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Daily Business Report — March 24, 2010

Midge Costanza: 1932-2010

MargaretMidgeCostanza, the first woman to hold the office of Assistant to the President (under President Jimmy Carter), died Tuesday in San Diego after a battle with cancer. She was 77. Read a fuller story at the bottom of this column.

San Diego Ranked High for Energy Star Buildings

Qualcomm Bldg. W has LEED Gold certification

San Diego ranks among the top 25 metropolitan areas in the nation with the largest number of energy-efficient buildings that earned ENERGY STAR ratings in 2009, according to a report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Coming in 17 on the list with 58 ENERGY STAR-labeled buildings, San Diego falls well below list-leading Los Angeles with 293 qualifying buildings and second-place Washington, D.C., with 204. Rounding out the top five are San Francisco (173), Denver (136) and Chicago (134). According to the EPA, nearly 3,900 commercial buildings nationwide earned the ENERGY STAR last year, representing an annual savings of more than $900 million in utility bills and more than 4.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

While questions have arisen about the potential crushing effects of the recent economic situation on the trend toward green commercial building and retrofitting, a team of economic researchers has concluded that the value of green building remains strong. Speaking at a workshop titled “Doing Well by Doing Good: Green Office Buildings” hosted by the California Center for Sustainable Energy, Dr. Nils Kok, a professor at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, presented an analysis of the financial performance of green office buildings in the United States. The study is based on actual market transactions and not simply engineering estimates.

Kok said that office buildings with energy efficiency certification can command higher rents, expect better occupancy rates and garner a greater sale value. The initial study was published in 2008, but follow-up analysis in October 2009 showed these values held even during the global economic crisis.

Airport Authority Gets Grant for New Airport Apron

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has received a $9.8 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration toward construction of a new aircraft parking apron as part of The Green Build expansion of Terminal 2 West. Officials said the grant will provide funds to continue phased construction of the aircraft parking apron, including security fencing and lighting. Specifically, it will support Phase 2 design and construction of the aircraft parking apron, which will serve the 10-gate Terminal 2 West expansion when it is completed in early 2013. The project will provide space for 10 new aircraft parking positions at Terminal 2 West. It also will provide 10 new remain-over-night (RON) aircraft parking positions, which will eliminate the need to tow aircraft across the runway to get to and from the existing RON apron (located on the north side of the runway) to the terminal gates.

High Speed Rail System Focus of Panel

The cost and legal ramifications of the proposed California High Speed Rail system will be discussed at an April 13 panel program sponsored by the Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana. It will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the University Club, 750 B St., in Downtown San Diego. Panelists will be John Chalker, member of the California Transit Commission; Steve DeBaum, partner with Best Best & Krieger; and Job Nelson, director of intergovernmental relations for the San Diego Mayor’s Office. Jose Martinez, regional program manager for the California High Speed Rail Authority, will be moderator. Cost to attend is $40 for ULI members and $50 for nonmembers. To register, call (800) 321-5011 or visit

Eco Fair Scheduled for April 3

National University and the Center for Cultural and Ethnic Studies will sponsor Eco Fair 2010 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 3 at National’s Spectrum Business Park Academic Center, 9388 Lightwave Ave., in San Diego. Admission and parking are free. Eco Fair  is part of National University’s community outreach efforts to educate and demonstrate the concepts of environmental and economic sustainability and stewardship. This year’s theme is “Save Green by Going Green,” which promotes household solutions that are earth-friendly and wallet-friendly. The fair

will have informational booths and demonstrations from more than 25 local companies, government agencies and NGOs, plus environmentally-friendly activities for families and children. For more information, call (858) 642-8653.

Business Appointments

• Bill VanDeWeghe has joined the law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge as a senior strategic adviser and independent consultant in the San Diego office. VanDeWeghe is to advise and assist companies to address their needs with corporate matters, business disputes, government contracting, public policy, regulatory affairs and political issues. He will continue to serve as a managing director at RA Capital Advisors, where he heads the firm’s defense industry team. Before joining RA Capital in 2006, VanDeWeghe was a litigator for 15 years and a shareholder with a law firm. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and his law degree at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary.

• Davis Watkins has been appointed vice president of commercial sales for Advanced Telemetry, the developer of EcoView, a smart energy management system for light commercial and residential applications. Watkins is a 20-year industry veteran.

Robb Huff has been appointed vice president of industry relations for The Meeting Strategy Group. Huff has more than 18 years of experience in the tourism industry. He was involved in the launch of the Hawaii Convention Center and San Diego Convention Center. His professional affiliations include Meeting Professionals International, Professional Convention Management Association, Computer Event Marketing Association and Society of Travel Executives. He holds a degree in marketing from  UCSD.

San Diego Research Consortium to Receive $4 Million Grant

A new consortium of four research teams from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and UCSD has been selected by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, based in the United Kingdom, to receive a $4 million grant over five years to study neuronal circuits underlying higher brain function.

The teams headed by Salk researchers Edward M. Callaway and John H. Reynolds, and UCSD professors Anirvan Ghosh and Massimo Scanziani.0 look forward to formalizing a longstanding relationship developed through overlapping research interests. “The grant from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation creates a tremendous opportunity to work closer together than ever before,” says Callaway. “It allows us to capitalize on the unique strengths we have as a team.” Higher brain functions, such as visual perception and attention, are the result of the coordinated activity of neurons in the cerebral cortex. But a lack of detailed knowledge of how different elements and cell types interact to give rise to sensations and thought has limited understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie cortical functions.

The collaborating teams’ efforts will focus on developing and using genetic tools that will allow them to manipulate specific cell types in the brain to tease apart their contributions to higher order brain function.

“The human brain with its unrivaled complexity is biology’s last frontier,” says UC San Diego researcher Ghosh. “Thanks to the support of the Gatsby Foundation, we expect to greatly expand the understanding of brain circuitry.This will in turn allow us to explore the brain’s ability to adapt and rewire, as well as its remarkable capacity to learn and remember.”

Adds Callaway: “This collaborative study has the potential to provide us with exciting insight into how the brain makes us who we are.”

Sunday 5K Race/Walk to Benefit Haiti Quake Victims

A 5K run and walk to benefit victims of the Haiti earthquake will be staged Sunday (March 28) in Downtown San Diego. The event is organized by the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego for the American Red Cross efforts in Haiti. The race and walk starts on the boardwalk in front of Sally’s Seafood on the Water, adjacent to the Hyatt, at One Market Place, and continues in Embarcadero Park. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and the race starts at 8 a.m. Participants pay $20 to register. The sponsors say $16.50 of each registration fee will go to the Red Cross ($3.50 covers the cost of the automated registration service). Event expenses are being paid by the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Several employees of the hotel have family members living in Haiti. One family member of an employee died in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12.

Registration can be made online at: For information, call (619) 358-6628.

Planned Parenthood Gives STD Warning

San Diego County has some of the highest sexually transmitted diseases (STD) rates in California, according to Planned Parenthood of San Diego & Riverside Counties. Which is why a partnership of health advocates, led by MTV and Planned Parenthood, is urging people to get tested during April, STD Awareness Month. A nationwide campaign that includes the Centers for Disease Control and the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Now campaign is designed to educate people about the importance of being tested — and demystify the experience. “Getting tested for STDs is not only a smart thing to do, it’s easy,” says Dr. Katharine Sheehan, medical director at Planned Parenthood. “Most of our patients qualify for free services, so there’s absolutely no reason not to get tested.”  Sheehan says some STDs, if left untreated, can have serious health consequences such as infertility, cervical cancer and even death. “Planned Parenthood offers low and no-cost testing and treatment, but we also help people prevent STDs through condom use and education.” Planned Parenthood will be highlighted in April’s episode of the MTV series “Dean’s List.” The GYT edition will feature Planned Parenthood intern Kayla, on her college campus in Connecticut talking about the importance of getting tested and her work with Planned Parenthood. She will also get tested on screen.

Midge Costanza Remembered

Midge Costanza

Margaret “Midge” Costanza, who died Tuesday, was a tireless advocate and impassioned champion for equality, justice and human rights. She was the first woman to hold the office of Assistant to the President of the United States, when President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the position of Assistant to the President for Public Liaison in 1977.

Ms. Costanza was born Nov. 28, 1932, in LeRoy, N.Y., to Philip Joseph Costanza and Concetta (Granata) Costanza. When she was 5 years old, herfamily moved to Rochester, N.Y. where she attended Public School #33 and graduated from East High School in 1950. She received an honorary LLD from Framingham State College.

For 26 years, Ms. Costanza worked for John J. Petrossi, a Rochester construction and real estate developer. At the same time, she was active in the Democratic Party, ultimately serving as a member of the Democratic National Committee. She entered politics in 1959 as an executive committee member of the 22nd Ward of Rochester. In 1964, she managed the senatorial campaign in Monroe County for Sen. Robert Kennedy.

With Jimmy Carter

In 1973, Ms. Costanza was elected to the Rochester City Council, receiving the highest number of votes of any council member. She was the first woman elected to the Rochester City Council and was appointed vice mayor.

Ms. Costanza first met Jimmy Carter in 1974 when he traveled to Rochester to help in her campaign for Congress. Although she narrowly lost that race, she made a great friend in Carter. When Carter announced his candidacy for president, she  began her work as co-chairperson of his New York State campaign.

Ms. Costanza’s straight-forwardness and quick wit made her a popular speaker, and Carter admired that skill. He asked her to second his nomination at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. For the first 20 months of the Carter Administration, she received national media attention as Carter’s outspoken and committed “Window on America.” “The White House should be the president’s window to the nation,” she said. “(It should be) a place where the people can voice what they want, what they feel and what they need.”

Ms. Costanza moved to San Diego in 1990 and had been working for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. She is the founder of the Midge Costanza Institute for the Study of Politics and Public Policy in San Diego.

Business Datebook

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: Or call (619) 330-1700.

April 2

COFFEE WITH CCDC: Staff of the Centre City Development Corp. hosts “Coffee with CCDC,” an informal session to discuss upcoming projects and new developments Downtown. Topics include parks, open space and recreation opportunities, waterfront revitalization, affordable housing, business attraction programs. 8 a.m., Downtown Information Center, 193 Horton Plaza, above CVC Pharmacy.

SEMINAR: National Association of Women Business Owners San Diego continues its monthly seminar series. Angie Swartz of Square Martini Media will present “Using LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool.” Noon to 1 p.m., Brandman University, 7460 Mission Valley Road, San Diego. NAWBO San Diego members free, nonmembers $25. Box lunches provided. Online reservations at

April 13

PANEL PROGRAM: The cost and legal ramifications of the proposed California High Speed Rail system will be discussed at a program sponsored by the Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana. 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the University Club, 750 B St., in Downtown San Diego. Panelists: John Chalker, member of the California Transit Commission; Steve DeBaum, partner with Best Best & Krieger; and Job Nelson, director of intergovernmental relations for the San Diego Mayor’s Office. Moderator: Jose Martinez, regional program manager for the California High Speed Rail Authority. $40 for ULI members, $50 for nonmembers. To register, call (800) 321-5011 or visit

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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