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Daily Business Report-June 18, 2013

Daily Business Report-June 18, 2013

Construction of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel was deemed a public work by the California labor commissioner.

Labor Commissioner Collects Over $8 Million in Wages for Public Works Job at Hilton Hotel in San Diego

California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su has collected $8,072,273 in unpaid prevailing wages on behalf of 2,051 workers who built the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel from 2006 to 2008.  The workers, employed by prime contractor Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and 172 subcontractors during construction of the 1,190-room hotel, will receive the full prevailing wages they earned on the public works project.

Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations, determined that the project was a public work as it was paid for out of public funds due to a $46.5 million rent credit provided by the San Diego Port District, which leased the land to the hotel owner.

The San Diego Superior Court issued a writ of mandate on Feb. 3, 2010, reversing the determination of the director and finding the project was not a public work. The California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division One reversed the trial court and affirmed the decision of Baker on July 26, 2011.

Hensel Phelps and the labor commissioner then negotiated the amount of wages due to the workers. All 2,051 workers will receive the full prevailing wages they earned on the project.  They performed every aspect of construction, from foundation drilling to concrete pouring to steel erection to landscaping, according to the labor commissioner. Hensel Phelps will pay a third party administrator to process payments to the workers. The prime contractor will also pay an additional $400,000 to the labor commissioner as reimbursement for investigative costs.

Mayor Appoints 2 ‘Neighborhood Champions’ to the Planning Commission

Theresa Quiroz

Theresa Quiroz

Theresa Quiroz, a community advocate from City Heights, and Anthony Wagner, a senior strategist with the Institute for Public Strategies, have been appointed to the San Diego Planning Commission by Mayor Bob Filner. The mayor called the two “long-time neighborhood champions.” The appointments were approved unanimously by the City Council.

Quiroz has championed for transit, affordability, and meeting the needs of the disabled in her community. She has previously served the city as a member of the Redistricting Commission and City Heights Area Planning Committee. Wagner is a third generation Allied Gardens resident and previous president of the Allied Gardens Community Council.

Anthony Wagner

Anthony Wagner

“I want to thank Theresa and Anthony for their commitment to our community and believe they will provide a strong voice for our neighborhoods in this new role,” Filner said in a statement. “Their experience in community groups, knowledge of land use issues, and belief in healthy and vibrant neighborhoods will make them great additions to the Planning Commission.”

Qualcomm and Gill Electronics Reach Technology Development Agreement

Qualcomm and Gill Electronics Inc. have come to an agreement under which Gill Electronics will obtain the rights to develop, manufacture, and sell wireless power products for the automotive and furniture industries. The licensed wireless power technology drives the development of ultra-convenient devices; devices that allow for spatial freedom when wirelessly charging products, and allow users to charge multiple devices and device types simultaneously.

“Gill is an early mover in this market and has been working with the wireless power team at Qualcomm for several years,” said Steve Pavol, a Qualcomm vice president. “Gill’s expertise in the automotive and furniture industries will play a key role in advancing Qualcomm’s wireless power technology as the premier technology for wireless charging.”

Move of City Employees Expected to Save $6 Million

The City Council Monday unanimously approved a move of around 400 municipal employees from one Downtown office tower to another, which is expected to save between $5-7 million over the next five years, City News Service reports. The employees of the Public Utilities and Public Works Departments have been housed at 600 B St. for 22 years, but will move to 525 B St. in a couple of months. The city this year paid $2.62 per square foot per month at the 600 B St. location. Allen Jones, the city’s deputy chief of staff, told the council that the final offer for an extension was $1.85 per square foot per month. At the new site, the city will pay $1.25 per square foot per month, and utilize about 90,000 square feet, Jones said. City Real Estate Assets Director Jim Barwick said the offices will be “more efficient” and include more, and nicer, work space for individual employees.

ViaSat Expands Residential Services

Carlsbad’s ViaSat is extending their services to offer residential telephone service beginning today, June 17th. With the new service, Exced Voice, ViaSat is the first company to offer all-satellite double play bundle of phone and Internet service with unlimited local and long distance calling within the U.S. and Canada. They are also offering a triple bundle package with Internet, phone, and TV access.

San Diego County Schools Will See More Dollars Under New Funding System

California’s newly adopted budget includes a measure to rebuild the state’s formula for funding schools from scratch, KPBS reports. As a result, every San Diego County school district will see per-pupil state funding go up for the coming school year. It’ll be the first of eight years of phasing in a new state system for funding public schools. If all goes according to plan and the state’s economy continues to improve, by the 2020-21 school year, most districts will be funded at the levels they would have reached by that time under the previous formula without years of funding cuts due to the economic downturn.

To download a San Diego area district-by-district chart, visit

La Jollan Appointed to California Natural Resources Agency

Amber Pairis, 38, of La Jolla, has been appointed assistant secretary for climate change at the California Natural Resources Agency by Gov. Brown. Pairis has been climate change adviser at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife since 2008. She was a science and research liaison at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies from 2006 to 2008 and a conservation biology curriculum developer at the Antioch New England Institute from 2002 to 2004. Pairis was a land protection ecologist at the eastern regional office of the Nature Conservancy in 2002 and held multiple positions at Antioch New England University from 2000 to 2002. She held multiple positions at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research and the National Marine Fisheries Service from 1997 to 1999. The position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $87,216. Pairis is a Democrat.

Northrop Grumman Names New Vice President

Jeannie Hilger

Jeannie Hilger

Northrop Grumman Corp. has named Jeannie Hilger as vice president of the Network Communication Systems business for Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems sector. Hilger is responsible for programs including advanced military communications, airborne gateways, network architectures and support systems that enable network-centric operations for defense and homeland security customers worldwide. Hilger has served as acting leader of the Network Communication Systems business since November 2012, which she joined as director of enterprise engineering, operations and programs in April 2012. Hilger earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Capella University. She received the Northrop Grumman Project Technologist of the Year award and the Chairman’s Award for Innovation.

Domino’s Pizza Owner Receives International Award

Shane Casey

Shane Casey

Shane Casey of Oceanside, co-owner of 76 Domino’s Pizza stores and owner of three Domino’s Pizza stores located in Oceanside and surrounding areas, was awarded the International Franchise Association Gold Franny Award for operational excellence. The award will be celebrated at an upcoming Domino’s Pizza awards ceremony in London next month. The Gold Franny Award is the highest honor bestowed on a Domino’s Pizza franchise owner. The awards are based on several factors including operational audit scores, community involvement, store safety and security and team member morale.

General Atomics Signs MoU with CAE

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has signed an agreement with CAE to explore working together to integrate CAE’s simulation systems with General Atomics’ remotely piloted aircraft. The two companies have teamed for the past two years on the Predator B and Predator C Avenger for Canada.

Military Career Fair Scheduled for Wednesday

In an effort to find positions in the apartment industry for military veterans, the National Apartment Association Education Institute will conduct a Military Career Fair on Wednesday at the San Diego Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no admission charge. The event is aimed at finding positions within the apartment industry for military veterans, transitioning military members, and military spouses. Job opportunities are located in San Diego and the Southern California region, as well as metro areas around the country. Prospective attendees can register online at, upload a resume and schedule an interview with a participating company.

Federal Contracts

Kindcare Medical

Kindcare Medical, Escondido, won a $56,184.23 federal contract from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Network 22 Logistics Office, Long Beach, for Winco medical recliners.


Southwest Airlines

Southwest employee Shelleyrae Niemi volunteers at the 2013 Spring Fling Gala; an orphan pet enjoys the view; Southwest employees cuddle an orphan pup in flight.

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Humane Award

to Honor Southwest Airlines Team

Helen Woodward Animal Center executives Mike Arms and Renee Resko travel to Dallas, Texas today to present Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly and his employees with a 2013 Humane Award for assisting with the 2012 Hurrican Sandy rescue of 47 orphan pets. The story made national news as stranded orphaned dogs and cats were flown across the country to Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe on Nov. 17. The shelter pets had been waiting for forever homes when the storm hit and left their facilities uninhabitable.

Helen Woodward Animal Center hoped to take them in but lacked the resources to transport the orphan pets to the West Coast. John Reilly, president of Sea World San Diego, stepped in to coordinate a chartered plane donated by Southwest Airlines. BP donated nearly 5,000 gallons of fuel for the flight to San Diego.

“Helping these animals find their forever homes and making room for the many animals displaced by the Hurricane is something we were happy to do, but wouldn’t have been possible without the generous spirit of our employees and partners,” said Linda Rutherford, vp of communications for Southwest Airlines.

Since that time, local Southwest employees have remained devoted to the cause of finding homes for orphan pets, donating manpower and hours to multiple Helen Woodward Animal Center fundraisers such as the Puppy Love 5K Run/Walk and the annual Spring Fling Gala.

Southwest employee Shelleyrae Niemi volunteers at the 2013 Spring Fling Gala; an orphan pet enjoys the view; Southwest employees cuddle an orphan pup in flight.

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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: