News & Updates

10News LEADership Award Recipient Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir is honored by LEAD and 10News for raising funds for educational grants for San Diego County high school students.

RECAP: 12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City

The Chamber’s 12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City – March 26 through 29, 2017 – brought nearly 90 business and community leaders as well as elected officials from San Diego and Baja, California to Mexico’s capital. The focus of our trip was to reaffirm our region’s commitment to binational collaboration, strengthen diplomatic and economic ties, and advance the policies that benefit both economies. And great success was achieved on all fronts.

Trip highlights and successes include:

MX DelegationGroupPhoto2017

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  • Signing an MOU with the Mexican Senate which formalizes collaboration and support between the Senate and our Chamber to promote and protect the bilateral commercial relationship.
  • Received support from Luis Videgaray, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, SRE, for the diplomatic note that is necessary to re-establish the rail port of entry at Tecate – an important step forward for the cross-border railroad. Mexican Consul General in San Diego, Marcella Celorio will serve as the lead within SRE.
  • Received an update on the Otay II port of entry confirming the Mexican land concession will be acquired in the next few months and that construction will begin in 2018 with an operating date of 2020.
  • Delegates enjoyed a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson at her residence, a meeting with former Mexican Ambassador and current Undersecretary for North America at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE), and an open roundtable discussion with over 10 members of Congress.

Another significant accomplishment of this year’s trip was sharing the message of support for the U.S.-Mexico relationship that is so important to our binational region. All of the legislators and federal agency representatives we met with during the trip were welcoming and thankful for our continued commitment to strengthening diplomatic and economic ties.

Below is a more detailed recap of each day’s activities. More photos from the trip are available on the Chamber’s Facebook page. If you’re interested in getting involved in the Chamber’s future delegation trips, visit

12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City

The 12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City began Sunday, March 26 with an evening Welcome Reception for the nearly 90 business, community and government leaders from San Diego and Baja taking part in the trip.


J.C. Thomas speaking on behalf of Title Sponsor Sempra Energy




Day One

The first full day of meetings started with a welcome from our binational region’s mayors, Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego and Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum of Tijuana. Delegates then heard from Juan Pardinas, Director of a thinktank, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness and former Advisor to President Obama’s Council on Open Government. This was followed by meetings on the region’s critical infrastructure projects with various leaders from Mexico’s customs, transportation and national assets and a meeting with the Secretariat of the Interior where delegates discussed topics ranging from medical tourism to the cross-border railroad. Paulo Carreño King, Executive Director of ProMexico, shared an impressive overview of the region’s assets as a global powerhouse which was followed by a look the U.S.-Mexico relationship from Enrique Velasco, Partner at SAI Consultants and former advisor to the President of Mexico where he led the negotiations on NAFTA. Luis Videgaray, Secretary of Foreign Affairs met with a smaller group of delegates to discuss NAFTA, the cross-border railroad, and Otay II among other topics. During the day, the Mayors of San Diego & Tijuana, Mexican Consul General Marcela Celorio, and Jerry Sanders held a press conference to express support for the U.S.-Mexico Relationship and our region’s commitment to cross-border collaboration. The evening ended with a truly memorable reception hosted at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson.





videgaray 2  





Day Two

Tuesday started with a breakfast meeting hosted by Citibanamex. The featured speakers included:

  • Dr. Sergio Luna, Director of Economic Research gave a presentation on Mexico’s Economic Outlook, NAFTA, and bilateral relations.
  • Carlos Sada, Undersecretary for North America at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE). Undersecretary Sada discussed North American integration and the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and how working together makes our countries a global powerhouse.

After the meeting at Citibanamex, delegates went to the Mexican Senate and met with Senators from commissions overseeing affairs of the border region and discussed issues critical to our region. During the meeting, the Chamber signed a formal agreement with the Senate which establishes a mechanism for collaboration and support between the Senate and our Chamber to promote and protect the U.S.-Mexico commercial relationship. The agreement reaffirms the commitment to serve and defend the interests of a bilateral economy, as well as to create and promote business opportunities on both sides of the border through laws and initiatives that generate the highest levels of collaboration and business opportunities in the region. This is a true milestone for the trip and is 12 years in the making as we have been meeting with members of Senate and expanding and building our relationship since the start of these delegations. Our goal is that this will serve as model for other Chambers and business organizations across the border region.









Day Three

Delegates began day three with a breakfast meeting sponsored by SIMNSA Health Plan which featured an open dialogue with over 10 members of the Mexican Congress led by Congresswoman Maria Luisa Sanchez of Tijuana. The discussion allowed delegates to explore topics of interest for our region directly with the Congressmembers. This meeting was followed by a look at Mexico’s private sector featuring a panel on Mexico’s innovation economy – a topic just as important as our meetings with government agencies. Panelists included Anheuser Busch and Grupo Bimbo who are launching their own accelerator programs to find the next big startups in Mexico. The panel was sponsored by Blue Box Ventures, the largest network of corporate incubators, accelerators and venture funds in Latin America. The trip closed with a candid and insightful conversation on NAFTA with Juan Carlos Baker Pineda, Undersecretary of Foreign Trade from the Secretariat of the Economy. Undersecretary Baker expressed Mexico’s open policy on trade and vision for the future in the continuation of what has been a successful relationship. As delegates departed they toasted to the end of a productive trip with farewell margaritas courtesy of the team at Blue Box Ventures. ¡Salud!

PHOTO 11 DAY 4  




Member Spotlight: Carnitas’ Snack Shack

In 2011, Chef Hanis Cavin and Sara Stroud opened Carnitas’ Snack Shack, their first joint venture carnitas-logo-pms180in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. The “Snack Shack,” as it’s affectionately called, serves up thoughtfully-sourced, pork- centric American cuisine and local craft beers in a fun, no-fuss environment. Over the years Hanis and Sara (and Carnitas–their pet pig!) have earned the respect of their colleagues through hard work, creativity, and dedication to their community. Inspired to share their passion for food and life with more people, the king and queen of pork launched a Snack Shack on the Embarcadero waterfront in Spring 2016, offering a full bar program and panoramic views of the San Diego harbor.

Looking for a venue for your next event? Allow our dedicated Director of Events to make your event dreams a reality!

LZCarnitasSpace-6A 9,840 square-foot open-air venue, Carnitas’ Snack Shack Embarcadero is the ultimate outdoor venue. Boasting a state of the art architectural design, the Embarcadero Shack is known for its laid back atmosphere, waterfront views, and specialty crafted cocktails. With a close proximity to many attractions including the Headquarters, Seaport Village, Gaslamp Quarter, and the Midway, the Embarcadero Shack is the ideal venue for corporate events, concerts or festivals, and intimate weddings. Specialty parking options are available.


Contact Samantha Flood for inquiries at or 619-957-4180.

Carnitas’ Snack Shack
1004 N. Harbor Dr.


Carnitas’ at Petco: The Pigs Are Taking Over the Park!pig out

Carnitas’ also recently announced they will be opening two new locations within Petco Park! The menu will be a mix of some existing staple items, like the Triple Threat, as well as some new items, like a Smoked Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog made with a smoked bacon wrapped pork hot dog, carnitas, pico de gallo, and chipotle aioli. In addition to our food menu, we will also be offering local beer and craft cocktails! Catch Carnitas’ at the ballpark in left field in sections 128 & 228!

Tax Season Tips For Small Business Owners


Tips & Strategies for Small Business Owners to Survive Tax Season

By: Jorge Ceballos, Bank of America Vice President-Small Business

Jorge Ceballos Photo

A new year brings a new tax season. April 18th is only a few weeks away – D-Day for many small business owners who are filing taxes. Whether you are a sole proprietor an individual running an organized business entity, filing taxes can be stressful, but the process for small business owners can be especially complex and overwhelming due to the daily demands on their time. With constantly changing tax laws and complex regulations, it can be difficult for small businesses to keep up and ensure they do not get penalized. Below are a few strategies and reminders to keep in mind to alleviate some of the stress this tax season.

  • Take Advantage of External Resources
    Filing taxes is time-consuming and challenging, and is not everyone’s area of expertise. Small business owners should take advantage of outside resources that can do the work for them, so they can focus their valuable time on running their business. Suggested resources include an accountant or bookkeeper, but finding the right one is something that should not be taken lightly. If you are looking for an accountant or bookkeeper, reach out to your peers, a mentor or a small business banker for recommendations. Ideally, you should identify someone that specializes in your industry or business size. It is also extremely important to find someone you feel comfortable with because you will need to give them details about your business. Your working relationship should be communicative, strong and honest. Small businesses should turn to these resources not only around tax season, but throughout the year to discuss any large purchases or expenses that will be made.
  • Learn About Policy Changes
    Small business owners should be aware of any new laws or changes to regulations that are implemented each year – both at the federal and state level. For example, effective January 1, 2017, the IRS made changes to the tax brackets for the 2017 calendar year. Also, with a new administration, there will likely be changes that will affect small business owners this tax year. Be sure to learn of any changes that might impact your filing and conduct appropriate research to find answers to any questions.
  • Stay Organized and Track Expenditures
    Staying organized is an easy and important action that will not only help small business owners during tax season, but throughout the entire year. There are platforms and tools available to help keep you organized in all aspects of your business, such as managing accounts, expenses and payroll. Also, remember to track more than just the typical expenditures. If you use your car for business purposes, you could use an app to keep track of the mileage related to business activities. By keeping on top of your records throughout the year, you can take steps to estimate your taxes quarterly and hopefully avoid surprises when April 18th rolls around.
  • Go Digital
    Technology has become a large part of our lives, so it should be no different when it comes to taxes. There are countless software solutions out there that can assist with creating tax records, tracking expenses and reporting deductions. These solutions can help keep small business owners organized throughout the year, making tax season a little less stressful. Technology doesn’t just keep you organized, it is also there to help. The IRS has a great app called IRS2Go, which can help answer smaller tax questions year round.

Want to learn more about tax-saving strategies and how to prepare for the year ahead? Check out the Bank of America Small Business Community for tips.

Bank of America, N.A. provides informational reading materials for your discussion and review purposes only. Please consult your tax advisor, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.




Televisa Coverage of the
12th Annual Binational Delegation to Mexico City

Sunday, March 26

Monday, March 27

Tuesday, March 28

Wednesday, March 29

California Earned Income Tax Credit


California’s Earned Income Tax Credit (Cal EITC) is designed to put money in the pockets of working families and individuals. Claiming this credit is easy. Eligible taxpayers just need to file a state tax return.

If you do not owe taxes, Cal EITC will provide you with a tax refund when you file your return. If you owe taxes, Cal EITC reduces the amount of taxes you might owe and may allow you a refund when you file your taxes.

Signed into law in 2015, California’s new EITC is available for households with adjusted gross incomes of less than $6,717 if there are no qualifying children, less than $10,087 if there is one qualifying child, less than $14,161 if there are two qualifying children, or $14,161 if there are three or more qualifying children. To find out exactly if you qualify, use the EITC Calculator available here.

Free Tax Filing Assistance is Available

United Way continues to lead the San Diego Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition, offering free tax preparation to local families and individuals with low to moderate income. Free tax preparation is available in San Diego to most low and moderate income households*. There are two easy ways to see if you qualify to file for free:

File Online:

If your household* earned $62,000 or less in 2016, visit and file your taxes from the comfort of your home.

File in Person:

Most households* earning approximately $54,000 or less in 2016 qualify to file their taxes with a certified preparer. Call 2-1-1 or log onto to see if you qualify and make an appointment at a site near you. Tax preparation is available in multiple languages and throughout San Diego County.

*A household includes all individuals listed on your tax return

What to Bring:

  • Valid Photo ID
  • Social Security Card or ITIN for yourself and your dependents
  • Income documents, including W2s or 1099s
  • Bank account information for direct deposit
  • School tuition or student loan interest statements
  • Dates and Proof of health coverage for self and dependents
  • Proof of Health Insurance (Forms 1095-A, 1095-B, or 1095-C)

Other Services:

In addition to tax preparation, several sites offer other services such as screening for CalFresh, child care, utility bill and other benefits; nutritional activities; Affordable Care Act enrollment information; and opportunities to enroll in financial education classes. Ask your tax preparer for further details.

For more information on the Cal EITC and to see if you qualify, visit

San Diego Considers Short-Term Rentals

  • What: Special Hearing of the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee
  • When: Friday, March 24th, 9:00am
  • Where: Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, 404 Euclid Avenue, San Diego, CA 92114

For nearly two years the Chamber has participated in the conversation regarding short-term rentals and the importance of the sharing economy in San Diego. On March 24, the City of San Diego’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee will review proposals to reasonably regulate short-term rentals to allow them to continue to operate and provide benefits to our communities and local economy.

Responsible hosting of a room or entire home is a new engine for San Diego tourism and the economy. From Airbnb alone, short-term rentals brought in $14 million in transit occupancy tax this past year, in addition to an average of $8000 in annual host earnings and $180 million in local economic activity generated by hosts and guests.

Despite the benefits of this sharing economy activity, there are those who would like to see short-term rentals banned or have onerous, burdensome rules put in place to effectively eliminate this opportunity for fellow San Diegans. As a region that embraces tourism and innovation in economic development, there are significant concerns about over-regulating or prohibiting responsible hosts.

Please join fellow members in advocating for fair and reasonable regulation that will allow this important aspect of the sharing economy to thrive while protecting local neighborhoods and enhancing quality of life.

For more information, please contact Stefanie Benvenuto at (619) 544-1378 or

Chamber Joins San Diego Unified at Crawford High School

CrawfordThe Chamber joined member, San Diego Unified School District, at Crawford High School for a national project that gives free mobile hotspots to students whose family can’t afford Internet access. The 1Million Project, in partnership with Sprint, addresses the “digital divide” contributing to the achievement gap among students in San Diego.

The district initially provided the students with computers and added internet access through this initiative for use at students’ homes.

More News:

San Diego Designated as U.S. Coast Guard City

coast guard eventOn February 23rd, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego hosted a ceremony highlighting San Diego’s recently awarded U.S. Coast Guard City Designation. Jerry Sanders, Congressmember Scott Peters, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard all spoke to the strong partnership between the Coast Guard and San Diego, and how the Coast Guard has been a major part of the community locally.

Councilmember Barbara Bry Visits Public Policy Committee

Public Policy Committee welcomed newly elected Councilmember Barbara Bry to the February meeting. She shared a refreshing view on economic development, stemming from her impressive background in tech startups. She mentioned the Chamber’s Job Strategy as being an impactful product for the region.

She also stressed the importance of public-private partnerships and the role of the business community, particularly the Chamber, in ensuring a successful city. Core issues include infrastructure, housing affordability and providing tools to help everyone thrive in the innovation economy throughout the city. Councilmember Bry is chairing the Budget & Government Efficiency Committee for the City Council.

Visit Councilmember Bry’s website here