February 3 – Weekly Update - SD Regional Chamber

February 3 – Weekly Update

February is Black History Month, which honors the contributions of African Americans to the US. This year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness. Each year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) designates a focus for the month.

Black History Month originated in 1926 by Carter G Woodson, who created a weeklong celebration to formally teach Black history in public schools and develop Black history as an official field of study. By the late 1960’s, the tradition grew and Kent State University became the first institution to officially celebrate Black History Month before its national holiday designation in 1976. The month of February was chosen to recognize the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and their roles in emancipation and the abolitionist movement.

The San Diego History Museum is honoring Black History Month through an ongoing collaborative exhibition, available here.

Chamber Trivia of the Week:

Congratulations to our winner of last week’s trivia, Dr. Kathleen Lang with Health Net!

As it turns out, there were two World’s Fairs in the year 1915. One at San Diego’s Balboa Park, and the other at San Francisco’s Marina District – both celebrating the newly opened Panama Canal. We were out trivia-ed by Dr. Lang. Well deserved.

Onto this week’s question!

Where was the world-famous Caesar Salad created/where is it originally from? (Be specific!) Bonus points if you’ve visited in person…

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

Business News: 

New Sponsor Alert! Thank you to our new 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.

Beginning February 22, the San Diego Black Chamber is sponsoring a Supplier Diversity Training through their Urban Resource Center program. The program includes six one hour class sessions covering topics such as MBE certification, interview preparation and matchmaking with corporate partners. Learn more here.

The North San Diego Business Chamber is hosting their 11th annual Women’s Week, ending with a one-day leadership conference March 11. Learn more and register here.

Cubic Corporation is partnering with McMaster University to launch the Centre for Excellence for Artificial Intelligence and Smart Mobility. The program will bring together academia, government and industry to develop inclusive and innovative mobility solutions.

TuSimple will begin delivering freight for Union Pacific this spring. After running seven successful autonomous trips, TuSimple will now own and operate an autonomous rig delivering freight from Tucson to Phoenix. The future has arrived, people!

Next Tuesday, February 9, the SBA Veterans Business Outreach Center is holding a webinar on state and federal government certifications for small businesses. Business certifications such as Woman-Owned Small Business, HUBZone and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business can increase competitiveness when bidding on government contracts. Learn more and register here.

Elon Musk is developing a fully integrated brain machine interface system that would allow people to transmit and receive information from their brain to a computer. The chip was already successfully implanted in a pig and a monkey, now pursuing clinical trials. You may recall this sort of technology didn’t work exactly as planned in several episodes of Black Mirror… but that’s definitely not going to happen this time.

Legislative Updates


Federal:
 

We wish a warm welcome to the new First Feline, Willow.  This team supports quality cat content, and if you’ve waited 99 months into the pandemic to consider a rescue pet, perhaps now is your moment.

Remember that bipartisan infrastructure bill? Back when bipartisan was a thing (we kid)? Well money is-a-moving, and the administration has published the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook, to help you find your way to some cash. Pass go, collect $200, baby!

Speaking of money, the federal government will run out of it February 18th. While negotiations are happening, it’s looking possible that instead of a final deal we end up with a temporary stop-gap measure as we watch lawmakers realize that they agree on very, very little these days.

That’s it. Going forward, there will just be a sentence in here that says “the Build Back Better bill may not be dead.” And that’s it. Because it might not be dead…again, as the Dept. of Commerce head calls Manchin “gettable.” Senator Manchin says “it’s dead” as of Tuesday. Check back next week for probably more of the same.

Well anyway, let me say you’re welcome….” because there is a light at the end of the tunnel, parents-of-kids-under five! New reports say that the vaccine for the littles may be available by the end of February.

The antitrust package that we’ve previously mentioned continues to find new voices piping up with confusion, concern, or outright opposition. The latest? The centrist Blue Dogs met with author Rep. Cicilline to share their issues. If Democrats continue to fall into the “no” bucket on these bills generally, it will require strong Republican support to get the package through. (You’ll also remember the Chamber is part of the California Antitrust Coalition sharing our concerns with the bill package).

The FDA still does not have an appointed leader which matters quite a bit in the current scenario we are all sitting in. However, to appease some Senators that have been unenthusiastic about his appointment, Robert Califf is agreeing to pass up job opportunities with any pharma company he may deal with in his role (if appointed) for four years. If you watched Dopesick, or recognize the not-uncommon-tendency of profitable private sector jobs following public service jobs, you’d recognize this as significant.

International:

The World Trade Organization director-general  has said that supply chain issues “are taking longer to solve” than had been expected. She cited bureaucratic challenges for US ports, but also problems for developing countries trying to remain competitive. To address challenges, the WTO will be holding an international meeting in March, TBD.

As USAID begins to run low on funding, it’s expected that the President may ask for billions of dollars from Congress to enhance international vaccine efforts for countries that have struggled to get shots in arms. There is a strong public health contingent who have argued that the best way to avoid a forever-long scenario of mutations and future surges is to address the alarmingly low global vaccine rates.

Thinking outside the box here, over 70 theaters in the Netherlands are bypassing COVID restrictions by inviting people to get a haircut while performers play some really fancy background music.

Following the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue that took place in October, officials from both sides of the border met to create a bilateral agenda under the previously reached Bicentennial Understanding. The goal is to join forces against crime and address other security challenges.

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 hosted a briefing yesterday highlighting how this Initiative plays in maintaining American competitiveness in STEM.

Congratulations to Chamber members Televisa and Univision who closed a cross-border merger deal that will now combine content from both broadcasters to target the global Spanish-speaking audience of nearly 600  million people. You can catch the Chamber team on a monthly segment on Televisa covering international issues and opportunities pertaining to our region.

Hear ye! Hear ye! The Chamber will be hosting its first International Business Affairs forum of the year on March 10th for a conversation on border efficiencies from a global perspective and how border regions around the world address their local inhibitors. Speakers will share an overview on their significant efforts to facilitate trade, improve border infrastructure and binational diplomacy of their respective border region. Click here to register and stay tuned for more details.

The state of Sinaloa and a coalition of Mexican agricultural stakeholders extended an invitation to join this year’s “Expo Agro Sinaloa”. This is the largest agricultural trade show in northwest Mexico. The hybrid event will take place from March 16 – 18, and focus on innovation, sustainability, and alternative crop fields.

State:

Now entering the building: the paid sick leave extension bill (AB 84). Yes, we knew it was coming, but this is almost three weeks after the announcement by the Governor, and follows extensive negotiations. So, what’s in it? Glad you asked. We’ve got: retroactive to January 1, 2022; applies to biz with 26 employees or more; ten days to get yourself compliant; lasts through 9/30/2022. Expect a quick vote and Governor signature.

$$$ GoBiz dropped their new California Comeback Guide. The ten page guide includes information on state funding opportunities, links to apply, and staff contact information.

Sometimes, you learn the hard way about cameras being on smartphones and smartphones being, well, everywhere. Sometimes, you have to learn twice. Sometimes you are the Governor of California and you may or may not have had your mask on during a very public sporting event. Yowza.

Impossible jobs remain impossible. The Employment Development Department’s head Rita Saenz abruptly resigned and is replaced with Deputy Nina Farias, who has enjoyed a career at EDD since 2020. This particularly agency has had a doozy of a time with COVID, first with the chaos as unemployment claims skyrocketed at the start of the pandemic, to the fraudulent funds sent throughout the state (and even to a prison crime ring or two!), and the continued shall we call it, systemic, backlog of claims for people who are hugely dependent on receiving unemployment benefits. While the resignation took many by surprise, Saenz said in a prepared statement she only intended to stay for a short time.

AB 1400- the single payer health bill- surprised us all when it didn’t get heard as planned on the Assembly floor on Monday, as author Asm. Kalra recognized the bill didn’t have the votes and faced failure. Monday was the deadline for bills to make it out of the house of origin, so if you had any favorites, probably time to check their pulse.

Yet another resignation from the state legislature. Asm. Autumn Burke announced that she would be resigning immediately from Assembly District 62. This makes her the 21st Assembly incumbent to announce resignation in what is already a wildly busy election year.

In the medical field, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is also stepping down from her position as California’s surgeon general, with the state’s chief health officer Dr Devika Bhushan to take over as acting surgeon general until a permanent selection is made.

Local:

San Diego’s Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee is due to hear the long-awaited Sidewalk Vending Ordinance next week. You can find the draft language here.

The City of San Diego’s Housing Commission has received an additional $8 million and change for its housing stability assistance program. San Diego has emerged as a stand out local government in deploying the rental relief money, with their program oversubscribed. Conversely, most local governments across the country are struggling to get their relief funds out of the door.

More on the great resignation, this time more locally, where San Diego Port Commissioner Jennifer LeSar announced this week that she is standing down from her post.

Citing public health and safety concerns, on Monday San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced a coordinated clean-up effort of the sprawling encampment in the Midway District beginning on Tuesday and lasting throughout the week.

On that note, this week the Downtown San Diego Partnership called for a plan to create safe villages and explore other alternatives to shelters to help transition people from living on the street to more secure environments. The model has been implemented successfully in other cities and the city does own a very large underused parking lot on Sports Arena Blvd…

Also related –Voice of San Diego’s San Diego 101 Podcast published an episode this week all about the homelessness crisis. Give it a listen if you’re so inclined.

It’s San Diego museum month – which means you can enjoy 50% off admission to 45+ San Diego County museums, historic sites, gardens, zoo/aquariums and more. We’re already 3/28ths of the way through the month so don’t dawdle!

SANDAG is reconfiguring its leadership structure. The regional transportation and planning agency announced on Tuesday that former Director of Regional Planning Coleen Clementson and Chief Data Analytics Officer Ray Major have stepped up to take on roles as deputy chief executive officers.

City of San Diego Development Services Department Alert:

  • DSD now offers a streamlined permitting process for roof-mounted PV permits that meet the criteria found here.

City of San Diego City Council Hearings Recap:

  • On Tuesday San Diego City Council voted to push back the roll out of short-term vacation rental regulations, pending review and approval by the California Coastal Commission. While this move may not make everyone happy, there is some logic in not rolling out a new program during peak vacation season as the previous timeline would have resulted in.
  • Following Monday’s city council decision to unwind the 2012 Prop B, Mayor Gloria on Wednesday signed an ordinance to reinstate pensions for city employees.

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

Upcoming Hearings

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • 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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