June Legislative Update
By Craig Benedetto & Marshall Anderson, Legislative Advocates
Updated travel recommendations: Travelers are no longer required to conduct pre-departure coronavirus testing to enter the United States by plane. The decision, which went into effect June 12, will be reassessed in 90 days to determine whether testing rules need to be reinstituted.
Children younger than five approved for vaccine: Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children under five years old. Roughly 18 million children are now eligible for the shot. Rady Children’s Hospital officials said they have about 7,000 doses currently available.
NEW WATER RESTRICTIONS NOW IN EFFECT
A state mandate governing local water restrictions went into effect June 10, forcing water agencies to activate their “level two” responses. BOMA San Diego’s Government Affairs Committee heard from the San Diego Water Authority, which spoke to the new regulations:
- Watering grass in front of or next to commercial, industrial, or institutional properties is not allowed.
- Landscape irrigation is limited to no more than three assigned days per week, before 10:00am and after 6:00pm. This does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries, nor to the irrigation of golf course greens and trees.
- Use of recycled or non-potable water, when available, is required for construction purposes.
- Areas with no irrigation system must use a hand-held hose with a shutoff nozzle.
- Irrigation is prohibited during and within 48 hours of a rain event.
- Washing of automobiles, vehicles, airplanes, and other mobile equipment is permitted only before 10:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. with a hand-held container or a hand-held hose with shutoff nozzle. Washing is permitted at any time at commercial car washes. Car washes that do not use partially recirculated water will be subject to volume limits designated by a resolution of the City Council. Boats and boat engines are permitted to be washed down after use. Mobile equipment washings are exempt from these regulations where the health, safety, and welfare of the public are contingent upon frequent vehicle washings.
CITY CONTRACTOR TRANSPARENCY PROPOSAL APPROVED 3-1, MAYOR’S OFFICE DIRECTED TO ENGAGE IMPACTED STAKEHOLDERS
Earlier this month, the City of San Diego’s Land Use and Housing Committee considered a Contractor Transparency Ordinance. Several organizations, including the Building Industry Association, Associated General Contractors, and California Apartment Association expressed concerns over provisions that add unnecessary burdens on the industry. The ordinance, which comes under the guise of ensuring safety and compliance, economic justice, and worker’s rights, would require developers to list all project contractors and subcontractors, including their worker’s comp insurance information, policy number, state contractor license number, city business license number, state and federal tax ID numbers, and whether the contractor or subcontractor has any pending or prior enforcement actions or labor violations when pulling permits with the city. This would apply for building permits, electrical, plumbing, demolition, grading, fire, and public right of way permits for residential and mixed-use developments consisting of 20 or more dwelling units, or any commercial or industrial development that proposes 20,000 square feet or more of tenant improvements or 20,000 square feet of additional gross floor area. Coalition members do not believe it’s practical to provide subcontractor data during permit issuance, in many cases before subcontractors have even been hired. They also oppose the city’s use of Stop Work Orders as an enforcement mechanism for violations. Ultimately, the City's Land Use & Housing Committee passed the ordinance 3-1, despite opposition, but did request that the Mayor's Office present to stakeholders like BOMA, prior to any vote at City Council. The full draft ordinance can be found HERE.
DEVELOPMENT FEES TO INCREASE BEGINNING JULY 1
Several City of San Diego fees are set to increase, beginning July 1. The increases, which the city attributes to general salary increases for city employees, will result in a 4.5% increase in fees along with an anticipated 3.2% increase attributed to the annual Consumer Price Index. For applications with a submission date prior to July 1, 2022, the City will offer a 2022 fee schedule if the applicant is willing to pay at building permit issuance; however, if the developer chooses to pay prior to final inspection, the inflationary rates at the time of payment shall apply. The City’s inclusionary housing in-lieu fee will increase from $17.64 to $20.09 per square foot. The on-site requirement will increase to 6%. The Inclusionary Bulletin can be found HERE. The City is currently outreaching to developers to provide more information. Note: increases are not expected to apply to projects with a deemed complete application before July 1.
SUPREME COURT DEALS BLOW TO PAGA
In an 8-1 ruling involving a case against Viking River Cruises, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) should not allow employees, suing their employers in the state’s name, to circumvent agreements and bring legal disputes in individual arbitration rather than court. California is the only state with the unique labor law, allowing employees to get out of binding arbitration agreements signed when hired. The ruling overrules California judges who failed to uphold arbitration clauses and appears poised to impact future PAGA claims. To learn more, click HERE.
BOMA-BACKED COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP REFORM CLEARS COMMITTEE
A BOMA-supported proposal to make community planning groups independent advisory bodies received support from the City’s Land Use & Housing Committee. If supported by City Council, the proposal would remove community planning groups from official city decision-making processes and would encourage more renters to serve on their local planning bodies. BOMA supported these reforms to make planning groups more representative and encourage more pro-development members. You can find the staff report HERE and the Municipal Code revision HERE.
SANDAG TRANSIT TAX MEASURE FAILS TO QUALIFY FOR BALLOT
The proposed half-cent sales tax initiative to fund regional transit efforts has failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. According to the Registrar of Voters, the coalition of labor and environmental groups that spearheaded a signature drive to fund SANDAG’s $160 billion transportation plan was missing 22,990 signatures after turning in the petition. Proponents will now set their sights on 2024. You can learn more HERE.
2022 PRIMARY ELECTION RECAP
- San Diego City Council, District 2: Incumbent Democrat, Dr. Jen Campbell, faced pressure from two democratic challengers in former Assemblymember, Lori Saldana (18.17%), and former Faulconer aide, Joel Day (14.12%). Campbell bested them all, receiving 29.82% of the vote. It’s more than likely she’ll face off against Republican candidate and dentist, Linda Lukacs (25.34%) who was propelled into the general election from both Democratic Campbell supporters and Republican forces. BOMA was involved in this race in support of the more reasonable candidates from an economic development standpoint, and is happy with this outcome.
- San Diego City Council, District 4: Incumbent Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe attained a whopping 71.17% of the vote. Due to a recent City measure that automatically advances the two top vote-getters to the general, Montgomery-Steppe will still need to run against Gloria Evangelista (21.62%).
- San Diego City Council, District 6: Two Democrats will square off in November, following a tight contest that pinned business and labor-backed candidate, Kent Lee (40.74%), against anti-development and environmentalist candidate, Tommy Hough (37.09%). This will be an important race for BOMA to follow.
- San Diego City Council, District 8: Like fellow incumbent Montgomery-Steppe, Moreno (63.40%) cruises to the run-off against Antonio Martinez (36.60%).
- Mayor of Chula Vista: In a crowded field, Republican John McCann (30.82%) emerged first out of the pack. Ammar Campa-Najjar (22.55%), defeats current councilmember, Jill Galvez (19.74%) and will face McCann in a November run-off.
- County Board of Supervisors, District 4: Incumbent and current Chair of the County Board of Supervisors, Nathan Fletcher (62.15%) staved off a challenge from anti-vax candidate, Amy Reichert (28.88%). They’ll need to run off in November.
- Sheriff: Undersheriff Kelly Martinez carried a big lead with 37.51% of the vote. Former Deputy City Attorney, John Hemmerling (20.39%), took the edge over retired Sheriff Commander, Dave Myers (18.99%).
- 80th Assembly District: Former City Councilmembers, David Alvarez and Georgette Gomez, squared off in two elections for the 80th Assembly District. In the special election to fill the remaining six-month term of Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, who resigned earlier this year, David Alvarez (54.29%) defeated Gomez handedly. The second election for a full two-year term starting in December gives Gomez (36.36%) a slight edge over Alvarez (30.96%), but only because two other candidates, both republicans, sapped votes from the latter. Pundits think that will advantage Alvarez in November who has positioned himself as the more moderate candidate.
CITY OF SAN DIEGO OUTDOOR DINING REGULATIONS TO KICK IN JULY 13
What was a temporary program that allowed cafes, restaurants, and other establishments to create outdoor dining areas will end July 13th. That’s when a new set of regulations, recently adopted by City Council, will go into effect. Restaurants that want to continue offering outdoor activations must apply for new permits, which would be effective for two years with fees. Businesses that apply by July 13 will have a grace period to continue outdoor dining setups while their applications are being reviewed. To apply for a permit or learn more about the Spaces as Places program, click HERE.
CITY RELEASES NEW TRANSPORTATION PRIORITY MAPS
The City released a draft Transportation Priority Map that may impact projects depending on SB 743 incentives. The draft map, which was updated consistent with SANDAG’s recently adopted Regional Transportation Plan, removes portions of Normal Heights and Kensington, while expanding TPA’s in City Heights, Clairemont, and Golden Hills. To view the new maps, click HERE and HERE.
SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCILMEMBERS CHALLENGE STATE LAW PROHIBITING PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT ON CONTRACTS
Councilmembers Raul Campillo and Monica Montgomery-Steppe are urging the City of San Diego to challenge a California law that prohibits cities from giving preferential treatment to women and minority groups when awarding contracts. The movement comes on the heels of a city-commissioned disparity study that showed women and minority groups received 19% of city contracts. While the councilmembers would like the city to take more aggressive action in addressing disparities, Proposition 209, approved by voters in 1996, prohibits discrimination or preferential treatment in public contracting based on sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. The City Attorney and Purchasing and Contracting staff have both cautioned against challenging state law in the past. The City of San Diego’s Disparity Study may be found HERE.