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Daily Business Report — March 17, 2010

Home Sales in San Diego Rise

Home sales in San Diego County in February inched upward from January but declined slightly from year-ago levels, according to a report by MDA DataQuick of San Diego, a real estate information service. February’s home sales totaled 2,465 compared to sales in January of 2,322 and sales of 2,473 in February 2009.

The median price paid for a San Diego County home in February was $322,000, up 13 percent from the year-ago figure of $285,000 and up slightly from January’s median of $305,000.

In the six-county Southern California area (San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange), home sales in February were above year-ago levels for the 20th consecutive month. DataQuick said buyers continued to snap up bargain properties with government-backed mortgages and tax incentives. The median price paid for a home rose on a year-over-year basis for the third consecutive month. A total of 15,359 new and resale homes sold in Southern California last month. That was virtually unchanged from 15,361 in January, and up 0.8 percent from 15,231 in February 2009.  The sales distribution remains tilted toward lower-cost, distressed homes, although not as steeply as most of last year.

“It’s possible the stars won’t line up this way again for many years. With prices and mortgage interest rates this low, the cost of ownership is about as low as we’ve seen it in decades,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.

The median price paid for a Southland home was $275,000 last month, up 1.3 percent from $271,500 in January, and up 10.0 percent from $250,000 for February 2009.

SD EDC Hosts GOP Gubernatorial Candidates

Republican candidates for California governor — Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner — will respond to questions from employers at a forum March 29 sponsored by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. It will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the San Diego Marriott La Jolla. Admission is $ 75 per person. The candidate and business leaders will discuss solutions to California’s most pressing challenges including job growth, economic development, infrastructure and education. Whitman is the former CEO of eBay. Poizner is California insurance commissioner. The forum sponsor said Attorney General Jerry Brown, an announced Democratic candidate for governor, declined an invitation to appear. To register for the forum, visit 2010gubernatorialforum.eventbrite.com.

Run Women Run Hosts Democratic Candidates

Democratic candidates for state office will appear at a candidates forum March 18 sponsored by Run Women Run. It will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Proflowers/Provide Commerce headquarters, 4830 Eastgate Mall, in San Diego. The candidates are Janice Hahn, running for lieutenant governor; Toni Atkins, candidate for the Assembly District 76 seat; Kamala Harris, running for state attorney general; Crystal Crawford, candidate for the Assembly District 74 seat ; and Mary Salas, running for the state Senate District 40 seat. For more information, call Emily Jennewein at (858) 755-2665.

Eric Graves Elected President of Holiday, Poinsettia Bowls

Eric Graves

Eric Graves of KFMB Radio has been elected president of the 2010 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl by the San Diego Bowl Game Association’s board of directors. He succeeds Barbara Warden, who becomes chair of the board. Graves, a Point Loma resident, joined the association’s committee in 1993, and was appointed to the board of directors in 2001. He is a 1974 graduate of SDSU. He came to San Diego from Orange County after three years in the Army. His service included two tours in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. He has worked at KFMB Radio for 28 years. Other  elected officers for the San Diego Bowl Game Association include Chuck Wasker, president-elect; Shannon Rimmereid, secretary; and Alexandra Squires, treasurer. The 2009 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl featured a 33-0 Nebraska Cornhuskers’ win over the Arizona Wildcats in front of 64,607 fans at Qualcomm Stadium. The Poinsettia Bowl saw the Utah Utes top the California Golden Bears 37-27 in front of 32,665 fans. Both games were televised on ESPN.

Valley View Casino’s CFO Receives ‘CFO of the Year’ Award

Jennifer Bryant

Jennifer Bryant, CFO of Valley View Casino, has been named “Chief Financial Officer of the Year” by the Native American Finance Officers Association as part of its 2010 Leadership Awards. The award recognizes innovative thinking in developing the financial plans of a tribe and success in implementing ideas for the betterment of a tribe. Bryant will be given the award today at a NAFOA luncheon in New Orleans. Bryant has more than 18 years of finance experience. Before joining Valley View Casino in 2007, she served for five years as the CFO at Viejas Enterprises. Bryant also has worked for Reuters America and held the position of European financial manager and controller for the Walt Disney Co.’s European film distribution division. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Villanova University and an MBA from the University of Melbourne, Australia. She was nominated for the award by Leilani Marquiss, Valley View Casino’s director of finance.

Environmental Science Associates Names Energy Group Director

Robert Prohaska has joined Environmental Science Associates as Southern California Energy Group director and will be based in ESA’s San Diego office. He’ll be responsible for building on the firm’s growth in Southern California and the Southwest. Prohaska has 25 years of technical and management experience and the preparation of environmental documents. His technical background includes siting, development and permitting of power generating and transmission facilities in the Southwest.

Business Datebook

March 17

MEETING: The March meeting of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) San Diego will feature Jo Dee Jacob presenting “Building and Nurturing a Winning Team.” 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Sheraton La Jolla, 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla. Jacob is CEO of The San Diego-Imperial Council of Girl Scouts. $35 for members, $45 for nonmembers. For more information, visit nawbo-sd.org.

LUNCHEON: “Retrofitting Buildings Green” is topic for presenters Sarah Friedman, Southern California sustainability director for Jones Lang LaSalle, and Dawn McFadyen, associate partner with Syska Hennessey Group, at Urban Land Institute luncheon. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 10300 Campus Point Drive, first floor conference room. Members $20, nonmembers $40. To register, call (800) 321-5011 or visit ulisd.org.

March 18

MEETING: Web content strategist Shelly Bowen, principal of Pybop LLC, will speak on “Virtual Story Telling: How to Grow Your Business with Social Media,” at the meeting of the San Diego Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN), 6:30 p.m., Joyce Beers Community Center, Uptown Shopping Center, Hillcrest. For more information, call (619) 281-6951 or visit sdpen.com. $45 for BIOCOM members, $90 for nonmembers.

March 19

PANEL ON HOMELESSNESS: Family Health Centers of San Diego  brings together San Diego political, government and business leaders for a discussion on ways to reduce homelessness Downtown. The Spirit of the Bario presentation, “New Paradigms for Reducing Homelessness in Downtown San Diego in 2010,” is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Logan Heights Family Health Center, 1809 National Ave., San Diego. Panelists: Kevin Faulconer, president pro tem of the San Diego City Council, the moderator; Fred Maas, chair of the Centre City Development Corp.; Brian Maienschein, commissioner of United Way of San Diego County’s Plan to End Chronic Homelessness; Joel Roberts, CEO of PATH Partners; and Rob Lankford, past chair of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. Admission is $25. To reserve online, visit fhcsd.org/donations.cfm or e-mail barbaraf@fhcsd.org.

March 23

LUNCHEON: Asian Business Association holds its March Rice Club Luncheon with guest speaker Ron Roberts, member of the county Board of Supervisors. noon to 1:30 p.m., San Diego Hall of Champions, Balboa park. Cost is $25 for ABA members, $30 for nonmembers, $35 at the door. To reserve, visit abasd.org.

March 24

EMPLOYMENT LAW: Brown Law Group will present an update on 2010 employment law, including latest court decisions, legislative amendments and proposed bills employers must be aware of to properly manage their businesses. 7:45 to 9 a.m., University Club, 750 B St., Downtown San Diego. To reserve space, e-mail Valeina: jack@brownlawgroup.com. Or call (619) 330-1700.

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of San Diego Metropolitan Magazine, the North Park News, Kensington News and the West Coast Craftsman. (619) 906-4104.

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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?

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