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Daily Business Report — Dec. 1, 2010

San Diego Economic Index Unchanged

The USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San    Diego County was unchanged in October, despite the fact that five of the six components in the  Index were positive during the month.  The outlook for the national economy was up sharply, initial  claims for unemployment insurance and local stock prices were moderately positive, and consumer  confidence and help wanted advertising also increased, but just barely, according to economics  professor Alan Gin, author of the report. These gains, he said, were offset by a huge drop in building  permits to leave the USD Index unchanged for the third straight month.

There was some initial concern when last month’s report showed the first drop in the USD Index in 18 months. But that decline was revised upward to unchanged, so no turning point to the downside has been signaled. The outlook remains for slow but positive growth for the local economy at least through the first half of 2011. One area that has been improving has been the labor market. While the news is still bad, with the unemployment rate above 10 percent now for 17 straight months, the situation is relatively better than during the depths of the downturn, according to Gin.  In October, non-farm wage and salary employment was down 1,100 from October 2009, which was the best year-over-year comparison since April 2008. With hints of a stronger Christmas buying season, it is likely that the year-over-year comparison will turn positive in November and December for the first time since the Great Recession began.

October’s unchanged reading puts the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County at 110.0, the same as September’s revised level.

Southwestern College Superintendent/President Resigns

Raj Chopra

Southwestern College announced Tuesday that Raj K. Chopra has resigned as superintendent/president of the Chula Vista community college. “Dr. Chopra’s employment contract was to expire on June 30, 2012, but the governing board and Dr. Chopra have agreed to end that contract approximately 20 months early,” the board said in a prepared statement. “This will permit the new governing board — which will be seated next month — to select a new leader to help the college build for ongoing success.” The board said Chopra will receive the equivalent of six months’ salary under a written agreement he signed with the board.

Chopra did not indicate a reason for leaving the post early, but released a statement saying: “I believe some important objectives have been achieved. “The college, in spite of unprecedented financial problems at the state level, remains in good financial standing. With the accreditation visit completed this month, construction of the new facilities on the corner lot, the central HVAC and Field House well underway, and Proposition AA projects almost completed, it is the right time.”

San Diego Police Foundation Appoints CEO

Sara Wilensky Napoli

Sara Wilensky Napoli, a senior marketing and communications executive with more than 20 years of experience in the business and nonprofit sectors, has been appointed chief executive officer of the San Diego Police Foundation. Napoli was previously with The San Diego Foundation, where she led the Endow San Diego communications campaign that resulted in $175 million in current gifts. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Utah, Napoli previously served as the associate publisher of California CEO Magazine and advertising director at The Daily Transcript and the Baton Rouge Business Report. She is the 2007 recipient of the Community Leadership Award from the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business program. She also serves as a trustee of the San Diego Public Library Foundation and is a member and mentor of Athena’s Forum for Executive Women.

Torch Awards Honor Ethical Companies

The San Diego Better Business Bureau will host its 13th annual Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics  at a noon luncheon on Dec. 7 at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in Mission Valley. The awards honor companies that demonstrate ethical business practices. Torch Award honorees will include outstanding local organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to ethical business practices, both in operations and in terms of being ethical, reliable and responsive to employees, vendors and customers. This year’s keynote speaker will be College Football Hall of Fame coach John Robinson, the former head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, University of Southern California and University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Currently, the 75-year-old Robinson, who lives in San Marcos, is a radio commentator for NFL games with the Sports USA Radio Network. Financial journalist George Chamberlin, business editor with KOGO-AM 600, money adviser for NBC 7/39 and host of the “Money in the Morning” radio show, will serve as emcee. Sempra Energy is the presenting sponsor.

Five students will be honored with cash scholarships for writing outstanding 400-word essays on the importance of marketplace ethics and integrity in our community. Sycuan Casino is the presenting sponsor of the scholarship program.

The public is invited to attend. A table of eight seats is priced at $600 per table, and single-seat tickets are $75 apiece. Reservations can be made through the BBB office by phoning (858) 637‑6199. For reservation information, contact the BBB’s Andrea McNelis atamcnelis@sandiego.bbb.org.

Author Cornwell Donates Classic Auto to Veterans Village

Bestselling fiction author  Patricia Cornwell has signed over title to her limited edition 2005 Ferrari 575 Maranello Superamerica — appraised at $250,000 — to Veterans Village of San Diego, to be sold for public auction on Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. Bidders can participate in the live auction, held at the Ferrari of New England dealership in Norwood, Maine, or live online at Menish Auctions. The auction will be conducted by Bill Menish of San Diego. All proceeds will go to Veterans Village of San Diego, a nonprofit organization that assists military veterans, including men and women who have recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. “What struck me about Veterans Village of San Diego is that they are a model for how we can help service men and women re-enter society when they come home from war,” said Cornwell. “They are taking care of people beautifully. I feel that raising awareness is priceless, and if this car becomes the vehicle for the message of ‘let’s take care of our veterans in need,’ then that will be the greatest payoff of all.”

“The money we raise in the auction will be used to benefit veterans in need, those who have fallen through the safety nets,” said Phil Landis, president and CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego.

The Starmack Group Adds Several Staff Members

The Starmack Group, a marketing and communications firm, has added several new staff members to the company. Agency president is Greg Starmack. Eleanor Novak joined the firm after working as advertising director at KWS. Novak has also held several agency positions including media director for Thlelen & Associates in Fresno. The agency also added a new finance director, Mark McGuire. McGuire has more than 10 years of experience in the industry, including accounting positions with Kelly Capital, Chelsea Investment Corp. and Barone, Galasso & Associate. Other new hires are traffic manager Erin Relph and production artist Hannah Rhodes. Relph joins the agency after a position as a marketing coordinator for National University. Prior to that, she was traffic and production manager for Zukor Design. Rhodes was hired as a production artist after serving for the last school year as an intern from San Diego State University and receiving her bachelor of arts degree in graphic design.

SCORE San Diego Small Business Workshops

SCORE San Diego continues its series of low-cost workshops in December.

Workshop fees range from $29 to $109, depending on the program. To register, visit score-sandiego.org.

• Dec. 2 – Financing Your Business – 9:30 a.m. to noon at SCORE Entrepreneur Center (550 West C St., #550, San Diego 92101; pre-paid registration $29, $39 at the door).

• Dec. 3 – Managing Grants & Contracts for Non-Profits – 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the San Diego Foundation – Liberty Station (2508 Historic Decatur Rd #200, San Diego 92106; pre-paid registration $39, $49 at the door).

• Dec. 4 – How to Start and Manage Your Own Business – 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at Point Loma Nazarene University in Mission Valley (4007 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

• Dec. 6 – Tax Considerations for Small Business – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at SCORE Entrepreneur Center (550 West C St., #550, San Diego 92101; pre-paid registration $29, $39 at the door).

• Dec. 6 – Business Plan 101: How to Develop Your Best Competitive Advantage – Carlsbad – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at National University in Carlsbad (705 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad 92011; pre-paid registration $79, $89 at the door).

• Dec. 7 – Import/Export – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Point Loma Nazarene University in Mission Valley (4007 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

• Dec. 8 – Internet Marketing 301: Pay-Per-Click – 9 a.m. to noon at Point Loma Nazarene University in Mission Valley (4007 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108; pre-paid registration $49, $59 at the door).

• Dec. 9 – Hiring and Managing Employees – 9 a.m. to noon at SCORE Entrepreneur Center (550 West C St., #550, San Diego 92101; pre-paid registration $49, $59 at the door).

• Dec. 10 – Internet Marketing 202: E-mail Strategy – 9 a.m. to noon Point Loma Nazarene University in Mission Valley (4007 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108; pre-paid registration $49, $59 at the door).

• Dec. 11 – QuickBooks Basic – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Point Loma Nazarene University in Mission Valley (4007 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

• Dec. 13 – Buying and Selling a Business – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Point Loma Nazarene University in Mission Valley (4007 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

• Dec. 14 – How to Start and Manage Your Own Business – Carlsbad – 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at National University in Carlsbad (705 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad 92011; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

• Dec. 14 – Business Basics 101 – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at SCORE Entrepreneur Center (550 West C St., #550, San Diego 92101; FREE! Please pre-register).

• Dec. 15 – Business Plan 201: How to Write a Business Plan – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Point Loma Nazarene University in Mission Valley (4007 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108; pre-paid registration $99, $109 at the door).

• Dec. 16 – Financing Your Business – Carlsbad – 9:30 a.m. to noon at National University in Carlsbad (705 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad 92011; pre-paid registration $29, $39 at the door).

• Dec. 17 – Internet Marketing 303: Social Media – 9 a.m. to noon at Point Loma Nazarene University in Mission Valley (4007 Camino del Rio South, San Diego 92108; pre-paid registration $49, $59 at the door).

• Dec. 18 – Financial Statements – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at SCORE Entrepreneur Center (550 West C St., #550, San Diego 92101; pre-paid registration $29, $39 at the door).

• Dec. 20 – Business Plan 201: How to Write a Business Plan – Carlsbad – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at National University in Carlsbad (705 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad 92011; pre-paid registration $99, $109 at the door).

For more information regarding SCORE San Diego’s workshop series and locations, call (619) 557-7272.

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.

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