January 27- Weekly Update - SD Regional Chamber

January 27- Weekly Update

Feeling like you’re underachieving? Remember that Jeff Bezos is worth two billion dollars and has yet to don a homemade costume and take to the streets fighting crime, so give yourself a pass today.

This year, Lunar New Year begins February 1, 2022 and it’s the Year of the Tiger. The Tiger is associated with bravery, confidence and strength (1974, 1986 and 1998 babies, this is your year). Where does the animal naming tradition come from? Some stories say that the Jade Emperor held a race of animals to create the order of the zodiac. They finished in the order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, horse, sheep,  monkey, dog and pig.

Chamber Trivia of the Week:

Congratulations to our winner of last week’s trivia, Cassie Klap with SD Loyal! Enjoy your Nothing Bundt Cakes. Onto this week’s question!

In the early 20th century, past president of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce G. Aubrey Davidson suggested San Diego hold an exposition to celebrate the 1915 opening of the Panama Canal. (As the closest US port north of the canal, an expo would be good for business.) Where was this World’s Fair held?

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

Business News: 

Exciting things are happening at SeaWorld San Diego. As we await for their new roller coaster and water themed park to open, they have also announced they have a new President. Jim Lake, who previously led operations at Disneyland, will now lead the park.

A new survey from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business Voices found that 98 percent of small business owners in California say labor shortages are negatively impacting their business. 37 percent say they have experienced temporary business closures or have had to scale back operations due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

Legislative Updates


Federal:
 

With the retirement of liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the opportunity arises for President Biden to nominate the first black woman, a pledge he made during his 2020 presidential campaign. A top contender on the list is California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. Breyer took the position in 1994 and his retirement will now make Justice Clarence Thomas the oldest member of the Court. The Court currently has a 6-3 conservative advantage and is definitely not a topic to just casually ask a stranger about…

The Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness is looking for members. This is a newly-formed federal body addressing, you guessed it, supply chain issues! It’s got room for up to 45 appointees, and it would appear there’s plenty of room for someone south of Los Angeles and maybe not centered on the East Coast to join in. Seriously, you can (and if qualified) should submit your name for consideration, and if you do please let us know.

The President is putting all his chips in on his CHIPS bill. (Couldn’t help it). On Friday, President Biden pivoted away from voting rights and spending bills to ask Congress to back an existing bill that would invest billions into domestic microchip production. It could be on the floor as early as next week.

This week, we expect the Fed to announce an interest rate  hike in March to address the inflation that, depending on who you talk to, is the direct result of one administration or the other. In response the Dow dropped a whopping 1,000 points on Monday, and uncertainty abounds.

With every surge comes a new, weird way to “treat” COVID, like the, um, magic dirt you could buy online and then eat. So perhaps not surprisingly, the FTC has had to issue cease-and-desist letters to some companies misrepresenting treatments warning of financial penalties.

The federal funding deadline of February 18 is quickly approaching, and lawmakers last week began discussing a potential $1.4 trillion deal to keep the government funded through the fall.

Remember how we said the IRS was kinda slammed this year? Well, now they’re just making our crystal ball look good… and maybe stressing you out (sorry). It was found that the agency is mistakenly sending out child tax credit information to recipients that has the wrong numbers on it.

Speaking of- there’s 200 lawmakers asking the IRS to excuse penalties and provide more flexibility as the agency has a backlog of about 15 million pieces of correspondence. As a result, there’s confusion, unwarranted penalty notices and (especially high) frustrations around the generally frustrating department.

International:

A woman randomly checking her email spam folder discovered a $3M lottery jackpot and now you’re going straight to your junkmail to see if you’re that lucky. But hey, you gotta buy a lottery ticket first! (DO NOT open that email from a ‘Nigerian prince’. That’s not it).

As companies around the world continue to redefine how we work during (and post) pandemic times, the UK is now trialing a four-day work week. They now join other countries including Spain, New Zealand and Iceland, which resulted in an ‘overwhelming success’ according to results.

Pemex, the state-owned petroleum company operated by the  Mexican government,  concluded purchase of Deer Park refinery in the U.S. in hopes to achieve energy sovereignty in the country. Shell will continue to own 50% of the refinery and all of the Deer Park Chemicals facility adjacent to the site. Pro tip: our cross-border friends are telling us that you can fill up your tank for under $4 per gallon south of the border. You know, and get some tacos while you’re in Tijuana.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm was in Mexico City last week to discuss concerns around Mexico’s proposed energy reforms on U.S. private investment in the country.  President Lopez Obrador reiterated his commitment to supporting clean energy and resolving current disputes with energy projects. Secretary Granholm expressed interest in collaboration on geothermal energy development and integrating renewables on the grid, among other priorities.

Oh, no!! Supply chain issues are expected to impact the new flavor of Girl Scout cookies – Adventurefulls. But do not panic,  the ‘indulgent brownie-inspired cookie’ can still be ordered online. They may just sell out fast. *ORDERS ANOTHER BOX*

Operation “flying sausage” succeeded in rescuing a dog from drowning in the UK. The dog faced rising tides threatening to sweep her out to sea, and rescuers had worked tirelessly for days until someone came up with a crazy idea: tying a sausage on a string and guiding her to safety with a drone. And what did the dog do to thank them? Run away a second time until she calmed down and someone else got a hold of her. Gotta love dogs.

Cuba started the endorsement process with the World Health Organization for its own COVID vaccines. These consist of two doses and a booster, and have been used to immunize part of the Cuban population.

The state of Sinaloa and a coalition of Mexican agricultural stakeholders extend 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 crops fields.

State

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

On Tuesday, the paid sick leave expansion deal dropped. Governor Newsom was joined by Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins to announce the deal which will provide the benefit through September 30, 2022. Supporters have pointed to the benefit as a crucial way to keep sick employees home, and help close out threats of spreading COVID. The proposal is paired with restoration of business tax credits including the research and development credits (a move supported by the Chamber); and more money for the Small Business COVID relief program.

The legislative landscape this year is pulling no punches. We’ve covered single-payer healthcare. But entering the ring now: closing vaccine loopholes AND allowing for kids 12 and up to opt into receiving a vaccine without parental consent. Both ideas have resulted in strong organizing (and maybe some gratuitous social media).

Speaking of single-payer, you can expect that vote on the Assembly floor on Monday.

In addition, a bill to require students to be vaccinated against COVID to attend school in-person has been introduced by Senator Richard Pan and is supported by the San Diego Unified School District and Los Angeles Unified School District. If passed, this bill would go into effect in 2023.

What else are we watching? There’s likely to be a bill that will put vaccine mandates on private workplaces, or at the very least provide clear protection for those employers that do require vaccines. Safe to say that even after Omicron passes, we’ll at least have tension about vaccines.

Pssst, you’ve got a paperwork deadline with CalOSHA coming up Feb 1. Don’t forget to fill out your workplace related injury and illness documents.

You can now go paperless with the DMV. The state department now offers paperless notice for driver’s license and identification card renewals and vehicle registration renewals. Sign up here.

The CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife is now accepting applications for multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects under its Proposition 1 Grant Programs (psst…this grant includes priority for border projects). The CDFW will host an online application workshop on February 2nd to review the application process before the deadline on March 4.

Local:

Mayor Todd Gloria released his updated strategic plan, along with an interactive dashboard to track future updates which was created by the supercool PandA team. The plan highlights the vision, priorities, and goals of the City.

San Diego’s unemployment was 4.2 percent in December, the lowest rate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The drop in unemployment was driven by gains in professional and business services, while jobs in tourism, education and government dropped. Scientific research, architecture and engineering, waste management and remediation all saw increases of over 1,000 jobs.

The staffing shortage is a big issue in preschools and child care centers, even so that online job sites show more than 200 local child care openings. Child care jobs have been undervalued and underpaid for some time, and the pandemic has made the shortage worse.  In a two-part series, KPBS explores the reasons why (part one) and what the San Diego region is doing to help (part two).

Construction on Pershing Bikeway began this week. This project conducted by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will allow cyclists, pedestrians, and all road users to be able to travel safely through Balboa Park and between North Park and Downtown San Diego.

The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District is working on an after-hours complaint program to comply with AB 423. The district currently averages around 806 complaints a year, with assistance from the Department of Environmental Health and Quality.

We’re on TV! Be sure to check out our weekly segment with CBS8. This week, Stefanie covers San Diego-Tijuana’s designation as a World Design Capital, the City of San Diego addressing child care shortages, and Mayor Gloria’s housing package.

Seems like it’s still expensive to buy a home here in San Diego. We’ll continue to make our avocado toast at home…with multiple roommates..

City of San Diego Development Services Department Alerts:

  • Official maps of earthquake fault zones in the City of San Diego have been released. Project applicants are advised to check out these maps to see if their applications are located in these zones and require a fault study.

City of San Diego City Council Hearings recap:

  • Approved the Coastal Commission’s amendments to the City’s inclusionary housing ordinance.

County of San Diego Board of Supervisor Hearings recap:

  • Approved continuing funding and operations of San Pasqual Academy.
  • Approved zoning changes to allow the County to pursue more homeless shelter options in the unincorporated area.
  • Received an update on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and how the County will implement SB 743 and mitigate transportation impacts from new development in the future. Discussion and public input focused on the importance to build more housing and needed commercial & retail services, while achieving climate action goals. No action was taken, with the BOS deciding to vote on options on February 9.
  • Heard their childcare needs assessment.

Upcoming City 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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