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Daily Business Report — April 4, 2013

Daily Business Report — April 4, 2013

69 Percent of Polled San Diegans Oppose Filner
Proposal to Allow ‘Double Dipping’ for Ex-Politicians

A new poll conducted by Reform San Diego shows a super-majority of San Diegans are strongly opposed to a proposal being pushed by Mayor Bob Filner to allow ex-City Council members to return to work for the city on a full salary while drawing a full city pension. “From the beginning, we saw this proposal as “Double Dipping” for ex-city politicians and this poll shows the public overwhelmingly is opposed to any form of “Double Dipping” at City Hall,” said Reform San Diego Chairman Carl DeMaio.

The release of the poll comes on the same day that the Filner Administration announced the departure of ex-City Council member Donna Frye – whose hiring in December prompted the Filner “Double Dipping” proposal.  At the urging of Council member Scott Sherman, the city’s Audit Committee is slated to conduct an oversight hearing on the Filner proposal on Monday. It is unclear whether Filner will now drop his “Double Dipping” proposal or continue to push it through City Council.

The poll question:

“To change the law to allow former city elected officials to take a job with the city of San Diego and collect pension checks from the city at the same time. Opponents say this amounts to “double dipping” by former elected officials, but supporters say this would allow former City Councilmember Donna Frye to work in Mayor Filner’s office.”

Support, strongly 8.1 %
Support, somewhat 13.7 %
Oppose, somewhat 17.2 %
Oppose, strongly 51.9 %
Unsure (Not read) 9.1 %

The poll was conducted March 25-28 by Competitive Edge of 604 likely voters. Margin of error: plus or minus 4.0 percent.

UC San Diego Renames Telecom
Research Unit After Qualcomm

Recognizing the $26 million in gifts received from Qualcomm and its foundation over the past 12 years, UC San Diego announced that it has renamed its telecommunications research institute after Qualcomm Inc. A celebration to mark the name change of the two-campus research organization, to be called The Qualcomm Institute, is scheduled for May 24 at Atkinson Hall.

NRG Solar to Build Solar Plant
at SDSU’s Imperial Valley Campus

NRG Solar of Carlsbad announced that San Diego State University’s Imperial Valley campus is slated to host a new 5-megawatt solar park. NRG Solar signed a $19.2 million loan with North American Development Bank for the construction of the renewable energy project. The Imperial Irrigation District will purchase the electricity generated by the project under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The solar park is expected to generate electricity for the equivalent of about 1,935 households.

60-Unit La Jolla Apartment
Building Sells for $29 Million

Prospect 400, a 60-unit apartment building in La Jolla that was built on the site of the former home of the late Frederick William Kellog and his wife Florence Scripps has been sold to a real estate investment trust for $29 million. The land at 400 Prospect St. was acquired from the Carolyn M. Holmer Irrevocable Trust. The site was a local landmark. It was redeveloped into apartments in 1970. The four-story, 57,884-square-foot building consists of seven studios, 29 one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedroom units and 10 garages. The Alan Daun-designed building was constructed by Mabie and Mintz Inc. Jim Neil, Eric Comer and Merrick Matricardi of CBRE San Diego represented the seller.

Copley Business Center
Acquired for $22.5 Million

The Copley Business Center, a 102,000-square-foot office project in San Diego, has been purchased for $22.5 million by Highbrook Investment Management LP. The seller was a private tenant-in-common entity sponsored by Thompson National Properties. The broker was Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP. The center consists of three buildings that were completed in 1997. The property was 87 percent leased at the time of acquisition and serves as the corporate headquarters of Reva Medical Inc.  Other major tenants include XO Communications, which uses the property to house one of its data center colocation facilities. That company signed a new 12-year lease renewal.

EarthRisk Technolgies’ Newest Product Upgrade
Forecasts Weather Up to 40 Days in Advance

San Diego-based EarthRisk Technologies has released a new version of its major project — a web-based platform that uses sophisticated algorithms to forecast hot and cold weather events up to 40 days in advance. The company said that TempRisk Version 4.4 provides the information necessary to extend forecasting confidence beyond one week, the point where weather simulations deteriorate. The platform’s patent-pending algorithms run four million calculations a day, incorporating 200 weather patterns, 10,000 days and multiple global regions.  The result is “quantified weather risk,” according to the company.

Crunching more than 60 years of weather data to formulate the odds of cold snaps and heat waves up to 40 days in advance is a lead time that is twice as long as any in the industry, said John Plavan, EarthRisk CEO. He said trading groups, power producers and energy traders around the globe use TempRisk for a climatological edge in their investments.

Foundation Gives $20,000 to REBOOT

REBOOT, a three-week workshop provided by the National Veterans Transition Services Inc. that helps veterans ease back into civilian life, received a $20,000 donation from the California Foundation for Stronger Communities. The money will help up to 10 veterans attend its comprehensive workshop that reintegrates military/veterans back in to civilian life. The workshop is free to members of the military and veterans, but NVTSI relies on donations. It is $2,500 per military/veteran student to attend the three-week workshop. NVTSI’s Ready 4 Hire program has an ongoing list of available veterans ready for hire. The graduates’ expertise ranges from engineers through information technology to photo/journalism. For more information, call (866) 535-7624 or visit www.nvtsi.org.

Drone Industry Boosters Pilot
Controversial Local Growth Plan

KPBS — When it comes to the controversial unmanned aircraft known as drones, business is booming. That could mean scores of new jobs for San Diego, but privacy defenders say courting the drone industry could cost us our civil liberties.

Imagining swarms of drones hovering over most of Southern California makes a lot of residents uneasy, but that’s exactly what Sean Barr of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. hopes to see. Barr has been working with a coalition of local defense industry advocates to brand San Diego as the drone capital of the world. To ensure that drone makers put down stakes in San Diego, Barr and his allies are trying to convince the FAA to base a lucrative drone test site here. The range they’re envisioning would be expansive.

“It extends from the China Lake Edwards Air Force Base area West to the ocean, South to the Mexican border, and East to the Arizona border,” said Barr, vice president of economic development for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

When people like Dave Patterson of San Diego Veterans for Peace hear about Barr’s plans, they don’t picture a new economic golden age. They foresee an Orwellian police state.

Considering the proposed test site, Patterson wondered, “If they’re gonna fly 10,000 drones around Southern California, what are they going to do with all that surveillance information?”

Bearing these concerns in mind, Barr and his allies remain focused on securing jobs for San Diego. Similar drone industry development efforts have been hatched in Nevada. And in Oklahoma, North Dakota, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts … the FAA has received more than 50 test range proposals since February.

But Barr thinks San Diego can beat the competition. He estimates that about 7,000 local jobs are already dedicated to drones. San Diego also boasts ideal weather for year-round flight testing and a large military presence. With law enforcement, scientists, and farmers all coveting this technology, Barr thinks San Diego’s drone economy is poised to double within this decade, saying, “There is an opportunity for it to grow significantly.”

(For the full story, visit www.KPBS.org.)

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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: info@probolskyresearch.com