VICA Weekly
Valley Industry & Commerce Association
Friday, February 11
In This Issue
  • Quote of the Week
  • Un-Fair Work Week
  • Conflicting Mask Mandates
  • VICA Policy Committees
  • Restaurant Alcohol Advocacy
  • Members
  • VICA Board Positions
  • Events
  • Implementation of SB 9
  • News
  • Sepulveda Basin Vision
  • Committee Recap
  • Member Spotlight
  • Member Messages
"[I am] in support of essential measures, [but] committing to keep these in place until late spring is inconsistent with the public health approaches from across the state and country."
Supervisor Kathryn Barger
Regarding Conflicting State and Local Mask Mandates
Speaking Out Against the City's Un-Fair Work Week
This past week, VICA sent out an action alert and our legislative team spoke in opposition to the proposed Predictive Scheduling Ordinance at the Los Angeles City Council Economic Development and Jobs committee. The "Fair Work Week" ordinance will require some employers to provide schedules two weeks in advance, and imposes a one-size-fits-all system that threatens the flexibility of employers and employees.

Employers already provide schedules as far in advance as possible, and VICA is concerned about harsh penalties when unforeseen circumstances come up. This could include fines when employers have to change schedules for any reason, including a business getting a sudden large order, an employee calling in sick and needing replacements, or clients call with short deadlines. Labor groups know that predictive scheduling is not a good solution, which is why the City refuses to implement predictive scheduling for City employees or unionized employees.

The City Council brought this back after years of hibernation, and VICA will continue to monitor its movement through the City Council to prevent onerous regulations that push businesses out of LA.
Conflicting Mask Mandates
Governor Newsom has announced that he will remove the statewide indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals on February 15th! Don't throw out those N95s just yet! Los Angeles County's mask mandate will still be in effect until the county enters the "post-surge" phase. When daily hospitalizations drop below 2,500 for 7 consecutive days, masking will no longer be required outdoors. Indoor masking will be required until the County meets the following conditions:

  • Two consecutive weeks at or below Moderate Transmission (10-49.99 new cases/100,000 persons in 7 days);
  • Vaccines have been available for children under age 5 for 8 weeks; AND
  • No emerging reports of significantly circulating new variants threaten vaccine effectiveness.

Even after these conditions are met, indoor masking will be required at K-12 schools, childcare facilities, youth settings, healthcare settings, correctional facilities, homeless and emergency shelters, and cooling centers per state regulations. Additionally masking will be required when riding public transportation per federal regulations. The County will continue requiring that employers provide high-quality and well-fitting masks to workers who are in close contact with others until transmission is lower, and vaccine verification will still be required at mega events and indoor sections of bars, lounges, nightclub, wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
Speaking Up for the Restaurant Beverage Program
VICA spoke in support of the Los Angeles Restaurant Beverage Program at the City Council again this week. As we all know, COVID continues to negatively impact the restaurant industry. Restaurant owners have had to shift their operations and try to stay afloat as the government kept changing regulations and stay-at-home orders. One shining light for everyone through all of this has been to-go alcohol. The profit margins on these take-home cocktails has provided temporary relief, and VICA urged the City Council to make programs like these permanent. Restaurant Beverage Program permanence will help the restaurants that serve our communities recover from unnecessary hurdles that disproportionately affect the food industry.

VICA believes that it was time for the City to make these creative approaches to help businesses on a permanent basis, and we hope to continue getting our take-out margaritas for years to come!
VICA Thanks Our New & Renewing Members
VICA Board Decisions
In February, the VICA Board of Directors took action on multiple recommendations from the VICA policy committees. Here are snapshots of a couple of those decisions:
Essential Workers
Assembly Bill 852 (Wood): Nurse Practitioners: Scope of Practice - SUPPORT
The VICA Board officially supported AB 852, which would clarify California code to ensure that nurse practitioners are fully recognized as independent care providers by authorizing them to prescribe specified procedures and medicines. These clarifications will help close growing health disparities in the state at a time when the health of our communities is top of mind. During the COVID crisis, California's shortage of health care providers became abundantly clear. Even prior to the pandemic, several million Californians were already experiencing shortfalls of primary, dental, or behavioral health care. AB 852 will help address this disparity by allowing nurses to provide the high-quality care that they are already providing, just without an outdated supervisory requirement. VICA will advocate for AB 852's passage to ensure that nurse practitioners are able to provide the high-quality services needed by California patients - services that they are already properly trained and educated to perform.
Residences at Sportsmen's Lodge - SUPPORT
The VICA Board voted to support the Residences at Sportsman Lodge project, which will replace the existing Sportsmen's Lodge hotel with over 500 market rate units, including 78 very low income units. The City is in a housing crisis. More than half of Angelenos today are renters, and almost half of renters spend at least half of their income on housing. The Residences at Sportsmen's Lodge would address the imbalance between supply and demand by demolishing an antiquated and functionally obsolete hotel and replace it with market rate housing units. VICA will continue supporting projects like this one that address our housing crisis and get more housing built.
Senate Bill 611 (Allen): Income Taxes: Credits: Motion Pictures - SUPPORT
VICA's Board also supported SB 611, which would grant additional tax credits to motion picture productions through the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program equal to 20% of qualified wages paid to Career Pathways Training Program graduates. It is essential that California's entertainment industry lead by example, committing to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. SB 611 catalyzes motion picture production to hire from existing, successful training programs with proven track records of providing individuals from historically disadvantaged communities with meaningful careers. Our region's most recognizable industry is at risk of leaving California with more business-friendly laws, and SB 611 is a step toward helping them and benefitting communities all within the framework of the existing Film and Television Tax Credit Program.
Sacramento Advocacy Day
Wednesday, February 23
Virtual Meeting

VICA's regular advocacy trips to the state capitol are crucial to ensuring the voice of the business community is heard by legislators. These member-only trips allow direct advocacy with state officials.
The Week Ahead
Government Affairs Committee
Wednesday, February 16
12:00 - 2:00 PM
Virtual Meeting
Save the Date
Sacramento Advocacy Day
Wednesday, February 23
All Day
Virtual Meeting
Congressional Breakfast
Friday, February 25
8:30 to 10:30 AM
IN PERSON at Hilton Universal City
Fighting for More Housing Flexibility in Los Angeles
This week, VICA's Legislative team spoke to the Los Angeles City Council in support of the City's implementation of SB 9 within Los Angeles. When put into action, this bill will allow qualified applications for duplex or subdivision housing to be approved without discretionary review.

Along with VICA's recommendation, the City Council voted in favor of laying out requirements to support the implementation of SB 9 to combat our region's housing and homelessness crisis. By processing SB 9 requirements quickly, the City's government, developers, and citizens will be able to take the proper steps toward freeing up more housing stock. Since 2018, the streamlining of accessory dwelling units and split lots in single family neighborhoods has led to a 63% increase in building permits throughout California. VICA is proud that our advocacy on SB 9 and its implementation has paid off so that the City can meet the housing demands of our increasingly fast-paced local economy.
Media Mentions
Hot News
Super Bowl Safety
Authorities have confirmed that there are no known security threats to the Super Bowl, and fans can expect an enormous police presence at SoFi. Patrol officers, tactical teams, K-9 units, paramedics, cyber threat analysts, and human trafficking prevention has been deployed across LA ahead of Sunday's game.

Mayoral Race
Downtown business leader Jessica Lall ended her brief mayoral campaign on Tuesday. Lall, the President and CEO of the Central City Association, entered the race in late September.

Water Crisis
As the drought continues, Southern California is preparing to buy water from the Sacramento Valley again. The Board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California directed staff Tuesday to start negotiating on the purchase of as much as 100,000 acre-feet of water.
Traveling to Hawaii?
Hawaii Governor Ige announced Tuesday that tourists looking to visit Hawaii will not need to receive the COVID-19 booster shot to count as fully vaccinated. These loosened restrictions are a shift from a few weeks ago, when Hawaii's Safe Travel Program, the strictest in the country, required visitors to be boosted.

Vehicle Impound
Pending a final court ruling against the City, LA has temporarily halted towing and placing boots on cars that have more than 5 unpaid tickets. Vehicles posing a traffic or safety hazard can still be towed.

Legislative Republicans
Assemblymember James Gallagher of Yuba City will take over as California Assembly Minority leader after a unanimous vote from GOP members. Gallagher succeeds Assemblymember Waldron, who led for three years.

VICA Supports the City's Sepulveda Basin Vision
VICA supports the Los Angeles City Council Sepulveda Basin Vision Plan and the City's request for $3,000,000 in one-time state funding to expand access to open spaces and recreation amenities.

The Sepulveda Basin is one of the largest open spaces in Los Angeles, and serves as an opportunity to expand natural habitats, usable open space, and encourage climate resilience within the San Fernando Valley. Our communities deserve investment, and the Sepulveda Basin stands as an untapped resource to make the Valley more livable for millions of residents. Enhancement of the Basin through the proposed $3,000,000 investment will also serve to beautify our City before the 2028 Olympics, leaving a legacy of community enhancement that will last far beyond the games.

VICA spoke to the Los Angeles City Council about this issue on Wednesday, and we will continue to fight for the speedy enhancement and expanded use of the Sepulveda Basin.
Committee Recap
Land Use Committee (2/2)
Sponsored by The Garland

  • Blair Smith from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning presented on the 2021-2029 City Housing Element.
  • The committee discussed the 2022 VICA Land Use Legislative Priorities.
  • The committee started a working group discussion on the Transportation Demand Management Ordinance.
  • The committee also discussed the potential for a VICA Builder Roundable.
  • Finally, the transportation committee recommended that VICA support Assembly Bill 854 (Lee).
EEMU Committee (2/9)
Sponsored by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

  • Jacque McMillan (MWD) updated the committee on the status of the drought and the Colorado River water supply.
  • Jason Rondou (LADWP) gave an overview of LA100.
  • The committee recommended that VICA table the Climate Smart Ports Act of 2021 until the next meeting.
Member Spotlight
Benjamin Fiss
Pacific Zoning, LLC
Founder & President

Benjamin Fiss attended CSUN, (overlapping with Stuart Waldman among other notables) earning his Bachelor’s Degree of Political Science and Masters of Public Administration. He began his career in 1997 working as a Field Deputy for then Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Feuer followed by two years as Chief Field Deputy for then City Councilmember Eric Garcetti. His work at the City Council offices taught him the importance and value of good land use policy and decisions on discretionary actions. After leaving the Council Offices, Ben spent the next 12 years mastering his craft, working for three of the top Land Use Consulting firms in Los Angeles before he founded his firm six years ago.  He is happily married to his wife of almost 25 years, Vivian, and together they are raising their 15-year-old son, Daniel and their little dog, Rocket. In his free time, he can usually be found hiking, biking or riding his motorcycle. He also has a passion for cars and enjoys sampling whiskey, in moderation of course.

When asked some additional questions, the below was shared:

What has been your largest accomplishment or efforts made over the past year? 
The last year has been an interesting one. After taking a brief hiatus to serve as Senior City Planner for the City of Palmdale, I returned to full time consulting in September and hit the ground running with a full docket of projects including, home health facilities and expert witness work.

How has VICA supported your business strategy or expanded your footprint with the business community?  
I have been involved with VICA in one capacity or another for the better part of the last 20 years. VICA provides vital information regarding land use policy changes at the City, County and State levels and gives the development community a voice in those decisions. Additionally, VICA’s efforts to support small business and independent consultants is greatly appreciated.
Are you interested in a Membership Spotlight?
Answer the below questions, send responses and a professional photo,
and we'll ensure your in the line up for 2022!

Please keep each question response to 2-4 sentences maximum.

  1. Please share a bit about your background and a fun fact that people would love to learn, ie: scrapbooking is your favorite hobby, you were in a band, you have traveled around the world…  
  2. What has been your organization’s largest accomplishment or efforts made over the past year? 
  3. Please share how VICA has supported your business strategy or expanded your footprint with the business community?  

Send responses and headshot to Shauna Carter
Member Messages
Member Messages
Get Your Message in VICA Weekly!
VICA members can promote their business, events and news in VICA Weekly. Member messages are available for $50 per week or $175 for four weeks. Messages are text-based and may not contain more than 70 words. A logo may be added for an additional $5 per week. For more information or to schedule your member message, contact or call (818) 817-0545.
Presenting the business perspective on behalf of employers in the
San Fernando Valley cities of Los Angeles, Burbank, Glendale, Calabasas,
Hidden Hills, San Fernando and Santa Clarita.