Public Policy Newsletter
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This publication is your source for the latest policy news. Sign up to receive a copy of our monthly newsletter featuring the latest federal, state (California) and regional (San Diego, Los Angeles, Bay Area) affairs.
Roundtable with Troy Tazbaz
On March 9, Biocom California hosted a roundtable event with Troy Tazbaz, FDA’s new director of the Digital Health Center of Excellence (DHCoE).
Meet & Greets with Congress
Capitalizing on Congress fully reopening this year, Biocom California resumed in-person events in our nation’s capital this month and hosted two meet & greet events on February 1.
State Legislative Election Results
State Legislative Election Results on December 5, the California State Legislature convened in “organizing sessions” to begin the 2023-24 Legislative Session.
Recent San Diego News
Our Roundtable with San Diego City Council District 6 Candidates
It’s not too late to register for Biocom California’s September 22 roundtable with Tommy Hough and Kent Lee, the candidates for the San Diego City Council District 6. Following redistricting last year, the newly configured District 6 will contain a large portion of San Diego’s life science industry.
Biocom California Supports Community Planning Group Reform at San Diego Council Meeting
Biocom California policy staff testified September 13 in support of Councilmember Joe LaCava’s proposal to reform the city’s Community Planning Groups. We have been working with a broad coalition to support LaCava’s efforts to bring CPGs in line with the city charter and increase participation and diversity in these groups that provide input to the city on land use decisions and construction projects. City council approved the reform proposal by a 6 – 1 vote.
City of San Diego Receives Landmark EPA Loan
Biocom California policy staff was one of a small handful of stakeholders on hand September 13 for the signing of a $225 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of San Diego. This is the EPA’s third WIFIA loan to the city and will reduce flood risk to Biocom California members and ensure that water is clean and safe for San Diego’s residents.
Eric Dargan Named New San Diego COO
On September 12, San Diego City Council approved Eric Dargan to serve as the city’s new Chief Operating Officer after a national search involving almost 200 candidates. Dargan will assume the role on November 1 and was most recently COO of the Houston Public Works Department.
Food Waste Recycling Delayed in San Diego
The City of San Diego is targeting a January 2023 roll-out of its food waste recycling services, which will be one year after the state’s 2022 deadline. The city is also required to build a $50 million organics recycling facility at the Miramar landfill.
Midway Redevelopment Inches Forward
San Diego City Council voted on September 13 to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the “Midway Rising” project to redevelop 50 acres including the Sports Arena. The city now has two years to do due diligence and negotiate with the project’s leaders—this is one of many steps in a long process before breaking ground on the redevelopment project.
Recent Los Angeles News
Heather Hutt Becomes New District 10 Councilmember in LA
On September 2, Los Angeles City Council voted 12 – 2 to make political aide Heather Hutt the interim replacement for Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas. Hutt had been serving as the seat’s non-voting caretaker and chief of staff since Ridley-Thomas stepped down in October. She previously served as state director for then-Senator Kamala Harris and as district director for former State Senator Isadore Hall.
Los Angeles Masking Recommendation Could Loosen as Cases Fall
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced on September 13 that the county could change its indoor masking guidance from “strongly recommended” to “individual preference” in the coming days. Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors the county averaged 1,700 new COVID-19 infections per day over the past week, a 21% drop from the previous week.
Biocom California “Spotlight on the Expo Line”
Join us September 28 for the next installment in our Los Angeles region spotlight series—this time on the Expo Line Corridor which runs from Downtown LA through USC and Culver City, ending in Santa Monica. Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer will kick off a panel of speakers on one of the most interesting corridors for potential biotech development—opportunities that exist along the corridor and how it can serve as a model for investments in other corridors in the region.
Recent Bay Area News
San Francisco’s Business Taxes Well Above Other Bay Area Cities
San Francisco’s large companies are shouldering a tax burden that’s more than double that of the Bay Area city with the next-highest tax burden on big businesses — Oakland, according to a new study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. The business-tax burden is in the spotlight as companies have greater freedom in choosing where to locate their offices, especially as more employees work remotely.
Biocom California Testifies in Support of “Keep Innovation in Berkeley”
On September 13, Berkeley City Council passed Councilmember Rigel Robinson’s “Keep Innovation in Berkeley” referral, which asks the city manager and planning commission to consider and return to council with zoning ordinance amendments and other actions to encourage the growth and retention of R&D firms, such as streamlined permitting processes and improved clarity of the city’s zoning code. Biocom California’s policy staff was on hand to speak in support of the measure’s advancement at the council meeting.
San Francisco Policy Changes Aim at Adapting to Future of Work
San Francisco Mayor London Breed outlined her vision to revitalize downtown; in the coming months her office will bring forward policy proposals in five areas of focus aimed at adapting to the future of work in the city. Additionally, San Francisco Planning and OEWD are working on a set of draft Planning Code amendments to support economic development related to laboratories and light industrial activities. If you’d like to give input on the forthcoming proposal, contact Melanie Cohn.
Caltrain Enhances Service for Commuters
Caltrain announced on September 7 it will increase service for commuters during peak hours, lowering wait times for riders transferring from BART. In addition to lower wait times in Millbrae and at San Francisco’s 22nd Street Station, the new schedule ensures that two trains stop at the South San Francisco Station every hour during peak commute times, as the station has seen the highest rates of ridership growth since the pandemic.