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Daily Business Report — July 26, 2012

Council Committee Approves Draft Plan
to Reauthorize Tourism Marketing District

The San Diego City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously approved a draft plan Wednesday to reauthorize the city’s Tourism Marketing District, which collects money from hotels for programs designed to attract visitors. The Tourism Marketing District Management Plan will next go before the full council. If approved, it would be renewed for 39.5 years. San Diego has about 15 million overnight visitors each year. The TMD, a pilot program set to expire at the end of this calendar year, currently takes 2 percent of gross room revenues from hotels with 70 or more rooms and redirects the funds to organizations like the Convention and Visitors Bureau or other activities that benefit the assessed businesses.

“When it comes to conventions and competition, people have a choice of where they go. If we are not marketing our city, people will go somewhere else,” said Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer. The proposed plan would take 2 percent of gross room revenues from hotels with 30 or more rooms and .55 percent from those with less, which is expected to bring in about $30 million annually for sales and marketing programs. The district was formed in 2007 as a five-year pilot program, and started operations at the beginning of 2008. It will stop collecting funds after Dec. 31 unless it is reauthorized.
 — City News Service

San Diego Artist Begins Installing
Public Artwork at Ruocco Park

San Diego artist Roman de Salvo began installation of the public artwork, The Riparium, at the site of Ruocco Park this week. The large-scale artwork will serve as a sculptural gateway to the Port of San Diego’s latest waterfront park, which is nearing completion just north of Seaport Village at the former Harbor Seafood Mart site. The artwork, located at Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway, it will stand about 45 feet high and about 70 feet wide. Overhead, the artwork will include an abstract network of massive eucalyptus tree branches. The artist milled the branches with a chainsaw and spliced them together to form a sculptural puzzle. Each section was planed, sanded, and treated and will be installed with the planed surface facing downward. In 2006, De Salvo completed the 125-foot-long “Nexus Eucalyptus” at the Caltrans District 11 building in Old Town. Ruocco Park will be the Port of San Diego’s 18th dedicated public park. The 3.3-acre park is being funded by $3.8 million from the Port’s capital improvement program and a $3.5 million grant administered by the San Diego Foundation on behalf of the Lloyd and Ilse Ruocco Fund.

Envision Solar Launches Business
Initiatives in Middle East and Spain

Envision Solar International Inc. of San Diego, developer of solar shaded parking arrays, announced a new partnership with Aconfort, a solar energy company, for business development in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Spain. “Our Solar Tree arrays are highly engineered, highly functional and very visually appealing,” said Envision President and CEO Desmond Wheatley. “They are ideally suited for markets where architecture and quality matters. The Middle East is blessed with abundant sunshine, abundant petro-dollars and a taste for the best.”

Digirad Corp. Reports Second Quarter Revenue

Digirad Corp. of Poway, maker of diagnostic imaging products, reported second quarter revenue of $12.7 million, six-month revenue of $25.7 million and an ending cash and available-for-sale securities balance of $28.5 million. Total revenue for the second quarter was down from $14.2 million recorded in the second quarter of last year and down from $13 million in the first quarter of 2012. Gross profit for the second quarter of 2012 was $3.7 million, or 29 percent of revenue, compared to $4 million, or 28 percent of revenue, in the same period of the prior year and $3.7 million, or 28.3 percent of revenue in the prior quarter.

Quidel Corp. Reports Quarterly Revenues

Quidel Corp., a provider of rapid diagnostic testing products, reported that total revenues increased 12 percent for the second quarter of 2012 to $30.9 million, compared to $27.5 million for the same period of 2011, driven by increased sales of infectious disease products. Net loss for the second quarter of 2012 was $3.1 million, or $0.09 per share, compared to net loss of $3.7 million, or $0.11 per share, for the second quarter of 2011. For the six months ended June 30, total revenues were $68.8 million, compared to $87.1 million for the same period in 2011. For the six-month period in 2012, net loss was $3.1 million, or $0.09 per share, compared to net income of $7.8 million, or $0.23 per hare, for the same six-month period in 2011.


Dick Semerdjian

Dick Semerdjian, partner with Schwwrtz Semerdjian Ballard & Cauley, will be sworn in as the chair of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section on Aug. 5 at the ABA’s annual meeting in Chicago. Semerdjian, who specializes in civil litigation and trial practice, will be the first chair in the 80-year history of the ABA to practice in San Diego. He has been a dedicated member of the ABA since 1986 when he first began practicing law.

Hugh Constant

Hugh Constant, trade services director and executive vice president of the World Trade Center San Diego, has been appointed interim president and CEO of the organization, effective July 30. He will replace Bella Heule, who will become the vice president of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) in New York on July 30. Constant has organized missions to more than 20 countries and provides trade counseling, workshops, match-making and referrals, trade leads and trade research services to companies. He also manages the international trade advocacy and grants programs.

Julie Austin

Julie Austin, 56, of Oceanside, has been appointed to Area Board XIII of the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities by Gov. Brown. Austin has been a self-employed special education and disabilities advocate since 1997 and has been an advocate for the developmentally disabled community since 1995. She was the owner and general manager of Brengle Terrace Animal Hospital from 1993 to 1994 and a retail sales associate at Aquarium Supplies Unlimited from 1991 to 1993. Austin held multiple positions at Zoecon Industries Veterinary Pharmaceuticals and Pet Supplies from 1988 to 1991.There is no compensation for the position. Austin is a Democrat.

The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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