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Daily Business Report-April 29, 2013

Daily Business Report-April 29, 2013


Will the Mayor’s Temporary Solution for Clearing Cars Out of Balboa Park’s Central Plaza Fly?

Voice of San Diego Report  

It’s only temporary.

The crowd was largely relieved last week as Mayor Bob Filner shared his non-permanent plan to clear cars from Balboa Park’s central mesa. The mayor wants to strip the signs and parking lines from the Plaza de Panama and return it to pedestrians. That will require relocating handicap parking spots to the lot behind the Alcazar Garden and valet behind The Prado restaurant. Filner also proposes closing the Cabrillo Bridge on weekends and holidays, though he’d allow two-way traffic on weekdays.

The latter has been controversial but Filner at least initially quelled most concerns with an emphasis on its impermanence. He also noted that an already slated construction project that will close the beloved bridge for four months early next year is conveniently timed.

If a certain element doesn’t work, the mayor said, the city can try something else.

“We’re serious about this but we want your input,” he said.

He’s likely to get it from nearby residents concerned about increased traffic on Park Boulevard and other streets, as well as those in Bankers Hill who suspect park visitors will crowd their neighborhoods with cars. Filner didn’t detail specific plans for gathering public feedback but said the City Council will need to weigh in on his proposal. He’s hoping for a quick turnaround.

Filner provided a timeline to Voice of San Diego:

Phase 1: Close Cabrillo Bridge to weekend traffic and add 25 parking spots for disabled park visitors in the lot behind the Spreckels Organ Pavilion by May 31.

Phase 2: Erect barriers — which could be bollards or another temporary blockade — to keep motorists out of the Plaza de Panama and move the valet drop-off area to the parking lot south of Casa de Balboa. Filner hopes this will happen in June.

Phase 3: Add disabled parking spots in the lot behind Alcazar Garden in July, the beginning of the new fiscal year. Presumably, this is when Filner would have access to the $300,000 he included for the temporary traffic plan in his proposed budget. He can use the cash to smooth the sloped parking lot and add signs, planters and café seating to the Plaza de Panama.

Filner’s proposal represents a much cheaper approach than philanthropist Irwin Jacobs’ blueprint. Jacobs, co-founder of Qualcomm, offered significant cash for a $45 million plan to build a bypass to keep cars out of the historic archway of the Cabrillo Bridge and a three-story parking garage behind the Organ Pavilion. A judge effectively nixed that idea in a February ruling that found the city violated its own rules in approving Jacobs’ plan. Jacobs told KPBS he was done with the project, though Filner said Wednesday night that he plans to contact the philanthropist to see whether he’d like to assist with his temporary solution.

San Diego To Consider Ban On Retail Sale Of Animals

Dog awaits adoption

Dog awaits adoption in an animal shelter.

The City Council’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee is scheduled this week to consider banning the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores and other commercial establishments in San Diego, City News Service reports. A proposal has been made to amend the municipal code to make it “unlawful for any person to display, offer for sale, deliver, barter, auction, give away, transfer or sell any live dog, cat or rabbit in any pet shop, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the city of San Diego, unless the dog, cat or rabbit was obtained from a city or county animal shelter or animal control agency, a humane society or a nonprofit rescue organization.” Pet stores would need to keep certificates that state the sources of their animals and make them available to animal control officers, law enforcement, code compliance officials or other city employees.

A report to the committee said dogs, cats and rabbits bred for pet stores are kept in inhumane conditions, and too many of them end up being abandoned by owners — and end up in shelters. Pets born in such conditions are more likely to carry genetic disorders and are poorly socialized.  The proposed ordinance is supported by the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, Animal Protection and Rescue League, San Diego Animal Defense Team, and Companion Animal Protection Society. The Animal Defense Team regularly protests outside of pet shops.

Boyd Contreras Law Firm Moves to Larger Quarters

The San Diego law office of Boyd Contreras APC has relocated from the 12th floor to the 15th floor of the Emerald Plaza office building at 402 W. Broadway in Downtown. The new office, Suite 1500, has 8,000 square feet, more than twice the size of its previous office, and includes state-of-the-art technology, three conference rooms and a trial preparation room for the nine attorneys and eight support staff. The firm’s principals are Karie Boyd and Dolores Contreras. The law firm also has offices in Irvine, and expects to open another one in Los Angeles later this year.

Affordable Housing Project to Open in Santee

Forester Square

Forester Square

Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. on Wednesday will celebrate the grand opening of Forester Square, a new affordable housing community in Santee with 44 units. Beyond affordable rents, Wakeland will offer a range of services in Forester Square’s community center, including after-school programs, community gatherings and workforce development activities. Funding for Forester Square was provided by a number of sources, including the city of Santee Community Development Commission, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp., the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee.

Afraxis Appoints President and CEO

San Diego-based Afraxis Inc. announced the appointment of Carmine Stengone as president and chief executive officer and the appointment of Christopher Rex as chief scientific officer. Stengone previously was vice president of corporate development for Afraxix Holdings, from which Afraxis Inc. was spun out. The company focuses on its Enhanced Spine Platform technology. Rex previously was a principal investigator and director of R&D strategy for Afraxis Holdings.

Laura Bush to Keynote Travel Association Convention

Former First Lady Laura Bush will be the keynote speaker at the Aug. 4-7 national convention of the Global Business Travel Association at the San Diego Convention Center. She will speak during the Aug. 8 general session luncheon. “Mrs. Laura W. Bush has traveled to 50 states and to more than 76 countries advocating for improvements in education, health care and human rights,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “Mrs. Bush has been a steadfast champion for people in need everywhere.”


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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: