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Daily Business Report-Oct. 15, 2013

Daily Business Report-Oct. 15, 2013

Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego)

Gov. Brown Vetoes Toni Atkins’ Housing Bill

SACRAMENTO — Saying it will not work, Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that sought to clarify state law so that cities and counties could require developers to offer affordable housing units as a condition of their building permit, the U-T San Diego reports. The veto drew a sharp rebuke from Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who carried the bill.

“The governor has made it clear that working to ensure that low- and moderate-income Californians have access to affordable places to live in some of our state’s most expensive housing markets is not one of his priorities,” she said.

In his veto message of Assembly Bill 1229, Brown suggested that demanding what’s called “inclusionary housing” would make it even harder to provide more affordable housing. That was a point made by builders, who said they would just have to increase prices on other units to comply.

“Requiring developers to include below market units in their projects can exacerbate these challenges even while not meaningfully increasing the amount of affordable housing in a given community,” said Brown.

San Diego County Apartment Association Executive Director Alan Pentico called the legislation a form of rent control.

Read more…

San Diego-Based Quidel Corp. to Unveil New

Ohio Technology Center in Athens, Ohio

The former Diagnostic Hybrids Inc. facility in Athens, Ohio will be designated by San Diego-based Quidel Corp. as its Ohio Technology Center, home to all Quidel molecular manufacturing operations. Quidel has invested more than $8 million in the facility since acquiring DHI in 2010 for $130 million in cash, adding 22,000 square feet in new space to the facility, moving manufacturing from Boston and Santa Clara, Calif., to Athens, and introducing cutting-edge equipment that makes the facility one of the most advanced centers in the nation for molecular diagnostics manufacturing.

An unveiling ceremony of the new Quidel sign was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a tour of the facility’s $3.5 million molecular diagnostics suite.

Crucial Barrio Logan Vote Scheduled for Today

The San Diego City Council is scheduled to take the final action today on the Barrio Logan Community Plan update — a move, which approved, would trigger a referendum by the maritime industry. The plan was narrowly approved by the council on a 5-4 vote on Sept. 17, which set the stage for today’s second reading. The maritime industry is opposing the plan, claiming it will not protect the port and the jobs it creates. The Environmental Health Coalition is urging the council to “stay strong” in its approval of the plan, saying the state recently ranked Barrio Logan in the top five percent of community’s statewide for pollution vulnerability.

Lawsuit Against Convention Center Expansion Expected Soon

Although the San Diego Convention Center expansion cleared its final regulatory hurdle last week, the project will not be breaking ground for at least two years. That’s because lawsuits are holding up construction, KPBS reports. Attorney Corey Briggs, the most vocal opponent of the expansion, has already filed one lawsuit against the expansion financing plan. It challenges a hotel room tax increase that would pay for the expansion because the tax was not approved by a public vote. The lawsuit is currently waiting for an appeals court hearing that could go all the way to the California Supreme Court.

Briggs represents the Navy Broadway Complex Coalition, a group concerned about development on San Diego’s bayfront. He says he’ll file another lawsuit on their behalf in 30 to 60 days challenging the approval of the convention center expansion. “It’s about the law,” he said. “They broke the law, they have to live with the consequences.” Steven Johnson, a spokesman for the San Diego Convention Center Corp., said he’s confident the appeals court will support the financing plan.

Santee Council Approves Annexation of Castlerock Development

The Santee City Council has voted to move forward with annexation plans for bringing Pardee Homes’ Castlerock development into the city of Santee. The development would include 430 single-family homes ranging from 1,700 square feet to 3,800 square feet. The city would received $100,000 annually from the project, according to Pardee. Castlerock is located on a 204-acre site just off of State Route 52 and north of Mast Boulevard. Both the San Diego and Santee general plans have long envisioned the property being transferred to Santee.

Castlerock will next go before the Padre Dam Municipal Water District where it will seek approval to move forward with annexation into the district’s water service boundaries.  Following the District’s action, the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission will consider a Municipal Services Review/Sphere of Influence update to finalize the jurisdictional changes.

South County Economic Development Council

Launches Next Phase of Visioning Project

The South County Economic Development Council is wrapping up the first phase of its comprehensive economic development visioning effort to develop a five-year strategic plan for the region. The visioning effort seeks public input from South Bay residents and business members to gauge which topics the community believes to be most vital for the region’s future development. Today, South County EDC will launch the next phase of the project with a series of forums to gain additional public feedback within five major industries. Surveying efforts will continue.

The public working sessions will focus on five major industries and how they relate to development projects currently in South County’s pipeline. The five workshops include: Balanced and Livable Communities (8:30 – 9:45 a.m.), Education and Workforce Development (10 – 11:15 a.m.), Border Economy (11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.), Transportation and Infrastructure (1:45 – 3 p.m.), and Emerging Industries (3:15 – 4:30 p.m.). All workshops will be held at the South County Regional Education Center (800 National City Blvd., National City 91950). Anyone interested in attending the above session is asked to RSVP to For more information, call (619) 424-5143.

Summit Hotel Properties Acquires Hampton Inn & Suites

Summit Hotel Properties Inc. of Austin, Texas, announced that it has closed on the acquisition of the 108-guestroom Hampton Inn & Suites in Poway for $15.2 million. The hotel was built in 2008 and the company anticipates spending $0.3 million on capital improvements over the next 12 months. “The Hampton Inn & Suites provides both strong weekday business demand and weekend leisure demand,” the company said. “The Poway Business Park has grown consistently since its inception in

County to Promote Beekeeping in Unincorporated Areas

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has asked staffers to work with local beekeepers to find ways to retain and promote the business, including less restrictive zoning laws. A county ordinance now requires hives to be kept at least 600 feet from other homes and at least 100 feet off public roads. Any change in the ordinance would apply only in unincorporated areas. Most local beekeepers keep the insects for pollinating crops, rather than honey. Supervisor Diane Jacob said the county has about 1.5 million hives that are used to pollinate almond, avocado, broccoli, onion, fruit and seed crops across California. However, declining bee populations in California have prompted municipalities and members of beekeeping organizations to promote beekeeping in urban and rural areas, she said.

“European honey bees play an important role in the $5.1 billion San Diego agricultural industry, and beekeeping is another way to further the county’s efforts to increase agricultural tourism (and) agricultural production,” Jacob said. “And while we’re improving the farming economy, we’re also helping property owners to use their property to their advantage.”

S.D. Organization Of Healthcare Leaders to Stage Conference

The San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders will stage its fifth annual conference Nov. 1 under the theme, “Strange Bedfellows: Building and Sustaining Alliances in Healthcare.” The conference will have speakers from advocacy organizations, local media, and prominent health care organizations, including Scripps Health, San Diego Regional Healthcare Information Exchange, Tricare and the San Diego County Health and Human Services Department. It will be held from 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at Schaetzel Center on the Scripps La Jolla campus. Speakers and attendees will explore the growing need for health care organizations to build and sustain strong partnerships with non-care organizations that share a similar commitment to ensuring the quality of and access to care for patients and the people who care for them.

Volcom Co-Founder to Appear at SDSU

Thom McElroy

Thom McElroy

Thom McElroy, co-founder of surf and skate company Volcom, will be featured speaker at the Oct. 22 L. Robert Payne Distinguished Entrepreneur Lecture Series sponsored by San Diego State’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center. The lecture will take place in the Fowler Athletic Center Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. McElroy is an SDSU alum who graduated in 1985 with a degree in graphic communications and helped build Volcom into a $400 million company. He designed the face of Volcom, is distinctive stone-shaped logo and positioned the brand’s culture as an anti-establishment surf and skate company. 

McElroy will discuss his successes and failures, facilitate a question and answer session and host a VIP reception following the event.

Grad Students Raise $60,000 to Advance Downtown Project

Rendering of student project aimed at revitalizing vacant Downtown lots. (Courtesy: RAD Lab)

Rendering of student project aimed at revitalizing vacant Downtown lots. (Courtesy: RAD Lab)

A team of recent graduates from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design has raised $60,067 to help fund a project for Downtown San Diego that revitalizes vacant lots with retrofitted shipping containers. The concept was developed at the school as a 2013 senior thesis project on “temporary architecture” solutions by Philip Auchettl, Jason Grauten, David Loewenstein and Mike Poage. The Kickstarter fundraising campaign ended Oct. 13 to raise money that will go toward city fees, a conditional use permit, and site improvements such as installation of water, electrical and sewer lines for a section of Downtown’s East Village at 1102 Market St. The project is a temporary “laboratory” urban infill project that offers sustainable solutions to vacant lots. The graduates envision using retrofitted shipping containers to create an urban park that will incorporate a dog park, outdoor beer garden, a plaza with food trucks and an event space for residents and visitors.


Progress Made in Liver Cancer Research at UC San Diego

For the first time, researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine have isolated and characterized the progenitor cells that eventually give rise to malignant hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumors — the most common form of liver cancer. The researchers found ways to identify and isolate the HCC progenitor cells (HcPC) long before actual tumors were apparent.

Writing in the Oct. 10 issue of the journal Cell, principal investigator Michael Karin PhD, professor of pharmacology and pathology, and colleagues report that HcPC take form within dysplastic or abnormal lesions often found in damaged or cirrhotic livers. The liver damage can be due to viral infections like hepatitis or from chronic alcohol abuse.

Game On: San Diego State Vs. Air Force Academy

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — The football game between Air Force and San Diego State will be played on Thursday night despite the partial government shutdown. Officials at the academy announced the school has been advised that “all Air Force Academy intercollegiate athletics may resume immediately.” The academy said in a release that no appropriated funds will be used to fund these programs. Last week, the Defense Department temporarily suspended sports competition at the service academies as a result of the budget impasse in Congress that led to the partial shutdown. But Air Force, Army and Navy were all allowed to play their football games because no government funds were used. San Diego State players and coaches were scheduled to leave Wednesday morning for Colorado Springs.


Samsung Electronics to Release Smartphone With Curved Display

South Korea Samsung curved smartphone. (AP)

South Korea Samsung curved smartphone. (AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics said it will release a smartphone with a curved display — and a $1,000 price tag. The Galaxy Round has a curved 5.7-inch (14.5 cm) screen using advanced display technology called organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, technology. The Korean company said such a curved screen smartphone is the first in the world.

Samsung said the curve will make it easier to grip. The high-end gizmo has some features that make use of the display’s curve, such as playing the next song in a music playlist by tilting the phone to the left or to the right.

Samsung and rival LG, the world’s two-largest makers of display screens, have both produced curved TVs using OLED displays. The curved display is an initial step before handset makers develop smartphones with a flexible display that one day might be folded like a map, experts say.

The Galaxy Round will be released only in South Korea for now. SK Telecom, the country’s largest mobile operator, will start selling the handset Thursday for 1.1 million won ($1,003) without a service contract, making it one of the priciest smartphones on the market.

Yahoo’s Email Becomes More Like Gmail in Redesign

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo’s free email service is becoming a bit more like Google’s Gmail as part of its second makeover in less than a year.

The similarities to Gmail probably aren’t coincidental. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer helped design some of Gmail’s features while she was a top executive at Google Inc. Since its debut nearly a decade ago, Gmail has grown into the world’s most popular email service.

Yahoo’s redesigned email includes a Gmail-like tool that will thread together emails related to specific topics so they appear as a succession of messages. The “conversation view” has become a widely used email feature since Gmail helped popularize the concept after it embraced the format in 2004.

Users can turn off Yahoo’s new conversational tool if they want.

Another new feature will enable Yahoo’s email users to decorate their inboxes with a selection of scenic pictures plucked from the company’s photo-sharing service, Flickr. Gmail has been allowing its users to spruce up their inboxes with various themes for years.

When Yahoo’s email users choose a picture as their backdrop, the same look will automatically appear on the mobile email applications that the company is modifying as part of the redesign. The updated apps are for Android devices, Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad and tablets running on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 operating system.

Delta Airlines tablet

Delta Airlines tablet. (AP)

Delta picks Microsoft for Pilot Tablets

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Delta Air Lines plans to buy 11,000 Microsoft Surface 2 tablets for its pilots to replace the heavy bundles of books and maps they haul around now. Other airlines, including American and United, have been buying Apple’s iPad for that purpose. Delta says the Surface tablets will save it $13 million per year in fuel and other costs. Right now, each pilot carries a 38-pound flight bag with manuals and maps.

Delta plans to test the tablets on its Boeing 757s and 767s, which are flown by the same group of pilots. The airline is hoping for Federal Aviation Administration approval next year to use the tablets throughout a flight, and it hopes to be using the devices on all of its other planes by the end of next year.

One reason Delta picked a Microsoft device was that it’s easier to give pilots separate sections for company and personal use, said Steve Dickson, Delta’s senior vice president for flight operations. Pilots will be able to install personal software and keep their own items such as photos on the personal section of the devices, while another portion will be dedicated to Delta’s software, Dickson said.

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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: