Legislative Update – November 10

Thank you to those that were able to join us at this year’s Legislative Lounge and congratulations to our award winners! In case you missed it, we recognized: Jay Goldstone – Victory Lap, David Pasquini – Bridge Builder, Liz Maland and Andrew Potter – We Don’t Deserve You, Juan Carlos Leyva – Rising Star, and Mabi Castro – Staffer Who Gets S#!t Done. We think it was very appropriate that one of our first in-person events was to recognize the people who do so much behind the scenes every day.


Business News

Cox Communications recently partnered with Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation to deliver free wireless connectivity to Southeastern San Diego communities. Speaking of, congratulations to Sam Attisha, our former Board Chair who is now Senior Vice President of Field Operations Cox Communications nationwide!

Landmark at Otay, a new industrial park, announced its first tenant. RL Jones Customhouse Brokers will lease 153,000 square feet of the park, making it one of the largest projects in Otay Mesa. RL Jones will focus on facilitating cross border trade with Tijuana’s maquiladora industry.

Amazon is highlighting several San Diego small businesses for a “Shop Local” event on Saturday, November 20. Chamber member Uncle Keith Gourmet Foods will be featured, selling hot sauces, spices, condiments and more.

Viasat Inc. was recently recognized by US Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh for their work recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans. Viasat was also recently named a top employer for veterans by the Military Times’ 2021 Best For Vets: Employers List. Congratulations!

Inovio Pharmaceuticals continues to move forward with trials of their COVID-19 vaccine in various countries and also as part of the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial Vaccines initiative. The company’s vaccine, which can be stored at room temperature for more than a year, expects initial data from the trials within the first half of 2022. The WHO notes that easy-to-store vaccines have the potential to provide greater protection and more access to rural communities and low-income countries.


Legislative Updates


COVID is putting a lot of things in the spotlight, and not just the new halo lights we know you all bought and aren’t sure you want to admit to yet. No, we’re talking about ADA suits, which after a brief dip during the pandemic are back on the rise thanks to what coverage of the suits is calling “serial litigants.” Some reform efforts are bubbling up as small businesses who are getting squeezed by costly suits are flagging the challenge for their representatives and highlighting the double-whammy effect during COVID.

Which federal appeals court will hear the challenges to OSHA’s emergency rule? Since challenges have been filed in almost every US Circuit court, each court received one entry to be pulled at random by the clerk of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, Powerball style. The winner is the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, based out of Cincinnati.

On Monday, President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. Initial rounds of spending will be prioritized for issues such as improving broadband access, replacing lead drinking pipes, and improving shipping backlogs in ports around the country. In the near future, we’ll be watching what sort of processes will be in place for competitive funds vs. what will be awarded via formula funds.

We bring you yet another Thursday afternoon of wondering if/when votes will happen in DC. Fun! The Build Back Better bill, the big spending one that covers climate, childcare and myriad other areas, may go to the floor today. Of particular interest, the SALT cap in this bill has been raised, which we know makes quite a few of you readers happy.

The American Medical Association is taking steps to fight back on disinformation spread by (what we hope is a small portion of) its members.



Attack of the space trash! Speculation that an old Russian satellite threw a bunch of debris into space alarmed US Space Force officials and threatened the safety of the US Space Station– sending our astronauts into hiding in their safety capsules. Seriously.

After five years without meeting, a North American Leaders Summit took place this week to face regional and global challenges. This marks the first face-to-face meeting between President López Obrador, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau. Key items included COVID-19, health security, migration, economic recovery and integration.

The Chamber joined a coalition of trade and travel advocates through the Border Trade Alliance on a letter urging Congress to maintain CBP staffing, expand staffing by at least 800 officers -half the identified need- to handle increased workloads, and address the shortfall in user fees caused by the pandemic, which could negatively impact staffing. A similar letter was sent earlier this year when the House Appropriations Subcommittee passed its version of the FY 22 bill.

Pfizer has entered into international agreements to allow for other companies to produce their pill that could treat COVID-19, if approved. Earlier, Pfizer has announced that this pill cut hospitalization and death rates by 90% and is seeking the OK from the FDA for use. (The US is reported to already have bought 10 million doses).

Registration is now open for this year’s International Tribute Awards taking place on Tuesday, December 7th at the Westgate Hotel. Join us to recognize the individuals and businesses that lead binational initiatives bridging the U.S. and Mexican economies. This year’s award recipients are:

  • International Business of the Year: Taylor Guitars
  • International Leader of the Year: Melissa Floca, Sr. Advisor, Cross-Border Initiatives at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice
  • Cross-Border Collaboration: San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas; Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego; and Luis Lutteroth, President of Consejo de Desarrollo de Tijuana (CDT).



Beloved CalFIRE Chief Thom Porter announced his retirement. Name sound familiar? That’s because he was a star speaker at our Sacramento trip in 2020…. And also because he’s been the guy in charge of making sure the state doesn’t burn to the ground. But we were proud to have him.

A California hotelier who was appealing for coverage of losses from the pandemic was dealt a blow by the Fourth Appellate District who ruled that their insurer did not have to pay under a business-interruption claim from the business. This is likely going to be a precedent that will put many businesses looking to file similar claims on their heels.

Get in loser, we’re going shopping…. Because the state’s budget surplus for 2022-2023 is expected to be a whopping $31 billion! This according to the LAO’s “2022-23 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook” publication.

Also stepping down in December is California State Auditor Elaine Howle who has served over 21 years  and was the first woman to be appointed to the position. Howle’s office has had a busy year uncovering issues with the EDD, federal relief funds oversight, high-speed rail, and more.

If you’ve been thinking about the COVID-19 booster shot, State public health officials have officially advised local jurisdictions and providers to not turn away any California adult who wants to get one. Boosters will be critical to avoiding a messy mini-surge over the holiday season. Give gifts, not viruses, people.

Cal/OSHA met today and…. Well… nothing much happened by way of the emergency temporary standard (ETS) that’s weighing on most people’s minds. But here’s what you need to know: December 16th, they’ll vote to readopt the ETS which will last through March, and we expect some changes to that version. Stay tuned.

Yesterday, the state issued a Request for Qualifications to redevelop a state-owned 2.7 acre site at 1350 Front Street for an affordable housing development. Read more in the HCD announcement here.

On Monday, the California Energy Commission approved the 2021-2023 Investment Plan Update. The $1.4 billion plan will focus on helping the state reach its zero emissions vehicle and infrastructure targets, as well as funding for charging infrastructure and zero-emissions vehicle manufacturing.




The San Diego region has ranked #9 in an October 2021 survey of Cleantech Innovation Hubs released by venture capital and research firm Saoradh Enterprise Partners. The Cleantech Innovation Hubs Survey focused on research funding and results, technology development, and venture formation from the top 40 U.S. hubs.

Mobile vans will now start offering COVID-19 vaccinations to students, families, and staff at five schools in the San Diego Unified School District – courtesy of UC San Diego. Earlier this year, the School Board voted to mandate vaccinations for staff and students ages 16 & up by December 20.  Vaccines will be open to anyone who shows up and no appointment is required.

Councilmember Joe LaCava unveiled his Community Planning Group (CPG) reform proposal, which would make CPGs independent advisory bodies. The proposal will be presented to the City’s Community Planners Committee on November 30.


When Mayor Todd Gloria was ten years old, he won runner up for San Diego’s “Mayor for a Day” contest. Now, as the first LGBTQ person and first person of color to be elected as San Diego’s Mayor, he’s bringing the program back. We’re pretty sure we covered this at Leg Lounge, but if you’re looking for the world’s hardest job where everyone just tweets at you all day, this is the one for you!

Interim Registrar Cynthia Paes is now the newly appointed San Diego County Registrar of Voters. She will continue to ensure fair, accurate and transparent elections, as well as further develop the county’s community engagement efforts. Congratulations, Cynthia!

Register here for SDMAC’s free town hall with Congressman Scott Peters. The meeting will be held next Tuesday from 4-6 pm at the MCAS Miramar Officers’ Club.

City of San Diego Development Services Department Alert: BIG news – DSD’s permit process for all discretionary permit application types will go online next month. Interested in learning how to apply for a discretionary permit online? Learn more during one of their Webinar Wednesdays in December!

Dahvia Lynch has been named the new Director of Planning & Development Services for the County of San Diego. Dahvia, who began her career at the County, was previously Director of Development Services for the City of San Marcos for five years.

On Wednesday, a ballot initiative “Library and Parks For All” launched for the November 2022 election. The measure would use a parcel tax to fund academic programs, homeless outreach services, technology and free public Wi-Fi. During the announcement, the group stated that our library system needs at least $200 million in infrastructure repairs to meet health and safety standards.

Here’s what happened at this week’s San Diego City Council and Committee hearings:


Here’s what happened at this week’s Board of Supervisor hearings:

  • Supported the creation of an ordinance to eliminate discrimination against women. The Chief Administrative Officer and Office of Equity and Racial Justice will work on creating one that follows the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which was adopted in 1979, and a gender equity strategy.
  • Heard an update on the status of the San Diego Regional Decarbonization Framework.
  • Supported a congressional bill to stop new offshore oil drilling in Southern California.
  • Directed the Department of Parks and Recreation to work with outside agencies to keep regional lakes and reservoirs open.


Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • The County is hosting two public engagement workshops on November 30 and December 6 to receive input on the North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP). Staff will be presenting their revised direction by the Board to develop a draft plan that aims to balance biological diversity and urban growth.


Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • December 14 is a month away, but mark your calendars for the street vending ordinance to come to City Council.


Upcoming Hearings

  • The San Diego City Environment Committee will meet on November 18.
  • The San Diego City Planning Commission will meet on November 18.
  • The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on November 19.
  • The San Diego City Council will be in legislative recess from November 22-December 3.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The California Competes Grant guidelines for FY 2021-22 have now been posted. The application period will start on January 3, 2022 with $120 million available. More information can be found here in the coming weeks. Applications must be submitted by January 24.
  • 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.