Daily Business Report-Sept. 9, 2013
Interim Mayor Defends
Convention Center Plan
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego Convention Center Corp. President and CEO Carol Wallace reiterated their support for the current plan to expand the convention center, despite a new pitch by the Chargers to include a football stadium in the project, City News Service reports. The $520 million plan, which goes before the California Coastal Commission for approval next month, would create a total area of 2.75 million square feet — the most contiguous floor space on the West Coast. Supporters of the project, including Gloria and Wallace, say San Diego is missing out on an estimated 25 major gatherings per year because it needs more connected space. The alternative filed with the Coastal Commission by the Chargers would not include contiguous floor space, which team officials do not believe to be necessary.
“The current plan…is the product of years of study, analysis and public debate,” Gloria said. “It is the end result of countless hours of thought and consideration.” He said the plan is critical to keeping Comic-Con International, the largest annual trade show in San Diego.
The Chargers’ point man on stadium issues, Mark Fabiani, said on the team’s website that the city would save hundreds of millions of dollars on a joint facility that would result in an expanded convention center and new stadium.
Gloria said his goal was to get the convention center expansion past its final regulatory hurdles before turning his attention to the stadium issue. He said both projects can be pursued and that he is committed to keeping the Chargers in San Diego.
San Diego Council to Consider Raising Water Rates
A proposal by the city of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department to raise water rates more than 7 percent in each of the next two years is scheduled to go before the City Council on Tuesday, City News Service reports. The proposed increases would be 7.25 percent in the calendar year 2014, and an additional 7.5 percent the next year. The higher rates would vary among individual customers based on their amount of water usage. The City Council won’t be deciding whether to approve the plan, but rather will schedule a public hearing for November and authorize notices to be delivered to water customers.
The proposed rate increases are the result of a study on the projected costs for the department to provide water to area residents and businesses. Among the factors considered were increases in wholesale water rates and the need to pay debt service on major infrastructure projects.
The Public Utilities Department said it absorbed higher costs recently imposed by the Metropolitan Water District, the major wholesaler in
Contruction Begins on Cross-Border Airport Terminal
Construction is beginning on the cross-border terminal that will give travelers easier access to the Tijuana airport from the San Diego side.
U-T San Diego reports that crews began sealing off the construction site at the airport this week. The project’s developers say the cross-border terminal should be operational by the end of next year. The Tijuana airport sits right on the border, and the new project will include a pedestrian bridge that connects the airport to a new U.S. Customs and Border Patrol station just over the border fence in Otay Mesa. Because it will be available exclusively to ticketed airline passengers who pay a toll, the wait to cross the border is expected to be minimal. The project’s main goal is to shuttle people between the airport and San Diego. Taxi drivers have opposed the project, fearing they’ll lose much of their business driving travelers between the airport and existing border crossings.
Pacific Ridge High Ranked in ‘Most Amazing High School Campuses’
Pacific Ridge High School in Carlsbad has been ranked in the 30 “most amazing high school campuses in the world” by Best Education Degrees, an organization that produces educational rankings. “High school campuses not only function as important places for students, they often act as gathering points for entire communities,” said James Arney, chief author and researcher for the list. “These 30 high school campuses are the crème de la crème, all awe-inspiring and all offering incredible opportunities for the attending students.
Local Meals-on-Wheels Executive Seated on National Board
Debbie Case, president and CEO of Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, has been elected to a three-year term on the board of the national organization — the Meals On Wheels Association of America. Case completes a team of 10 MOWAA board members, most of whom direct their own Meals on Wheels program in major cities throughout the United States.
Festival to Celebrate New Downtown Central Library
The public is invited to a free community festival celebrating the new San Diego Central Library, the hub of the city’s 35-branch public library system. The celebration will last from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 330 Park Blvd. in the East Village, near Petco Park.
Library donors, supporters and dignitaries will take part in a dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. featuring the Navy Band and San Diego Children’s Choir. A street festival starts at noon. The public can get a look at the first floor and the auditorium during the festival. Musical guests will include The Heroes, The Paul Cannon Band, Clint Perry & the Boo Hoo Crew and others.
The official opening will be Monday, Sept. 30.