August 25, 2022
Back to school is upon us (anyone else thinking of that Staples commercial about the most wonderful time of the year?) We’re sending you and your little, or even your kind of big, ones good wishes for an uneventful school year.
UC San Diego continues to be recognized as a global research powerhouse, taking a spot as the 5th best public university in the nation in the Academic Ranking of World Universities rankings.
Pandemic disruptions created a lot of supply chain armchair experts, but now students at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District can actually claim the expert title. The district will launch a new certificate program in supply chain logistics as part of the international business curriculum.
We’d like to extend our congratulations to San Diego Business Journal’s 40 Next Top Business Leaders Under 40! Of the group, 14 represent Chamber member businesses.
IQHQ has purchased the Hyatt Regency at Aventine for $216 million, in addition to two neighboring buildings. Plans for the buildings have not yet been revealed.
Southwest CEO Bob Jordan says the airline is getting plenty of applications but there are not enough pilots in San Diego. He went on to add that he projects that mid to late next year the pilot hiring can possibly catch up to aircraft delivery. Unfortunately, for San Diegans that means there will still be a shortage for certain popular flights to the PNW, Florida, and DC.
Downtown San Diego, you’re a winner, baby! A new study by the University of Toronto found that Downtown San Diego is recovering more quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic than any other large city center across the US and Canada.
President Biden signed the historic Inflation Reduction Act on Tuesday. Highlights include faster tax refunds, rebates on green energy upgrades, and cheaper prescription medications for seniors.
Speaking of, if you have the internet you’re probably seeing threats of 87k new IRS agents. More detail can be found in a memo from Treasury Secretary Yellen to the IRS demanding a plan for the spending after that language was removed from the legislation. She further highlights that some of the hiring will be used to address attrition and the expected “retirement of some 50,000 agents” in the near future.
The White House predicts that within the next 3 weeks, COVID-19 boosters will be available as long as the FDA and the CDC work their authorization process as expected. The US so far has contracted 105 million doses of the newly-updated boosters from Pfizer and 66 million from Moderna.
Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, wouldn’t commit to a clear yes or no answer when asked if the Biden administration will continue the pause on the student debt but said the administration will have an answer “soon.” Reports earlier this year emerged that Biden would forgive up to $10,000 in student debt for certain income brackets, but the administration has yet to publicly announce the official plan.
The housing market took a hit, with a decrease of home sales by nearly 6% in July. Homeowners are still in a comfortable situation, with the market mainly impacting developers who aren’t building due to the financial climate. Home buyers are still contending with a tight market, with the median cost of a home nationally hovering around $400,000 dollars. (If that makes you sad, don’t look at local prices).
On Tuesday, Rep. Liz Cheney’s bid for reelection for Wyoming’s lone House seat failed. Lisa Murkowski and Sarah Palin both survived the Alaska primaries, advancing to the general election. Results for Alaska’s special election to fulfill the end of late-Rep. Don Young’s term is expected by August 31st… let’s see what the midterms hold.
Jill Biden is going to be stuck in South Carolina for a few more days – the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and is experiencing mild symptoms.
Biden officials are accelerating the monkeypox effort by providing 1.8 million doses of Jynneos monkeypox vaccines. This effort will accelerate the Department of Health and Human Services’ plan of making more vaccines available to at risk communities in the country.
President López Obrador designated a task force led by the Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier and Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard to follow up on concerns expressed by the U.S. over Mexico’s energy policies. Both the U.S. and Canada argue that these policies undermine foreign investment and competition and fail to comply with Mexico’s commitments under USMCA. If the task force fails, a dispute panel will follow and may result in tariffs on Mexican goods.
Over 20 vehicles were burned across Baja last Friday, an action suspected to be a coordinated effort of organized crime and following recent events that took place in other Mexican states. Governor Marina del Pilar Avila and Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero issued statements (State | Local) announcing a permanent security operation to ‘recover and ensure peace’. As a result, authorities increased the presence of the local police and National Guard. In a joint press conference, business organizations shared they are working with local and state authorities joining efforts and urging prompt action to ensure public safety. The state resumed operations during the weekend, with no impact to ports of entry.
The U.S. export-control process is now the center of controversy in US-China trade relations. But actually–the Commerce Department approves nearly all technology exports to China, which has some worried about how American-made semiconductors, aerospace components, and artificial intelligence tech items could be used to advance Beijing’s military interests.
Our partners at the North American Development Bank are hosting the 26th U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Forum on August 24-25. This event brings experts, policy makers, business leaders and innovators together to discuss a broad range of environmental topics to improve the environment and boost the economy in a sustainable and inclusive manner for all border region residents.
The U.S. and Mexican section of the International Boundary and Water Commission held a ceremony today to announce an agreement to invest $474M on sanitation projects on both sides of the border to address transboundary wastewater flows in the Tijuana River. Projects are expected to be completed and operational by the end of 2027 and reach an 80% reduction in the volume of untreated wastewater discharged to the Pacific Ocean.
In addition, San Diego County is pursuing $11.6M from Grant money for a Tijuana River Valley Park update! The project would improve paths and completely renovate the park experience, helping disadvantaged residents by creating an intergenerational hub and a shared gathering space for friends, families, and neighbors.
Did you already register for this year’s Delegation to Mexico City? We’re excited to share that delegates will be hosted by U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar for a reception at his residence – a unique opportunity for the business sector and our region. Don’t wait too long, early bird ends on September 9!
This month’s IBA Forum featured a conversation with the California Air Resources Board and the North American Development Bank on proposals that will impact commercial operations and efforts to promote EV manufacturing and infrastructure. Did you miss it? Don’t worry, you can watch the recording here.
Last week on Chopped, the Appropriations committee went through their suspense file to see who didn’t make the cut! More than 200 bills met their fate, such as one which would’ve allowed prosecutors to sue social media companies for getting kids addicted to their platform. Some of the bills that did make it through are rather interesting, such as a measure to require school districts to have COVID testing plans, allow the state to negotiate wages, hours, and working conditions for the fast food industry, and allow some bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to sell alcohol until 4 am instead of 2!
Amelia Yana Garcia Gonzalez will serve as California’s next Secretary for Environmental Protection after current Sec. Jared Blumenfeld steps down in September. Garcia Gonzalez previously served as an environmental attorney and in various leadership roles at CalEPA focused on environmental justice and tribal affairs.
The UC system has received a record number of 210,840 applications this year but have cut down the number of freshman admissions. In fact, UC San Diego cut freshman admissions by nearly 9,500 and other UCs like Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Irvine have done the same due the lack of housing and classroom space. On the other hand, UC Merced and Riverside were the two that actually increased their admissions.
Move over drought, monsoons are here. Massive rainstorms continue to wreak havoc on California’s desert wilderness parks, as flash floods damaged roads in Joshua Tree and Death Valley earlier this week. In addition to road closures, officials are reporting unseasonal plant and animal activity–if you could actually get to the parks, it would be a great time to see the wildlife!
California managed to avoid further cuts in water supplied from the Colorado River. Unlike Arizona, Nevada and Mexico, California will be able to tap water from the Colorado River without any mandatory water cuts. Water levels at Lake Mead are dangerously low, to the point where California might begin to feel major impacts across the state.
Earlier today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new efforts to increase mental health services for young Californians (0-25). The “Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health” will be a $4.7 billion effort which would include creating a pathway for 40,000 new mental health professionals, teacher training, early intervention programs, and a virtual platform for access.
One of the biggest threats facing healthcare isn’t just COVID (and whatever follows it), but workforce. Who picks up the phone when you call, who diagnoses you, and particularly when it comes to behavioral health, who fills those positions. A joint report from the County and Alliance Healthcare Foundation is calling for an initial $128M down payment to address the backfill of workers currently challenging the mental health system locally. Learn more at the Behavioral Health Workforce Symposium on Aug 23.
How much does it cost to take out the trash? According to the city’s independent budget analyst, it could cost single family homeowners around $21 dollars a month. There are a variety of factors that will be in play here, such as frequency, expanding trash and recycle services, and how much city officials want to make homeowners pay, but Council President Elo-Rivera has promised a general phase-in approach for this fee with subsidies for low-income households. San Diego is the only city in California and in the nation which provides free trash pickup, but depending on what voters decide in November that policy could end up in the bin.
City of San Diego Development Services Department Updates:
- The General Plan Maintenance Fees (GPMF) for ADU’s and JADU’s has been reinstated. Learn more here.
- Effective Sept. 13, 2022, all Development Services Department (DSD) user fees will increase by 4.99% from the prior fiscal year based on City Council-approved general and special salary increases for DSD employees and the rise of operational costs attributed to the growth of the consumer price index.
- If you’re building in the City, don’t forget to sign up for DSD Public Notices. This will give them timely updates on fees, process changes and updates on DSD services!
Since March, MTS ridership has consistently topped more than 5 million trips per month, driven by ridership growth on the new UC San Diego Blue Line and major school routes and employment centers as many return to school (and work) in-person.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to include a tax measure for cannabis businesses operating in our unincorporated areas on November’s ballot.
With a nickname “City of Champions”, Chula Vista’s Elite Athlete Training Center has to live up to the hype. In advance of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, the training center plans for a $50 million expansion project with three more soccer fields, an aquatics complex, and 200 more beds for athletes.
UCSD and SDSU have reported record breaking funding for their various research initiatives during fiscal year 2021.
San Diego County is the first in the nation to earn the “senior-friendly” emergency department accreditation for all 18 of its hospitals. With elder patients making up one-third of emergency visits, this accreditation means that EDs have been designed to treat and care, and have trained staff dedicated to the aging population.
America’s Finest City is unfortunately also the epicenter for fentanyl trafficking, according to federal officials. Stats from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office indicate that fentanyl-related overdose deaths have increased 2,375% in San Diego County between 2016-2021.
It’s raining…glass? The new $555 million court building downtown has experienced spontaneous shattering of its glass windows in recent days, leading to the decision to construct a canopy to protect folks on the sidewalk from future breaks.
What can businesses do about the monkeypox outbreak? Stay informed with the County Monkeypox Website, develop and update policies regarding sick leave and telecommuting, and provide educational materials to protect your workforce. Additionally, the County encourages all San Diegans to practice the following: Know the signs and symptoms of monkeypox infection, limit close skin to skin contact with multiple partners, and obtain the monkeypox vaccine if you are exposed, or at high risk.
You’re invited to sign onto Small Business Majority’s Campaign to increase the wage-replacement rate for your employees!
Upcoming City of San Diego Public Input Opportunities
- The City of San Diego will be kicking off its economic development strategy planning. Contact Lauren Cazares for additional information or to be engaged in the Working Group that will kick-off on Tuesday, August 23rd!
- The City’s Cannabis Business Division of the Development Services Department will be hosting a second public meeting to discuss potential municipal code changes related to cannabis today. Check out the proposed changes and meeting information here.
- The San Diego City Council will be in legislative recess from August 3 to September 6. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council will be on September 12.
- SANDAG and MTS meetings will resume in September.
Capital Opportunities & Resources
- GO-Biz, along with the office of the Small Business Advocate, have created resources to help businesses seeking to grow, and those interested in the trucking industry. Check out the California Truck Guide and the Business Quick Start Guide for more information.
- Caltrans is hosting its 18th annual Procurement and Resource Fair on Wednesday, August 31! Caltrans purchasers and partners will have a list of goods and contracts they’re looking to procure, upcoming opportunities for small businesses, and more. To learn more and register click here.
- Applications for micro-enterprise home kitchen operations (MEHKOs) in the County of San Diego can be found here.
- The California Dream Fund has micro grants up to $10k available for entrepreneurs and small business creation.
- The California Rebuilding Fund is offering small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees loans up to $100,000. Learn more and apply here.
- Small business owners may currently receive $2,000 per employee that participates in the paif family leave program. Small business owners can apply here.
- Businesses can reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide. SBDC can help with applying for COVID-19 relief, guiding you through available resources, and assisting with cash flow concerns, supply-chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage, and more–all at no cost!
Future Chamber Meetings (Virtual) & Committee Actions
International Business Affairs Forum:
Our next forum will be on November 17 at 10:00am via zoom.
Education and the Workforce Forum:
Our next meeting will be on August 25 at 8:00 am via zoom.
Economic Development Strategy Working Group:
Beginning on August 23 at 9:00am via Zoom.
Sustainability & Industry Committee:
Our next meeting will be on September 1, 8:00am-9:00am via zoom.
Defense, Veterans, & Military Committee:
Our next meeting will be on September 7, 8:00am-9:00am via zoom.
Public Policy Committee:
Our next meeting will be on September 13, 8:00am-9:30am via zoom.
Our next meeting will be on September 14, 8:00am-9:00am via zoom. In the meantime, Supervisor Nora Vargas will be hosting a symposium on the current state of reproductive health in our region this Saturday, August 20. To register for Roe V. Wade, What Happens Next Symposium, please click here.
Transportation & Land Development Committee:
Our next meeting will be on September 20, 8:00am-9:30am via zoom.
Our next forum will be on September 21, 8:00-9:30am via zoom.