The Chamber has been very busy with different legislation that has been introduced in the last few months that is targeting the ban of natural gas for all development by the year 2030 - for both new AND existing construction - for both commercial AND non-commercial (residential). In a nutshell, NO MORE NATURAL GAS FOR ANYONE IN CALIFORNIA.
We, and many other chambers, have taken a very strong position against these measures and several have been pulled, but this one still is going forward, even while they continue to change its language.
The original hearing date was April 18th, however, this has been postponed to April 25th. Our position has not changed. (Our letter of opposition is attached to this post.) It does not make sense to deny businesses AND residents the ability to use a natural resource that the rest of the country has access to. This will effectively stop the growth of commerce in California and put people out of business.
We encourage you to review the facts for yourself, however time is of the essence (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB3232). They need to hear from you immediately!
Renowned Food Critic Peter Dills to Join the Taste of Duarte
The Duarte Chamber of Commerce is excited to once again have renowned food critic Peter Dills at our Taste of Duarte and Business Expo on May 23, 2018 at Westminster Gardens in Duarte. A strong supporter of local restaurants, Peter has been drawn to the variety of food and beverages at Taste of Duarte for the last three years.
Participant Dean Lyon, owner of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Duarte, was happy to hear that Mr. Dills was returning. “It’s awesome to have Peter Dills at the Taste of Duarte again. Having him here motivates our team to showcase our awesome smoked meats and home style sides. We know Dickey’s in Duarte is the best around, and to be able to share it with Peter is a highlight of our year,” said Dean.
Chamber President Sheryl Lefmann related that, “Having Peter join us again means the world to us. His interaction with the participants and attendees is a highlight of the night. We are proud of our event and his participation is an affirmation of what a great affair it is.”
Peter, also known as the King of Cuisine, readily admits to being born into a world of food. The son of noted restaurant critic Elmer Dills, he and his family moved to Pasadena in 1970 from the “Crab Capitol of the World,” Baltimore.
As far back as he can remember Peter was following his father from restaurant to restaurant, always tasting, always learning about food and always discovering new and exciting foods.
As his food adventure comes full circle, he now stars on TV with the popular Food and Travel show, "Dining with Dills", named after his father. He also is on The Answer AM 870 radio and KLAA Angels Radio AM 830.
To get your tickets, apply as a participant, or inquire about the event, and for detailed pricing packages contact the Duarte Chamber of Commerce at 626-357-3333, or www.tasteofduarte.com.
As you may be aware, in late February, the Chamber posted a blog article (A 10-minute Video That Could Save Your Life) regarding the subject of active shooter. About a month prior to the Florida school shooting, our executive board had discussed having an active shooter seminar. That seminar will be held on April 19 from 11:30am - 1:00pm.
Unfortunately, yesterday's event in at the YouTube campus in San Bruno means our scheduled seminar is becoming more and more relevant. I know it is not a comfortable topic to discuss, but it is necessary. L.A. County Sheriff's Sergeant Mike Harding, a subject matter expert, will provide information that will make a difference in an emergency. Additionally, our local Public Safety Director Brian Villalobos and Sheriff's Captain Dave Flores will be on hand to assist in the discussion. We know that there will be a lot of questions and we have built in a longer Q&A time to accommodate them.
Given the interest level of this subject, we are requesting that you REGISTER NOW to ensure a seat at this FREE SEMINAR. You do not need to be a member or a business to attend. It is open to everyone, but reservations are necessary. A light lunch will be provided. The link to register is below.
Business Owners – what are your biggest concerns in our current times? I suspect that finding qualified candidates for job openings ranks high in those concerns.
Did you know that there is a concerted effort between the State of California, Economic Partnerships, Community Colleges, Universities and local School Districts to begin to help prepare students for work?
The Foothill Consortium Advisory Board is one of those that is active in helping groom students to be the perfect candidate. The purpose is to advance the region’s workforce by:
· Growing high school students within career academies to address the high-wage, high-skill, high-need workforce gaps
· Creating a forum for employers, educators, workforce and economic professionals to support the development of our future workforce
· Making it easy for employers to directly start shaping their future workforce
There are four school districts participating in this consortium by creating Learning Academies
· Charter Oak
There are four Regional Growth Industries the Academies are focused on
· Biotech and Life Sciences
· Tourism and Hospitality
The Academies offer the opportunity to connect all the core classes a student is required to take within the framework of their selected focus. So, when they get an English or Math assignment, it is grounded in the focus area of the Academy.
I’m sure you’re thinking – how what is required of me? Time. Our Chairwoman of the Board Tina Carey is a member of the Foothill Consortium Advisory Board and relayed that:
· "At this point in time, I’ve been to two sessions totaling a total of three hours of my time.
· I have been able to observe students in two academies in Monrovia High School – one focused on IT and one on Visual Arts
· I have been able to provide input as to how my company has used an intern in the Visual Arts Field
· I will have the opportunity to help define what are the key core competencies employees need to enter my workforce"
So, if this sounds like an opportunity for your business to use your time to help define and create our future workforce, this is a great match.
