The People's Business: Aug. 3, 2020
Well, there was supposed to be just one more City Council meeting before the month-long upcoming legislative recess, but with so much unfinished business to handle, Council President Georgette Gómez has scheduled a special Council meeting on Thursday, Aug. 6. We'll detail that meeting in our next post. For today, we'll run down the regular meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
Remember, if you'd like more detail on anything summarized below, click the agenda, then click on the item. Over on the right side of the page, you'll see links to a staff report and other pieces of supporting material.
City Council -- Tuesday, Aug. 4
Tuesday's agenda includes 15 consent items that won't be discussed unless someone wants to, and seven ceremonial proclamations.
The discussion agenda has five items, four of which are related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Temporary Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (Item 330): The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18. One of its two main components is the Employee Paid Leave Rights Act, which requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide workers with paid sick leave when they're unable to work due to COVID-19 -- 80 hours for full-time employees and the average number of hours an employee works over a two-week period for part-timers.
On Tuesday, Councilmember Chris Ward will ask his colleagues to say yes to requiring employers in the City of San Diego with 500 or more workers to provide the same benefits. San Diego has approximately 78 businesses with 500 or more employees. Like the federal legislation, this proposed ordinance would expire on Dec. 31, 2020.
- CARES Act Funding for Small and Disadvantaged Businesses (Item 331): On June 9, the City Council approved the allocation of more than $12.8 million in CARES Act funding for the City's Small Business Relief Fund for businesses struggling due to COVID-19. On Tuesday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will ask the City Council to take $700,000 of that and earmark it for specialized outreach, technical assistance, and direct grants to small businesses located in economically vulnerable and historically underserved communities.
Under this proposal, the City would enter into negotiations with a local nonprofit that would do the outreach, provide guidance on assistance programs at all levels of government, and distribute the grants. In addition to being located in vulnerable or underserved communities, applicants must be self-employed, an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, or a corporation with revenues less than $200,000; have 10 employees or fewer; be able document a decline in revenue due to COVID-19; and have been in business for at least six months.
- Temporary Outdoor Business Operations, Part 1 (Item 332): On July 14, the City Council voted to allow San Diego restaurants to temporarily serve diners on the sidewalk, in parking lanes, and in their private parking lots to help them weather the economic storm whipped up by COVID-19 while adhering to health and safety guidelines. The move also relaxed sign regulations, allowed wholesale sales direct to consumers, and waived fees for special event permits to facilitate closure of public streets.
As an interim urgency action, the temporary rules are in effect for 45 days. On Tuesday, the Council will be asked to extend then for another 10 months and 15 days, for a total of one year.
- Temporary Outdoor Business Operations, Part 2 (Item S501): As soon as the outdoor dining program was up and running, the City's Development Services Department began working on a similar program to allow other types of businesses and organizations to operate outside on the sidewalk, in parking lanes, or in private parking lots. On Tuesday, the Council will be asked to launch this new program, which will apply to barbershops, hair and nail salons, masseuses and masseurs, gyms and fitness centers, instructional classes, religious assemblies, and entertainment. Like the outdoor dining program, it would be effective for 45 days, after which it can be extended for the remainder of a full year.
- Wilshire Terrace Vacation (Item 333): The Council on Tuesday will be asked to vacate a chunk of land at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Wilshire Terrace in North Park, just west of Florida Street and just north of Upas Street. It's a 3,598-square-foot piece of public right-of-way that is unpassable for vehicles, and the Development Services Department is recommending handing it over to the owners of adjacent property to the north (a vacant lot on Wilshire Terrace) and south (the Florida Manor multifamily housing building on Florida Street) to split evenly. With this action, the lot on Wilshire Terrace could accommodate eight new housing units.
Tuesday's meeting officially starts at 9 a.m., when the Council will listen to public comment on any items on the closed-session agenda. Then they'll retreat to closed session and return to open session at 11 a.m. Only City staff and credentialed members of the press may attend in person. However, anyone can participate and make comments by dialing 619-541-6310 and entering the access code 877861 followed by # when the item you're interested in comes up (full call-in instructions). Watch the meeting on cable TV channel 24 or AT&T channel 99, or stream it online.
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