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Daily Business Report — Feb. 12, 2013

Council President Seeks to Revive
Plaza de Panama Plan for Balboa Park

Todd Gloria

San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor judge effectively killed plans to revamp Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park when he ruled the city violated the municipal code in approving the project. Now, City Council President Todd Gloria is exploring ways the project might be brought back to life. He’s sent a memo to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith asking for advice on legal and legislative options San Diego might use to revive the project.

Gloria’s efforts immediately came under fire from Bruce Coons, president of the Save Our Heritage Organisation, the principal opponent of the plan that was promoted by Irwin Jacobs, co-founder of Qualcomm Inc. “We would strongly oppose any effort by the city attorney or any members of the City Council to now attempt to pass any amendment to the existing historic preservation ordinance,” said Coons in a message to members. “The ordinance provides important protections to the city’s historic resources, and no such resource is more important than Balboa Park. Such an attempt to “move the goal posts” after the case is finished and the court has made its order is wrong. Dr. Jacobs has said his plan is dead. We respect his decision and ask the City Council and City Attorney to do the same.”

SOHO President Bruce Coons

The Plaza de Panma plan calls for building a bypass road off of Cabrillo Bridge to route cars around the plaza. The plan also includes building a parking structure behind the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Jacobs was financing much of the plan, but he has since said he believes the project is dead.

The judge ruled that the City Council violated the municipal code in finding there was no reasonable beneficial use of Plaza de Panama without the project. Such a finding is required to alter a facility that’s designated a historic resource.

Gloria said the SOHO lawsuit creates a situation where the city won’t be able to make any beneficial changes to Balboa Park until the laws are changed. Boosters of the plan wanted to begin construction quickly so the Plaza de Panama and Plaza de California would be free of vehicles in time for the park’s 100th anniversary in 2015, in which a full year’s worth of events are being planned.

“I continue to support the Plaza de Panama project as approved by the City Council, and am firmly convinced, as Judge Taylor was, that its benefits far outweighs its impacts, even in regard to protecting the park’s historic resources,” Gloria said. “I am also firmly convinced that the city needs to fix the problem with its municipal code, as identified by Judge Taylor, or it may never be able to remove traffic and parking from the plaza.”

(KPBS and City News Service)

Council Fails to Override Vetoes
of Port Commission Nominees

City News Service — The San Diego City Council’s bid to override Mayor Bob Filner’s vetoes of lawyer Rafael Castellanos and businessman Marshall Merrifield to the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners came up one vote short Monday. Castellanos and Merrifield were selected out of a field of six candidates by the City Council on Jan. 7, but Filner later issued the vetoes. He objected to what he called a flawed process of picking the candidates, including making selections before determining a new city policy for the port. Council President Todd Gloria subsequently expressed support for the nominees and scheduled the override vote. The council voted 5-3 to override the vetoes, but needed six votes in favor.

Encinitas and Spring Valley Show Big Jump
In Rental Prices for Single-Family Homes

Encinitas and Spring Valley were among the top 10 markets in the country showing the highest increases in average rental prices for single-family residences last year, according to a rental pricing analysis conducted by RentRange LLC. The analysis showed that the average rental price for a single-family residence in Encinitas jumped from $2,443 in December 2011 to $3,014 in December 2012 — a jump of 18.94 percent. Average rental prices in Spring Valley for the same period jumped from $1,530 to $1,807 or an increase of 15.33 percent.

Other areas in the top 10 list are La Quinta, Fullerton, Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Indo in California, a Harker Heights in Texas, Sarasota in Florida and Mableton in Georgia. The homes surveyed were three-bedroom single-family residences.

County Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox
To Deliver 2013 State of the County Address

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox will deliver the 2013 State of the County address at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday from the USS Midway Museum in Downtown San Diego. Cox will discuss the county’s successes and challenges during the past year and his expectations for the future. Issues will include the impact of state public safety realignment on the county, technological innovations by the county, a new program to reduce hospital readmission rates, improvements to beach water quality monitoring and his work with Mayor Bob Filner to improve cooperation between the county and city of San Diego during emergencies.

San Diego County Credit Union
Names Senior Vice President/Controller

San Diego County Credit Union has named Lori Beador as senior vice president, controller. Beador will have responsibility for financial data and operations, including audit reporting, accounting, budgetary analysis and monitoring controls and procedures. Beador, a licensed Certified Public Accountant, previously served at Yakima, Wash.-based Solarity Credit Union as chief financial officer/vice president of finance. She also served in management positions in Washington with Midstate Co-Op and the Washington State Auditor’s Office. She has earned bachelor degrees in accounting and actuarial science from Central Washington University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Washington State University.

Nominations Sought for Pinnacle Awards

Athena San Diego is calling for nominations for its 2013 Pinnacle Awards, given to individuals and companies/organizations having a significant impact in the San Diego community. The award categories are in Technology, Life Sciences, Services and Company/Organization. The awards will be presented April 24 at the Grand Hyatt. Nominations are to be made online only at no later than Feb. 22.

UC San Diego Program Seeks Adults to Participate
In Survey Measuring Adult Driving Habits

The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine TREDS (Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety) program is conducting a survey to better understand the driving habits of adults. The program seeks San Diego County residents between the ages of 30 and 64 years old who use a cell phone and drive a vehicle at least once a week to answer questions pertaining to their use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, as well as their opinions of various distractions that could be experienced while driving. The survey will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and can be completed on an iPad, tablet or any computer with Internet access. The last date to participate in the survey is March 31, 2013. For more information, contact the TREDS office at (858) 534-9330. To participate in the survey, visit


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: