Daily Business Report — April 16, 2013
Councilman Todd Gloria Might Have Played
Key Role in Move That Cost the City $500K
Voice of San Diego — The Academy of Our Lady of Peace will receive more than $500,000 from taxpayers because a jury found late last year that the city unfairly rejected its expansion project. The school’s lawyers won their case by arguing City Councilman Todd Gloria improperly pressured city staff into changing a vital report on the project four years ago. That change cleared the way for the City Council to reject the school’s plans. Gloria denies any wrongdoing, but there is significant evidence to suggest he tampered in the planning process.
In 2007, North Park’s Academy of Our Lady of Peace asked the city to approve its plans to expand its classroom and parking facilities to better serve its over-capacity enrollment. The council eventually voted to reject the project.
Before the council killed the project, Gloria met with a city staffer involved in the city’s formal review of the school’s proposal. That same staffer instructed the author of a key report to change its conclusion to better reflect Gloria’s position on the project.
Gloria used the changed report to justify rejecting the project, reciting its new conclusion nearly verbatim to his council colleagues, who then voted against the expansion.
For the full story, visit www.voiceofsandiego.com
Mayor Filner Signs Tourism Marketing Agreement
Mayor Bob Filner signed an agreement with San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District on Monday, KPBS reports. The City Council then unanimously approved a measure directing Filner to execute the amended agreement. The council delayed a decisionon the agreement last week because Filner and the TMD disagreed over the extent to which the area’s biggest hotels should protect the city from risk. Three lawsuits filed against the city say a 2 percent fee on hotel rooms to fund the tourism district’s marketing is illegal because it amounts to a tax, which must be approved by a public vote. If the courts agree, San Diego could have to refund money it paid to the tourism district.
The agreement signed by Filner says each hotel’s monetary obligation should be limited to “the dollar amount of the TMD assessment paid by that indemnifying hotel” for 12 months. It also says each hotel’s obligation will only be triggered after the city’s TMD fund is exhausted and says the city can save $2.3 million in hotel assessments for legal defense costs.
Last week, Filner had wanted hotels to protect the city from any risk associated with the lawsuits, but the hotels had agreed only to be liable for the money they give to the marketing district. Filner vetoed the pact last week after a deal on amendments with the tourism agency’s board fell through.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he had not seen the new agreement until immediately before Monday’s City Council meeting. But, he told council members he trusts TMD’s lawyers and is willing to sign off on the deal. The tourism funds will not be released until Filner signs the original agreement. He hasn’t done that yet. But his staff told the City Council his signature on the amendment should be a sign of good faith that he will also sign the original. Filner’s staff said he’ll sign the original when he returns from Mexico in three days.
San Diego to Host 9th Annual World Stem Cell Summit
The ninth annual World Stem Cell Summit — scheduled for Dec. 4-6 in San Diego — is expected to attract more than 1,200 attendees from 40 nations. It will be staged at the Hilton Bayfront San Diego. The Genetics Policy Institute, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Mayo Clinic, The Scripps Research Institute and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have joined to organize what is considered the largest and most comprehensive stem cell conference aimed at uniting the global stem cell community and accelerating cures. Additional international organizers will be named in the coming weeks. Evan Snyder of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is one of the co-chairs of the conference.
ViaSat Acquires LonoCloud
Carlsbad-based ViaSat, which develops satellite and other wireless networking products and services, announced that it has acquired privately-held LonoCloud of La Jolla. LonoCloud is a La Jolla-based startup developing cloud-based networking software for the distributed computing market.
Kimco Realty Acquires Interest in Santee Trolley Square
Kimco Realty Corp., owner and operator of neighborhood and community shopping centers, has purchased the remaining 55 percent interest from other investors in Santee Trolley Square, a 311,000-square-foot shopping center, for $98 million. The Santee center is anchored by several national retailers, including T.J. Maxx, PetSmart, Party City, Bed Bath & Beyond, 24 Hour Fitness, Old Navy and Target.
Filner Proposes $2.75 Billion ‘Transition Budget’
Mayor Bob Filner kept the budget cutting ax at bay for the most part Monday as he proposed a $2.75 billion spending plan for the city of San Diego for the next fiscal year. The overall budget proposal is 0.1 percent smaller than the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. But general fund spending, which includes basic city services such as public safety and libraries, would be increased by 3.1 percent to $1.2 billion. The first budget proposal of the new mayor’s term will now go to the City Council for changes and adoption. “This is a transition budget,” Filner told reporters.
(City News Service)
Karl Strauss Brewing Co. Moves Up
On the Top 50 Craft Breweries List
Karl Strauss Brewing Co. has moved up on the Brewers Association’s Top 50 craft breweries in the country. The company was ranked No. 39 on the list, moving up from No. 44 in 2011. Karl Strauss has achieved this ranking with sole distribution in California, while most breweries listed are available in multiple states. “Our approach to growth is to penetrate our local market and provide the freshest beer possible to craft beer fans across California,” said Matt Rattner, president and co-founder. “There are so many people in California who still don’t know about craft beer and we look forward to exposing them to our brand.” The company said its beer sales were up 30 percent in the first quarter of this year, outpacing the craft industry average of 15 percent volume growth in 2012 and puts Karl Strauss on a pathway to reach more than 60,000 barrels in 2013. The company is planning continued expansion into Northern California and the opening of its Tasting Room at its main brewery at 5985 Santa Fe St. in San Diego later this year.
Education and Workforce Development
Issues Are Focus of April 23 Forum
Education and workforce development issues in northern San Diego will be addressed during an April 23 business forum put together by the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce, the Institute for a Competitive Workforce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. it will be held at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, San Diego. The event lasts from 1 to 8:30 p.m. The keynote address will be by Craig Cheslog, principal adviser to the state superintendent of public instruction. Pre-registration fees valid until April 22 at noon are $30 for members of the organizations and $40 for nonmembers. Admission at the door is $50. The event will take place in two segments. The first segment is the Business Forum, a series of speakers, two panel discussions and break-out sessions. The second segment is a community event that will include an exhibitor fair showcasing various workforce and education opportunities and resources in San Diego County, a private screening of the movie “Won’t Back Down,” and a panel of local leaders from the business and education community.