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Daily Business Report-July 15, 2013

Daily Business Report-July 15, 2013

 AT&T to Acquire Leap Wireless for $1.2 Billion

AT&T announced Friday that it will acquire prepaid wireless provider Leap Wireless in a deal valued around $1.2 billion. The carrier has agreed to pay $15 a share in cash for San Diego-based Leap, which operates under the Cricket Wireless brand. As part of the agreement, AT&T will get Leap’s wireless properties, including its licenses, network assets, and stores, as well as its subscribers, which number around 5 million. AT&T also will keep the Cricket brand.

Leap’s wireless network covers about 96 million people in 35 states, according to a statement Friday. “The combined company will have the financial resources, scale and spectrum to better compete with other major national providers for customers interested in low-cost prepaid service,” according to the press release. Spectrum in the PCS and AWS bands, mostly complementary to AT&T’s spectrum, is also included in the agreement. If the deal is approved, AT&T will put Leap’s “unutilized spectrum to use in furthering its 4G LTE deployment and providing additional capacity and enhanced network performance for customers’ growing mobile Internet usage,” according to the release. Leap’s stock closed at $7.98, up 20 cents a share, on Friday.

AT&T expects the acquisition, which is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, to close in six to nine months.

Filner: ‘I Am Not Going to Resign’ 

Mayor denies charges of sexual harassment and appoints Walt Ekard as chief operating officer

Mayor Bob Filner today announced appointments intended to significantly strengthen city management and prefaced the announcement with a statement addressing recent calls for his resignation:

“I’m not going to resign, and here’s why,” said Filner.  “As your elected mayor, I fully expect to be accountable to the citizens of San Diego for all of my actions. But as a citizen of this country, I also expect – and am entitled to –  due process, and the opportunity to respond in a fair and impartial venue to specific allegations.  I do not believe I am guilty of sexual harassment, and I believe a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me.

“Some who have called for my resignation have justified it with the claim that the operations of the city will somehow be compromised by the current controversy.

“Today I am announcing the appointment of Walt Ekard as interim chief operating officer of the city of San Diego. Mr. Ekard is perhaps the most respected public administrator in the region and is nationally recognized for his successful and innovative management of the county of San Diego for over 14 years.

“Mr. Ekard has appointed Scott Chadwick, who has done an outstanding job as our interim chief operating officer, to become his assistant chief operating officer, and has also appointed interim director Judy VonKalinowski as the city’s permanent human resources director.

“Today’s announcements make clear the operations of city government will not be negatively impacted.”

Filner Follies Continue Today

Another step in the Mayor Bob Filner saga will be determined at 11 a.m. today when the three former political allies who first said he should resign based on unspecified sexual harassment allegations hold a news conference outside San Diego City Hall, the U-T San Diego reports. While the drama continues to play out, there’s no shortage of possible contenders quietly jockeying to replace him should he resign or be recalled. Many political insiders view Filner’s resignation as an inevitability as several Democrats and Republicans have called on him to resign for the good of the city and the party, although Filner has given no indication he plans to step down.

Read more…

Amenities Aplenty at SDSU’s Newest Campus Housing Project

The Suites on Paseo

The Suites on Paseo

San Diego State’s newest off-campus housing project — The Suites on Paseo, which officially opened on Friday — has amenities as inviting as any private luxury development. Features at the $40 million project are enough to make any prospective student resident covet the place: housekeeping services, fitness center, movie theater tanning salon, gourmet-style pizzas made-to-order in a brick oven. 
“When it comes to amenities and convenience, SDSU students have never had as many options as they do at The Suites on Paseo,” said Mike Peter, CEO and co-founder of Campus Advantage, a student housing management company.

Although the amenities are many at The Suites, rental rates can be steep. They range from $825 to $1,292 a month. Meal plans go for between $150 a month to $386 a month.

The Suites on Paseo — located across the street from the campus — has 287 units and a total bed count of 384. Its first residents are scheduled to start moving in in August for the start of the fall semester. Campus Advantage said leasing has begun and has reached about 30 percent occupancy. Tenants include students from San Diego State, Southwestern College and San Diego Mesa College.

The development will welcome its first guests on Wednesday when it starts serving participants in summer camps.

The Suites on Paseo was developed by DEP and built by Strategy Builders.

Ceremonies to Mark County Administration Center’s 75th Anniversary

County Administration Center

County Administration Center

Tuesday marks the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the historic County Administration Center by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The county Board of Supervisors will mark the occasion with special ceremonies. In the morning, Chairman Greg Cox will make a special presentation on the CAC’s anniversary during the regularly scheduled supervisors meeting. He will also

recognize several San Diegans who attended the July 16, 1938, dedication of the building by FDR. At Noon, Cox will host a picnic celebrating the anniversary.

Businesses Encouraged to Take Advantage of Enterprise Zone Incentives Before They Expire

South County leaders are telling local businesses that they can still take advantage of Enterprise Zone program incentives before the state program expires on Dec. 31. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that kills the program in favor of his own economic development program. While the current statewide Enterprise Zone program is scheduled to be eliminated, the San Diego Regional Enterprise Zone Partnership, with the help of numerous regional economic development partners and local businesses, was successful in getting some language included in Assembly Bill 93 and Senate Bill 90 that may benefit the region.  “It’s unfortunate that enterprise zones are going away, however we really want to encourage eligible businesses located in an Enterprise Zone to leverage the economic benefits available to them while they still can,” said Cindy Gompper-Graves, president and CEO of the South County Economic Development Council. Businesses wanting to learn more about the incentives still available to them may contact Gomper-Graves at (619) 424-5143, the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce at (619) 420-6603 or the National City Chamber at (619) 890-6614.

Le Travel Store Shuts Its Doors After 37 Years

Le Travel Store

Le Travel Store

The owners of the first travel store in the country say the business has drastically changed and they’re getting out, KPBS reports. Le Travel Store first opened in Pacific Beach in 1976 and eventually moved near Horton Plaza and later, Fourth Street. For owners Bill Keller and his wife, Joan, it was probably a sign of the times when the store’s neighbor, the adult F Street Bookstore, closed up shop about a year ago after being in business for more than five decades. “Well we opened up next door and no problem for us, but we’ve seen a lot of changes in the neighborhood,” Keller said.

The Kellers opened Le Travel Store 37 years ago. It was the first travel store of its kind in the country, offering luggage, maps, books and apparel under one roof. The store even went online in the late ’90s and did well until a few years ago. “So what’s happened in our business is Amazon has really taken over, not just selling books, but they’re selling a lot of stuff that we sell,” Keller said. Joan Keller said the store has also seen more people “show rooming” or coming in to handle or try on items, then buying them online for less. The building is currently in escrow and expected to close Aug 18.

Janet Napolitano to Become President of the University of California

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

The University of California Board of Regents on Thursday is scheduled to approve the selection of Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, as the 20th president of the University of California. Napolitano will lead a university system with 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program. The UC system has more than 234,000 students, about 208,000 faculty and staff, more than 1.6 million living alumni and an annual operating budget of more than $24 billion.

Napolitano has served as Secretary of Homeland Security since January 2009. She served as Governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009, as Attorney General of Arizona from 1998 to 2003, and as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona from 1993 to 1997. Before that, she practiced at the law firm of Lewis & Roca in Phoenix, where she became a partner in 1989. She began her career in 1983 as a clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Vista Company Installs Lottery System in Malaysia

Vista-based International Lottery & Totalizator Systems announced that it has successfully installed and launched the operation of its advanced DataTrakII lottery system for Sports Toto Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia. The lottery system includes new central system hardware and software and replaces an earlier ILTS lottery system which has been in operation since 2001. “We are delighted with this successful installation and launching of the new DataTrakII lottery system for Sports Toto, the largest lottery operator in Malaysia,” said ILTS President Jeff Johnson. The Vista company provides computerized wagering systems, equipment and services to lottery and racing organizations worldwide.

Poway’s PureForge Honored for Its Atomic-Forged Brake Rotors

Rotor for Ford Crown Victoria

Rotor for Ford Crown Victoria

PureForge, a Poway company, announced that its Atomic-Forged brake rotors have been recognized as the most significant Mechanical Systems innovation of 2013 by R&D Magazine. The R&D 100 awards are considered the “Oscars of Innovation” and recognize the top 100 technology innovations of the year. A full list of the 2013 award recipients will be showcased in the September/October issue of R&D Magazine.PureForge co-founder, CEO and chairman Douglas Wall said PureForge brake rotors address some of the most crucial challenges that law enforcement and commercial fleets face today by delivering improved driver safety, better management of shrinking budgets and significantly reduced environmental degradation as compared with current braking systems. The company is offering its product to law enforcement agencies and commercial fleets.

Negotiations Under Way to Have Sheriff’s Department Provide Police Services to Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is negotiating a contract with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to provide police services at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges. The contract is expected to be brought to the district’s governing board when it meets at 6:30 p.m. July 23 at the Cuyamaca College Student Center. If approved, a sheriff’s sergeant will be stationed at the district, along with a team of deputies dedicated to each of the two campuses. Additional assistance will be provided by other sheriff’s deputies and specialists as needed. “The recent shootings at Santa Monica College once again emphasize how vitally important it is for our campuses to have the most comprehensive police and emergency protection possible,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “This agreement with the Sheriff’s Department is the best way to ensure the safety and security of our students and employees, which is absolutely our top priority.”

Organovo Holdings Begins Trading on NYSE

Organovo Holdings Inc., the San Diego-based biotech company delivering breakthrough 3D bioprinting technology, announced that its common shares have have begun trading on the New York Stock Exchange. In response to the announcement, Organovo shares jumped more than 25 percent. Organovo’s success follows its recently developed ability to successfully assemble tissues resembling human organs, such as liver, by sending cells through its bioprinter.

San Diegan Appointed to California Conservation Corps Post

William McNamara, 62, of San Diego, has been appointed director of energy program development at the California Conservation Corps by Gov. Jerry Brown. McNamara has been an independent energy efficiency consultant since 2012. He was director of the Portland Energy Conservation Incorporated California region from 2009 to 2012 and an independent management and energy efficiency consultant from 2008 to 2009. McNamara was president of Pneu-Logic Corp. from 2005 to 2008 and an independent management and business development consultant from 2004 to 2005. He was vice president of technology, strategy and planning at Columbia Ultimate from 2000 to 2004 and a member of the Commodity Software International Board of Directors from 1998 to 2000. The position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $114,000. McNamara is a Democrat.

NAWBO Panel Features Award Winners

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) San Diego will conduct a panel discussion with BRAVO! Award winners at its July 17 meeting at 7:30 a.m. at the Hera-Hub-Mission Valley, 8885 Rio San Diego Drive. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask the winners questions about their success. The meeting also will feature the installation of the 2013-2014 board of directors. More information, including online registration, is available at

UC San Diego Prof to Speak on California Government Spending

Thad Kousser, associate professor of political science at UC San Diego, will speak on “How Can California Spend $146 Billion and Still Be Broke?” at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 9, at the campus Faculty Club. The $50 per person cost to attend the UC San Diego Economics Roundtable includes breakfast and parking. Kousser is a political scientist who specializes in state politics. His research looks at how constitutional reforms reshape government, at the role of parties in state legislatures, the ability of governors to enact new policies, the impact of term limits, and the use and misuse of the initiative process.

Marketing Firm i.d.e.a. Adds Five Staff Members

San Diego marketing company i.d.e.a. has added five new staff members in its development, reputation and brand disciplines. Stewart Gordon joins as director of business development. He previously worked at search marketing agencies BusinessOnline and Internet Marketing Inc. Jill Ruff, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field, is the brand director. Lauren Fimbres Wood, formerly with TeamWorks Media in Chicago, was named reputation supervisor. Jillian Hunter, who has extensive experience in travel and lifestyle public relations,  is senior reputation manager. Brand coordinator Tommy Miers joins i.d.e.a. from Orange County, where he previously worked with Innocean USA as a strategic planner. The firm also has promoted Beth Wilkinson to senior reputation manager.

UC San Diego Researchers Develop Firefighting Robot

Firefighting Robot

Firefighting Robot

Researchers at UC San Diego have designed the semi-autonomous Firefighting Robot, a Segway-style device that can map the interiors of residential and commercial buildings. It can also take temperature readings to give firefighters a clearer picture before they enter a building that’s on fire.

The robot rides on two wheels. Its stem reaches a few feet high and carries two stereo cameras and other sensors, allowing it to record thermal data and map it on to a 3D scene constructed from images taken by the cameras.

Thomas Bewley, a professor at UCSD and director of its Coordinated Robotics Lab, said inexpensive COTS mobile phone cameras give the robot stereo vision. Tamarisk 320 infrared imagers from DRS Technologies record the thermal data. Researchers used a simple, three-motor design to give the robot mobility. Two motors power the main drive wheels for driving and steering in a “Segway-like manner.” The third motor lifts the body to overcome obstacles “in what is perhaps best described as an inverse-Slinky-type maneuver.”

Researchers plan to equip the robot to analyze gases and other compounds at a fire. “We are also collaborating with UCSD Professor Deli Wang in the development and use of a unique and ingenious electronic nose, built from carbon nanotubes, which can detect and quantify O2, CO2, CO, unburnt hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere as the vehicle moves throughout the structure,” said Bewley.

Bewley said that once funding for the project is secured the Firefighting Robot could come to market within five years.


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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: