May 19 – Weekly Update

Have you checked your mailbox lately? Because it’s election season, baby! Don’t fret though, we’ve got a voter guide for you here.

Not listed, but worth a vote is our friend the wayward sea lion that in January made his newsworthy debut on the 94, broke out again and was discovered in Logan Heights. His name is Freeway, and while we worry about his safety, we fully endorse him for his shenanigans. (And big thanks to our friends at Sea World for rescuing him again and again).

Business News: 

Next Thursday, we’re partnering with the US Chamber of Commerce for a virtual discussion on the rise of organized retail crime. We’re excited to be joined by District Attorney Summer Stephan and US Chamber Executive Vice President Neil Bradley and learn more about how business leaders and local officials can coordinate resources and policy solutions to address this rising issue. Register here.

The Asian Pacific Islander Leaders of the Year Awards are tonight! The San Diego Business Journal and Asian Business Association San Diego are hosting the event in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and to celebrate changemaking in the Asian community.

Legislative Updates


Get your Covid tests! You can now order 8 more tests per household through

CBP Commissioner Magnus provided written testimony and testified before the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security last week about his agency’s budget request, which calls for $15.3 billion in discretionary funding in FY 2023. CBP highlighted their work with GSA to implement a combined $3.8 billion to modernize land ports of entry at our northern and southern borders.

That whole “hell hath no fury….” phrase should maybe be updated to end with “like a parent in 2022” as we continue to stare down both no formula and no vaccines! (hugs, friends) In response, President Biden has announced Operation Fly Formula which would invoke the Defense Production Act to increase supply. The other part (probably the “Fly” part) is using federal planes to fly in formula from out of the country.

Speaking of, two bills on the formula shortage met different receptions based on political affiliation. The first bill expanded what types of formula could be purchased with WIC. That had broad support with the exception of 9 Republican Congress Members. A second proposal, for $28M to the FDA was met with much stronger opposition.

The general rage of would-be homebuyers is bubbling up to even the White House. As such, the administration released its action plan to help close the housing supply gap in the next five years.

The Covid-19 public health emergency declaration is expected to be extended through July 15. The Biden administration has stated previously they would give 60 days notice before ending the emergency declaration, and that deadline passed on Monday.

The administration is still pushing Congress to pass additional Covid-19 relief to support additional vaccination, testing and treatment with new Covid-19 surges.


Ukrainian President Zelenskyy honors Ukraine’s bomb-sniffing dog, a small Jack Russell terrier named Patron. The 2-year-old terrier was awarded a medal for helping detect more than 200 undetonated explosive devices since the beginning of the war in February. This four-legged hero has gained recognition all over social media channels and is perceived as an international symbol of patriotism.

Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar met in Tijuana last week to reiterate each country’s commitment to improved border infrastructure, including a focus on Otay Mesa East. They also addressed 13 border infrastructure projects between Mexico and the United States that will boost economic growth and improve living conditions for people living in the border region.

Our partners at the Institute of the Americas will be hosting a conference on “USMCA and the Future of Mexican Economic Competitiveness” with keynote speaker Luis de la Calle, former Undersecretary for International Trade Negotiations at Mexico’s Secretariat of Economy. The conference will take place on May 23rd followed by a reception. Registration is free and available here.

After a two-year postponement, preparations begin for the annual World Economic Forum meeting which will take place in Davos, Switzerland from May 22 to May 26. Leaders from across the globe will gather in this international summit to discuss the direction of global economic growth through a variety of themes including global cooperation, sustainable development and technological innovation.

On Wednesday morning, Finland and Sweden officially submitted their application to join NATO. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general , accepted the Nordic countries’ membership requests at the US led defensive alliance’s HQ in Brussels. The application must now be weighed by the 30 member countries in order to move forward with the ratification procedure.

The Chamber’s upcoming International Business Affairs Forum will take place May 25th via zoom.  Join our conversation with  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.

Mark your calendar for the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the Border Trade Alliance for the Eighth Annual Building a Competitive U.S.- Mexico Border Conference on June 22. This year’s conference will cover issues including supply chain disruptions and viable solutions, lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, water usage and conservation, and the regional economy’s resiliency. Speakers include Executive Director of International Business Affairs Kenia Zamarrripa, who will share insight on the economic resilience of the border region.


The May Revise is here.  On Friday,  Governor Newsom unveiled a $300.6 billion budget, with an estimated $97.5 billion surplus far exceeding previous estimates from January. The legislature has until June 15 to pass a budget and send it back to the Governor. See what’s included here.

Speaking of money- average gas prices have officially, and for the first time, passed $6/gallon statewide. And we are still awaiting a final deal from the legislature/Governor about any sort of rebate or “give back” to drivers. There’s two dueling cash for Califonians proposals. The Governor’s: $400/car for car owners (max 2 cars/person) and those rebates would be based on car value, which tbd what that even means. The legislature’s: not tied to gas prices, for starters. Instead, $200/person and $200/dependent (max income $125k individual or $250k joint filers).

Following the Governor’s revised proposal, the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) released their initial comments on the budget with warning signs of recession, and recommended increasing reserves in case of budget problems in the next few years.

If bad news is your jam, there’s a new tool available from a New York-based research non-profit about how likely your area is to burn in a fire. Cool?

A landmark law that passed a few years ago that required publicly held companies to boost the number of women on their boards was struck down in court this week. The Jerry Brown-era bill was expected to have a hard time in the legal system, but before you go doing anything it’s probably best to hold off as Secretary of State Shirley Weber plans to appeal the ruling.

AB 1221 (The Responsible Beverage Service Training Act) will be taking effect on July 1, which will impact employees at over 56,000 businesses in California that are licensed by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). Businesses include restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, and any business that sells alcohol for consumption on the premises. AB 1221 will mandate that every alcohol server and their managers be trained in Responsible Beverage Service and certified by ABC within 60 days. Learn more about how your business can get certified here.


Mayor Gloria has released his May revision of the “Ready to Rebuild” budget. With the total City budget now at $5.03 billion, strong commitments to providing mental health services, homeless shelters, affordable housing, and enhanced public safety are included. Here are a few highlights:

  • $878,000 to help residents struggling with mental or behavioral health.
  • $5.4 Million to provide homeless shelters.
  • $594,000 to improve park facilities

The San Diego City Council resumed hearings this week. Here’s what happened:

  • City Council passed an ordinance to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, beginning January 2023.
  • City Council voted to approve the cap on short term vacation rentals, proposing a lottery system to give homeowners two year vacation rental licenses.
  • During this week’s ED&IR Committee, Chair Raul Campillo announced that his office will begin working with City staff in a proposal to ensure minority and women owned businesses are included in future City contracts.

City of San Diego’s Development Services Department Updates:

  • The Cannabis Business Division and Office of Race and Equity will be hosting in-person and virtual listening sessions to receive input on the formation of an equity program beginning May 23 – June 16. Learn more here.
  • A reminder that beach area construction is limited during the summer, which is considered the period between Memorial Day through Labor Day. Plan accordingly!
  • Congratulations to DSD for receiving the CALBO Building Department of the Year Award for their progress in digitizing DSD services!

Earlier today, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness released their report on the annual point in time count that was conducted in late February. The report displays that, at that time, 8,427 individuals experienced homelessness in the region.

The Chula Vista City Council decided to postpone their hearing to vote on a no-fault eviction ordinance proposal.

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • The County of San Diego is in the process of developing a broadband plan for the unincorporated area. To provide feedback, interested stakeholders should take their broadband survey or attend future community workshops. The Chamber is involved in business group stakeholder discussions – if you have any questions, please contact Angeli Calinog.
  • The next Regional Decarbonization Framework public meetings will take place on June 28 and July 26.
  • The County’s revised Transportation Study Guide (TSG) for vehicle miles traveled (VMT) will be available for public review beginning May 12 to June 13. Staff will be conducting outreach to stakeholders and a public meeting will be held on May 24. The Chamber has been involved in business group stakeholder discussions through the VMT implementation process. If you have any questions, please contact Angeli Calinog.
  • County District 3 is hosting an online budget webinar on Monday, May 23rd at 5:30pm Register here.

Upcoming Hearings

  • The City of San Diego’s Planning Commission will meet on May 19th. Heads up – these hearings will begin to meet in-person in June.
  • Budget szn continues: County of San Diego department budget presentations begin on May 19th. Virtual budget meetings for each supervisorial district will begin on May 23rd.
  • The City of San Diego’s Select Committee on San Diego Housing Commission Oversight and Reform will meet on May 23rd.
  • The San Diego City Council will meet on May 23rd and May 24th.
  • The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will meet on May 24th and May 25th.

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.