March 22, 2023
Hope you weren’t abducted by aliens from any of the four UFOs shot down by the U.S. over the past few weeks. This 2023 BINGO card is getting real weird.
Circulate San Diego launched its report, “Making the Most of the Mid-Coast Trolley” with Congressman Scott Peters as the keynote speaker at their press conference earlier this week. The report offers practical solutions for how the region can get the most “bang for its buck” from its investment in the Mid-Coast Trolley Extension. The Chamber was proud to be part of the advisory committee on the report.
The Convention Center is hosting a hiring fair! Check it out on February 28th, 10a-3p.
The US state of emergency for COVID is coming to a close soon (May 11). While that may not mean much for most people’s day-to-day, it may hit uninsured folks’ pocketbooks especially hard. You may have noticed that your vaccines and your Paxlovid have been free, and the reason for that is the state of emergency. Once it ends, your insurer will pick up the costs and charge you accordingly. If you’re one of the uninsured, it will be a different question. As such, the Biden administration and health officials are trying to create a special, and temporary fund, for these adults (kids are basically already covered). TBD if they can get it up and running in time.
It’s the end of an era, y’all. In case you spent the week under a rock (scary aliens and all that), Senator Feinstein announced she would not be seeking reelection.
Congressman Scott Peters is looking to make major changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, using his background as an environmental lawyer to accomplish this goal. Peters is pushing to speed up the permitting and construction of energy grids to handle the incoming boom of carbon-free energy.
Federal, but also local: Reps Peters, Vargas, Levin and Jacobs sent a letter to Navy leadership regarding the NAVWAR Old Town Campus revitalization effort, giving a gentle reminder that there is collective (and growing) momentum around using this site to create affordable housing opportunities. Letter here.
As we’re sure some of you are still recovering from Super Bowl weekend, we’re still reminiscing over some of their best commercials this year. After Rihanna’s Rih-turn to the Super Bowl Halftime Show, you may remember an interview segment between Erin Andrews and Diana Flores, the team quarterback of Mexico Women’s National Flag Football team. Global audiences’ eyes were definitely caught as Andrews tries to yank her flag and starts chasing Flores, as she also is tracked by football players, renowned athletes, and digital influencers. Inciting pride within Mexicans around the world, this was a great win for all the women “taking the game forward”.
Thinking of taking a quick trip to Tijuana to check out its up-and-coming businesses? We’ve got the perfect event for you. The Tijuana EDC will be hosting Chamber members and partners for a business networking mixer on February 22 at Mulligan’s Golf Bar & Restaurant. Even the Chamber’s very own Executive Director on International Business Affairs will share an overview of our Chamber 2023 priorities as part of the night’s program! RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this update with your confirmation.
Have you ever dealt with a lost package or correspondence in the mail? A letter that was sent in 1916 has finally been delivered to its destination in South London. The current occupants were highly confused when they noticed that the stamp was a King rather than a Queen and after doing some research they concluded that it was sent in the middle of World War I. So sit back and relax for maybe a century to get that letter you’ve been waiting for.
Otay Mesa East Update! Assemblymember David Alvarez recently introduced Assembly Bill 427, which would update the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Act to streamline contracting methods in order to move the critical Otay Mesa East Project forward in a timely manner. This would be an effort to ensure that this infrastructure project is fully funded and meets critical timelines agreed upon with the federal government and Mexico
The Chamber has partnered with the Mexican Consulate for the third edition of the Consular Entrepreneurship Program for Mexicans Abroad (PCEME) for women of Mexican origin residing in the U.S. During this FREE program, participants will attend virtual conferences with business and entrepreneurship experts, take part in a mentoring program, compete with other projects for the best business plan, and get a list of helpful resources. Click here for more information regarding enrollment.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Monday began replacing deteriorated border fencing near Friendship Park, but promised the park and binational garden will be preserved. New primary and secondary fencing is to be installed, with the height reduced from 60 feet to 18 feet adjacent to the park.
Assemblymember Ash Kalra, of single payer fame last year, has announced that he’s “in talks” to put forth another single payer bill this year. Technically, he has until tomorrow…. On the other hand… how much time do you have and do you want to learn about gut and amends?
Speaking of healthcare- a measure to move health care support staff to $25 minimum wage has hit the table. It’s SB 525 by Senator Durazo out of Los Angeles, and it’s for staff like those in the laundry facilities, security guards and janitors. It’s likely to be one of the more contentious bills this cycle.
It’s a date: the first hearing in the state’s special session on gas prices will be February 22.
If you received tax rebates last year, the verdict has come out from the IRS that California and other states will not need to have those payments reported on 2022 tax returns, for your state or federal taxes. And this is your friendly reminder that tax returns are due by April 18th.
Cue the song Low Rider by War, Assemblyman David Alvarez has introduced legislation that would overturn bans on cruising in California. For lowriding communities, they say these bans discriminate against a culture that celebrates art, cars, and community and a bill like this is a step in the right direction.
The Pandemic? Yeah remember that… Well, last week, a milestone of 12 million cases in California was reported. This is mostly due to the dominant and infectious strain XBB.1.5, which thankfully, has not spurred a surge in hospitalizations.
From across California, 18 state senators, led by Toni Atkins, are urging the Department of Insurance to provide assistance for the growing number of condominium homeowner associations struggling to find affordable property insurance. The price hike in insurance is due to a risk of wildfires and condo owners are being hit hard.
Yesterday, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation – UC Berkeley released their latest research and the spotlight is on San Diego! Their report highlights how the City of San Diego has generated success building upon state law with their ADU Bonus Program. The program has encouraged the production of missing middle housing (295 deed-restricted units) within the first two years of its implementation.
Tax revenue in San Diego has fully recovered from the pandemic due to returning tourism, rising home prices, and inflation. Revenue surges are so strong that they are exceeding city predictions from 2019, pre-pandemic.
On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to fill a funding gap with $3.3 million for the Kettner Crossing development in downtown San Diego. This project is providing low-income senior housing through using surplus county property and is expected to open next year.
Youth Opportunity Passes continue! The County Board of supervisors approved a resolution to expand the free public transit ridership program for residents ages 18 to 24.
The San Diego City Council approved the Land Development Code’s 2022 Code Update, a package which includes streamlining/aligning new regulatory requirements and the definition of Sustainable Development Areas (SDAs) – a proposal to increase housing supply by adding more developable acreage in transit-oriented areas. Once implementation begins, the SDA definition will replace the City’s definition of Transit Priority Areas in their local housing programs. The Chamber along with a diverse coalition were in support of the item.
Outdoor dining in the streets started as a solution to the pandemic problem of indoor dining and has been made a permanent fixture. The City of San Diego has announced it is providing up to $20,000 grants for businesses who have applied for permits allowing them to operate outdoors. Learn more here.
San Diego’s cannabis tax revenue has plummeted and officials have cited the illegal market and new competition from outside the jurisdiction as a couple of the issues linked with the decline.
Upcoming Hearings & Public Input Opportunities
- SANDAG’s Transportation Committee will meet on February 17.
- Healthcare organizations, community-based organizations, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders who serve Medi-Cal members are encouraged to attend upcoming virtual sessions on SDAIM (San Diego Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal). Led by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, two community listening sessions will be held to gather input on how new services should be implemented. Registration for the virtual session taking place February 21 is open.
- The County of San Diego’s draft Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, Guide, and Economic Analysis is out for public review until March 7. County staff seek industry feedback on a list of options for the Board to consider, ranging from incentives, in-lieu fees, project size thresholds, and more. The Chamber plans on providing feedback by the end of public review. If you have any questions or feedback to share, please email Angeli Hoyos.
- The next regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council is Monday, February 27.
Capital Opportunities & Resources
- 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:
Transportation & Land Development Committee:
Our next meeting will be on February 21, at 8:00am via zoom.
Sustainability & Industry Committee:
Our next meeting will be on March 2, 8:00am via zoom.
Our next meeting will be on March 8 at 8:00am via zoom.
Education & Workforce Committee:
Our first meeting of 2023 will be on March 15, at 8:00am via zoom.
Economic Development Strategy Working Group:
Our next meeting will be on March 16, 9:00am via zoom. This is expected to be our final meeting.
Cannabis Working Group Forum:
Our next meeting will be on May 17 at 9:00am.