December 15 – Weekly Update

We’re freezing. San Diego became a winter wonderland of sorts with the rain, hail, and even snow this week! Four schools throughout the county were even closed for a Snow Day on Monday!

Looking for the perfect gift for that special person? We’ve got you covered…. Just reach out to our Membership Team, let them know you’d like to gift someone a Chamber membership so they can share the joy of this newsletter with you! (Hey, we tried).


Business Updates:

Chamber members Viasat and Microsoft have made their partnership official. The goal? Bridge the global digital divide, by delivering internet connectivity to 10 million people by 2025.


Legislative Updates


Free COVID tests by mail are back. Order yours today here (go on and do it, it’s free!)

Stopgap funding is a go. On Wednesday, lawmakers bought themselves a whopping extra week to figure out a full spending package.

In the latest move to give Puerto Rico statehood, the Democratic-led House of Representatives has voted to hold a referendum on Puerto Rican statehood and independence. However, this was mostly honorary – as the Republican-led Senate views statehood as highly unfavorable.

TLDR; McCarthy speaker fight continues.

Two words: Nuclear Fusion. The Energy Department announced a scientific breakthrough on Tuesday. We’re proud to tell you this milestone, known as fusion ignition, was achieved by scientists in California.


Just another day at the Mexican Senate: Senator Xóchitl Gálvez Ruiz, appeared at a session dressed in a dinosaur suit to protest against President Lopez Obrador’s “plan B” to overhaul Mexico’s electoral institute (INE). She compared this plan to the cinematic franchise, Jurassic Park, which takes place in a modern world full of Mesozoic figures, to the current situation where Mexico could be at risk of going back to a system based on the centralization of power and losing autonomy on elections across the country.

President Biden has announced billions of dollars in support and investment for Africa at a three-day summit with the continent’s heads of state. Discussions at the summit also focused on building on already existing programmes and has set the U.S. to sign a memorandum with the African Continental Free Trade Area – one of the world’s biggest free-trade areas – which will unlock new opportunities for trade and investment between the US and Africa.

Governor Newsom visited Mexicali just a week ahead of the anticipated lifting of Title 42. He was joined by the Governor of Baja California, Marina del Pilar Avila-Olmeda, to visit a migrant shelter alongside members of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration. Governor Newsome also visited a testing, vaccinations and resource center, which is led by the State of California to provide arriving migrants with screening, testing, and vaccination services to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The Chamber has been meeting with TJ and State of Baja liaisons to increase communication and better prepare our region for the lifting of Title 42.

This Monday marked 200 years of the U.S.-Mexico diplomatic relationship and to celebrate, the Chamber team joined regional stakeholders and local elected officials including Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero, to unveil a commemorative sculpture at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, made by the plastic artist Enrique Chiu. This honors the synergy that exists between both countries, to have a good relationship in the economic, social, and political aspects.

For those of you who have crossed the border northbound towards the San Ysidro pedestrian checkpoint… we have updates for you! The head of the department for Territorial, Urban and Environmental Development for the City of Tijuana, stated that the remodeling and expansion of the pedestrian walkway towards the checkpoint will be completed by March and will include five pedestrian lanes to enter the U.S.

Smoking has been banned for future generations in New Zealand. Anyone born after 2008 will never be able to purchase tobacco — each year the legal age will increase until there is no legal age limit left.



In November, nearly two-thirds of California voters approved a near-total ban of flavored tobacco products (including menthol-flavored cigarettes) in California. Unsurprisingly, the tobacco industry disputed the legality of the vote. However, the Supreme Court will not block the ban.

Speaking of smoking, the state has proposed new cannabis regulations such as an excess cannabis tax, vendor compensation, and cannabis excise tax. We’ll be watching.

The Metropolitan Water District has declared a drought emergency for all of Southern California. Reports state that California will be facing its fourth consecutive drive year.

An economic consulting group has been contracted to work through harms experienced by Black people and what reparations may look like.

Solar was once considered the future of clean energy in California, yet solar subsidies are being significantly lowered for rooftop solar panels. Many are concerned this will slow down California’s transition to clean energy

Mayor Todd Gloria will now lead the state’s Big City Mayors Coalition which includes the thirteen largest cities in California. Earlier this year, the Coalition led efforts to get CARE Court passed and have been supportive partners of Project Homekey.

Five companies have won a bid to lease floating windmills off of our coast in an effort to harness off-shore wind energy.



The Coastal Commission has decided that restaurants on the shoreline must replace any lost parking spaces taken up by outdoor dining areas.

Speaking of the beach, the City of San Diego has finally clarified bonfire rules – wood burning fires outside of designated city rings are banned. This includes Fiesta Island, where untamed flames are commonplace during the summers.

Housing prices are cooling off and the San Diego market is expected to be among the most impacted by the downturn in home prices, per Redfin.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced that he will not be seeking the Chair position of the County Board of Supervisors and will be nominating Supervisor Nora Vargas to lead in January 2023.

Accidental fentanyl overdose has become the top killer in the Nation for people between 18 and 45 and the San Diego – Tijuana region is unfortunately an epicenter of the crisis. This week, the County Board of Supervisors approved a plan on addressing the fentanyl crisis. The plan includes the Narcan distributions, rapid response to overdose, and increased public health messaging.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to crack down on wage theft and working conditions for janitors, landscapers, and security workers. This new policy will require companies bidding for county contracts to include collective bargaining agreements.

The City of San Diego swore in the 74th City Council earlier this week. All seats are now represented by democrats as they welcomed Councilmember Kent Lee to represent the AAPI empowerment district (Thank you for representing District 6, Chris Cate!). The new council districts, which was approved by the Redistricting Commission last year, also went into effect.

Congratulations to Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera for being unanimously selected for another term as Council President of the San Diego City Council and Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe for being chosen again as Council President Pro Tem!

The San Diego City Council updated Council Policy 800-14, which prioritizes neighborhood infrastructure projects in an equitable way to align with the City’s Build Better SD initiatives and Climate Action Plan.

Golfaholics, rejoice! Topgolf San Diego Bay is moving forward and heading for environmental review. Should the $50 million dollar project move forward, it would be on East Harbor Island.


City of San Diego Development Services Department Updates:

  • DSD will host a webinar on how to apply for the Mills Act Program through their online application this Friday, December 16 at 11:00am.
  • Plan accordingly! DSD will be closed from December 26-January 2. Customers can still use online services during this closure.
    • City Hall will be closed on December 25th and January 1st.

Join the San Diego Housing Commission for their second Digital Equity Resource Fair on Saturday, December 17th from 10am-1pm at Vista Verde (351 South 33rd Street).


Upcoming Hearings & Public Input Opportunities

  • The San Diego City Council will not meet until January 9, 2023.
  • The County Board of Supervisors will not meet until the Swearing-In Ceremony on January 9, 2023.


Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The CPUC launched the Digital Divide Grant Program! Applications will be accepted until January 13, 2023 and must be submitted via Email.  Four grants of up to $250,000 each are available!
  • San Diego County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant funds are still available for local small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic. County Districts 1, 2, and 3 are still accepting applications. Learn more here.
  • Small business owners may currently receive $2,000 per employee that participates in the paid 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:

Chamber Summit 

We will be welcoming business groups, chambers, and business improvement districts from across the region to share best practices and learn about pressing policy priorities in our region on January 16 from 2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

Transportation & Land Development Committee:

We are dark in December! Our next meeting will be January 17, 8:00am via zoom.

Economic Development Strategy Working Group: 

Our next meeting will be on January 19, 9:00am via zoom.

Sustainability & Industry Committee:

Our next meeting will be February 2, 8:00am via zoom. We’re dark in January!


Do you have policy ideas or focuses for our committees in 2023? If so, contact Chamber staff.