News & Updates

Chamber Hosted Second Community Choice Aggregation Workshops

On August 30, the Chamber hosted the second of two workshops on Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) following the release of the City of San Diego’s CCA feasibility study which looked at options to help the city increase the percentage of renewable energy on the grid. Achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2035 was a key component of the city’s landmark Climate Action Plan, which was supported by the Chamber.

The audience heard from an additional four experts with different perspectives. The panelists included City of San Diego, San Francisco Public Utilities, and California Wind Energy Association. The workshop was open to everyone fostering thorough discussion and debate.

Watch the first and second workshops here.

Stormwater Workshop Series Concludes with Summit on September 20

In recent years, environmental groups have advocated for stormwater capture and reuse as a sustainable water supply source with multiple benefits, but there are still many unknowns about the feasibility and potential for reuse of stormwater.

Previously, the Chamber hosted three workshops to ask the question, “What is the potential to capture and reuse stormwater when it rains?” This summit is the capstone to an effort that engaged the business community, civic leaders and policy-makers on the potential for stormwater capture and reuse as a sustainable source of water supply within our region.

It is open to the public free of charge although RSVP is required.

Tecate Art Installation

Last week French artist JR unveiled an art installation at the Tecate border. Since 2001, JR has been pasting his black and white images all over the world. He launched a global campaign by placing large-scale images in public space using his camera to shine a light on community heroes, to make political statements, and to give, in his words, people dignity all over the world. JR states that the street is the “largest art gallery in the world”, and often challenges widely held preconceptions and the reductive images propagated by media.

In 2011 he won the TED Prize, and used the $100,000 award money to fund his ongoing Inside Out project, which empowers people in different communities worldwide to take their photographs and paste them in public as an act of defiance. “Image is part of the healing process”, he has said.

The installation will be visible close to the Tecate border for a month ending October 7th and came out only a few days after President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) after a six-month delay. When interviewed by the media upon the revelation of “Kikito”, JR said he only wanted to bring back perspective: “for this little kid, there are no walls and borders”.


San Diego National Albondigas Political Society Binational Panel

The Chamber attended a binational panel hosted by the National Albondigas Political Society (NAPS) on September 8. Paola Avila, on behalf of the Chamber, participated in a panel along with Denice Garcia, Director of International Affairs from the Office of Mayor Faulconer, and David Moreno, Secretary of Economic Development of Tijuana. They discussed relevant topics in the binational agenda including the challenges that a non-inclusive immigration program brings to the region, insight on border infrastructure and workforce development as areas of opportunity and binational collaboration.

“We are all beneficiaries of DACA” Paola Avila commented “the immigration population is a critical part of our workforce creating additional jobs, representing one-third of the workforce, and contributing 25% to GDP in San Diego. She also highlighted that deportees will face a 10-year waiting period to apply for a green card which altogether stresses out the need for congressional action now.

The City of Tijuana is preparing a contingency plan for dreamers who will be in need of assistance if they are unable to keep their migratory status. Moreno shared that the City of Tijuana is waiting to hear more about the specifics in the cancellation of DACA to determine how Tijuana will be affected by deportations. Garcia stated that Mayor Faulconer asked Congress to take action in time, with 30,000 to 40,000 local DACA recipients, it can potentially impact the state’s and local economy.

OneBorder Meeting

Driven by the lack of understanding of the border region in both Washington, D.C. and Mexico City, the Chamber worked with other like-minded organizations to co-found #OneBorder, a network of private sector stakeholders promoting of the binational relationship and collaboration. The next OneBorder meeting will be held Tuesday, September 19 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Laredo, TX, at the Texas A&M International University Campus. It will be followed by a logistics and manufacturing symposium, focusing in North America as the most competitive region in the world. The “Pathways for Trade” symposium will take place September 19th and 20th at the same location.

For more details, and the agenda for the Pathways for Trade event, please visit:

President Trump Revokes DACA

Last week, President Trump announced a phasing out of the DACA program by March of 2018. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, created under the Obama administration, supported hundreds of thousands of youth immigrants by allowing them a two-year work permit and avoid deportation. Congress must now pass legislation to continue the program before the March deadline.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, 343,000 Californians are currently eligible for DACA, with 114,000 more in the near future. 38,000 of DACA eligible recipients are in San Diego.

DACA recipients are a critical part of our workforce, helping businesses and economy grow and spurring future job creation. San Diego’s immigrant population also provides a powerful economic impact in terms of spending power (approximately $16 billion annually) and taxes paid ($6 billion). In order to ensure an increase in GDP, we must grow not diminish our immigrant population

Allan Zaremberg, California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, issued a statement renewing the call for comprehensive immigration reform as it is crucial for California’s economic future: “DACA has shown us that certainty in legal status fosters success in education, employment and job creation”. With almost 800,000 workers and students enrolled in DACA in the U.S. (200,00 of which are Californians), “Congress must act swiftly to address this issue so we aren’t left with a problem of losing productive tax-paying jobs,” Zaremberg said.

Similarly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement in which terminating employment eligibility of DACA recipients is said to “run contrary to the President’s goal of growing the U.S. economy,” and asking Congress to find a legislative solution before the program expires

The Chamber has long supported comprehensive immigration reform The Chamber believes we can enhance our regional and national economy through a well-trained and plentiful workforce. A reduction in immigrant population also results in a smaller consumer market. Future growth of our economy depends on immigration policies which allow our businesses to hire skilled workers, investment in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The pending end of the DACA program highlights the critical need for immigration reform. We urge Congress to take action and pass legislation to support our economy.

Watch VP of International Business Affairs Paola Avila discussing DACA on KUSI.

El Universal Newspaper 100th Anniversary

El Universal celebrates 100 years with an outdoor exhibition open 24 hours through September 28 at the Arts District in Liberty Station, Barracks 14, in Point Loma. Admission is free to this large photographic exhibition of “100 Years in the Life of Mexico & the World”, front-page stories that chronicle a century of national and international events.

The exhibit includes nearly 50 panels on display, featuring the first edition of the paper, published October 1, 1916, which informed of the reestablishment of the judicial system in the Republic of Mexico, following resolutions dealing with the Mexican Revolution’s rebel groups. Other front pages exhibited include Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, the 9/11 attacks, and Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. “The collaboration with the Mexican Consulate, Tijuana Innovadora, and El Universal continues to establish the ARTS DISTRICT as an international destination for art and history”, commented NTC Foundation Executive Director Alan Ziter.

For more details to this free event visit

Exploring Baja’s Wine Country, Guadalupe Valley

Kimberly Hunt, News Anchor from 10 News, paid a visit to the Guadalupe Valley to learn about Baja’s wine industry. She had the opportunity to meet with Vineyard Monte Xanic’s CEO, Hans Backoff, and internationally renowned chef, Javier Plascencia, owner of a group of restaurants specialized in “Baja Med” cuisine. Plascencia describes his dishes as Mediterranean with a regional twist. At Finca Altozano, visitors enjoy regional cuisine with fresh ingredients from the valley’s ranches and gardens. Monte Xanic is one of the oldest vineyards in Valle de Guadalupe, recognized for its innovative ways of creating wine while still honoring traditions.

Last year more than 160,000 tourists visited the Guadalupe Valley in Ensenada, just two hours south of the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego. Every year, this number triples. Today, the Guadalupe Valley is home for over 150 wineries, and more hotels and restaurants are opening to keep up with the demand.

The Chamber supports all efforts promoting cross border commerce and tourism and encourages citizens to explore new places to increase the economic development of the San Diego – Baja region.

Kurdistan’s Ambassador Meets with the Chamber

The Chamber welcomed Ambassador Bayan Sami Rahman, from Kurdistan (Iraq), who met with Director of International Business Affairs, Kenia Zamarripa, on August 16. The meeting provided insightful information about the presence of Kurdistan’s community in our region and allowed an open dialogue for collaboration opportunities.

Ambassador Sami shared Kurdistan’s need for foreign direct investment, particularly in infrastructure & housing, healthcare, tourism, and oil and gas services. Their office in Washington D.C. will be leading a U.S. trade mission to Kurdistan this fall and host an international trade show in Kurdistan in October on October 15th to 18th. This exhibition attracts local and international enterprises to explore business opportunities in Kurdistan Region & Iraq’s diverse markets, and stimulate bilateral trade relations with the region’s neighboring countries and the international community.

More information can be found here:


I-5 South Closure and Realignment Project Update

The Chamber has been working with Anthony Kleppe, Senior Asset Manager with the General Services Administration (GSA) to receive updates on the upcoming temporary closure of southbound vehicle traffic on the I-5 and I-805 freeways. Traffic will be redirected to State Route 905 from 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 23rd until 12:00 p.m. on Monday, September 25th, 2017. Therefore, access to Mexico through El Chaparral-San Ysidro Port of Entry will be closed during that period and rerouted to Otay Port of Entry via SR-905.

What you need to know:

  • Northbound and Southbound pedestrian access will not be affected.
  • After the 57-hour closure, three lanes on the east side will be open.
  • In the following stage, four lanes (west side) will be in operation by Thanksgiving.
  • The Mexican government committed to having most lanes open at El Chaparral-San Ysidro Port of Entry and continues its efforts to facilitate access to the Otay Port of Entry.
  • Additional nocturnal closures will take place at the San Ysidro Port of Entry Northbound, Monday to Friday at 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., starting September 18 until December 30. The closure only affects the east side entrance to I-5 at night while a pedestrian bridge is built over it. Traffic will be rerouted to the west entrance to I-5 and is not expected to create any delays.

For more on the closure, please visit: