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Daily Business Report — Jan. 29, 2013

Judge: Plaza de Panama Approval Violates City Law

Voice of San Diego — In a tentative released Friday, a judge warned the backers of a new bridge and parking plan for the western entrance to Balboa Park that a crucial piece of their argument may not hold up in court.

The tentative ruling gives a sense of Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor’s inclination before the two sides meet for oral arguments Friday afternoon, when things could change. There are three main arguments in the lawsuit  filed by opponents, the Save Our Heritage Organisation. Taylor disagreed with two of them. But, in a “reluctant conclusion,” Taylor writes that the city violated its own law for historic properties.

In approving the plan on July 9,  the City Council had to make a determination that if it did not approve the project, the landowner (the city) would suffer “economic hardship” — that there would be “no reasonable beneficial use of a property” without the designed project. The judge said no way. The Plaza de Panama team circulated an email Sunday night to supporters saying they’ll “vigorously argue” against the judge’s tentative ruling at Friday’s hearing. (For the full story, visit

Council Committee Calls for Thorough
Assessment of City’s Infrastructure Needs

A new City Council committee charged with tackling San Diego’s extensive backlog of maintenance and capital improvement projects held its first meeting Monday and passed a tentative work plan that calls for a thorough assessment of the city’s infrastructure needs, City News Service reports. The committee members asked the Public Works Department and the city’s independent budget analyst to return in two months with an initial look at needs that have gone unmet. The plan calls for the various municipal departments to eventually conduct condition assessments of around 1,000 city-owned or managed facilities. Committee Chairman Mark Kersey said the city’s unmet infrastructure needs could top $1 billion. Previous estimates of a deficit of $800 million to $900 million did not include work needed on Petco Park, Qualcomm Stadium, sidewalks, piers and water and wastewater improvements, he said.

Event Featuring U.S. Supreme Court Justice is Sold Out

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s appearance before the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego on Feb. 8 has been sold out.  A wait list is available at ABTL’s website:

Water Authority Teams With SDG&E
To Boost Conservation in the County

The Vista Detention Facility will get a water-efficiency makeover as part of an $829,280 conservation program collaboration between the San Diego County Water Authority and San Diego Gas & Electric. The initiative targets large irrigated landscapes such as business parks and school campuses, along with local water retailers’ water distribution lines. The aim is to boost water-use efficiency and reduce “embedded energy” use. Water can take large amounts of energy to treat and move, a relationship that is gaining increasing attention statewide.  SDG&E is contributing up to $679,280 to the new program. The Water Authority’s board on Jan. 24 committed up to $150,000 over the next two years. The program at the Vista Detention Facility will involve installing devices such as electronic flush valves, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to cut down on water used in everyday activities.

Navy Environmental Veteran
Joins San Diego Coastkeeper

Capt. Sue Stewart, who served nearly 24 years as an attorney in the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps with a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in environmental law, has joined San Diego Coastkeeper’s board of directors. Stewart has provided legal and policy analysis to senior government executives on domestic and international environmental matters. Coastkeeper also announced its executive committee for 2013: president: Jo Brooks, retired attorney in international environmental law for the Department of State; vice president, Sandy Edwin Kaupp, medical researcher, U.S. Navy; vice president and interim treasurer, Harriet Lazer, retired/former CFO at The Walker Group; secretary, Eleanor Musick, partner at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch.

Michael Cato Elected Partner at
Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith

Michael Cato

Michael C. Cato has been elected partner in the San Diego law firm Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith. Cato has practiced real estate and finance law in San Diego for over a decade. Cato represents local and national real estate owners, developers and investors. He specializes in office, industrial, retail and multi-family projects. Prior to joining Solomon Ward as of counsel in 2011, Cato worked for over nine years with Latham & Watkins and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton. He is active in the San Diego chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

Edward Walton Elected Partner at Procopio

Edward Walton

Edward C. Walton has been elected partner in the San Diego law firm Procopio. Walton joined Procopio in July 2011 as senior counsel, after practicing from his own firm for many years in San Diego. Walton has experience in corporate and commercial litigation, as well as in his specialty practice area of admiralty and maritime law.  He is a trial attorney who has presented several cases to juries and judges locally and elsewhere in California. Walton is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.


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: