January 12 – Weekly Update

ICYMI: For years (and years and years) we’ve been waiting for real solutions to the Tijuana River Valley pollution problems. When $300M was allocated to help chip away at those issues, it was a moment of celebration. But then? The money got stuck in policy mumbo-jumbo and couldn’t get unstuck. Until… a holiday miracle! The San Diego congressional delegation successfully got a provision included in the broader spending bill to authorize the transfer of those funds from the EPA to the International Boundary and Water Commission.

A little good news for ya.

 

Business Updates:

Our board Vice Chair, Alessandra Lezama, lays out a successful partnership between Mira Costa College and Tootris to secure childcare in this UT editorial.

 

Legislative Updates

Federal:

Campaign mode: This week, Representatives Katie Porter and Barbara Lee announced their intentions to run for Senator Dianne Feinstein’s seat – even though the election is far away and Feinstein has not officially announced her plans yet.

And a big sigh of relief from President Biden: Inflation down for the sixth straight month, hitting 6.5% for December.

There’s a House Speaker, and Congressional Republicans have laid out their policy goals including some tax policy. This morning, President Biden promised to veto any of those bills if they got to his desk (which, thanks to the Senate, they won’t).

 

International:

Presidents Biden, Lopez Obrador and PM Justin Trudeau met once again at the 2023 North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City to strengthen the three countries’ partnerships and advance their shared priorities. Some key takeaways include:

  • Joint efforts to deepen economic cooperation.
  • Develop a plan for operating standards and the installation of EV chargers along shared borders to ensure a seamless EV charging transition from country to country.
  • Expand legal pathways and other humane measures to address irregular migration in the region.
  • Coordinate actions and strategies to combat arms and drug trafficking, as well as trafficking in persons
  • Information sharing and the development of public policies to protect our countries against current and future health crises

Want a deeper dive into what 2023 will look like for this trilateral relationship? Check out these previews of the US-Canada relationship and the US-Mexico relationship by our partners at the Wilson Center.

President Biden took President Lopez Obrador for a ride in the U.S. presidential limousine sometimes referred to as “the beast,” and chatted for the hour-long drive from the airport. This half-limousine, half-tank Cadillac is equipped with state-of-the-art weapons, protection, and even a supply of blood and oxygen.

While Title 42 continues in place, DHS announced the expansion of the CBP One™ Application which will now allow noncitizens to schedule interviews at ports of entry to seek an humanitarian exception from this policy. This new feature will allow asylum seekers to submit all necessary information and application without going or waiting at land ports of entry.

Through our membership with the Border Trade Alliance, the Chamber urged the administration to prioritize CBP in the FY2024 budget and work with Congress to ensure the agency has the resources it needs to facilitate trade and guarantee national security. In addition, we continue to advocate for a comprehensive immigration reform that improves the management of illegal migration, promotes trade and travel, and provides our businesses with access to workforce critical to its success.

Projects for this new year are rolling in by the minute! Assemblymember David Alvarez has introduced his first bill, AB 91, which would allow low-income students who reside within 45 miles from the border to attend local community colleges. The bill aims to address the increasing need of workers with post-secondary education to support regional growth and economic development. To provide feedback on AB-91, please submit this online form.

 

State:

Governor Newsom gave us a budget preview this week. TL;DR: $297B total, anticipated $22.5B deficit. Cuts to agencies will include some for EV infrastructure and other programs to advance climate goals (which is getting mixed reviews). The Governor is not expected to cut funds for housing or homelessness, but did signal that even those resources wouldn’t be enough.

California continues to be hit with atmospheric rivers and rainstorms – we even had a cyclone off of the coast. But, reservoirs aren’t able to capture or hold nearly as much as rainwater as we need to quench the drought. To add injury to insult, these storms and flooding are expected to cause up to $1 billion in damages per NOAA.

 

Local:

Small businesses in the City of San Diego are encouraged to see if they are eligible for the storefront improvement process. This can provide thousands of dollars to make improvements to a facade and provide city-supports. Check it out before the money is swooped up by your neighbors. If you’re in La Mesa, there’s also a La Mesa program.

Last night, Mayor Todd Gloria delivered his 3rd State of the City Address (and this time, in-person). This year’s priorities include his commitment to improving streets and roads, 30 day permitting for 100% affordable housing projects, conservatorship reform, addressing the fentanyl crisis, and more. ICYMI: The full script of the Mayor’s State of the City Address can be found here.

After more than 17 years on the job, San Diego City Clerk Elizabeth Maland will be retiring effective this Friday, January 13. The Chamber is proud to have recognized Clerk Maland as an outstanding public servant at our 2021 Legislative Lounge Awards. We’ll miss you, Liz!

Earlier this week, the San Diego City Council received an informational update and offered feedback on how to move forward with the Civic Core Revitalization effort. Redeveloping the six blocks of city land is a priority for the Mayor and the Council, as well as what should be included when the City officially begins to seek bids.

Congratulations to Supervisor Nora Vargas for officially being elected as Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer as Vice Chair, and Supervisor Joel Anderson as Chair Pro Tempore! Chair Vargas will host her 2023 State of the County Address on February 1.

The City of Chula Vista has created a new department focused on housing and homeless services. The department will oversee initiatives related to Harborside Park, homelessness shelters and services, and programs and policies such as recently approved tenant protections ordinance.

Compost bins are coming! Starting with zip codes 92102 and 92113, the City of San Diego will be providing organic waste recycling kitchen pails and green bins to households. This is in accordance with SB1383, passed in 2016, which partially went into effect in 2022.

 

Upcoming Hearings & Public Input Opportunities

  • The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on January 13.
  • The San Diego City Council will next meet on January 23.
  • The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will next meet on January 24.
  • The County of San Diego will be holding public outreach events in each supervisorial district in January on the progress of their proposed local climate solutions, which includes projects like the regional decarbonization framework. Event details can be found here.

 

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 23 from 2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Featured Speakers Include:

  • Paloma Aguirre, Mayor, City of Imperial Beach
  • Dike Anyiwo, Senior Government Relations Officer, SANDAG
  • Steve Lockett, Deputy Director, San Diego County’s Economic Development & Government Affairs Office
  • Ed Othmer, California Stormwater Sector Lead, Stantec

 

Transportation & Land Development Committee:

Our next meeting will be on 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 on February 2, 8:00am via zoom.

Health Committee: 

Our next meeting will be on February 8 at 8:00am. Hybrid meeting option TBD.