Chambers United to Create Tri-County Chamber Alliance

The Chambers of Commerce Alliance of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties recently voted to create a new Tri-County Chamber Alliance. The newly formed Alliance would will include thirteen Chambers of Commerce throughout Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties effective January 1, 2021. The Santa Barbara Southcoast Chamber has taken an active lead in forming a stronger Alliance representing the three neighboring counties.

The mission of the Tri-County Alliance is to foster collaboration among the region’s chambers of commerce and to advocate for policies that promote a friendlier business climate.

The Tri-County Alliance will act as a public policy advocacy group and take action on appropriate regional, state and federal legislation that impacts the business and economic climates. Issues will include Economic Development, Infrastructure, Workplace Regulations, Taxes and Fees on Business, Workplace Development, and Housing and be discussed at the monthly meetings.

The Alliance will continue to contract with Fred Main of Clear Advocacy, LLC for researching and summarizing issues, tracking and recording voting records of elected officials, and facilitating, educating, and coordinating local business advocacy efforts in Sacramento and Washington D.C. and discussing at the monthly meetings.

 

Chamber Jr. Carpinteria Scholarship Fund of Carpinteria Update

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria is happy to announce that the Jr. Carpinterian Scholarship applications will be available in January 2021.

The Chamber will continue to honor the Carpinterian of The Year, Jr. Carpinterian of the Year, two Jr. Carpinterian Scholarship Finalists, two Teachers of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and Merit Awards honoring volunteers from 20 local non-profit organizations.

The Jr. Carpinterian Scholarships are available to any graduating senior who is a resident of the Carpinteria Valley.

The Jr. Carpinterian Scholarship’s are planned to be awarded in the Spring 2021. The Chamber will once again offer three Scholarships to well deserving graduating seniors. The Jr. Carpinterian of the Year (Jr. COY) will receive a $4,000 Scholarship and two finalists will each receive a $1,500 Scholarship. Two Teachers of the Year will also be awarded Scholarship funds for supplies and to enhance their classrooms.

For more information or to contribute to the Junior Carpinterian Scholarship Fund, please contact joyce@sbscchamber.com or call 805.967/2500 Ext. 206.

Chamber Presents Santa Barbara State of the City

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce, from Goleta to Carpinteria hosted a virtual State of the City-Santa Barbara on Friday, October 30th at 9AM. The State of the City was broadcast from Santa Barbara City College.

Santa Barbara is the second of the four-part State of the City series. The Chamber hosted the State of the City-Carpinteria in September, and will continue the series by hosting State of the City-Goleta in November and a State of the County in December.

Click here to watch the 2020 Santa Barbara State of the City

Chamber Advocates for COVID-19 Restaurant Reopening Plan

October 23, 2020

The Honorable Gavin Newsom Governor of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: COVID-19 Restaurant Reopening Plan

Dear Governor Newsom:

The Covid-19 public health and economic crisis continues to devastate the local restaurant community in Santa Barbara County. While we appreciate the complexity of the ongoing crisis and the actions you have taken to date, we see first-hand the continued economic and employment fallout. As a former Mayor and restaurateur yourself, we trust you can imagine the toll on local citizenries, budgets, and community.

Many restaurants have closed, putting thousands of people out of work. Many more will close permanently if you don’t allow a workable pathway to safe, indoor dining in the very near future.

While outdoor dining has helped some restaurants, it has certainly not been the wide-scale savior some expected – as we have seen be the case with our neighbors to the North and South who have been impacted by the wildfires, our Central Coast communities have suffered from poor air quality as a consequence to these natural disasters. Soon, seasonal and temperature changes will also render patio dining much less practical.

Restaurants closed for the greater public good as a result of your orders. Limiting operations to take- out, delivery, and patio dining results in far fewer employees on payrolls and is unsustainable as a business model for our local restaurants.

We have yet to see contact tracing data to support bringing an entire economic sector to a
halt. Restaurants have been very productive partners with you, are among the largest sources of state and local sales tax revenue, employ massive numbers of California residents, and now they need your help desperately. They have risen to your calls since the outset of the epidemic at incredible personal cost and loss of lifelong dreams – the state has a moral obligation to help them get to the other side of this crisis.

The County of Santa Barbara has consistently enforced all state and local COVID-19 regulations and remains committed to protecting public health while helping restaurants operate in a safe manner and at sustainable indoor capacity levels. The current tier system crushes the local restaurant community as a result of COVID-19 spread outside of their facilities and influence. Restaurants have some of the most stringent industry protocols and guidance issued by the state and enhanced by local Health Orders.

Restaurants need to be able to move back inside in a safe and immediate manner with an achievable pathway to 75% occupancy. Please help us protect our community jobs, economy, and public health.

We respectfully ask that you continue to improve upon the state tiered program by providing restaurants a more realistic pathway to getting back inside – as soon and as safely as possible.

Sincerely,

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KRISTEN MILLER | President/CEO
SANTA BARBARA SOUTH COAST CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (805) 967-2500 ext. 108 | Kristen@SBSCChamber.com

On behalf of the Santa Barbara County Chambers of Commerce

Chamber Supports City of Santa Barbara Homelessness Initiative

October 27, 2020

RE: SUPPORT for Agenda Item 13 – Fiscal Year 2022 Human Services And Community Development Block Grant Funding Process, Priorities, And Criteria

Dear Mayor and City Council Members,

We would like to issue our support for Item 13 and request that careful thought be given to change some resources and approaches to the homelessness situation given COVID-19. The growing concern around the rise of homeless encampments, transient interaction with tourism, vandalism, theft and unsafe conditions due to the changes in our community and economy during the pandemic and subsequent economic meltdown.

We recommend a focus on homeless housing, mental health, and alcohol/drug addiction programs. The business community is desperate for support in not just dealing with this problem but supporting programs that actually stop the problem. Everything has changed. We ask that new approaches and programs be implemented.

Health and safety is everyone’s top priority. The current situation stands to threaten the viability of our tourism industry, our business recovery efforts, and therefore Santa Barbara’s economy. It is critical we assist the business community in preserving jobs in our community and assisting the economic recovery that our members are working toward.

Having homelessness encampments in highly visible corridors, and the constant threat of safety issues for existing businesses, prevents us from achieving that.

We know there are many challenges facing the City currently. The Chamber and the business community are here to be your partners and supporters. We understand this is a crisis and are ready to help make a change. Please consider any efforts to develop short- and long-term solutions to reduce the unfortunate homelessness crisis.

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.