March 3 – Weekly Update

Peters and Levin and Vargas and Jacobs and Issa, oh my! That’s right folks- we’re getting the band back together in Washington, DC for a congressional lunch REMIX. We’ve got some other surprises up our sleeves too for our (triumphant?) return to an in-person Mission to Washington DC on March 27th-30th.

Chamber Trivia of the Week:

Congratulations to our winner of last week’s trivia, nobody! We overcorrected trivia difficulty after the Alicia Keys question. (The answer was perforated PVC and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).)

On to this week’s question!

What haunted iconic landmark was the first commercial building in the US to be lit up by electricity? (Not surprisingly it also hosted the first electricity-lit Christmas tree shortly thereafter).

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

Business News: 

Qualcomm recently announced their vision of what’s next for 5G technology. Their biggest announcement: the world’s first 5G AI processor in a modem-RF system. The Snapdragon X70 captures the power of artificial intelligence to help increase download and upload speeds, improve coverage and power efficiency.

Renters, rejoice! San Diego is gearing up to have it’s biggest apartment construction boom in recent years. Of 4,600 new apartments opening this year, around one quarter will be in Chula Vista. The Avalyn at Millenia in Otay Ranch will be the biggest project of 2022, with 1,165 units currently under construction. Shout out to Chamber members Ryan Companies, who will be including *all* the amenities in this new development.

Legislative Updates


Probably could have seen this one coming: A bill to ban US imports of Russian crude oil is comin’ in hot. Introduced by Sen. Manchin (of BBB-whiplash-fame), and Sen. Murkowski.

Hey! Now that we’ve mentioned it, BBB has risen from the almost-dead. Sen. Manchin has laid out what he wants, which is a very, very narrowed bill (nowhere near the $1.7 trillion price tag of before), with half of the money going to deficit reduction/inflation, and half to social and climate issues. His colleagues range in their sentiments. Sen. Bernie Sanders saying “I don’t care what he wants” to Sen. Warner with “…hope springs eternal.” No official statements on how/if this idea will progress, but alas, we’ll keep this silly paragraph or some version of it forever.

The General Services Administration launched an overview of the 26 land border ports of entry slated for modernization under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These $3.4 billion in direct spending is estimated to support, on average, nearly 6,000 annual jobs over the next 8 years, add $3.23 billion in total labor income across the United States, and contribute an additional $4.5 billion to the National Gross Domestic Product.

Supply chains continue to beat on in headlines. The latest: Russia’s war in Ukraine is spiking gas and energy prices (you’ve probably noticed), but is also likely to hit things like aluminum and sunflower oil. Fed Chair Jerome Powell cited those supply chain problems when he reported that inflation will rise above the central bank’s target of 2%.

The CDC recently adjusted their metrics for masking guidelines. The CDC will take hospital capacity and COVID-19 case severity into consideration as well as overall infection rates. These metrics are used to create COVID-19 community levels by county: low (green), medium (yellow), and orange (high). Those in green and yellow areas do not need to require masks, while those in orange areas should still mask.

Last week, Senator Padilla announced the Housing for All Act of 2022 to address housing and homelessness in California and the nation. The legislation calls for increased investment in federal housing and homelessness programs, in addition to supporting locally developed approaches.


Our hearts are with the people of Ukraine. We, as you likely are, are awed by their courage and their steadfastness.

Ukraine’s representative to the EU reported that his country formally submitted its application to become a member of the bloc. In addition, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed that he awaits his request to be considered under the special fast-track procedure considering the current circumstances.

The Canadian Ambassador to Mexico, Graeme C. Clark met with Governor Marina del Pilar Avila to address issues of migration and security, and explore opportunities for cooperation between Canada and Baja California. The Governor’s baby, Diego Jose, even got to exchange a few words with the Ambassador.

Representatives from the state of Baja met with the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Israel in Mexico, Nadav D. Goren, and the Economic Attache, Lior Yafe, on their three-day work agenda in our region. They addressed the upcoming meeting between the Ambassador of Israel in Mexico, Zvi Tai, and Governor Marina del Pilar Avila, to sign a letter of intent as an official framework for collaboration.

Through our membership with the Border Trade Alliance, the Chamber submitted feedback on CBP’s 21st Century Customs Framework. We urge the agency to minimize impact on importers and argue that the administration and Congress should update legislation to strengthen our economy by increasing trade throughput, reduce delays, and lower non-tariff barriers to trade.

​​Join us next week on March 10 for a conversation on border efficiencies from a global perspective and how border regions around the world collaborate to reach common goals. Guest speakers will share best practices and binational diplomacy efforts to facilitate trade and enhance border infrastructure.

The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce will host a B2B virtual trade event on March 15-16 to help business leaders uncover strategies and business-enhancing solutions, boost their online visibility, increase sales and streamline its operations. Interested in taking up a virtual booth or exploring the event? Register here.

The state of Sinaloa and a coalition of Mexican agricultural stakeholders extended 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 crop fields.


Governor Newsom announced Monday that masks will be optional for vaccinated students beginning March 11.  Dr. Mark Ghaly strongly thinks that “it’s the right time to transition from the requirement to a strong recommendation”.  The past weeks have seen a significant drop of covid cases and ⅔ of the hospitalizations. By March 12th the state of California should portray similar outcomes like New York and Connecticut.

The ballot initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage to $18 just got a $5 mil donation to its campaign and boasts AFSCME’s endorsement. It was unclear whether it would have the “oomph” to get itself on the ballot but this puts it a big step closer. (Point in case: you’ll probably meet a signature gatherer in front of your grocery store like we did this week).

Speaking of the ballot, a pair of initiatives from the Solar Rights Alliance have been pulled back. The Solar Bill Rights Act of 2022 was yanked citing the CPUC’s delay on net metering reforms.

Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order that has dropped the mask mandate for unvaccinated employees. While they are still heavily recommended to be used, there is no longer a requirement for them for workers.

Childcare continues to be a huge question for the stabilization of the workforce. UC Berkeley has published a study of the childcare workforce, hoping to get a handle on who this workforce is.  One thing that popped out to us: family based centers, which are a huge piece of the supply-side equation, have a workforce that has been in the game overwhelmingly longer than center-based workers. Do we have another issue facing us when our family based centers head toward retirement?

California cities and counties are pushing for lower cannabis tax rates, arguing that high taxes on regulated businesses are hurting supply chains and strengthening the illicit market. Although there are four cannabis tax related bills introduced this legislative session, local governments are moving faster. San Diego made the list of fourteen California localities that have passed forms of cannabis tax reductions (thank you, CM Campillo and Justine Murray).

Gov. Newsom is pushing for California’s state public pension fund to help put pressure on Russia by pulling out the $1.5 Billion in assets currently invested in Russian products and companies. CalPERS, the country’s biggest pension fund,  has announced it will halt any additional investments.

California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has released their new statewide housing plan, with a goal to add at least 2.5 million homes over 8 year. Through digital tools new data will be updated to show the state´s progress towards housing goals and let Californians be informed of the process.


A little feel good for your Thursday. San Diego welcomed home about sixty Marines early this week. Hot tip: scroll down on this link for the photos. Give your heart a little boost.

The City’s Development Services Department has gotten Council Committee approval for an as-needed third party plan check. Kudos to Chamber member NV5 for stepping up to help expedite processing.

Pure Water Phase 2 coming at ya. City officials say they’ve locked in a site in Mission Valley. Upon being operational in 2035, it will produce 53 million gallons of water a day.

The County of San Diego will be following CDPH’s direction to discontinue the mask mandate while still recommending that people use them for indoor settings, specifically in high risk ones. These include public transit, healthcare, emergency shelters, among others. Local businesses have the choice to follow the new guidance or continue mask requirements indoors.

The County is moving forward in its decarbonization goals. Two reports have gone live, one a Workforce Study titled “Putting San Diego County on the High Road: Climate Workforce Recommendations for 2030 and 2050”, and another from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy which is an updated technical report from the OG one in October. Both can be found here, and both will go to the Board informationally on 3/16.

Made ya look. Masks lifted at state, but at San Diego schools, they’re likely staying on.

The City of San Diego has announced an additional $6 million in grants for the Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund program to help businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. While the program is closed to new applications, existing applicants may still receive $$$ from these additional funds.

San Diego City Council hearings recap:

  • Adopted the street vending ordinance, which includes the establishment of a permitting system and creates entrepreneurship zones in the City.

This week at the San Diego County Board of Supervisors hearings recap:

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

Development Services Department Updates:

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • PDS is conducting an inclusionary housing study and ordinance development, with public workshops slated to begin in Spring 2022. Interested stakeholders can learn more and  sign up for updates here.
  • The County has released an updated regional decarbonization framework including the climate workforce study. Public review on the framework is open until May 31.

Upcoming Hearings

  • The San Diego City Council will meet on March 7 and March 8.
  • The San Diego City Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee will meet on March 9.
  • The San Diego City Land Use and Housing Committee will meet on March 10.
  • The MTS Board of Directors will meet on March 10.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Applications are now 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.