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Daily Business Report-Dec. 31, 2012

Filner to Make First State of City Address

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will deliver his first State of the City Address on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. in the Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., in Downtown. A reception will follow at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter Hotel at Horton Plaza. The address is scheduled to take an hour.

State Restores Funding for Homeless
Shelter and Affordable Housing Project

The city of San Diego’s planned permanent homeless shelter – which is about two weeks away from opening – will receive its full allotment of redevelopment funding after the state reversed a funding cut that placed the project in jeopardy. The city filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court on Dec. 21 seeking to restore $4.3 million in funding for the Connections Housing project that was rejected on Dec. 18 by the state Department of Finance, which assumed control of redevelopment funding after two state laws dissolved local redevelopment agencies earlier this year. The denial of funding would have had a domino effect that could have triggered a “catastrophic” loss of up to $15 million for the project, according to the lawsuit. On Dec. 27, the Department of Finance issued a letter reversing its denial and restoring the $4.3 million. The city Attorney’s Office will now dismiss the lawsuit without prejudice.

The Department of Finance also reversed its denial of $20.2 million for a planned affordable housing project at Ninth Avenue and Broadway, allowing that project to move forward.

New Homeowner ‘Bill of Rights’
Also Will Speed Foreclosures

Starting Tuesday, distressed homeowners will get some new protections with the California Homeowner Bill of Rights But they may also see their homes go more quickly into foreclosure, KPBS reports. The laws that takes effect in the new year will outlaw some infamous practices, like dual tracking. That’s where a person can have their home foreclosed, even though they thought the bank was working to help them keep it. But the legislation also aims to accelerate a process that has been bogged down in red tape. Ali Tarzi is with San Diego’s Community Housing Works. He said when homeowners apply for a loan modification, in the new year the bank will have less than a week to inform that person their application was received. “From that point, the bank has 30 days to give the homeowner an answer,” he said, “modification approved or modification denied.” Tarzi said expediting the process will relieve the uncertainty that’s plaguing many homeowners. But it will also boost the number of short sales and foreclosures in the near term.

Grand Jury Indicts New Defendants
in South County Corruption Case

A grand jury returned indictments for a few school administrators and key players in the Sweetwater Unified School Board scandal on Friday, according to one of the defendant’s attorneys,  NBC 7 reports. The grand jurybegan meeting in early November in a major “pay-to-play” public corruption case. Prosecutors say the school officials traded their votes on multi-million dollar construction contracts for gifts and other favors. A notice letter issued to former Sweetwater Superintendent Jesus Gandara states the grand jury has filed 22 counts of felony crimes, and eight misdemeanors against the defendant, who has already pleaded not guilty to some of the charges. According to court documents, the felony crimes against Gandara include extortion, receiving a bribe, conspiracy to commit a crime, perjury by declaration and conspiracy to defraud another of property.  Gandara’s defense attorney, Paul Pfingst, said he was not surprised about the indictments. “We were anticipating an indictment with the possibility of new defendants being added,” Pfingst said. Current board members Bertha Lopez and Jim Cartmill are among those named in the indictment and the San Ysidro schools superintendent Manuel Paul, two separate law enforcement sources told NBC 7 San Diego.

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: