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Daily Business Report — Feb. 7, 2013

City Council to Consider Override
Of Mayor Bob Filner’s Port Vetoes

City News Service – The San Diego City Council on Monday will consider whether to override mayoral vetoes of appointments of two representatives to the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners, according to agendas posted online Wednesday. The council members, at a Jan. 7 meeting, chose lawyer Rafael Castellanos and businessman Marshall Merrifield out of a field of six candidates to join the governing authority over San Diego’s bay and waterfront operations. Mayor Bob Filner subsequently vetoed the appointments, objecting to what he called a flawed process of selecting the candidates and for making selections before determining a new city policy for the port. Filner, who made the port a centerpiece for his job creation plans during last year’s campaign, said the main flaw in the process was choosing representatives while the council’s District 4 seat was unfilled — in the wake of Tony Young’s resignation.

Supporters of Castellanos and Merrifield need to collect six City Council votes to override the vetoes, according to city documents. Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and Scott Sherman have said they support the override effort. City Council President Todd Gloria expressed support for the nominees and scheduled the override vote, but has not indicated which way he would vote. Their colleague David Alvarez, who nominated Castellanos and spoke out on his behalf, later said he shared the mayor’s concerns over the appointment process.

Whoever ends up on the board will replace ex-commissioners Lee Burdick, who is now on Filner’s staff, and Scott Peters, who was elected to Congress.

San Diego County Shows Increase in Small
Business For Sale Transactions In January

With 132 small and mid-sized business for sale offerings sold last month, San Diego County posted an increase of nearly 39 percent in deal volume compared to the 95 transactions successfully concluded in January last year, according to BizBen.com. The county’s results were not reflected in the statewide sales performance which shows a decline to 1,179 completed deals last month, compared to the 1,223 transactions that closed in January 2012.

 The city of San Diego recorded 55 sales during January. Other active markets were in Chula Vista with 12 deals, and El Cajon and San Marcos with 10 sales each.

San Diego Home Prices Up 12 Percent,
Says Greater S.D. Association of Realtors

Although home sales saw a seasonal drop in January, prices remain higher than they were a year ago, according to the most recent local housing statistics from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. In San Diego County, the median price of previously owned single-family homes was $390,000 last month — lower than the previous month but 12 percent higher than a year ago. The median price of existing condos and townhomes in January 2013 also slid back from the previous month, but was 17 percent higher than January 2012. Sales of existing homes dropped in January compared to December. However, sales were higher than the previous January: 15 percent for single-family homes and 8 percent for condos/townhomes. Another positive sign for the local real estate market: the average number of days previously owned homes remained on the market fell by 25 days when compared to January 2012. The most expensive San Diego County listing sold last month: $6.995 million for a 5-bedroom, 5-bath 9,605 square-foot home in Rancho Santa Fe.

Golf Tournament to Bring Back
Fourth Grade Program in Old Town

Billy Casper

The Old Town Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with PGA Hall of Famer Billy Casper to produce the Café Coyote Historic Old Town Golf Classic at the Salt Creek Golf Club on March 18, with all proceeds going toward restoring the fourth grade history program in Old Town San Diego. The goal of the tournament is to raise $40,000 to bring back the thousands of San Diego County students that would typically come to Old Town each year. The history program for fourth graders was part of the elementary school Off-Campus Integrated Learning Experiences, which was cut by the San Diego Unified School District in 2010 because of budget constraints. “Bringing fourth graders back to Old Town is a high priority for the chamber and we are thrilled that Billy Casper is able to help us with this goal,” said Chamber President Fred Grand. “We want the students to have the opportunity to visit Old Town and learn about the rich history of our state.”

Appeals for solar energy plant in Ramona Denied

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Wednesday to deny appeals and grant a major use permit for a proposed 42.7-acre solar energy plant at the southern end of Ramona, City News Service reports. Sol Orchard Ramona Solar Energy, slated for 1650 Warnock Drive, would use 8-foot-tall solar panels to produce 7.5 megawatts of power for delivery to San Diego Gas & Electric using an existing distribution line. “Solar energy can be one of the methods with the least impact to provide clean, renewable and, very importantly, local energy resources,” county Planning Commissioner David Pallinger said. “This particular project meets all criteria for a solar farm, including the critical component of proximity to power distribution.”

SAIC Receives $23 Million Contract from Navy

Science Applications International Corp. was awarded a contract valued at $23 million by the United States Naval Surface Warfare Center to provide logistics and program management services for the Navy Corrosion Control Assistance Teams.  Work will be performed primarily in San Diego, Norfolk, Va., Little Creek, Va., Mayport, Fla., Everett, Wash. and Yokuska, Japan.

San Diego Foundation Names
Director of Charitable Giving

Dustin Kinney

Dustin Kinney has been appointed director of charitable giving for The San Diego Foundation. Kinney spent more than six years with Sleep Train Inc. and was most recently in senior management as a regional sales trainer. He co-founded Road of Resistance, a nonprofit that is dedicated to raising awareness about the decades-long civil war in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and the use of child soldiers in the region. Kinney graduated with honors from Point Loma Nazarene University with a bachelor’s degree in international development with a focus on economics, marketing and business management.

Martin San Roman Joins Season Catering and Events

International chef Martin San Roman has joined Season Catering and Events, a North County firm, as a partner. San Roman studied culinary arts at the Ecole de Cuisine Lenotre de Paris, in France. He has owned and operated several acclaimed restaurants in the U.S. and Mexico, and was a celebrity TV chef for eight years on the Televisa Network. He has represented Mexican Gastronomie in England, Switzerland, Russia, Morocco, France, Japan, Singapore and the U.S. As a member of Mexico’s National Culinary Team, San Roman helped garner numerous international awards at the Bocuse d’or in Lyon, France, and the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany.

PacketVideo Names a New CEO/President

Mark Tapling has joined San Diego-based PacketVideo as CEO and president. The company is a subsidiary of NTT DOCOMO Inc. Tapling has more than 20 years of experience in the financial management of technology companies. PacketVideo founder and former CEO James Brailean will leave the company to pursue other interests, the company announced. Tapling most recently served as CEO of SDL plc Language Technologies following SDL’s acquisition of Language Weaver. He has served as the CEO and director of both public and private firms. A former recipient of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Tapling received a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.

Palomar Display Products Gets Army Contract

Palomar Display Products Inc. of Carlsbad has been awarded a $3.8 million contract by the U..S Army Contracting Command to deliver military display systems for the M1A2 Abrams tank. The high-resolution, optically coupled displays have been designed and qualified for the M1A2 Abrams tank and will be delivered to the Army for an international customer. Palomar Display Products manufactures high-resolution tactical targeting displays for armored vehicles.

A bionic hand created by four Aztec alumni.

SDSU NewsCenter

Symposium Success Catapults Student Research

Former symposium winners are studying ways to improve prosthetic limb function

Imagine a device that could sit on the brain, measure impulses in the motor cortex and relay the information to a prosthetic limb. Four SDSU alumni are working toward this vision by demonstrating the first building block of this neural chip. Pieter van Niekerk, Nasim W. Vahidi, Tom McDowell and Scott Frame presented their novel concept to faculty and fellow students at last year’s SDSU Student Research Symposium. The four were President Award winners at the symposium, and went on to take top prize at the California State University research competition last May in Long Beach.

Frame recalled the excitement of competing. “Winning the state competition was incredible,” he said. “We were presenting next to groups not just from SDSU, but also from universities all over the state, which made the work feel so much more significant. Telling friends and family what we had accomplished felt like one of my greatest achievements.”

In March, hundreds of SDSU students will compete again in the annual research symposium, which is open to both undergraduates and graduates. Close to 400 undergraduates and graduate students are expected to submit entries before the Feb. 1 deadline.

Emilio Ulloa, psychology professor and chair of the symposium, said the event draws a parallel between what students are doing here at SDSU and “a very important life skill — and that’s the ability to articulate an idea or a result to an audience. It is a skill set they have to develop as professionals to convey their thoughts effectively to others.”

For the SDSU research team, many of the “others” listening to their presentation had familiar faces. Frame said he expected the symposium audience to consist of professors and industry professionals, but instead, “the most influential members of the audience were fellow SDSU researchers and friends and family who had made the trip to support how far we had made it.”

Last year’s winning team members credit mechanical engineering professor Sam Kassegne with encouraging them expand their project into a legitimate piece of research. Their array of electrodes, which they affectionately named Gandalf, could theoretically be placed atop the brain, specifically the motor cortex, of a person with a severed spinal cord or a missing limb, explained van Niekerk. The device, controlled by a chip, would relay signals from the neurons firing in the brain to a robotic limb, enabling it to perform the desired functions.

The team’s research advanced the work of the National Science Foundation-funded Engineering Research Center — a joint endeavor of SDSU, MIT and the University of Washington — whose goal is to perfect brain-controlled bionics.

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The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO.

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

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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.

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