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Daily Business Report — March 6, 2013

Local Hoteliers Get Expedited Hearing
On Mayor’s Refusal to Release Funds

City News Service — A court hearing on Mayor Bob Filner’s refusal to release funds needed to manage San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District will take place on March 22, a judge ruled Tuesday. The decision by Judge Timothy Taylor gives hotel operators an initial victory in their lawsuit against Filner, which seeks to get him to implement a 40-year extension of the TMD approved by the City Council last fall. The TMD wanted an expedited hearing on the case. Taylor rejected arguments by Filner that he had to get himself a lawyer because he cannot depend on City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to adequately represent his interests. The two have been at loggerheads since Filner took office in December. “The city — I’m trying to protect the taxpayers — deserves adequate representation for the mayor,” Filner told reporters after the hearing. During the hearing, Taylor told the mayor he had 17 days to find a lawyer. “I don’t agree with your tentative ruling,” Filner responded. The mayor said he will have to ask the City Council for authorization to hire outside counsel at municipal expense.

Custom Home Sites in Rancho Santa Fe Sold for $10.3 Million

Forty-one custom home sites in the community of Cielo in Rancho Santa Fe have been sold for $10.3 million to California West Ventures II LLC. The seller was Rancho Cielo Estates. The home sites range from 9,300 to 23,900 square feet. The San Diego office of Colliers International brokered the sale.

Aztecs inside the Mars testbed are, from left, Doug Clark, Joey Brown, Jordan Evans, Brandon Florow, Amanda Thomas, Bonnie Theberge.

SDSU Alumni to Give April 19
Lecture On Putting a Car on Mars

In early August, the Mars Rover “Curiosity” successfully landed in an effort to discover more about earth’s next-door-neighbor. Eight San Diego State alumni who work with the Mars Science Laboratory played a variety of roles in the mission, from systems engineer to spacecraft navigator. And though Mars is more than 60 million miles away, they credit much of their success with the start they got at SDSU. That’s why they will be coming back, as part of the Montys weekend celebration, to give a free public lecture about the experience of putting a car on Mars. The event will take place Friday, April 19, at 3 p.m. at Arts and Letters 201. Reserve seats at www.sdsualumni.org/curiosity.

Downtown San Diego’s First Permanent
Service Center for the Homeless Opens

It took six years to bring it to fruition, but Downtown San Diego now has a permanent, one-stop service center for the homeless. Connections Housing, formerly the World Trade Center building at 1250 Sixth Ave., will permanently house 73 people in studio apartments, provide interim housing for 150 homeless individuals, operate a health center and run a service center to connect the homeless with services they need. A grand opening at the 14-story facility will be held Monday at 10 a.m.

Connections Housing

The center is the result of a partnership between four housing and service agencies—Affirmed Housing Group, PATH Ventures, PATH (People Assisting The Homeless), and Family Health Centers of San Diego—as well as more than two dozen local service providers who will offer supportive services on-site.

In 2010, when the Campaign to End Homelessness in Downtown San Diego conducted a survey of the homeless population, they discovered more than 1,040 homeless individuals within the neighborhood’s 450 blocks. 300 of those individuals were within walking distance of the building that is now Connections Housing. The renovation and opening of the center will result in a decrease in street homelessness for Downtown neighborhoods, according to the agencies.

Private room

Residents began moving into the building on Feb. 4 and services began in January, including services in the on-site PATH Depot as well as medical and mental health services provided by Family Health Centers of San Diego. “Connections Housing is not only a bed to sleep in, but also the counseling and education people need to change the direction of their lives,” said James Silverwood, president and CEO of Affirmed Housing.

The living quarters at the center are for those who are “at risk” on the streets of Downtown, including chronically homeless individuals, people with disabilities and people who are frequent users of public systems such as emergency rooms.

San Diego County Restaurant Grading
System Expanding to Food Trucks

San Diego County is one of the first in the nation to expand the grading of food service to cover the growing food-truck industry, KPBS reports. San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts came up with the proposal about

Health specialist Heather Buonomo

a year ago.“We had some concerns being expressed and we saw some operators that we didn’t think were necessarily doing it with a best practices approach,” Roberts said. The county inspects around 1,100 mobile food operations in the region, of which 550 sell to the public, but the operators were not previousl required to display the results, Roberts said in July when the ordinance was passed. Restaurants generally display their blue letter grade on a placard in a front window. Under the ordinance, the food trucks will receive decals instead of cards so the grades can’t be transferred among vehicles. Heather Buonomo, the supervising environmental health specialist for the county, told KPBS that food trucks have always been safe. “And what’s exciting about this is now the consumers are going to know that it’s safe. That card in the window allows them to make the educated choice.”

New Executive Chefs Announced for
West Coast Tavern and Uptown Tavern

New chefs have taken over at the West Coast Tavern in North Park and the Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest. Matt Kiser was named executive chef at West Coast Tavern. He launched his career at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club and later helped open Quarter Kitchen in Downtown San Diego. Kiser was with Urban Solace in North Park for four years. Dana Francisco is the new executive chef at Uptown Tavern. For the last seven years Francisco held the executive chef position at Satellite Bistro in Austin, Texas. He was born in Germany while both his parents served in the U.S. military. “My inspiration for food comes from the places I’ve seen, the people I’ve met along the way, and most importantly my family,” says Francisco. David Cohen, co-owner of the West Coast Tavern, opened Uptown Tavern with partners Mark Cirillo, Joe Vaught and Eric Lingenfelder.

Two Former Summer Law Firm Interns
Hired as Associates at Best Best & Krieger

Richard Hyde

Marco Verdugo

Richard L. Hyde and Marco A. Verdugo, who were summer interns at Best Best & Krieger during law school, have been hired as associates for the firm. They graduated from law school last year. Hyde is a member of the firm’s municipal law practice group. He received his law degree from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. Prior to joining the law firm, he interned with the California Attorney General’s correctional law section. He also externed with U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner in Utah.
 Verdugo joined the firm’s special districts practice and is working  on water quality issues, eminent domain and election law for various public agency clients. During law school, Verdugo interned at the Chula Vista City Attorney’s Office. He also  volunteered at the University of San Diego Legal Clinic. Verdugo received his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Innovation in Healthcare Conference Set for March 27

Registration is now open for Healthcare Foundation’s 2013 Innovation in Healthcare Conference March 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jacobs Center, 404 Euclid Ave., San Diego. Akshay Sateesh, a teamwork and communications skills expert and founder of Ziksana Consulting, is the keynote speaker. Sateesh previously worked with DuPont Biomedical. PastInnovation grantees will be on site with exhibit tables to showcase their projects and demonstrate how the grant has been put to use. Registration information can be found at www.innovationconference2013.eventbrite.com.

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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.

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: info@probolskyresearch.com