April 28 – Weekly Update - SD Regional Chamber

April 28 – Weekly Update

This week’s news is how the news will be news and what will be news if Twitter is bought by Elon Musk. There are other things, but mostly that. Oh. And Johnny Depp has his day(s) in court, where Elon Musk also came up. Weird times.

Business News: 

On Monday, Twitter announced they accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion offer. No, this is not an episode of South Park.

Today is Innovation Day in the City of San Diego, and San Diego nonprofit Connect will be holding its inaugural Five-Ten-Thirty event at Petco Park. The annual event brings together investors, companies, executives, and the public to celebrate building an innovative and inclusive regional economy.

We see you, (Chamber member) ClickUp! The San Diego-based unicorn just acquired Bay Area-based Slapdash.

Legislative Updates

Federal: 

Pretty much everyone got COVID. Okay, that’s not true, but recent CDC data says that 57% of Americans have COVID antibodies indicating prior infection. For teens and adolescents, the number is closer to 75%. Moderna is also asking for FDA approval of its vaccine for kids 6 mo and up (FINALLY).

President Biden’s ask for $22.5 billion in pandemic relief funds has been narrowed down to a $10 billion deal, which was looking likely. However now, Title 42 (add that to the list of things that 2019 you never thought you’d know about) a rule that allows the US to expel migrants at the border due to the pandemic, is throwing a political wrench into things.

The Surface Transportation Board (yes, a real thing in the federal government) is looking at ways to make it easier for rail shippers to file petitions when major delays occur… which they are. Like a lot. So much so that the U.S. Agriculture Secretary wrote a letter asking for remedy plans to be offered as the delays and congestion have led to production stoppages. The supply chain shortages also threaten $48 billion in federal funds dedicated to expanding broadband.

Fannie Mae predicts a recession in 2023 and is forecasting an economic decline of 0.1% as the “soft landing” that the feds are trying to manage with inflation signals volatility (which even us math novices can see).

Apropos of nothing, Senator Klobuchar gave a briefing to her Democrat colleagues this week on her antitrust bills going after “big tech.” Senate Majority Leader Schumer has said he’ll bring the bills to the floor if they can secure the 60 votes, but that’s a tall order.

….And now introducing to you, the Declaration on the Future of Internet! This document was unveiled today by the U.S. and sixty other partners including Canada, New Zealand, and the UK, among others.

On Tuesday, President Biden used his clemency powers for the first time during his administration. 78 people with marijuana related convictions were granted clemency, including three pardons.

Will he, won’t he? President Biden said today he will not be considering student loan debt forgiveness, making many of his progressive supporters very frustrated.

This week, the National Restaurant Association will hold a 500 person fly-in delegation to advocate for additional small business COVID-19 assistance.

…Also, politics. But we’re not going into that.

International:

Join us on May 25 for the Chamber’s upcoming International Business Affairs Forum.  Attendees will hear from Dilawar Syed, Special Representative for the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. He will share an overview of resources and initiatives that help SMEs engage in international trade and the agency’s role in increasing U.S. exports, as well as brief insights on the 9th Summit of the Americas that will take place in Los Angeles this June.

U.S. Trade Representative Tai will meet with her counterpart in the U.K. to continue transatlantic dialogue to foster trade relations between both countries and, hopefully and eventually, a new trade agreement following Brexit. Priorities include green trade, supporting SMEs and supply chain resilience.

Continuing with our SME focus this week – the Mexican Consulate in San Diego is proud to host WomanExportingMX, an e-business matchmaking event looking to help women entrepreneurs trading globally. The event will take place from May 23 to May 27 and serve as a platform to connect businesswomen to global buyers and potential partners  in multiple sectors. A list of products from participating companies from Mexico is available here. Stay tuned for free registration details!

In this week’s Putin news – Russia is forcing “unfriendly” countries to pay for natural gas imports in rubles in an attempt to boost the value of its currency and threatened to cut them off. Of course, this only applies to Poland and Bulgaria (so far) which have been strong supporters of Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. Despite the EU’s efforts to diversify their energy supplies, 40% of natural gas imports still come from Russia.

On to more positive news, Baja Governor Marina del Pilar announced this Monday that the use of face coverings is now optional in open and closed spaces across the state thanks to a decrease in Covid-19 cases.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the establishment of the Global Cross Border Privacy Rules Forum (CBPR). This key development has the potential to provide much needed clarity on cross-border data transfers. The Global CBPR Forum seeks to promote international collaboration and help bridge regulatory approaches to data protection and privacy.

State:

The California Air Resources Board recently gave the City of Tijuana sensors to improve air quality monitoring in the border region. Tijuana will then share the data collected and any enforcement actions with the state.

In the “elections are looming” file: the proposal from Newsom to suspend the gas tax is likely totally dead, as the deadline is tomorrow and well, we’ve got nothing really to show for that idea. The possibility of cash directly to car owners is still out there, but the heightened sensitivity to still-high gas prices has created some evidently impossible to pass up opportunities for each side to beat each other up in the press.

Mayor Gloria and nine other California mayors are advocating for additional program funding to support homelessness solutions. The state’s Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) program, will end in June without further action. San Diego received $70 million through the course of the program to support local shelter and street outreach capacity. The mayors are asking for a program extension of $1 billion per year for the next three years.

The Senate budget plan also calls out that there will be an initiative to reform the Gann Limit, which will be interesting given that most voters probably like seeing those funds come back to them when the surplus hits a certain threshold.

The state has also just dropped its Extreme Heat Action Plan, which will create a notification system for vulnerable populations, support natural cooling systems like strategic shade, and increase community resources for those that disproportionately deal with the extreme heat events. It’s getting hot in here….

Local:

We cannot yell this loudly enough: HOUSING PRICES ARE A BIG PROBLEM PEOPLE. Prices have risen at a rate not seen since the “housing boom” of 2004. Except, here’s a key point: what was different in 2004? We were actually producing housing. Now we’re just creating neighborhood-level cage matches where people fight to the death for the limited houses that get put on the market.

This week, the City Council voted 7-2 to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products. The SAAFE Act goes into effect January 2023, and does not include unflavored tobacco products, cigars or shisha.

We’re in a new phase of the pandemic, but not completely out of the woods yet. Be sure to read Dan Eaton’s latest article on COVID-19 best practices for employers.

For restaurants confused and/or curious about recycling requirements and food scrap rules, check out this free webinar that will be hosted by the City of San Diego and I Love A Clean San Diego.

The County Board of Supervisors and San Diego Housing Commission voted to support the joint city-county application for project homekey funding, a state program that helps expand permanent supportive housing. The application would support a 40-unit project in the community of El Cerrito.

City Council’s Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously voted to support updated micro mobility regulations. The city will also move forward on limiting the number of micro mobility companies allowed to operate in San Diego, and plans to make selections by July.

The Downtown San Diego Partnership released a new demographic and industry study on downtown San Diego. The data can help investors and developers make more informed decisions regarding current trends that are shaping the future of downtown, and the identity of San Diego as a whole.

On Wednesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to pursue federal funding for stormwater infrastructure. Over $2 billion is available from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the county needs $50 million in additional funding to make infrastructure repairs. Get that money!

As part of its ongoing effort to increase transparency, accountability and equity, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to approve two separate ordinances with new rules for contractors and subcontractors on property in the unincorporated areas of the county.

The BOS also voted to support a temporary shelter policy for asylum seekers. With Title 42 expiring in late May, Supervisors are anticipating a surge in migrants in San Diego. The BOS will also create a subcommittee to address both short and long term strategies for incoming migrants, and direct the CAO to seek funding sources to provide migrant services.

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • 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.
  • The Cannabis Business Division and Office of Race and Equity will be hosting eight in-person listening sessions to receive input on the formation of an equity program beginning in late May. Learn more 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.
    • Jobs: Thursday, May 5, 2 to 4 p.m.

Upcoming Hearings

  • The San Diego City’s  Budget Review Committee will have public hearings on the FY23 proposed budget from May 4-10. There will be no City Council or Council committee hearings during this time.
  • The San Diego City Planning Commission will meet on May 5 where they will receive an update on the City’s Climate Action Plan.
  • The County of San Diego’s Planning Commission will meet on May 6, where they will hear an update on the development of the County’s Sustainable Land Use Framework.

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.
Top