News Blog

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  • Fri, September 18, 2020 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The San Gabriel Valley’s vibrant shopping and dining culture sets it apart as a multi-national region that is not just unique within Los Angeles County, but worldwide. Residents can easily find the best food from Asia and Central and South America. Specialized products that shoppers might have once had to drive 30 miles to purchase in stores in Chinatown, for example, are now available from Diamond Bar to Pasadena.

    With the many economic challenges of 2020 and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, cities in the San Gabriel Valley have stepped up to promote local businesses, expanding outdoor dining and shopping in many areas, waiving permit fees, and transforming parking lots and sometimes entire streets (see La Verne and Pomona below) to allow for expanded seating and shopping areas.

    Here is a short glimpse at how several cities here in the San Gabriel Valley have made special arrangements to support their local businesses. The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership is proud of all 31 cities that make up our region. This short list celebrates just a few of the local cities and Chambers of Commerce that have been working to help businesses prosper.

    Alhambra

    Soon after the state and LA County allowed outdoor dining and limited business outdoor re-openings, Alhambra created an expedited, free permitting process. Permits now allow for both dining and shopping on the sidewalk or in public space and parking lots. Nighttime in Alhambra has become a festive, cafe-culture atmosphere with string lights and outdoor bistro dining.


    Arcadia

    Since Arcadia’s dining is more dispersed and less concentrated in a traditional downtown than other SGV cities, outdoor dining has been permitted on sidewalks and parking lots for specific businesses. Restaurants are not alone – fitness, hair, and nail locations have gone outdoors too! 

    The Westfield Santa Anita Mall, of course, offers excellent Asian food options that have made use of their upstairs open air space for outdoor dining.

    Almost 50 small businesses have received $5,000 grants to help with COVID-19-related reopening expenses from the City of Arcadia.

    Azusa

    Like many cities, Azusa is finding ways to allow payment deferrals on utilities for businesses under economic stress. The city is currently reviewing applications for $10,000 grants to small businesses affected by COVID-19.  

    Expanded business space into sidewalks and other public space has also been offered. Aldolino Italian Restaurant, pictured below, is one of many that took advantage of this opportunity to create a charming new dining experience.


    Claremont

    Like the cities mentioned above, Claremont has expanded dining into public spaces and parking areas – but with a typical Claremont flair! Two downtown restaurants have expanded with beautiful wooden patio spaces, and more are on the way.



    Covina

    The popular 1950s-style downtown in Covina has expanded several dining sites with outdoor patios and greenery – a welcome cool relief during our current heat and fire season!



    Diamond Bar

    This is the third year Diamond Bar has hosted "Restaurant Week", a diverse and exciting October festival offering prix fixe meals and special discounts by the city's many eating establishments. The city also recently awarded almost $500k in grants to over 90 businesses to help them through this tough year.


    Duarte

    Duarte and the Duarte Chamber of Commerce have been providing “Open for Business” banners since the early days of the pandemic to help support businesses that are threatened by the pandemic. As the “City of Health,” Duarte’s medical facilities have of course been working hard towards improving the health of SGV residents.


    El Monte

    El Monte restaurants have expanded into private walkways, parking spaces, and sidewalks. The city still offers some of the best cuisine of Mexico and beyond, and is a cultural hotbed in the southern half of the San Gabriel Valley.


    Industry/Baldwin Park

    The City of Industry is known for its robust businesses – 69,643 employees and only 200 residents! – and these businesses are doing their part during the pandemic. For example, Griffols Biologicals, an international pharmaceutical company with a major plant in Baldwin Park, recently expanded into an Industry facility where they are storing plasma, which could potentially be used to assist with finding a cure for COVID-19.

    Beyond this, Industry has offered expedited, no-fee outdoor seating approvals, offered $5k grants for outdoor seating expenses. The Industry Business Council has also launched their own Industry-specific dining guide (soon to be in print) and is working with their 164 dining establishments to weather the crisis. They are also hosting an upcoming (private) restaurant appreciation event.


    La Verne

    La Verne has closed D Street in Old Town (immediately north of the University) for restaurants and service businesses to operate outdoors. It also encourages outdoor dining in other parts of the city, but the charm of walking D Street has inspired online petitions to keep the block pedestrian, even after the pandemic has passed.


    Monrovia

    Monrovia has been permitting outdoor expansion where possible, especially using street parking in Old Town. Their fabled breweries are currently limited to take-out orders due to county restrictions. The City of Monrovia and the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce have been outspoken advocates for collaboration between eateries and breweries that would allow for onsite dining options. However, approval of such options has not yet been a priority for LA County.


    Montebello

    Montebello has established its own temporary sidewalk/parking dining space permits, and has loaned city-owned equipment to help restaurants set these new facilities up. Their chamber of commerce set up a roundtable for restauranteurs and the California Restaurant Association to prepare for the challenges ahead and share solutions. They have created a revised local dining guide to help patrons know who is open, who is doing takeout, and where seating is currently available. Chamber member eateries have also been actively promoted via their social media.

    Pasadena

    Both Old Town Pasadena and Colorado Boulevard have shut down sections of parking in order to expand dining options for restaurants. Like Alhambra, Pasadena was one of the first cities in the San Gabriel Valley to shut down public parking or even lanes of busy Colorado Boulevard in order to support their restaurants.




    Pomona

    "Activate Pomona" is a program that has transformed the entirety of Second Street on either side of Garey Avenue – the historic Antiques and Arts Districts – into outdoor shopping and dining areas. This has brought new life to the historic area first designed by artist Millard Sheets, whose mosaics still adorn the fountains and banks along Second Street. This program will continue at least until December 31.


    San Dimas

    When indoor dining was banned, the City of San Dimas immediately created no-cost Temporary Outdoor Dining applications. Over two days, planners visited every single restaurant within the City’s boundaries to encourage and promote the use of outdoor dining. Many businesses in San Dimas' beautiful downtown had preexisting outdoor seating, but the city and chamber proactively promoted other outdoor uses, and used social media to encourage residents to take advantage of them. Rail Side Café and Roady’s are great examples of businesses that have expanded their outdoor dining in order to accommodate more guests.


    Temple City

    Temple City is offering free 8-foot banners to businesses, free of charge or permit, to declare they are open for business. "[Our] business community has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic," says Temple City Mayor Tom Chavez. "It is the city council's hope that communicating the presence and resilience of our local businesses through our new 'Open' banners will serve the dual purpose of helping those businesses promote themselves and reinforcing the message that #WeGotThisTC."


    We know that many San Gabriel Valley business owners have made impressive efforts to keep the local economy and our unique culture alive, most of which could not be captured in a short blog entry like this one.

    Please feel free to share your accomplishments with us at pthomas@sgvpartnership.org. We can learn from each other and survive the current economic challenges as a community, together.

  • Fri, September 04, 2020 10:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    State Legislative Session Ends, Major Paid Family Leave Bill Passes

    Irwindale, CA - On Monday, the California State Legislature concluded its regular 2020 session with a sprint to the finish at midnight. Although some major bills did not pass, partially due to time mismanagement by the leadership in Senate, several important pieces of legislation were passed and now head to Governor Newsom's desk to be signed or vetoed.

    One of the most prominent bills at the end of session was the critically important deal on tenant evictions, AB 3088. Unlike other competing alternative proposals, AB 3088 allows landlords to evict tenants who cause problems at the property, such as by causing nuisances or threatening their neighbors. It also would allow owners to terminate the tenancies of renters who have the wherewithal to pay rent but refuse to do so. The bill offers eviction protections to tenants with legitimate financial hardships due to COVID-19. Starting with September’s rent, however, those tenants with COVID hardships would have to pay at least a portion of their rent to maintain eviction protections. Failure to do so by Jan. 31, 2021 would result in the landlord being permitted to proceed with an eviction case on or after Feb. 1, 2021.

    A very significant new paid family leave bill, SB 1383, passed both chambers and is on its way to Governor Newsom, who strongly backed the proposal. SB 1383 will harm over 150,000 small businesses in the state by requiring any employer with only as few as 5 employees to provide 12-weeks of protected leave each year and opening them to litigation for unintentional mistakes in tracking that leave. The new paid family leave bill comes at a time when businesses across the state are struggling financially, with widespread declines in consumer spending and confidence, reducing revenues and jeopardizing the survival of these enterprises.

    Another dangerous bill heading to the Governor's desk is SB 972, a bill that would require the Franchise Tax Board to breach a taxpayer's right to confidentiality by producing annual reports on corporate taxpayers with gross receipts of $5 billion or more. The reports would include not only public companies but privates employers as well. The mandated reports, which would be shared with the State Legislature's two tax policy committees, would include the taxpayer's name, tax liability, and the amount and types of tax credits claimed for the taxable year. Moreover, such information would now be accessible to the public. Such a breach of confidentiality is extraordinary treatment for important corporate contributors to the state is unprecedented.

    The Partnership has sent veto requests to Governor Newsom for both SB 1383 and SB 972. AB 3088 has already been signed into law to take immediate effect.

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  • Fri, August 28, 2020 10:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Partnership Meets Rep. Judy Chu Virtually

    IRWINDALE - This week, members of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership met with Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) to get an update on federal policy and a variety of important issues here in the 27th district. Congresswoman Chu represents the western San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena, Glendora, Claremont, and Upland. She serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee as well as the Small Business Committee in the House of Representatives. She was elected to Congress in 2009.

    "We are grateful to Congresswoman Chu for her tireless service in representing the San Gabriel Valley in Congress," said Partnership President & CEO Bill Manis. "It is a great opportunity for our members to spend quality time with our lawmakers and get a clear picture of what's going on in Washington."

    Congresswoman Chu touched on a number of important subjects, including ongoing efforts to conduct the decennial census here in the San Gabriel Valley as there are concerns that this area could lose a seat due to the slow growth in the region and more rapid growth in other states. She also spoke about a newly introduced transportation bill in the House, which has bipartisan support, and the ongoing nationwide protests for Black Lives Matter. She responded to questions from Partnership members about the Foothill Gold Line and addressed federal relief issues for the coronavirus pandemic.

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  • Fri, August 07, 2020 10:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Partnership Hosts Video Conference with Rep. Adam Schiff

    IRWINDALE - This week the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, with our friends and colleagues at the San Gabriel Valley Public Affairs Network, hosted a special video conference with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Glendale), who represents La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena here in the San Gabriel Valley. Congressman Schiff chairs the Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives.

    "We are delighted to host Congressman Schiff and to provide the opportunity for our members to virtually meet with him during this pandemic," said Partnership President and CEO Bill Manis. "Many years ago when he represented us in the State Legislature, Mr. Schiff carried the legislation that created the Gold Line Construction Authority. We are pleased that we could meet with him and get an update from Washington, D.C."

    Congressman Schiff gave an update on efforts to pass a new stimulus bill that will continue to provide direct assistance and relief to individuals suffering unemployment as well as aid to struggling businesses. Liability remains a huge issue for local governments and businesses alike as they try to resume their operations safely and avoid litigation.

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  • Thu, July 30, 2020 4:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Partnership Hosts Policy Briefing for 57th Assembly District Candidate

    IRWINDALE - This week the Partnership hosted a special policy briefing for Lisa Calderon, a candidate to fill the open 57th State Assembly Seat. The 57th District covers the southern portion of the San Gabriel Valley, including Hacienda Heights, City of Industry, South El Monte and La Puente. The Partnership traditionally meets with candidates for open legislative seats in the San Gabriel Valley in order to introduce them to the organization and its activities.

    "The Partnership routinely meets with candidates for higher office here in the San Gabriel Valley," said Partnership President and CEO Bill Manis. "This is an opportunity for us to connect, to plainly present our political priorities and top issues for the region, and look for opportunities to build a working relationship with them should they be elected."

    The policy briefing included an overview of the Partnership and its long history in the San Gabriel Valley, with an in-depth presentation of our program areas: marketing the region, education and workforce development, businesses assistance, and political advocacy. The briefing included a special focus on transportation and freight movement issues in the region, a discussion of the future of mass transit, and an important conversation about the rapidly changing landscape of labor and employment law in California.

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  • Thu, July 23, 2020 4:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Partnership Supports Federal Pandemic Insurance Program, Skills Renewal Act

    IRWINDALE - This week the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership's Legislative Action Committee met and voted to support two significant pieces of federal legislation, the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (PRIA) and the Skills Renewal Act. Both are important parts of encouraging economic recovery in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    "Health and safety precautions are obviously a top priority during this pandemic," said Partnership President and CEO Bill Manis. "But so, too, is economic recovery. We want people back in jobs, able to earn good salaries, and that means our lawmakers need to proactively support job creators and employers right now."

    The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (H.R. 7011) creates a voluntary program with insurance companies to offer business interruption policies that cover pandemics, with the federal government acting as a backstop on losses. A similar program was created following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, to aid businesses whose operations had been halted or seriously hampered by acts of terrorism. By acting as a backstop on insurance losses, it would share the burden with the private insurance industry and maintain market stability.

    The Skills Renewal Act (H.R. 7032 / S. 3779) creates a flexible, refundable tax credit of up to $4,000 per taxable year for expenses paid as part of a skills training or education program such as apprenticeships, stackable credentials, certificate programs, and traditional two- and four-year degree programs. This bill has strong bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress and may help millions of Americans to retrain themselves to be more competitive as workers.

    For more information about these bills, contact Brad Jensen, Director of Public Policy at the Partnership. bjensen@sgvpartnership.org

    ###

  • Fri, July 17, 2020 10:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    With virus cases increasing, Governor Newsom orders re-opened businesses to close

    IRWINDALE - As coronavirus continue to climb across California and in many other Sun Belt states, on Monday Governor Gavin Newsom ordered a host of businesses to shut down their operations for the next few weeks in order to slow the spread of the virus and reduce potential strain on the hospital system. Effective immediately for the entire state, all indoor activities at restaurants, movie theaters, wineries and tasting rooms, zoos, museums, family entertainment facilities, and card rooms must cease. Bars and breweries must cease indoor and outdoor operations. Restaurants with outdoor seating can continue to operate.

    In 30 counties in the state, notably the most populated ones, additional closings were ordered. Shutdowns were ordered for gyms and fitness centers, places of worship, protests, hair salons, indoor malls, and some offices unless they can operate outdoors or by pick-up.

    The closings come as new daily coronavirus cases continue to rise and hospital beds are filling up across the state. Public health officials worry that if this trend continues, the state's hospital and health care system will be overwhelmed.

    Hopes had been high in May and June that California had largely succeeded in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, allowing most businesses to reopen. The resumed closures - which many assume will remain in place for at least most of July - have hit many business owners in the state hard, especially after many have spent time, energy, and precious dollars to ensure their newly re-opened businesses were properly sanitized and that their employees were protected with masks, gloves, and face shields.

    Concerns are rising about the economic of rolling closures on business operations. Business owners need to have a reasonable expectation that if they are allowed to re-open their businesses, that they can continue their operations without interruption. Stopping and starting and then stopping again is brutal for employers and employees alike.

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  • Fri, July 03, 2020 10:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    November Ballot Measure List Released, Paid Family Leave Passes State Senate

    IRWINDALE - This week, a list of 12 initiatives that will appear on the November statewide ballot were released along with their assigned proposition numbers. These measures cover a host of issues and would enact sweeping changes in the state, for example Proposition 15, which if passed by voters would allow commercial properties to be exempted from the 1978 Prop 13 property tax limitations, thereby allowing significant tax increases on businesses and industries in the state. Also included in the list are measures to exempt Uber and Lyft drivers from the sweeping independent contractor law AB 5, statewide rent control, a major online privacy measure, and a constitutional amendment to allow parolees to vote.

    In other significant news, the State Senate passed SB 1383, which would enact 12 weeks of paid family leave for all businesses in the state with 5 or more employees. The bill now goes to the Assembly.

    "This was a significant week politically in the state, as lawmakers in the Senate chose to deliberately place a heavy burden on already struggling businesses across the state by passing paid family leave," said Bill Manis, President and CEO of the Partnership. "While we appreciate the efforts of Senator Susan Rubio, who pushed for exempting businesses with 4 or less employees, the bill will open businesses to more litigation and costly, challenging leaves for extended periods of time."

    Among San Gabriel Valley lawmakers, Senators Bob Archuleta, Connie Leyva, Anthony Portantino and Susan Rubio voted for SB 1383. Senator Ling Ling Chang voted no. Our thanks to Senators Galgiani, Roth, Caballero, Dodd, Hurtado, Glazer, Umberg, and Bradford who abstained or voted no on the bill.

    Here's the full list of November ballot measures with their newly assigned proposition numbers:

    Proposition 14: Authorizes stem cell bonds.

    Proposition 15: “Split roll” change to lift commercial property tax

    Proposition 16: Constitutional amendment to remove voter-passed prohibition on affirmative action in university admissions, public hiring and contracting.

    Proposition 17: Constitutional amendment to allow felony parolees to vote.

    Proposition 18: Constitutional amendment allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections if they will be 18 for the general election.

    Proposition 19: Constitutional amendment allowing elderly and disabled Californians, and wildfire victims, to retain lower property tax rates when they change properties.

    Proposition 20: Rolls back sentencing and parole reforms enacted via Propositions 47 and 57.

    Proposition 21: Removes statewide constraint on local governments enacting rent control.

    Proposition 22: Allows gig tech companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash to continue classifying their drivers/delivery people as independent contractors.

    Proposition 23: Authorizes new regulation of kidney dialysis clinics.

    Proposition 24: Expands California’s online consumer privacy law.

    Proposition 25: Referendum to overturn California’s prohibition on cash bail.

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  • Fri, June 26, 2020 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Partnership Backs Bill Expediting CEQA Review, Opposes Controversial New State Rent-Debt Assumption Program

    IRWINDALE - This week, the Legislative Action Committee of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership voted to support AB 3279 (Friedman), an important bill with bipartisan support that greatly expedites the court review process of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Committee also voted to oppose SB 1410 (Caballero), a controversial bill that would set up a new program that would issue tax credits to participating property owners and allow the state to assume the debt payments for tenants who are unable to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

    "It's indicative of this year's compressed legislative session that we have both an excellent bill that will expedite the complicated, often time-consuming CEQA process as well as a risky program that has good intentions but major financial implications," said Partnership President and CEO Bill Manis. "In times of crisis, we often get policy that has good intentions but the full effects are not fully vetted. That's the case with SB 1410."

    AB 3279 improves the CEQA process to allow more housing and other projects to be built with less delays. Specifically, the bill authorizes the courts to hear CEQA appeals sooner, reduces the time petitioners take to file briefs, expedites the preparation of the administrative record, and authorizes courts to issue interlocutory remand orders instead of setting aside project approvals and forcing applicants to start the process all over again. AB 3279 maintains the existing environmental safeguards while making meaningful changes to improve CEQA approval procedures.

    Senate Bill 1410 establishes a new temporary rental assistance program that would allow the state to assume unpaid rent debts accrued during the coronavirus pandemic from landlords and property owners in exchange for tax credits. Renters would then pay the state for unpaid rent as part of their taxes beginning in 2024. The Department of Housing and Community Development would administer this new program. Eligible renters for the program would include those who can demonstrate, as determined by the department, inability to pay rent due to COVID-19 or a government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rental housing providers who agree to participate in the program would receive at least 80 percent of the monthly rent the tenant owes for up to seven months, if they agree to:

    • Not increase rent for the unit for a specified period;
    • Not collect late fees for the past due rent paid by the program;
    • Not pursue any remaining rent owed for the months paid by the program.

    The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is still developing its estimates of (1) the bill’s administrative costs, and (2) revenue losses to the General Fund. While subject to considerable uncertainty, General Fund revenues would likely decline by a minimum of hundreds of millions of dollars per year between 2024 and 2033.

    The immense and unknown financial implications of SB 1410 and its complicated participation process led to the Partnership's opposition. Given the murky financial outlook over the next two years in particular and the possibility of the coronavirus pandemic extending well into 2022 or beyond, there's no telling how long the emergency orders will last and therefore, how much rent the state would eventually assume to be paid back over the next 20 years.

    For information about these positions, contact Brad Jensen, Director of Public Policy at bjensen@sgvpartnership.org.

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  • Wed, June 17, 2020 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Partnership Opposes Paid Family Leave Extension in Budget Trailer Bill, Vehicle Miles Traveled Implementation

    IRWINDALE - This week, the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership weighed in with lawmakers to oppose an onerous paid family leave trailer bill that was tied to the budget. The Partnership also sent a letter to Governor Newsom, asking him to delay the implementation of the Vehicle Miles Traveled provision of SB 743 as part of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

    "These two items are critical for the California economy moving forward," said Partnership President & CEO Bill Manis. "While the intentions of paid family leave may be well meaning, the result is a regulatory nightmare for small business owners, especially here in the San Gabriel Valley where roughly 93% of our businesses have less than 20 employees. Similarly a delay in the implementation of the Vehicle Miles Traveled regulation is only common sense given how the coronavirus has disrupted ordinary traffic and public transit ridership."

    Administering leaves of absence is extraordinarily difficult for small businesses who do not have a dedicated human resource person or an in-house attorney. Under the proposal in the budget trailer bill, an employee can take the 12-weeks of leave in as small an increment as two hours. An employer must track and document the leave as "CFRA" or it does not count against the 12 weeks. An employee could take two hours of leave on Monday and another two hours on Thursday, for essentially an entire year. The burden is on the employer to document the time, document the reason for leave, adjust work schedules to cover the time off in a moment's notice, and still run their business. Tracking leaves of absence is challenging for larger employers let alone a harried small business owner.

    The regulations to track Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) are due to go into effect on July 1st, as part of previously passed legislation in SB 743. The Partnership requested a year's delay in implementing the VMT due to the massive disruptions in traffic and public transit ridership caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which completely distorts the regular flow of traffic and congestion under ordinary circumstances. VMT would have a significant impact on local city governments as part of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and a delay would allow the state to address the post-pandemic conditions throughout California. 

    For more information, contact Brad Jensen, Director of Public Policy at the Partnership, bjensen@sgvpartnership.org.

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San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership

4900 Rivergrade Road, Suite B130, Irwindale, CA 91706

Phone: (626) 856-3400    Fax: (626) 856-5115

Email: info@sgvpartnership.org

Office Hours: Monday–Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.,
Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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