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Daily Business Report-April 25, 2013

Daily Business Report-April 25, 2013


General Atomics Test of Ground Control System for Predator Drone Termed Successful

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. announced that it has successfully demonstrated its Advanced Cockpit Ground Control Station’s capability to fly the Predator C Avenger. The flight occurred Nov. 15, 2012, at the company’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif.

“This flight paired our most advanced ground control station with our most advanced aircraft,” said Frank W. Pace, president of the company’s Aircraft Systems Group. “Since 1994, our ground control stations have amassed over 2 million flight hours. The Advanced Cockpit is the next logical step in ground control station progression.”

“Advanced Cockpit’s wrap-around visual display and multi-dimensional moving map dramatically increases situational awareness, while the integrated digital checklist decreases pilot workload,” said Jason McDermott, the test pilot. “The combination of these unique features greatly increases the ease and simplicity of mission planning, reduces pilot workload, thereby increasing flight safety.”

The Advanced Cockpit Ground Control Station features intuitive interfaces designed to make hazardous situations easier to identify, enhancing safety and improving the pilot’s reaction time and decision-making processes, the company said.


Small Business Owners Flunk San Diego

San Diego received mostly flunking or low grades from small business owners surveyed by in the second annual 2013 Small Business Survey. The survey was in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. It showed that San Diego again received a failing grade from the business owners. San Diego’s highest grade was a C for its training and networking programs, placing it above Los Angeles and Sacramento. The city earned a D for the business friendliness of its licensing requirements and labor laws. California earned a D grade, up from an F’ in 2012. Although the state struggled overall, it ranked above average for its online resources for small businesses.

Results for San Diego:

Overall friendliness — F

Ease of starting a business — F

Ease of hiring — C-

Regulations — F

Health and safety — D

Employment, labor and hiring — D

Tax code — D

Licensing — D

Environmental — F

Zoning — F

Training and networking programs — C


City of San Diego to Get Federal Funds to Funnel into Low-Income Communities

Civic San Diego, the city agency that replaced the Centre City Development Corp., is to receive $35 million in federal funds to funnel into the city’s low-income communities. The funds are from the New Market Tax Credit program.”This is great news!” Mayor Bob Filner said. “This money will be invested wisely in the businesses and projects needed in our low-income neighborhoods, which have often been overlooked over the last couple of decades. Neighborhoods are our most valuable assets and our greatest resource. We will take advantage of any opportunity to improve them.” Civic San Diego President Jeff Graham said the funds will go toward projects that create jobs and provide services to low-income and “highly distressed neighborhoods.”


City Labor Groups Call for 14.5 Percent Raises Over Five Years

Leaders of five of the six unions that represent city of San Diego employees Wednesday publicly unveiled their offer to accept a five-year labor deal in exchange for a 14.5 percent pay raise over that time period, City News Service reports. Mayor Bob Filner has called for such an agreement since early in his campaign as a cost-saving measure for the city, and the concept has strong support on the City Council. However, at a recent council meeting, some members said details like the size of the salary increases were a hold-up. “Our negotiations are somewhat stalled,” Mike Zucchet, general manager of the Municipal Employees Association, said at a news conference. The proposed package includes labor acceptance of a major component of a pension reform initiative passed by voters last year, which limits — to base pay for five years — the compensation that employees can later use to calculate their retirement benefits. In exchange, the unions want to end a 6 percent salary reduction implemented in 2009.


San Marcos and Vista City Councils Act to Allow Property Improvements Through Property Tax

The city councils in San Marcos and Vista have passed resolutions that will allow residential and commercial property owners to finance improvement projects through their property taxes. The program, called HERO, would allow the property owners to pay for permanent renewable energy, energy-efficient and water-efficient systems over time. It was designed in part to lower energy costs, stimulate job creation, increase property values and lower emissions. San Marcos and Vista city officials said the financing program will be available to residents in a few months. Participation is voluntary for property owners.

Desalination Project Receives High Commendation

Poseidon Resources’ $922 million Carlsbad Desalination Project, slated to be completed in 2016, has been named “Desalination Deal of the Year 2012” by international water industry analyst Global Water Intelligence. The award recognized the public-private partnership between Poseidon Resources and the San Diego County Water Authority as a “pioneering collaborative approach” that will “serve as a blueprint for the financing of other large-scale desalination projects across the southern U.S.” The Water Authority is to purchase the 50 million gallons-per-day drinking water produced by the plant under a 30-year agreement.

New Graduation Requirements Will Require Support

Freshmen in San Diego city high schools this year are the first class to have to complete the courses needed to get into the University of California or California State University in order to graduate, KPBS reports. A report from UC San Diego and the Public Policy Institute of California looks at what it will take to make the effort to improve college access for all city students work. The research from UC San Diego concludes that just greater than 60 percent of the city’s 2011 grads would have been eligible to graduate under new requirements for this year’s freshmen. Researcher Julian Betts said many other grads were just one or two courses short of meeting the new standards. He says the percentage of students passing the more rigorous classes can go up, but will take hard work.


Shire Regenerative Medicine Employees Raise More than $37,000 in Diabetes Tour de Cure

Shire Regenerative Medicine reports that its employees raised more than $37,000 during last Saturday’s 2013 Tour de Cure cycling event sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. The ADA’s annual nationwide cycling event attracted more than 55,000 riders across 44 states, raising more than $18 million to prevent and cure diabetes. Shire’s fundraising made it the top corporate sponsor in San Diego. “I ride for my family and in memory of my mom, who we lost to diabetes complications in 2010,” said Alvin Ines, a Shire employee and the team’s “red rider,” the Tour’s term identifying those participants with diabetes. “Seeing everyone out riding today gives me great hope that together a cure can be found so that, in the future, we can eradicate this disease.”


Channel 6 Celebrating its 60th Year

XETV-TV/Channel 6 is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and is planning a special broadcast on its morning news show, “Wake Up San Diego,” on Monday. Channel 6 first appeared on the local airways on April 29, 1953. On-air personalities will be outfitted in vintage 1950s fashions. General Manager Chuck Dunning is inviting former employees to a 60th anniversary party and employee reunion from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Channel 6 studios, 8253 Ronson Road, San Diego.


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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: