The confusing path to solving San Diego’s housing

by Dan Parker, Dan Parker Properties

Over the last few months the Homelessness Committee has been working hard to figure out who has the answers to the homelessness crisis in San Diego. Spoiler alert: it’s complicated, and it’s technical, but it’s gripping stuff.

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Rethinking Reinvestment

by Austin Evans, Life Law Partners

One of the reasons most members of Business For Good decided to join is to hold politicians accountable to a new definition of what it means to be “pro-business.” We champion a vision of businesses strengthening our communities and making life better for all, not just moving wealth up the power structure

That’s exactly what we did last week. Member businesses attended the recent April 2019 meeting of the San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force, offering the group a perspective of the challenges small businesses face in securing capital to start or maintain their businesses.

Created by the City and the County of San Diego, the Task Force monitors local banking practices and recommends lending strategies that benefit low- and moderate-income residents. The Task Force helps implement the Community Reinvestment Act, a 1970s federal law designed to bring lending capital to low-income neighborhoods.

Under new leadership stemming from the recent 2018 elections, San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery and San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher invited community representatives early on its meeting schedule to address how the Task Force can improve the region’s landscape for housing and business lending. I thoroughly enjoyed leading the discussion on the perspective from local businesses with fellow members Lauren Grattan from Mission Driven Finance, Sam Mazzeo from wilkmazz PC and George Thornton from The Homebrewer San Diego.

Going forward, our members’ input was well received by the Task Force, and Business for Good is looking forward to being a resource for the Task Force as it delves into key topics at its future meetings, including:

  • A study on the region’s landscape with capital products, surveying the wide variety of traditional and non-traditional lending products available from financial institutions, nonprofits and grants;
  • An overview of what the Community Reinvestment Act is and how the Task Force can best use its resources to implement the law, especially over 40 years after its passage; and
  • A review of government incentive programs (such as the City of San Diego’s Storefront Improvement Program) to see how they can be best offered to small businesses.

Forward Thinking Hospitality

by Mikey Knab, Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant

On Friday April 5th, a group of 20 restaurant owners and operators got together at City Heights Coffee House to discuss strategies for improving working conditions for employees in the hospitality industry. The group included current Business for Good members, as well as others interested in taking a high road approach to hiring, training, and supporting our teams.

Owners of some of San Diego’s favorite restaurants joined the conversation. A quick glance around the room was quite an impressive list :

We were joined by Saru Jayaraman, President and founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), an organization founded in New York after 9/11 in order to support restaurant workers effected by the attacks. ROC now has over 100,000 worker members, and almost 800 restaurant owner members across the country.  Saru brought two members of her team, as well as a restaurateur partner from San Francisco to offer guidance and testimony on how changing our approaches, perspectives, and systems can improve the lives of our employees, while benefiting our bottom lines.

The discussion was lively and informative, and in the end, it was just really nice to have all of these San Diego restaurant heavy hitters sitting in the same room, completely committed to investing in our employees’ well-being.

There was a lot of interest in starting a chapter of RAISE (a part of the ROC work dedicated to high road employment practices) in partnership with Business for Good here in San Diego, with those in attendance acting as the vanguard of the movement here. Stay tuned for news on that front in the next few months.

The State of San Diego Small Business

by Karim Bouris, Business for Good

Since everyone’s doing their State-of-the thing, we’ll join the fun and share what we think matters. If San Diego’s going to be a world-class city, then we need to focus our efforts to achieve two outcomes:

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Upgrade Our Take-Out Containers or Protect Business? San Diego Can Do Both

Laurie_CafeVirtuoso

By Phil Blair, Executive Officer at Manpower and Laurie Britton, Owner of Café Virtuoso

It’s no surprise that our daily routines as a café owner and an executive for one of San Diego’s largest employers are pretty different. However, the two of us – Laurie Britton of Café Virtuoso and Phil Blair of Manpower Staffing – stand together in our belief that great local leaders strive to do right by business owners and their customers. By limiting harmful single-use food containers in our restaurants, it is possible for San Diego’s City Council to support healthy business and a healthy community all at once. Continue reading “Upgrade Our Take-Out Containers or Protect Business? San Diego Can Do Both”

San Diego, the Welcoming City

by Juan Pablo Sanchez, Owner of Super Cocina

Creating “an inclusive economy in San Diego” has been a regional buzzword for the last couple of years. But what does that really mean for those of us who don’t spend their time in economic development think-tanks, government hallways or philanthropic board rooms?

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In The New Economy, Everyone Is An Investor

by Alan Haghighi, owner of FruitCraft Fermentery & Distillery

There is something about the desire to get reacquainted with what it means to be human that drives the next generation of business owners we see today. We want our businesses to serve our clients’ needs while advocating social justice, a clean environment, and compassion for each other.

Most of all, we strive to return to a sense of community. A place where we know and trust one another and actually care about our shared fate.

But ironically, in order to bring these social enterprises into existence, business owners like me — who had little start-up capital — often have to turn to funding sources whose values couldn’t be further from our own. Continue reading “In The New Economy, Everyone Is An Investor”

Why Keeping Up Appearances Is The Only Way Forward

by Hasani James, Owner of Exclusive Window Cleaning

As business owners, we all wear it. We have to. That professional veil that projects our most competent, confident selves to the world. The thing that puts mandatory grins on our faces and keeps the high-fives coming despite dismal sales forecasts, sluggish growth, or near-empty bank accounts.

The perception that we have it all figured out is as crucial for our own sanity as it is for our clients’ tranquility and our employees’ motivation.

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The business case for a ban on (certain) single-use plastics

by Mike Torti of C&M Motors, Inc.

Something amazing is brewing in San Diego, and not a new craft beer this time: our city officials are proposing a ban on certain single-use plastics that include expanded polystyrene food and beverage containers.  

Which means that we’re all likely to hear confusing thoughts about this topic in the weeks to come, especially from groups who’ll make it sound like a death sentence for businesses and consumers. Seeing as I’m both in business and spend the bulk of my free time chairing the San Diego chapter of Surfrider Foundation, I feel well positioned to provide this primer on why banning styrofoam plates and single-use plastic utensils is good for all of us in San Diego. Continue reading “The business case for a ban on (certain) single-use plastics”