Feel free to contact the Duarte Chamber and we’ll get you connected J
Please help us in welcoming our newest addition – Chamber Charley Horse. As you may recall, the Chamber introduced Chamber Charlie, a plush moose, during the holiday season. He encouraged people to visit him at 20 member locations in 21 days. His presence was so embraced by businesses and the community alike, we were asked to expand the campaign.
Trying to find a mascot, we wanted looked at several options. We chose a horse as it not only was the horse an important part of Rancho Azusa de Duarte’s ability to grow in its farming capabilities and establish itself as a city, it symbolizes the strength of businesses that support the community in the growth of employment, commerce and residential life. The Chamber held a naming competition. With nearly 30 entries received the overwhelming favorite was submitted by Victor Benavides from the City of Hope. Stop by and say hi to Charley sometime!
The Duarte Chamber provided the opportunity for local businesses, residents and officials to have lunch with Assembly Member Blanca Rubio and hear how she is representing our area. Assembly Member Rubio was elected in 2016 and is considered a “moderate democrat” as she does have a commitment to represent business issues along with those of the community.
Blanca has worked tirelessly to give her constituents a voice in the Capitol, placing advocacy for children, women, families, students, and immigrants at the forefront of her work. Since her election in 2016, Blanca has authored bills that support victims of domestic violence, create opportunities for children within the foster care system, ensure our youngest students are given proper support to succeed in school, and support for immigrant communities. Through her work as Chairwoman of the Human Service Committee, Blanca has raised awareness of women’s rights by authoring resolutions that declare August Breast Feeding Awareness Month and October Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Blanca made it clear to everyone in attendance that she is an advocate for issues in her district, and her staff is always available to assist constituents, including cities, businesses and organizations with state related concerns. In one case, during a meeting of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee where discussion of an audit of the state and regional water boards was being considered, she recalled the multiple concerns relayed from the foothill cities in her district regarding the burdensome cost the MS4 Storm Water Permit. The impact to Duarte would be multiple times their annual budget. During this committee discussion, Blanca asked that the audit include the cities in our district be included to help shed light on the process and outcome. The audit was released earlier this month, and the CA Auditor’s report validated the many concerns by cities such as ours. Had it not been for the advocacy of cities such as ours, she would never have had the opportunity to speak on their behalf when the opportunity was presented.
After her update, the Assembly Member responded to several questions from the attendees including what she sees as the biggest issue for businesses over the next two years. Her biggest concern is workforce development and the need for businesses, public entities and schools to partner and ensure young people are getting the skills and training needed for the workplace. One example addressed the anticipated number of employees retiring in the next few years from the Gas Company – leading to a shortage of trained welders. Bob Cruz, past Chair of the Duarte Chamber, was able to share information regarding a partnership between Delafield (a Duarte Chamber business member), the Duarte Chamber, Duarte United School District and Mount San Antonio College. Collectively, a “welding boot camp” was created for juniors and seniors in High School for training through Mt. SAC. Mr. Cruz continued, “The first camp was held last summer and was so successful that the group wants to expand it in the future.” Assemblywoman Rubio eagerly responded, “Let us know how we can help you grow that. I will use that as an example of how they [chamber, education and businesses] are working to develop their workforce.”
Attendees at the luncheon included members of the Duarte Chamber Board, the Duarte Unified School District Board Members Doug Edwards and Reyna Diaz; DUSD Superintendent, Allan Mucerino; Duarte Mayor, John Fasana; Duarte Mayor Pro-Tem Liz Reilly; Duarte City Council Member, Tzeitel Paras-Caracci as well as representatives from the offices of State Senator Anthony Portantino, and County Supervisor, Kathryn Barger.
As a former law enforcement professional, I know the benefit of training and educating the workforce for a situation or event. In my role of president of the Duarte Chamber of Commerce it occurred to me that we should be educating our membership on active shooter. The thought came into my mind about a month ago and I brought it up to the executive board members who agreed we should pursue it. Unfortunately, the events in Florida make it even more timely. The reality is it can hit at any time, in any place, including our work places.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department produced a 10-minute video. Note: the video is graphic and may be disturbing for some viewers. However, it does what it was designed to – it makes you think – which could save you or your co-workers life. The video offers some common-sense actions that you and your staff can take. I highly recommend all our Chamber members view this video and consider using this a tool to share with your employees.
If you would like to have a more in-depth seminar in the future call or email me and we'll develop something to be shared in a face-to-face venue.
As you probably know by now Chamber Charlie, our holiday mascot, was a huge success. He visited 20 locations in 21 days to rave reviews. We were asked by both businesses and the community to have a friend for Charlie during the year, not just holidays. So let me introduce you to - - - well, that's where you come in - - - our new mascot needs a name and we need your help.
Come up with something fun and catchy.. Just send an email to email@example.com (put "A Horse with No Name" in the subject line), with your suggestion and contact information and be entered to win $15 in Chamber Cash! You have until Friday, March 9th to submit so make sure you get your ideas in before then.
Until then, the little one is already been out and about and can't wait to meet you all. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
It occurs to us (Diana, Leonard, and Sheryl) how fortunate we are to be able to experience such a diverse work week in what appears to outsiders as a small little community. We thought it would be great to share with you what we did this week. Mind you, our offices are open four days a week, but we often work weekends and evenings to be able to serve our members and participate in the community. This week was no different. Our week was one that had a special focus on our future work force, Duarte’s youth.
It was the first full week with our two new volunteers, Jessica Flores from Citrus College, and Casey Carrillo from Duarte High School. These ladies jumped in and are super eager to learn everything from basic office operations, marketing, sales, and all-important customer service. We are thrilled to have them join our team and look forward to seeing the contributions they will make at the Chamber.
Sheryl attended a meeting with fellow chamber executives within the San Gabriel Valley to share our successes over the last month and to learn, grow, and share resources.
Diana and Sheryl split events on Tuesday while Leonard held down the fort at the office. Diana met members for our monthly “Lunch Meet.” This month it was held at Morralitos where the attendees enjoyed 99 cent tacos (Taco Tuesday!) and the casual networking that occurs at this event.
Sheryl went to the Kiwanis meeting and heard from Bernadette Lopez one of the AmeriCorps fellows serving at DUSD District office. She provided information to Kiwanians on the literacy program IHeartBooks she is involved in. Member visits and support occurred thought the day.
Business advocacy is something that is a key function of a chamber. Whether it is taking a stand for or against a proposed statewide change or a local issue, the chamber is there on your behalf. Tuesday evening Sheryl attended the Traffic Safety Commission on behalf of businesses to voice their view of requested parking restrictions along Third between Oak and Highland.
In connection with Duarte Unified School District, we held our annual Principal for a Day event. This year we decided to shake things up changing the format for this five-hour event. And we did so in a grand way. Relaunching as PRINCIPAL FOR A NEW DAY, we went with (?) a group of principals to four of our rebranded schools to experience the dynamic changes that have occurred throughout DUSD this year. Sixteen Chamber members participated in the event and based on the initial feedback, it was worth every minute of their day.
One goal of the day was to have businesses see how the local students are being educated so they are ready to join the changing global workforce or college upon graduation. The ideas on how businesses can assist (and vice versa) are formed here and will be introduced through the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership’s pathways program.
And in case you’re wondering, we had a blast as well riding on the bus from school to school and even busted out in a spontaneous dance off with our chamber principals and the kids. Make sure to look on our website and Facebook page for some great pictures and videos from the day.
Our theme of students continued into Thursday with the Chamber participating in the City of Duarte’s Ground Hog job shadow day. We had three students from Duarte High School who visited us for the morning. When they learned about the diverse ways we service our members and the community, they all said they wanted to volunteer! That’s exactly what the program was designed to do, expose the students to different types of work so that they can experience it and see where their passions lie. They even are going to introduce something new and exciting coming up. Make sure and look on our website and social media to see more next week.
We ended our day with a Taste of Duarte planning meeting. We are gearing up to make it even better than last year! Make sure and look on www.tasteofduarte.com, our website, and social media for more information, sponsors, participants and a fun teasers of what is to come.
So, as you might gather, we don’t stop. We continue to serve our members, sell Route 66 merchandise, serve as a resource for visitors and those relocating, coordinate and lead in various events. Best part of it? We get to do it with all of you. That’s what makes our jobs so incredibly rewarding!
Bipartisan coalition call for a "NO" vote for the proposed moratorium on natural gas - let them hear Your voice!
On January 4th, the Duarte Chamber took a stand and signed a petition to have the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) stop a proposed moratorium on new natural gas connections for businesses. Los Angeles County businesses are being faced with an unprecedented action by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) affecting over 700 commercial and industrial businesses. Resolution G-3536, would implement a moratorium on new natural gas connections. The initiative does not allow businesses currently in development to utilize natural gas. This would negatively impact commerce in Duarte, as well as anywhere in the county.
The original hearing date was January 11th, however, this was postponed. Our position has not changed. It does not make sense to deny businesses the ability to use a natural resource that the rest of the country has access to. This will effectively stop the growth of commerce in L.A. County and put people out of business. Additionally, it could lay the foundation to prohibit other restrictions (potentially against other utilities as well) at the whim of the CPUC without due process, time, or options for affected businesses.
I encourage you to review the facts for yourself, however time is of the essence. The CPUC will be hearing this matter on February 8th. They need to hear from you immediately! You can find the resolution online on the CPUC’s website.
Last month, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D - Los Angeles) introduced Assembly Bill 1879, co-authored by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park), that would prevent the CPUC from issuing this moratorium. There is a bipartisan coalition of legislators formed that support bill as well. The next vote by the CPUC is expected to vote on the proposed moratorium this Thursday, February 8th.
The Duarte Chamber of Commerce has already signed a BizFed petition, and I encourage you to consider doing so. The link for the petition is https://bizfedlacounty.org/la-county-needs-natural-gas/.
Duarte Chamber President/CEO