Chamber’s 2020 Voters Guide

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce is proud to present our 2020 Voters Guide. Part of the Chamber’s charter and mission is to connect business with the government in meaningful ways. Our annual Voters Guide is not meant to tell you who or what to vote for, that decision is up to you! Our job is clear, to identify the candidates and measures that are most aligned with our pro-business mission, as it relates to the quality of life in our communities. Click here for the 2020 Voters Guide.

Be a Part of the Chamber’s Roadmap to Recovery

We value your input. Join us and share your experiences as we create our business community focused plan that features tactics and milestones that will help lead us out of the COVID crisis. If you would like to participate in a 90 minute virtual session with similar minded professionals please click here to sign up by Friday, October 23rd to be included. Industry Clusters include: Agribusiness, Arts/Culture, Business Services, Childcare, Education, Healthcare/Mental Health, Lodging/Hospitality/Tourism, Manufacturing/Tech, Non-Profits /Philanthropy, Restaurants/Wineries/Breweries, and Retail.

Santa Barbara County Moves to the Red Tier Allowing for More Businesses to Open Indoors with Modifications

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has issued Health Officer Order No. 2020-12.9 allowing more businesses to reopen indoors with modifications and capacity limits, in accordance with the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. As of today, Santa Barbara County has met the State’s red tier case rate and positivity rate criteria for two consecutive weeks. As a result, the risk of COVID-19 spread in Santa Barbara County has been downgraded, effective immediately, from widespread to substantial, allowing movement from the purple tier to the red tier.

“Our movement forward, and ability to further reopen our community, is the result of the vigilance of our overall community in following the safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” states Dr. Henning Ansorg, Public Health Officer for the County of Santa Barbara. “As we move into the red tier, we must be even more diligent in wearing our face coverings, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding gatherings with those outside our household. The red tier is not the end goal, but rather a step forward.”

The State’s Blueprint allows counties in the red tier to reopen indoor operations for some additional business sectors and allows for certain activities to resume. All businesses in Santa Barbara County, which are open or will be reopening, must follow all State guidance for their industry and self-certify that they are ready to reopen through completing the online self-attestation.

Some additional businesses, which may reopen indoors in the red tier with modifications include personal care services, indoor dining in restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, museums, zoos, aquariums, places of worship, and cultural ceremonies. Schools may also reopen for in-person learning beginning October 13, 2020 without a school waiver, if they choose to do so.

For more information about changes in the red tier, visit www.publichealthsbc.org.

Stay Connected:
County Public Health: www.PublicHealthSBC.org, Twitter and Facebook
County of Santa Barbara:www.CountyofSB.org,Twitter,Facebook
2-1-1 Call Center: Dial 211 or outside the area, call (800) 400-1572
Community Wellness Team Information and Referral Line: (805) 364-2750

Websites:
Environmental Health Services: http://www.countyofsb.org/phd/ehs/
PHD Public Information Portal for COVID-19: https://publichealthsbc.org/

Carpinteria Faces Its ‘Greatest Challenge’ in COVID-19, But New Initiatives Bolster State of City

Click here for the video recording of the 2020 Carpinteria State of the City

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce hosted the first State of the City address in Carpinteria on Friday since the merging of the South Coast Chambers.

The South Coast Chamber team was joined by local leaders to discuss city improvements, COVID-19 response and the economic impact that the global pandemic has had on Carpinteria.

“Our organization is new, but our histories are deep,” said Kristen Miller, the chamber’s president and CEO. “By working together, we can bring a new level of connectedness, vitality and strength to our local economy and our communities.”

Carpinteria Mayor Wade Nomura outlined the city’s future priorities, which include strengthening the community, protecting the environment, retaining the small-town feel and advancing local youths.

A recent accomplishment for the city was the transition of moving the Carpinteria Library into the city itself. The library was faced with termination, but now is something that the community can look forward to, Nomura said.

Racial equity and social justice also are prominent issues in the community, especially in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, according to Nomura.

The city created two committees to build social justice throughout the community: a committee that looks at policies that can be put in place to strengthen social justice, and a “blue ribbon” committee comprised of two City Council members and community members.

“People within the community can give us good feedback of things we have to look at to ensure that we have sound equity within our community,” Nomura said. “The difference between equality and equity is equality is treating everybody the same. Equity is something that you actually balance with fairness.”

Nomura also mentioned efforts to increase housing affordability in the area. There is now a guarantee on rent control for mobile home parks in the community.

The Carpinteria City Council recently passed legislation to protect housing by reducing the potential for vacation and short-term rentals in an effort to make way for more affordable housing in the community, Nomura said.

“A challenge we’ve always faced is, ‘How do we keep the good Carpinterians here?’'” Nomura said. “I believe we can do it, and I’m very proud of what the council has done to move that forward.”

The city created two committees to offset COVID-19 impacts.
“This is one of the areas we never anticipated, but became our greatest challenge,” Nomura said.

A communications committee ensures that the community stays in the loop on the ever-changing health and safety guidelines, Nomura said.

The second committee is a small-business restart program, which includes a grant of $135,000 with a matching $30,000 from the Santa Barbara Foundation, to kickstart some of the suffering businesses. Grants were given to local companies and businesses that showed the need for economic assistance.

“It’s very difficult for us to understand where exactly we are in terms of health and the economy,” UCSB Economic Forecast Project executive director Peter Rupert said.

The city’s overall general fund budget shrank about 13 percent to a little more than $9 million for the fiscal year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city had to cut into its “rainy-day fund” as a way to continue delivering services to the city, according to City Manager Dave Durflinger.

“These are temporary uses of these rainy-day funds,” Durflinger said. “We anticipate that after two years, we will be able to balance the budget as our revenue sources start coming back.”

COVID-19’s biggest hit to the city’s revenue sources was the drop in transient occupancy tax revenue, which was about 20 percent less than the previous year, Durflinger said. Leisure and hospitality employment is down roughly 30 percent compared with last July, according to Rupert.

Sales tax revenue also fell, about 10 percent from the prior year because of the stay-at-home order that shut down restaurants and called for travel restrictions.

“The city has had to cut expenses and use its rainy-day fund in response to pandemic-related financial impacts,” Durflinger said. “However, we have confidence that we can continue to deliver the services, programs and projects that are desired by the Carpinteria community.”

About 6,000 people throughout Santa Barbara County have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, according to Rupert. Just in Carpinteria, employment numbers were 1,000 less than they were during the April-November months of 2019.

“Those numbers are numbers we haven’t seen before, and we don’t know how to deal with it,” Rupert said. “Even though we thought we’d seen it all during the recession, then the pandemic hits.”

There are typically about 200 unemployed people in Carpinteria, according to Rupert, and in just a few months that number rose to 800. While the number has gone down slightly, there are still about 600 unemployed individuals in the city, Rupert said.

“We’re not out of the woods. Maybe the trees have thinned a little bit, but we still have a long way to go,” Rupert said. “What we need to do in the future, we have to be better prepared.”

— Noozhawk staff writer Jade Martinez-Pogue can be reached at jmartinez-pogue@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber Presents the Carpinteria State of the City September 25th

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria will host a virtual State of the City-Carpinteria for release on Friday, September 25th at 9AM. The State of the City will be filmed live from Bega North America in Carpinteria.

Carpinteria will be the first of the 4-part State of the City series. We intend to feature Santa Barbara in October, Goleta in November, and a State of the County in December.

Guest speakers include the City Mayor Wade Nomura and City Manager Dave Durflinger, and Peter Rupert, Professor of Economics at UC Santa Barbara and the Director of the Economic Forecast Project.

Mayor Nomura will discuss the visions and goals for the future of Carpinteria, how the City is addressing local issues, and responding to the challenges caused by the COVID 19 Pandemic. City Manager Dave Durflinger will provide updates on the health of the organization, district elections, and the Carpinteria’s financial outlook. Peter Rupert will be addressing the regional economic impacts of the pandemic.

This year, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the information presented is more crucial than ever to inform our business and community members on critical information about their community and government, and to provide a comprehensive update on the ever-changing business landscape.

The new Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber is proud to be the leading business-support organization providing timely, relevant, and trustworthy information from our elected officials and City leadership teams.

Register in advance for the FREE webinar. After registering, a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar will be sent. Click here to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TG28yjOUTaWLAghWODutZg

Many thanks to our Sponsors: Title Sponsor – COX Communications.
Gold Sponsors include: Agilent Technologies, Chevron, City of Carpinteria, Latitude 34 Technologies, LinkedIn, Meister & Nunes, PC, Montecito Bank & Trust, Procore, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Southern California Edison and UCLA Health. Silver Sponsors include E.J. Harrison & Sons, Grant Cox Enterprises Inc. dba Greenleaf Landscapes and Tarpitz Gardening & Landscapes, and SoCal Gas Co.

Santa Barbara Better Together Fund Contributes $25,000 Towards Chamber Economic Development Initiatives

This year the Santa Barbara Better Together Fund, through the Santa Barbara Foundation, has offered an invaluable partnership with the cities across Santa Barbara County to provide necessary financial relief through their grant programs to help small businesses. In addition, the Santa Barbara Better Together Fund recently contributed $25,000 to the Chamber’s new Economic Development initiative to assist with recruitment and retention efforts in Downtown Santa Barbara. The initiative is being implemented by the Economic Development Committee of the Chamber representing Santa Barbara small businesses, property owners, bankers, non-profits, and the hospitality sector. The committee identified three key pillars to improve the downtown corridor including business recruitment, business retention, and advocacy for pro-business policy. The Chamber is grateful for the support of the Santa Barbara Better Together Fund for assisting the Chamber in launching this extremely critical initiative during this time.

Chamber Public Policy Committee Engages with Local Elections and Statewide Ballot Measures

Advocacy and leadership on public policy is one of the top three things our members expect from the Chamber of Commerce. The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce has a Public Policy Committee dedicated to addressing local, statewide, and national initiatives that may impact local business. Our Public Policy Committee has roughly forty Chamber members, five of whom also serve on our Board of Directors. The committee reviews issues on a monthly basis and makes recommendations to the full board. During an election season it is important for the Chamber to be engaged on ballot measures as well as candidate endorsements, where we issue our support on pro-business policies. Look for our Voter’s Guide, publishing soon, featuring the positions we have chosen to take a stance on this year. For more information on the committee or regarding our Public Policy efforts please contact Stephanie@sbscchamber.com.

After 25 Years, Annmarie Rogers, Visitor Center Director, Announces Retirement

Annmarie Rogers has served as the Director for both the State Street and Garden Street Visitor Centers for the past twenty-five years. This year she has announced her retirement which will be celebrating at the end of this month. If you have had the honor of working with Annmarie you will know she is not only one of the kindest people you will have the privilege to meet, but she treats everyone as if they are family. Her kind spirit, warm-heartedness and commitment to the community has been exemplified by the way in which each visitor has been welcomed to Santa Barbara through her doors.

During her tenure, Annmarie has managed over one hundred volunteers along with a professional staff of ten who have welcomed visitors from all over the world, countless cruise ships, and a visitor kiosk at the Santa Barbara Airport, all while keeping the doors open to our lovely visitor centers 362 days out of the year. Her last day will be September 30th and we plan on announcing some fun ways our community can help to send her off on this next chapter. Thank you Annmarie for your tireless service and dedication! You are a special and rare Santa Barbara treasure.

State of the City Carpinteria Scheduled for September 25th

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria will host a virtual State of the City-Carpinteria for release on Friday, September 25th at 9AM. The State of the City will be filmed live from Bega North America in Carpinteria.

Carpinteria will be the first of the 4-part State of the City series. We intend to feature Goleta in October, Santa Barbara in November, and a State of the County in December.

Guest speakers include: City Mayor Wade Nomura, City Manager Dave Durflinger, and Peter Rupert, Professor of Economics at UC Santa Barbara and the Director of the Economic Forecast Project.

This year, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the information presented is more crucial than ever to inform our business and community members on critical information about their community, government, and provide a comprehensive update on the ever-changing business landscape.

The new Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber is proud to be the leading business-support organization providing timely, relevant, and trustworthy information from our elected officials and City Leadership Teams.

Many thanks to our Sponsors: Title Sponsor – COX Communications.
Gold Sponsors include: Agilent Technologies, Chevron, Latitude 34 Technologies, LinkedIn, Meister & Nunes, PC, Montecito Bank & Trust, Procore, Southern California Edison and UCLA Health.
Silver Sponsors include E.J. Harrison & Sons, Grant Cox Enterprises Inc. dba Greenleaf Landscapes and Tarpitz Gardening & Landscapes, and SoCal Gas Co.

City of Goleta Considers Visitor Services Program

The City of Goleta is considering a visitor services program provided by the Chamber next week. The City of Goleta’s Economic Development Committee will discuss a staff report that includes several items related to economic recovery for businesses in Goleta. A cornerstone of the staff proposal is to fund a hybrid program with the Chamber that may provide visitor services, supportive resources for tourism-related businesses, assistance with securing PPE, a business survey and a digital marketing campaign.

The Chamber of Commerce has always played an active role in supporting the hotel and lodging industry. We do this to support our members, but also to increase the local economic impact of visitors to our area. Ensuring that visitors get to enjoy a wide variety of activities and businesses on the south coast increases the sales tax and transient occupancy tax (TOT) that is collected by our cities and county. The City of Santa Barbara and County of Santa Barbara have already committed to funding programs with the Chamber this year, during, or perhaps because of, the severe economic crisis.

A majority of businesses have told us that the lack of visitors in town is hurting their bottom line – even business not specifically related to tourism, such as restaurants and coffee shops.

We are pushing the City to move quickly in renewing our public-private partnership to help businesses who are most in need, right now. If you would like to support this effort, we encourage you to send an email to the Goleta City Council. A simple email stating your support for the City and Chamber to work together on a Visitor Services Program that helps small business economic recovery would be very effective.
You can contact your Goleta Councilmembers here:

Goleta City Council
Mayor Paula Perotte – pperotte@cityofgoleta.org
Mayor Pro Tem Kyle Richards – krichards@cityofgoleta.org
Councilmember James Kyriaco – jkyriaco@cityofgoleta.org
Councilmember Roger S. Aceves – raceves@cityofgoleta.org
Councilmember Stuart Kasdin – skasdin@cityofgoleta.org