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Daily Business Report — June 25, 2010

Mayor Unveils Civic Center Construction Plan

Mayor Sanders is proposing construction of a new Civic Center that would cost no more than $293.5 million and save taxpayers $24 million over 10 years and $232 million over 50 years if the city redevelops the site instead of leasing expensive offsite office space. Sanders announced his proposal Thursday and said he will pesent it to the City Council’s rules committee next Wednesday and to the full council on July 12. He will ask that the proposal be placed on the November general election ballot. If approved by voters, construction would begin in January 2012 and be completed in 2014.

Under a proposed agreement, Gerding-Edlen Development would construct a 19-story building immediately next to City Hall where Golden Hall currently stands. The new facility would allow the city to consolidate city employees who work Downtown into one building, negating the need for the city to continue paying $13 million a year for leased office space and making necessary fixes to the Civic Center, projected to cost $37 million over the next 10 years.

“For me, this is a business decision,” Sanders said in a statement. “I cannot justify throwing away millions of dollars on rent, as well as repairs to a building on its last legs, when there is a less expensive alternative. We will use the savings for police, fire, parks, branch libraries and street resurfacing.”

The project would generate 2,300 construction jobs, 70 percent designated for San Diego residents, according to the mayor. It would contain a one-stop shop on the first level to give citizens direct access to city services, and an expanded City Council chambers on the second level. The new chambers will have a seating capacity of 400, an increase of 43 percent from the existing chambers. The project also would have a 1.25-acre public plaza. The existing Civic Theatre would remain as is.

Scott Maloni, chairman of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, issued a statement supporting the proposal. “This project will result in huge savings for the city of San Diego, reduces the city’s financial risk and will create thousands of jobs for San Diegans,” said Maloni.  “This is a win-win for the community and it’s time to move this project forward.”

Water Authority Panel OKs Purchase of Reclaimed Water

The San Diego County Water Authority’s governing board has instructed its staff to work with Poseidon Resources on a contract to purchase drinking water from the company’s desalination plant now under construction in Carlsbad. Poseidon currently has executed water purchase agreements with nine San Diego County retail water agencies collectively known as the San Diego Desal Partners. Each of the San Diego Desal Partners is a local water retailer and member agency of the Water Authority. Desal Partners will relinquish their rights to the project output if Poseidon and the Water Authority are able to reach an agreement. “The direct involvement of the Water Authority ensures that the water supply benefits associated with the project will be shared throughout the region,” said Peter MacLaggan, senior vice president of Poseidon.

Scripps Institution Researcher Examines Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

Tony Haymet, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD, will present a summary of the ongoing work in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the giant oil spill during a July 13 luncheon program sponsored by CONNECT. The program will run from noon to 1:30 p.m. at AMN Healthcare, 12400 High Bluff Drive, No. 100, San Diego 92130.

Scripps Oceanography researchers have been studying the Gulf for many years, and along with their partners around the country have redeployed people and equipment to assist in the response.In this lecture, Haymet will present a summary of both the on-going work and the response so far in the first 90 days.

Since 2004, Scripps and BP have had a contract to study the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, this contract funded four Scripps researchers. In addition, Haymet’s own research group has been studying the nucleation of clathrate hydrates over the last decade, funded in part by a consortium led by Chevron Texaco, which in some years has included BP.

Haymet also is UCSD’s vice chancellor for marine sciences, dean of the Graduate School of Marine Sciences and professor of oceanography at Scripps. He joined Scripps in 2006.

Cost to attend the program is $20 for CONNECT members, $30 for nonmembers, $10 for students and $40 at the door. For more information, contact Bethany Kraynack at (858) 964-1312.

Stuart Milk, Cloris Leachman Take Part in LGBT Pride Parade

Stuart Milk

Cloris Leachman

Human rights activist Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk and founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, and stage and film actress Cloris Leachman will take part in the San Diego LGBT Pride parade July 17 in Hillcrest. Leachman, 84, will be the celebrity grand marshal, Milk the political grand marshal. Milk’s uncle pioneered a gay rights movement more than 30 years ago and was assassinated while serving on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. The parade is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. along University Avenue, beginning at Normal Street and going west to Sixth Avenue and south to Upas Street.

Last year, Stuart Milk accepted on his uncle’s behalf the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and the California Hall of Fame Medal from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Stuart has carried the message of tolerance to subsequent generations worldwide, and we are delighted and honored in welcoming him in the parade,” said Larry Ramey, co-chair for San Diego Pride.

Leachman, a recent contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” rose to fame in 1971 when she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “The Last Picture Show.” She was recently cast in the new Fox Television drama, “Raising Hope,” due to begin filming in August, and will soon hit the San Diego stage with a one-woman show.

The parade is part of San Diego Pride weekend July 16-18. It starts with a Spirit of Stonewall rally at 6 p.m. on July 16 at Marston Point in Balboa Park, followed by the parade on July 17 and a two-day festival July 17-18 at Marston Point.

District Names Acting President of Mesa College

Barbara Kavalier

Barbara R. Kavalier, vice president of student services at Mesa College, has been tabbed to serve as acting president of the college until an interim president has been chosen. The search for a permanent president for Mesa will begin this fall, with the goal of selecting a new leader who can take office on or shortly after the start of the next school year, which begins on July 1, 2011. Kavalier, whose appointment is effective Saturday, will fill the position vacated by Rita M. Cepeda, who will become chancellor of the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District on July 15. Kavalier has been at her present post since January 2008. Previously she was associate vice president of student services at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Wash. She worked for more than 15 years as an administrator with the Dallas County Community College District. Kavalier’s appointment was announced by Constance M. Carroll, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District.

Southwestern College Co-Hosts History Association Conference

Southwestern College is co-hosting with San Diego State the 2010 World History Association annual conference that began Thursday and runs through Sunday. The conference is one of the country’s largest gatherings of educators, historians and students and is being held at the Marriott Hotel in Mission Valley. It’s the first time a community college is co-hosting the event. The conference will focus on two themes: gender in world history and the Pacific in world history. There will be seminars on new directions in historical research, media and world history, and the environment and world history. Speakers include Dr. Merry Wiesner-Hanks from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, a leading expert in the field of gender in world history; and Kathryn Edgerton-Tarpley, an associate professor of Late Imperial and Modern Chinese History at San Diego State.

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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