Business and Labor

TRUMP BANS TRAVEL FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS FROM EUROPE DUE TO COVID-19, PROPOSES ECONOMIC RELIEF FOR AMERICANS IMPACTED

Update March 13: The President today declared a national emergency, freeing up some $50 bilion in federal aid for states.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Airport medical screening; CC by SA

March 11, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump today announced a travel ban on most foreign nationals from Europe and also proposed economic aid to Americans impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.


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EAST COUNTY CHAMBER SEEKS CANDIDATE STATEMENTS FOR ENDORSEMENTS

East County News Service

March 10, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will begin endorsing candidates for elective office in the November 2020 general election, those found to be aligned with the Chamber’s goals of promoting business in East County.

The Chamber will consider endorsements for candidates to elected offices that serve the East County region. 

Candidates seeking endorsement should submit a statement of no longer than 500 words that should address the question, “Why should the Chamber endorse you?”

Candidate statements should be submitted to Diana Senica by email at events@eastcountychamber.org, no later than May 1, 2020.


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GONZALEZ-FLETCHER ADDS $20 MILLION TO BUDGET TO PARTIALLY OFFSET AB 5 IMPACTS ON NONPROFIT ARTS GROUPS, BUT FALLS FAR SHORT OF HELP NEEDED

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 7, 2020 (Sacramento)-- Musicians, artists and nonprofit arts groups are among the hardest hit by AB 5, the new law authored by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) requiring that many freelancers be reclassified as employees – a prohibitively costly mandate for many small nonprofits. Now Gonzalez-Fletcher is offering some help, though it amounts to a Bandaid approach to the wounds inflicted on the arts and music industries by the new law.
 
Last month, Gonzalez-Fletcher  along with Assemblymember Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) asked for $20 million to be added to the state budget for the California Arts Council to help small community nonprofit arts groups comply with AB 5, but only in the first year. But there is no guarantee of funding for applicants, nor any help to meet ongoing enormous costs of complying in future years--such as paying unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation and other annual costs for all employees, as well as added payroll deduction and accounting costs. 
 
Moreover, the measure only helps nonprofits able to win grants and show good-faith effort to comply with AB 5. Even then, the measure offers no help to meet ongoing high costs, nor does it offer any assistance to for-profit companies nor to individual artists or musicians losing work due to the new law.

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FASTSIGNS OF LEMON GROVE-LA MESA NOW OPEN

East County News Service

March 7, 2020 (Lemon Grove) — FASTSIGNS® of Lemon Grove - La Mesa, a locally owned and operated sign and graphics company, is now open under the direction of franchisees, Cheryl and Jayson Aurelio. 


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TEN-FOLD DECREASE IN JOB GAINS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Barely 29,000 new jobs for people with disabilities in 2018, compared to over 343,000 new jobs for the disabled two years ago.  California had the most job losses for disabled workers.
 
Source: RespectAbility
 
March 6, 2020 (Washington D..C) -- New statistics show that job gains among Americans with disabilities have dramatically fallen compared to previous years of sustain growth. 
 
California saw the biggest job losses among people with disabilities, with more than 21,000 workers with disabilities leaving the labor force. 

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RAMONA’S CHRIS ANDERSON WINS REALTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD (AGAIN) FROM SAN DIEGO’S LARGEST REALTORS ASSOCIATION

East County News Service

March 5, 2020 (Ramona) – Ramona resident Chris Anderson, a realtor with Coldwell Banker West (CBW), was recently honored by the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors (SDAR) with the 2019 Realtor of the Year Award.


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SENATOR BRIAN JONES INTRODUCES BILL TO REDUCE LICENSING BURDENS ON CALIFORNIANS

East County News Service
 
February 26, 2020 (Sacramento) - State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) announced today he introduced Senate Bill 878 (fact sheet).  SB 878 will require all boards and bureaus within the Department of Consumer Affairs to prominently display on their websites the current average timeframe for processing initial and renewal license applications.
 
The Department of Consumers Affairs (DCA) administers more than 3.9 million licenses in more than 280 license types including certificates, registrations and permits, from architects to accountants, dentists to veterinarians, according to the DCA website.

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BRIAN JONES COAUTHORS BILLS TO REPEAL, REFORM AB 5 “GIG WORKER” LAW THAT IS HARMING INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS’ LIVELIHOODS; CONGRESS TO VOTE ON BILL SIMILAR TO AB 5 THIS WEEK

 

A national version of AB 5 is slated, which radically revises employment laws, is slated to be voted on in the House of Representatives this week with backing of California's two Senators

By Miriam Raftery

Image courtesy of #FightForFreelancers, which is battling a measure similar to California's AB 5 law. The seriously flaws legislation in our state is being emulated across the nation even as lawsuits, reform and repeal measures are pending in California.

February 4, 2020 (San Diego) – State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) is  coauthoring multiple bills to repeal and/or reform Assembly Bill 5, which took effect January 1, decimating independent contractors in a wide range of fields as well as the businesses and nonprofits that have long relied on freelancres.

AB 5 was introduced by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego), a former labor leader who touted it as a way of cracking down on companies such as Uber and Lyft for exploiting workers and forces even small businesses and nonprofits to make most workers employees rather than independent contractors.

But the costs of doing so are prohibitively high for many businesses and organizations, putting their futures at risk. The law has also had devastating effects on freelancers across at least 150 fields including musicians, writers, artists, actors, dancers, nurses, consultants, translators, photographers, teachers and other independent contractors who value their freedom and flexible schedules and don’t want to be employees.

Some are now unable to find work due to AB 5, as out of state companies cancel gigs with California freelancers, unwilling to risk criminal penalties and huge fines for misclassifying workers under the convoluted, complex and confusing terms of the law. Other freelancers have shelled out high costs to start their own companies in order to qualify for business-to-business exemptions in the bill, but receive no benefits for those expenditures.


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LA MESA CHAMBER SALUTES LOCAL HEROES MARCH 12 AT SYCUAN RESORT

By Miriam Raftery

January 30, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce invites you to its 12th annual Salute to local Heroes. This year’s theme is "Hooray for Hollywood: and the event will be held on March 12 at Sycuan Casino Resort from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

First responders from La Mesa Police, fire and paramedics will be honored as well as members of the retired senior volunteer patrol. The celebration also includes installation of the Chamber’s new board of directors.

Suggested attire is Hollywood glam, cocktail or business.


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LA MESA CHAMBER TO HOST BEER GARDEN AT GROSSMONT CENTER’S FIRST FRIDAY MARKETS

Celebrate vegan lifestyle with all-vegan eats, drinks, music and more

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce has inked a deal with Grossmont Center to host a beer garden at all of the center’s First Friday markets starting February 7th through the end of this year. The beer garden will feature featuring Mike Hess Brewing Company and Local Roots kombucha.

The markets are held on the first Friday of each month from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.in the shopping mall’s parking lot between Chuze Fitness and Fuddruckers. The  market celebrates the vegan lifestyle with all-vegan foods, sweets, drinks, goods for sale and live music. Grossmont Center is located at 5500 Grossmont Center Blvd., La Mesa. 

The beer garden will have a seating area beneath lighted tents for dining and drinking under the stars. 


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LAWSUITS MOUNT AGAINST NEW CALIFORNIA LABOR LAW, AB 5

Judge issues injunction on behalf of independent truckers; freelance journalists and other gig worker groups also file legal challenges
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
January 6, 2020 (San Diego) – A new law making it harder for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees took effect January 1st. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, the bill’s author, aims to provide more workers with benefits such as healthcare, unemployment insurance and the option to unionize. But a flurry of lawsuits are challenging the measure as unfair and constitutional.  

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CA ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES NEPTUNE SOCIETY, ALLEGES “SWINDLING” OF CUSTOMERS WHO PREPAID FOR CREMATION SERVICES

East County News Service
 
December 7, 2019 (San Francisco) --  California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with the District Attorneys for the City and County of San Francisco, Alameda County, and Marin County, filed a lawsuit yesterday in Alameda County Superior Court against Texas-based Service Corporation International and its subsidiaries doing business as Neptune Society.
 
The lawsuit alleges that Neptune — a company offering pre-need cremation service plans for purchase prior to a customer’s death — engaged in unlawful business practices. The lawsuit includes allegations that the company broke California law by failing to hold in trust for the benefit of its customers a substantial portion of the money they paid for these plans and that it misled customers concerning this illegal practice.  

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POWAY BOIL-WATER ORDER LIFTED: PUBLIC URGED TO DINE AT POWAY RESTAURANTS TO HELP WORKERS HURT BY SHUTDOWN

By Miriam Raftery

December 6, 2019 (Poway) – A boil-water order has been lifted in Poway, where residents can now drink tap water after first flushing out plumbing lines, replacing filters and throwing away ice. State testing found the water safe to drink, nearly a week after stormwater runoff contaminated a clearwell reservoir.

Hardest hit are restaurants forced to shut down, and their employees. The North San Diego Business Chamber is asking the community to dine in Poway Dec. 9-15, adding, “As the holidays approach, we ask that you dine at these businesses and support their employees, so they too can have a holiday season without any added stress.” Find a list of Poway restaurants at the bottom of this article.


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KAISER HEALTHCARE STRIKE TO START DEC. 16

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2019 (San Diego) - Kaiser Permanente’s 4,000 psychologists, therapists, social workers and other healthcare professionals are going on strike for five days starting Monday, Dec. 16 at more than 100 medical facilities across California.


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COLDWELL BANKER WEST MERGES WITH ASCENT REAL ESTATE, CREATES ONE OF SAN DIEGO’S LARGEST BROKERAGES, 15 OFFICES, 1,000 SALES AGENTS

East County News Service

November 27, 2019 (San Diego's East County) – Coldwell Banker West (CBW), one of San Diego County’s largest real estate brokerages with East County offices located in El Cajon and La Mesa, has announced a merger with San Diego-based Ascent Real Estate. The merger was jointly announced by Peter Mendiola, CBW president, and Penny Nathan, president/CEO of Ascent, who will become a partner of CBW. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


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THE END OF AN ERA: ADVENTURE 16 IS CLOSING UP SHOP AFTER 57 YEARS

Chain that began in La Mesa will hold going out of business sale starting Nov. 29

East County News Service

November 23, 2019 (San Diego) – Adventure 16, perhaps best known by its outdoor active customers as A16, announced today that the 57-year-old company plans to close its remaining two stores in San Diego and West Los Angeles. Both mountain shops will be closed Monday, November 25 through Thanksgiving Day to prepare for their Going Out of Business Sale beginning on Black Friday.


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LA MESA CHAMBER HOSTS TOY DRIVE PARTY DEC. 4 FOR CHILDREN OF MILITARY FAMILIES

By Miriam Raftery

November 14, 2019 (La Mesa) – You’re invited to make a difference this holiday season for children of military personnel living in military housing in La Mesa.  The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce is hosting a toy drive for the children, ages 2-13, on Wednesday, Dec. 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Grossmont Center.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

"The La Mesa Chamber is honored to be a part of this endeavor and making a difference in the lives of these children and their families, that do so much for our country," stated Mary England, President & CEO.  

Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the event, which is free to Chamber members.  Cost for non-member guests is $10, or $20 at the door. Admission includes pizzas, salads, hors d’ouvres, and two wine drink tickets. To register, click here.


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EAST COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESENTS `CELEBRATE EAST COUNTY’ ON NOV. 9

East County News Service

October 31 2019 (El Cajon) – The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will present “Celebrate East County,” a community celebration event, from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Holy Trinity Church Social Hall, 405 Ballard St., El Cajon.


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FARMWORKERS, ADVOCATES REJOICE AS CA ENDS SALE OF CHLORPYRIFOS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo: CC by SA-NC

October 24, 2019 (Bakersfield)--- Farmworkers' groups are celebrating the end of at least a decade-long battle to ban a toxic pesticide in California after the state Environmental Protection Agency announced a new deal with manufacturers of chlorpyrifos. The pesticide no longer will be sold to growers in California after Feb. 6.

Nayamin Martinez, director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network, said studies have linked chlorpyrifos to serious health effects in kids.

"It's a very dangerous chemical that can cause harm, especially in brain development, for unborn children and young children who live in close proximity where this pesticide is applied," she said.


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TRICK OR TREAT IN LA MESA VILLAGE ON HALLOWEEN OCT. 31

By Miriam Raftery

October 23, 2019 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Village Association invites the community for family-friendly Trick-or-Treating in downtown La Mesa on Halloween.  Participating businesses will be handing out treats from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on October 31st in La Mesa’s historic downtown village. Some will also offer discounts and promotions. Costumes are encouraged!


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WESTMONT RETIREMENT COMMUNITY HOSTS GRAND OPENING: PUBLC TOURS THIS WEEKEND

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 18, 2019 (La Mesa) – Westmont of La Mesa invites the public to a tour, buffet lunch, entertainment and prizes this Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The upscale facility features independent living and assisted living, including memory care, at its location at 9000 Murray Drive at Wakarusa.

This 130,00-square foot, three story retirement community includes 50,000 square feet of common area space will include a common meeting room that can be used by community groups for meetings and workshops, along with a pool that can be used for aqua aerobics for residents, as well as the community.


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SUPERVISORS VOTE WEDNESDAY ON WITHDRAWING COUNTY AS GROUNDWATER SUSTAINABILITY AGENCY FOR BORREGO VALLEY GROUNDWATER BASIN

Update:  Supervisor Jim Desmond introduced a mtion to approve this mesaure, which was passed unanimously by Supervisors with one amendment:  the withdrawal will take effect when the stipulated agreement is submitted to a court, or on December 31, 2019, whichever occurs first.

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Citrus growers and other farmers in Borrego use 75% of the area’s groundwater. A new plan proposes allowing large water users to buy or trade water use credits. 

 

October 14, 2019 (Borrego Springs) – Faced with a state mandate to reduce water use by 75 percent after years over over-pumping groundwater, major water users in Borrego Springs have submitted a stipulated agreement for reducing the desert community’s water use by an estimated 75 percent. On Wednesday, San Diego County Supervisors will vote on withdrawing as a groundwater sustainability agency for the Borrego Valley Groundwater Basin, with a goal toward transitioning into water management.


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LOCAL COMPANIES ASKED TO FILL OUT SURVEY ON NAVY CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES

East County News Service

October 14, 2019 (San Diego) - Have you done business with the Navy, or would you like for your company to work with the Navy? If so, you’re encouraged to fill out a survey by using this survey link before October 25. 


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COHN RESTAURANT GROUP TO TAKE OVER SURF RIDER PIZZA IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

September 30, 2019 (La Mesa) – Surf Rider Pizza Co. in La Mesa is among four restaurants that Cohn Restaurant Group will be temporarily taking over. Those four restaurants were managed by Patio Marketplace, an entity of Gina Champion-Cain. 


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LA MESA COUNCIL APPROVES CANNABIS ORDINANCE AND GRANTS TO IMPROVE WEST LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 28, 2019 (La Mesa) – A citizens-led effort to clean up their blighted West La Mesa neighborhood has borne fruit. On Tuesday, the La Mesa City Council unanimously approved two pilot programs offering grants to businesses in the area to improve the streetscape. 

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LEMON GROVE SALES TAX INITATIVE SPURS JUICY DEBATE

Mary England and George Gastil sound off in arguments for and against measure

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Advocates of a ballot measure proposing a three-quarters of a cent sales tax increase argue that the measure will sweeten Lemon Grove, shoring up a structural budget deficit to fund city services wanted by residents, such as parks, road repairs, and improving public safety. 

But former Lemon Grove Councilwoman Mary England, also president of the Chamber of Commerce in neighboring La Mesa, is sour on the idea.

Both England, who opposes the ballot measure dubbed the “Lemon Grove Security Petition,” and former Councilman George Gastil, a leader of the citizens’ group advocating for the petition, agree that the city has had a structural deficit for years, with a budget that’s nearly entirely consumed by rising police and fire protection services.  But they disagree sharply on solutions.


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KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY LA MESA RELOCATES TO TOP-FLOOR SUITES AT ALLIED PLAZA BUILDING

East County News Service

September 26, 2019 (La Mesa) -- Keller Williams Realty La Mesa has moved its offices to the top floor (Suite 700) of the Allied Plaza Building, located at 7777 Alvarado Road, La Mesa, 91942.

One of the first Keller Williams locations in San Diego County, the Keller Williams Realty La Mesa team is experiencing a growth period, with 100 active agents and a goal of increasing by another 20% in the next 6 - 12 months.


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KAISER HEALTHCARE WORKERS LOCALLY VOTE TO JOIN NATIONWIDE STRIKE STARTING OCT. 14

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 23, 2019 (San Diego) -- Over 4,200 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, including 480 East County workers in El Cajon and La Mesa, will be joining a nationwide strike starting October 14th.  An overwhelming 98 percent of those members at Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 30 voted in support of the action. 


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SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES EXTENDED STAY HOTEL, GETS INITIAL RESULTS OF BRANDING EFFORT

By Mike Allen
 
September 21, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council approved a 122-unit extended stay hotel just west of the intersection of SR 125 and SR 52 on Mission Gorge Road at its Sept. 18 meeting.
 
The Council also heard an initial report from its contracted expert to help create a brand for the city as it attempts to boost its tourism and attract new businesses.

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NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TAKES HELM AT SD FARM BUREAU

By David Ross, Valley Roadrunner

Photo:  Hannah Gbeh is the new executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau. She considers it to be her dream job.

September 20, 2019 (San Diego) - Hannah Gbeh has taken over at San Diego County Farm Bureau as the new executive director. “This is a dream come true for me. I sat on the Farm Bureau board of directors for three years and often thought how much I would love this job. So when it became available I immediately applied.”


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