Daily Business Report-July 11, 2013
Mayor Bob Filner (Photo: Katie Euphrat, KPBS)
Mayor Filner Asked to Resign
Over Sexual Harassment Claims
At least three staunch supporters of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner are asking him to resign over allegations of sexual harassment, KPBS has learned. Former Councilwoman Donna Frye, who was a member of Filner’s staff until she resigned in April, and attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs, each hand-delivered letters to Filner requesting his immediate resignation. In her letter to Filner, Frye says she has “received credible evidence of more than one woman being sexually harassed by you.” She made it clear in an interview that she is not among the alleged harassment victims. Frye, who campaigned on Filner’s behalf, declined to be quoted outside of her letter. In it, she says, Those who have spoken to me recently would not make the allegations lightly or without cause, and I believe them. I cannot in good conscience remain silent on this, even if those who have spoken to me choose to do so out of fear of retribution or the possibility of a media circus where they could be twice victimized.”
The attorneys who have appealed to Filner are longtime supporters of Democratic causes and candidates — notably Filner in his campaigns for San Diego mayor and for Congress, where he represented San Diego and Imperial County residents for more than two decades.
Briggs, a well-known environmental lawyer who backed Filner last year, released his letter publicly earlier Wednesday. In it, he asked for Filner’s resignation, but was circumspect, saying, “I have spent the better part of my career standing up for principles of open, accountable, responsible government. It’s clear to me that your office has violated these principles…”
Filner’s office did not respond to multiple calls and emails asking for comment.
Story Update: July 11, 2013: 3:20 p.m.
The Mayor Apologizes and Said He Will Get Help
Today, Mayor Bob Filner issued the following statement to the people of San Diego:
I begin today by apologizing to you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me.
The charges made at today’s news conference are serious. When a friend like Donna Frye is compelled to call for my resignation, I’m clearly doing something wrong. I have reached into my heart and soul and realized I must and will change my behavior.
As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.
It’s a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong.
I am also humbled to admit that I need help. I have begun to work with professionals to make changes in my behavior and approach. In addition, my staff and I will participate in sexual harassment training provided by the city. Please know that I fully understand that only I am the one that can make these changes.
If my behavior doesn’t change, I cannot succeed in leading our city.
In the next few days, I will be reaching out to those who now work in the Mayor’s Office or have previously worked for me – both men and women – to personally apologize for my behavior.
I will also be announcing fundamental changes within the Mayor’s Office designed to promote a new spirit of cooperation, respect and effectiveness.
You have every right to be disappointed in me. I only ask that you give me an opportunity to prove I am capable of change, so that the vision I have for our city’s future can be realized.
Gov. Brown in San Diego Today to Kill The Enterprise Zone Program
Legislation that wipes out California’s Enterprise Zone program and replaces it with a new economic development program was to be signed into law today by Gov. Jerry Brown during an appearance in San Diego, home to the largest Enterprise Zone program in the state. Brown was to be joined by business leaders and workers at a 11:30 a.m. ceremony at Takeda California headquarters, 10275 Science Center Drive.
The legislation (AB 93 and SB 90) establishes the Governor’s Economic Development Initiative which Brown and other supporters claim will help bolster California’s business climate and put Californians to work.
It’s main features:
Sales Tax Exemption: A statewide sales tax exemption on manufacturing equipment or research and development equipment purchases for biotech and manufacturing companies.
Hiring Credits: Hiring credits for businesses in areas with the highest unemployment rate and poverty.
Investment Incentives: The opportunity for California businesses to compete for available tax credits based on the number of jobs to be created and retained, wages paid in those jobs and other factors.
The new Initiative will be funded by redirecting $750 million annually from the state’s Enterprise Zone program, which Brown has called ineffective and outdated.
Private Equity Firm Acquires Controlling Interest in Snaptracs Inc.
Karmel Capital LLC, a San Diego-based private equity firm, has acquired a controlling interest in Snaptracs Inc. from Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc. Snaptracs makes Tagg, the Pet Tracker, a device that helps pet owners locate and track the activities of their pets. Qualcomm Technologies will continue to hold a minority ownership of Snaptracs. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. “Developing and commercializing Tagg – The Pet Tracker, a location and activity pet tracking system, has successfully demonstrated the potential to help pet owners make informed decisions to enhance the quality of life for their pet and maintain a healthier lifestyle,” said Dave Vigil, senior vice president, Qualcomm Connected Experiences Inc. “We are excited about future development of this technology and the additional benefits it will bring to pet owners and pets across the nation.”
Karmel Capital was founded by entrepreneurs James Brailean, former CEO of Packet Video, and Scott Neuberger, former president of direct marketing agency Infocore.
Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek Acquires The Trademark Group
San Diego’s Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek law firm has has acquired The Trademark Group, a La Jolla-based law firm specializing in trademark protection and enforcement. Marnie Barnhorst, The Trademark Group founding attorney, joins SCMV as of counsel. With the addition of Barnhorst, Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek’s intellectual property practice expands to six attorneys offering legal services in a range of trademark, copyright, trade secret and other IP-related areas of law. Since its inception in 1997, The Trademark Group has handled nearly 10,000 domestic and international trademarks and executed thousands of trademark searches.
Downtown Building Housing Buca di Beppo Sold for $5.7 Million
The Downtown San Diego restaurant building housing Buca di Beppo has been sold for $5.7 million to HP Investors LLC. The seller was M.H. Sherman Co. The 9,872-square-foot building is at 705 Sixth Ave. in the Gaslamp Quarter. “Buca di Beppo has been a part of the Downtown landscape at this location since 1999. With the area evolving into a 24/7 live, work and play environment, this property is well positioned to benefit from steadily increasing consumer demand,” said Chuck Klein of Cassidy Turley San Diego, which represented the seller. Bill Shrader of Cushman & Wakefield represented the buyer.
San Diego Attorney Appointed to Water Quality Control Board
Stefanie Warren, 35, of San Diego, has been appointed to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board by Gov. Brown. Warren has been an attorney at McKenna Long and Aldridge LLP since 2006. She was a law clerk for the JudgeIrma E. Gonzalez from 2005 to 2006. Warren earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Emory University School of Law. The position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Warren is a Democrat.
UCSD Research: Aging and Alzheimer’s Worse in Women
A team of researchers at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine have revealed that the rates of regional brain loss and cognitive decline caused by aging and the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are higher for women and for people with a key genetic risk factor for AD. The recent study was published online in the American Journal of Neuroradiology. Although the genetic risk factor discussed in this study has previously been documented as the strongest known genetic risk factor for Sporadic AD (the most common form), the connection between a person’s gender and AD has not been as widely recognized.
Johanna Schiavoni Elected President of Lawyers Club of San Diego
Johanna Schiavoni, an appellate attorney with the Law Office of Johanna S. Schiavoni, has been elected to serve as the president of Lawyers Club of San Diego for 2013-14. Her one year-term began July 1. Schiavoni is a former Lawyers Club vice president of public relations, three-year member of its board of directors, and chair of several committees, including the Equality Committee and Leadership Development Committee. As president, in addition to leading the 15-member board, Schiavoni will make appointments to more than 30 committee and liaison positions, oversee the organization’s activities and events, and work with representatives from similar organizations regionally and nationally. Lawyers Club of San Diego is a volunteer bar association founded in 1972 with the mission “to advance the status of women in the law and society.”
New URBN Coal Fired Pizza Restaurant Planned for El Cajon
Restaurateur Jon Mangini has announced plans to open another URBN Coal Fired Pizza restaurant and a brewery in a 4,000-square-foot building at Magnolia Avenue and Main Street in El Cajon. He will be partnering with Alex Carballo, executive chef of Stone Brewing Co., who will be leaving that post at the end of this month. The building was formerly occupied by El Cajon Brewing Company. It will undergo a renovation before opening in early 2014.
