September 10, 2021
And that’s a wrap! Thank you to everyone who joined us this week at our Mexico City Virtual Summit. Together, we advocated to advance our region’s priorities including the Otay Mesa East Land Port of Entry, mitigate transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River, and facilitate trade & economic opportunities with key federal officials and business industry leaders.
We’ve just published a study about the middle mile – a key component to addressing the digital divide in the state. Short version: we can and should leverage existing networks to create more access for consumers statewide. The funds from the federal government right now can play a key role in making that happen.
The SBDC is holding weekly webinars on rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the California Relief Grant. The webinars cover program eligibility, funding uses and the application process and will be held in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
Is your company requiring vaccinations for employees? If so, the San Diego Union Tribune wants to hear from you.
September 13-15 is National Small Business Week! Join the Small Business Administration for a free online conference to attend educational webinars and network with small businesses owners and industry experts.
While it feels like we as a country, or even a planet, can’t agree on much, here’s one thing we are all feeling: the pinch of supply-chain woes. Early on, it was toilet paper. Then we moved into the niche shortages of ketchup and bucatini (which was rather devastating for us). Today, it’s shortages that major companies like Nike, Yeti, and McDonalds are pointing to as prices go up and supply goes down. In particular, the international brands are facing BIG problems at a crucial time (yes, yes, it’s PSL season but the holidays are like, tomorrow) as case rates rise and require factories in places like Vietnam to be entirely shut down.
The Business Group on Health published their findings in the 2021 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy survey. A surprising (but positive!) 76% of employers say they’re going to bolster mental health supports for their employees in 2022.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court put a stop to the CDC’s eviction moratorium. (Note: it doesn’t really hit California/San Diego because we have our own moratorium in place still).
If you’re thinking about trying to market pesticides as COVID treatments or preventative measures, a few things: 1) maybe don’t do that 2) the EPA is applying its Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to those cases. There’s been an alarming 447 actions taken under FIFRA to address pesticides being falsely marketed as COVID treatments. Insert facepalm emoji here.
The feds are creating a new Office of Climate Change & Health Equity in HHS. It could be argued that this line of work, around climate justice, is very much in the wheelhouse of Secretary Becerra, for anyone who watched his work while in the state administration.
The US Trade Representative is looking for comments to a proposed rule to extend current exclusions for investigations into certain products and policies that are needed for medical-care products from China that can help address COVID. As of 12/2020, there were 80 products that were covered. The USTR is now saying that some of the products that were covered can be obtained elsewhere or made domestically, so do we still need this rule, or nah?
Yeah, San Diego’s housing market saw the prices grow the fastest in the state (cool?) but President Biden rolled out a long list of activities his administration will be undertaking to boost housing.
Yesterday, FY2022 NDAA was debated during the full markup in the House Armed Services Committee until 2:30 am (2021- what do you have against short public meetings?!). The committee voted 42-17 to add $24 billion to Biden’s $715 billion military spending plan.
If you’re a perpetual loser-of-things, you’ll be stoked to learn that Apple is rolling out a way to store drivers licenses on the iPhone. California isn’t one of the eight states in this first go around (not like they’re based here or anything), but it’s still a big move.
In case you missed it, here’s a few highlights of this week’s Mexico City Summit:
- Roberto Velasco, Unit Chief for North America for the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, welcomed delegates and shared insights on the high-level economic dialogue between the U.S. and Mexico which will strengthen our global competitiveness;
- A message from Baja governor-elect, Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda;
- Secretary of Economy Tatiana Coulthier shared an update on the implementation of USMCA;
- A conversation with members from the Mexican Senate;
- A panel with agencies involved in advancing the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry;
- And a roundtable discussion with the Mexican section of the IBWC, the National Water Commission, and NADBank on efforts to address transboundary pollution.
We look forward to continued collaboration with Mexico and going back to Mexico City next year. Check out our Twitter thread for more highlights of the summit.
It’s back to school time and thousands of students returned to in-person learning at fifty-five academic institutions in Baja. Everyone else back on Zoom as state authorities continue efforts to gradually allow schools to reopen. Secretary of Education Gerardo Solís stated that students and staff will follow daily sanitation protocols to enter classrooms such as wearing face coverings at all times.
Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sánchez Cordero, resigned her post last Friday and assumed the presidency of the Senate’s Board of Directors on Monday. During her first address as leader of the Senate, Sánchez Cordero asked her colleagues to leave behind political differences to reach agreements and advance legislation in benefit of the country.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Mexican government will sign an MOU to renew their commitment to combat employment discrimination against Mexican Americans and Mexican nationals residing in the United States. This aims to increase awareness and inform the Mexican and Latino communities about their fundamental labor rights.
Chamber member Tijuana EDC extends an invitation to join their 2nd Borderless Business Congress taking place October 4 – 9. In partnership with the Chamber and other business organizations, our dynamic binational region will be showcased virtually and onsite to demonstrate our unique strengths and resources which make us a hub for foreign direct investment across industries.
The annual business forum, BajaMak, will take place this year on October 21st in Rosarito. The event aims to strengthen the supply chain for the industry in the region, through an industrial exhibition format, business meeting, conferences and workshops. To join and/or participate as an exhibitor, visit their website.
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.
A proposal to require vaccines across the state has been dropped. With less than two weeks to go before the legislature adjourns, Asm. Wicks said she needs more time to work on the bill. A companion bill, AB 1102 which was originally going to limit liabilities for businesses that opt to require vaccines for their employees, is also dead. While we were supportive of it, the large and rather unwieldy anti-vaccine campaign proponents have successfully misled their followers and their objections seem to have prevailed. Sigh.
Two Chamber-supported housing bills, SB 9 & SB 10, are now on their way to the Governor’s Desk. Also on its way is SB 8, which extends the Housing Crisis Act (HCA) of 2019 to 2030.
The Cal/OSHA sub-committee on vaccines continues to meet (you thought we forgot about that didn’t you?) While there’s no big policy moves yet, we anticipate policy proposals to come at their September 9th meeting at which point we’ll start to know more about what the permanent infectious disease standard will look like. We’ll keep you posted there.
WIll we make it on the Late Show again this week? Highlights from this week’s County Board of Supervisors meeting include:
- Voted 3-2 to declare medical misinformation a public health crisis
- Voted 3-2 to join San Diego Community Power instead of the Clean Energy Alliance
- Approved a new plan to expand project-based vouchers, which include an analysis of the waitlist system and awarding vouchers for transit-oriented development that use sustainable materials and design standards.
- Approved an additional $25 million to the Innovative Housing Trust Fund which is currently used to create and/or preserve affordable housing in the region, and where $5 million can be used for housing research and pilot programs to increase housing production.
- Directed staff to analyze a number of transformative housing solutions, which includes ways to streamline housing production and reduce regulatory red tape.
The County is holding a public workshop on September 13 at 6:00pm to seek input in the development of the regional decarbonization framework. Joining the workshop will be Elena Crete, Climate & Energy Program Manager for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
San Diego City Council President Dr. Jennifer Campbell has taken the lead on bringing forward the proposed citywide street vending ordinance. The proposal is anticipated to be presented to the Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee this Fall.
City and County leaders recently announced that the first COVID-19 monoclonal antibody regional center (MARC) will open in Clairemont as early as next week. MARC will provide treatment to all medically eligible residents at no cost, regardless of health insurance or immigration status.
The City of San Diego’s climate adaptation and resiliency plan, known as Climate Resilient SD, will have a draft released for public review by the end of September. The public can subscribe for updates and learn more here on future engagement opportunities.
Spaces as Places, the Planning department’s initiative to transition temporary pandemic response outdoor spaces to permanent outdoor places are available for review here. The initiative will soon be presented at the ADA board on September 8, Planning Commission on September 9, and Land Use and Housing Committee on September 16 before going before City Council in late October.
The City of San Diego’s Planning Commission will host an informational workshop on the Draft Clairemont Community Plan on September 23. The workshop will review the land use map, policies, and design concepts. The draft plan, which has not been updated since 1989, aims to provide much needed housing and commercial opportunities and encourage sustainable transportation options.
The City of San Diego will be restricting all planned construction activities and any utility work requiring power outages within one mile of polling locations from September 11-14 to ensure that voters reach their polling locations for the recall election.
- The San Diego City Planning Commissioners will meet on September 9.
- The San Diego City Council will be in summer recess until September 13.
- The County Board of Supervisors will meet on September 14 & September 15.
- MTS Board of Directors will meet on September 16.
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.