3-Minute Interview: Sean Randolph

The president and CEO of the newly renamed Bay Area Council Economic Institute prognosticates on the economic trends of 2008 affecting the San Francisco Bay Area.

What kind of legislation is the Bay Area Economic Forum pulling for in 2008? One thing to keep an eye out for is legislation related to China. The Bay Area’s economic ties run extremely deepwith China, and lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are trying to impose penalties on China involving manipulation of currency.

What future infrastructure project will have the most impact on the Bay Area? The governor has announced his support for more creative use of public-private partnerships as far as infrastructure projects. I think we’ll see this come on to the public policy agenda in Sacramento in 2008. But even in good years, and this is not going to be a good year, there will be resistance.

What do you mean this is not going to be a good year? Everybody pretty much agrees that 2008 is not going to be a stellar year economically, but it doesn’t have to be a terrible year. As long as consumer-spending holds up, the economy should do really well.

How will the Bay Area stay ahead of global competition in the year to come? As long as we keep our eye on the ball, our comparative advantage, we should be fine. We have a strong IT sector. The movie industry is looking to the Bay Area for their digital entertainment needs. The biotech industry continues to grow, and the Bay Area is establishing itself as the leader in clean-tech — the industry developing renewable and alternative energy.

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