California

Brookings Top Ten Most Innovative Economic Development Initiatives

The Brookings Institution and Rockefeller Foundation have released the second annual list of top ten initiatives around the country that show the most promise for creating jobs, growing regional economies, and boosting global competitiveness in 2013.

Top 10 list

Top 10 list (photo – sam_churchill/flickr)

The list includes two projects (one metro and one state) in each of the following five categories – low carbon, exports, human capital, innovation, and governance.

Exports:-

Metro – Portland, Oregon: Metropolitan Export Plan – An ambitious strategy to help business and distinctive clusters of firms access global markets.

State – Florida: Office of Freight Logistics and Passenger Operations – A new department to coordinate and prioritize freight and port strategies and investments.

Low Carbon:-

Metro – Chicago, IL: “Retrofit Chicago” – Leveraging private investment in a new Infrastructure Trust for the energy retrofit of public buildings.

State – California: Cap-and-Trade – The launch of a carbon trading system to lower carbon emissions and further demarcate the state as the center of the American clean economy.

Innovation:-

Metro – Youngstown, OH: National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute – A new regional manufacturing initiative to exploit the full opportunities brought by 3D printing.

State – Massachusetts: Top-USA Massachusetts – A research exchange between Boston-area and Brazilian research institutions.

Human Capital:-

Metro – San Antonio, TX: Pre-K Expansion – A commitment to expand pre-k education to give every student a strong start on the path to secondary and post-secondary success.

State – Kansas: Career and Technical Education Initiative – State incentives for enrollment in and completion of local technical education and community college classes.

Governance:-

Metro – Los Angeles, CA: America Fast Forward – Metro-federal partnership in accelerated build-out of transit expansion.

State – California, Washington, Oregon: West Coast Infrastructure Exchange – Three-state initiative to coordinate cross-state infrastructure investments

This innovations list was put out by the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation, which presents fiscally-responsible state policies and practical metropolitan-led solutions that leaders can use to move toward the next economy.

“These ten innovations represent extraordinary examples of how communities are building on their distinctive advantages to better position themselves in a global marketplace that is fiercely competitive and undergoing massive change,” said Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation.

Read more about each of the aforementioned projects on the Brookings.edu site.

Agensys Opens LEED Certified Biotech Facility in Santa Monica, CA

Kish Rajan, director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) cut the ribbon on a new $95 million biotech facility opened by Agensys in Santa Monica, CA.

Agensys Biotech Facility in Santa Monica, CA

Agensys Biotech Facility in Santa Monica, CA (photo – prlog)

The 160,000 square foot facility from Agensys will employ over 300 people. The company’s 250 current employees and contractors are in the process of moving in.

“Facilities like this one point once again to the vital part that Biotech and life sciences play in the California economy,” said GO-Biz director Rajan. “California biotech companies generated nearly 70 billion dollars of revenue last year. And innovation from California laboratories provided 21 percent of the nation’s biomedical R&D pipeline. The transforming therapies and treatments of tomorrow will come from places like this and we are proud that Agensys chose Santa Monica.”

The state-of-the-art facility is designed and set to achieve LEED Silver certification, and emphasizes sustainability. It is geared to the development of innovative antibodies for cancer patients with still unmet medical needs.

The $95 million project and the opening of the new biotech facility are part of a consolidation of operations by Agensys. The company’s offices, manufacturing, research and laboratory are all now under one roof, bringing their six separate operations in Santa Monica down to three.

The property and development rights for the land they are moving into, once a water heater manufacturing plant and then used as a film set for television shows, was acquired by Agensys through a complicated arrangement. They bought the land lease from an investor, had it extended, and then applied for development rights from the city.

Apart from building an environmentally friendly facility, the company is also improving the surround landscape. A public rotating sculpture exhibit will be displayed throughout the small park and pedestrian path that connects the facility to Bergamot station.

The first set of sculptures commissioned from artist Brad Howe is inspired by cancer fighting antibodies, while others are inspired by a range of related scientific processes.

“The theme of the first set of sculptures by Brad Howe embody the values of Agensys, Inc. in our quest to develop treatments for patients suffering from cancer. That’s why we’re thrilled to be moving to a new, state-of-the-art building that will help us accomplish those goals,” said Agensys president and CEO Dr. Sef Kurstjens. “Our move to an integrated, environmentally friendly facility within the same neighborhood in Santa Monica demonstrates our commitment to employees and to their needs in the workplace, as well as to the local community.”

Agensys is an affiliate of Tokyo, Japan based Astellas. In a statement, Astellas said that it recognizes the officials of Santa Monica, Los Angeles County and the State of California for their collaboration with the company to help reach this important milestone.

Soitec Solar Plant Opens in San Diego with 450 Jobs

Kish Rajan, director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced the opening of Soitec’s $150 million North American headquarters and solar manufacturing facility in San Diego, CA.

Opening of Soitec solar plant in San Diego, CA

Opening of Soitec solar plant in San Diego, CA (photo – soitec.com)

The factory is equipped with a state-of-the-art automated production line for CPV modules meant for the U.S. renewable energy market, and will employ 450 people at full capacity. At the peak of construction, over 280 people were employed on the site.

“This project demonstrates the long term commitment of our state and local partners to ensure Soitec opened their first U.S. manufacturing facility in California,” said director Rajan. “Not only will Soitec employ 450 Californians, they are contributing to the state’s goal of increasing our renewable energy portfolio.”

GO-Biz staff has been meeting with Soitec since 2009 to locate the headquarters and manufacturing facility in San Diego. Soitec acquired the 176,000 sq ft manufacturing center on 14.8 acres of land in December 2011.

Soitec received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for power purchase agreements totaling more than 300 MWp in 2011. The CPUC this year approved 155 MW of electricity purchase between Soitec and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

These projects, which are in various stages of development, will use Soitec’s fifth generation of CVP systems. Each 28 kW system will include 12 modules manufactured in San Diego. The first module was produced in October, and the first phase (140 MWp) of the production line is now operational. The factory has been designed to reach 280 MWp in capacity at full production.

“By producing high volumes of CPV modules at this facility, we are now able to help California meet its renewable energy goals and further support the US market,” said André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé, chairman and CEO of Soitec. “We have also installed CPV systems in 14 countries on four continents. I am very pleased and honored that we can now offer the full benefits of this know-how in meeting US needs.”

The project also received support from the City of San Diego.

“I want to congratulate Soitec on the opening of its factory here in San Diego, and thank the many organizations and individuals who worked together to help bring the company to San Diego,” commented San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. “The city, CleanTECH San Diego, the Regional EDC, UC San Diego and SDG&E combined their resources to show Soitec that San Diego was as enticing as any other region in the desert Southwest, and as a result Soitec chose to bring 450 new jobs to San Diego and invest in the future of their company here because of our green credentials and our leadership in renewable energy.”

Bernin, France-based Soitec is a $1.2 billion semiconductor manufacturer with 1,200 employees working in plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States.

Mark Zuckerberg Makes $500M Donation to Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he is is donating around $500 million to Mountain View, California-based Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF).

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO (Photo – Guillaume Paumier / Wikimedia Commons)

This is Zuckerberg’s biggest donation to-date, and has been made in the form of 18 million Facebook shares that have been transferred to SVCF as a gift.

Writing on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg said that he and his wife Priscilla Chan were looking to make an impact in education and health with their donation.

“Two years ago, Priscilla and I signed The Giving Pledge, committing to donate the majority of the money we earn to charity,” said Zuckerberg. “Today, in order to lay the foundation for new projects, we’ve made a contribution of 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Together, we will look for areas in education and health to focus on next. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to have as positive an impact in our next set of projects.”

As per their website, SVCF uses its expertise to “make giving easy and effective, helping donors achieve their philanthropic goals whether local, national or international.”

Their services include professional investment management of the funds entrusted by individual and corporate donors. As of 2011, SVCF had $2 billion in assets and more than 1,500 philanthropic funds under management.

They received $470 million in contributions last year, and awarded 10,477 grants worth $235 million. Zuckerberg’s $500 million grant more than doubles the total amount SVCF gets in annual contributions.

“Mark’s generous gift will change lives and inspire others in Silicon Valley and around the globe to give back and make the world a better place,” said SVCF CEO Emmett D. Carson.

The Giving Pledge mentioned by Zuckerberg is a campaign initiated by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to encourage exceptionally wealthy people in the U.S. to give away most of their fortune to philanthropic causes.

Back in Sept 2010, before the Facebook IPO made him a billionaire several times over, Zuckerberg launched the Startup: Education Foundation with a $100 million pledge. The foundation’s mission is to reform public schools in Newark, New Jersey by applying a startup approach.

Zuckerberg noted in his Facebook post that the foundation had helped open four new district high schools and 11 new charter schools.

U.S. Energy Dept Invests $10M For Small Business Solar Incubator Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $10 million investment for 10 small business-led solar projects under the SunShot Initiative’s incubator program.

SunShot Initiative

SunShot Initiative (Photo – U.S. DOE)

The SunShot Initiative’s Incubator program helps launch new start-ups and business units within existing companies to accelerate innovative solar technology development.

This latest $10 million investment is going towards solar projects that are hoping to significantly reduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems.

The projects selected this year will tackle a range of solutions, including advances in photovoltaics, energy storage, balance of system hardware and power electronics as well as streamlined interconnection.

Menlo Park, California-based QBotix, Inc., which is getting $972,874 from the DOE, is building an advanced robotic controller that can travel between solar trackers and automatically adjust them to follow the sun. The system enables 50 percent cost reduction in dual-axis tracking, and provides high system reliability, detailed power plant level data. It is compatible with all PV panels.

Summit, New Jersey-based Qado Energy, which is getting $500,000 from the DOE, is leading a project to provide utilities and distributed generation developers a new decision support platform that enables them to quickly assess the technical impacts and commercial benefits of deploying distributed energy resources onto the grid.

Since 2007, the Department has invested more than $92 million through incubator programs in promising technologies as they are brought from the lab to the marketplace.

The success of these projects can be judged from the fact that the DOE investments have catalyzed nearly $1.7 billion in follow-on private investment, at a ratio of nearly $20 in subsequent private sector support for every $1 of federal support.

As for the SunShot Initiative, it was Inspired by President Kennedy’s “Moon Shot” program, and aims to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Since being announced in February 2011, it has funded more than 150 projects.

By reducing the cost of solar power, SunShot aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help American manufacturers regain their market share.

The United States had a dominant position in the solar marketplace in 1995, when it was manufacturing 43 percent of the world’s PV panels. That share has continued to drop precariously to 27 percent in 2000, and then to seven percent in 2010.

You can see the full list of all the SunShot Incubator 7 award winners here.

LAEDC Study – Hollywood Supports 247,000 Jobs in LA County

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) has completed a new study on the impact of the entertainment industry on the economy of Los Angeles County, California.

In 2011, over 13,000 establishments in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles County generated:-

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign (photo – Jelson25/wikimedia)

-           161,862 jobs and $18.9 billion in payroll;

-           $121.2 billion in output; and

-          $5.6 billion in state and local taxes.

The study, commissioned by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, shows that the industry supports a stunning 246,900 workers. This includes the aforementioned 161,862 wage and salary workers in Los Angeles County, and another 85,032 free-lance professionals and other independent contract workers.

The 161,862 figure for 2011 means that Hollywood is employing more people now than in 2001, even though it is still about 16,100 jobs short of the peak employment in 2004.

The classic caricature of starving artists struggling to make it big in Hollywood hides the fact that the industry earns pay that is well above of the average wage in Los Angeles County.  Average annual wages across different sectors varies from $103,000 in sound production to $261,200 for agents, managers, and independent artists.

The overall average annual wage in the entertainment industry was $117,000 in 2011, which is more than double the average ($53,300) across all private sector industries.

Within the industry, the motion picture and video sectors accounted for the lion’s share of industry employment with 117,841 jobs last year and payroll totaling $11.3 billion.

As for the economic impact on the county, the entertainment industry accounted for 585,800 total jobs in 2011. This includes 246,900 direct jobs, 118,900 indirect jobs, and 219,970 induced jobs. These 585,800 jobs are equivalent to 17.6 percent of the county’s 3.3 million private non-farm wage and salary jobs in 2011.

Associated with these jobs is labor income of $43.3 billion, while the industry output amounted to $121.2 billion, both of which are measured in 2011 dollars. In addition, the industry generated $5.6 billion in state and local taxes.

The report also outlined the challenges faced by the industry. The amount of on-location movie production in Los Angeles has plunged by 60 percent over the past 15 years. In 2005, 82 percent of all new television pilots were shot in Los Angeles County. By 2011, this figure had dropped to 51 percent.

This has had a substantial impact on the local economy. Based on previous research conducted by the LAEDC, a single $175 million movie sustains 2,400 jobs and generates $27 million in state and local tax revenue.

The report says it is vital for California to have a strong program offering incentives to film makers to stay in California. The $100 million provided annually for the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program is highlighted as an example. The program is credited with generating $3.8 billion in economic output and 27,000 mostly well-paying jobs, while preserving a critical mass of creative workers.

Read the full LAEDC report on “The Entertainment Industry and the Los Angeles County Economy” – Download (pdf)

USDA to School Cafeterias – Buy Local

The U.S. Depart of Agriculture (USDA) announced the first-ever “Farm to School grants” totaling $4.5 million for 68 projects, spanning 37 states and the District of Columbia. These grants are meant to help connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers.

USDA Farm to School Grants

USDA Farm to School Grants (Photo – agriculture.sc.gov)

The grants will serve more than 3,200 schools and 1.75 million students, nearly half of whom live in rural communities.

“When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “Evidence also suggests that when kids understand more about where food comes from and how it is produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.”

Some award recipients, such as the Lawrence County District in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, are using grant funds to coordinate efforts with other school districts to aggregate buying power and attract new producers to the school food service market.

Weld County School District 6 in Greeley, Colorado, will expand kitchen facilities to serve local products year-round through processing and freezing techniques.

Des Moines Municipal Schools in New Mexico will receive grant funding to increase the types of products it buys from local vendors. They already buy 100 percent locally produced beef. The USDA grant funds will be used to develop relationships with local fruit and vegetable producers to serve a full meal using locally sourced products.

Twenty-five of the programs being supported will create jobs by hiring new farm to school coordinators, while 43 projects are supporting and maintaining existing staff.

As per data provided by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the USDA received a total of 365 applications, of which 230 were for implementation grants and 135 for planning grants. The grants announced (32 planning and 36 implementation grants) will be funding only about 18.6 percent of the applications.

The largest numbers of applicants were schools (208) and nonprofits (106). State agencies (25) submitted far fewer applications, with even less interest from agricultural producers (12), local agencies (11), and Indian tribal organizations (3).

California received the most (six awards), followed by seven states with three awards each.

Farm to School grants are administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. You can see the full list of awards for fiscal year 2013 on the usda.gov website.

IBM Names 2013 Smarter Cities Challenge Grant Winners

IBM (NYSE: IBM) named 31 cities around the world as recipients of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants for 2013.

This is IBM’s single-largest philanthropic initiative, wherein they assign a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the city’s leadership.

The services provided for free to each city are valued at about $400,000. The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, $50 million competitive grant program.

Seven of the 31 cities chosen by IBM this year are American cities:-

IBM's Stanley Litow with Mayors of Smarter Cities Challenge grant winners

IBM’s Stanley Litow with Mayors of Smarter Cities Challenge grant winners (Courtesy: Feature Photo/IBM.com)

Buffalo, New York

Burlington, Vermont

Fresno, California

Knoxville, Tennessee

Reno, Nevada

Richmond, Virginia

Tucson, Arizona

The winning cities proposed innovative projects and areas of focus for IBM experts. These included strategies that address:·

-          Economic and Workforce Development — reducing local dependence on a single industry·

-          Social Services – creating an ecosystem that supports independent living for a growing senior citizen community·

-          Sustainability – setting policies around billing rates, electric vehicle use, and solar power generation on a smart power grid·

-          Capital Budget Planning – enabling citizens to request expenditures, while also analyzing their potential impact·

-          Urban Planning – taking a more systematic, data-driven approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and permits.

“We congratulate the cities selected as IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant recipients for 2013. This was a difficult decision because so many cities made strong cases to earn our time and talent. But the winners distinguished themselves among their peers by convincingly demonstrating their preparation and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will improve their residents’ quality of life and make their cities even smarter,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM’s Foundation.

Reactions from some of the winners:-

Fresno, California Mayor Ashley Swearengin  - “The City of Fresno is poised and ready to benefit tremendously from the expertise that IBM will provide to our ongoing efforts to deal with our economic challenges. We are pleased to partner with IBM through the Smarter Cities Challenge to help us optimize the use of our limited resources.”

Fresno hopes to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to build a regional cloud for sharing “open data” and modeling tools that will be instrumental for citizen engagement. Fresno will also work with IBM on a plan to deploy ultra-high speed broadband in the Downtown Corridor, which could serve as the underpinning for development of a regional agricultural technology cluster in Fresno.

Knoxville, Tennessee  Mayor Madeline Rogero – “We are thrilled to be selected for this competitive program. It will be invaluable to have the expertise and outside perspective of IBM’s team as we work to make Knoxville a more sustainable city for everyone.”

Knoxville’s application asks IBM for advice on the most effective way to connect weatherization and energy education services to residents who receive emergency utility bill assistance. This will help reduce the demand each year for emergency assistance with utility bills for low-income ratepayers, particularly those in older, inefficient buildings.

Richmond, Virginia Mayor Dwight C. Jones  - “It is an honor to receive the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant as this resource of human capital will prove invaluable in moving Richmond forward as we continue our work of enhancing our economic and workforce development efforts. It is my hope that the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant will help us create an economic development tool that will improve the health of our city through the strengthening of our neighborhoods; an instrument that focuses on the community level to support the attraction and retention of neighborhood businesses.”

This is the third and final year for the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants. In the first two years, IBM has completed work in more than 60 cities globally.  For more information, visit smartercitieschallenge.org.

LAEDC Report – Economic Impact of Pacific Standard Time

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) has published an economic impact analysis report for the Pacific Standard Time art exhibit staged by 60 cultural institutions and more than 70 galleries across Southern California between October 2011 and March 2012.

LAEDC report - Pacific Standard Time economic impact

LAEDC report – Pacific Standard Time economic impact (photo – getty.edu)

The report, commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Trust and funded by Bank of America, found that the combined activity related to “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945—1980” during the six month program period generated $280.5 million in economic output in Southern California.

In addition to exhibitions hosted by cultural institutions, dozens of local galleries and several art fairs (such as the art fair hosted by Art Platform) piggy-backed on the exposure generated for PST and debuted their own exhibitions and sales.

All put together, PST supported 2,490 jobs with total labor income of $101.3 million. This activity is estimated to have added $19.4 million in tax revenues for state and local governments across a six county region.

An estimated 1.8 million visitors participated at exhibitions across the region. The majority of visitors came from within California, with about 78 percent originating from Southern California. Approximately 13 percent of visitors came from states other than California, and 3.4 percent traveled from outside the United States.

The center of activity was Los Angeles County. Out of a total of 60 participating cultural institutions, more than 40 were in Los Angeles County. Among the largest institutions were the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Norton Simon Museum.

In Los Angeles County, PST supported 2,130 jobs with total labor income of $88.5 million. The total output impact in the county is estimated to have been $234.8 million. This activity is estimated to have generated $15.5 million in state and local tax revenues.

Outside Los Angeles County, the program supported 370 jobs with total labor income of $12.8 million. The total output impact excluding Los Angeles County is estimated to have been $45.7 million. This activity is estimated to have generated $4.0 million in state and local tax revenues.

Pacific Standard Time was first initiated by the Getty Foundation and the Getty Research Institute in 2002, as a collaborative effort to preserve the archival record of the milestones in this region’s artistic history. By the time they got the project open last year, the Getty Foundation had already sunk $10 million on it.

Pacific Standard Time brings to light the dynamic history of art in Los Angeles from the post-World War II era through the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.

“The record of decades of artistic innovation was for too long scattered in storerooms and files all over Southern California, difficult to access and in some cases in danger of being lost or destroyed,” said Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “Through Pacific Standard Time, the region’s enormously creative history has been preserved and re-examined, narrative by narrative.”

“Los Angeles is the creative epicenter of the world, and we believe that supporting the arts contributes to a climate where innovation flourishes, economies grow, and people, businesses and communities thrive,” said Janet Lamkin, president, Bank of America California.

Read the full “Pacific Standard Time” economic impact report – Download (pdf)

El Pajaro CDC Incubator Chosen as Power of Small Finalist

A Community Kitchen Incubator Program (CKIP) developed by the El Pajaro Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Watsonville, California has been nominated as a finalist in the “Power of Small: Entrepreneurs Strengthening Local Economies” competition.

El Pajaro Community Development Corporation

El Pajaro CDC (photo – changemakers.com)

The El Pajaro CKIP was one of 11 finalists chosen by judges in the Changemakers international competition. A total of 370 projects and organizations had been nominated from all over the world.

The competition’s goal is to promote the most innovative strategies that help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in under-served communities. El Pajaro’s CKIP is the only U.S. project on the list of finalists.

The top four winners out of these 11 finalists will be chosen by popular vote. The voting period ends on Nov 2, 2012. The four winners will each get a capital, technology and promotion package from SAP – including a cash prize of $10,000 and a technology donation to optimize performance and scale-up operations.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized as innovative in a global competition,” said Carmen Herrera, executive director of El Pájaro CDC. “But what winning this competition really means for our community is that we can support more micro-entrepreneurs in their quest for economic security.”

Hidden behind the vast agricultural wealth of Central California are communities which suffer from persistent concentrations of poverty and high unemployment with rates near 30 percent, affecting the predominantly rural, immigrant, Latino farm workers.

The El Pajaro Incubator allows people without means in this area to take advantage of the available food and supply chain network in the area without having to invest the thousands of dollars a commercial kitchen requires.

Apart from the fully equipped, shared-use commercial kitchen facility, El Pajaro helps out with licensing, micro-loans of up to $5,000, technical support and business assistance to help new businesses grow and succeed.

The incubator was set up in Watsonville, California by El Pajaro with the help of a $90,000 Small Business Administration (SBA) grant that was used to purchase equipment. The building, which is a former tofu plant, is leased for four years with an option to buy. The El Pajaro CDC is confident they will be able to buy the building in two years.

All eleven finalists in the Power of Small competition have been invited to the SAP SAPPHIRE NOW Conference in Madrid, Spain from November 13-15, 2012, where the four winners will be announced.

Vote before Nov 2, 2012 for the El Pajaro CDC Kitchen Incubator here. You can vote for up to three of the 11 finalists if you are not rooting for anyone in particular. But if you want the El Pajaro CDC to win, then you might want to restrict yourself to just that one vote . 

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