Workforce shortage, Skills Mismatch, New Jobs Creation and Layoffs: What Does this Mean?!

There is record unemployment and millions of new jobs being created. And yet, thousands of people are being laid off. But there are over 10 million job openings in the U.S. Hiring new employees is difficult in the North Bay (and beyond).  Talk about mixed signals!  What is going on in the workforce?

In You might be jobless in 5 years, (Link), we learn one aspect of understanding what is happening.  There has been acceleration of companies changing their business practices and creating jobs requiring different skill sets than they previously sought.  In Career Insights, Shatakshi Sharma, Co-CEO Global Governance Initiative, answers these questions based on the research done by BCG, LinkedIn and World Economic Forum: “Are you wondering if you should switch your job? Or do you question if you even have the right kind of skills for your job profile?”

  • The relative importance of skills

The research talks about different skill groups. It showcases whether their importance is increasing, decreasing or remaining stable. Skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, self-management, working with people and tech and development see a growth in their importance. Whereas, on the other end of the spectrum, skills such as management and communication activities, core literacies and physical abilities are experiencing a relative decline in importance.

  • Top 15 skills for 2025

The highest-ranked skills are analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, complex problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis. These skills test whether you are actively trying to learn and upskill yourself or are you happy to do an MBA and cease your growth henceforth. It also talks about your ability to ring structure in a messy situation and get a clear solution.

The next set of important skills are creativity, originality and initiative, leadership and social influence. It involves your ability to think out of the box and influence without having authority. Skills such as technology use, monitoring and control, technology design and programming help you talk to product management or coders. It also involves using IOT, Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence to solve problems.

Certain character-based skills such as resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility and emotional intelligence also make the list. It emphasizes how EQ in addition to IQ is important.

Troubleshooting and user experience, service orientation, system analysis and evaluation are important to solve problems and improve customer service.

Last, but not least, we have persuasion and negotiation. This particular skill will not only help you excel in your career but also get you a good salary.

Besides sharpening skills to match employers’ needs, there are other aspects to consider.  In Three shifts to expect in the hiring market in 2023, by Ty West (Link), he says, “One thing unlikely to change? The need for speed in the hiring process. Corey Berkey, senior vice president of people and talent at recruiting technology company Employ Inc., said signs continue to point to the labor market remaining tight this year, but with some improvements compared to 2022. Even with those improvements, experts say companies won’t be able to revert to their pre-Covid hiring practices without increasing the risk of missing out on talent.”

“I think that companies are going to evolve because they’ve learned a lesson, or they’re going to get run over,” Berkey said.

West says, “A recent survey by Employ found 77% of organizations have not reduced hiring plans or implemented a hiring freeze, and 8% anticipate making fewer hires in the next 12 months, with the bulk of companies planning to pull back concentrated in the technology, manufacturing and financial sectors — a trend that dovetails with recent layoffs. But the survey did find a 10.4% decrease in job openings between the second and third quarters of 2022, and an 8.7% increase in the number of job applicants.”

Even with those shifts, Berkey anticipates the intense competition for talent will remain in a number of sectors, making it pivotal for recruiters to follow best practices. Here are some of the trends Berkey anticipates and how employers can respond:

“1. Employers will rethink hiring strategies

Since the Covid-19 recovery ramped up in early 2021, companies across a range of industries beefed up their payrolls. The result was a tight talent market, soaring salaries, elevated turnover and labor shortages in many sectors.

But as the economy has slowed, many companies are trimming positions and, in some cases, admitting they hired too many employees or increased salaries too much. Both 2022 and 2023 have been banner years for budgeted average raise amounts. While metrics show many companies plan robust hiring in 2023, Berkey said those efforts are likely to be more targeted.

‘It’s no longer going to be, ‘Hey, this role has been vacated. Let’s get that backfilled,’ Berkey said. ‘I think we’re going to see businesses prioritize around roles that they know are going to drive that strategic value of the organization forward.’ He said that trend will contribute to an increased focus on candidate quality for many businesses.

2. Hurdles at the offer stage

Employ’s data found about 40% of offers are being accepted, echoing some of the obstacles recruiters have discussed with The Playbook. Pay expectations are a common sticking point, with the increasing number of counteroffers playing a role. Due in part to the high cost of replacing talent, recruiters say they are seeing a relatively high rate of counteroffers. I think a lot of Hail Mary, last-minute saves by the current employer are what’s driving this number up,’ Berkey said.

The push for pay transparency is another factor — often affecting companies that aren’t having the salary conversation early enough. In the absence of those discussions, candidates are doing their own research and making assumptions.

‘I think a lot of candidates are getting to the finish line in the recruiting process and because the company hasn’t openly had that conversation around compensation, the candidates are almost getting surprised by it,’ Berkey said. ‘They’re often driven by what they see online, which online, you can find some crazy, crazy benchmarks that are completely inaccurate.’

He said candidates often hear stories about people who are changing jobs and getting a 40% raise. ‘That’s real. It’s really happening, but it’s not happening 100% of the time,’ Berkey said. ‘If you’re holding out for that 40% increase, that’s going to be few and far between.’

3. A shift in pay strategy is coming, but not for everyone

Berkey anticipates that top-flight candidates will remain in a strong negotiating position in 2023 — in part due to the increased focused on candidate quality. Berkey said ‘stretch candidates,’ whom he described as candidates who don’t necessarily have the experience but have the attitude and aptitude that make them compelling applicants, will have a tougher time than they have in the past two years and will be met with more reasonable salary offers.

Overall, Berkey expects the pendulum to swing toward pre-Covid compensation levels but not quite a full return. ‘I still think wages are going to climb more than we’ve seen in the past,’ he said. That’s particularly true for highly skilled candidates. Berkey expects they will still receive aggressive compensation packages.

There are growing signs of a disconnect on pay, with the inaugural Monster Work Watch Monitor finding 42% of employers saying salary expectations have reached unreasonable levels. That’s up from 30% a year ago. That’s not a surprise to recruiters, who have previously told The Playbook that many companies were backing themselves into a corner with salary offers and raises they were approving in 2022.”

Gen Z is the Future — and the Present

Building on the advice of Frances Hesselbein, we want to learn more about the emerging leaders in the next generations, Millennials and Gen Z. If we want to prepare for the future, we need to look at demographics.  There is a big shift happening now that merits our attention.  The following are excerpts from 8 Generation Z Trends & Predictions for 2022/2023A Look Into What’s Next by James Anthony, (Link).

Gen Z is Different than Any Other Previous Generation

Gender-fluid Concepts

Over the past years, we’ve seen how more and more businesses are opening up to gender-neutral pay id online pokies products, and for a good reason: Gen Z reports being a generation more accepting of non-binary products. Gen Z’s power extends in allowing a new wave of acceptance that’s not restricted to any gender at all. With this, various brands like Sephora and Telfar took the major steps to a more accommodating and gender-neutral industry.

As shown in several studies, binary-gendered options are a thing of the past. Back in 2015, Facebook, apart from the male and female options, started adding a third one: the custom option, where users can select from 58 different identities, such as androgyne, trans-male, trans-person, and more, prompting other brands and companies from various industries to do the same. Milk Makeup, a cosmetics brand, followed in 2016 by launching a makeup campaign that includes everyone, starting from trans models to cis straight men wearing makeup.

This shift to gender-neutral products opened new doors for businesses to expand their brands. This also allowed them to relate more to Gen Zers and retain them as loyal customers. The strategy improves customer experience for Gen Zers. Instead of products “made for men” or “made for women,” brands are using product categories instead and getting rid of stereotypical gender roles. Such a trend is expected to continue in the coming years as businesses prepare to cater to the demands of the new generation.

Concerns on Mental Health

Today’s current headlining issues, from immigration, sexual assaults, mass shootings, to environmental decline, are affecting the whole world, and it can be too much for anyone. With these issues plus, other internal and sociological factors, Gen Z becomes the generation feeling the impact more as compared to their predecessors. After that, they are the ones most likely to report mental health concerns. And Gen Z, being a big part of today’s workforce, considers mental health as a factor that affects their work environment.

Prior to the pandemic, a study found that many Gen Z workers usually suffer from anxiety and stress. Its follow-up study found that the stress levels of Gen Zers appeared to have declined, likely because of the general shift to remote work and the slower pace of life in general. Nonetheless, the study found that 48% of Gen Zs feel anxious or stressed all or most of the time (Deloitte, 2020).

In an earlier study, nearly 9 in 10 Gen Z adults report having at least one or more emotional or physical symptoms because of various stressors in their lives, according to a study by the American Psychological Association. About 58% report being depressed or sad, and 55% experience a lack of interest, motivation, or energy. This leads to companies encouraging workplace wellness programs in an attempt to take care of the mental health of their employees. As a result, employers can minimize the health care costs allotted to their businesses and workers.

Diversity as an Asset

Political shifts, changes in education, and other social changes drove Gen Zers to become the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in the history of the United States. A study by the Pew Research Center reveals that 52% of Gen Zers are non-Hispanic white (Pew Research Center, 2019). In the next 10 years, Gen Zers will grow more in population and can make the majority of the population racially diverse.

With Gen Z considering diversity as a positive asset, businesses are prompted to develop a more inclusive and diverse brand, extending even further beyond advertising and products. Emarketer’s study results show that about 6 in 10 Gen Zers say they prefer seeing ads that have diverse families in them. They are also more likely to support brands that are proactive in tackling racial issues.

This only goes to show that Gen Zers are pickier when it comes to choosing companies to work for and brands to support. As a racially diverse generation, they need assurance from brands that discrimination won’t be tolerated. When doing business with Gen Zers, it’s crucial to take into consideration not only the market’s similarities but also their differences, leading to a more expansive product line.

Sustainability as a Factor

Sustainability is another thing to consider when dealing with Gen Zers. Along with Millenials, Gen Zers are pushing for a more sustainable and eco-friendly market in various industries. For younger generations, a product’s ecological footprint is very important. They seek high-quality and long-lasting products as opposed to disposable items. At the same time, sustainable materials find their way into this environmentally conscious generation.

One example is the clothing line Tentree. It successfully gained a massive social media following worldwide right after launching products that use only sustainable materials. The brand also associated with supply chain partners who are socially responsible. This led to an influx of traffic on their website due to an increase in international web visitors.

Gen Z respects brands that are highly conscious of the marks they leave on the environment. In a study by FirstInsight, about 73% of Gen Zers are willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products (First Insight, 2020). Meanwhile, the same preference was shared by 68% of Millennials, 55% of Generation X, and 42% of Baby Boomers.

Allison Carter in Top Gen Z trends in 2023, (Link) shares some more insights into this generation’s aspirations and needs.  Some of the trends she identifies are:

An activist generation

Gen Z cares deeply about a wide range of issues — and wants the organizations and influencers they interact with to do the same. Thirty percent of Gen Z is of voting age, the study says, and they want to see change.

Topics they’re particularly passionate about include disability rights and climate change.

Concern over climate change seeps into aspects of Gen Z life you may not expect. For instance, half of survey respondents plan to DIY clothes in the new year — a response to the fast fashion movement that leave landfills stuffed with clothes intended to be worn only a short time. They also incorporate sun protection into their (often elaborate) skincare routines to ward off hotter temperatures and damaging rays.

Global interests

American Gen Zers are the most ethnically diverse generation in history, according to Pew Research, with 48% identifying as a race other than white alone. It stands to follow that this generation has a deep interest in the world outside their own borders.

The Instagram survey found that more than half of respondents plan to listen to non-English music in 2023, with a particular emphasis on K-pop and Latino music. Another 68% either has or wants to try food from another culture after discovering it on social media.

Communicators must look beyond a dominant, mostly white culture to embrace this diverse group of Americans.

A craving for community

Unsurprisingly for a generation which spent many of its formative years in the midst of a pandemic that demanded we stay apart, Gen Z is particularly interested in coming together for in-person experiences. The survey found that one-third of respondents were interested in in-person meet-and-greets with influencers, while 68% of respondents plan or want to attend a rave in 2023 (yes, apparently raves are back).

And not to be outdone, Josh Howarth in 7 Key Gen Z Trends for 2023, (Link), has more trends to observe for this generation that will change much of American life.  Howarth list includes these trends:

Digital Natives

Gen Z doesn’t know a time when the internet didn’t exist. They are “digital natives” in the truest sense of the term.  The stats prove this. More than 95% of Gen Zers own a smartphone, 83% own a laptop, and 78% own an internet-connected gaming console. In fact, they’ve been exposed to tech from a young age, especially when compared to previous generations.

Older Millennials got their first cell phone at an average age of 20. Younger Millennials started at 16. Gen Zers had their own phones by the time they were 12. Trends show that this generation is becoming more and more centered on tech.

One survey found that more than half of Gen Zers feel more insecure without their smartphone versus without their wallet.

Social media is a huge trend for this generation. Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are, by far, the most frequently used platforms. One-quarter of Gen Zers spend five hours or more per day on TikTok.

The average Gen Z individual spends 3.4 hours per day streaming videos. Searches for “YouTube TV” have remained on a fairly steady increase over the past 5 years (221%). It also reported that 44% of Gen Zers stream more than 3 hours of Netflix per day. Only 20% of Gen Zers don’t have their own Netflix subscription.

Distrust Of Government and Other Organizations

A Pew Research report showed that 70% of Gen Zers believe the government should do more to solve problems. This trend was only amplified by the pandemic. A February 2021 study said 66% of Gen Zers disagree that the government has done its best to protect the country.  The same study reported that nearly 60% of this generation agreed that it’d be difficult to trust the government post-pandemic. One research paper suggests this distrust could continue well into the future.

The Political Scar of Epidemics, published in mid-2020, suggested that individuals who experience an epidemic when they are between the ages of 18 and 25 are likely to have negative attitudes toward the government and elections for a long time after the epidemic is over. This means individuals in the older segment of Gen Z are less likely to trust elections, less likely to have confidence in the government, and less likely to approve of political leaders.

This trend could have a large impact on the 2024 election.  In 2020, Millennials and Gen Zers made up 37% of the voting eligible population. In 2024, that number will jump to 44% with all the growth coming from members of Gen Z.

The distrust of Gen Zers goes beyond politics.  They are unlikely to trust brands, too. Only 39% of Gen Z internet users trust a brand to keep their data safe. Consumers in Gen Z trust brands with their data much less than any other generation.

A Deloitte survey found that 24% of Gen Zers don’t trust business leaders, 30% don’t trust traditional media, and 49% don’t trust religious leaders.  This trend may continue as Gen Zers grow into adults, but some experts suggest distrust is just part of being a teenager.

Peter Adams, who leads an organization teaching kids about media literacy, recently said, “Trust in institutions is down across the board, but teens experience even more cynicism about institutions just as a function of their time of life.”

Influencing The Workplace

The oldest members of Gen Z are just now entering the full-time workforce for the first time, but by 2025, they’ll make up 27% of the global workforce. Right now, they’re starting to lead the charge for several big changes.

The first is work-life balance. Research shows that nearly 40% of Gen Zers put a large emphasis on work-life balance when choosing where to work.

Gen Zers are also likely to focus on empowering work culture and potential for growth with the company. Work culture and growth potential are the top two reasons Gen Z employees will stay with a company, according to Finances Online.

Gen Z is also demanding more workplace benefits. They want flexible hours, fully covered health insurance, free meals, and sizeable salary increases – just to name a few.

They want their employer to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Gym memberships, flexible spending accounts related to healthy activities, and sabbaticals are all trending as benefits now. Employee wellbeing has become a topic of focus in many organizations. Search volume is up nearly 289% over 5 years.

Generation Z is one subset of employees that does not put a large emphasis on working remotely. In one survey, 48% of respondents said they’d prefer a hybrid work environment. Only 30% wanted to work fully remotely. Searches for “hybrid work” surged in the latter half of 2020 and is up 364% over 5 years.

In one survey, nearly half of Gen Zers said they’d like to own their own business.

Stats from Wonolo, an on-demand staffing platform, show the gig economy is growing among Generation Z. Their share of jobs on the platform grew by 14% between 2019 and 2021.  Lending Tree reports that 46% of Gen Zers over the age of 18 have a side hustle. Nearly one-quarter of these individuals would not be able to pay their bills if they didn’t have that side hustle. A few of the most popular spots in the gig economy for Gen Z workers are selling custom clothing, selling artistic goods on Etsy, and freelancing on Fiverr.

As the future of work changes, we can expect that Gen Z will be leading even more change. In The state of young leadership by Layla Zaidane, The Fulcrum (Link), Zaidane says, “It’s no surprise that Gen Z and millennials operate differently from older generations on everything from when they get married to how they approach money. But one thing the most diverse generations yet are doing differently is surprisingly under-reported: They’re bringing a new and more effective style of leadership to legislatures across the country.

Not only have we seen them prioritize future-focused solutions on issues like climate change, criminal justice reform, cost and access to higher education, and more — but they’ve done so in a more collaborative and bipartisan fashion than their older peers. At my organization, Millennial Action Project, we’ve been tracking these young agents of change and recently released a report called “The State of Young State Leadership.” Here’s what we found:

Young people only make up 20.7 percent of state legislatures. That’s right – despite being the largest generation, millennials and Gen Z only make up one-fifth of our nation’s state legislative chambers. While the average age of the country is 38, the average age of a state legislator is 56. I’ll let you guess what the average age of Congress is. And unfortunately, indications point to state legislatures and Congress only getting older.

While there is value in having older, seasoned lawmakers in office, it does more harm than good when it’s at the expense of uplifting young or diverse leaders who can bring new perspectives to the policymaking process. And after tracking 1,535 legislators under the age of 45, we can safely say that this group’s success as bridge builders is incredibly high.

Young legislators are responsible for authoring 32.9 percent of all bipartisan legislation that actually gets passed – busting any claim that young people in legislatures are more partisan or uncooperative than older generations. In my work at MAP, we have found that, while opinionated and outspoken, young legislators are able to strike a balance between bringing their full selves and opinions to the table and successfully collaborating across the aisle. While young people did not create the problems we’re facing, it appears that we’re idealistic enough to believe we can solve them and pragmatic enough to know that building coalitions is a necessary step to creating change.

Importantly, 266 of the 1,535 young state legislators are in at least one senior leadership position, including speaker, Senate president, president pro tempore, majority/minority leader, majority/minority whip/assistant leader, or caucus or conference Leader. In addition, 401 young legislators are in a committee chair position, and 444 are in a vice chair position. Young people hold positions of power within state capitols, and they’re using it to great effect.

It makes sense that individuals who can persuade, listen and “strike a deal” often rise into these leadership positions. The data show that by this measure of assessment, young people certainly make the cut. Their bipartisan track record and presence in leadership positions prove that not only are young officials up for the challenge of holding public office — they are excelling at it.

Congratulations to the NBLC Endorsed Candidates on Their Wins!

North Bay Leadership Council congratulates the following newly elected officials. We appreciate the well-run campaigns which led to their election.  Their broad base of support bodes well for their ability  to serve their communities and produce positive results. The winners are:


Novato City Council

Rachel Farac – District 3


Petaluma City Council

Kevin McDonnell – Mayor

Karen Nau – District 3


Rohnert Park City Council

Susan Hollingsworth Adams – District 5

Samantha Rodriguez – District 1


San Rafael City Council

Maribeth Bushey – District 3

Eli Hill – District 2


Santa Rosa City Council

Mark Stapp – District 2

Dianna MacDonald – District 3

Jeff Okrepkie – District 6


Napa County Board of Supervisors

Anne Cottrell – District 3


Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools

Amie Carter


NBLC looks forward to working with these newly elected officials on public policy issues of mutual concern. We thank them for their dedication of service to the North Bay.

NBLC 2022 Endorsements

North Bay Leadership Council is pleased to endorse the following candidates for their respective offices as follows.  We are supporting these candidates because they are balanced in their approach to the issues, not beholding to any special interest group, and committed to economic vitality and more housing.

NBLC is proud to endorse:

Novato- By District

Rachel Farac #3

Petaluma- By District

Karen Nau #3

Dylan Lloyd  #1

David Adams  #2

Kevin McDonnell  — Mayor

Rohnert Park- By District

Susan Hollingsworth Adams #5

Samantha Rodriguez  #1

San Rafael – By District

Maribeth Bushey #3

Eli Hill  #2

Santa Rosa- By District

Mark Stapp #2

Dianna MacDonald #3

Terry Sanders #4

Jeff Okrepkie #6

Napa County Supervisors:

Suzanne Truchard – Supervisor – District 1

Anne Cottrell – Supervisor – District 3

Community College Governing Boards: Sonoma County Junior College

District Trustee Areas 1 (East):  Ezrah Chaaban

District 2 (South County): Maggie Fishman (Inc.)

District 5 (Central Santa Rosa): Dorothy Battenfeld (Inc.)

District 7 (West County): Michael Valdovinos (Inc.)


NBLC members also support the following Ballot Measures:

SUPPORT: Proposition 1: Would make California’s existing rights to abortion part of the state’s constitution.
SUPPORT:  Prop 31: Gavin Newsom signed a bill banning the sale of all flavored tobacco products, whether smoked, chewed or vaped. The tobacco industry gathered enough signatures to ask voters to overturn the law with this referendum. (A reminder: Voting “yes” is to keep the law; voting “no” is to get rid of it.)

Please make sure that you are registered to vote. If you are voting by mail, remember to mail your ballot very early so the slowdowns in mail delivery do not delay your ballot being received by the Registrar of Voters in a timely manner.  Your vote counts!

The New “Housing Rich” Millionaires

In the Public Policy Institute of California’s report, California’s High Housing Costs Have Created a Million “House Rich” Millionaires by Hans Johnson (Link) we learn that while California’s high housing costs are out of reach to many potential homebuyers, there are also many who are benefitting from the increase in housing costs.  Johnson says, “rapidly rising home prices have led to unprecedented levels of wealth among homeowners, including a growing number who have record amounts of home equity. In 2020, more than 700,000 California households had at least one million dollars in equity in their homes, according to American Community Survey data. With rapid price appreciation between 2020 and 2022, we estimate that approximately 1.2 million California households are now home-equity millionaires.”

Johnson goes on to detail who “these house-rich Californians” are:

  • Most have paid off their mortgages. In 2020, 58% of the state’s equity millionaires owned their homes free and clear. Statewide, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of Californians who have paid off their mortgages, from 1.6 million households in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2020. The share of all owner-occupied homes that have no mortgage increased from 25% to 33% over that same time frame.
  • Most have lived in their homes for a long time. About half have lived in their current home for more than 20 years. Those with no mortgage have stayed put the longest, with about one-third living in their homes for 30 or more years, compared to 11% of those with a mortgage, and 2% of renters. These long tenures are a testament to the important role that long-term homeownership plays in building household wealth.
  • Because so many of them bought their homes decades ago, high-equity homeowners partly reflect the demographics of the state’s past rather than the California of today. The most common age group for high-equity owners is 65–69, compared to 55–59 for other homeowners, and 30–34 for renters.
  • Equity millionaires are more likely to be white or Asian compared to other homeowners or renters. White and Asian homeowners make up the vast majority of high-equity homeowners (87%). In contrast, only 13% of high-equity homeowners are Latino, Black, or Native American. These differences reflect and exacerbate other kinds of inequality in California, including income inequalityand educational inequality.
  • On average, high-equity homeowners with no mortgage are more educated and have higher incomes than renters, but they tend to be less educated and have lower incomes than those with a mortgage. This partly reflects the older ages of high-equity homeowners with no mortgage, many of whom are retired and became homeowners many decades ago when college enrollment and completion were less common.
  • High-equity homeowners who own their home outright pay less in property taxes than those with a mortgage, largely because of Proposition 13, which limits increases in property valuations for the purpose of taxation. High-equity owners without a mortgage have an annual median payment of $7,100, compared to over $10,000 for those with a mortgage.
  • The vast majority of California’s high-equity homeowners live in coastal metropolitan counties. Even though homeowners with no mortgage are more likely to live in inland metropolitan and rural areas, where homeownership rates are higher and housing prices are lower, those with the highest equity tend to live in expensive coastal metropolitan areas, especially the Bay Area and coastal Southern California.

“Homeownership has been key to wealth creation for generations of Californians,” says Johnson. He explains, “Residents who came of age in the 1950s and 1960s did so in an era of rapid expansion of homeownership. After World War II, new transportation infrastructure coincided with the massive construction of new suburbs with abundant housing, loans became more accessible for many, and housing prices in California were only somewhat higher than in the rest of the nation. Over time, many of those homeowners became California’s equity millionaires.”

But Johnson cautions, “… redlining and discriminatory lending practices during that period kept many people of color from homeownership.  Today, high housing costs limit young adults’ access to this means of wealth creation. In 1960, over half (54%) of 30-to-34-year-olds in California owned a house, compared to about a third today. Finding ways to improve homeownership among young adults is central to housing stability and future housing equity.”

Some solutions to the housing crisis are clear—we must build more housing, especially workforce housing.  Others are being explored by the Legislature and housing advocates like help for first time homebuyers.  The building industry is exploring new construction methods and materials in hopes of bringing down the cost of building.  All possibilities should be considered and those that are worthy should be implemented if we are to make our state’s economy and workforce vibrant and resilient and keep more people from falling into poverty.

Housing Increasingly Out of Reach for the California Workforce

In California’s Housing Divide – Public Policy Institute of California (, we learn that our housing crisis is worsening, especially for African Americans and Latinos.  Authors Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Hans Johnson, and Julien Lafortune write, “The housing crisis in California affects residents of all races and ethnicities, but the lack of affordable housing is particularly acute for African Americans and Latinos. Skyrocketing rents in many California metro areas impose growing financial burdens, limiting opportunities for savings. Combined with rising home prices and interest rates, owning a home has become harder to afford over the past year, even as many saw growth in wages. Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on households of color, disparities in homeownership are expected to widen. To address these gaps, policy actions that target the causes of these longstanding inequities are necessary.”

The authors state, “Before the pandemic, the racial homeownership gap in California was large, but it appeared to be narrowing. In 2019, the Latino homeownership rate stood at 44.1%, or 19.2 points below that of white households. The Black homeownership rate was even more worrisome at 36.8%, or 26.4 points below the rate for white households. However, Latino and Black households also saw large gains in homeownership between 2014 and 2019 (2.2 and 2.3 percentage points, respectively). Meanwhile, homeownership among Asians grew the most in this period (2.5 percentage points) and, at 59.8%, was only 3.4 points below the white homeownership rate in 2019. Because home equity makes up the majority of wealth for low- and middle-income families, gaps in homeownership rates magnify wealth inequality.”

“Most homeowners start as renters who then save their way into buying a house—but when rents are high, chances to save are low” say the authors. “African American and Latino renters are more likely to pay a sizable share—30% or more—of their household income on gross rent, making the prospect of saving for homeownership daunting. (Even among homeowners, African Americans and Latinos are more likely to spend a high share of their income on mortgages.)”

Dan Walters in A Solution that Won’t Fix California’s Low Homeownership (Link) says, “California is the land of dreams and extremes and nowhere is that more evident than in the state’s very low rate of homeownership. Just 56% of California’s families live in homes they own, very slightly higher than New York’s lowest-in-the-nation 55% rate and nearly 10 percentage points behind the 65% national rate, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.”

Walters explains, “That so few Californians live in their own homes should not be surprising. After all, the state has the nation’s highest rate of poverty and when the near-poor are added, more than a third of the state’s nearly 40 million residents live with financial distress, PPIC has calculated.

He says, “Moreover, the state’s median home price of $834,000 — nearly twice the national figure — means that only a quarter of California families can afford such a home, those with incomes of $160,000 and above.  In other words, homeownership is another of the many indices of California’s highly stratified society — one infinitely ironic for a state whose political leaders, particularly Gov. Gavin Newsom, tout it as a model of egalitarianism and social mobility that should be emulated elsewhere.”

What can be done to improve the housing situation in California?  Unfortunately, Walters doesn’t think much of President Pro Tem Toni Atkins proposal.  His critique is, “Under her California Dream for All, the state would partner with some families to make down payments on home purchases and then recoup its investment when homes are later refinanced or sold. Atkins’ program would join other state programs that already offer homeownership assistance. And while her sincerity is genuine, at best her proposal would help only an estimated 8,000 families in a state where about 7 million families are renters.”

Walters says, “It’s typical of politicians’ approaches to social and economic disparity — create a new program with a catchy title that has little impact, if any, and sidesteps core issues. California’s low rate of homeownership results from high levels of poverty and sky-high home prices. Throwing a few dollars at it doesn’t solve the problem and could even make it worse by enticing some families to buy homes they really cannot afford.”  That’s what went wrong in 2008 when the housing bubble burst.

Walters advises what the real solutions are, “California’s homeownership rates will rise when the state improves its economic fundamentals — when it removes impediments to housing construction, makes itself more welcoming to investment in middle-income jobs and improves educational outcomes of poor children.”

When the budget is finalized, we will see how much money is going into new housing and after that, which housing bills get the Governor’s signature.  It is encouraging that there are efforts being made, even small ones, but we need serious action taken to address the dire housing needs of our state.

Alarmingly Low Voter Turnout for Primary – Please Vote!

In Q&A: What California’s low voter turnout so far means for primary  (Link) we learn that “Political Data Intelligence has been tracking voter turnout for decades. Newly released numbers on Wednesday shows of the 21.8 million ballots mailed out to voters, just over 2 million people have returned their ballots so far, which equals out to about a 9% turnout statewide. The numbers broken down by party affiliation equates to 53% of returned ballots belonging to Democrats, 26% coming from Republicans, and 21% from independent and other parties.”

“When turnout drops, it doesn’t drop evenly for all groups. You’ll have seniors and homeowners, people in more affluent areas, voting at a real high rate. And you’ll have minorities and younger people, college students, and independent voters voting at a very, very low rate. And as a result of that, like if we look today, only a quarter of our state’s registered voters are seniors, but they comprise 51% of the people who’ve returned a ballot. Latinos are 27% of registered voters, and they comprise only 15% of people who have returned a ballot.“

It’s not too late to vote and NBLC urges you to get your ballot turned in.  It is important that all voters’ voices are heard and all groups are represented.  To see how you can still vote either by dropping off your ballot at a drop-off box or going to a voting center, please read below.

NBLC has endorsed the following candidates:

Marin County

Mary Sacket – Supervisor – District 1

Eric Lucan – Supervisor – District 5

John Carroll – County Superintendent of Schools

Sonoma County

David Rabbitt (Inc.) – Supervisor – District 2

James Gore (Inc.) – Supervisor – District 4

Amie Carter – County Superintendent of Schools

Napa County

Suzanne Truchard – Supervisor – District 1

Anne Cottrell – Supervisor – District 3

In Advanced in-person voting underway for June 7 election (Link), we learn more about casting ballots before and on Election Day.

Registered voters in Sonoma County who have not already voted by mail in the June 7 statewide direct primary election, may begin voting in person on Saturday, May 28 at one of seven vote centers located throughout the county. Each vote center will be open for 11 days from May 28 to June 7, which is Election Day, including Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day. Hours of operation for the vote centers will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Election Day itself, when the hours will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The seven vote centers opening on Saturday are as follows (listed in alphabetical order by town/city/place):

Cotati Veterans Memorial Building
8505 Park Ave., Cotati

Healdsburg Community Center
1557 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg

Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building
1094 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma

Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building
1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa

Sonoma County Registrar of Voters
435 Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa

Sebastopol Center for the Arts
282 S High St., Sebastopol

Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building
126 1st St. W., Sonoma

Twenty-four additional vote centers will open for four days leading up to Election Day starting on June 4.

Unlike most prior elections in Sonoma County, voters who want to cast their ballots in person can go to whichever vote center they choose; they are not assigned to a single location. This is due to the fact that this is the first countywide election in Sonoma County to be conducted under the Voter’s Choice Act election model. Named after the law on which it is based, the objective of this model is to give voters more flexibility regarding how, when and where to cast their ballots.

Vote centers also offer a variety of other services, including serving as drop-off locations for vote-by-mail ballots, issuing replacement vote-by-mail ballots (for example, if a voter’s first ballot never arrived or was lost/spoiled, etc.), providing accessible ballot-marking devices to those who need or prefer using them, and language assistance. Registered voters may also update their voter information and citizens who are eligible to vote but missed the standard voter registration deadline can register and vote “late.”

Voters preferring to vote via vote-by-mail ballot that was mailed to them can return it in one of three ways:

1) By mail. In order to count, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day, June 7 and received in the Registrar of Voters Office by June 14.

2) Drop it off at one of 21 official ballot drop boxes throughout Sonoma County, which are open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

3) Bring it to any vote center during its hours of operation.

For a list, map and other details of all vote centers and official ballot drop boxes, please visit

For more information about the June 7, statewide direct primary election (or any other election-related topics), please visit the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters website at, call (707) 565-6800, email, or visit the Registrar of Voters Office in person at 435 Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa. The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays (excluding holidays). In addition, due to the June election, the office will also be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays (May 28 and June 4), Sundays (May 29 and June 5), and Memorial Day (May 30), as well as 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day itself.

Similar to Sonoma County, Marin County has early voting centers open through Election Day and drop boxes throughout the county.  Go to this link to find those locations:

And here is the same information for Napa County:

Remember – your voice matters and voting is your superpower!

Leaders Recognized for Contributions to the San Francisco North Bay

Thank you to all attendees, honorees, sponsors, and guests who participated and attended the 2022 Leaders of the North Bay Awards Luncheon. This wonderful article by the North Bay Business Journal was written for those who were unable to attend.

“In a virtual and in-person event Friday, the North Bay Leadership Council recognized the recipients of its 2022 Leaders of the North Bay Awards.

The council is made up of people and businesses through the area.

Award recipients

As its United We Stand, Community Building honoree, Keith Woods, a current member of the advisory board of Santa Rosa-based Exchange Bank and former executive director of the North Coast Builders Exchange, was recognized for “work helping rebuild after the devastating fires in the region; partnering with the CTE Foundation, SCOE, and SRJC to launch the North Bay Construction Corps; implementing CHOICES, a high school dropout prevention program; and serving as “Sonoma County’s MC,” where he has volunteered hundreds of hours helping nonprofits raise money,” the NBLC stated.

Paint the Community Green, Environmental Stewardship was the honor this year given to The Climate Center, a citizens group focused on climate issues and based in Sonoma County.

Among its efforts, the center “played a key role in the tremendous growth” of community choice aggregation agencies (CCAs) in the state over the past six years, the council said. There are now 24 CCAs providing on average 88% greenhouse gas-free electricity to over 11 million residents in more than 200 cities and counties.

Recognized for Empowering the Latino Community, Leadership Within the Latino Community was the Canal Alliance in Marin County.

Noting that the Canal area of San Rafael has relatively poor internet connectivity, the council honored the alliance for its collaboration with government and other community groups to gather financial support to provide “a free outdoor wireless network and community COVID-19 website for e-learning services and for residents accessing critical information and services. With the leadership of the core group, design, communication, installation and digital literacy was combined to provide not only access, but also Chromebooks and digital literacy training.”

The From Red Tape to Red Carpet, Leadership in Government award went to Dr. David Wain Coon, superintendent and president of College of Marin since 2010.

Coon has overseen expansion and modernization of facilities at the community college, tackled diversity issues at the institution and “worked extensively to engage with the local community and businesses including supporting numerous nonprofits,” including the leadership council.

As recipient of the Murray Legacy Leadership, named for current NBLC CEO Cynthia Murray, the group tapped Steve Page, who served as president and general manager of Sonoma Raceway for three decades.

“The raceway has raised nearly $7 million for charity. Food drives, blood drives, charity rides, training grounds for disaster response — the track has been made available to help better the community,” stated, adding “Steve Page is known for his inclusive leadership style, sharp wit and big heart. Whether it be taking the raceway through all kinds of innovations and improvements, helping local charities, leading community efforts or embracing change, Steve is the ‘go to” guy in the North Bay.'”

Remember to Vote: North Bay Leadership Council Announces 2022 June Primary Candidate Endorsements

North Bay Leadership Council is pleased to endorse the following candidates for their respective offices as follows.  We are supporting these candidates because they have shown as incumbents, or in their campaigns, that they are balanced in their approach to the issues, not beholding to any special interest group, and committed to economic vitality and more housing.

Candidate Endorsements:

Marin County

Mary Sacket – Supervisor – District 1

Eric Lucan – Supervisor – District 5

John Carroll – County Superintendent of Schools

Sonoma County

David Rabbitt (Inc.) – Supervisor – District 2

James Gore (Inc.) – Supervisor – District 4

Amie Carter – County Superintendent of Schools

Napa County

Suzanne Truchard – Supervisor – District 1

Anne Cottrell – Supervisor – District 3

Please make sure that you are registered to vote and then cast your ballot.  It is imperative that the voice of the voters is heard loud and clear.  If you are voting by mail, remember to mail your ballot very early so the slowdowns in mail delivery do not delay your ballot being received by the Registrar of Voters in a timely manner.  Your vote counts this year more than ever!

Now Is Not the Time to Give in to Climate Fatalism

With April being this month, we celebrate Earth Day and the reports on the acceleration of climate change, we are sharing an article that urges we don’t give into climate fatalism and continue to do all we can to stop global warming.  Susan Joy Hassol and Michael E. Mann say in Now Is Not the Time To Give in to Climate Fatalism (Link), “We are at an agonizing moment in world history. The combined stresses of the war in Ukraine, the climate crisis, and economic troubles stemming from spiking oil and gas prices, inflation, and growing global inequality have pushed us to our limits— geopolitically, environmentally, and psychologically. After centuries of colonialism, intensive resource extraction, and narrow, short-term thinking, the chickens have come home to roost. But what if we could feed three birds with one scone?”

The authors note, “Following the release of climate reports, such as the recent IPCC assessments, we often observe a surge of doomism. When headlines proclaim it’s ‘now or never’ to limit warming, some assume we won’t do what’s needed in time. And if you think there’s nothing we can do, why bother trying? Some well-meaning people can be weaponized by those who stand to benefit if we throw up our hands in surrender rather than challenging the fossil fuel industry’s social license. We must stress the urgency. There is clearly no time to waste. But there is agency too. The problem with ‘now or never’ is that it implies a hard threshold at 1.5°C that if we fail to achieve, it’s game over. But this game will never be over. There is no point beyond which we shouldn’t keep trying to limit warming. Every fraction of a degree matters to the level of suffering climate disruption will rain down on us.”


“With so many crises competing for our attention and concern, how can we prioritize the greatest threats when the more immediate ones so often displace the most important?” the authors ask.  “Someone needs to be thinking about the future, and fittingly, those who will inherit it, are. More than 80 percent of young people are worried about climate change. And they are angry, as well they should be. Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor, Vanessa Nakate, and other leaders of the youth climate movement are fueled with righteous anger against those who have stood by and watched as the world burned.”


And Hassol and Mann reveal new insight:  “Interesting thing about anger; turns out it’s a more useful emotion than anxiety or depression when it comes to climate action. It engages and empowers. There is good cause for righteous anger. There is a villain in this story. The fossil fuel industry, the richest in human history, has known for decades the climate damage its products would do. Its own scientists told them decades ago. But instead of releasing the scientific findings and charting a different course, it bankrolled a massive disinformation campaign designed to thwart action on climate change. The industry, and the politicians it supports to do its bidding, have been largely successful in blocking effective measures to rein in climate change.”

And reining in climate change is doable.  According to the IPCC’s latest report, on climate change mitigation, “reducing future climate change by cutting heat-trapping gas emissions or increasing their uptake from the air, tells us that this is entirely possible, using current technologies. Many such actions are on the so-called ‘demand side,’ because they reduce energy demand rather than increasing its supply. The IPCC found that demand-side strategies could reduce 40 to 70 percent of heat-trapping gas emissions across all sectors by 2050. A pretty astounding finding, and as investigative journalist Amy Westervelt bemoans, why wasn’t this a headline in every paper?”

“Let’s return to our three birds: war in Ukraine, climate change, and the economy,” they say. “A broader and more integrated approach sees these not as three separate crises but as one with a single win-win-win solution. Now is the time to tackle these related crises and seize the opportunity to move with determination into the clean energy future. The U.S. is in a good position to do so; we’re not starting from scratch. The U.S. is second (to China) in both wind and solar. Fossil fuel companies can use their expertise, work force, and other resources to become broader energy companies. Their experience in geology can be turned to geothermal energy, which has tremendous untapped promise. Their experience in offshore oil can be turned to offshore wind, a resource with enormous potential, and in which the U.S. lags far behind a dozen other nations. Peabody coal owns extensive lands that can be used for solar farms and other renewable energy development.”

“The only path to lasting security is to get off fossil fuels, once and for all. Let this be the moment that the U.S. takes the lead in solving the related challenges before us, helping propel the world toward a climate safe, politically secure, and economically prosperous future.” Hassol and Mann issue a call to action:  “It is in our hands.”  Let’s hope we can achieve this win-win-win!