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Daily Business Report — July 5, 2011

Agencies to Start Testing Downtown Quiet Zone Apparatus

On July 10, the city of San Diego and other agencies will take another step toward the establishment of a Downtown Quiet Zone that will reduce the number of train horn blasts that have so annoyed residents, business owners and hotel operators and their guests. That is when the first of seven safety tests that will be conducted on newly installed equipment at 12 public train crossings. The tests are necessary before new vehicular and pedestrian gates — expected to be delivered in August — can be installed. On July 10, between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., a test train will make eight round trips from the Old Town Station through Downtown to check the accuracy and responsiveness of upgraded railroad signal devices that activate gates at the public crossings.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations require that the test train’s horn must sound as it approaches each crossing. Flaggers also will be present at the four intersections being tested (Laurel, Palm, Sassafras and Washington streets) and at other areas along the rail corridor as an additional safety precaution. “The need to coordinate numerous schedules affected our plans and timing,” said Gary Bosse, assistant vice president for public works for the Centre City Development Corp. “We are glad to be making progress on this important project, yet remain sensitive to the possible inconvenience. We will complete the testing as quickly as possible, knowing that noise now is in the name of a quieter tomorrow.”

Plans call for all safety enhancements, including gates, medians, traffic signals and warning lights to be operational by spring 2012. Shortly after that, the track between Laurel Street and Fifth Avenue will qualify as a Quiet Zone. This designation will exempt that section of the rail corridor from federal regulations requiring that train horns be sounded for 15-20 seconds before entering all public grade crossings, though not more than one-quarter mile in advance, except in an emergency.

The San Diego Quiet Zone project includes 13 public right-of-way railroad crossings, from Park Boulevard at Harbor Drive north to Fifth and First avenues, Front Street, Market Street, Kettner Boulevard and G streets, Broadway, Ash, Beech, Cedar, Grape, Hawthorn, and Laurel streets. Park Boulevard will be constructed as a separate project.

Agencies involved in the planning and implementation of the Quiet Zone are Burlington, Northern Sante Fe, Metropolitan Transit System, SANDAG, Amtrak, San Diego Imperial Valley Railway, North County Transit District, the California Public Utilities Commission, Federal Railroad Administration and Centre City Devleopment Corp.

NASSCO Gets Navy Contract for MLP Ships

National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. has received a $60 million contract from the Navy to purchase materials for the construction of a third Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) ship. The company is under contract to build two MLP ships.With the new contract, NASSCO will place orders for the ship’s engines and other components that have significant manufacturing lead times. A contract that fully funds construction of the third MLP ship is expected to be awarded by early next year. “With the first MLP ship now under construction, we are pleased to be selected to build another,” said Frederick Harris, president of NASSCO. The MLP is a new class of auxiliary ship for the Navy. Once delivered, MLP ships will join the three Maritime Prepositioning Force squadrons that are located around the world to enable rapid response in a crisis. MLP ships will be 233 meters (765 feet) in length and 50 meters (164 feet) in beam, with a design draft of 12 meters (29 feet). The deadweight tonnage is in excess of 60,000 metric tons.

National City Aquatic Center Proposal to be Reviewed

Rendering of National City Aquatic Center

The Port of San Diego will hold a public hearing on July 12 on whether to issue a coastal development permit for the proposed National City Aquatic Center project. The hearing will take place during the regularly scheduled Board of Port Commissioners meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. in the board room of the Port Administration Building, 3165 Pacific Highway, San Diego. The proposed project includes the construction and operation of an aquatic center in Pepper Park, located on the south end of Tidelands Avenue in National City. The aquatic center will include a 4,600-square-foot facility that will include a multi-purpose classroom, staff office, a storefront that can be shared by both the National City Police and Harbor Police, lockers, showers, restrooms and space for equipment and boat storage. The project will also include public art, landscaping improvements, paved areas for outside activity, security walls and fencing, and a promenade and walkways around the facility. Currently, the aquatic center is operating out of temporary trailers in the Pepper Park parking lot. This project would remove the trailers and replace them with a permanent facility. The parking lot would be re-striped and the new facility would share it with visitors to Pepper Park, the public boat launch ramp and the public fishing pier.

Receptos Inc. Appoints Chief Medical Officer

Sheila Gujrathi

Sheila Gujrathi has joined the executive management team at Receptos Inc. as chief medical officer, assuming leadership of the company’s clinical development of a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis and other immunology diseases. Gujrathi previously was vice president of the global clinical development group in immunology at Bristol-Myers Squibb. She also was a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. in the health care practice, and spent  several years at Genentech where she held roles in the immunology, tissue growth and repair clinical development group. Gujrathi holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and M.D. from Northwestern University. She completed her internal medicine internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Master Gardener Plant Sale Attracts Thousands

Thousands of San Diegans and out-of-town visitors swarmed the Casa del Prado on June 18 for the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale, an annual event put on by the San Diego Master Gardener Association. The sale included such attractions as three-gallon banana trees, cork oak trees from the Balboa Park nursery and four-inch pots of Iva hayesianna ground cover. Hundreds of succulents also covered the tables. Other plants for sale included vegetable and herb plants, bromeliads, water lilies, rare sages, staghorn ferns, sago palms, waterwise perennials and flowering annuals, to name a few — all grown by Master Gardeners or donated by local specialty nurseries and growers.

Master Gardener Sharon Lee

The association’s next program will the the “Autumn in the Garden Tour & Market to be presented Oct. 1 in Point Loma. The event will include docent tours of the gardens of seven master gardeners that will feature diverse water-wise landscapes and amenities ranging from outdoor kitchens to potagers and orchards. There will be educational displays on everything from citrus care to composting, pest control and seed starting. Notable plants will be identified and labeled.

The event also will include a marketplace featuring hand-crafted garden art including birdhouses, butterfly water dishes, crystal garden totems and hypertufa pots. Plants, including many of the plants seen in the tour gardens, also will be for sale. For more information, visit

Small Business Workshops

SCORE San Diego continues its series of low-cost workshops. Fees range from $29 to $109, depending on the program. To register online, visit For more information, call (619) 557-7272.

• July 6 – Business Plan 101: How to Develop Your Best Competitive Advantage – 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)

• July 7 – Financing Your Business – 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at National University in Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $29, $39 at the door).

• July 8 – Professional Selling: Increase Your Business Sales Now! – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at National University in Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

• July 8 – Financial Statements: What They Mean, How to Use Them – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at National University in Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $29, $39 at the door).

• July 11 – Business Basics 101 – 9 a.m. to noon at National University in Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego 92123; no charge – please pre-register).

• July 12 – Legal Issues for Small Business: Contracts and Leases – 9 a.m. to noon at National University in Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $49, $59 at the door).

• July 13 – QuickBooks Basic – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at National University in Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Avenue, San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

• July 15 – Women’s Networking Breakfast and Exhibits – 8 to 11 a.m. at Morgan Run Resort & Club in Rancho Santa Fe (5690 Cancha de Golf, Rancho Santa Fe 92091; attendees: $30 by July 12, $40 after; exhibitors: $80 by July 12, $90 after).

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. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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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: