April 24, 2020

VICA continues to fight for the  business community and Valley residents as we face uncertain times.
In This Issue
" Businesses need help. I welcome [VICA's] input for ways we can be more effective."

- Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin during VICA After Dark discussing the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of Los Angeles' economy

Media Mentions

L.A. City Council to Consider Hospitality Employee Recall Rule
April 20

Garcetti urges furloughs for city employees to help L.A. fend off 'attack' from coronavirus
April 20

L.A. Mayor Garcetti releases city budget with steep service cuts, furloughs
April 20

L.A. City Council Adopts Emergency Employee Ordinances
April 23


VICA Thanks Our Renewing Members 

Alpert, Grant & Barr

Craig Lawson & Company

David Gershwin Consulting

Independent Studio Services

Leavenworth Endeavors

Los Angeles County Office of Education - GAIN

The Polaris Group

The Adult Skills Center

The Week Ahead

Newsmaker Connection with LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin
Tuesday, April 28
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Online Video Conference
Click  here to RSVP
Save the Date

Labor and Employment Committee
Sponsored by Hilton Universal City
Wednesday, May 6
9 to 10:30 a.m.
Online Video Conference
Click here to RSVP

Education and Workforce Committee
Thursday, May 7
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Online Video Conference
Click here to RSVP

Transportation Committee
Sponsored by The Garland
Tuesday, May 12
8 to 10 a.m.
Online Video Conference
Click here to RSVP

Energy, Environment, Manufacturing and Utilities Committee
Sponsored by The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Thursday, May 14
12 to 1:30 p.m.
Online Video Conference
Click here to RSVP

Government Affairs Committee
Sponsored by Dolphin Group and Rodriguez Strategies
Wednesday, May 20
8:30 to 10 a.m.
Online Video Conference
Click here to RSVP

Hot Issues 

Paycheck Protection Program
Today, President Trump signed Congress' $484 billion interim stimulus package, which will add $310 billion to the depleted Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion of which will be reserved for community banks and small lenders. Debate now surrounds the next congressional aid package on what should be included. 

Plastic Bag Ban
Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom  suspended
California's ban on single-use plastic bags for 60 days in response to concerns that reusable bags pose a serious risk of exposing store clerks and grocery employees to COVID-19.

25th District Special Election
Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered counties to provide all District 25 voters mail-in ballots in the upcoming May 12 special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives. The candidates are Assemblywoman Christy Smith and Mike Garcia.

Economic Reopening
Georgia is set to be the first state to loosen restrictions after a month-long stay at home order responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gyms, hair salons and barber shops are among the businesses allowed to reopen as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. Other states will be carefully observing as they formulate their own paths to reopening.

Public Health
Earlier today, Representative Roybal-Allard, who also heads the House Homeland Security Allocation Subcommittee, announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will grant Los Angeles County $30.9 million for coronavirus testing.

Safer at Home Order
The City of Los Angeles are bringing criminal charges against 29 businesses that refused to close in accordance with Mayor Garcetti's Safer at Home Order. According to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore, 1,400 other cases due to misunderstandings were resolved.

Deemed essential under the Governor's executive orders, development and construction continues across Los Angeles, including housing projects. Proponents say that this move will allow infrastructure improvements, continued employment and provide more shelter in order for residents to comply with 'shelter in place' measures.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is now limiting DASH bus passengers to only 10 to 12 at a time. These measures are meant to comply with social distancing standards and is part of efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.

City Controller Ron Galperin Joins VICA Virtual After Dark

Yesterday, VICA members logged on for a Virtual After Dark with Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin. Controller Galperin spoke frankly about the future of the City Budget as Los Angeles continues to fight the spread of COVID-19. Staying optimistic, Controller Galperin noted that while the budget will see $200 to 600 million less than anticipated, it is still more than it was at the same period last year. "Still, we are looking at ways to reduce costs," Galperin said, adding "we are not short on cash but we have to find resources" for additional expenditures. 

The Controller expects major changes that will stay long after the crisis subsides. Galperin expects telecommuting "is going to be here to stay." "That's going to impact hotels and airlines," he added, stressing the role of business groups such as VICA in figuring out how "businesses can take this as an opportunity as well as the challenges that they are." 

Controller Galperin ended his remarks by striking a hopeful note, saying "being the Angelenos that we are, we are going to get out of this stronger and get out of this together."

A big thank you to Controller Ron Galperin for joining us and to all our members who participated in this Virtual VICA After Dark.
Councilmember David Ryu Engages Members in Virtual VICA Newsmaker Connection 

This morning, Councilmember David Ryu joined us for our first virtual VICA Newsmaker Connection. The Councilmember was happy to be joining for the first event and is appreciative of the partnership with VICA and the business community. In his opening comments, he shared that these are unprecedented times and working together to get through this united is of the most importance. Ryu said, "my number one focus is on testing, it is most crucial." "Having the basic necessities and the focus on health is most important," he added,"protecting ourselves, protects our neighbors".

Questions were asked by several attendees regarding the current speed in which measures are rushing through legislation; current and future projects; safety for the communities most vulnerable; and more. Councilmember Ryu responded to all inquiries and shared that his office is trying to keep all things in mind when considering the current climate and is open to suggestions and thoughts from the community. In closing, Councilmember Ryu stated that his focus remains on the personal health and protection of the community.

Thank you Councilmember Ryu for joining us and to all our members and others for participating in VICA's first virtual Newsmaker Connection.

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Via Online Video Conference

Nick Melvoin
LAUSD Board Member

Register now to receive details for accessing the online conference.

Los Angeles City Council Meeting Recap
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council held another marathon meeting with an agenda packed with consequential motions intended to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.

Right of Recall and Worker Retention

Among these motions were proposals for Right of Recall and Worker Retention ordinances. VICA led the charge alongside other major regional business groups to oppose these measures for severely limiting the course of actions businesses can take during a major economic crisis. Despite these concerns and strong opposition, the City Council decided to move forward with the ordinances unanimously, which would make recovery all the more difficult for businesses long after the state of emergency subsides.

While principally opposed to the Right of Recall and Worker Retention ordinances, VICA supported some amendments which would have changed and removed its most harmful provisions. The City Council approved an amendment to exempt non-profit institutions of higher learning which operate medical centers such as USC and UCLA.

Nevertheless, the ordinances' most problematic aspects were kept, such as a rebuttable presumption that all terminations on or after March 4 are considered non-disciplinary, the provision for employers to pay punitive damages, and requiring employers to recall of employees by seniority. Additionally, the City Council moved forward with an amendment to apply exclusively to hotels, event centers, airports and janitorial staff. VICA vigorously opposed this amendment due to the fact that hotels and airports have seen the greatest impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent drop in travel.

The Ordinances will return to the City Council for final approval before they are sent to the Mayor.

COVID-19 Infrastructure Accelerator

VICA expressed support for the "COVID-19 infrastructure accelerator" motion to streamline street closures and expedite capital projects. The motion would allow Los Angeles to take advantage of the lull in traffic to significantly improve its telecommunications infrastructure. This infrastructure is needed now more than ever due to the necessity of connectivity for health providers and residents now working from home. The City Council will consider the motion again at a future date with an amendment that would prioritize projects that increase internet bandwidth and connectivity in underserved communities.

Rent and Tenant Terminations

The City Council also considered three motions which would have prohibited rent increases, reclassified unpaid rent as consumer debt, and prohibited all tenant terminations including for tenants unaffected by COVID-19. VICA opposed these one-sided motions which would have unfairly impacted property owners who are also hurting from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City Council failed to pass these motions after the City Attorney's report questioned their legality.

Small Business Relief

The City Council moved forward with motions which would waive appeal fees appeal fees for requesting an extension of time on an order issued by the Department of Building and Safety until September 24, 2020 and require all contracting departments to pay outstanding invoices to local businesses for a period of six months. With the economic hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic, these motions would provide critical relief for local businesses to continue operations and facilitate recovery.

VICA will continue to actively engage with the City Council to ensure that policies would not disrupt business and worsen Los Angeles' economic recovery. 

Redundant Report Requirements Would Burden Health Care Plans
VICA opposes Assembly Bill 2118 (Kalra), which would add another layer of bureaucracy, delays, and costs by requiring  individual and small group health plans to submit redundant information to the California Department of Managed Health Care ( DMHC ) and the California Department of Insurance ( CDI ). Reporting requirements are already in place for the large group and the small group and individual markets. In fact, the State has already begun working on tracking healthcare costs and the transparency of health care plans, which would make AB 2118 an unnecessary and redundant effort. This bill would fail to provide any benefit to consumers and would, instead, add redundant regulations related to reporting requirements, resulting in premium increases. While the intent of this bill is laudable, it is not the solution to lowering health care costs. 

VICA Member Spotlight: Matthew Swearman
Matthew Swearman is a member of the VICA Board of Directors and serves as VICA Vice Chair.

Matthew Swearman is the Senior Director of Development and Donor Relations at the  Valley Village, a nonprofit serving adults with developmental and intellectual challenges throughout the San Fernando Valley. Matthew has lived in Los Angeles for six years after relocating from Washington, D.C. in 2014. He enjoys spending time with his partner Bill and their basset hound Hazel.

Tell us about your experience with VICA, how has VICA been valuable for you?
VICA provides value through advocacy on behalf of its members. More specifically, VICA supports policies that help its nonprofit members (like Valley Village) better serve their clients. VICA helps to amplify Valley Village's voice, helping policy makers hear and understand the value we bring to the communities we serve.

If you were to tell a peer or friend about VICA, what would be your sales pitch?
No other organization in L.A. provides the same level of access to influencers and decision makers that you gain through VICA. I've been able to meet and build relationships with some of the smartest people in Los Angeles as a VICA member. VICA's events are top notch, well produced and worthwhile. Above all, VICA staff and leadership provide great value to members.  

What is your favorite experience or memory with VICA?
When I first joined VICA, I remember attending my first Business Forecast Conference. I had only been a member for about three months, and I was getting to know staff and some members. As I looked around the event, I remember feeling a sense of belonging and feeling very welcome by members and staff. 

Has your company made commitments or taken action to support employees and/or the community during the COVID-19 pandemic? 
Valley Village has taken action to provide for the safety and well-being of the people with developmental and intellectual challenges who we serve in the San Fernando Valley. Our staff are providing care, supplies, therapeutic activities and enrichment to the people who live in our residential program, as well as those who live at home with their families.  

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