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San Diego Scene 10.09

Artist Grant Pecoff uses vibrant colors and exaggerated perspectives to show everyday subjects in a new way, as this rendition of the Little Italy sign and surrounding buildings. Pecoff and his wife, Layne, own the Pecoff Gallery at 1825 India St. in Little Italy
(619-231-1991). They also will be releasing at the end of this year their newest book,
i thought: a story of awakening, which, in their words, reconnects us to the joy of being and the stillness within. The book is meant for all ages.

Should all the rumors and bloggings prove true about the Blackstone Group’s intention to purchase Busch Entertainment Co., the division of AB-Bev that owns SeaWorld (including SeaWorld San Diego) and Busch Gardens theme parks, it could make for some interesting synergies with other properties that the private company owns, but it could also prove a challenge to the possible new owner. That’s according to Erik Bruvold, president and CEO of the National University System Institute for Policy Research in San Diego. Bruvold notes that Blackstone owns a share of Legoland California in Carlsbad. Blackstone also owns about half of the Universal Orlando resort and theme parks.

“We know that the theme park business requires the continual — about once every three years — opening of a new major attraction just to keep attendance up and convince people who have been to the park that they need to go back and see what is new,” says Bruvold. “That’s a challenge for a private equity firm.”

Irrespective of whether it is Blackstone or some other possible buyer, says Bruvold, “What San Diego wants is a buyer who is committed to continue investing in the park, one who is able to make major capital investments every few years. Those (who aren’t committed to that) will see attendance dropping off.”
With 4.15 million visitors counted in 2008, SeaWorld San Diego ranked fourth in attendance among California amusement/theme parks, 12th in the nation and 21st in the world, according to Themed Entertainment Association/Economics Research Associates’ Attraction Attendance Report 2008.  And SeaWorld was the second most cited attraction that overnight visitors to San Diego attended or intended to visit according to the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. Only beaches were cited more often.

A report on The indicates the joining of Universal and SeaWorld “would create a destination that could compete much stronger against their chief competition for tourist dollars in Central Florida — Walt Disney World… In California Legoland and SeaWorld can now work closer together to attract visitors and save on supply orders and management costs. That seems like a potential plus too.”


What are your favorite hangouts Downtown? San Diego Metropolitan is soliciting your ideas on establishments that you consider the best products or services. Think in terms of restaurants and their best offerings, from appetizers to desserts, from seafood to tacos, from power lunch to romantic rendesvous. But don’t forget your favorite masseuse, gym, dentist, or doggie daycare. You’ll find a complete list of categories online at Email your recommendations to Kris Grant, editor, at We’ll have the results in our November issue.

We’d also like to invite your suggestions of persons in the San Diego area who you believe will make a significant contribution to the community in 2010 through his or her job or through their other activities. We’re not interested in getting resumés. We want the names of Movers and Shakers who are going to shake up San Diego. Our annual Movers and Shakers event and list will be out in our January issue.

Cricket Communications Inc., the operating subsidiary of Leap Wireless, has moved its 400 San Diego-area employees to a new corporate building at 5887 Copley Dr. Company officials said the building, constructed by Reno Contracting, was designed to meet Gold Level LEED certification. DPR Construction performed Cricket’s tenant improvement work. Besides its office spaces, the building will include a café, fitness center, half basketball court, putting green, lounges and other amenities designed to “increase collaboration and socialization,” the company said. Green efforts include the recycling of 75 percent of construction and demolition waste, the use of high-efficiency plumbing to reduce water use by 40 percent, the use of recycled materials, natural lighting and preferred parking spaces for employees with hybrid vehicles, bicycles and those in carpools.
Working out of the building are Cricket’s senior leadership, including Doug Hutcheson, president and CEO; Walter Berger, executive vice president and CFO; and Glenn Umetsu, executive vice president and chief technical officer. Cricket’s gross sales for fiscal 2008 were $1.7 billion.
The SDSU Business Alumni Network (BAN), a networking group of alumni, the College of Business Administration and San Diego businesses, has named a new leadership group for 2009-2010. Midori Connolly, CEO of Pulse Staging and Events, is president. Other members of the board are
J. Kingston Cowart of the Center for Self-Change, president-elect; Andrew Monarch of Footwear etc., immediate past president; Mike Lane of Catalyst Law, secretary; Edris S. Shah of Gatto, Pope & Walwick LLP, treasurer; Erika Werner of Red Door Interactive, vice president of social networking; Arika A. Daniels of The PR Mavens, vice president of marketing; Liz Drout of Education Systems, vice president of college business relations; and Mark Stadwiser of Specialty Marketing Inc., vice president of professional development. BAN is the largest chapter in the SDSU Alumni Association. Upcoming events include a networking mixer at Stone Brewing Co. in the first week of October and a social media seminar in November. Membership is open to the entire San Diego business community, not just graduates. For more information, visit

The San Diego chapter of the Public Relations Society of America will host a free, one-day workshop on Oct. 24 for San Diego-area nonprofit organizations to provide thousands of dollars worth of free public relations advice and guidance. The event, “Quality Time with PR Minds,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at AMN Healthcare, 12400 High Bluff Drive, San Diego. “During these tough economic times, it is more imperative than ever to keep your nonprofit organization on the forefront of community members’ minds — it can literally make the difference as to whether or not you get the funding you need to continue to keep your doors open over the next six to 12 months,” says Anne Stephany, PRSA board member and the director of public relations for Loews Hotels. Last year, more than 20 public relations professionals offered consultation to 10 nonprofit organizations, including Alzheimer’s Association San Diego/Imperial, Fresh Start, Juvenile Court Book Club and San Diego Armed Services YMCA. This year, PRSA San Diego anticipates serving 10 to 15 nonprofit organizations also representing a variety of community services throughout San Diego County.

The San Diego Natural History Museum will introduce its new Dolby 3D technology on Oct. 8 with the showing of “Dinosaurs Alive!” on the 56-foot screen of the museum’s 300-seat stadium-style theater, one of the largest 3D installations in Southern California. The Downing 3D Experience is sponsored by John and Tracy Downing, Downing Family Foundation; Eleanor and Jerry Navarra, Jerome’s Furniture; and Stephen Cohen, president of Private Asset Management Inc. John Downing, Eleanor Navarra and Cohen are members of the museum’s board of directors. The theater is included with general admission to the museum and is free for museum members (effective Nov. 7, admission prices will be $10–16, with discounts for students, military, youth, seniors and groups). Dolby 3D uses high-performance, eco-friendly glasses that require no batteries or charging and can be cleaned and reused repeatedly, reducing waste associated with a disposable-glasses model. Dolby 3D uses a full-spectrum color-filter technology licensed from Infitec that provides realistic color reproduction and an extremely sharp image.

“Dinosaurs Alive!” is narrated by Michael Douglas. The film brings dinosaurs, their behaviors and their ancient environments to life on screen —juxtaposing realistic and scientifically accurate computer-generated imagery with 1920s documentary footage, dramatic new scenes of real fossils and current dinosaur-hunting expeditions. Using state-of-the-art techniques, the film features animation and a live-action story that joins paleontologists from the American Museum of Natural History as they uncover new fossils — including the discovery of what may be the oldest dinosaur ever found in North America. For more information, call (619) 232-3821 or visit

Laura Broderick, the former global consumer e-commerce director for Dell Inc., has been hired by the San Diego Padres as senior vice president for brand development. Broderick worked in several capacities over her 10 years with Dell. She most recently ran the more than $4 billion global on-line consumer business for the company. Her experience at Dell also included running all of its digital consumer marketing and leading the launch of its entry into the printer business. Prior to Dell, Broderick worked in investment banking and private equity, including time at Bain Capital in its Boston office.

Urban Trees, the popular public art project that the Port District started in 2003, has a new set of artistic sculptures. They were dedicated last month at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal at 1140 North Harbor Drive. This year’s exhibit of Urban Trees is diverse. There are abstract sculptures, sculptures that resemble old industrial machines and some that are sleek and shiny. Some of them relay messages about protecting the environment and protecting the ocean. Others are fun and lighthearted. A giant box of popcorn overflows with oversized baby chicks. A couple of feet away, a giant tuning fork with wavy branches points out toward the sea. A few yards from that, three spotted frogs frolic up a game board that swirls to the sky.  The Port’s Public Art Committee picks 30 of these to be made into life-sized sculptures to be exhibited on the north embarcadero of San Diego Bay for a period of one year. Artists are given a base and a pole to serve as the tree’s “trunk” and are given a stipend of $2,500 to use for materials. The artists can choose any type of materials to fasten to the pole and base to create their trees. “Urban Trees 6 promises to be just as innovative as our past exhibits,” said Yvonne Wise, who oversees the Port’s public art program. “The project really contributes to the uniqueness of our bay front and helps to brand it as a destination.”

Pamela Lawton Wilson, a shareholder with the San Diego-based law firm of Wertz McDade Wallace Moot & Brower, has been designated as an accredited professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. Wertz McDade is the first San Diego law firm with a LEED-accredited professional. “With the LEED accreditation, Pam is uniquely qualified to assist our clients with sustainability issues and navigating the multitude of green building contract and regulatory requirements,” says John Stephens, president and managing shareholder of Wertz McDade. Wilson is leading the firm’s development of its sustainability and green practice group. Wilson received her undergraduate degree with honors from UCSD and a law degree, cum laude, from California Western School of Law. She is a member of Lawyers Club of San Diego, the Greater San Diego Business Association, the California Political Attorneys Association, the San Diego County Bar Association and Women’s Empowerment International.

Local attorney, Michael T. O’Halloran, a bankruptcy lawyer, received the 2009 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award from the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (SDVLP), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide free legal services in civil matters to indigent individuals, families and groups. In his 15 years as a SDVLP pro bono attorney, O’Halloran has contributed more than 1,000 hours of service for the HIV/AIDS Legal Services Project, Veterans Stand Down and the Women’s Resource Fair. In addition to O’Halloran, Cooley Godward Kronish received SDVLP’s Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award. In addition to his pro bono work with SDVLP, O’Halloran has also provided pro bono legal counseling for victims of the San Diego wild fires, as well as conducting training classes for other pro bono attorneys on the basics of bankruptcy law.

O’Halloran is the founder of the Downtown San Diego Law Office of Michael T. O’Halloran, a firm specializing in representing clients in insolvency counseling and representation of debtors, creditors and bankruptcy trustees in all types of consumer and business bankruptcy proceedings.

More than 20 local elected officials, political consultants and campaign managers will provide nuts-and-bolts training on running for office – with a special emphasis on breaking down the barriers that prevent more women from participating in the political process – at a Political Boot Camp set for Saturday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A networking reception follows at AMN Healthcare, 13400 High Bluff Drive.

The Boot Camp, presented by Lawyers Club of San Diego along with co-sponsors Run Women Run and the San Diego County Bar Association, is open to the public and will feature panel discussions on fundraising, the mechanics of getting on the ballot, honing a candidate’s message, campaigning and break-out training sessions on fundraising, campaigning, seeking judicial office, and managing political campaigns.

The event also will include a luncheon with a keynote speaker and will conclude with a reception during which participants can meet and network with local candidates, political officials and others involved in the political process. The law firm of DLA Piper will sponsor the hosted networking reception.

Confirmed speakers include Olga Diaz, Escondido City Council member; Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego district attorney; Laura Fink, political consultant and principal of Fink & Hernandez Consulting; Kathleen Harmon, campaign manager for Vickie Butcher; Denise Jenkins, elections analyst, San Diego City Clerk’s Office; Benjamin Katz, founder and president of; Shane LaVigne, campaign fundraising chair for Crystal Crawford for State Assembly 2010; Brian Marvel, board president of the San Diego Police Officers Association; Jane Potter, former chief of staff for San Diego City Council members; Larry Remer, political consultant and principal of The Primacy Group; Lynn Schenk, former U.S. Representative; Deborah Seiler, San Diego County Registrar of Voters; Amita Sharma, KPBS reporter; San Diego Superior Court Judge Rod Shelton; Stacie Spector, associate vice chancellor of UCSD; Jim Sutton, partner at the Sutton Law Firm; Jennifer Tierney, political consultant and principal of the Gemini Group; Cynthia Vicknair, political consultant and principal of CynKat Communications; John Wainio, political consultant and president of The San Diego Group; Sheryl White, principal of Statecraft Inc.; and Pamela Lawton Wilson, chair of the political law practice group at Wertz McDade Wallace Moot & Brower.

The program costs $50 for Lawyers Club, Run Women Run and SDCBA members who pre-register and $60 for non-members and late registration. Register online at For more information, contact Leadership Development Committee co-chairs Amy Lepine at or Jodi Cleesattle at

CleanTECH San Diego, a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating San Diego’s position as a world leader in the clean energy economy, has announced three additions to its board of directors: Lee Barken of Haskell & White, Erik Caldwell, office of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, and Michael J. Whitton of Troutman Sanders.

Barken brings several years of experience in climate change policy analysis, offsets, and carbon credits. He is a recognized leader in carbon accounting at Haskell & White, where he works as the IT practice leader, specializing in IT auditing and internal controls testing. Barken currently serves as treasurer for the U.S. Green Building Council’s San Diego chapter. Barken writes and speaks on carbon accounting, green building, and IT audit compliance, and is the author of “How Secure Is Your Wireless Network?” “Safeguarding Your Wi-Fi LAN” and “Wireless Hacking: Projects for Wi-Fi Enthusiasts.”

Caldwell specializes in issues of clean technology, environmental matters, energy issues, and other strategic initiatives. He serves as the mayor’s representative to the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee.

Whitton is the managing partner at Troutman Sanders, where he’s a member of the executive committee and a practice group leader. Whitton is considered an expert in the acquisition, development and financing of golf courses and country clubs, hotels, marinas and other resort properties. He also has considerable experience in renewable energy development.

To learn more about CleanTECH San Diego, visit

The stage production of “The Lion King” will leap onto the Civic Theatre stage from Tuesday, Oct. 13, to Sunday, Nov. 8. The engagement is one of seven productions running worldwide along with New York, London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Paris and Las Vegas.

Two San Diego natives are in the company: Granite Hills High School grad Jared Tanner is the standby for Pumbaa, Timon & Zazu and grew up in Lakeside and El Cajon; wardrobe assistant Gretchen Heidenreich attended SDSU and was an acting student at The Old Globe Theatre.

Now in its second sold-out decade in New York, “The Lion King” is the winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, the New York Drama Critics award for Best Musical, the Evening Standard Award for the Theatrical Event of the Year, two Olivier Awards, a Theatre World Award, the Astaire Award for Outstanding Choreography, two Drama League Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

Director Julie Taymor became the first woman in Broadway history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. Taymor, along with Michael Curry, created hundreds of masks and puppets for “The Lion King.”

Phindile Mkhize as “Rafiki” in the opening number “The Circle of Life” Photo by Joan Marcus

Phindile Mkhize as “Rafiki” in the opening number “The Circle of Life” Photo by Joan Marcus

In San Diego, “The Lion King” will play Tuesday through Sunday. Ticket prices range from $20 to $79. Additionally, Premium Ticket Packages are available for $132.50, which includes a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item. Orders for groups of 20 or more may be placed by calling (619) 564-3001.

Smith Consulting Architects has completed design for the new two-story, 17,000-square-foot Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center at the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Beech Street at 1525 Fourth Ave. in Downtown San Diego. Senior Community Centers, in partnership with HomeAid San Diego, is the developer of the $3.4 million tenant improvement project, which involves rehabilitation of an existing 60-year-building. The project is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Ledcor Construction was selected as the general contractor for the project based on the firm’s credentials and commitment to supporting the Senior Community Centers’ efforts to limit construction costs. Integrated Project Management is serving as the owner’s representative. Completion is targeted for early 2010.

The new Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center will replace the Senior Community Centers’ aging Downtown facility at Ninth and Broadway and provide a state-of-the-art, one-stop health and wellness hub for low-income seniors throughout San Diego. The new facility is expected to serve as a model for healthy aging that can be replicable in other cities across the United States. Senior Community Centers received a lead gift of $3 million from the Gary and Mary West Foundation to help acquire the building.

Two new buildings dedicated to ocean science are planned for Scripps Institution of Oceanography. They will house state-of-the-art marine life tanks and cutting-edge science labs for conducting ocean research related to marine fisheries management and marine ecology. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center Laboratory will be funded by $102 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The 120,000-square-foot building will house up to 300 staff members in laboratory, office and support space and will incorporate a large sea-and-fresh-water Ocean Technology Development Tank that will expand NOAA’s ability to develop and apply advanced technologies for surveys of fisheries resources and their associated ecosystems. Construction begins this month with occupancy starting in October 2011.

The second building is the the Marine Ecosystem Sensing, Observation and Modeling Laboratory. Scripps has been awarded $12 million by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) toward construction of the new $26 million laboratory that will become a resource for marine ecological research at Scripps and for other national and international ocean science organizations concerned with the management of marine resources. Construction is to begin in early 2011 and be finished by late 2012.

Seaside Home, with stores in La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe, has been appointed the exclusive Stickley furniture representative for San Diego County. The stores will carry the Stickley Mission line – all 398 items – with many of the pieces on display in unique lifestyle settings at the two-story La Jolla store.

And to celebrate the inauguration of the renowned Craftsman furniture line, still manufactured in large part in its native New York, Seaside Home La Jolla will host the Stickley Road Show.

The stories of the Stickley family and its legendary furniture will come to La Jolla on Oct. 28, when Mike Danial, a 35-year veteran of the company and today its corporate historian, will highlight the fascinating history of Stickley furniture. Danial will share his own unique experiences researching the company history, where he uncovered design documents that had not been hidden away in basement cabinets for decades, and stories of families who have been enjoying Stickley furniture for generations.

He will also discuss issues regarding identification, value, care and restoration of original Stickley items.

The program begins at 7 p.m. with refreshments served the hour prior.  Reservations are encouraged by calling (858) 454-0866. Seaside Home is at 7509 Girard Ave.

Over a century ago, five brothers by the name of Stickley introduced America to the Arts & Crafts movement that celebrated simplicity and integrity of design, and was a direct response to the ornamentation of the previous Victorian era. Just after the turn of the century, Gustav Stickley founded The Craftsman, a periodical which expounded the philosophy of the English Arts & Crafts movement based on the teachings of Englishman William Morris. Stickley refined the philosophy into a distinctly American voice and promoted an organic architecture – architecture that promotes harmony between humans and the natural world. This philosophy carried over to the furniture that was crafted by not only Gustav, but his four brothers – Albert, Charles, Leopold and John George.

All five brothers began making furniture at their uncle’s factory in Brandt, Pa., around 1877. From 1883 to 1918 every Stickley had worked with each brother on at least one venture, though at no time did all five work together.

The L. & J.G. Stickley Co. was founded in 1904 by the two youngest Stickley brothers: Leopold and John George. Leopold was the founder and guiding force of the company. He started his career as foreman of Gustav’s furniture factory and through his career was known to be an elite cabinetmaker and businessman. Co-founder John George was considered to be the best furniture salesman of his time.

Security Business Bank of San Diego has recently acquired three new clients: Sadie Rose Baking Co., Sushi Deli, Inc., and TACNA Services, Inc.

“We are delighted to be working with so many of San Diego’s entrepreneurial businesses,” said Paul Rodeno, Security’s president and CEO. “By helping small businesses grow, we’re one of thousands of community banks across the country contributing to our nation’s economic recovery.”

Sadie Rose Baking Co. is an artisan bakery providing all-natural handmade breads to top Southern California restaurants, hotels and specialty markets.  Sushi Deli operates Japanese restaurants and sushi bars in Downtown San Diego and Hillcrest. TACNA Services is a professional shelter services organization helping U.S. companies organize maquiladoras in Mexico.

“Security Business Bank’s SBA expertise in particular helped us secure an optimal small business loan as well as decode the recent changes in regulation following the approval of the government’s economic recovery bill earlier this year,” said Hiroe Otake, owner of Sushi Deli. “We depend on our banking team’s quick turnaround and local decision making.”

Since its founding in 2002, Security Business Bank has built a reputation for providing its small and mid-sized business customers with financial innovation, access to management and superior client service.  The bank has redefined the business banking experience through its “Executive at Every Level” program, which fosters local decision making, employee empowerment and community specialization.  It is an operating subsidiary of Security Business Bancorp, a bank holding company established in 2008 to support the bank’s continued growth.z

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: