Daily Business Report-July 24, 2013
Foreclosures Hit Lowest Level Since 2006
Foreclosures and mortgage defaults in San Diego County fell during the first half of the year to their lowest levels since 2006, according to figures released Tuesday from DataQuick, the San Diego real estate information service. U-T San Diego reported that the declines come at a time when the county’s home prices have risen to a 5½-year high and mortgage professionals are adjusting to a California law that protects homeowners from potential foreclosure abuses. Foreclosures totaled 1,489 during the first six months of the year. That’s the the lowest half-year tally for the county since 2006, when 445 foreclosures were counted.
Nearly 3,500 mortgage defaults were filed from January to June. That marks the lowest level of defaults since 2006, when more than 3,300 were recorded.
On a monthly basis, foreclosures are down as well. They dropped 13 percent to 152 in June from the month before. Notices of default in June totaled 654, up 2 percent from the previous month but down 55 percent from the same time a year ago.
Why is housing distress trending downward in San Diego County and throughout Southern California?
It comes down to simple math, said DataQuick president John Walsh in this quarter’s foreclosure report. Rising home prices — which have risen by double-digit percentages in the county — mean fewer property owners are underwater on their mortgages, he said.
Filner Harassment Scandal Grows as Second Woman Comes Forward
Another woman came forward Tuesday to report an unwanted advance by Mayor Bob Filner, telling KPBS News in an exclusive interview that the then-congressman patted her “posterior” while making a crude joke at a crowded fundraiser. Laura Fink who runs a political consulting firm, told KPBS that she was working as Filner’s deputy campaign manager when the incident occurred at a San Diego fundraising event in 2005.
Fink said she documented the incident in an email to Filner’s personal account; in it she demanded an apology.
A few days later, Filner mumbled to her, “I’m sorry,” Fink said. But he added that she didn’t understand what had happened.
Though several people witnessed the incident, Fink — co-founder of Fink & Hernandez Consulting— said she did not go public about the encounter at the time because she “was trying to build a career in the political field … and Bob Filner has a reputation for swift retribution and for holding grudges.”
Fink, who provided KPBS with a copy of her email to Filner, said she worked for him from 2004 to 2006. She said she plans to report the harassment incident to the sheriff’s hotline established last week to handle such allegations.
Fink is the second woman to come forward in the past two days as the sexual-harassment scandal that has enveloped Filner and all of San Diego city government continues to expand.
On Monday, Filner’s former chief of communications, Irene McCormack Jackson, filed a lawsuit against the mayor and the city with the help of noted women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred.
Water Authority Lawsuit Against Metropolitan
Water District to Go to Trial Dec. 17
A San Francisco Superior Court judge has set Dec. 17 as the trial start date for the San Diego County Water Authority’s two lawsuits challenging rates set by the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The Water Authority sued MWD in 2010 and again in 2012 for imposing illegal rates that are not based on the costs of providing the services for which they are collected. “MWD has been and is continuing to overcharge San Diego County residents by tens of millions of dollars each year as a result of its unlawful rates,” said Daniel Purcell, special counsel for the Water Authority with the law firm of Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco. “That’s what we’re going to prove at trial. We asked the court to set a trial date before the end of the year, and we’re looking forward to trying the case in December.” Under MWD’s current rates – which the Water Authority claims fail to meet statutory and constitutional requirements or follow basic industry standards – water ratepayers in San Diego County will be overcharged this year by $57 million. By 2021, the overcharges could grow to more than $217 million annually, it said.
Progress for UC San Diego Brain Disorder Research
A newly announced $1 million research grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation will further allow biologists at UC San Diego to continue their research aimed at ultimately developing new treatments for human brain disorders. The research team recently discovered that the brain cells of adult rats can alter the neurotransmitters they secrete in response to varying amounts of daylight exposure. They will continue to study this neurotransmitter switching mechanism in greater detail so that neuroscientists might one day develop new treatments for disorders such as Parkinson’s.
SDSU to Launch Green Property Management Certificate Program
SDSU’s College of Extended Studies will launch a new Green Property Management Certificate program during the fall semester in a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric and the San Diego Housing Federation. In part, the program will focus on low income and multi-family housing and how using and learning about water, energy and landscaping will reduce costs to the owners and tenants. The program is designed to provide students with environmentally responsible development and property management education and training. They will become equipped with the fundamental skills necessary to manage residential and commercial properties.
For more information: www.neverstoplearning.greenpropertymgmt
CicloSDias to Give Bicyclists and Pedestrians Free Rein on Aug. 11
The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and the city of San Diego will give bicyclists and pedestrians the right of way on Sunday, Aug. 11, on a 5.2-mile route looping through Golden Hill, North Park, South Park and City Heights. That’s the premiere of CicloSDias, an event to give the community a break from the stress of car traffic. CicloSDias invites all family members (including four-legged ones) to spend the day riding, walking, strolling and skipping though some of San Diego’s most picturesque parks, neighborhoods and districts at no cost. “Surveys have shown that residents want to walk and bike more and spend less time in the car,” said Andy Hanshaw of the bicycle coalition. “CicloSDias will bring people out of their homes and cars and into the streets to enjoy San Diego with neighbors.” The route will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning at 10 a.m.
Community Colleges to Get Sheriff’s Department Protection
The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District governing board on Tuesday approved a $1.4 million contract with the Sheriff’s Department to take over police functions now provided by the district’s public safety department. Sheriff’s deputies will begin their duties at the two East County college campuses on Aug. 19.The district also is creating a Campus and Parking Services department that will handle customer service issues such as room unlocks, safety escorts, or help with a vehicle. The CAPS specialists will also be issuing parking tickets and watching the campuses at nights and on weekends. The district will be ending a $220,000 annual contract with a security company that had been providing night and weekend coverage on the campuses.
National Funding Names Human Resource Director
National Funding, a financial services company in San Diego specializing in serving small businesses, has named Cindi Helsel as human resource director. Helsel has14 years of human resource and corporate administration experience. She has worked in multiple industries, including biotech and health care technology. Most recently, she served as human resource director at Asteres Inc., where she developed and managed human resources and corporate administration in the United States and UK. Helsel also worked at Conforma Therapeutics Corp. before its acquisition by Biogen Idec, Genoptix and Pyxis. Helsel is a graduate of UC San Diego’s HR certificate program.
Character Art Workshop to Feature Award-Winning Illustrator
Visiting international guest animator and illustrator Ali Cowley of the award-winning Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand will be featured at a free workshop July 30 hosted by NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) in San Diego. Cowley will demonstrate his
techniques for sketching, painting and character development while working with attendees as they develop their own design from a provided storyline. The exercise will explore drawing techniques and digital painting, and it is aimed at anyone with an interest in character design and development for animation, ideally with intermediate-level drawing skills. The event is sponsored by NSAD’s Digital Media Arts program. The workshop will be from 4-6 p.m. at the school auditorium, 1249 F St. in San Diego. Bring a sketchbook and materials to draw with. RSVP required by July 29: email@example.com.
Northrop Grumman, San Diego, won a $17,535,262 federal contract from the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, for block cycle updates and engineering and management services for the in-service support phase of the NATO Improved Link Eleven project.
Systems Engineering Support Co., San Diego, won a $15,189,906 federal contract from the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, for communication transponder family of systems.
Instruments Inc., San Diego, won a $31,322.30 federal contract from the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command, Panama City, Fla., for L6 Model power amplifiers.
Parker-Hannifin Corp., San Diego, won a $30,960 federal contract from the Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia, for packing with retainers.