are exceptions to the rule. A variety of businesses would be exempt from the ban such as food vendors, dry cleaners and nonprofit organizations. Some types of bags — like bakery item bags; meat and produce bags; pharmaceutical bags; flat greeting card bags; dry cleaning bags; and bags that hold live plants or small hardware items — would be exempt, Popp wrote. There is also an option for a business to apply for an exemption which would be given at staff discretion. Holober expressed concerns about giving one business an opportunity to be exempted while its competition meets the rules. There was also discussion about whether exemption requests should go to council, but that change wasn’t made.
If a business doesn’t follow the new rule it would face an infraction fine ranging from $100 to $500. The highest fee would only occur if three infractions occurred within a year, said City Attorney Joan Cassman.
News Around Town
Published January 30th, 2012
John Ford Leaving Chamber
It was January 2003 when I was hired to be the President/CEO of the Millbrae Chamber of Commerce. I had seen an advertisement for the position on MCTV and contacted Tom and Faye Dawdy who I knew were actively involved in the Chamber of Commerce. They told me about the job and encouraged me to apply. I interviewed for the position and told the search committee that if hired, I would commit to staying for two years but would then likely head back to the technology sector where I had spent most of my career.
What I didn’t know at the time was that I would come to love the job and develop a passion for the things we do at the Millbrae Chamber of Commerce. Now, after nine years, I will be leaving my position with the Chamber. I am not, however, returning to the software industry as my years with the Chamber have helped me understand that my passion lies in public policy and in building private-public partnerships. I have been appointed to the position of Executive Director with the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance (Commute.org) and will begin my new job on February 6th.
The Chamber’s board of directors has begun their search for a new President/CEO to lead the Chamber to new heights. We have an exceptional board that will take the time necessary to find the right person for the job. I have offered to assist the board through the transition. If you know someone that would be a great candidate for the position, please refer them to one of our board members.
I want to thank all of the people, businesses, and organizations that I have had the privilege to work with over the past nine years. Your support, guidance, and commitment to the Millbrae business community has made it a pleasure for me to come to work every day.
The Millbrae Chamber has been an important part of our community since 1949. I am proud to have been a part of it since 2003 and commit to you that although I will no longer be employed by the Chamber, I will continue to be an active supporter and participant.
Chamber Welcomes New Board Members
The Millbrae Chamber is delighted to welcome our three newest Board members, all of whom were unanimously voted in by our members in the recent election. Board members serve a term of three years.
Mary Ellen Pellegrini, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in San Mateo, has been an active Millbrae Chamber member for several years now. Mary Ellen has been great about attending Chamber functions, so most of you probably know her by now. She also volunteers as a Block Captain at our annual Art & Wine Festival where her husband, Gary, helps out as well. Mary Ellen has lived in Millbrae for over 20 years and her two sons attended Millbrae schools.
Vijay Patel is also known to many of you as the owner of the meticulously well-kept Millwood Inn & Suites in Millbrae. Vijay also serves on the Millbrae Tourism Committee which advises the Millbrae City Council on matters affecting or related to tourism. Hotels are an important part of the Millbrae business community, so we are very pleased that Vijay was willing to serve on the board.
Gary Barranti is yet another familiar face on the Millbrae scene as the owner and proprietor of Leonardo’s Café & Deli on Broadway. Gary has helped our Chamber out for many years by providing food or beverages at many of our events. If you attended the Chamber’s holiday party, you were treated to some of Leonardo’s great catering.
From the Board Chair
Published December 19th, 2011
As 2011 comes to an end, it continues to be a difficult year for many individuals and businesses but I believe that recent surges in the retail sector, like a very successful Black Friday, along with cautious growth in other areas indicate that brighter times are ahead for us all.
There have been changes in many of the businesses in Millbrae. Some old-time, long-established businesses have closed, such as Millbrae Lumber and we’ve lost a few newer friends like Super Suppers / SereniTea House (we’ll miss you, Shar and Jenn!), but on the plus side, some great new businesses now dot our local landscape, like the Boiling Bay restaurant and Sun’s Market.
The Chamber’s New Year message to ALL new businesses is simple: please support business in Millbrae by supporting the Millbrae Chamber of Commerce. You are part of our business community now and its success, like your own, depends on a two-way relationship, a give and take between business owners and the community.
If you are a new business – join the Chamber! Our members directly support each and every local business. Chamber membership dues, combined with all member contributions, help make us all stronger, better connected, more informed and more recognized within the business community.
Once you join, take advantage of your free business listing on the Chamber website to grow your business. Attend our mixers and Brown Bag lunch seminars to meet and mingle with other business owners. Brainstorm ideas, air concerns with other members for that all-important feedback.
Remember: those who continue to do business the same way year after year will always achieve the same results. In tough times, think outside the box!
It has been an honor to serve as Board chair for the past year. We have a dedicated Board at the Chamber working closely with John Ford, CEO, to make our Chamber – and businesses in Millbrae – the best that it can be.