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Daily Business Report — July 9, 2012

Proposal to Clear Vehicles from Balboa Park’s
Plaza de Panama Goes to City Council Today

The San Diego City Council is scheduled to decide today whether a Balboa Park plan proposed by Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and supported by Mayor Jerry Sanders will go forward. The aim of the proposal is to eliminate vehicles from the Plaza de Panama by constructing a bypass bridge at the Cabrillo Bridge to direct cars to an underground pay parking structure in the interior of the park. The sponsors want the project to be completed for a park centennial celebration in 2015. The measure has generated considerable controversy. Save Our Heritage Organisation is a principal opponent of the plan, claiming it will ruin the historical character of the park. SOHO has been pushing for an alternate proposal that doesn’t include the bypass bridge. The council hearing begins at 2 p.m.

“What I know is that the project has benefits but it also has a lot of cost involved with it too,” Councilman Todd Gloria told KPBS. “And what myself, and my seven colleagues need to do is weigh those and decide whether to move forward with Dr. Jacobs’ proposal or with an alternative proposal.”

Pacific Western Bank to Sell Three
Area Branches to Irvine-Based Opus Bank

Pacific Western Bank has agreed to sell its branches in Carlsbad, El Cajon and La Mesa to Irvine-based Opus Bank. The branches are among 10 that Pacific Western is selling to Opus. Matt Wagner, CEO of PacWest Bancorp, stated “The sale of these branches is part of our ongoing effort to improve our overall efficiency and profitability. Although the sale of these branches will not result in any material gain, the annual cost savings, representing noninterest expense less noninterest income, have been estimated to be $2 million after tax.”

Point Loma Nazarene Accepting Applications
for 2012 Kyoto Prize Journalism Fellowship

Point Loma Nazarene University is now accepting applications for its 2012 Kyoto Prize Journalism Fellowship, a program that provides a learning opportunity for journalists seeking to further their knowledge and depth of reporting in technology, science and the arts. The selected journalist will travel to Kyoto, Japan, in mid-November where he or she will attend the 28th annual Kyoto Prize presentation ceremony on Nov. 10 as well as the lectures and workshops over the following two days. During the program, the journalist will have opportunities to meet and interview the latest laureates of the Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement. The application deadline is Thursday, Sept. 6. Applications are available at

Santee Man Appointed to State
Board of Parole Hearings

Brian Roberts, 59, of Santee, has been appointed to the Board of Parole Hearings by Gov. Brown. Roberts has served as deputy commissioner at the Board of Parole Hearings since 2006. He served in multiple positions at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department from 1975 to 2006, including commander, captain, lieutenant and sergeant. Roberts is a member of the California State Sheriffs’ Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $111,845. Roberts is a Republican.

SD Metro July 2012

Business Attire

Hot Weather Means Dress Codes Are a Hot Topic for Employers

By David Monks

Summer brings to all of us a spirit of relaxation, freedom and of fun. While work ethics remain strong — you would hope — attitudes may change on issues such as dress codes.

The already wide latitude available under many “casual attire” policies can be stretched further by employees wearing dresses with shorter hemlines, jeans with “fashionable” holes, Hawaiian-style shirts, tank tops, flip-flops and other revealing or “super-casual” clothes.  Do you go with the flow or take a hard-line approach?

Like all employment policies, dress codes are written to inform employees of the employer’s workplace expectations. The most effective policies are those that give clear guidance. But when it comes to dress codes that approve “business casual” attire, summertime causes many employees to focus on the “casual” rather than the “business” aspect.

“Business casual” usually refers to dressing comfortably yet professionally and neatly. Employees’ broad interpretation of the policy during the summer months can create problems for employers. For one, the wearing of revealing clothes increases the risk of inappropriate comments and other conduct that potentially gives rise to claims of sexual harassment. Moreover, some employees might be offended by the revealing nature of some summer wear.

Another concern among many organizations is that a relaxed approach to employees’ attire could lead to an unprofessionally relaxed approach to customer service, collaboration among employees and other aspects of work. These can adversely affect public image and workplace relationships.

What can you do to reduce the risk of such problems?  Keep these guidelines in mind:

Decide whether your current dress code policy needs more detail to give employees the proper guidance about what’s acceptable and not acceptable

during the summer months. If necessary, define “business casual” and, if appropriate, prohibit employees from wearing t-shirts, shorts, flip-flops and other overly-casual attire.

Clearly communicate the dress code policy and the reasons behind it. If flip-flops, cutoff shorts and t-shirts are not appropriate in your workplace, tell that in a written memo and inform employees during staff meetings.

Remind employees of your policy against harassment. It can be helpful to specify that comments about an employee’s clothing constitute inappropriate conduct that violates the policy.

Be consistent with enforcement. Make sure that employees know the consequences for violating the policy.

Applying the dress code should be flexible enough to account for cultural or religious obligations of some employees.

A dress code makes good business sense for companies that values a positive public image and professionalism among its employees. Having a detailed policy will help you navigate the additional dress code challenges that come with summer.

David Monks is a recognized expert in the field of employment law. He is a past president of the San Diego Society for Human Resource Management and a member of the National Society for Human Resource Management.

The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO. 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: