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Calendar >  December Meeting of Vista Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee

December Meeting of Vista Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee

By   /  December 7, 2023  /  No Comments


Committee Hears from Vista Fire Chief and Director of Vista Economic Development

TR Robertson – The final meeting for 2023 of the Vista Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee heard from two city officials, Vista Fire Chief Gerard Washington and Director Larry Vaupel of Vista’s Economic Development. Vista Fire Chief Gerard Washington told the committee about growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and what led him to always want to be a firefighter. He said his upbringing instilled in him a passion for community engagement. Fire Chief Washington said growing up in a community of tough love helped him along the way. When he found out the position for Fire Chief opened in Vista, he felt the City of Vista was a perfect fit for him and his family. He also said he wanted to thank the city officials, the City Council and specifically John Conley for giving him the opportunity to serve as our Fire Chief. He has a number of programs he wants to begin, such as a mentorship program, and has as his motto for the department, “Vista First”. Fire Chief Washington ended by saying he and his family “feels at home” in Vista.

 Larry Vaupel is the Director for the City of Vista’s Economic Development Department. He presented a detailed power point presentation about the E.D. Strategic Plan update. Larry outlined the various programs the department uses to encourage and educate business in Vista. In the area of Public Relations, he said there are 24 stories about Vista small business, 2 self-guided beer tours selected from the 24 existing breweries and 34 short videos featuring small businesses and restaurants. In other reports, Larry said 110 Vista small businesses received COVID-19 grants totaling around $2 million, grants the Chamber facilitated. In other statistics they gathered – 22% of Vista’s population is under 18, 20% are 20-35 years old, and 35% have an associate degree or come college education. As far as transitioning residents, workers who changed jobs saw a 10% increase in their wages. Employment in the area of computers and mathematics and business and finance were the top job areas. The top industry was Administrative and Support and Waste Management. The Economic Development Depart uses Fee Waive Programs to encourage companies to settle in Vista. Some of these include a business sponsoring Special Events, assisting with the Rising Star Program, granting Film Permits and encouraging involvement with a Restaurant Recruitment Permit Fee. A number of other programs are available for business to explore and use for their business to expand. These include the online Size Up site, Placer.ai, and HubSpot. Each of these provides different ways to evaluate a specific type of business. Market research, study of foot traffic and location and management software provide different ways to grow a business. There is also a Restaurant Recruitment available for the Economic Development Department to make contact with potential restaurants that might move into this area. Larry also went over the CARES program that offers seminars and visits. Job Readiness Room powered by Lightcast assist with job interviews. CVBID activities sponsored for Vista businesses include Food Truck Fridays, the Rod Run, Fright Fest, the Block Party, Winterfest and Dark Xmas.

In 2023 over 300 new businesses opened including K-Tech with 100 employees, Granite Construction with 60 employees, UPS with 120 employees and Fisker Electric Vehicles. Plans for businesses that will open include Miramar Market (taking over the old Von’s, Burgeore Brewery at 501 S. Santa Fe, Burger Bench on Main St., Dutch Bros on Melrose and on Bobier, Prey Brewery on Main St., Black Bear Diner taking over the old Coco’s, Harumama in Vista Village taking over the old Five Guys Burgers and Seafood Restaurant and Market at 324 Main St. Other programs the department wants to begin in 2024 include Linkedin Live programs, Google Ads, attracting high quality big name live entertainment, activating the old Avo Theatre and a Renewed focus on start-ups and Innovate 78.

Governmental Updates:

Imelda Huerta – City of Vista – A detailed explanation of the Clean Energy Project businesses can opt in or out to were covered, the Council will be approving an Environmental Commission, the council will be discussing 4th quarter financial expenditures at an upcoming meeting including the building of restrooms for the new Pala Vista Park. Today’s council meeting will be receiving a homeless update. Upcoming events include the opening ceremony on Dec. 16th for Pala Vista Park at 234 Pala Vista Drive at 10 am. On December 17th with be the Winterfest. Moonlight will soon begin Jingle Terrace. At an upcoming City Council meeting there will be a Heor Proclamationg for Sheriffs and Fire Staff and a Deputy Mayor selection.

Kistal Jabara from County of San Diego Supervisor Jim Desmond’s Office – the last board meeting for the year was held, new supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe was sworn in, and Supervisor Desmond submitted proposal for permanent housing for patients who have gone through the Sober Living program. Non-profit grants are still being issued.

From Congressman Mike Levin’s Office – the November 14th government shutdown was avoided. The Congressman continues to work on several bills for veteran’s benefits.

Fernando Hernandez from Senator Catherine Blakespear’s Office – The Senate is still on recess. The Senator has been visiting sections of the rail corridor to inspect issues. The Senator is co-sponsoring a toy drive with Oceanside Main Street and the Oceanside YMCA.

Ryan Ewart from Assembly Member Laurie Davies Office – Still in recess. Veterans Service Member awards were recently awarded. They held a Open House for their Oceanside Office.

Rachel Beld – CEO of the Vista Chamber of Commerce – Office will be closed Dec. 25-Jan.1

  • The next Vista Chamber Mixer will be at CoLab on December 13 from 5-7 pm.
  • The Vista State of the Community Luncheon will be held on January 22.
  • The Heroes of Vista Celebration will be March 22.

Rachel read a statement dealing with an incident during the Christmas Parade involving a political statement made when an MC interviewed a parade participant. The issue will be dealt with at an upcoming City Council meeting.

Blues Christmas will be Wednesday Dec. 20 from 4-9 pm along Vista’s Paseo Santa Fe District involving 508 Tavern, Guadalupe Tap House, Jackson’s Sport Bar & Grill and Paseo Artist Village.


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