February 2 – Weekly Update

It’s Groundhog Day and Punxatawny Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter… we just hope that we don’t end up stuck sending out this February 2nd policy update again and again.


Business Updates:

In honor of Black History Month, the Chamber is proud to highlight our Black-owned business members to support not only this month, but all year long.


Legislative Updates


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met with President Biden on Wednesday to discuss how to avoid a default on the U.S. debt. They spoke for about an hour without coming to a solution, McCarthy telling reporters the discussion was productive and he looks forward to further speaking with Biden. McCarthy offered more details to reporters on Capitol Hill saying that he won’t agree to a “clean” bill that raises the debt ceiling without spending cuts. The White House has consistently held its stance that lifting the ceiling is not up for negotiation.

First Lady, Jill Biden, is hitting the ground in San Diego this week to discuss new federal initiatives. The first of these being the administration’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, which has been in the works since President Biden’s Vice-Presidency. The moonshot initiative aims to improve cancer treatments and the quality of  care cancer patients receive. The First Lady will also discuss the “Joining Forces” initiative, which works to support military families with employment, entrepreneurship, education, and healthcare.

The US is currently playing ‘will they, won’t they’ with Ukraine. On Monday, President Biden ruled that the US will not send F-16 fighter jets to aid Ukraine. Then yesterday, Chamber Member General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. offered two MQ-9 Reaper Drones to Ukraine for just $1 – now, we wait to hear if the government will approve this offer.



The Chamber partnered with UN Habitat, regional authorities from both sides of the border and the Federal Government to participate in the Economic Dimensions of Metropolitan Development Conference to delve into the environmental, socioeconomic, and spatial challenges of accelerated urbanization. At this three-day conference, workshops covered metropolitan management and the binational economy, local sustainable development, and drafting a shared vision for the San Diego-Tijuana binational economy.

The Honourable Mary Ng, Canadian Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, joined U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Bliken, and Ambassador Tai, in announcing the launch of the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP). APEP is a new framework for cooperation across the Americas aiming to deliver economic growth in the region, generate good middle-class jobs and reduce economic inequality.

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Michael D. Crapo shared their concerns to Ambassador Tai about USMCA’s compliance from Canada and Mexico. Even though some previous issues have been brought to resolution, including the dispute over rules of origin which was resolved in favor of Mexico and Canada by a flexible calculation of the value of origin in automobiles.

Join us on March 9 for a conversation on fostering international ties throughout with the San Diego Sister Cities Association by supporting cultural, educational, and economic relationships. Speakers will share an overview of San Diego’s first Sister City, Yokohama, and other Sister City relationships and how they plan and implement cooperative activities and exchanges. Click here to register.

Place a hold on February 7 for a short webinar where our  friends at ITijuana will host a conversation on a new model that will boost digital competitiveness through effective ways to speed up your time-to-time market, mitigate risks, access high-quality digital talent, and improve cost efficiency. Click here for more information.



California’s snowpack, which supplies about one-third of our water throughout the state, is up over 200 percent thanks to the atmospheric rivers over the last few weeks. The jury is still out on whether or not this winter will be considered a “drought buster,” as most of California is still experiencing moderate-to-severe drought.

As resources dwindle in the Colorado River system, states are still negotiating how to break down water use. On Tuesday, California filed a competing proposal, just one day after opting out of a proposal put forward by the six other western states. The competing proposals will be submitted to the Bureau of Reclamation, which is expected to release an official decision later this summer.

In environmental news, the number of Monarch Butterflies wintering in California has rebounded for the second time in two years! In 2020, only 2,000 monarchs were recorded, but in late fall 2022 over 330,000 were counted.



On Wednesday evening, San Diego Chairwoman Nora Vargas delivered the 2023 San Diego County Address and made history as the first Latina, immigrant, woman of color to deliver the speech. In the address she highlighted the issues facing communities today including how preventing and addressing homelessness, making childcare more accessible and workable for those in the industry, the importance of investing in transit options and transportation infrastructure, and a plan to partner with Sheriff Kelly Martinez in an initiative to address public safety issues and gun violence.

Next Tuesday, Chairwoman Vargas is joining forces with Supervisor Joel Anderson to step up preparations for the lifting of Title 42 immigration restrictions.

City of San Diego Development Services Department Updates:

  • Earlier this week, the City Council approved DSD and various industries’ requests to approve temporary contracts with two firms to help address permit backlogs. NV5, Inc. and Interwest Consulting Group will soon help city staff review applications, while long-term, the City will continue to fill up their open positions.
  • The City Operations Building will continue to be closed for two weeks, in order to allow for new emergency lighting to be installed. Until these systems are put in place the building will be closed to the public and employees, although all online systems will continue as usual. To see impacted in person services click here. To see impacted DSD-related services click here.

A date has been set: The San Diego City Council will hear the Land Development Code’s 2022 Code Update on February 14. The package includes streamlining new regulatory requirements, providing additional incentives to increase the supply of housing, and a proposal to add more developable acreage in transit oriented areas in their local housing programs. The Chamber is supportive of this proposal known as Sustainable Development Areas (SDAs).

The U.S. Department of Transportation has selected San Diego for a $680,000 grant as part of the Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program adding to the city’s Zero Vision Strategy. The specific projects that will be funded include: the Comprehensive Speed Management Plan, Citywide Slow Streets Program, and the Historically Disadvantaged Community Quick Build Program. Congratulations!

Law enforcement has begun to fully enforce San Diego’s Sidewalk Vending Ordinance in beach communities, on Wednesday. This ordinance went into effect in January, impacting the city’s Coastal Overlay Zone which includes Point Loma, Ocean, Mission and Pacific Beaches, La Jolla, and Sorrento Valley. Information regarding the regulations set in place and how to obtain a permit can be found here.

If you have been looking for a reason to check out one of the many San Diego museums – here’s your sign to! It’s museum month in San Diego which means 50% off of a multitude of museums and historical sites all month long! Pick up your pass at a San Diego public library near you, or digitally download it.

Each February, the San Diego Public Library honors and celebrates Black History Month, highlighting culture and community, recognizing achievements and ongoing struggles. This year the Library is hosting a variety of thought provoking programs and an opportunity for students, grades 4 to 12, to participate in a creative works contest.

Home prices in San Diego are declining faster than other cities, according to a report put forth by the S&P Case-Shiller Indices. San Diego had the fifth biggest drop of a 20-city index –  a 1.4 percent decline from October to November. Although these prices are in decline the report did show a gain of 4.8 percent in a year.

Well if you can’t afford a house in San Diego you can always rent… right? Well, according to a report by Zillow, if you’re earning minimum wage you’ll definitely need some roommates. To afford a two-bedroom apartment in San Diego, it would take the income of more than three people earning minimum wage. Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, San Diego ranked #22 for rent affordability based on minimum wage.


Upcoming Hearings & Public Input Opportunities

  • The San Diego City Council will meet on February 6 and February 7.
  • The County Board of Supervisors will meet on February 7 and February 8.
  • The County of San Diego’s 2023 Housing Zoning Ordinance Update, which aligns their current regulations with new state housing laws, is out for public review. PDS will host a virtual public meeting tonight (2/2) at 6:00pm, and public comment is due by February 13.
  • 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 Chamber staff: Angeli Hoyos.


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:

Health Committee: 

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

Cannabis Working Group Forum:

Our next meeting will be on February 15, 9:00am via zoom.

Economic Development Strategy Working Group: 

Our next meeting will be on February 16, 9:00am via zoom. This is expected to be our final meeting.

Transportation & Land Development Committee: 

Our next meeting will be on February 21, at 8:00am. Hybrid meeting option TBD.

Sustainability & Industry Committee:

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

Education & Workforce Committee: 

Our first meeting of 2023 will be on March 15, at 8:00am via zoom.