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Public Policy Newsletter

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June 22, 2017

Local Affairs

Biocom Holds Successful Roundtable with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
On June 13th, Biocom partnered on our first roundtable discussion with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Mayor Garcetti was first elected in 2013, and in March was re-elected with 81.4% percent of the vote. The mayor has been a champion of the tech industry in LA, which is enjoying a boom. According to AngelList, Los Angeles is the third largest tech ecosystem in the US, a trend that the mayor says he would like to see duplicated for the life sciences.

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Executives from Biocom member companies located in the Los Angeles area expressed the needs of the industry: housing, transportation, wet lab space, venture capital, and a well-prepared workforce. With the Los Angeles area employing more people (70,000) in the life sciences than any other county in the state, there is a growing need to involve the industry in conversations about the economy, including the Los Angeles gross receipts tax and retention of recent university graduates. Since the opening of Biocom’s Los Angeles office over a year ago, we have been working closely with the mayor’s office to develop government incentives to support members there. We are hopeful that the mayor himself will continue to engage with life sciences, and that we can work together to grow industry visibility.

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Los Angeles Area Facilities/EH&S Committee Kickoff
Join us on June 27th as we initiate activities for facilities and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) professionals. The program will include a panel of experts who will speak to real estate trends, lab design, and EH&S systems. More information and registration can be found here.

The Facilities/EH&S Committee provides facility managers and Environmental Health & Safety professionals the opportunity to share best practices, network with peers, and participate in continuing education opportunities. If someone in your company deals with issues such as permitting, inspections, fire department, hazardous waste, and/or real estate, that person would be the ideal contact for this new committee. Often, this would be someone in operations who doesn’t necessarily have facilities or EH&S in his or her title. For more information contact Melanie Cohn, Director of Regional Policy & Government Affairs, at mcohn@biocom.org or 858-832-4158.

San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar Meets with Biocom Members 
On June 15th, Biocom members sat down for our first conversation with Vice Chair Kristin Gaspar, who was elected in November. Gaspar narrowly defeated incumbent Dave Roberts, resuming the all-Republican makeup of the Board of Supervisors. The Supervisor has taken tours at several Biocom member companies, and has been very accessible to Biocom staff. We are grateful for her involvement with our industry thus far.

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The group began the conversation by discussing UC San Diego, which earlier this year began building an historic $1.6 billion expansion, set to include an Innovation Center with an incubator, entrepreneurships in residence, and programs that integrate science, technology, and the arts. NIH funding was a concern of all in attendance; especially the potential reduction of overhead payments. Members also stressed the need for coordination between regulatory agencies at the county; a life science liaison’s office was agreed to be a potential benefit for members seeking county services and permits. 

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The Supervisor stressed the need to spotlight the life sciences for contributions to the regional economy, workforce, and tax base – telling our story as a way to garner government support. We appreciate Supervisor Gaspar taking the time to meet with members, and we look forward to working with her more closely to address the needs of the life science industry in San Diego County. 

Los Angeles City Council Delays Action on Linkage Fee
On June 6th, the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee considered the affordable housing linkage fee proposed by Mayor Garcetti. The linkage fee policy would implement a per square footage charge on new commercial and residential development to go towards an affordable housing fund. The plan proposes to levy a fee of $5.00 per square foot of new office, hotel, retail, and warehouse projects as well as $12.00 per square foot on new residential construction. If approved, the city expects that the fee will generate between $75 million to $92 million in funding each year earmarked toward the construction of new affordable housing units. The committee opted to take no action and will hear additional information on the motion later this summer. You can read the full ordinance here

LA Supervisors Approve Outreach Plan for Water Issues
On May 30th, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion directing agencies and departments to conduct broad education, outreach, and engagement with stakeholders and the public on County water issues. Outreach activities will include a variety of water topics: the County’s Water Resilience Plan, an appropriate parcel tax to fund stormwater management projects, and an expenditure plan for the parcel tax. Read the County motion here

Energy Courses Can Help Life Science Facilities Save Money
At Biocom’s San Diego Facilities Committee meeting in May, representatives from the City of San Diego, SDG&E, and Alexandria Real Estate Equities shared information on how facility managers can implement sustainable initiatives that reduce business costs. Biocom member San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) offers over 250 free energy-related courses per year, ranging from basic skills to advanced training in green building practices.

Biocom and SDG&E plan to partner on additional courses catered to the life science industry. In the meantime, SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center free classes can be found here.
Upcoming Public Policy Events
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Jun
27
Los Angeles Area Facilities/EH&S Committee Kickoff
Tuesday
June 27, 2017
12:00 PM
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Jul
18
Joint Biocom/IEA Meeting: Prop 65 Update
Tuesday
July 18, 2017
11:30 AM