March 4, 2021
March 2021

My mom died on the first of March twenty four years ago. While sometimes it feels like she just left yesterday, other times it almost seems as though that experience and even having a mom at all was in another lifetime. I often have wondered in this past year what she would think about all that is happening if she were still alive.

She was a teacher - and while we lived in Lafayette, a suburb much like Los Gatos, she spent most of her time working in the schools in the heart of Oakland. She would be pretty exhausted by the end of the week. I remember sometimes she would get angry at my brother, sister and I and remind us how lucky we were to be white, and we should never feel entitled. I think she would have begrudgingly worn a mask because it was the right thing to do. I think she would have found a way back into the classroom even if the union representatives were saying not yet. And I think she would have told me to fight for what is right, take some risks, advocate for those who cannot do it on their own, have some fun even in dark times and not to give up.
So here we are. This Chamber is advocating for you. We have been an integral part of winning a few battles. Most recently:
  • The Los Gatos Chamber, along with the Santa Clara Coalition of Chambers came out strongly against the Hazard Pay increase for all employees in the county. Click Here for the article. While it sounded like a good idea, the unintended consequences on our small businesses would have been devastating. The supervisors listened, and mandated the law for grocery stores and pharmacies with more than 300 employees nationwide
  • The Chamber Coalition also advocated and helped pass the cap on fees for delivery services (Doordash, Ubereats) which was crucial for our smaller restaurants. 
  • We have met with County Executive Officer Jeff Smith on multiple occasions, and helped him review options for some small business relief funding programs. 
  • The Chamber Coalition had the opportunity to attend the Cities Association Meeting, where we urged the Mayors to convince Dr. Sarah Cody to align Santa Clara County with the State. We voiced that when Santa Clara County moved into the Red Tier, our County needed to align our guidelines with the state guidelines. We could not unfairly be held back any longer. It worked! 
  • We also strongly encouraged a call to action and asked the Cities Association to make sure that any CARES Act money that their Towns or Cities received be used for COVID recovery. As the US Treasury Department states: These may include expenditures incurred to allow the State, territorial, local, or Tribal government to respond directly to the emergency, such as by addressing medical or public health needs, as well as expenditures incurred to respond to second-order effects of the emergency, such as by providing economic support to those suffering from employment or business interruptions due to COVID–19-related business closures. Funds may not be used to fill shortfalls in government revenue to cover expenditures that would not otherwise qualify under the statute. Although a broad range of uses is allowed, revenue replacement is not a permissible use of Fund payments.To see the full document governing CARES Act funds, click here. Our Town has already received some CARES Act funding and is likely to receive more. As citizens we need to be sure that money is spent appropriately. 

Other ongoing advocacy efforts here in our Town include getting all kids back in school safely, streamlining a few more of the policies around opening a new business, being flexible with the outdoor dining scene, and reimbursing those restaurants who have set an example for others and built the more permanent parklets or at least made their temporary ones ADA-compliant. We have also been encouraging the Council to act on the priority list they set for themselves, even if it means making hard choices, cutting some programs to reallocate funds to where they might be better used.

The Chamber has been working collaboratively with other groups to plan some fun, safe events this summer:
  • We are working on a Picnic in the Park program culminating in a town-wide celebration for all at the end of September.
  • We are also entertaining the idea of closing North Santa Cruz every Thursday night from May through September to allow for our residents to get out and reconnect in a wide open, happy space. While we know a street closure will cause some inconvenience, we believe the benefits will outweigh the intermittent negative effects. In fact we have reached out to all residents on University Avenue asking for their blessing, as we know they will carry most of the burden. Most have told us to ‘go for it’ as they know it will bring some much needed joy back to the Town. 

Finally, we are launching a multi-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion campaign in mid-April. Working with the Arts Commission, the Council, the Library, NUMU, the LG Anti-Racism Coalition, among others, we plan to built a multi-dimensional program entitled "Listen Learn Change Grow". We cannot wait to share our plan with the community.

We invite anyone who wants to get involved with any one of these projects to call us. We will put you to work! There is so much to do.

Twenty four years, wow, but no way am I giving up. We have a great team here at the Chamber. We have an amazing Council and a devoted Town staff. And we look out for one another even if we don’t always think the same way. We can do anything we set our minds to do.

Los Gatos Together. We Got This LG.

Catherine
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Catherine Somers
Executive Director
408-354-3900, 408-335-6618
Santa Clara is now in the Red Tier! Click Here for the full press release.

The following changes are effective, today, Wednesday, March 3. All activities authorized under the State’s Red Tier, including indoor dining, can resume in accordance with State capacity limits and safety protocols, including:
  • Indoor dining at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer;
  • Retail stores at maximum 50% capacity;
  • Gyms and fitness centers at maximum 10% capacity;
  • Movie theaters at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; and
  • Zoos, museums, and aquariums at 25% maximum indoor capacity.
  • Sector and activity-specific Santa Clara County directives will no longer be in effect. All industries must follow state guidelines.
  • The Mandatory Directive on Travel will no longer be in effect.

For more information on what the State allows in the Red Tier, please visit covid19.ca.gov.
Blood Drive
Friday, April 9, noon-5
Chamber Office (Parking Lot 3 - behind Blue Line Pizza)
The Chamber, in partnership with Robin Sedgwick and Don Knight of Coldwell Banker Realty, and Stanford Blood Center, is holding a Blood Drive outside our office. The need for blood is dire right now, as large scale blood drives in schools and offices have not been allowed to take place.

Visit us outside our office on April 9. Give blood, know you are doing good and you'll also receive a tote bag with coupons and goodies.
No-Cost COVID testing
March 4 & 18
Santa Clara Law
Entrepreneurs' Law Clinic
March 13
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners say they could have saved considerable time, expense, and headache if only they had consulted an attorney earlier rather than later.

Schedule a free 30 minute private session with a supervising attorney and a volunteer student law group.
SCORE Silicon Valley
Entrepreneurs' Legal Advising Clinic
Saturday, March 13

Get answers to legal questions in a 30-Minute private session (via zoom) with a qualified business attorney for FREE. An opportunity to speak to an experienced business attorney.

This is a video conference clinic. Clients will be seen (via Zoom) between 10:00am and 1:40pm
Los Gatos Together Mask
Stop by the Chamber office for a fun Los Gatos Together mask. $14 (navy, black, gray, pink)
Small Business Grants & Loans
We want to make you aware of several opportunities for small business grants and loans:
Member Events
Veterans Memorial & Support Foundation of LG
Addison-Penzak JCC
Summer Camp Registration

Discovery Shop
American Cancer Society
Blueprint for a Safer Economy
Santa Clara County is now in the Red Tier under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. See details on the About COVID-19 restrictions page.
Coronavirus Update
For the latest updates, please visit Santa Clara County Public Health.
Town of Los Gatos website
The Town of Los Gatos has compiled a very comprehensive page of Covid-19 messages and resources. It outlines how all the Town departments are functioning throughout this crisis. In addition, it has resources for businesses and individuals, as well as ways you can volunteer.
Need information from one of our past newsletters? Click below for the last 3-4 months (before that email us).
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