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Daily Business Report — Dec. 27, 2012

The CitiSense sensors transmit their air quality readings to smart phones.

Portable Sensors Allow Users to Monitor
Exposure to Pollution on Their Smart Phones

Study says bicyclists experience highest levels of exposure

Computer scientists at UC San Diego have built a small fleet of portable pollution sensors that allow users to monitor air quality in real time on their smart phones. The sensors could be particularly useful to people suffering from chronic conditions, such as asthma, who need to avoid exposure to pollutants. CitiSense is the only air-quality monitoring system capable of delivering real-time data to users’ cell phones and home computers — at any time. Data from the sensors can also be used to estimate air quality throughout the area where the devices are deployed, providing information to everyone—not just those carrying sensors.

Just 100 of the sensors deployed in a fairly large area could generate a wealth of data—well beyond what a small number of EPA-mandated air-quality monitoring stations can provide. For example, San Diego County has 3.1 million residents, 4,000 square miles — and only about 10 stations. “We want to get more data and better data, which we can provide to the public,” said William Griswold, a computer science professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering and the lead investigator on the project. “We are making the invisible visible.”

The CitiSense sensors detect ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, the most common pollutants emitted by cars and trucks. The user interface displays the sensor’s readings on a smart phone by using a color-coded scale for air quality based on the EPA’s air quality ratings, from green (good) to purple (hazardous). Researchers provided the sensors for four weeks to a total of 30 users, including commuters at UC San Diego and faculty, students and staff members in the computer science department at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Computer scientists presented findings from these field tests at the Wireless Health 2012 conference in San Diego earlier this year.

The sensors turned out to be great educational tools for their users. Many people assume that pollution diffuses equally in the air. But that’s not true. It actually remains concentrated in hot spots, along main roads, at intersections and so on. The sensors made this clear for users. Wendy Chapman, an associate professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, was one of them. She often bikes to work and discovered that pollution on her route varies widely. She was exposed to the most pollution when she used the bike path along State Route 56. But when she drove home on that same road, she had virtually no exposure.

“The people who are doing the most to reduce emissions, by biking or taking the bus, were the people who experienced the highest levels of exposure to pollutants,” said Griswold.

The CitiSense sensors transmit their air quality readings to smart phones.

A view of the inside of the CitiSense sensor: the three cylindrical components detect ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Cornerstone Heights Corporate Center
Purchased by Lincoln Property Company

Lincoln Property Co., in a joint venture partnership with Artemis Real Estate Partners, has purchased the two-building office property Cornerstone Heights Corporate Center at 5959 & 6059 Cornerstone Court West in San Diego, from The Realty Associates Fund.  The building was purchased for $14.1 million.The seller was represented by Rick Reeder and Brad Tecca of Cassidy Turley San Diego.  Lincoln Property Company represented itself. The twin buildings combined total 97,945 square feet and were completely renovated in 2007, including new elevator, lobbies and common areas, restrooms and HVAC equipment.

Baylor and UCLA Battle in Holiday Bowl

The Bears and the Bruins will fight tooth and claw for this year’s Holiday Bowl victory as Baylor University and UCLA take the field tonight in Qualcomm Stadium. One thing’s for sure about this college football game: there will be no national championship at stake. The 35th annual Holiday Bowl, like its predecessors, won’t feature any of the top teams in the country. UCLA is ranked 17th in the country, while the Baylor Bears are unranked. Although Baylor can claim one major upset this season against Kansas State, it has an otherwise unimpressive 7-5 record. But Mark Neville, one of the directors of the bowl game, said what the game may lack in top-10 prestige, it’ll make up for in high-scoring fireworks. “Baylor has the highest-ranked offense in the country, and their defense is ranked 119th,” said Neville. “So you put those two together and that’s a perfect formula for a high-scoring football game.” The Holiday Bowl begins 6:45 p.m. Television coverage will be on ESPN.

County Treasurer Questions Huge Fee
Increase for Pension Fund Manager

San Diego County hired a private consultant, Lee Partridge, three years ago to manage its multi-billion-dollar pension fund. His fee at the time was several times more than the the salary of the county employee he replaced. Now the County Pension Board has agreed to increase the fees they pay Partridge and his partners, Salient, by a factor of about five, KPBS reports. County pension fund CEO Brian White said that’s justified by excellent investment returns over three years. “For public pension plans greater than a billion dollars,” White said, “we outperformed 99 percent of all other public funds.” The new contract could pay fees of more than $7 million a year to Partridge’s firm. But San Diego County Treasurer Dan McAllister said the industry average for managing pension funds over $2 billion is less than a million dollars. He said San Diego officials have been duped before. “People have come to town and more or less hornswaggled the people into believing they were something they weren’t,” McAllister said, “and all of a sudden — when they left with the money — we discovered they were not what they said they were.”

McAllister was one of three pension board members to vote against approving the contract. They were outvoted on the nine-member board. Four members of the board are appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and four represent county employee unions. McAllister is the ninth. The treasurer said he wants an independent consultant to evaluate the contract. But White says he believes that is unnecessary. He said the pension fund already employs a company to monitor Partridge’s fund management practices: Hewitt EnnisKnupp.

Small Business Workshops

Helping owners of startup and established small businesses throughout San Diego and Imperial counties prosper and excel, SCORE San Diego continues its series of low-cost workshops. Workshop fees range from $15 to $109, depending on the length of the program.

Upcoming SCORE San Diego Workshops:

• JAN. 5 – Effective Marketing: Identify and Target Your Customers – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at National University – Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; early registration $89, $99 after Jan. 3).

• JAN. 7 – Are You Ready to Start Your Own Business? – 9 a.m. to noon at National University – Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; early registration $15, $20 after Jan. 5).

• JAN. 8 – Financial Statements: What They Mean, How to Use Them – 9:30 a.m. to noon at SCORE Entrepreneur Center (550 West C St., #550, San Diego 92101; early registration $39, $49 after Jan. 6).

• JAN. 9 – Successful Sales Strategies – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at National University – Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; early registration $79, $89 after Jan. 7).

• JAN. 10 – Financing Your Business – 9 a.m. to noon at SCORE Entrepreneur Center (550 West C St., #550, San Diego 92101; early registration $49, $59 after Jan. 8).

• JAN. 11 – How to Develop Your Best Competitive Advantage – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at National University – Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; early registration $79, $89 after Jan. 9).

• JAN. 14 – Starting a Restaurant – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at National University – Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; early registration $59, $69 after Jan. 12).

MS Dinner Auction Raises $470,000

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society in San Diego reports that $470,000 was raised at its recent 26th annual MS Dinner Auction. More than 500 guests attended the charity event held at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Proceeds will benefit MS research and programs and services for people living with MS, a chronic, often unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system with no known cause, cure or prevention. Pacific Wealth Management was title sponsor of the MS Dinner Auction. Other sponsors: Absolute Vodka, Barefoot Wines, Clear Channel Radio, Genzyme, KPBS, Leon Hammel Fine Jewelers, Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Nordstrom, Novartis, Questcor, Redfearn & Associates, EMD Serono, Teva Neuroscience, Torrey Pines Bank and United Airlines.


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

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