News & Updates

Member Spotlight: Allen Matkins

About Ms. Swonetz:

Josi Kennon Swonetz is a senior counsel in the San Diego office of Allen Matkins. Her practice focuses on labor and employment law and commercial litigation.  Ms. Swonetz represents employers in state and federal court, in arbitration, and before administrative agencies on a broad range of employment matters, including discrimination and harassment based on gender, race, age, and disability, wrongful termination, retaliation, and wage and hour claims.  Ms. Swonetz regularly advises employers on various labor and employment issues, including advice regarding the FMLA, the CFRA, Title VII, the ADA, and the FLSA. She also assists clients in responding to complaints filed with the EEOC and DFEH.  Ms. Swonetz’s litigation experience includes all aspects of civil litigation, including motion practice, depositions, court hearings, trial preparation, arbitration preparation, mediation, and discovery. She has successfully argued demurrers, motions to dismiss, and ex parte motions.

Ms. Swonetz is a member of the J. Clifford B. Wallace Inns of Court, the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, and is the Southern District Representative of the California Association of Black Lawyers.  She has been named one of San Diego’s Rising Star in the Super Lawyers Magazine from 2015-2017.

Josi Kennon Swonetz
Senior Counsel
San Diego
(619) 235-1560
(619) 233-1158 (fax)


About Allen Matkins:

Allen Matkins, founded in 1977, is a full-service real estate and business law firm with approximately 200 attorneys in four major metropolitan areas of California, including San Diego, as well as Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco. Allen Matkins represents many successful San Diego companies and is often involved in the region’s most high-profile real estate development projects. The firm’s attorneys have played key roles in the growth of San Diego’s business and legal communities and have established leadership positions at organizations with the most impact on the region’s social and economic development, such as the San Diego County Bar Association, the Building Industry Association (BIA) of San Diego, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) San Diego-Tijuana District Council, University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, the City of San Diego’s Historical Resources Board, and San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System, among others. The firm’s areas of legal services include real estate, construction, land use, environmental and natural resources; corporate and securities, real estate and commercial finance, bankruptcy, restructurings and creditors’ rights, joint ventures and tax; labor, employment and OSHA; and trials, litigation, risk management and alternative dispute resolution in all of these areas. For more information about Allen Matkins please visit


Housing Action Day A Success

Housing Action Day was a major success with all three pro-housing policies passing with either unanimous or significant support. Thanks to your participation in our campaign to contact a Councilmember, together we were able to show City leaders how important these policies are to the greater business community.

To recap, those policies are:

  • Streamlining of the permitting process for additional dwelling units, aka “granny flats.” These units represent an opportunity to house extended family members, students and those with less extensive space needs at a lower cost than a traditional home. Removing some of the regulatory barriers to these units and seeking lower fees will assist those looking to add a unit to their existing property.
  • Deterring frivolous CEQA appeals for projects, which will add certainty for developers while preserving the opportunity for concerned community groups to participate in the appeals process where appropriate.
  • Refining the Affordable/Sustainable Expedite program, by expanding which projects are eligible for expedited permitting. By allowing more projects to qualify, units can come to market faster and provide housing relief.

The Chamber would like to highlight the leadership of Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilman Scott Sherman, as well as their staffs who worked diligently with various stakeholders to identify policies that increased units, without increasing the cost of building.

Your role in addressing the housing crisis is important, and we appreciate your help. Housing Action Day was a key first step in solving our housing needs and we look forward to additional policy successes in the future.

Celebrate in Style in the Gaslamp District

It’s not too early – Summer is the BEST time to start planning holiday parties! Get the best selection from the in-demand December dates like Fridays and Saturdays, receive early booking incentives, PLUS check it off your to-do list and add it to ours! Located in the heart of the Gaslamp District, the event venues at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter are stylishly festive destinations for Secret Santas, ugly sweater contests, celebratory feasts and other events inspired by the season. Whether your team prefers an upscale dinner, a chic cocktail party or a casual holiday gathering, peruse our unique array of holiday party venues and menus, and give yourself the gift of stress-free event planning.

Our downtown San Diego event venues were made to host an array of events – from intimate business meetings to industry conferences to weddings, social events and everything in between. With modern AV equipment, hands-on personal service, and flexible layouts, San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter is the perfect place for productive corporate gatherings and memorable affairs. We’re proud to state that our events team consistently receives 5-star reviews from special event & meeting planners! Clients can confidently trust that we will handle all of the little details.

Book your holiday party NOW and select ONE bonus from the following:

  • Discounted Valet Parking ($10/car)
  • One Complimentary Sleeping Room on the night of the event (based on availability)
  • Upgraded Dessert Station
  • Platinum Membership with Marriott

Restrictions apply, please call 1-619-446-6038 or email for more details and to start planning today!


10News LEADership Award Recipient Margarita Castro

Margarita Castro is honored with the 10News LEADership Award for her commitment to improving the quality of life within the Linda Vista community.

Housing Scorecard Shows Affordability to Worsen by 2020

The significance of San Diego’s housing crisis has the attention of the region’s elected, business, and community leaders. And for good reason: it’s getting worse. Housing affordability and accessibility are a major bottleneck for the region’s growth and development.

A new report by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS® shows that the situation is growing even more dire. The “Housing Scorecard” compares the progress of each of the 18 cities and the County of San Diego in permitting the construction of new homes and provides an accurate depiction of how the housing market is impacting San Diegans.


Key findings include:

  • The San Diego region as a whole is on pace to produce only 50 percent of the units needed to accommodate population growth
  • Of the four income categories – very low, low, moderate, and above moderate – only the “above moderate” category is seeing close to adequate production to meet the need
  • The City of San Diego is by far producing the most units, although they are only on pace to produce 51 percent of new units by 2020
  • Only four of the 18 cities are building enough units to meet the need – Coronado, Lemon Grove, San Marcos, and Vista
  • Many cities have not built any units in the very low, low, or moderate income categories

The report also explores the impact of the housing affordability problem, revealing two key takeaways:

  • Families and seniors are being pushed out of California
  • California does not have the influx of Millennials that our competitor states do


To read the Housing Scorecard, visit

Member Spotlight: Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute

Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI) is a non-profit scientific research organization committed to conserving and renewing marine life to ensure a healthier planet. Our team of experts provides innovative scientific solutions to challenges threatening ocean health and marine life in our rapidly changing world.

We partner with other nonprofits, government, businesses and donors to feed a hungry world and restore depleted fish populations, use sound to harmonize human and animal interaction, and examine the interconnectedness of marine life, their health, and their habitats. HSWRI collaborates with SeaWorld and conservation partners around the world to conduct research with animals in zoological collections to benefit wild populations. We also work with SeaWorld as first responders in marine animal response and rescue.

On June 1, 2017, we hosted an Open House and Conservation Concert in celebration of our 54th anniversary. Sponsored by Torrey Pines Bank, the event included the unveiling of our new brand masthead with San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Chair Ernesto Arredondo and City Councilmember Scott Sherman in attendance. Our community partner, the Sempra Energy Foundation, was honored at the event.

Guests of the Open House enjoyed lab tours and the first Conservation Concert of the summer. Our concert series was launched in 2016. We’ll host two remaining concerts this summer for our donors and guests on Thursday July 27th and Thursday August 24th. All proceeds from the concerts benefit our global research to help marine life thrive.

In our rapidly changing world, our research is never complete. Whether it is deploying rescue teams, replenishing at risk fish populations, protecting habitats or simply better understanding life in our oceans, we want to create a planet where humans and marine life thrive together.


Eileen Sigler, Vice President of Development|
Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute

San Diego Padres Comunidad Awards – Nomination Deadline August 1

The San Diego Padres are seeking nominations for the 2017 Hispanic Heritage Comunidad Awards. The awards honor community leaders or organizations that have made significant contributions to the region’s Hispanic community within the Padres Foundation’s four focus areas: LIVE (health & mentorship), LEARN (education), PLAY (recreation), and SERVE (volunteerism, military, and first responders). One nominee will be selected from each category.

Each winner will receive $1,000 to donate to a non-profit of their choice. All winners will be recognized during a pre-game ceremony on September 23, 2017.

Send an email to and tell the San Diego Padres, in 500 words or less, why you or your nominee deserves the Comunidad Award.

Nomination deadline: August 1, 2017

For more information, click here.

San Diego and Tijuana to Host U.S. – Mexico Border Mayors Association Summit

The 2017 U.S. – Mexico Border Mayors Association Binational Summit will begin with a welcoming reception the evening of July 26th at the San Diego – Hilton Bayfront. The following day will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Hilton with welcoming remarks by Mayors Faulconer and Gastelum and feature panel discussions on economic development, border infrastructure, and the environment. The second day of the summit, July 28th, will be held at the Centro Cultural in Tijuana beginning at 11:30 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m.

Please RSVP your attendance to Nancy Gudino at or by phone at (619) 533-5965


BIO International 2017

Last month over 1,100 biotech companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations from across the United States and more than 30 other countries gathered in San Diego for BIO International, the largest biotech industry gathering in the world. The San Diego Regional Chamber met with the French-American and the South-Africa Chambers of Commerce to strengthen relationships and create networking opportunities for businesses from their regions looking to invest in San Diego, as well as for local businesses thinking about investing abroad.

Additionally, together with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce we hosted an Innovation & Intellectual Property roundtable with Congressman Scott Peters during the BIO International Week. At the event Rep. Peters was presented with the U.S. Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Award for his support of pro-growth, pro-business policies. For more on the roundtable visit the Global Intellectual Property Center website here.

The BIO International convention offered key networking opportunities, featured keynotes and sessions from key policymakers, scientists, and CEOs, and one-on-one partnering (BIO Business Forum), with hundreds of sessions covering biotech trends, policy issues and technological innovations. This year, San Diego broke all previous records, hosting over 41,400 partnering meetings, included over 1,800 exhibitors, and more than 800 speakers at 400 educational sessions and company presentations.

As part of the program, the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) and Thailand Center of Excellence for Lice Sciences (TCELS) cohosted a delegation from Thailand on June 19 to June 22, and offered a seminar on the country’s life science, medical, and biotech industries. BOI supports biotechnology companies investing in Thailand by granting an 8-year corporate income tax exemption, with some eligible to receive an additional exemption of import duties on machinery, as well as a 5-year 50 percent corporate income tax reduction on net profits for those located in science and technology parks.

Chamber Opposes H.R. 1813: Border Wall Funding Act 2017

The Chamber Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose H.R. 1813, a bill introduced by Representative Mike Rogers (AL) to impose a 2 percent tax on remittance transactions sent from the United States to certain foreign countries.

Double taxation of our workforce, U.S. relationships with affected countries, and an increase in utilization of grey market channels, or illegal methods of money transfers are some of the impacts to our economy.

Please join the effort by signing on to this letter of support, click here to download.