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Daily Business Report — Jan. 9, 2013

Mayor and Council President
Clash Over Appointment Power

(City News Service) — A public dispute over the power to make appointments to outside agencies erupted Tuesday between San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and City Council President Todd Gloria — and resulted in harsh words between the two officials who are relatively new to their posts. The City Council was scheduled to consider which members would be assigned to the various boards and committees at the San Diego Association of Governments, a regional planning body. A slate of nominations was introduced by Gloria.

Standard practice is for the mayor to issue nominations for boards, commissions and outside agencies. However, since the SANDAG appointments go to City Council members and not the general public, the council president and mayor have historically worked together to determine the nominees. The process is supported by state code, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

But Filner addressed the City Council and claimed sole authority to make the nominations. “Under our charter, the City Council president — as much as we love him — does not have the authority to appoint SANDAG representatives, so you are taking up an item which is contrary to our charter,” Filner said. “Now, in my belief, the mayor has the authority to appoint the SANDAG representatives subject to council confirmation. It is a joint appointment in that respect — you can turn down anything I say — you have the free vote.” The mayor urged the council to vote on his nominations.

From there, the two sides became contentious, as Filner interrupted the council debate several times while Gloria tried to proceed with the discussion.

The mayor accused Gloria of being “gratuitous” for soliciting his recommendations for the SANDAG positions when he knew who they were, and told the council president that he “mischaracterized”  his memo on the appointments. He also referred to Gloria’s nominations by saying, “for what they are worth.” Filner also chastised Assistant City Attorney Mary Jo Lanzafame for mixing the words “appointment” and “nomination.”

“You are confusing two words and you are doing it purposefully,” Filner said. After the mayor interrupted her multiple times during a discussion over how to handle the vacancy in council District 4, Gloria said, “Mr. Mayor, I appreciate your presence here today. These questions are for Ms. Lanzafame.”

“Well, ask the guy who wrote the memo,” Filner said, referring to his list of appointments.

“I provided you with your time,” Gloria responded. “Please allow the council members to have their opportunities.”

Lanzafame got seven words out before the mayor jumped in again.

“Mr. President, that’s not what the memo says,” Filner said. “It leaves a vacancy in the position. It doesn’t ask for someone to be appointed who is not a member of this council, and I just told you that, and you know it very well. You ask a phony question and you’ll get a phony answer.”

He said Lanzafame’s opinions were “not usually right” and he promised to veto Gloria’s nominees if they were passed.

At the urging of a couple of City Council members, Filner and Gloria left the meeting to iron out their disagreements. When they returned, they said they would meet over the next few weeks and come up with a joint list of nominees to present to the council on Monday. The mayor noted that he and Gloria have known each other for 15 years and will work things out. “It should not have gotten to this point and we apologize to the council,” Filner said. He said the tiff “was not good for the city and we will try to do this in a better way.”

The board and committees of SANDAG, the regional planning body, are made up of the mayors and council members of cities, the county of San Diego and other institutions with a major San Diego presence, like the Navy.

Gloria tried to have the nominees approved Tuesday because SANDAG plans to hold a meeting Friday to set up its committees.

New Telescopes to Give UC San Diego
Team Glimpse of the Beginning of Time

The Simons Foundation has awarded a team of UC San Diego physicists a $4.3 million grant to build and install two more telescopes in the high desert of northern Chile, where the team is working to understand the origin of the universe. The first “POLARBEAR” telescope (for Polarization of Background Radiation), was set up in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the highest and driest places on earth. Since March 2012, the telescope has recorded data to identify an imprint of primordial gravitational waves on the cosmic microwave background radiation, the relic radiation remaining from the Big Bang. Together, the three telescopes will be known as the Simons Array. “The Simons Array will inform our knowledge of the universe in a completely new way,” said Brian Keating, associate professor of physics at UC San Diego’s Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. Keating will lead the project with Professor Adrian Lee of UC Berkeley. Scientists from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Colorado, McGill University in Canada and the KEK Laboratory in Japan are collaborating on the project.

Hub International Acquires Intercare Insurance Solutions

Hub International Limited has acquired Intercare Insurance Solutions Inc., a San Diego-based insurance brokerage firm.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.  Intercare will become part of the California operations of Hub International Insurance Services (Hub California). Mike Barone, president and CEO, will join Hub, reporting to Kirk Christ, president of  Hub California. Intercare offers an array of employee benefits consulting and brokerage services in addition to property and casualty and 401(k) retirement plan consulting. It has another lcoation in Irvine.

Merged Realtors Group Schedules Installation

The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors will host its 2013 board of directors installation dinner on Friday, Jan. 18. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Bonita Golf Course, 5540 Sweetwater Road, in Bonita. Seats cost $45 per person, or $400 for a table of eight. Register online at www.psar.org or phone (619) 421-7811 or (619) 579-0333. This will be the first full calendar year for the Realtors association following the merger of the El Cajon-based East San Diego County Association of Realtors, with about 800 members, and the Chula Vista-based Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors, with about 1,100 members. Jeff Campbell, a Realtor with Jeff Campbell & Associates and affiliated with Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, will serve as 2013 president. Richard D’Ascoli, who served as CEO of the South County Realtors group, is serving as CEO of the merged association. Peg Tischer-Keeley of the East County association served as president of the combined association in 2012.

UC San Diego to Break Ground on New $269 Million

Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute

UC San Diego will break ground Thursday for the new $269 million Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, which will give laboratory and clinical researchers the opportunity to work side-by-side in efforts to better understand and treat disease. The ceremony is at 10:30 a.m. and will be hosted by UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosia. Scheduled to open by early 2016, the building has been named for San Diego philanthropists Steve and Lisa Altman, who have pledged $10 million toward the construction costs. Steve Altman is vice chairman of Qualcomm Inc. “The CTRI building will create a unique, multidisciplinary environment that brings together laboratory scientists and clinical investigators to understand disease, develop new methods of treatment and translate clinical research results into clinical practice,” said Gary Firestein, professor of medicine, dean and associate vice chancellor of Translational Medicine and director of the institute. Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, designer of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, has been chosen for the project.

Otay Mesa Industrial Building Sells for $2.1 Million

An industrial building at the Britannia Corporate Center in Otay Mesa has been sold for $2.1 million to Saint Andrews LLC. The sellers were Robert Y. land Judy AHsus. The building, known as Building 3, is at 7565 Siempre Viva Road and contains 29,000 square feet. Cassidy Turley represented the seller. Coast Commercial Brokerage Inc. represented the buyer.

Chateau Spring Gardens Sells for $6 Million

Chateau Spring Gardens, a 40-unit apartment project at 4265 Palm Ave. in La Mesa, has been purchased for $6 million by Chateau Spring Gardens LLC. Universe Holdings is the general partner and Henry Manoucheri as chairman and CEO. The sellers were William and Barbara Blatchley. CBRE San Diego represented the buyer. The project has a mix of three studios, 10 one-bedroom and 27 two-bedroom units. Built in 1990, the gated property is comprised of two three-story buildings totaling 35,626 square feet. Universe Holdings also owns the Chateau Spring Hill apartments  at 4341 Spring Street in La Mesa with a total of 94 units. In 2003, the firm acquired the Chateau Spring Terrace apartments at 4242 Spring St. consisting of 56 units.

The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe Reports Strong Growth

The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe reported an average increase of more than two new club members per month during 2012. Twenty-eight new golf memberships were sold last year, including 22 at an initiation level of $125,000 and six out-of-area members who joined as national members at $35,000 each. Social membership reached capacity last year with the addition of six new members at $25,000 each.  The club currently has only 37 golf equity memberships remaining to sell.


The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO.

Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865. manny@sandiegometro.com.


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