VICA Weekly
Valley Industry & Commerce Association
Friday, March 25
In This Issue
  • Quote of the Week
  • VICA Delegation - Sacramento Advocacy Day
  • VICA Board Takes Action
  • West Valley Day of Service
  • Newsmaker Connection with Joe Buscaino
  • VICA Fights for Working Families
  • CSU Interim Chancellor
  • Job Opening: Membership & Development Manager
  • Members
  • Events
  • News
  • Member Spotlight
  • Member Messages
"Government works best when it listens."
Joe Buscaino
LA City Councilmember & Mayoral Candidate
Statement during VICA's Newsmaker Connection on Thursday
Newsmaker Connection with Mayoral Candidate Joe Buscaino
LA Mayoral Candidate and Councilmember Joe Buscaino, VICA Vice Chair Samona Caldwell (State Farm), and VICA President Stuart Waldman.
Yesterday, VICA members had the opportunity to hear from Los Angeles City Councilmember and Mayoral Candidate Joe Buscaino.

The Mayoral Candidate discussed housing, policing and public safety, transportation, broadband, and the hottest issue revolving around the City of Los Angeles, homelessness. He told members, "Select the next mayor based on past experiences and accomplishments as an elected official. Not based on who has a fancy plan."

He went into detail about his Safer Streets LA Ballot Measure that will be at the hands of voters in November. His plan aims to make LA streets safer and cleaner by ensuring everyone experiencing homelessness is offered the services and housing they need. He touched on his past accomplishments in his district, where many temporary shelters have been established to get people off the streets. "It's ok to have shelters in the City of LA," he stated. "What we have done in my district will be a model for this City."
The Councilmember spoke about the need for housing and how approving community plans in the City needs to be streamlined. He discussed his plan to develop a Department of Development Services, which will have the responsibility of all departments that are included when a housing project is looking to receive entitlements.

Lastly, he touched on the importance of transportation. If elected mayor, he committed to keeping a Valley representative on the Metro board and spoke of his goal to ensure public transportation is safe when it is being used. "We will not alleviate traffic by building more lanes," he stated. "I want to give incentives to people who get out of their car and use public transportation."

VICA thanks Councilmember Joe Buscaino for his time and thank you to our Newsmaker Connection Presenting Sponsor, State Farm.
VICA Delegation Hosts Sacramento Advocacy Day
VICA Advocacy Day Delegation (from left to right): VICA President Stuart Waldman, VICA Vice Chair Samona Caldwell (State Farm), Assemblymember Steve Bennett, VICA Vice Chair Ross Pendergraft (Leavitt Group) and David Gonzalez (Association of Independent Commercial Producers).
At VICA, we fight for you. We advance your goals. We do the heavy lifting of persuading officeholders so you don't have to. This past week, we did just that.

On Tuesday, the VICA Advocacy Day Delegation met with legislators in Sacramento to advocate on behalf of our members. VICA leadership met with Assemblymembers Steve Bennett, Jesse Gabriel, Luz Rivas, Miguel Santiago, Suzette Valladares and Randy Voepel.

The Delegation discussed the following policy matters:

ACA-11 (Kalra): Taxes to Fund Health Care Coverage and Cost Control - OPPOSE 
ACA-11 would authorize the largest tax increases in California's history to fund a single-payer health care program that will push doctors, companies, and healthcare workers out of the state.

AB 1761 (Voepel): Flexible Scheduling: COVID-19 Recovery and Getting Californians Back to Work - SUPPORT
AB 1761 would permit an individual, nonexempt employee to request an employee-selected flexible work schedule providing for workdays up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek.  

AB 1911 (Gabriel): Affordable Housing Preservation Tax Credit – SUPPORT
AB 1911 will create a new Affordable Housing Preservation Tax Credit to protect tens of thousands of units of affordable housing that are at risk of transitioning to market-rate based rentals which could displace low-income tenants.

SB 213 (Cortese): Workers’ Compensation: Hospital Employees - OPPOSE
SB 213 would establish a dangerous presumption in the workers’ compensation program and relieve hospital employees from having to demonstrate that certain illnesses and injuries arose out of their work environment.

SB 301 (Skinner): Combating the Online Sale of Stolen Goods – SUPPORT 
SB 301 will require online marketplaces to require specified high-volume third-party sellers on the platform to provide certain tax and payment information and certain contact information to consumers to protect against the sale of stolen goods.

The Delegation also discussed VICA's 2022 legislative priorities.

Join VICA and make your voice heard. Make sure to click on each "Take Action" link to voice your position.

