Daily Business Report-April 26, 2013
San Diego Tourism Dispute Over; Mayor Filner Signs Contracts
Mayor Bob Filner signed a much-debated operating agreement Thursday with San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District, City News Service reports. A dispute over details of the contract blew up in recent months as the mayor sought numerous changes, but the two sides reached a deal about 10 days ago. The district uses a 2 percent charge on hotel room rates — whixh is separate from the hotel room tax — to promote San Diego as a vacation destination. It also supports organizations that put on event that attract visitors. The mayor’s actions will release administrative funds to the agency, once hotels issue waivers needed to protect the city from current lawsuits challenging the funding mechanism. “That was at the heart of all the negotiations — protection for the city and its general fund should either of these suits be determined to be successful,” Filner said. “I think that’s what we got out of it.” If the 2 percent levy was ruled to be an illegal tax, the money raised would have to be replaced — and if the funds already were spent on advertising, city officials worried that the reimbursements would have to come from the general fund. (Above photo credit: Nicholas McVicker/KPBS)
GroundMetrics Attracts Interest in Enhanced Oil Recovery Technology
GroundMetrics Inc. announced that it has successfully raised its second round of financing, following a successful proof-of-concept test conducted on an operating oilfield undergoing enhanced oil recovery in the United States. GMI raised the ceiling by 50 percent near the end of the round due to greater than expected participation, and the round was still oversubscribed at final closing, the company said. The second round of financing was led by the Tech Coast Angels, as was the first. Other Southern California syndicates consisted of the Rady Venture Fund, La Costa Investment Group, Crescent Ridge Partners Ventures, and Rancho Santa Fe Partners. GroundMetrics management reported that a number of energy firms are asking the company to bid jobs even though GroundMetrics’ technology is still at the prototype stage and additional engineering is necessary before it can provide commercial surveys.
North County Politicians to Speak on Major Economic Issues
North County’s political leaders will weigh in on the region’s major economic issues during San Diego North Economic Development Council’s fifth annual Meet the Elected Officials Luncheon on May 10 at the Sheraton Carlsbad. Moderated by Gene Cubbison, host of NBC 7’s weekly public affairs program, “Politically Speaking,” the panel includes state Sens. Mark Wyland and Joel Anderson, county Supervisors Bill Horn and Dave Roberts and Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall. Congressmen Darrel Issa and Duncan Hunter have also been invited to the panel. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Carlsbad located at 5480 Grand Pacific Drive. Tickets cost $60 for investors and $80 for potential investors. To purchase tickets or inquire about sponsorships, contact Chris Clark at (760) 510-3179.
Water Authority Gets Updates on Camp Pendleton Desalination Project and Water Conveyance System
San Diego County Water Authority directors on Thursday received updates on two potential capital projects to meet water needs through 2035 — a seawater desalination plant at Camp Pendleton and a large-scale conveyance system to deliver water from the Colorado River. The conceptual desalination plant could range in size from 50 million to 150 million gallons per day (compared to 50 mgd for the Carlsbad Desalination Project). The plant would cost between $1.4 billion and $3.3 billion in 2012 dollars, depending on size. The other project a conveyance facility for delivering the Water Authority’s own Colorado River water supplies from Imperial Valley to San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside. Both projects and others will be considered during 2013.
Tourism Officials: Convention Sales Slow On Convention Center Expansion Uncertainty
San Diego is losing out on bookings of major conferences because of uncertainty over when the expansion of the convention center will be completed, area tourism officials said this week. In a Wednesday presentation to the City Council’s Rules Committee, San Diego Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi, Convention Center Chairman Phil Blair and center CEO Carol Wallace said the California Coastal Commission, the final regulatory hurdle for the expansion, probably won’t consider the project until October — seven months later than expected. Two organizations that bring large amounts of people to their conventions, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and the Society of Human Resources Management, have backed out of plans to come to San Diego, Terzi said. He said the large groups that regularly come to San Diego are the “life blood” of the tourism industry, but they are “challenged” from “a size and capacity standpoint”when trying to convince large groups to come here. For more, visit www.sandiegonewsroom.com.
Eco Minded Solutions Acquires Poulson Builders
Eco Minded Solutions, a San Diego landscape design/build company, has acquired Poulson Builders, a residential home building and remodeling company. The acquisition allows Eco Minded Solutions to offer complete home remodeling services to clients through its new Eco Minded Solutions home building and remodeling division, said Josh Rosenthal, company principal. “Michael Poulson, who we’ve worked with for a number of years, is now part of our company and brings years of experience and a superior work ethic to remodeling projects.”
Monarch School Adds Health Care Center and Boutique for Homeless Students
KPBS Report — Fourteen months ago, the Monarch School’s new building didn’t look like much. Now, after a $14 million remodel, the cramped Downtown space on Cedar Street is changing the educational lives of 350 homeless K-12 students. In addition to a major renovation, the school is also now equipped with a science lab, an outdoor playground and equipment it didn’t have before. The upgrades may well help push the school’s 70 percent graduation rate even higher. But Principal Joel Garcia said there’s another key element the school is focused on, as well. “We really believe that if they want to come to our school ready to learn, a big piece of it is health,” he said. “It might be a toothache or an issue of glasses … how can we expect them to do their schoolwork if they can’t see the board in the classroom?”
To combat those health issues, the school has also opened a new health care center for its students. It has also stocked its Butterfly Boutique — an on-campus trove of clothes, shoes and other necessities — that students can visit any time. “They come to school sometimes and their shoes are worn or torn and they don’t have the appropriate clothing or something that fits,” Garcia said. Donations made the entire upgrade and all of the additions to the school possible.