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Daily Business Report — Dec. 13, 2012

S.D. City Council President Proposes
Creation of Infrastructure Committee

Council President Todd Gloria

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria on Wednesday proposed the creation of a council Committee on Infrastructure to focus on the nearly $900 million infrastructure backlog in the city. Gloria has called for a ballot measure to fund the work. On a separate matter, Gloria proposed that Councilwoman Sherri Lightner become San Diego’s first female council president pro tem. Those recommendations are contained in Gloria’s proposed assignments to council committees for 2013. “I have heard the call of San Diegans that they are tired of driving over potholes and tripping over sidewalks,” said Gloria in recommending the Committee on Infrastructure. “This committee will be able to develop comprehensive solutions to a citywide challenge.” The committee, which would be chaired by Councilman Mark Kersey, would focus on the creation of a five-year capital improvement program, additional streamlining opportunities, infrastructure finance, and community hearings, among other related topics. Other committee members would be Lightner and council members Marti Emerald and Scott Sherman.

Lightner would chair the Rules and Economic Development Committee, which combines the jurisdictions of the former Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations Committee and the Economic Development and Strategies Committee. Lightner also would have the responsibility of reviewing the council committee structure, which Gloria said has not been reexamined in decades. He has requested a report from Lightner in six months on how the committees are functioning.  Committee assignments will be reexamined at that time, he said, coinciding with the likely election of a new councilmember in District 4, which will become vacant in January when Councilmember Tony Young takes over the local chapter of the American Red Cross. Gloria said committees are closely balanced between Democrat and Republican members, which is both appropriate and productive.

Water Authority Working to Extend
Lifetime of Massive Water Pipes

The San Diego County Water Authority is in the midst of a major pipeline project that will extend the life of underground water pipes in the San Carlos area, KPBS reports. The large underground pipes carry water to the city’s Alvarado Water Treatment Plant. One strech of pipe runs under Jackson Drive in San Carlos. The existing 6-foot-diameter pipes are deteriorating much faster than expected, so the Water Authority is spending more than $21.2 million to add a steel lining to the existing pipeline. Officials hope that extends the pipes’ expected life by about 75 years. The concrete pipe under Jackson Drive was installed in the 1970s. The pipes are tall enough to walk in. Crews use a pipe cart to haul the lining into place. The Water Authority has already relined about 30 miles of underground pipe and it hopes to add liners to 82 miles of pipe when done.

Registrar of Voters Retiring

County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler is retiring. She is being replaced by Assistant Registrar Michael Vu. Seiler, 63, was assistant registrar in Solano County before coming to San Diego. Her last day of work will be Dec. 27.

Kyocera Surpasses 2 Million Solar Modules

Kyocera Solar Inc. announced that its North American manufacturing facilities have surpassed production of 2 million photovoltaic solar modules. The company has been producing modules in North America since 2004. Its manufacturing facilities are in in San Diego and Tijuana. Kyocera produced its first photovoltaic modules more than 30 years ago in Japan and expanded its production to Tijuana in 2004. The company increased its production again with its first U.S. production of solar modules in San Diego in 2010. In addition to the operations in San Diego and Tijuana, Kyocera currently has solar module manufacturing facilities in Japan, China and the Czech Republic.

UC San Diego Professor Awarded
$3 Million Grant for Pregnancy Study

Mana Parast, an assistant professor of pathology at UC San Diego, has been awarded a $3 million grant to continue her research into new therapies for preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that often results in additional neonatal complications. The grant was part of more than $36 million awarded Wednesday to 12 researchers by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine or CIRM, the state’s stem cell agency. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and abnormal kidney function and affects roughly 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies. It’s responsible for a significant proportion of maternal deaths and growth-restricted babies, and is the primary reason for inducing delivery prematurely.

SDSU Receives $3.5 Million for Teacher
Training in Science and Mathematics

Finding great mathematics and science teachers and helping them become even more effective is the goal of a new San Diego State University program recently funded by the National Science Foundation and Qualcomm Foundation. Over the next five years, 32 San Diego teachers will participate in the SDSU Noyce Mathematics and Science Master-Teaching Fellowship Program, thanks to the support of both the public and the private sector, with $3 million awarded from the NSF and an additional $500,000 from Qualcomm Foundation. “The ultimate goal of this program is to improve learning in mathematics and science of thousands of students in San Diego County,” said Lisa Lamb from SDSU’s College of Education and Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education “The way you do that is to support the professional development of their teachers.”

Texas Firm Acquiring Somaxon Pharmaceuticals

Texas-based Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc. has entered into a merger agreement to acquire Somaxon Pharmaceuticals in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at $25 million. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Somaxon stockholders will receive consideration equal to $25 million in Pernix common stock.  Somaxon’s product, Silenor,  is approved for the treatment of insomnia.

Changes in San Diego Voter Demographics
Likely Permanent, Says Institute Study

Changes in San Diego voter demographics that became apparent with the election of Bob Filner as mayor are probably permanent, with the city’s political power shifting toward independents and residents south of Interstate 8, according to a study released Wednesday. The National University System Institute for Policy Research found that Mayor Bob Filner’s election victory over Carl DeMaio was fueled by voters south of the freeway that runs through Mission Valley. The freeway is a traditional, but not entirely accurate, dividing line between economic “haves” and “have-nots” and a border between Republican- and Democratic-leaning enclaves. “Moving forward, in order to remain competitive, Democratic and Republican candidates will have to pay greater attention to the issues of voters who live in San Diego’s older core,” the authors wrote. “We would expect issues like homelessness, public transit and the quality of San Diego Unified Schools to become a permanent part of the electoral dialogue.”

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

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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: info@probolskyresearch.com