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Daily Business Report — March 31, 2010

The Cost of Doing Business in San Diego

San Diego is near the bottom of a list of 22 major cities in the country ranked for being the least-costly place to do business, according to a study by KPMG LLP. San Diego was ranked 19th, ahead of San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Tampa was the least-costly place to do business in the study, getting a cost index of 96.0, representing business costs 4.0 percent below the U.S. national baseline of 100. It was followed closely by Atlanta at 96.3, Miami at 97.0 and Baltimore at 97.1. San Diego, by comparison, had a cost index of 100.9. San Francisco was the most expensive place to do business among the 22 large cities studied, with a cost index of 104.1.  New York had a cost index of 102.0 and Los Angeles had a cost index of 101.4.

Shelter Island’s Bali Hai Gets a New Look

Bali Hai site

The popular family-owned Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island will unveil a new Polynesian look, a new chef and Pacific Rim menu when it holds grand opening festivities on April 21.

The renovation, designed by Graham Downes architect, will include completely refurbished dining areas, including the South Pacific Room downstairs, and several new additions: the Bamboo Lounge, an expanded bar area adjacent to the main dining room; the Tiki Room, a private upstairs dining room; an outdoor dining deck with prime views of the bay; bayside patio with lounge seating; a landscaped patio for weddings and special events, which will include a reconstructed lava rock wall, decorative tiki torches, benches and eight new king palm trees.

Newly-appointed chef Chris Powell, formerly of Rancho Valencia, is creating a Pacific Rim menu with a Hawaiian flair. Trained at the Western Culinary Institute, Powell is a California native who has worked in the kitchens of some of the top fusion restaurants in San Diego.

Front Entry

“We’ve entertained three generations of diners, who come for the fabulous food, spectacular views, and, of course, our world-famous Mai Tais,” said owner Susie Baumann.

The structure, originally built with more than 15 types of wood, some very rare, is being restored to its natural, original sheen. The new lounge will feature a honey onyx bar and classic-style Hawaiian light fixtures. The interior design and décor will include Bali Hai’s collection of more than 100 Polynesian artifacts — including tiki figures, antique tapa cloths, wood weapons, ocean charts, maps and native pictures — creating a museum-like space for guests to explore.

Local artist Miki Iwasaki is creating a redwood art screen for the building’s exterior, abstractly inspired by antique Polynesian stick charts and maps — cherished artifacts in the Bali Hai collection — and high and low shifts in coastal tides. Eighty five synchronized points of lights (white LEDs) will create different patterns such as fluid movement akin to ripples across the surface of the water.

Bayside View

Phase I of the renovations included the outdoor Hawaiian Village special events pavilion that was completed in 2009 and a new dock, completed in 2006.

Opened in 1955 by San Diego restaurateur Tom Ham (about five years after Shelter Island was created), Bali Hai was the island’s first “tiki temple,” named after the song popularized by the musical “South Pacific.” Polynesian floor shows followed, along with the creation of two famous tiki icons: Mr. Bali Hai, a large wood sculpture at the front entrance greeting guests, and “The Goof,” a playful and mysterious remnant that has stood guard on the roof of the restaurant for over five decades.

Baumann, Ham’s daughter, and her husband, Larry, and their sons Grant and Andy Baumann, run the restaurant.

Project Labor Agreements Under Scrutiny

A public forum to discuss project labor agreement initiatives as it relates to development in the San Diego region will be held April 7 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn on the Bay, 1355 North Harbor Drive, San Diego. The forum is sponsored by the South County Economic Development Council and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Speakers will be Lorena Gonzalez, CEO of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and Scott Crosby, president and CEO of the San Diego chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. The cost to attend is $25 per person. Reservations are required, call the South County EDC at (619) 424-5143.

The Labor Council is a coalition of 127 local unions that represent more than 189,000 working families in the region. Gonzalez is the daughter of an immigrant farm worker and a nurse. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from UCLA. Before she joined the Labor Council, Gonzalez worked as the senior adviser to California’s lieutenant governor. She is on the executive council of the California Labor Federation as a vice president.

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national association with 77 chapters representing 25,000 merit shop consrtruction and construction-related firms with more than 2 million employees. Crosby was the director of government affairs for the ABC Heart of America chapter in St. Louis before joining the ABC. He graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., with a bachelor’s degree in business communications and from William Woods University with a master’s degree in business administration.

Construction to Begin on Affordable Housing Development

The San Diego Redevelopment Agency and Chelsea Investment Corp. will break ground for the Verbena Family Apartments, San Diego’s newest affordable housing development,    on April 7 at 11 a.m. The development’s 6.47-acre site is located along Beyer Boulevard between Smythe Avenue (to the east) and Del Sur Boulevard (to the west). The Verbena will provide 80 units (including one manager unit) for low and very low income families earning between 30 percent and 60 percent of the Area Median Income. Rent is expected to be more than 10 percent below market value. Verbena Family Apartments consists of 27 two-bedroom flats (947 square feet) located above garages and 53 three-bedroom townhouses (varying from 1,154 to 1,267 square feet).

The general contractor for the project is Emmerson Construction Inc.  Chelsea Investment Corp. is the managing general partner. The San Diego Redevelopment Agency provided more than $6.8 million in combined funding from San Ysidro, City Heights, Naval Training Center, North Park and North Bay project areas. Additional funding includes The Richman Group’s $13.1 million tax credit equity and Bank of America’s $4.9 million permanent loan, as well as a $15 million construction loan.

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Salutes WAVES

As part of its celebration of Women’s History Month, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest will host eight members of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) who served during World War II.

The event is scheduled for 10 to 11:30 a.m. today in Building 94 at Naval Air Station North Island. Keynote speakers include former WAVES Lynne Pine, USN (ret), and Eva Escalante, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest counsel. The Navy created the WAVES in August 1942. Initially, the all-female force performed secretarial and clerical duties, but eventually expanded into the aviation community, medical professions, communications and science and technology. Formerly known as Naval Air Depot North Island, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest repairs and overhauls Navy and Marine Corps aircraft and their related systems.

North Park Building Sells for $280,000

A 4,000-square-foot freestanding building at 3564 University Ave. in North Park has been sold to Juan Coronado and Diana Maria Coronado for $280,000. The seller, Aurora Bank, was represented in the transaction by Steve Malley of Lee & Associates San Diego. Allison James Estate & Homes represented the buyers.

Cook & Schmid Adds Account Coordinator and Graphic Designer

Tory Carroll has been hired as account coordinator and Nathan Mueller as graphic designer at Cook & Schmid, a San Diego-based public relations, advertising and marketing company. Prior to joining Cook & Schmid, Carroll worked as a social media expert at a local provider of online marketing solutions for a retail and service business across the United States. Mueller previously was part of the graphic design staff at DC Shoes.

Booth Space Available for Health Fair in East County

Health-related businesses and nonprofit organizations are being invited to get exhibit booth space at Summer Healthcare Saturday, a free health fair to be held June 19 at Grossmont Center in La Mesa. The cost for exhibit space starts at $75. More than 75 booths will be at the fair, including those for health screenings and information on health-related techniques and products. The fair, which will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is sponsored by the Grossmont Healthcare District, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Grossmont Center and the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. For more information and an exhibitor application, contact Kathleen Kieferdorf at the East County Chamber at (619) 440-6161.

SDSU Offers Marketing and Advertising Course

A course on “The Marketing and Advertising Campaign” — designed for early- to mid-career marketing, advertising, public relations, media and sales professionals — will be held Wednesdays from April 21 through May 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. and is offered by SDSU’s College of Extended Studies and the San Diego Ad Club. It’s part of the Professional Certificate in Marketing and Media program. Key topics include the campaign planning system, the creative process, the client situation analysis, branding and positioning. Instructor Greg Joumas is a division vice president for Jack in the Box and president of the San Diego Ad Club. The cost is $279 for the general public and $249 for Ad Club members. For more information, call (619) 594-7087 or visit

Federal Contracts

(Source: Targeted News Service)

Xitron Technologies Inc. in San Diego won a $108,235.94 federal contract from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., for portable direct current calibration units.

Axsys Technologies Inc. in San Diego won a $97,380 federal contract from the Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Supply Center, Richmond, Va., for resolver assemblies. It also won a $80,990 contract from the Defense Supply Center for electrical rings.

Rexel Inc. of San Diego won a $41,484.05 federal contract from the Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Supply Center, Columbus, Ohio, for circuit breakers.

CareFusion of San Diego won a $30,517 federal contract from the Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, for Pyxis supply stations.

Midge Costanza Remembrance

A “Celebration of Life” for District Attorney Public Affairs Officer Midge Costanza will be held on April 24 at 2 p.m. at the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley. The event will be open to the public. Margaret “Midge” Costanza died on March 23 in San Diego after a battle with cancer. Ms. Costanza was the first woman to hold the office of Assistant to the President of the United States under President Jimmy Carter. She served as a link between the president and a wide range of groups who previously had limited access to the White House, including women, youth, seniors, minorities, gays and lesbians, and the disabled.Ms. Costanza moved to San Diego in 1990, where she worked on the campaigns of Congresswoman Lynn Schenk, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Kathleen Brown. She served on the board of San Diego National Bank and co-taught classes at San Diego State. From 2000 to 2003, she was special assistant to Gov. Gray Davis. In 2005, she joined the office of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis as a public affairs officer. In 2003, she formed the Midge Costanza Institute for the Study of Politics and Public Policy, affiliated with the Women’s Studies Department at San Diego State. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Midge Costanza Institute for Politics and Public Policy. Checks can be made out to the “Midge Costanza Institute,” P.O. Box 15523, San Diego, CA 92175.

Business Datebook

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.

April 9

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

CONGRESSIONAL LUNCHEON: San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce to host its annual Congressional Luncheon, presented by BAE Systems, at the Holiday Inn on the Bay, 1355 N. Harbor Drive, in Downtown San Diego. Registration at 11 a.m., luncheon and program noon to 1 p.m. Confirmed representatives include Congresswoman Susan Davis and Congressmen Bob Filner, Duncan D. Hunter and Darrell Issa. Moderator, Dennis Morgigno of Channel 4 San Diego.

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

April 17

FREE WORKSHOP: Entrepreneurial Excellence Workshop sponsored by the Universiy of Phoenix Kearny Mesa Learning Center, 3870/3890 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego. 9 a.m. to noon. Topics include outllook for small business in San Diego, business opportunities, legal issues for small businesses, search engine marketing, among others. Sports psychologist Casey Cooper to talk on “Home Run Leadership Styles.” To sign up, contact Gray Miller at (858) 650-4612.

April 20

PRESENTATION: Juval Aviv, president and CEO of Interfor Inc., will discuss some of the major financial fraud cases he has investigated during 30 years in the corporate investigations field, including personal anecdotes. Sponsor: Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) San Diego. 7 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. program, Doubletree Hotel Hazard Center, 7450 Hazard Center Drive, SanDiego. Free for ACG members, $50 for nonmembers. Make reservations at

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?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: