VICA Weekly
Valley Industry & Commerce Association
Friday, February 18
In This Issue
  • Quote of the Week
  • 2022 Legislative Priorities
  • VICA Newsmaker Connection
  • Congratulations Shauna
  • Fighting MHF Phase Out
  • VICA Policy Committee Interest
  • Members
  • Events
  • Speaking Up for Restaurants
  • News
  • Committee Recap
  • Member Spotlight
  • Member Messages
"A lot of recovery that's yet to take place is still in service and tourism-related industries. Having an event like the Super Bowl come to the region and bring back individuals, with their visitor spending, is only going to have a positive economic benefit for the region."
Shannon Sedgwick
Director of Research at LA Economic Development Corporation
VICA Newsmaker Connection on Grocery Industry Trends
On Thursday, VICA held another successful Newsmaker Connection event with Dr. Nam Pham, managing partner of ndp analytics, on grocery industry trends. More specifically, Dr. Pham spoke about Kroger's economic impact on the Western United States. The morning started out with an in-depth presentation on the wages, benefits, and tax revenue of Kroger, as compared to other grocery and retail stores across the United States. He mentioned that Kroger pays comparably high wages, along with health and education benefits that round out a comprehensive benefits package. So, not only is Kroger helping its employees to live comfortably, but it is investing in the communities through donations and opportunity.

After the presentation, VICA members were able to ask questions about the grocery industry. Questions on wages were popular, as union negotiations like hazard pay, minimum wage increases, and sick pay have been front page news during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Pham harkened back to Kroger's 2% profit margins, which is relatively low in the grocery retail industry, reiterating that Kroger is reinvesting almost everything into their employees and communities.

VICA would like to thank the presenting sponsor, State Farm, for making this Newsmaker Connection possible. We would also like to thank our VICA members who attended this exciting program! If you missed it, make sure to register for our future events by clicking here.
Fighting Redundant Refinery MHF Regulations
Our legislative team spoke this week at the County Board of Supervisors meeting in opposition to the phase out of Modified Hydroflouric Acid (MHF). MHF is a critical component in the production of cleaner-burning gasoline that drives our supply chain and allows us to meet the state's energy standards. The use of MHF has been thoroughly reviewed by county, state, and federal regulatory authorities, including our very own South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD).

MHF is used at two of our refineries, Wilmington and Torrance, both of which have already taken steps with the South Coast AQMD and spent millions of dollars to ensure safety. In a multi-year study, the AQMD found no viable alternatives to MHF, and the refineries have consequently installed additional safety equipment to their already world class alkylation units.

VICA believes that government bans on proven technologies in favor of newer unproven ones would not only be irresponsible, but would also harm the regional economy and raise costs at a time when inflation is already being felt by everyone. Not only is this ordinance unnecessary, but it also undermines the South Coast AQMD. Unfortunately, the Board voted to send a letter to the Governor in opposition of MHF, but VICA will continue to be active in monitoring this issue.
VICA Thanks Our New & Renewing Members
Gold Member:

Silver Member:

Bronze Member:


New Silver Members:

New Member:
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
Sacramento Advocacy Day
Wednesday, February 23
All Day
Virtual Meeting
Congressional Breakfast
Friday, February 25
8:00 to 10:30 AM
IN PERSON at Hilton Universal City
Save the Date
SETH Committee
Thursday, March 3
8:30 to 10 AM
In Person at the VICA Office
VICA Leaders Forum with Congresswoman Karen Bass
Thursday, March 3
11:30 AM to 1 PM
In Person at The Garland
Opposing Single-Use Plastic Ban in the City
Delivery Handoff
On Wednesday, VICA spoke at the Los Angeles City Council Meeting in opposition to phasing out single use plastics in the City. While we support the goals of reducing plastic debris, it is unclear whether these policies will result in a reduction of litter, an increase in diversion from landfills, or a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Policies like this one will affect small businesses across many industries - especially mom-and-pop restaurants that are barely surviving. The affordability of to-go plastic has been a lifeline for businesses during the pandemic, as many have had to adapt to changing mandates and adjust business procedures to keep employees safe.

The City Council has an opportunity to develop meaningful and impactful recycling policies, but the policy proposed will ban products that are efficient, effective, and affordable. The report recommends that, instead of improving our recycling infrastructure, we should just reduce the amount of material used. This is a quick fix rather than a long-term solution, and it fails to consider innovative waste reduction technologies. It will shift the responsibility of plastic recycling efforts from the City to our businesses at a time when rising costs of eco-friendly packaging could push restaurants over the edge. VICA will continue to monitor the movement of this ordinance and fight for a better solution to plastic reduction.
Media Mentions
The Super Bowl Goes to Los Angeles
BBC Radio | February 12
Hot News
Sea Level Rise
Los Angeles and other coastal areas of the U.S. will experience frequent flooding, degraded infrastructure, and other challenges as sea levels will rise as much as 1 foot by 2050, says a new federal study by NOAA, NASA, and USGS. Researchers found that the West Coast is anticipated to rise as high as 8 inches.

New Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has his first big decision ahead of him. LAUSD has decided to keep its outdoor mask mandate in place for at least the rest of the week, even though the County has lifted the requirement. Carvalho has stated that he is soliciting expert advice before making the decision early next week.

American wages are surging at the fastest rate since 1983, driven by a booming economy and intense competition for workers. In order to combat inflation, the Federal Reserve has accelerated plans to hike interest rates to slow the economy, but many worry that this could trigger a recession or undercut the job market.
Los Angeles City Council
Nury Martinez, the president of the LA City Council, has appointed former Councilman Herb Wesson to represent the City's 10th district and replace Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was suspended after being indicted in a federal corruption case. The 10th district has not had a voting representative since October 2021.

Green Hydrogen
SoCalGas has unveiled plans for the nation's largest green hydrogen energy infrastructure, the Angeles Link, which will deliver clean, reliable energy to the region. It will significantly reduce GHG emissions from hard-to-electrify sectors, such as industrial processes, heavy-duty trucks, and electricity generation.

California Supreme Court
California appellate court judge Patricia Guerrero was nominated by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as an associate justice on the California Supreme Court. Raised my Mexican immigrant parents in the Imperial Valley, she would be the first Latina on the Golden State's highest court if approved.
Committee Recap
Government Affairs Committee (2/16)

  • Jennifer Berrera, President and CEO of CalChamber, gave an overview of their 2022 Priorities.
  • Cat Packer, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis, gave updates on cannabis regulation in the region.
  • Jean Armbruster, Director of the PLACE Program, presented on LA County's Public Health.
  • The committee recommended that VICA support Senate Bill 301 (Skinner).
  • The committee recommended that VICA oppose S. 225: The Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act.
Member Spotlight
Maiki Benedict
Quest Diagnostics
Sr. Director | Regional Growth Strategy West

Maiki Benedict grew up in the San Fernando Valley, leaving for college on the East Coast and spending 20 years away before returning in 2013. I have spent the majority of my professional career in healthcare, which has taken me all over the world including living abroad in Australia, Canada and the UK. Fun fact: I’m an identical twin. 

When asked some additional questions, the below was shared:

What has been your largest accomplishment or efforts made over the past year? 
By far it’s been our leadership in the COVID response and fight against the pandemic. Early in the pandemic, Quest rapidly accelerated test development to launch the COVID-19 molecular test within seven days of commercial lab test authorization. In the last year we’ve continued to scale up operations to be able to perform 300K molecular diagnostic tests per day and to date has performed nearly 60 million tests. We collaborated with leading medical and research institutions in the continued fight as well as on the ground with public health, local government, businesses and community organizations to provide testing, particularly in communities hardest hit by COVID-19.

How has VICA supported your business strategy or expanded your footprint with the business community?  
The San Fernando Valley is home to Quest’s West Region business, with our main laboratory located in West Hills. We have more than 7,000 employees and 400 locations in the state, many of which are in the Valley. We’ve just become members of VICA and look forward to collaborating with VICA and other members for our mutual benefit in the future.
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.