Business and Labor

SEMPRA ENERGY NAMED TO FORTUNE MAGAZINE’S ‘WORLD’S MOST ADMIRED COMPANIES’ LIST FOR 2021

East County News Service

February 10, 2021 (San Diego) – Sempra Energy  of San Diego has again been named one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” for 2021 by Fortune Magazine. This marks the 11th year that the company has been included on the annual list, which recognizes global businesses with the strongest corporate reputations within their sectors and across industries.

“Today’s recognition from Fortune is underpinned by our high-performance culture and reflects our commitment to furthering our mission to be North America’s premier energy infrastructure company and providing sustainable value to all of our stakeholders,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy. “Against the backdrop of unprecedented challenges from a global pandemic, this honor is a credit to our essential workforce — 18,000 employees who work hard every day to deliver reliable, affordable and sustainable energy to power the lives of over 35 million consumers across North America.”


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VERIZON OFFERS $10 MILLION IN SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS: APPLY FEB. 8-9

East County News Service

 

February 4, 2021 (San Diego) - Verizon is offering $10 million in grants to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19.  The applications will go live on Monday, Feb. 8 and applications must be completed by Tuesday, Feb. 9.


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PROPOSE AT SOAPY JOE’S FOR CHANCE TO WIN WEDDING RINGS AND $10,000

Source:  Soapy Joe's

February 2, 2021 (San Diego) - Beloved San Diego car wash chain Soapy Joe's, known for fun events like the car wash karaoke competition and the Guinness World Record-holding World's Largest Air Freshener, announces today that it is reprising its award-winning Tunnel of Love event with a pandemic-friendly spin.

This year, they are inviting couples to propose at Soapy Joe’s,”Tunnel of Love," share a video and win big. All participating couples will win a year of free car washes -- and one lucky couple will win wedding rings from Honey Jewelry Co. ($3,500 value) plus $10,000 cash to start out married life.   


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SUPERVISORS MOVE TOWARD LEGAL CANNABIS FARMNG AND SALES; ANDERSON ADDS FUNDS TO SHUTDOWN ILLEGAL OPERATORS IMMEDIATELY

By Miriam Raftery

View video of hearing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-LEUgTBhFw

January 28, 2021(San Diego) – San Diego County Supervisors yesterday voted 4-1 to have staff bring back a plan within 90 days for reform the County’s policies on marijuana (cannabis), after obtaining input from community planners and other stakeholders.

The plan would create a framework to legalize and regulate sales, manufacturing and farming of cannabis whlie creating jobs in unincorporated areas, also beefing up code compliance to shut down illegal operations. Supervisors are expected to vote on the new regulations by July 1.The proposal was brought forward by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas.

Newly elected Supervisor Joel Anderson, aware that the measure had a clear majority for passage, successfully added an amendment to provide $500,000 for aggressive enforcement to shut down illegal pot shops, labs or other unlicensed marijuana facilities – starting immediately, even before any new regulations are adopted.


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GOING UNDERGROUND: CALIFORNIA BUSINESS OPERATES IN SECRET AMID PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS

By Kate Cimini, CalMatters

CalMatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  John adjusts the covers on his massage table. Photo by Ayrton Ostly, The Salinas Californian

January 25, 2021 (Salinas) - When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down his Bay Area region massage business, John went 93 days without income.  

In March, John and his business partner, Dee, packed away their massage tables and locked up their office. (Both John and Dee are going by pseudonyms for fear of legal repercussions.) 

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STATE LIFTS STAY-HOME ORDER: SOME BUSINESSES CAN REOPEN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

January 25, 2021 (San Diego) – At a press conference this afternoon, San Diego County leaders announced changes to allow some businesses to reopen after the state lifted a regional stay-home order. The change comes due to a four-week regional projection that ICU capacity will rise above 15%.  Our County is now back in the purple tier, but with some modifications.


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MARKETINK: EL CAJON COUNCILMAN RETIRES FROM MARKETING CAREER TO PURSUE FORENSIC GENEALOGY

By Rick Griffin

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

January 18, 2021 (El Cajon) - As a young man in his 20s, Steve Goble set a goal to retire from work on his 60th birthday and devote the rest of his life to public service.


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UPDATES ON UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSIONS AND EDD SUSPENDED PAYMENTS

By Miriam Raftery

January 18, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – State Senator Brian Jones has provided an update from the Employment Development Department (EDD) regarding unemployment benefit extensions and suspended payments due to fraud screening

If your EDD account has been suspended‚ please read the following statement regarding the identity validation process here.

Additionally‚ if you have any questions regarding unemployment benefit extensions‚ you can read the most frequently asked questions here.


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STATE EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS TO APPLY FOR COVID-19 RELIEF GRANTS

East County News Service

January 4, 2021 (Sacramento) – California has extended the deadline until January 13 for businesses and nonprofits to apply for relief grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. The original deadline was January 8.  


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NEW CALIFORNIA RELIEF GRANTS FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS: APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED DEC. 30 THROUGH JAN. 8

Update: The deadline to apply has been extended until January 13.

 

December 30, 2020 (Sacramento) -- California's $500 million #SmallBusiness #COVID-19 Relief Grant website is LIVE. The first round of applications opens Dec 30 and closes January 8, but webinars on how to apply are being held every day at 11 AM. Register today at http://bit.ly/38tKcPp

Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000.  To apply or get more information, visit  https://careliefgrant.com/ and scroll down for additional details.


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FREEDOM RALLY DRAWS DIVERSE CROWD

By Briana Gomez
 
Photo:  Minister Vereta Wilson (@compton_conservative) addresses the crowd
 
December 29, 2020 (El Cajon) – A myriad of diverse, yet mostly unmasked attendees crowded around vendors and made their way toward a makeshift stage decorated with Christmas décor and a podium in front of the El Cajon City Council chambers, where a “Freedom Rally” was held on Dec. 27 in response to Governor Newsom’s recent shutdown of businesses.

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EL CAJON RALLY SHOWS WHY WE ARE LOSING THE BATTLE AGAINST THE PANDEMIC

 

Story and photos by Henri Migala

Photo, left:  Maskless rally participants called for all businesses to open now, despite pandemic shutdown orders from the county and state.

December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) – A rally titled “All I Want for Christmas is Freedom” was held on Monday, Dec. 21 at El Cajon Centennial Plaza calling for a lifting of pandemic shutdowns.  The timing of the rally coincides with hospital ICU units filled to capacity across Southern California, after 18 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 and 323,000 Americans have died.

There are legitimate equity questions, such as why big-box retailers have been allowed to stay open while many small businesses have been ordered shut down, particularly after data obtained from San Diego County reveals that many outbreaks have been tied to large stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target. Although the event was promoted as an opportunity to support local small businesses adversely affected by restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, any rational discussion of those issues was largely overshadowed at the protest by speakers, including prominent elected officials, who urged attendees to openly and actively defy local and state restrictions. Some used such inflammatory words such as devil, battle, war, evil, Marxist, tyranny, socialism, 2nd Amendment, and even a reference to “killing babies like Planned Parenthood" that seemed largely out of context to a discussion of economic vs. public health concerns.

Eighteen “vendors” were set up, of which about half were small businesses selling products. The others were related to a political cause or agenda, such as recalling Governor Newsom, or opening San Diego. Approximately 150 people attended the event.


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GOVERNOR: SOCAL LOCKDOWN LIKELY TO BE EXTENDED AS ICU CAPACITY FALLS TO ZERO

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association 

Photo:  Gov. Gavin Newsom. Courtesy of the governor’s office

December 22, 2020 (San Diego) - With ICU capacity essentially zero in Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday the regional stay-at-home order will almost certainly be extended beyond the current Dec. 28 end date.


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KPBS GETS COUNTY DATA ON OUTBREAKS IN RESTAURANTS, RETAILERS, CASINOS AND MORE: THE NUMBERS MAY SURPRISE YOU

By Miriam Raftery

Image via KPBS, republished under Fair Use Doctrine

December 21, 2020  (San Diego) – It took a lawsuit under the California Public Records Act filed by KPBS, Voice of San Diego and the San Diego Union-Tribune to obtain data previously kept secret on the exact location of COVID-19 outbreaks, including names of businesses affected.

The data reveals many outbreaks at venues such as Walmart, Costco, Target, casinos and manufacturers/businesses. The most outbreaks, however, have been at senior living facilities/nursing homes(214 outbreaks) followed by restaurants and bars with 208 outbreaks from March through November.

The number of outbreaks doesn’t tell the whole story, however.


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APPEALS COURT BLOCKS JUDGE’S RULING, ORDERS RESTAURANTS CLOSED AGAIN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Terra American Bistro, a farm to table eatery in San Diego just west of La Mesa, had moved outdoors but is now back to offering take-out taco Tuesdays and to-go Christmas dinners, among other offerings, as a result of the latest shutdown order.

December 19, 2020 (San Diego) – Beleaguered restaurant owners are once again ordered to shut down, after three justices on the Fourth District Court of Appeals on Friday issued a stay blocking an order issued Wednesday by Superior Court Judge Wohlfiel.  The Appeals Court, responding to an appeal filed by California’s Attorney General, found that Wohlfiel acted too broadly in expanding an order in a case filed by strip clubs to also include restaurants, which were not parties in the case.

The state argued that Wohlfiel’s order jeopardized the health of county residents by undermining public health orders aimed at curtailing spread of the disease at a time when the Southern California intensitve care units are full, with zero percent capacity.

Wohfiel has issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the state and county from enforcing COVID-19 shutdown orders at restaurants and strip clubs.  Many local restaurants swiftly responded by reopening for outdoor and in some cases, indoor dining.  But the reprieve proved short-lived; the Appeals Court action means that restaurants are once again ordered to shut down except for take-out and delivery services.


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REPURPOSING YOUR LIFE AFTER UNEMPLOYMENT WITH TRUCK DRIVING TRAINING

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photos courtesy of Advanced Training Systems) 

Dec. 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) Women faced with sudden job loss from the pandemic may consider going to truck driving school to repurpose their life and source of income.

ECM interviewed CEO John Kearney of Advanced Training Systems via email for his insights and tips on pursing a career in truck driving.

ECM: What are the costs and/or scholarships for the training?

Kearney: Costs vary depending on school, public or private.  Costs are the same for men and women. Women should contact the Women in Trucking Association to learn what the possibilities are and how women in trucking is really a growing field.  Some high schools have a driver training program, and the cost is very low because students take the driver training program as part of their regular school program.  Many trucking schools that have training programs will train the student without cost unless they quit soon after the training.  Costs for many of the programs can run from $4,000 to just under $7,000.  I suggest that individuals interested in driving contact local schools, trucking companies and the workforce agencies in their area to determine the local possibilities.  Workforce will often help with the cost of the training.  


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HELP A SMALL BUSINESS SURVIVE SHUTDOWNS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: NAIL SALONS, HAIRDRESSERS AND PERSONAL CARE PROVIDERS NEED YOUR TLC

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2000 (Santee) -- The shutdowns from the Coronavirus pandemic have hurt many especially small businesses. Our nail salons, hairdressers, restaurants, and personal care businesses have been paralyzed, especially now during their busiest time of the year.  Many who have the means to help don’t know what to do.  Take-out orders are being placed to help local restaurants, but what about the personal care business owners and employees?

Here are some ideas to help these vital businesses survive.


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COUNTY PAUSES ENFORCEMENT OF RESTAURANT CLOSURES AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VENUES PENDING APPEAL OF JUDICIAL RULING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Image: CC-by-SA-NC

December 17, 2020 (San Diego) – The County has temporarily halted enforcement of COVID-19 closure orders on restaurants and strip-clubs following a judicial order, which Supervisors have voted 3-2 to appeal.  

In a ruling yesterday, Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil ordered the state and county to cease enforcement of California’s regional stay-home order against strip clubs, until trial. Wohlfeil’s decision states that the state and county failed to provide evidence tying spread of COVID-19 or lack of intensive care beds to live adult entertainment. 

The case arose out of a challenge against closure orders filed by two strip clubs, Cheetah’s Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International. The order includes strip clubs but the broad wording covers “San Diego County businesses with restaurant service” though it’s unclear if his ruling is meant to apply to all food service establishments, or only strip clubs serving food.


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HOMEOWNERS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS MAY QUALIFY FOR PROPERTY TAX PENALTY RELIEF

East County News Service

December 17, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister announced his office is accepting penalty cancellation requests for homeowners and small business owners who were impacted by COVID-19 and missed the Dec. 10 property tax deadline.

“COVID-19 has affected many in San Diego – especially our small businesses, so we want to do what we can to help those who did not have the funds to pay their taxes on time,” said McAllister. “We want to be as lenient as we can and show compassion for those who need it.” 

Property taxes that were unpaid after Dec. 10 have incurred a 10% penalty. To qualify for penalty cancellation, the property must either be:


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SENATOR JONES JOINS BI-PARTISAN GROUP DEFENDING RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES

11 Senators urge that Governor “immediately reclassify the restaurant industry as critical infrastructure before even more damage is done to our communities.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Giardino Neighborhood Cucina in Lemon Grove, like many other restaurants, invested heavily in setting up outdoor dining, only to be closed down for all but takeout or delivery by the latest public health orders.

December 16, 2020 (Santee) – Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) and ten other Senators sent a strongly worded letter to Governor Gavin Newsom on behalf of out of work restaurant employees and owners suffering during the state-ordered shutdown of indoor and outdoor dining throughout much of California.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIA SMALL BUSINESSESES NEED HELP

An open letter to Governor Gavin Newsom and state legislators signed by 81 Chambers of commerce and other business groups

Source:  Save Small Business Coalition

December 14, 2020 (San Diego) - Dear Governor Newsom, State Senators, Assemblymembers and All California Elected Officials:

As leaders of organizations serving businesses of California, we are deeply concerned about State policies that are severely impacting our local businesses.


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LOCAL NONPROFIT AND SMALL BUSINESS EXPERTS UNITE TO SUPPORT BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY COVID-19

Source: RISE San Diego

COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact small businesses and nonprofits 

RISE San Diego to host interactive workshops providing support resources

Local business experts to discuss better business practices and tools 

December 10, 2020 (San Diego Webinar) -- Small businesses and nonprofits have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the rise in cases and updated state restrictions, businesses in San Diego need increased support.  

During the month of December, RISE San Diego will host several virtual workshops as part of the organization’s Nonprofits and Small Business Trainings series. The workshops will offer free training for staff, board members, and volunteers from local nonprofits and small businesses who are interested in building their organizational capacity and ways to ensure sustainability. By offering training workshops, RISE San Diego will support those affected, with creative resources and expanded networks.


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BUSINESS OWNERS, HEALTHCARE AND POLITICAL LEADERS SHARE VIEWS ON NEW COVID-19 SHUTDOWNS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Prete-a-Porter Salon & Spa in La Mesa moved outside during the last shutdown, but this time, salons are ordered to close completely. 

December 6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Healthcare leaders, business owners and public officials are offering mixed reactions to the state’s latest stay-home order and business shutdowns prompted by Southern California dropping below 15% ICU bed availability. 


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REGIONAL STAY-HOME ORDERS TO BE TRIGGERED BY HOSPITAL ICU CAPACITY DROPPING BELOW 15%

Southern California expected to reach that threshold in early December

By Miriam Raftery

View Governor’s press conference:  https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1ynJOBbXEdZGR

December 3, 2020 (San Diego) – California is running out of beds in intensive care units (ICU) needed for the most critically ill patients as COVID-19 surges. Statewide, demand for ICU beds is expected to exceed capacity by mid-December, while Southern California may exceed ICU capacity even sooner.

To save lives and prevent a crisis in our healthcare system, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new restrictions including regional stay-home orders and some business shut-downs once a region dips below 15% ICU bed capacity.


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GOV. NEWSOM ANNOUNCES HELP FOR BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19 INCLUDING TEMPORARY TAX RELIEF AND $500 MILLION IN GRANTS

East County News Service

Today’s announcements include the Main Street Hiring Tax Credit, which authorizes $100 million in hiring tax credit for qualified small businesses. The credit is equal to $1,000 per qualified employee, up to $100,000 for each small business employer.The application opens tomorrow, December 1. A full list of existing state support for businesses can be found here.

Nov 30, 2020  (Sacramento) -- As the federal government fails to provide additional financial stimulus support to main street businesses, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that California will provide temporary tax relief for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

The temporary tax relief entails an automatic three-month income tax extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax, extends the availability of existing interest and penalty-free payment agreements to companies with up to $5 million in taxable sales and provides expanded interest free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions. In addition, last week the Governor announced short-term loans for small businesses available through the new California Rebuilding Fund. The state also launched $500 million in grants for impacted businesses and nonprofits.


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CAL COAST INVITES SOCAL RESIDENTS TO SHOP AND DONATE LOCAL FOR THE HOLIDAYS

By Katrina Wilborn, Cal Coast Senior Public Relations Specialist

With each Cal Coast MasterCard® Debit or Credit Card purchase made now through December 31, a portion of the sales will be donated to the Strategic Alliance, up to $20,000.

November 28, 2020 (San Diego's East County) – California Coast Credit Union is encouraging its members and the community to shop at local businesses and donate to local non-profits through its Local for the Holidays effort, which runs now through December 31.


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BOARD APPROVES MORE FUNDS FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

November 28, 2020 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors this week voted to provide more stimulus funds to businesses forced to close indoor operations after the region was placed in the Purple Tier.

At a special meeting, the Board gave the green light for $20 million in general funds to be added to the Small Business Stimulus Grant Program established in May.

The funds will be available to businesses and nonprofit organizations in the following industries:

  • Restaurants
  • Gyms and fitness centers, including yoga studios
  • Movie theaters
  • Museums
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Event planners (weddings, festivals, fairs, etc.)


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LATEST UNEMPLOYMENT SCANDAL: STATE PAID INMATES $1B IN FRAUDULENT CLAIMS

By Emily Hoeven, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo via iStock

November 25, 2020 (Sacramento) - California may have paid up to $1 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims filed on behalf of prison and jail inmates in what prosecutors are calling “the most significant fraud on taxpayer funds in California history.”


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UNION BANK SURPRISES PINK ROSE CAFÉ OWNER IN LA MESA WITH $5,000 GIFT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Sandra Small, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce
 
November 22, 2020 (La Mesa)  -- After Union Bank of La Mesa burned down amid civil unrest on May 31, Nadia Zamora, owner of the Pink Rose Café, organized on social media to collect messages of hope, love and peace. She and other volunteers hung those messages on a safety fence around the rubble of the burned bank. 

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GIFTS FROM THE EAST: SPECIAL 2020 EDITION

By Miriam Raftery

November 19, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – This holiday shopping season amid a pandemic, we’ve scoured the shops and online stores across San Diego’s East County to find our recommendations for gift items unique to our region.  Our picks include many artisan and locally hand-crafted treasures, farm-fresh humanely raised foods, delicious sweet treats, warm and stylish wearables, and gifts that benefit local nonprofits including a wildlife sanctuary. This year, we’ve chosen many places offering online ordering  as well as locations allowing ample social distancing.


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