News & Updates

Binational Stakeholder Group Celebrates One Year of Joint Efforts

It has been one year since the Chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding with business organizations on both sides of the border. This collaboration has increased attention and efforts on economic development, attracted foreign investment, and advocated for policies that make our region the best place to live and work.

The stakeholder group has pushed for the progress of critical infrastructure projects that enhance cross-border efficiency such as Otay 2, the La Media Road Project, and the trade corridor in Tijuana, and has discussed regional efforts to elevate the Tijuana sewage crisis to a federal state of emergency with Baja’s list of projects breaking ground later this year. Other efforts include a binational database to promote the region and letters in support of a land port of entry trust fund and resuming southbound operations at PedWest in San Ysidro to further facilitate trade and travel across the border. 

A special thanks to Chamber partners at the San Diego EDC, South County EDC, SD Tourism Authority, Consejo Coordinator Empresarial Tijuana (CCE), Tijuana EDC, Consejo de Desarrollo de Tijuana (CDT), COTUCO, and Smart Border Coalition. 


California’s Minimum Wage Increasing to $16 an Hour

California’s minimum wage will hit $16 an hour on January 1st, 2024, per a letter from the Department of Finance. The rate adjustment is due to high inflation over the past year. Each year the Finance Director determines if minimum wage should be adjusted for inflation by looking at changes to the consumer price index from the prior year. 

Learn More Here

180-Day Extension for Building Permits

The City Council unanimously approved amending the city code to allow one additional 180-day extension for building permit applications. The move is intended to allow developers more time between applications and expiration dates, with the hope the change will allow more housing to be built.  

Read More Here 

District 4 – Race Updates

In the County fo San Diego District 4 special election to fill the Board of Supervisors seat, formerly held by Nathan Fletcher, no candidate received more than 50% of the vote. The top two candidates, Democrat Monica Montgomery Steppe, San Diego City Council President Pro Tem, and Republican Amy Reichert, Founder of Reopen San Diego, are expected to advance to a run-off election on November 7th 

Find Early Election Results Here 

City of San Diego Housing Action Package 2.0

San Diego’s Planning Commission unanimously passed the Mayor’s Housing Action Package 2.0 on Thursday, August 3rd. The agreed upon update includes adjusting code language to align with new state housing laws, updating the successful Complete Communities: Housing Solutions Program, incentivizing Accessory Dwelling Units and family housing, without the adoption of the controversial state law, SB-10, that would have allowed more multi-family units to be built on single-family plots. The Chamber spoke in support of this item.

Learn More Here 

May 4 – Weekly Update

 We are all very proud that San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military assets in the world and the largest federal military workforce in the country. In fact, President Biden visited the Point Loma Naval Base in March to detail plans of a security partnership known as AUKUS. Want to know more about this? Join us on May 25th at 10:00 AM  for a conversation with experts on this partnership and the economic impact this alliance between the U.S., U.K., and Australia will have in our region as well as efforts to strengthen our workforce to address the defense cluster’s needs. Speakers include Melissa Pina, International Business Development Director at Northrop Grumman; Wil Dyer, UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering Corporate Affiliate Program Director, and more!


Business Updates:

Congratulations to Randy’s Donuts on their grand opening of their first of ten locations in San Diego!

Have you nominated a Small Business for the Chamber’s Annual Small Business Awards? You should. Self nominations encouraged!


Legislative Updates


The CDC’s Color-coded County COVID maps are going to be a thing of the past (say that five times fast!). The agency announced last Friday that it will no longer track the spread of COVID on a community level in the US. COVID hospitalization data will continue to be used to inform the public and policymakers on the disease’s spread, similar to how flu data is currently utilized.

The Biden Administration has recommended over $22 million in funding for ‘Climate Ready Coast’ natural infrastructure projects in Southern California.

This week the FDA approved the first ever RSV vaccine. The vaccine is approved for individuals over the age of 60 and helps protect against the effects of RSV, an acronym for respiratory syncytial virus. Other RSV vaccines are currently in development, including vaccines specifically for pregnant mothers that would help protect newborn children from the virus. The vaccine development effort has taken on special urgency after a surge in RSV cases among children in 2022.

President Biden has expressed his approval of JP Morgan Chase’s takeover of First Republic Bank. The President spoke about the transaction at the White House on Monday, seeking to reassure investors and the public about the stability of the US banking system. He also used the speech as an opportunity to take House Republicans to task for their debt ceiling bill.

The President will need to get his veto pen ready again. The Senate passed legislation that reverses the Administration’s removal of certain tariffs on solar materials imported from Southeast Asia. Many Senators were concerned that the removal of these tariffs would hurt domestic solar manufacturing, while the Administration believes more supplies are needed from international producers in order to meet current demand.



Every year, the California Latino Legislative Caucus shines a spotlight on some of the most accomplished and inspiring figures in fields such as technology, media, literature, health & science, advocacy, business, education and more with the Latino Spirit Award. Notable recipients of the 2023 Latino Spirit Awards include Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero and Chamber friend David Perez Tejada Padilla, Director of Binational Affairs for the State of Baja California. Kudos to the award winners!

The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are preparing for the return to Title 8  enforcement to reduce irregular migration and ensure safe, orderly, and efficient processing of migrants seeking asylum. The Department of Defense has been instructed to send an additional 1,500 officers to help manage an expected increase in the number of migrants traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border upon the end of Title 42. The Chamber will lead a meeting with stakeholders and authorities from both sides of the border next Monday to determine strategies and actions to ensure the integrity of land ports of entry and maintain operations as usual.

Baja Governor Marina del Pilar met with Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre to discuss the current state of sewage infrastructure in the border region. They were joined by other state authorities and will continue collaborating to mitigate transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River Valley and our binational community.

SDSU hosted its first Transborder Graduation Ceremony at the UABC campus in Tijuana thanks to the close ties between the two institutions. Families and friends of nearly 70 graduates joined them without having to commute across the border. UABC emphasized that the institution will be open to those interested in continuing their professional studies.



The California Air Resources Board (or CARB) is once again instating first in the nation electric vehicle regulations. This time CARB is requiring all medium and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045. The rule begins in 2024, starting with municipal trucks at the end of their life-cycles, and expands gradually in its strictness. The regulations are divisive given the lack of current infrastructure for electric truck charging, grid resiliency, the cost of acquiring these vehicles (and limited availability), and impact to cross-border supply chains. Chamber staff will meet with Mexico’s Ambassador to the U.S. Esteban Moctezuma and local stakeholders next week to discuss efforts south of the border to address Baja’s trucking industry’s ability to comply with regulations and avoid impact to US-MX trade.

The State could soon require cities and counties to provide enough beds for all unhoused individuals in their jurisdictions. Under SB 7, housing for those experiencing homelessness would have to be included in city and county regional housing needs allocations. Current state law does not explicitly require planning for this kind of shelter or permanent housing. The bill passed in the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance and is now awaiting consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

It’s not just Huntington Beach that is finding itself in hot water with the State Attorney General’s office. On Tuesday the City of Elk Grove was sued by the State for blocking the construction of an affordable housing development. The Sacramento suburb says that the development was blocked because of a conflict with zoning regulations, but the State is not accepting that reasoning.

The California Legislature and Governor Newsom are at odds over what to do with revenue collected from the State’s individual mandate. The individual mandate requires all Californians to have health insurance or pay a penalty. The Legislature believes that the Governor promised the penalty revenue would go directly towards lowering Covered California premiums, but the Governor’s office wants to divert some of the money into the State’s general fund instead. This will likely be a key point of contention as the State budget process unfolds in the coming weeks.



The City of San Diego’s Development Services Department will be mostly closed this Friday, May 5th. Walk-in services will not be available and the department’s phone lines will be off. Online services will remain available during the closure, and full normal services will resume on May 8th.

The City of San Diego’s Short Term Rental Ordinance went into effect on May 1st. STRO (Short-Term Residential Occupancy) licenses are now needed for all short-term rental properties. More information is available on the STRO website and some frequently asked questions about the ordinance can be found here.

State Route 56, one of the main thoroughfares connecting Carmel Valley, Del Mar, and Rancho Penasquitos, will be widened with the addition of two carpool lanes.

MTS received over $60 million in State funding for trolley infrastructure upgrades and electric buses. The funding comes from the California State Transportation Agency, which awards funding for transit infrastructure projects across the state. A sizable portion of the money will go towards electrifying buses serving the Kearny Mesa area and building bus charging stations.

It’s another San Diego Special, folks! The County Board of Supervisors has officially voted to hold a special election for the District 4 Supervisor seat which is anticipated to be vacated on May 15th. The special election will be held on Tuesday, August 15th. If no candidate receives 50% of the votes, a second election will take place in November.

If City, State, and Federal budgets weren’t enough to whet your appetite, do not worry! The County of San Diego released its $8.11 billion proposed budget today. The “Invested in Community” budget is 10% larger than last year’s County budget and includes new and expanded social services programs. Two community meetings for budget feedback will take place, see the section below for registration link.

SANDAG’s Bike Anywhere Day is on May 18th #BikeAnywhereSD. Take the pledge!


Upcoming Public Input Opportunities

  • SANDAG has released its Draft Central Mobility Hub and Connections Plan. The draft report looks at various solutions for connecting San Diego International Airport and the surrounding communities to the larger transit network. SANDAG is currently soliciting feedback on the draft report with a survey that is open until June 5th.
  • The City of San Diego seeks feedback on Blueprint SD, a proposal that involves taking a look at the City’s General Plan land use strategy and finding ways to encourage sustainable growth alongside more homes and jobs. Industry feedback is highly encouraged. Take the Blueprint SD survey today and be on the lookout for additional opportunities for input through their website.
  • Equity Forward will be an inclusive public engagement guide for the City of San Diego. The goal is to create, “more equitable opportunities and investments in San Diego.” You can make your voice heard by filling out the Equity Forward interest form today.
  • The City of San Diego’s Stormwater Department is moving forward with the yearly stormwater maintenance priority process, and they need San Diegans’ input on which stormwater infrastructure should receive priority for upcoming maintenance. A public survey is now open and will close May 12.
  • The County of San Diego will hold two public meetings about its 2023-2024 budget proposal. The meetings are on May 16th and May 18th. Visit this webpage to register and learn more about the budgetary process.


Upcoming Hearings

  • The San Diego City Council is in Budget Review Committee this week, each day between May 3rd-May 9th to review the Mayor’s proposed 2024 budget. The next regular City Council meeting is May 10th.
  • The County of San Diego’s Board of Supervisors next regularly scheduled meetings are on May 23rd and 24th.


Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The State Department of Housing and Community Development announced a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for Round 3 of Project Homekey. Project Homekey applications will expand housing opportunities, often non-traditional ones, for individuals experiencing homelessness. The applications will be accepted on a rolling basis between 4/28 and 7/28, or until all funding is exhausted.
  • The County of San Diego Housing and Community Development Services has an open Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the acquisition, construction, and/or rehabilitation of multi-family affordable housing. Funding includes financing from the County of San Diego Innovative Housing Trust Fund. The NOFA will close 06/05/2023.
  • City Council Community Projects, Programs, and Services funds are awarded to nonprofit organizations and public agencies for one-time community, social, environmental, cultural, and recreational needs. Nonprofits can apply for the funding from May 1 to May 30.
  • 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:

Public Policy Committee:

Our next meeting will be on May 9 at 8:00am via zoom.

Health Committee:

Our next meeting will be on May 10 at 8:00am via zoom.

Transportation & Land Development Committee:

Our next meeting will be on May 16 at 8:00am via zoom.

Cannabis Working Group Forum:

Our next meeting will be on May 17 at 9:00am.

Sustainability & Industry Committee:

Our next meeting will be on June 1, 8:00am via zoom.

Education & Workforce Roundtable:

Our next meeting will be on June 21 at 8:00am via zoom.

Delegation Trip to Sacramento Recap

Last week, a group of over 50 business & civic leaders from the Cali-Baja region headed to the state capital to advocate for legislation that would benefit business & job creation, & help advance housing, healthcare, & border infrastructure priorities in our region. 

In full, the two-day agenda included meetings covering various areas such as affordable housing, budget, infrastructure, workforce & pipeline, and healthcare. 

 Delegates met with:  

  • Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins 
  • Assemblymembers Chris Ward, Brian Maienschein, Dr. Akilah Weber, Laurie Davis, David Alvarez, and Tasha Boerner 
  • Senators Tom Umberg, Steve Padilla, Susan Eggman, and Catherine Blakespear 
  • Mayor Darrell Steinberg, City of Sacramento 
  • David Nelson, Executive Director, California Forward Action Fund 
  • Lisa Engel, Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee Chief Consultant 
  • James Hacker, Governor Newsom’s Deputy Cabinet Secretary 
  • Megan Kirkeby, HCD Deputy Director of Housing Policy Development 

 “Well-crafted policy empowers businesses to build opportunities, create jobs, and contribute to our communities while unlocking doors to economic growth and regional success,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.  “As business leaders, we understand that our unified voice carries the weight of progress–and in the heart of the state’s capital– we are creating space for policies that fuel growth and innovation, making San Diego the best place to live and work.” 

See Full Agenda

See Facebook Photo Album

Member Spotlight: Episcopal Community Services

A Mother’s Leap of Faith

Meet Brenda Isais and her daughter London Rose Mora. A mother-daughter duo whose lives have been challenged by unusual obstacles. London was born with hydrocephalus, a condition that causes fluid buildup in the brain, leading to visual impairment and partial epilepsy. “I had to stop work to be able to stay home and take care of her,” Isais said, noting that most daycare centers wouldn’t accept London due to her special needs.

Isais was recommended to ECS Head Start, an initiative that offers high-quality early childhood and family education at no cost to qualifying families. Although initially nervous, she soon found comfort with the Head Start team’s inclusive approach. “I was nervous at first,” said Isais. “She had never been out of my sight.” Isais explained that the team was very accommodating; “They allowed me to be a part of her plan, even letting me stay with her during her initial days at the center,” she said.

Continue reading here

About ECS

Since its 1927 inception, ECS has been a beacon of hope that has grown into a $34 million nonprofit organization, annually serving over 7,000 individuals and families with comprehensive health and human services.

ECS’ spectrum of care is broad, encompassing early childhood education, mental health support, substance use disorder treatment, and transitional housing for those with mental health conditions. The ACCORD program assists adults arrested for DUI to reclaim their lives through targeted treatments, while the Central East Regional Recovery Center (CERRC) offers outpatient mental health support and substance use disorder treatments.

Their transformative Head Start program provides bilingual education for low-income children up to age five and wraparound services for their families. Simultaneously, Para Las Familias (PLF) works diligently to foster resilience in children and their caregivers by offering mental health services.

ECS’ Uptown and C-HRT Safe Havens provide transitional housing and evidence-based care for homeless adults with mental health disorders, supporting them on their journey to wellness.

Discover more about how ECS is breaking barriers and transforming communities at

For more information, contact Adrienne Wilkerson, Communications Director, at

Membership Spotlight: Fresh & Clean Laundry

Fresh & Clean Laundry serves the needs of both residential clients as well as local businesses such as vacation rental management, home health, assisted living, daycare, motel/hotel, laboratories, salons, spas, sports clubs, schools, chiropractors, dentists, and more.

They are able to clean everything from bedroom linen, table linen, towels, lab coats, personal clothing, workwear, and more. A few of our locally prominent clients include Stubbs Vacation Rentals, St. Paul’s PACE, and Neighborhood House Association.

They are flexible. That means that they appreciate that the requirements of some of our customers will vary throughout the year. Busier in summer? No problem, they can handle the extra laundry. Need deep cleans of heavy-duty items? Fresh & Clean can handle that, too. During peak periods, they can offer more frequent pickups and commit to turning your laundry around more quickly.

Fresh & Clean can also tailor a plan with appropriate features at a price that makes sense for your business. Your satisfaction is our top priority.

Ø Charge by the pound

Ø No contracts are required

Ø No hidden fees

Ø Free Pickup and Delivery

Ø Customized solutions to meet your unique business needs

Fresh & Clean Laundry currently provides pickup and delivery service throughout San Diego with two locations for in-store laundry service at 3363 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, and 1090 3rd Avenue, Chula Vista.

Check them out by visiting their website!