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Daily Business Report — Feb. 1, 2012

County Economic Gauge Shows Improvement

The USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose 0.6 percent in December.  Although no component was up sharply, the gain was broad-based, with five of the six components — building permits, initial claims for unemployment insurance, consumer confidence, help wanted advertising, and the outlook for the national economy — up solidly during the month. The only negative component was local stock prices, and they were down only slightly. The gain marked the first time that the USD Index was up in consecutive months since May, and snapped a string of six straight months where it had alternated between being positive and negative. Given the back-to-back gains in the USD Index and the breadth of December’s gain, the outlook for the local economy remains positive for 2012. The local economy is expected to add 20,000 to 25,000 wage and salary jobs during the year, which may be pessimistic, given that employment was up nearly 27,000 in December compared to the same month in 2010. Things expected to hold the local economy back include continued weakness in the housing market, political conflict in an election year, and uncertainty in the international economy.

AT&T Improves Wireless Networks in California

AT&T said it has invested more than $6.8 billion in California wireless and wireline networks between 2009 and 2011 to improve its mobile broadband coverage and overall performance of its networks. During 2011, AT&T made nearly 7,500 wireless network upgrades in four key categories in California. Enhancements include: activating more than 120 new cell sites or towers to improve network coverage; Deploying faster fiber-optic connections to nearly 2,850 cell sites; adding capacity, or an extra layer of frequency to cell site; upgrading more than 300 cell sites to provide fast mobile broadband speeds. The company also the launched its new 4G LTE network in San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles on Jan. 5.

Campaign for SDSU Reaches $300 Million Milestone

The university-wide fundraising campaign at San Diego State has reached a $300 million milestone since it was launched in 2007. The Campaign for SDSU has raised $144.5 million for SDSU’s academic programs and the university library, including $9 million to support endowed chairs and professorships. To date, nearly $33 million has been contributed to Fuel Potential, the campaign’s scholarship initiative. It includes support to students like Jennifer Keliher-Venegas, whose conservation-based research has the potential to influence the management of small-scale fisheries around the world, and Destin Daniel Cretton, winner of both the top prize for a short film at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and a $30,000 Nicholl Fellowship for aspiring screenwriters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Campaign for SDSU also has raised $4 million for the Guardian Scholars program, which provides year-round room and board, as well as academic mentoring, for students exiting the foster care system.

Best Best & Krieger Partner Selected for Education Panel

The California Special Districts Association has selected Paula de Sousa, a partner at Best Best & Krieger, to serve on the association’s 2012 Education Committee. The Education Committee plans, organizes and manages the education and public relations programs for CSDA, the only California association representing all types of independent special public districts. Last year, de Sousa was also selected for a newly assembled working group at the CSDA that examines legal and policy issues relevant to Local Agency Formation Commissions, commonly known as LAFCOs.

Designs Completed for Sunroad Enterprises Building

KMA Architecture & Engineering has completed designs for an $8 million parking garage for Sunroad Enterprises at 8600 Spectrum Center Blvd. in Kearny Mesa. The six-floor parking garage is in addition to the subterranean parking below the Sunroad Centrum I office building. KMA and Swinerton Builders were retained to design/build the project, which is expected to be completed this year.

Volunteers Wanted for Bighorn Sheep Count

Volunteers are being solicited to help in the annual bighorn sheep count in the San Gabriel Mountains. The California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Forest Service and the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep are seeking individuals to assist biologists on March 3 snf 4. No survey experience is necessary to participate but volunteers must attend a mandatory orientation on March 3 at 6 p.m. at Verdemont Community Center and Library in San Bernardino. Volunteers will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Volunteer groups will be led by a representative from either DFG, USFS or the Society. Participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of hiking one mile in rugged terrain, although some survey routes are longer. In general, hikes will not be along trails and accessing survey points will involve scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes and/or bush-whacking through chaparral. Sign up online at or call (626) 574-5287 or (909) 382-2870 to have a volunteer packet mailed to you.

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of SD METRO, the North Park News and the West Coast Craftsman. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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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: