So, what’s the _ _ _ _ _ of wordle? Maybe there is none. Or maybe it’s a great five minute distraction from the craziness going on in the world. We all need a little win these days.
And for our loyal newsletter readers, we are now introducing a weekly trivia question. The first person to respond with the correct answer (via email) will be the lucky winner of a gift card to our Chamber member, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and the pride of winning when maybe your wordle effort didn’t go well today.
Chamber Trivia of the Week:
Somewhere along San Diego’s coastline, the inspiration for Dr. Seuss’s Lorax tree stands alone. Where is it?
Illumina recently announced a new partnership with Agendia NV to advance breast cancer research. The partnership will allow genomic testing in breast cancer to help physicians provide more accurate diagnoses and predict the development of a woman’s cancer. Providing in-house clinical testing is expected to reduce turnaround times and improve treatment strategies for breast cancer patients.
Tech startups out-raised biotech firms this year in venture capital investments. Prior to the pandemic, biotech companies maintained around ⅔ of total venture capital investments, but this year, seven of the ten top fundraising deals went to tech startups. Congratulations to Flock Freight, coming in at #5 with $215 million raised!
Swabs, assemble! A new government website launched yesterday to help distribute COVID-19 tests across the country. You can order tests at covidtests.gov. Priority will be given to orders from areas hardest hit by the pandemic. The website also has information on insurance reimbursement for at home testing (up to 8 at home tests per month per person on the insurance plan.)
Happy one year in what might be the hardest gig ever, Mr. President! On Wednesday, every journalist still working got the opportunity to review the good, bad, awkward and COVID-tastic parts of Joe Biden’s first year in office as President. Here’s one such review.
Build Back Better is dead. Kind of. (groundhog day, anyone?) But the President’s press conference last night included an idea that he will have the opportunity to sign “chunks” of the bill when it’s broken up into separate legislative vehicles. Mixed responses there, and we’d humbly suggest that “chunks” is an ill-advised way to talk about major policy. Sounds like the first “chunk” out the gate might be $550 billion in climate change rules.
In purely political news, the President did say that VP Harris would again be his running mate in 2024, assuming they both haven’t said “eff this job” by then.
Hey now! Congressman Mike Levin announced on Wednesday that he has secured $30.5 million for an Encinitas-Solana Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project through the bipartisan infrastructure law.
The Senate Judiciary has voted to allow a bill targeted at the major tech companies and social media platforms out of the committee, following a very lengthy discussion, because the internet is sort of complicated. To that point, there were over 100 amendments filed on the bill and California’s own Senator Feinstein called it a “very dangerous” bill. That remark was followed by a demand to know who she talked to, which is not how legislative debates generally work. All in all, the antitrust package that is being watched is likely to continue to face scrutiny as many wonder if these bills are the solution they claim to be.
The FDA, which let’s all just agree is definitely an important agency, finally has a proposed Commissioner, Robert Califf. And that nomination is already under fire due to the agency’s position on abortion pills.
Kicking off the new year with a BOOM! Literally… the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on Saturday leading to tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in several countries. Residents along California were advised to move away from the coastline to higher ground and stay off the beach and out of the water.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm traveled to Mexico this week to meet with President Lopez Obrador and shared concerns over his initiative to strengthen state control of the power market and how this would impact the private sector and foreign investment.
Mayor Gloria was in Washington D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where he met with Mexican Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma and newly appointed CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus to discuss efforts and collaboration opportunities that will help our binational community thrive.
Congratulations to Baja Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila! She welcomed her second child, Diego José, just a few days ago. Governor Avila will continue her duties working remotely while State Secretary Catalino Zavala handles in-person events.
Make room for some royal controversy – Prince Andrew of Great Britain lost all his military titles and patronages. Formerly addressed as His Royal Highness, the Duke of York will be defending himself as a private citizen following accusations in the U.S. related to Jeffrey Epstein’s reign of terror. Seriously though, we just can’t wait for The Crown to catch up to the present.
San Diego and Tijuana were recently designated World Design Capital for 2024, the first-ever biantional region to do so. In anticipation of a series of amazing events promoting our region, take a look at the 2022 winner: Valencia, Spain. With just about 800,000 residents, Valencia scored this recognition for its effective and strategic use of design in public policy, which had a beneficial impact on industries, infrastructure and mobility.
Because the only thing we’re missing during this pandemic is a war, Russia is threatening to send troops to Ukraine after years of resentment for them leaving the Soviet Union. Like, they really don’t want Ukraine to play with anyone else. Definitely not become a member of NATO. After Russia sat down to chat with other nations including the U.S., it remains unclear if President Putin will move forward with an invasion. The White House assured the U.S.’ response to an invasion would be “swift, severe, and united” depending on Russia’s actions.
If you’re looking for a nice graphic of the absolute dumpster fire that is public education during a pandemic and how we’re coordinating things… you can find one from the smarties over at CalMatters, who have published a fantastic chart documenting large districts in the state’s mandate and testing situation.
Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that a new public service program to help college students will launch in Fall 2022. 45 colleges and universities will participate in “Californians for College Corps” which will provide a qualified student $10,000 toward their education and academic credit in exchange for 450 hours of service in areas of need.
As the legal industry continues to face local regulatory and illegal market challenges, Governor Newsom has signaled that he is open to cannabis tax reform. In addition, his current budget proposal estimates that approximately $595 million from the Cannabis Tax Fund will be available for enforcement, youth substance treatment and other public safety activities.
San Diego’s COVID case surge shows signs of slowing down, according to UC San Diego’s wastewater surveillance data. (Keep masking!)
Got plans this weekend? Check out North Park’s new minipark which recently had its grand opening last weekend. Plans for the $5 million pocket park began 20 years ago and a nonprofit has been created to help maintain it along with the City.
Hey, we know her! Read Stefanie’s comments on how the city is looking into using city properties to increase childcare facilities in San Diego in last Sunday’s UT. [TLDR; Childcare is a key component of workforce retention and we need more, yesterday.]
A 2021 “Year in Review” that doesn’t remind you that you spent a lot of the year shaking your fist at the sky: Pure Water had some big milestones that will make a huge difference in our water supply in the long-term. Check out the report here.
San Diego State University received their first cryptocurrency donation from an anonymous alumnus. David Fuhriman, CFO of the Campanile Foundation, will keep the $25,000 value in cryptocurrency and draw 1% of the contribution each quarter. The donation will be used to develop campus programs to “explore uses and discover how SDSU could interact with cryptocurrency and Bitcoin specifically.”
City of San Diego Development Services Department Alerts:
- DSD has created a Telecom and Utility Division with Manjit Singh as the Deputy Director. The Division will be dedicated to deploying wired and wireless broadband communications in the City.
- DSD now offers free virtual appointments for new project set up – sign permits.
Mayor Gloria’s Homes for All of Us package was unanimously approved by the Land Use and Housing Committee and is expected to go to City Council early in February. The package includes an employee housing incentive program, live/work flexibility, SB 9 implementation, and modifications to the City’s ADU regulations.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego released a study that shows that Imperial Beach’s water is more polluted than initially thought, largely due to sewage coming from a treatment plant south of the border. Research from the study will help guide the EPA in how to spend infrastructure dollars to address cross-border sewage pollution.
City of San Diego Hearings recap:
- The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve councilmember LaCava’s CPG Reform proposal Thursday morning.
Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:
- Environment Committee Priority Survey – Available until Feb 4, 2022
Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:
- The County will be hosting a Community Forum on the Land Use and Environment Budget on January 20 at 5:30pm. The meeting will provide an overview of last year’s budget and a Q&A session on the public’s recommendations for this year’s budget.
- On January 25, the County Board of Supervisor will vote on staff recommendation to approve the 2022 Child Care Planning Council roster and to conduct a child care needs assessment throughout the county.
- On January 26, the County Board of Supervisors will receive an update on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and on 13 items related to how the County could analyze future transportation impacts in the region. The Chamber has been monitoring how changes to the current VMT policy and potential mitigation options could affect future development. Please contact Angeli Calinog if you have any questions or feedback.
- The San Diego City Environment Committee will meet on January 20.
- The MTS Board of Directors will meet on January 20.
- The County of San Diego Planning Commission will meet on January 21.
- The San Diego City Council will meet on January 24 and January 25.
- The County Board of Supervisors will meet on January 25 and January 26.
Capital Opportunities & Resources
- The California Competes Grant guidelines for FY 2021-22 have now been posted and $120 million is 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.
Future Chamber Meetings (Virtual) & Committee Actions:
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 25 at 10 am.
Defense, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee:
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, February 2 at 8:00am.
Sustainability & Industry Committee:
Our next meeting will be Thursday, February 3 at 8:00am.
Public Policy Committee:
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 8 at 8:00am.
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, February 9 at 8:00am.
Transportation & Land Development Committee:
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 15 at 8:00am.