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Updated: Mar 8, 2021

Inflation Every Bite

Global food prices reach a six-year high amid the pandemic. Food in nearly every category increased in price in the U.S. with omnivore diets taking the biggest hit. The annual cost of meat, poultry, fish, and dairy increased on average between 4.4% and 9.6% year over year, while the price of fresh fruit dropped 0.8%, according to the USDA.

Welcome to the Neighborhood Amazon

Amazon Union Is a tough sell in town when $15 wages enter the conversation. I only mention the union because Amazon is said to be building a fulfillment center in Santee.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors to approve the construction of a distribution warehouse near Gillespie Field in El Cajon. Amazon to lease the space at the northwest corner of Cuyamaca Street and Weld Boulevard. Plans submitted to El Cajon show a 142,746-square-foot warehouse that will include a 17,000-square-foot office, more than a dozen docking sites, and nearly 970 parking spots. County Supervisor Joel Anderson, whose District 2 includes Gillespie Field, sent an email to constituents last week asking them to “sign a petition to let the Board of Supervisors know how you feel about bringing 400 new jobs to East County,” Some Santee residents who live close to the site have been speaking out against the plans for the warehouse. They have deep concerns about traffic and noise. According to documents provided by the city of El Cajon, the proposed delivery station would run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Operations would consist of about 230 delivery vans loading and departing from the delivery station at a rate of 75 vans every 20 minutes between 9:50 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. and returning to the delivery station between 7:10 p.m. and 9:10 p.m. Chesnut (Lee Chesnut, the investor behind the project) says vans would back out of parking spaces at around 9 in the morning, leave the property and return no later than 9 p.m. (10 p.m. in “peak season”) and vans will pull into the parking space, no back-up alarms. He said the vans are not used during the night so there will not be any noise at all and that “it is a parking lot until the next morning.”

Green Energy/ Bonds

Green the color of the environment and money. Nature bonds may be the next big thing for emerging markets, according to Bloomberg Green. They are expected to grow by a third this year to record levels, as governments and companies look to capitalize on booming demand at the same time as bolstering their image. Yet academics and activists say this alone isn’t enough to save the planet, which I don’t understand, the government and these companies are also the ones killing the planet so they should at the very least… stop killing it and help heal. The talks, involving the U.S., China, the U.K. and Germany, come as mitigating climate change and spurring a greener recovery from the pandemic climb up the agenda for governments. The World Bank and major sovereign creditors plan to make their debt more sustainable. The idea includes plans for an advisory hub to match borrowers with creditors. “This year provides an historic opportunity to harvest a double dividend by aligning sovereign debt relief with nature and climate outcomes,” said Zadek, who previously led a green finance task force for the United Nations. “The only reason we need this platform is because investment banks don’t know much about this subject.” I don’t really believe him, considering last year (2020) the largest companies around the world committed to greener goals, and ESG investing is at a peak. There’s already been a rush by governments around the world to issue record levels of green bonds, which mainly focus on funding clean energy projects. Poland issued the first sovereign green notes in 2016. “Investors really want to push countries to be ambitious and for there to be a way for there to be consequences to actually meet targets,” said Fiona Stewart, lead financial sector specialist at the World Bank, adding the discussions were ongoing. “This is a really interesting potential way to do that if you can link sovereigns to these results.”

I guess the world will be using Pakistan and Poland as examples and models for Green Bond. Hydrogen set for $960 million push in Polish Green Recovery Plan. Poland plans to invest 797 million euros ($960 million) to develop the production and distribution of hydrogen, using the European Union's economic rescue fund to speed up its shift to clean energy. When reading this I thought of Airbus and their hydrogen aircraft they're developing and says will be the first one on the market.

President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, ended the Keystone Pipeline, the progessives in Congress are pushing for a Green New Deal - type action, and other pro-environment actions; opposition’s main argument is that the jobs aren’t there, people can’t be retrained, and the investment isn’t naturally there it’s only liberal big government interventions in the sector. Enters common sense… followed by Workrise. Workrise placed 4,500 workers in green jobs last year, four times the amount in 2019. Workrise is developing a dedicated GWO-certified training facility to support training programs in a variety of roles. Workrise has also pledged $200,000 in building programs to upskill workers and this Company Helps Roughnecks Find Renewable Energy Jobs. To be honest, I agree with Andrew Yang, retraining people for green jobs will be difficult to say the least, the government will not be able to do it, simply because big governments are slow and more for general- blanketing policies. Private companies like Workrise, have the right approach of meeting people where they are and bridging the gaps to employment in green sector jobs.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers struck a deal. It does not require schools to open but instead offers financial incentives for those that do. If schools do not open by the end of March, they will start to lose a percentage of money for each day they remain closed starting April 1. While a Capitol deal may propel districts toward reopening, local school boards and their labor unions still have final say, and many want safety assurances that include vaccines and ventilation improvements. The New plan tie reopenings to vaccination totals and will prioritize getting Covid-19 vaccines to communities hardest hit by the pandemic. As the state makes progress in vaccinating lower-income residents, it will in turn ease the requirements counties need to meet to advance through Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the four-tiered color-coded system that regulates the opening, closure and capacity limits for businesses based on a county’s rate of new COVID infections and testing positivity rates.

All Southern California counties are currently in the most restrictive “purple” tier of that blueprint, and thus are subject to the tightest economic restrictions, including low capacity limits at retail stores and forced closures of movie theaters, indoor restaurants and indoor fitness centers. State officials noted that COVID infection rates among households that earn less than $40,000 a year are more than double those of households with an income of $120,000 or more. Wealthier residents, however, are being vaccinated at nearly double the rate of lower- income communities. I believe Governor Newsom to be too much of a DC crony, whether the puppeteer is Pelosi or Biden it doesn't matter. Biden wants schools open by the end of March. As for gyms and restaurants, a San Diego Superior Court judge (Kenneth J. Medel) on Wednesday, denied a request for a preliminary injunction stemming from a lawsuit filed by a group of local restaurants and gyms seeking to resume indoor operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also with Recall looming, he will need to open California up soon. In addition to the recall effort, Newsom is facing a low point in his approval ratings as well as criticism over his handling of the state's coronavirus response and vaccine rollout. The deadline for organizers to submit signatures is on March 17. If the effort succeeds, a recall election would likely occur later this year. More than 670,000 had been verified in February.

Thousands of doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be in California next week, Gov Newsom announced. Merck will be making the vaccine for J&J. Which is probably best since they have that whole talcum powder incident, and then after that they have the opioid case.

New York Gov. Cuomo has sexual harassment allegations and more grievous claims, covering up elder deaths in facilities, aiming for his resignation. Some people want him gone and if the elderly homes didn't do it, now he has to survive Me Too.

Last but not least, Texas Gov. Abbott announced state mandates are no longer needed. Personal responsibility for safety for self, others, and community was expressed in the speech he gave. Until/ unless 15% hospitalization rate for a week, nothing will be done. Also no penalties for being mask less.

DC Function/ Disfunction

Biden said in a statement that Tanden had requested to withdraw her name from consideration, and that she would still serve in his administration. Which makes no sense considering enough people obviously didn't want her in the Administration. No need to fear, CBC has a nominee they promoted on Twitter, Shalanda Young. During Young’s first confirmation hearing to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, GOP lawmakers boosted her as an alternative to Tanden, just hours before the White House withdrew Tanden’s nomination for OMB director. Even a Slytherin member gave positive remarks, “You’ll get my support, maybe for both jobs,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Young. “Everybody who deals with you on our side has nothing but good things to say. You might talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it,” Graham said. Also, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) also backed Young for the director job before the White House nominated Tanden, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

With Tandan out of the way, Republicans are now looking to prevent the confirmation of Health and Human Services nominee, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. If a majority of the committee, whose membership is split evenly among Democrats and Republicans, does not agree to report favorably to the Senate on Becerra's nomination, it may still opt to report without any recommendation. This would still allow the full Senate to move forward with its vote. While Becerra has a history of fighting for the Affordable Care Act, he lacks any medical background to support his intended role as a top U.S. health official, a factor that some conservatives have taken issue with. Reasons why Biden may have tapped him for the position, under Becerra, the state of California sued President Trump over 100 times on cases focused on immigration, the environment, and healthcare. The California Democrat has also appeared in the Supreme Court to defend the Affordable Care Act, leading a coalition of 20 states in California vs. Texas after Republican lawmakers sought to dismantle the federal healthcare program.

The Senate parliamentarian strikes again. This time to strike from the coronavirus relief package a $100 million extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system outside San Francisco. GOP lawmakers are also touting the removal of $1.5 million for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Ontario. A Senate source, however, said Schumer had no knowledge the funding for the bridge was even included in the bill until he read about it in the media.

The Fed has said they expect to keep the policy interest rates near zero until the economy has reached maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2% and is on track to moderately exceed that level for some time. In a closely watched speech, Powell said that the bond market sell off of the past few weeks has his attention and the central bank would not sit back and let the financial market conditions tighten broadly. Markets are worried that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 fiscal stimulus plan will overheat the economy and cause inflation.

The $1,400 checks in the Senate’s version of the plan will start to phase out at $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers, and end fully for those who earn $80,000 and $160,000, respectively.

That's what crossed my feed this week. Anything peaked your interest? Something you want to add? Anything you think I should follow up on? Comment below. Thanks for reading.

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