Mayoral debate centers on homelessness and small-business issues - pbmonthly.net

Mayoral debate centers on homelessness and small-business issues - pbmonthly.net


Mayoral debate centers on homelessness and small-business issues - pbmonthly.net

Posted: 23 Sep 2020 09:49 AM PDT

With six weeks left until the election in the San Diego mayoral race, the candidates — City Councilwoman Barbara Bry and state Assemblyman Todd Gloria — appealed to downtown business owners, landlords and residents in a teleconferenced debate about issues facing the Gaslamp area.

The Sept. 22 debate, presented by the the Gaslamp Quarter Association — a nonprofit merchants association that represents more than 400 businesses in the area — focused on issues most important to those living and working in downtown San Diego, including homelessness, infrastructure, the use of the San Diego Convention Center and restrictions placed on small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The two candidates agreed on most issues. Both said they are against the current San Diego County public health order that requires restaurants to stop serving meals at 10 p.m., a restriction put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Since most restaurants in the Gaslamp area depend on revenue generated between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. and businesses have already implemented social-distancing protocols and other coronavirus safety measures, many business owners feel the restriction should be removed or at least extended beyond 10 p.m.

Gloria said he was on board with a "modest modification" to the county's rule, given that restaurants have proved they can operate safely.

"I think this is the kind of modification that we should be considering," Gloria said. "When we were advocating early in the pandemic ... there was a question about whether or not businesses would be willing or able to handle this successfully and safely, and I think the fact of the matter is that they've been able to do that."

Bry said she agreed, since even an hour extension could help the downtown economy.

"It makes economic sense. You're going to employ people," Bry said. "You're going to pay them. They're going to pay taxes. You're going to be generating more revenue [and] sales tax revenue for the city, and you're already [operating] safely. Giving you an extra hour is only a win-win for all of us."

Bry and Gloria were both in support of converting Fifth Avenue into a pedestrian-friendly promenade, a project many local business owners support, as it could help improve foot traffic in the area.

The two candidates also agreed that criminalizing homelessness is the wrong way to address the large homeless population in San Diego County — and more specifically in downtown San Diego.

They both said there needs to be a change in how homeless calls are addressed by law enforcement. There instead needs to be an increase in the number of trained mental health professionals who are better equipped at addressing the needs of homeless people, they said.

Bry's and Gloria's opinions clashed on Assembly Bill 5, which was signed in 2019 by Gov. Gavin Newsom and places limits on how businesses use independent contractors.

The law, which took effect in January, aimed to prevent workers from being wrongly classified as independent contractors, or "gig workers," rather than employees, which supporters of the legislation said allowed employers to erode basic worker protections such as minimum wage, paid sick days and health insurance benefits.

Opponents and businesses hurt by the bill said it jeopardizes business and could force companies to shut down service in California or dramatically raise prices.

As a member of the state Assembly, Gloria voted for AB5 and said he still supports the legislation.

"Obviously in the pandemic, we have come to understand the extreme importance of unemployment insurance, of access to paid sick days," Gloria said. "When workers are not provided that, that is benefits, that is money that flows into the pockets of the corporations that employ them, not to the benefit of the broader society."

Bry has called for the repeal of AB5, calling it a "job killer" that has disproportionately hurt small businesses and was an antiquated approach that allows too many exemptions for industries to bypass the law's requirements.

Bry said there's a better approach offered in Proposition 22, which will be on the November ballot and guarantees benefits on a sliding scale, depending on how many hours employees work. It also guarantees "gig workers" more than the minimum wage, health care subsidies, also on a sliding scale, and occupational accident and injury insurance.

Gloria said he does not support Prop. 22.

Bry is a La Jolla resident who currently serves as president pro tem of the San Diego City Council, representing District 1, a seat she has held since 2016. On the council, she serves as chairwoman of the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee and vice chairwoman of the Rules Committee and the Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods.

Bry said she could have sought re-election in District 1 but opted instead to run for mayor to try to cut the bureaucratic red tape she has encountered while serving on the council and to bring more accountability to the office.

"I probably could have had a second term on the City Council very easily, but I decided that I wanted to step up and use my executive experience to make significant change," Bry said. "[I want] to truly develop a culture that is accountable and transparent and responsive to the needs of our businesses and our residents."

Gloria served on the San Diego City Council from 2008 to 2016, when he was elected to represent the 78th District in the California Assembly. He was named council president in 2012 and served as interim mayor in 2013 following the resignation of then-Mayor Bob Filner, who faced sexual harassment allegations.

Gloria said he wants to lead San Diego to address problems that have plagued the city for years, such as infrastructure, affordable housing and increasing numbers of homeless people.

"It is time for us to quit acting like a small town and instead start acting like the eighth-largest city in the country that we are," he said. "If we do that, we can dispense with the issues that have been on the table for so long but never seem to get addressed."

Both Bry and Gloria are Democrats, though the mayor's position is officially nonpartisan.

Economy Most Important Issue for Small Business Owners Ahead of Election - Small Business Trends

Posted: 24 Sep 2020 05:00 AM PDT

As the US Presidential election nears, the top concern for small businesses is the economy.

A new poll by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife reveals over half (57%) of small business owners rank the economy as the first or second most important issue influencing who they will cast their votes for. 



Economy the Top Election Issue for Small Business Owners

Besides the economy other issues that keep businesses up at night include: 

  • COVID-19 25%
  • Healthcare 25%

Breakdown of the Perceptions

In terms of demographics, women small business owners rate race issues next to the economy that will determine which way they vote. Female small business owners are twice (16%) as likely to consider racial inequality compared to their male counterparts (8%). Veteran owned businesses for their part view education (25%) and immigration reform (19%) as important next to the state of the economy.

2020 has also seen more engagement among small businesses in terms of elections compared to 2016. Some 62% of small business owners are more interested in the 2020 election compared to 2016. Small businesses in the Midwest are more likely to show interest (71%) when compared to in the South (63%), in the Northeast (58%), and in the West (57%).   

Small Business Worries

According to the Small Business Index, businesses are still trying to recover from the effects of COVID-19. So much so, 74% of them are concerned about the impact of COVID-19

This has prompted many to have predominantly negative feelings towards the current state of the economy. This is with 78% of small businesses describing the economy as 'average', 'somewhat poor', or 'very poor' in August. The dissatisfaction in August shows an increase of 8 points from July's poll.

A further 81% of small businesses say that the impact of a candidate's policies on their business will determine how they vote. However, 68% of small business owners agree that it is more important for political leaders to compromise than stick to their beliefs in order to get things done. Overwhelmingly (82%) of small business owners believe partisan gridlock in the federal government is a serious problem.   

Image: Depositphotos.com


Thanks to the Covid bailout, the stories of small business fraud keep rolling in - The Guardian

Posted: 24 Sep 2020 04:02 AM PDT

Maybe it's just a dark side of my nature, but I love stories of financial fraud. What makes these people do it? How can they sleep at night? And these are heady times for fans of small business fraud stories.

Thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) coronavirus bailout and a slew of investigations made public recently by the Justice Department, the stories of fraud continue to roll in.

Take Joshua Bellamy. The 31-year-old wide receiver – well, former wide receiver – for the New York Jets has been charged with obtaining millions in PPP loans by submitting false documentation and then spending the money on things like jewelry, expensive clothes and about $63,000 on what must have been one hell of a weekend at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida.

Speaking of Florida, where so many of these things seem to happen, there's the roofer who applied for and received PPP money, and then rather than using it for payroll instead allegedly took $689,417 of it and bought a 40ft boat.

One Virginia business owner and his wife got a little more complicated. They allegedly formed four shell companies and over a three-week period applied for 18 PPP loans amounting to more than $6.6m under the pretense that the money would be used for payroll commitments that didn't exist. They actually got $1.4m of the money and promptly tried to flee to Poland where they were caught at the airport.

Then there were the bankers – yes, big surprise, I know - at JP Morgan Chase who I guess saw all that government cash flowing to those small business owners and apparently decided – because they don't make enough themselves – that the money would be much better off in their pockets rather than being used for silly things like employing people or paying rent. So they made false applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and deposited the funds in their personal accounts. Until, of course, internal auditors noticed the transactions and notified management who fired the culprits.

Want a few more?

There's the young (22 years old) entrepreneur in Texas named Lola who applied for PPP money to cover the costs of "several employees and large payroll expenses" but in the end had neither. There were two men in Spartanburg, South Carolina, who were caught allegedly "laundering" more than $390,000 of PPP money through casinos and a heroin and meth ring and there I was thinking Walter White was dead. There's the Seattle doctor who had a criminal history and allegedly sought millions in PPP loans for businesses with no actual operations by submitting applications with made up numbers and fake documentation. And the marketing guy in San Diego whose latest and most brilliant campaign was to create fake employees and pitch the government for money except that idea, like most marketing ideas, turned out to be not-so-brilliant.

My favorite is a guy named David Hines who got $4m in loans and used it to buy a Lamborghini, jewelry, clothes, nights at the Fontainebleau Hotel and thousands of dollars on "dating" websites.

There can not be any doubt that there are many others out there that we don't know about, happily living their lives in Poland or elsewhere because they figured out how to steal taxpayer money and get away with it.

As I wrote previously, the stimulus process was flawed because it had to be: money needed to quickly get in the hands of small business owners who truly needed it and we all knew there were gaps in the process. It's important that the government investigate, if only just to show that they're paying attention. They'll never catch all the crooks. But as Congress discusses the next round of PPP let's hope all these Netflix-worthy stories don't give too many other people ideas.

Small business challenger bank Finom raises another $12 million to expand in Europe - TechCrunch

Posted: 24 Sep 2020 12:56 AM PDT

B2B financial service start-up Finom — which provides online financial services for SMEs, freelancers, and the self-employed in Europe — has raised an additional $12 million (€10.3 million) to add to its previous Seed round of €6.5 million last April. The total funding raised in 2020 is now €16.8 million, and this is before the company has done a Series A round. Investors include Target Global (Germany), Cogito Capital (Poland), Entree Capital (Israel), Avala Capital (Germany), Tal Capital (India), and Adfirst Ventures FJ Labs (USA).

The additional investment round will allow Finom to extend its licensed activities, develop product and enter new European markets.

Founded in 2019, Finom is based out of the Netherlands and was founded by the team previously responsible to Modulbank, a B2B online banks in Russia. So far it providing an e-invoicing service in Italy, and will launch in France this October.

Similar to other online challenger banks aimed at SMEs, the company is aiming at countries where there is a relatively low penetration of online SME banking players, such as as Poland, Spain, Austria, Switzerland.

Spartanburg small business “Be Patient Caregiving” discusses starting a business during a pandemic - WSPA 7News

Posted: 24 Sep 2020 02:49 AM PDT

BOILING SPRINGS, S.C. (WSPA) – In a time when businesses are closing down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one small business owner in Spartanburg County started a business to help serve a current need.

Cecily Baker went through the Start:ME business incubator program with the Northside Development Group.

After 23 years of experience, she decided to start a caregiving business after seeing a need for the services in Spartanburg and the surrounding area. She said many families are afraid to send their loved ones to nursing homes due to the pandemic. Her company will try to help solve that problem by offering care for seniors and older adults.

Baker's business, Be Patient Caregiving, will open this weekend. She is looking to make some immediate hires.

To apply to work for Be Patient Caregiving or learn more about their services visit bepatientcaregiving.com. You can also call (864) 284-2504 or email admin@bepatientcaregiving.org.

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