August 4, 2022
Today, this intro paragraph will have limited fans, but we don’t care because this is too important: Victoria Beckham has finally given in (maybe Manchin inspired her?) and has agreed to a Spice Girls Documentary!
It’s also National Intern Day. And while you probably know the Chamber team (and think they are very, very fabulous), you might not know that Katrina Boyd and Manuel Reyes are on deck making sure this Thursday afternoon newsletter is ready for you, so send ‘em some love. And a job in the Spring of 2023.
The San Diego International Airport’s New Terminal 1 will have dining & retail opportunities for local businesses! If you are interested in learning more about the business opportunities, check out their upcoming informational sessions (in-person and virtual).
We see you, Southwest! They’ve just announced that vouchers will not have an expiration date. Grab that free baggage and travel with a Chamber member.
Nothing better than listening to music and cuddling with dogs! Join Little Angels Service Dogs event, Barks ‘n Blues Music and More Concert, August 25 from 5pm – 9pm at Quartyard. Enjoy food, drink, music, and fun while supporting the mission of Little Angels Service Dogs.
It’s almost August, and you know what that means… CALIFORNIA CLIMATE CREDITS! In August and September of this year, Small Businesses and Residential SDG&E customers will receive automatic discounts of $64.17 each month for a total of $128.34 in savings. Customers who are struggling to pay their bill are encouraged to visit sdge.com/assistance to explore all of the resources available to them – bill discounts, debt relief, payment arrangements and free energy efficiency upgrades that can help lower their bill.
UC San Diego Health has once again been ranked as the #1 best hospital in San Diego and #5 in California by U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” survey. Congratulations, UCSD Health! Scripps La Jolla was ranked #2 in San Diego and #8 in California. Across the region, Sharp Memorial, Sharp Chula Vista, and Kaiser San Diego rounded out the top 5 spots, with Palomar Health ranked #7.
We would, respectfully, like to know if Senator Manchin had a really good breakfast, or if maybe he got a massage, or what exactly happened to turn “Probably No Joe” into the guy who OK’d a reconciliation deal. (Wait, was it our charming newsletter?!)
So, what did he agree to exactly? It’s 725 pages, and we have not read it, nor will we. But big themes: $369B for climate change policies (summary here); $10B for manufacturing tax credits to manufacture things like electric vehicles; $20B in loans for the building of those manufacturing facilities; $3B to cut pollution at ports; $30B to states for clean energy transitions; tax credits for new EV purchases to individuals… On the not-climate-side: ACA subsidies; 15% corporate tax rate. TBD on Manchin’s Moderate Mate (oh alliteration, how we love thee), Senator Sinema.
Remember how reconciliation and CHIPS were sort of connected? Republicans are not stoked with Manchin’s deal and are now whipping votes against CHIPS, because their support of it was dependent on reconciliation staying on ice. So when the Senate voted on CHIPS yesterday, you can imagine that McConnell probably had a huge WTF moment as Schumer and Manchin announced the reconciliation deal. CHIPS went to the House earlier and passed with a number of Republicans sticking with an aye vote. WTF moment aside.
Nationally, average gasoline prices have fallen 32 cents over the past two weeks, with an average cost per gallon coming down to $4.54 cents.
Speaking of travel, the Federal Railroad Administration has posted a proposed rule to increase the number of crew members on all railroad operations to no less than two crewmembers, citing safety issues. And, yes, if you were wondering about cost increases for that increased labor, that’s a major sticking point. Next, a 60 day period for comments.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is downplaying the current U.S. recession. On Thursday, the Treasury department is expected to release its highest profile report on the current state of the economy, but Secretary Yellen is confident in the market and points to healthy hiring and low unemployment as signs of a stable economy. Only time will tell how the economy will fare later this year.
Mortgage rates drop to 5.3%, which has directly translated into a cooling off of the housing market, with declining demand for mortgages. (Before you call your lender, this is a friendly albeit sad reminder that San Diego home prices are still painfully high).
Maybe we won’t have flying cars by 2030 but we think a one-building city is slightly cooler. Saudi Arabia has unveiled designs for its ambitious urban project “The Line,” a 656 feet-wide building acting as a vertical city, designed to sit 1,640 feet above sea level. Forming part of a Saudi rebrand plan, the design claims that The Line will run entirely on renewable energy, with no roads, cars or emissions, and consist of a high-speed that will connect sections of the city.
Back to cars… Tesla has reportedly gained an exclusive lane at a remote US-Mexico border crossing just North of Laredo. The electric car company’s suppliers traveling from Mexico into Texas will be able to use this dedicated lane to speed up their crossing at this less popular checkpoint. We hate to burst any hopes and dreams but this lane is for suppliers only, not Tesla owners.
After the announcement of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) plans to resume several border wall construction projects including Friendship Park’s public access, Rep. Juan Vargas and San Diego officials including Supervisor Nora Vargas, have written letters to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to ask the administration to stop the construction due to their concerns of replacing the current two layers of fence with 30-foot bollards. In response, U.S. Customs and Border Protection stated that they will identify opportunities to provide the public with access to Friendship Park once the primary barrier is operationally safe.
Otay II update: Local and state officials from the U.S. and Mexico celebrated the completion of State Route 11 which will connect to the future Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. The $28.9 million infrastructure project connects East County to the Otay Mesa area, having SR-11 connect southbound State Route 125 to westbound State Route 905.
The San Diego-Tijuana Air Quality Task Force Meeting took place this week to learn more about the San Diego-Tijuana airshed, air quality impacts on human health, ongoing projects in the area, and updates from government and community-based organizations. The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District provided a brief overview on the progress of the International Border Community Air Protection Program to reduce pollution exposure and emissions in our region. Click here to check out the meeting.
Registration is now open for this year’s Binational Delegation to Mexico City taking place October 23-26th. Delegates will meet with key federal officials and diverse business industry leaders to discuss the major areas of focus: border infrastructure efficiency, transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River, and trade & economic opportunities
Join us on August 16 for a conversation on innovative advancements in clean energy and regional strategies to aid businesses to a low-carbon transition. Speakers from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the North American Development Bank (NADB) will focus on medium and heavy-duty fleet programs that will impact commercial operations and efforts moving forward to promote EV manufacturing and infrastructure.
Red flag, y’all. For the first time since the Great Recession, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System reported a $30B annual loss. Idaho’s pension system also had a rough time.
The water cooler could be getting awkward. A new bill from state Sen. Monique Limon will require companies with 250 or more employees to share data about pay including breakdowns by gender and ethnicity. According to one report, that could scoop up 6k businesses that employ a third of the state’s workforce. Yowza. SB 1162 is chilling in appropriations awaiting its fate.
Just ‘cause it’s funny: San Bernardino elected leaders are pushing to secede and start a new state called… wait for it… “Empire.” (Which was a pretty good show a few years ago, right?)
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye will retire and not seek reelection this November. She leaves January 1.
$100 million dollars in bonds will be given to low income children who have lost a parent to the Covid-19 pandemic and to those in the foster care system. In an effort to combat generational poverty, many in the state are applauding this effort as a way to even the playing field to those less fortunate. Younger children could see their bond accounts accrue interest, and possibly be worth $20,000-$40,000 by the time they are able to withdraw the money.
More than 2,000 firefighters and 17 helicopters have been deployed to combat a wildfire that broke out in Yosemite National Park. As it stands, only 10% of the fire is contained. Drought and climate change are the biggest factors for the cause of the fire, prompting a state of emergency to be declared in Mariposa County by Governor Newsom.
San Diego is lower than the state and federal unemployment numbers, with 3.2% unemployment rate in June. California currently stands at 4.2% and the country as a whole stood around 3.6%. Unemployment rose slightly from the previous month, with the increase in unemployment coming from the loss of educational work, due to summer break. With this in mind, the adjusted unemployment rate accounting for temporary job loss is closer to 2.9% overall. Industries in San Diego, particularly business services, tourism, and government, have all seen growth in recent months, with tourism and hospitality adding 32,500 jobs.
Look, ma! Chamber staff was all over the Monday Council meeting when the San Diego City Council voted to place several ballot measures for the November 2022 general election, including (Chamber staff spoke in favor of the first three):
- People’s Ordinance: San Diego currently provides free trash pickup for most single-family homes, but businesses and most condos & apartments must pay private haulers. The law costs San Diego $50 million/year, unfairly benefits some residents over others, and prevents the city from implementing environmental incentives to produce less trash.
- Childcare on city property: as officials scramble to address the shortage of affordable childcare, voters will decide whether to authorize childcare in public parks and city-owned facilities.
- Midway height limit: This may sound familiar to many of you! A redo of the 2020 measure (E) that will lift the 30 foot height limit in the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Area, which includes the sports arena, will be before voters once again this November.
- Safeguard San Diego: A measure to remove the City’s ban on participating in project labor agreements (PLA’s).
Officials from the Port of San Diego and City of Chula Vista, met yesterday, July 27, to ceremonial start on the Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center project. This ceremony was the beginning of a development that is totalling $1.35 billion of investment and creates thousands of jobs during and after construction. The project is expected to open by 2025 and bring in a lot of visitors from California and beyond.
Earlier this week, the San Diego City Council also voted to approve the 101 Ash Street settlement with Cisterra and CGA, which will allow the City to gain ownership of 101 Ash and Civic Center Plaza. City staff will return to the Council in late October to provide an update on future development in the Downtown civic core.
Mayor Todd Gloria has selected Eric K. Dargan as the City’s new Chief Operating Officer. Dargan currently serves as the COO for Houston’s Public Works Department and has worked in various roles for the City of Houston for over 20 years. Dargan’s appointment is pending a City Council hearing on September 12, with a potential start date on November 1. What we lack in affordability, we probably make up for in weather compared to Houston.
The City of San Diego is moving towards implementing a ban on polystyrene foam products and single use plastics. In line with the cities Climate Action Plan, the new ordinance would also require that plastic utensils be given upon request, changing it from being given regardless of it being asked for or not. Feelings about this? Contact Lauren to provide feedback.
Can we speed things up? In a set of proposed reforms, San Diego infrastructure projects could soon be both faster and cheaper. These will head to the City’s Infrastructure Committee in the coming months.
Mayor Todd Gloria’s Middle Income Housing Working Group presented a list of recommendations to the City’s Land Use & Housing Committee that could spur the development of middle income housing in the City. The reforms were made by a panel of 23 industry experts and housing advocates, and the Chamber was proud to be a part of the group. 19 middle income units were developed in San Diego last year.
The new Chair of the UC Board of Regents, Rich Lieb, has expressed interest in expanding UC San Diego further south to Chula Vista. Lieb, a San Diego businessman, expressed his desire for South San Diego to be better connected to higher education opportunities, and have Chula Vista be a component for local students to be able to take classes there and in La Jolla.
For some fun this summer, why not explore our beautiful state parks? Now available at all public libraries in the region are free state park passes that can be checked out for a couple of days.
BAY-BEE SHARK DO-DO-DO-DO! Fitting for Shark Week, we’ve begun to see an increase in juvenile shark sightings here in San Diego. With the population of fish that the sharks rely on for food increasing, it is natural for an increase to also occur with the sharks and is a good sign of nature recovering. Be careful out there so you don’t end up on a nature documentary!
New data from the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant shows a sharp increase of Covid-19 found in our sewage water, indicating the potential increase of Covid cases over the next two to four weeks. Stay safe out there! If you do happen to catch it, the County of San Diego has a resource page for treatment.
Upcoming City of San Diego Public Input Opportunities
- The City of San Diego will be kicking off its economic development strategy planning. Contact Lauren Cazares for additional information or to be engaged in the Working Group that will kick-off on August 23rd!
- Déjà Vu? The City Council has called more special council meetings this upcoming week to hear on the following items (highlights only):
- The City of San Diego’s Planning Commission will meet on August 4.
- Next Tuesday, California Public Utilities Commission’s Local Agency Technical Assistance Program (LATA) is hosting a webinar highlighting eligibility requirements and reviewing the application process. You can register now!
Capital Opportunities & Resources (BOLD) = New this week!)
- Caltrans is hosting its 18th annual Procurement and Resource Fair on Wednesday, August 31! Caltrans purchasers and partners will have a list of goods and contracts they’re looking to procure, upcoming opportunities for small businesses, and more. To learn more and register click here.
- Applications are open again for the California Competes Tax Credit Program. If you are a company hoping to expand or add jobs in California take a look at this program. Any business can apply and in the past many life science companies and quite a few from San Diego have successfully applied. There’s $85 million in tax credits & $120 million in grants available and the deadline to submit applications is Monday, 8/15, at 11:59 p.m. PST. Apply now.
- The City of La Mesa recently announced a small business program aimed at promoting economic development in the city. The La Mesa Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (LEAP) will give recipients up to $20,000 dollars for startups who stay in the city.
- Applications for micro-enterprise home kitchen operations (MEHKOs) in the County of San Diego can be found here.
- The California Dream Fund has micro grants up to $10k available for entrepreneurs and small business creation.
- 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.
- Businesses can reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide. SBDC can help with applying for COVID-19 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
Sustainability & Industry Committee:
Our next convening will be on August 4, 8:00am via Zoom.
Our next convening will be on August 10, 8:00am via Zoom.
Transportation & Land Development Committee:
Our next convening will be on August 16, 8:00am via Zoom.
International Business Affairs Forum:
Our next forum will be August 16 from 10-11am via Zoom.
Defense, Veterans, & Military Committee:
Our next convening will be on August 3, 8:00am Via zoom
New Working Group Alert! Economic Development Strategy Working Group
Beginning on August 23 at 9:00am via Zoom.