Legislative Update – August 19

In this week’s edition of “we read the news so you don’t have to,” we would like to tell you that it was a pretty bleak news cycle. But as we approach the week’s end, we want you to know that we appreciate you taking time to read our newsletters, to support the business community, and to help San Diego continue to recover. As author Robert Fulghum said, “You may never have proof of your importance but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.”

Onward and upward.

Our upcoming  Mexico City Summit will take place August 31 through September 1st. This year’s summit provides an opportunity for participants to meet with key federal officials and diverse business industry leaders to discuss regional priorities such as border infrastructure, transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River Valley, and cross-border commerce.

Business News

With businesses tasked with the choice to implement vaccine verifications, some managers are now responsible for checking their customer’s vaccination status. Restaurant, retail and hospitality employers, we would LOVE your feedback on how you’re managing vaccine verification or self attestation in the workplace.

Congratulations to Chamber Transportation & Land Development Committee Chair, Claudia Escala, for being promoted to Co-President of Carrier Johnson + CULTURE! Claudia, along with Ray Varela, will lead the firm’s design and business strategy across the firm’s three offices.

Healing Wave Aquatics is seeking partners interested in supporting their $1M capital campaign to build a 3,000 square-foot facility in Rose Canyon. The facility will have two therapy pools that will help triple their capacity of serving low-income veterans while also offering sessions to the general public and expanding non-profit sessions to populations that have experienced trauma, including first responders and health care workers.  There are a variety of ways to be supportive: sponsorships, connections to healthcare providers who have clients that could be served, and business advisory support. Interested? Learn more about their campaign progress and how you can get involved!

Legislative Updates


The infrastructure bill continues to be on shaky ground as Speaker Pelosi announced that the House will vote on the more far-reaching $3.5 trillion budget deal first. Why does one bill impact the other? Well, for the infrastructure bill, the bipartisan deal was met with dismay from more progressives who wanted to see a broader package. So, in response, they’ve required the $3.5 trillion budget to be passed with the infrastructure bill. In response, there are at least nine mod-dems who are not cool with voting on that budget deal, which could sink it (the Speaker can only lose three). And, if things play out this way, you sink one…. You may sink them both.

On September 4th, the supplemental benefits for unemployment insurance will expire. This poses a major question as COVID-19 rates trend in what is, to put it nicely, a very concerning direction and consumer sentiments are again a big fat question mark. However, the state is putting out the call to apply for the traditional suite of benefits if you have resource challenges. You can find information here.

On Wednesday, US health officials recommended booster shots for people eight months after they received their second vaccine dose. Boosters will become eligible starting September 20 for those that received the vaccine first.

The President, who is arguably having a very, very bad week, announced that the federal government would forgive student debt for severely disabled borrowers which will cover over 320,000 individuals. Related: student loan forbearance has been extended through January 2022. (Maybe they’ll just forget to restart it?)

Republicans in the House are putting a spotlight on inflation after the Department of Labor reported that the consumer price index rose 5.4 percent from July last year to July this year. As prices rise, expect to see this become another component of the political discourse.


Looking to tap into new international markets? The Ahlers Center at USD is launching the Global Market Navigator fellowship, a program specifically designed for San Diego-based businesses with at least one year of export experience to help them create a robust market entry strategy plan.

Hi friend! Our region welcomes Tom Reott, new U.S. Consul General in Tijuana. We look forward to continued collaboration with the consulate under his leadership.

For the first time in 15 years, Baja led Mexico’s foreign direct investment attraction in the second quarter of 2021. $1.2 billion came from the U.S., a nearly 500% increase than the same period last year, widely attributed to bilateral economic activity with California.

Although 78.32% of Baja’s population has been vaccinated, concern grows in anticipation of the winter season. Secretary of Health Alonso Pérez Rico announced there is a plan to make COVID-19 booster shots available across the region starting November.

Mayor-Elect of Tijuana, Montserrat Caballero, initiated her visit to San Diego to meet with local stakeholders to discuss key binational issues. Her first stop was composed of a productive meeting with Carlos Gonzalez, Consul General of México in San Diego, and plans on doing the same with Mayor Tod Gloria and SANDAG representatives.

For those of you in the back who didn’t read it in the opening: Our upcoming  Mexico City Summit will take place August 31 through September 1st. Join us to advocate for regional priorities and come together for an in-person happy hour at Coasterra.

​Chamber member MAPLE Business Council is hosting a Fall Networking Reception on September 9. The program includes two presentations on trade, investment and business development followed by networking. Registration is available here and you can join in-person or virtually.


On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health announced proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be required within 72 hours before indoor events with over 1,000 participants.

The State Legislature is back in session until September 10. A few priority issues that lawmakers intend to make decisions on include housing, pandemic response, criminal justice reform, and climate resiliency.

As the statewide drought worsens, Governor Newsom says statewide water restrictions could be coming within the next 6 weeks.


Do you have feelings about the procurement process at the County? Want to be a part of the discussion on how to improve it? Well, good news for you! There is a kick off event for that exact conversation on Tuesday, August 24th!

On Monday, county officials recommended employers adopt a vaccine verification program, or require employees to undergo regular COVID-19 testing. While the recommendation does not require an employer to do anything, it was a strong reminder that vaccine verifications and ramped up testing can help to slow the current surge.

The Downtown Community Planning Council (DCPC) is currently calling for voter and candidate registration for their upcoming election on October 11, 2021. There are seven business seats open – if you are a downtown business or resident and want to learn more, click here.

The County has begun issuing $4.5 million in permit fee refunds to the restaurant industry for the period of March 16, 2020-June 15, 2021. Back in June, the County agreed to a class action lawsuit settlement for restaurants and food preparation facilities who were required to pay these annual fees during the pandemic.

The County Board of Supervisors heard a number of items this week, including:

On Tuesday, August 24, the Padres and the County will be teaming up for the third time to encourage residents to get vaccinated at Petco Park. Learn more here on how you can score free padre tickets and t-shirts for getting the vaccine.

The City of San Diego’s Development Services Department continues to host DSD Webinar Wednesdays. Next week’s webinar will inform customers on how to submit engineering and building plans & sheet numbering requirements. Missed a webinar? You can watch previous recordings here.

Mayor Todd Gloria recently extended the current 15% cap on surcharges by third-party delivery apps operating within the City of San Diego for another 60 days.

The City of San Diego encourages residents to attend their district’s online public forums to learn more about the proposal to increase sewer and rates consecutively over the next five year, starting by 5% in 2022, in advance of City Council voting on it on September 21.

San Diego home sales and rent prices continue to be high. Compared to July 2020, the median sales price for a home is now $860,000 (up almost 20%) and renters have seen an almost 9% jump in a year.

Upcoming Hearings

  • The County Board of Supervisors will meet on August 31.
  • The San Diego City Council will be in summer recess until September 13.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The City of San Diego in partnership with The San Diego Foundation is offering the Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund. Applications will be accepted until September 24 at 5 pm. Grants are not first come first serve, and all applications will be reviewed after September 24.
  • The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to locate in California or stay and grow in California. Businesses of any industry, size or location are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted from July 26, 2021 – August 16, 2021 for the first period.
  • The CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund provides assistance for eligible expenses to businesses in the City of San Diego and City of Chula Vista impacted by the pandemic.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund is offering small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees loans up to $100,000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant Program is accepting additional applications. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 100 full-time employees and are following sectors (restaurant, gym fitness center, yoga studio, movie theater, museum, zoo, or aquarium) that were impacted by moving from the Red to Purple Tier OR part of the event industry. Learn more and apply here.
  • City of San Diego Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit – Businesses (restaurants, retail stores, gyms, hair salons, nail salons) can now expand into the public right-of-way, parking lots, and public spaces. Information on how to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit can be found here.
  • Businesses can reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide to help business owners navigate through the chaos COVID-19 is having on our communities. SBDC can help with applying for 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.
  • The State Treasurer’s Office has published this list of Federal, State, Local, Private, and Non-profit resources available to small businesses.