February 10 – Weekly Update - SD Regional Chamber

February 10 – Weekly Update

We have heard there is a major sporting event taking place this weekend. We will be participating primarily for the good snack foods. However, if you’re a big sporting fan there’s also plenty to watch on the international stage at the Olympics. Check out this list of San Diego-affiliated athletes competing here!

Looking for PPE? Our team’s got your back. So much so that on the hottest day of the year so far (today) we got 50,000 more N95’s, sanitizer and surgical masks to keep you safe. Pickups are Fridays at our offices.

Chamber Trivia of the Week:

Congratulations to our winner of last week’s trivia, Luis Monteagudo of 211 San Diego!

On to this week’s question!

Which R&B singer has a ($28 million) home on the cliffs of La Jolla? 

This week’s winner will be announced on Twitter @SDChamber!

Business News: 

Thank you to our sponsor, California Strategies. California Strategies, LLC, is a full-service public affairs consulting firm dedicated to successfully navigating clients through the myriad pathways of California’s political, legislative, regulatory and media environments.

Travel is back! San Diego International Airport is reporting that they served over 15 million passengers in 2021, a sixty-nine percent increase over 2020.

This week Sempra Energy completed Phase II of an expansion effort of a wind farm in Baja California. The Energía Sierra Juárez wind farm added 26 turbines and thus increased its incremental capacity from 155 megawatts to 263 megawatts

Legislative Updates


Federal:
 

February 18th is still the funding deadline for the federal government, and legislators were hard at work this week making sure we don’t go broke. Yesterday, a three-week stopgap measure was passed.

But here’s something to watch: the two Appropriations Committee leaders are both retiring. Senators Leahy and Shelby, a dem and a rep respectively, are leaving after decades of working together. While they are just two of many noteworthy retirements announced of late, the absence of these two and their ability to cut deals will inevitably be felt in later rounds of the “will we fund the government” game.

A thing that’s telling you in its title that it’s only here to give you bad news, the Misery Index is at unusually high levels, hanging out in the double digits (a rate we haven’t seen since just after the Great Depression). The culprit? Inflation’s making us miserable. Today’s report put it at 11.5 (for reference that tops numbers from the Great Recession).

The Misery Index is a part of the Consumer Price Index. What else was in today’s unveiling? Well, inflation rose at a rate higher than expected and sits at a stubborn 7.5 percent, with everything from food to jackets to rent going up in cost (which… we’re pretty sure you already knew). In case you were wondering, San Diego’s inflation sits at 8.2 percent.

And for our regularly scheduled Build Back Better update, Senator Manchin threw some serious shade at any ambitious spending plans in light of the bad news on inflation recently saying he didn’t support adding “more fuel to an economy already on fire.”

The CDC plans to roll out vaccines for children under 5 once the Pfizer vaccine receives FDA approval. The FDA vaccine advisory committee meets next Tuesday to consider Pfizer’s request for emergency use authorization. If approved, the

A bill with bipartisan support is heading to the President’s desk. It will put an end to forced arbitration in cases of sexual assault or harrassment at the workplace- a significant policy change. Workers can still opt for arbitration, but will not be required to take that route to seek legal recourse.

Airlines have had it up to here with you, mister! Delta’s CEO has called on the federal government to create a national no-fly list for poorly behaved airline passengers as well-documented outbursts that range from drunk dummies behaving like drunk dummies, to all out assault on airline attendants continues to occur.

Puff, puff, pass…that law? Both Senate Majority Leader Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi have signaled that they’re interested in getting two cannabis reform laws passed. The first bill would expunge cannabis related criminal records, and another would allow states to tax and regulate it for adult use (note: “allow”).

International:

Doctors in Canada can now prescribe a trip to a national park. Okay, so how do we get a prescription for a beach getaway here?

Join us on March 10 for a conversation on border efficiencies from a global perspective and how border regions around the world collaborate to reach common goals. Speakers will share best practices and binational diplomacy efforts to facilitate trade and enhance border infrastructure. The Chamber is proud to partner with the Embassy of Spain in the U.S., the MARICOPA Association of Governments, San Diego Diplomacy Council, and the Jewish Federation of San Diego for this month’s International Business Affairs Forum.

Hundreds of migrants were relocated this past weekend from a campsite that was set up south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in Tijuana almost a year ago. The City of Tijuana and the Mexican National Guard expressed their commitment to guarantee the safety and health of migrants as they were relocated to shelters, and assist those who decide to return to their countries or cities of origin, stay in Tijuana, or continue to pursue a request for asylum with the U.S. With regard to the potential reopening of PedWest, CBP authorities stated they continue to assess staffing levels to determine when they will be able to resume operations there.

Covid measures and isolation conditions have been highly criticized in Beijing 2022. Over 350 athletes have tested positive for covid upon arrival at and had to be quarantined. On the flip side, Mexico made history with the first Mexican figure skater to compete in the Winter Games since 1992 and first to advance to compete for a medal. Go Donovan Carrillo!

Not an athlete yourself? Take a look at what the Elite Average Games could look like, with average peeps competing on synchronized bomb diving, beach shade wrestling, rhytmic gymnastics without spilling a drink, and parallel parking.

The Queen of England celebrates 70 years on the throne and publicly confirmed Camila will become Queen (Consort) when (if?) Prince Charles ascends to the throne. Seriously, can we get the new season of The Crown already? Netflix needs to catch up with the present.

Have you heard about the new Early Career STEM Research Initiative? This program will create more opportunities for companies across industries to host international visitors conducting research in STEM fields for up to five years through BridgeUSA. The White House will host a private roundtable next Friday, February 18th 2:00-3:00pm ET for those interested in learning more about the program.

Our partners at the San Diego Diplomacy Council will host a fundraiser event  April 2 afternoon at Stone Brewing Liberty Station to support their youth  and business leader programs, and community outreach initiatives. Tickets are available here for you to enjoy a great local band, delicious food, a cash bar, networking with 300 internationally-minded San Diegans, and other surprises.

The Institute of the Americas will be hosting a special virtual keynote address on February 25th at 11:00am featuring an insightful analysis of autocrats, the shift of power, and what we can do to preserve democracy and our freedom. Click here to register.

The American Truckers Association has said “Not cool, guys” to their counterparts in Canada who have created a blockade across a major bridge connecting Michigan and Ontario. The Canadian truckers are doing so in protest to vaccine requirements, and creating major headaches in supply chains. And, yes, there are similar efforts afoot in the states. TBD on that, however.

State:

Yesterday, Governor Newsom signed legislation extending COVID-19 paid family sick leave and additional small business relief. SB 114 requires covered employers to provide up to 80 hours of paid family sick leave (reinstating the supplemental paid sick leave a la 2020). Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees are exempt, however the bill is retroactive to January 1, 2022 and extends through September 30, 2022. SB 113 provides $6.1 billion in tax relief and grants for small businesses, including $150 million to fund waitlisted applicants for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. If you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to ask us. Or…

You can read this helpful summary on what employers need to know about supplemental sick leave here.

Governor Newsom announced that the indoor mask mandate will expire on February 15, and CDPH released new guidance to take effect on February 16. Indoor mega events will allow up to 1,000 attendees, and 10,000 attendees for outdoor mega events. Vaccine verification or proof of a negative COVID-19 test will continue to be required for indoor events, but only recommended for outdoor events.

This is the first step in California’s new endemic strategy, although officials have yet to provide details on what the rest may look like. On Wednesday, Newsom announced next steps could be released as soon as next week, including changes to the school mask mandate.

Remember that rooftop solar debate..? Following commentary from Governor Newsom recently, several legislators signed onto a letter last Friday urging the CPUC president to take action reforming the current Net Energy Metering program.

New leadership announced this week: Former California Office of Digital Innovation director Amy Tong has been appointed as the new secretary of the Government Operations Agency (GovOps). CA Department of Transportation director Toks Omishakin will be the new secretary of the California State Transportation Agency (Caltrans).

Speaking of leadership, Senate Leader Atkins announced new leadership and committee appointments today.

Local:

The City of National City is beginning the districting process using the 2020 Census data. Several public hearings will be held this month and the next where public input will be welcomed to define the four City district boundaries. Click here for more information.

Mayor Todd Gloria announced two new appointments to the Planning Commission last week. Congratulations Ted Miyahara and Carmen Vann!

Introducing Sports San Diego! The region’s new collaborative focused on attracting new sporting events to our (very desirable) town. Check it out and spread the word.

The County of San Diego will ask the state leadership to work on a plan to phase out the mask requirement for kids in K-12 schools. This is a particular flash point of the pandemic that promises a heated debate.

City of San Diego City Council Hearings Recap:

County of San Diego Hearings Recap:

  • The BOS voted 3-2 on a two phased approach to VMT. First, the Board voted to further identify infill areas in the unincorporated region that could allow developers to build without needing a VMT study and mitigation.  The second component requires staff to return to the Board in four months with a sustainable land use framework.
  • The BOS unanimously approved a pilot program to assist low income seniors with rent costs.
  • The BOS adopted the Working Families Ordinance, which requires that construction projects on County-owned land at a certain threshold be done by a skilled and trained workforce. For businesses located on County land it clarifies standards for employment including minimum wage and paid leave.
  • The BoS also unanimously approved plans for a new Office of Environmental and Climate Justice, and directed staff to coordinate initial operations with the ongoing Regional Decarbonization Framework draft process also heard on Wednesday.
  • The BOS unanimously approved a microbusiness grant program funded by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate. $2,500 grants will be awarded to up to 1,550 qualifying  microbusinesses. Applications will open February 15 and are available at the SBDC website.

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:.

  • Councilmember Raul Campillo’s Cannabis production/manufacturing tax reduction and the City’s Cannabis Business Division’s operational fee proposal will go to City Council next Tuesday, February 15.
  • There will be 2 more public meetings to hear feedback on the City’s Capital Improvements Programs prioritization. Click the following links to register:  (LaCava) and (Montgomery Steppe).

Upcoming Hearings

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The County of San Diego will be announcing the availability of $2,500 grants for microbusinesses operating within the County.
  • 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.
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