The brewery will be Mangini’s first foray outside of the traditional restaurant concept. Bringing on Carballo, who has experience working with the national brewing industry, will elevate the credibility of URBN’s existing reputation in beer, said Mangini. Carballo has been at the helm of Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido as the executive chef and general manager in addition to Stone Catering for the past five years.
“El Cajon is uncharted territory and I love the idea of being able to offer the neighborhood something new and totally original,” said Mangini.
Kid Ventures Purchases 4S Ranch Building for Headquarters
Kid Ventures LLC has purchased a 21,410-square-foot building in the 4S Ranch area of San Diego for $3.34 million and will use it for its corporate headquarters. All Star Academy currently occupies part of the building. Thornmint Office Partners LP was the seller. Built in 1999, the two-story, elevator-served office building was renovated prior to the sale. Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller.
Cavignac & Associates Adds Employee Benefits Account Administrator
Cavignac & Associates has named Zemi Solis as the agency’s newest employee benefits account administrator. Solis has nearly six years of experience in the insurance industry. Prior to joining Cavignac & Associates, she served as an insurance agent at Farmers Insurance in North Park, where she was employed for more than a year-and-a-half. Previous career experience includes having served four years as a customer service representative at American Specialty Heath in San Diego. Earlier experience includes serving as a sales associate for Little Kids Wear in Chula Vista, where she worked for four years. Solis is a graduate of the University of Phoenix and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Mission Federal Credit Union Acquires Autoland
Mission Federal Credit Union’s CUSO (Credit Union Service Organization) has acquired Autoland Inc., a national car buying service provider, from the National Credit Union Administration. NCUA is the liquidating agent for Telesis Community Credit Union, which previously owned Autoland. “This is a first in Mission Federal’s history, and represents a tremendous step forward for both Mission Federal and Autoland,” said Debra Schwartz, President and CEO of Mission Federal.
Ashford University Receives Accreditation
Bridgepoint Education’s Ashford University has been granted initial accreditation for five years by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The move ends a year-long accreditation crisis for Bridgepoint-owned Ashford – which saw its first attempt to achieve accreditation in California rejected because of high dropout rates and an emphasis on recruiting new students over education, U-T San Diego reports.
Since then, Ashford has worked to fix problems highlighted by the WASC, including reducing class sizes, laying off some recruiters and reassigning others to jobs aimed at keeping students in school. It also has cut hundreds of workers, which the company attributes to declining enrollment.
Soitec Completes its First Solar Power Plant in California With Modules from San Diego Facility
Soitec has completed its first solar power plant in California with modules from its new San Diego manufacturing facility. Soitec Solar Development, a subsidiary of the company, constructed the Newberry Solar 1 project in San Bernardino County. Renewable power generated by the plant will be sold to Southern California Edison under a 20-year power purchase agreement. It is the largest concentrator photovoltaic power plant in California, featuring Soitec’s latest and most efficient technology with modules manufactured in San Diego.
J. Craig Venter Institute Scientist Receives $5 Million Grant for Research on New Wastewater Treatment Technologies
Orianna Bretschger, a scientist with the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, has received a $5 million grant from the Roddenberry Foundation to continue her research into new wastewater treatment technologies. The five-year grant will support the development of Bretschger’s BioElectrochemical Sanitation Technology, which uses microbial fuel cells to clean wastewater and improve sanitation and water accessibility in developing world applications.
ViaCyte Raises $10.6 Million for Diabetes Treatment
San Diego-based ViaCyte Inc. has raised $10.6 million in private financing to support clinical development of its cell therapy product for insulin-dependent diabetes. The funding serves as a match for a $10.1 million award that was approved last October by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to support clinical evaluation of VC-01, ViaCyte’s encapsulated cell-therapy product being developed for patients with type 1 and insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes.