Lockyer holds hearing in SF about Nummi plant 

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is holding a hearing in San Francisco on Wednesday on a new effort to keep the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont from being shuttered.

Lockyer has formed a commission, which includes actor Danny Glover and Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman, to study the economic impacts of closing the auto plant as scheduled on March 31.

NUMMI was a 25-year-old joint venture between General Motors and Toyota, but GM announced in June that it would withdraw from the partnership and Toyota announced in August that it wouldn't order any more vehicles from the plant after the end of March.

The company employs about 4,700 people and it's been estimated that the closure could affect another 20,000 people who work at suppliers around the state that do business with NUMMI.

According to Lockyer's office, the commission he has formed will travel to Japan to deliver a report to Toyota officials.

In addition to Glover and Wasserman, the panel includes University of California at Berkeley professor Harley Shaiken, who is its chair; the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow of Presbyterian Church USA; Port of Oakland Commission Chairman Victor Uno; and Nina Moore of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

Other members include Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California; Bruce Kern, executive director of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance; Carl Pope, president of the Sierra Club of America; and Art Pulaski, the chief officer of the California Federation of Labor.

At a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, questioned Toyota USA president James Lentz and said he believes the company has not made a concerted effort to explore all options to keep the NUMMI plant open.

McNerney also released a statement in which he said, "I believe that closing the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant would be a mistake for Toyota and would be harmful for thousands of California families."

"I urge Toyota in the strongest terms to reconsider this decision because I am convinced that keeping NUMMI open would benefit the public and the company," he said.

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