For those interested in attending our next in-person Sacramento Advocacy Day, please click here to register for our April 5th trip.
VICA Board Takes Action
SB 301 – Combating the Online Sales of Stolen Goods - SUPPORT
The VICA Board supports Senate Bill 301 (Skinner), which is designed to protect both high-volume third-party resale platforms and consumers from the sale/transfer of stolen goods.

SB 301 requires that high volume third-party sellers with annual net revenues of $20,000.00 or more follow unified standards of accountability and verification to act against and reverse the effects of selling stolen goods.

Organized retail crime (ORC) is a complex, multi-faceted problem and combatting it requires a comprehensive approach. SB 301 is a critical part of that effort, as one of the key factors driving the increase in ORC is the availability and use of online marketplaces by organized retail crime networks as a “fence” for stolen goods. The bill will bring much needed transparency to online marketplaces, providing consumers with the real, verified business contact information for high-volume, third-party sellers. The bill will also provide retailers and law enforcement with information to investigate the source of possible stolen or counterfeit items when they are discovered.
AB 2419 – Environmental Justice – Federal Infrastructure Investment - OPPOSE
The VICA Board opposes Assembly Bill 2419 (Bryan), which would require a minimum of 40% of California funding from the Federal Infrastructure Bill be allocated to projects in disadvantaged communities, 10% be allocated to projects in low-income communities and would establish the Justice40 Oversight Committee in the Office of Planning and Research.

While the intent to provide significant funding to disadvantaged communities is honorable, AB 2419 will pigeonhole $20 billion in funding before the state can determine and analyze possibilities for use. What impacts environmentally disadvantaged communities might simply not be the most impactful, environmentally friendly, or cost-effective options.

The state of California has the opportunity to use federal Justice40 guidance to evaluate projects without earmarking, and potentially wasting, critical project funding. When considering a project for implementation, the state must consider the direct impact it has on existing projects, infrastructure plans, and revenue to parts of the state, not just whether it will be located in a community considered disadvantaged.
VICA Sponsors West Valley Day of Service
Join Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel on Sunday, April 3rd, for the first-ever West Valley Day of Service. Dozens of community groups and non-profits will be working to bring folks together to assist with service projects around the West San Fernando Valley.

Sunday, April 3, 2022
9:00 AM - Noon
Los Angeles Pierce College

Service projects include: helping the homeless, maintain the West Valley's open spaces, improving local schools, cleaning local spaces, supporting domestic violence survivors, and helping the global blood shortage

Learn more about the West Valley Day of Service and sign up to volunteer here.
VICA Advocacy: Fight for Working Families
On Tuesday, the VICA Legislative Team testified at the LA City Council meeting, urging the Council to take an oppose position on the California Recycling and Plastics Pollution Reduction Act. This measure is a regressive tax on California working families when they pay for food, diapers, and other necessities.

California families face one of the highest living costs, rapidly increasing inflation, and the highest poverty rate among states. The last thing working families need is a regressive tax on essentials, especially when the state has a $46 billion—and growing—budget surplus. This measure is not the answer. Only a small portion of the money raised by this new tax will be used to recycle and reduce plastics. However, CalRecycle is not limited in how much it can spend on developing and implementing regulations and enforcing the new tax. With the help and guidance of California manufacturers, the backbone of the state’s production economy, recycling can be increased and waste reduced without increasing living costs for working families and businesses.

VICA will continue its mission of fighting for and supporting businesses and members of the San Fernando Valley.
Dr. Jolene Koester to Serve as CSUN Interim Chancellor
VICA congratulates Dr. Jolene Koester, past VICA Board Member, who has been chosen to serve as the Interim CSU Chancellor. Dr. Koester will begin her role on May 1, 2022 and is expected to serve for one year as the Board of Trustees undertakes a search for a permanent Chancellor.

Dr. Koester previously served as president of CSUN from 2000-2011. She succeeds Dr. Joseph I. Castro who resigned as chancellor on February 17, 2022.

As President of CSUN, she led the campus through a time of exponential growth with the student population expanding by more than 25%, growing from 29,000 to nearly 37,000. During her tenure as president, CSUN increased retention and graduation rates and conferred more than 68,000 degrees. The campus also opened the Soraya, a state-of-the-art performance center which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary serving as the intellectual and cultural hub of the San Fernando Valley.

VICA congratulates and looks forward to working with Dr. Koester throughout her time.
VICA Vacancy
Click the image to learn more and apply today!
VICA Thanks Our New and Renewing Members
State Officeholders Dinner
Friday, April 22
Stage 29 at Universal Studios Hollywood

VICA’s State Officeholders Dinner provides a rare opportunity for Valley business leaders to connect with state lawmakers and participate in an informal event, allowing for fun, candid, and interactive conversation.
Save the Date
April - Sacramento Advocacy Day
Tuesday, April 5
All Day
Sacramento, CA
VICA After Dark with Darren Kettle
Wednesday, April 6
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport
Not-For-Profit Committee
Thursday, April 7
8:30 - 10:00 AM
VICA Office
Land Use Committee
Tuesday, April 12
8:30 - 10:30 AM
The Garland
DEI Committee
Thursday, April 14
12:00 - 1:30 PM
VICA Office
Aviation Committee
Tuesday, April 19
12:00 - 1:30 PM
Aerolease Group
Hot News
Metrolink announced that on Monday, April 4 riders will see the most significant service restoration since the beginning of the pandemic with the restoration of 24 of the most in-demand trains and the addition of two new trains. The service update also makes four Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains available to all Metrolink ticketholders, which adds Saturday and Sunday service on the Ventura County Line.

Public Safety
At least 41 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employees have been identified as members of gangs operating out of local stations, according to a letter the county’s inspector general sent this week to Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The deputies were identified from the Sheriff’s Department’s own internal affairs investigations.

Trustees of California State University, the largest four-year university system in the nation, agreed Wednesday to permanently drop the SAT and ACT standardized tests in its admissions process, solidifying the state’s national role in eliminating the high-stakes exams because of equity concerns.
$400 Gas Rebate
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday released the long-awaited details of his tax refund plan to send $400 to Californians for each registered vehicle, a move that would put more money in the pockets of families who own more cars — even the state’s highest-income residents — and exclude those without cars from receiving the payments. Newsom’s $11-billion proposal is designed to offset the rising prices consumers are paying at the pump.

Dodger Stadium Gondola
A nonprofit group is challenging Metro’s approval of a proposed private, multimillion-dollar aerial tram to transport riders between Union Station and Dodger Stadium. The petition alleges that “critical actions in matters of vital public interest were taken administratively, without public knowledge, oversight and/or involvement,” all in direct violation of Metro’s policies.

Only 17 out of 183 homeless people who were removed from an Echo Park Lake encampment have been placed in long-term housing. The report, titled ”(Dis)Placement: The Fight for Housing and Community after Echo Park Lake,” analyzed data provided by LAHSA.
Member Spotlight
John C. Brauer
New Horizons
President & CEO
John has been in the nonprofit field for over 35 years, and has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. He originally envisioned owning and running a series of therapy clinics, but by chance, he was offered an amazing opportunity in San Francisco to start a nonprofit assisting individuals with disabilities in learning valuable work skills. While he thought that this would be a three-year plan, he fell in love with working in the disability field, and now all these years later, he still feels excited to come to work every day. 

He has been at New Horizons for a little over four years now, which serves over 1100 individuals with special needs each year, has 13 group homes and a full service independent living arm, a very large employment services division, a wonderful Life-Long Learning department that helps over 400 Members continue to grow and reach their dreams, and a number of specialty programs such as our Go4Grocery program, which trains individuals to work in the grocery field, and their Youth Navigation Program, which assists young adults with disabilities to find their place in the community after they graduate from high school. 

On the personal side, John loves to golf (but says he is terrible at it), hiking, reading, and has a long history of loving music. At one time he owned over 20 jukeboxes, and had a side business that delivered the boxes to businesses and homes for parties. Right now, he has probably over 5,000 records! 

What has been your largest accomplishment or efforts made over the past year? 
Keeping our Members/clients and staff safe has been our biggest priority these past few years due to the pandemic, but perhaps our biggest accomplishment outside of that has been to aggressively move ahead with developing new programs and services to better serve our Members, including two new programs slated to open later this year: our College to Career and More program, a 12-week program that assists individuals with special needs to have the college experience; and our newest jewel, our Culinary Academy, which will teach individuals cooking and food handling basics, and for those interested, a path to employment in the food service industry.  
How has VICA been able to support your business strategy?
VICA is an amazing partner to the nonprofit community, and has helped to create strong links to the business community. It has helped showcase that nonprofits have a lot to offer our for-profit partners, including assisting with meeting DEI goals, providing well trained and qualified employees, and highlighting that we are a large consumer of services ourselves, which only strengthens the community at large.
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 Peter Warda
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.