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Daily Business Report — Feb. 14, 2011

Temecula Valley Wine Country is Calling

Mount Palomar Winery

The Temecula Valley wine region deserves your attention. Wrongfully written off as mediocre during its evolving years, Temecula currently boasts more than 30 quality vineyards that reach every palate. The topography, geography and climate of the valley afford the ability to grow increasingly popular grapes, such as the Malbec, exceedingly well. Learn more about this wine region in February’s SD METRO.

Million-Dollar Home Sales Rise, but Not in La Jolla

Rancho Santa Fe Among the Leaders

While overall California home sales declined last year, the number that sold for $1 million or more in 2010 rose for the first time in five years as certain segments of the economy improved and high-end home shoppers went bargain hunting, according to a report by DataQuick Information Systems of San Diego. La Jolla, however, didn’t follow that trend. The sale of homes for $1 million or more in ZIP Code 92037 fell from 259 in 2009 to 252 in 2010. The most expensive sale there was for $10 million.

Rancho Santa Fe was among communities where the vast majority of home sales were $1 million-plus last year, said DataQuick. The other communities: San Marino in Los Angeles County, Los Altos in Santa Clara County, and Atherton and Hillsborough in San Mateo County.

Last year 22,529 Golden State homes sold for $1 million or more. That was up 21.0 percent from 18,621 in 2009 and the highest since 2008, when 24,436 homes sold for $1 million-plus. Million-dollar sales peaked in 2005 at 54,773, after which they declined each year through 2009.

The jump in $1 million-plus home sales in 2010 compares with a 9.0 percent year-over-year drop in total home sales, including all price levels. California’s 418,578 total sales in 2010 were down from 460,166 in 2009. About one in 20 homes sold for a million dollars in 2010, while the year before it was one in 25, and in 2008 it was one in 16.

“Prestige home buyers respond to a different set of motivations than the rest of us,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. “Their decisions are less dependent on jobs, prices and interest rates, and more on how their portfolio is doing. When the financial world was full of uncertainty a couple of years back, and the jumbo loan market dried up, luxury sales plummeted. As the economy started its top down recovery, some wealthy buyers went looking for a bargain.

Salk Institute Professor Honored

Salk Institute professor Terry J. Sejnowski has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an honor considered one of the highest accolades in the engineering world. Sejnowski, whose work on neural networks helped spark the neural networks revolution in computing in the 1980s, is recognized for his “contributions to artificial and real neural network algorithms and applying signal processing models to neuroscience.” Sejnowski also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, making him one of only 10 living individuals to have been elected to all three branches of the National Academies. A Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and head of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, Sejnowski studies real neural networks in which the interaction of many neurons produces surprisingly complex behavior, and he has also shown how artificial neural networks can solve practical engineering problems. He joins Irwin Jacobs, chair of the Salk Board of Trustees, and William Brody as the third member of the National Academy of Engineering at the Salk Institute.


Scott McMillin is chairman of the board and Mark McMillin is president and CEO of The Corky McMillin Cos.  A correction that ran in the Feb. 11 Daily Business Report had it wrong.

San Dieguito District Celebrates Solar Project

A ribbon-cutting event was held Friday to celebrate the completion of a 2 megawatt solar project in the San Dieguito Union High School District performed by Chevron Energy Solutions, a unit of Chevron Corp. The project is expected to save the district more than $10 million in energy savings over its life. It will produce about 70 percent of the electricity required at Canyon Crest Academy and La Costa Canyon High School. By reducing its purchase of utility power, the district is reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 2,200 metric tons, equivalent to removing more than 400 cars from the road. “Our mission is to provide a world class education for all students through quality programs that engage students and inspire achievement,” said Ken Noah, district superintendent. “The savings from this solar project will help us meet our goals.” Chevron Energy Solutions designed, built, operates, maintains, measures and guarantees the solar system’s performance for the district.

The cost of the project was offset by more than $4.7 million obtained as a rebate from the California Solar Initiative and other funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The California Center for Sustainable Energy assisted the district in pursuing the solar project and an overall energy strategy.

Nobel Prize Winner Amartya Sen Speaks at UCSD

Noble-prize winning economist Amartya Sen will speak on “Justice: Local and Global” at 7 p.m. on March 31 in the University of California San Diego Price Center Ballroom West. The event is free and open to the public with no tickets or reservations required. Sen is regarded as one of the world’s foremost thinkers in the field of famine, poverty, social choice and welfare economics. His groundbreaking work has not only been academically influential, but has also had a profound impact on the formation of development policy worldwide. Sen is professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University. The lecture is presented by the Helen Edison Lecture Series in partnership with the UCSD Division of Social Science and the Institute for International, Comparative and Area Studies. For more, contact UCSD Extension’s Helen Edison Lecture Series at (858) 822-0510.

Upcoming SCORE San Diego Workshops:

• Feb. 15 – Financial Statements: What They Mean, How to Use Them – 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).

• Feb. 15 – Marketing for Nonprofits – 9 to 11:30 a.m. at The San Diego Foundation – Liberty Station (2508 Historic Decatur Road, #200, San Diego 92106; pre-paid registration $39, $49 at the door).

• Feb. 16 – Internet Marketing 303: Social Media for Small Businesses – 9 a.m. to noon at National University – Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $49, $59 at the door).

• Feb. 18 – Financing Your Business – 9:30 a.m. to noon at National University – Carlsbad (705 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad 92009; pre-paid registration $29, $39 at the door).

• Feb. 23 – Business Plan 201: How to Write a Winning Business Plan – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at National University – Carlsbad (705 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad 92009; pre-paid registration $99, $109 at the door).

• Feb. 25 – QuickBooks Advanced – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at National University – Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

• Feb. 25 – Business Basics 101 – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at SCORE Entrepreneur Center (550 West C St., #550, San Diego 92101; No charge – please pre-register).

• Feb. 28 – Restaurant 201 – 9 a.m. to noon at National University – Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $49, $59 at the door).

North County:

The Business & Entrepreneur Center and the Small Business Development Center at MiraCosta College will offer free upcoming workshops to help businesses succeed. The workshops will be held at Vista City Hall, 200 Civic Center Drive, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the following dates:

March 1: Increase Sales Using Social Media: Learn how to incorporate social networking into a business.

April 5:  Financing Options for Businesses: Direct lenders and the SBA will discuss financing options for a business.

May 3: Ways to Market A Business: Learn to identify the “right” customer for a business and easy ways to market your business to them.

June 7: Marketing A Business Using Google Tools: Learn how to use Google tools such as ad words, ad sense, Google trends and more.

Bring a lunch to the workshops. Drinks will be provided.

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

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Voice Your Opinion

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: