April 14 – Weekly Update - SD Regional Chamber

April 14 – Weekly Update

Happy Opening Day (finally!). Gates are already open down at Petco Park for today’s sold out home opener versus the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. Rubios and the Padres are teaming up to give fans a free taco each time the Padres steal a base, the day after the game. San Diego is healing.

Chamber Trivia of the Week:

Onto this week’s question!

How many No Hitters have the Padres thrown in franchise history?

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

Business News: 

If you missed this week’s Business Roundtable Series webinar, check out the recording here. Be sure to bookmark these business resources shared during the meeting:

Register for our upcoming Small Business Roundtable with Meta, held April 25 from 2-3 pm. This seminar will highlight small business trends, Meta’s platforms and products, and what they’re doing to promote a healthier business environment in California. This event will be hybrid, and open to all Chamber members with registration.

Today, Pfizer and BioNTech announced the positive results from their clinical trials for their vaccine booster in children aged 5-11, and will submit a request for emergency use authorization. Data for children under 5 is expected in the next few weeks.

Congratulations! Erika Kohler has been named Executive Director of the San Diego Zoo. Kohler, who has been with the organization since 2015, served as Interim Executive Director since November 2021.

Legislative Updates

Federal: 

A new survey from Zillow has found that there is broad support for ADUs, duplexes, and triplexes in residential neighborhoods. Zillow surveyed that 26 metro areas throughout the United States, including San Diego, supported these modest densification measures to alleviate the housing shortage. The survey  also found that supporters of density are more likely to be younger residents, renters, people of color and LGBTQ+ respondents.

The CDC is extending mask requirements for public transit until May 3.

International:

Governor Greg Abott directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to inspect every commercial truck coming in from Mexico increasing delays at land ports of entry and severely impacting bilateral trade. Business organizations from both sides of the border including the Border Trade Alliance sent a letter urging the governor to work in collaboration with port authorities to facilitate trade. Mexican truck drivers blockaded bridges at the U.S. border to protest, temporarily halting commercial traffic and impeding southbound movements by U.S. carriers. Governor Abbott signed an MOU with Nuevo Leon Governor Garcia to enhance border security measures preventing illegal immigration and facilitate the flow of traffic across the border. Other Mexican states have been in contact with Gov. Abbott’s office to sign similar agreements.

In anticipation of Easter weekend, CBP is preparing for increased cross-border traffic at ports of entry. Foreign-born travelers are encouraged to use the CBP One App to process permits such as the I-94 prior to their trip to facilitate crossings.

Chamber staff joined Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Miguel Torruco and Baja Governor Marina del Pilar Avila in a celebration to launch “Welcome to Baja California”, a tourism campaign looking to bring tourists back to Baja just in time for spring break. The Governor highlighted Baja’s 7 municipalities and its wonders and thanked Secretary Torruco for his support.

Last Sunday, Mexican citizens headed to the polls to vote on President Lopez Obrador’s unprecedented recall election. The results? About 91% of voters expressed their support for the President to continue his term until 2024. However, the National Electoral Institute estimated a 17-18.2% turnout, failing to achieve the 40% threshold for it to be binding.

Mexico’s Supreme Court failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to declare President Lopez Obrador’s electricity reform unconstitutional. Proposed changes to the electricity legislation strengthen the state-run Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE) and prioritize it on dispatch over private renewables. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar issued a statement concerned that upholding the law could “open the door to endless litigation, creating uncertainty and impeding investment”. Congress is expected to reconvene next week to discuss and vote on a related energy reform, which changes include nationalizing lithium and guaranteeing CFE 54% of the market. The opposing parties, whose votes are needed to pass it, have been vocal about their decision to not back the reform.

Is Machu Picchu on your bucket list? A couple of researchers have discovered that the original name of the Incan ruins is actually just “Picchu” or “Huayna Picchu”. Not as catchy. Meanwhile, some of us will forever refer to Mexico City as “Distrito Federal” or “D.F.” despite the region’s *upgrade* to become Mexico’s 32nd state back in 2016.

Reminder: the EPA and its Mexican counterpart (SEMARNAT) will host the first Border 2025 National Coordinators Meeting on May 13. This meeting will mark the official launch of the Border 2025 program between both countries and will conclude with an open session for the public to participate.

The Canadian cruise industry is back in business. After more than a two-year shutdown, the first cruise ship docks in Victoria, Canada. The Victoria Cruise Industry Alliance reported that cruises contribute $130 million to the city’s economy every year and nearly $1.8 billion province-wide.

State:

The California Office of the Small Business Advocate announced grant recipients for the Inclusive Innovation Hub Program. The program provides $250,000 to each grantee to develop regional innovation and diversification strategies with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. University of San Diego’s The Brink SBDC iHub was one of 10 recipients for the competitive grant program.

Cal/OSHA’s proposed language for the third readoption of the COVID-19 ETS  is up, and will be considered during the Standards Board meeting on April 21. Key takeaways: elimination of cleaning and disinfection requirements, alignment with CDPH on exclusion and return to work guidelines, and a revised definition of a COVID-19 test to allow self-administered home tests. Also, getting rid of that light test for masks.

California is doubling down on a proposal to end the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. If passed by the California Air Resources Board, 35% of new passenger vehicle sales will have to either be battery or hydrogen powered by 2026, with a full transition to zero emission vehicle sales by 2035. The proposal would not impact the used car market (or make you get rid of your gas-powered vehicle).

Local:

Congratulations to Heidi Vonblum, the City of San Diego’s new Planning Director! Heidi Vonblum started her career as a deputy city attorney in  the City Attorney’s office and  previously held the Interim Planning Director position.

The City of San Diego has hired Shelby Rust Buso as their new Chief Sustainability Officer, who will lead the implementation efforts of the City’s Climate Action Plan.

The hits just keep coming: Housing prices rose 180% from 2000-2019, with wages going up only 23% over that same period. And while we know YOU know about the housing crisis, this report really helps to rub some salt in the wound. Check out the Landscape of Middle-Income Housing report from UC Berkeley, and join us as we recognize oh no, that’s not salt, it’s our tears.

SANDAG is pivoting away from their “San Diego Grand Central” plan with the Navy’s NAVWAR campus, and are focusing instead on a two part transit plan. The first project would provide a trolley connection to the airport from the Port of San Diego’s headquarters on Pacific Highway and one from Santa Fe Depot. The second piece would create a downtown Central Mobility Hub, pushing rail lines underground to create space for new commercial and housing development above ground.

On Tuesday, the City’s Land Use and Housing Committee announced that a special hearing on the Sports Arena redevelopment bids will be held on April 21 at 1:00pm. The committee will consider a staff report that narrows down the five proposed redevelopment bids based on each’s commitment to affordable housing. Per staff’s recommendation, Midway Rising, HomeTownSD and Midway Village+ were selected to move to the next round of negotiations.

​​The San Diego Board of Port Commissioners inked an MOU this week that committed funding to an effort to transform the Navy Pier into a new park located on San Diego Bay’s North Embarcadero.

The Climate Action Campaign released its annual CAP Report Card this week, which aims to score cities across the county on their efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses.

San Diego City Council Hearings Recap:

  • The City Council voted to move forward with appealing a Supreme Court Judge’s decision on Measure C.
  • The City Council approved an amendment to the City’s ADU Bonus Program to shorten the deed restriction from 15 years to 10 years for those who build a second unit for very low income tenants.
  • The Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee voted to move forward with the creation of a Black arts and culture district in the Encanto community of District 4.

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • Build Better SD, a citywide initiative to reform DIF fees and to prioritize investments in a more equitable way, is still seeking feedback through their survey. City staff plan to continue the item to the Planning Commission on April 21. If you have questions regarding the proposal, please contact Chamber staff, Angeli Calinog.
  • The College Area Community Plan Update is currently in the land use and urban design concepts review phase and their public survey is open until May 1. To learn more about the CPU update, please click here.

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • The Regional Decarbonization Framework Team will be hosting industry-specific meetings beginning April 7. To learn more about RDF and to sign up for the workshops, click here.

Upcoming Hearings

  • The San Diego City Council will meet on April 18 and April 19.
  • The SANDAG Transportation & Borders Committees will jointly meet on April 15.
  • The San Diego City Land Use & Housing Committee will meet on April 21.
  • The County of San Diego’s Planning Commission will meet on April 22.
  • The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on April 22.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Applications are open for micro-enterprise home kitchen operations (MEHKOs) in the County of San Diego.
  • The California Dream Fund has micro grants up to $10k available for entrepreneurs and small business creation.
  • The County of San Diego has $2,500 grants for microbusinesses (five employees or less) 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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