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Daily Business Report-Oct. 3, 2013

Daily Business Report-Oct. 3, 2013

Walt Ekard, the city of San Diego’s chief operating officer, will return to private life.

Filner’s Surprise City Hall Appointee

To Return to Private Life on Oct. 31

Walt Ekard, the former county executive who was installed as the city of San Diego’s chief operating officer by Bob Filner at the beginning of Filner’s sexual harassment scandal in July, will be stepping down at the end of this month. Ekard’s coming departure was announced by Interim Mayor Todd Gloria on Wednesday. he will be succeeded by Scott Chadwick, the city’s assistant chief operating officer. Ekard announced his plans to transition back to private life in an email to the City Council and department directors on Wednesday.

“I want to thank Walt for all of his extraordinary work. He deserves an enormous amount of credit for helping put our city back on solid footing after all the turmoil of the past several months,” said Gloria. “His management of the city’s day-to-day operations has been invaluable and has served as a showcase for his truly remarkable talents.”

In putting the well-regarded Ekard in charge of the city’s day-to-day operations — an act that surprised many — Filner apparently hoped it would bring stability to City Hall while he dealt with the allegations against him. The move did that, but didn’t save Filner’s job. He resigned Aug. 30.

Ekard, the former chief administrative officer for the county, will be out of the office for the next two weeks and will return on Oct. 16. His last day at the City will be October 30.

Report: Absentee Voters, Republican Voters

Will Play Larger Role in Mayoral Election

Fewer than half of all registered voters are expected to cast ballots in the San Diego mayoral special election on Nov. 19, an election that will favor the Republican candidate, according to a new report by the National University System Institute for Policy Research, a regional economic think-tank.

The findings:

• Based on voting patterns and prior election history, less than half (46 percent) of all registered voters in San Diego are expected to cast ballots in the mayoral race.

• Most votes will be cast absentee.  NUSIPR forecasts that more than 65 percent of votes will be cast absentee.

• The “Filner voter coalition” will not be a driving force in November. Latinos and young voters, which strongly supported Bob Filner’s candidacy last November, are unlikely to participate in high numbers this year. However, LGBT voter precincts will generate high turnout rates.

• The special election will favor the GOP candidate. While Democratic voters outnumber Republicans, history has shown that Republican voter turnout remains high across primaries and special elections while Democratic voters are much less likely to participate.

“With the Filner voter coalition unlikely to make a large impact on the race, this will be a competitive election,” said Vince Vasquez, author of the report. “New voter coalitions and campaign strategies will have to be developed to win the support of an electorate that is increasingly voting earlier in the election calendar.”

Read the full report…

Miramar Air Show Canceled

The Miramar Air Show has been canceled. The show, scheduled for Friday and Saturday in abbreviated form, was the victim of the government shutdown. The first word of the cancellation came via Twitter, with MCAS Miramar, 3rd Air Wing sending a Tweet early this morning saying: “We are disappointed to announced that the air show has been canceled. We will release more information shortly via a release and press conf.”


Library logo

Lauren Fickling, a San Diego State University student, designed this logo for the new San Diego Central Library.

SDSU Art Students Design Central Library’s New Logo

Students from San Diego State University’s School of Art and Design played a key role in the design of the San Diego Central Library’s new logo.

More than a year ago, students from Art 541: Graphic Design IV, were invited by the San Diego Library Foundation to participate in a redesign and rebranding project that coincides with the opening of the new Downtown library.

In spring 2012, the students met with Mel Katz, chairman of the San Diego Central Library Foundation and Jay Hill, its CEO, to discuss a new logo and branding system, as well as suggestions for a new central library name and tagline. Students toured the construction site of the library and met with architect Rob Quigley to learn firsthand his vision for the new library building.

Working under the direction of instructor Min Choy, each of the 10 students created three logo options. After receiving feedback, the students refined their designs and presented them to the foundation. Library staff chose the logo designed by Lauren Fickling.

Fickling worked throughout the fall — alongside fellow student Heber Miranda — to design logo applications for brochures, library cards, flyer templates, polo shirts and tote bags.

City Wireless Contract Extension on Hold

Holes in wireless coverage that could increase risk for San Diego police officers caused a City Council committee Wednesday to put a proposed $1.9 million, one-year extension of its contract with Sprint Solutions Inc. on hold,  City News Service reports. Assistant San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, told members of the council’s Budget Committee that dead zones in wireless coverage areas plague officers along the international border and in certain areas of the Northern Division — which includes Clairemont Mesa, La Jolla, Mission Bay and University City. According to Marvel, officers have a button on their radios to push when they’re in trouble, and it connects with a modem in their patrol vehicle. Without wireless coverage, the call doesn’t go out, he said. “This places officers at great personal risk,” Marvel said. The deal with Sprint is due to expire Oct. 24.


Discovery Center

Living Coast Discovery Center is in peril of closing permanently because of a big budget shortfall.

Living Coast Discovery Center In Peril of Closing Permanently

Organization faces a $200,000 budget shortfall

Officials of the Living Coast Discovery Center, formerly known as the Chula Vista Nature Center, said the center will be forced to close its doors at the end of this month if it fails to obtain $200,000 in donations or pledges. “Though we have started to make headway with new educational programming and collaborative research, it would be fiscally irresponsible for us to continue operations without knowing when or if we will see any financial relief,” said Chief Operating Officer Ben Vallejos.

The Living Coast has developed a staged closing plan that will allow for reopening if significant sustainable funds are raised prior to animal relocations in December. Officials said there are several fundraisers and opportunities available for the community to change the fate of the center. For information on how to help, visit or call (619) 409-5900.

Should the center fail to obtain the necessary funds, it will relocate all animals to appropriate zoological institutions for continued care. Although contributions have been made by the city of Chula Vista, the Unified Port of San Diego, BAE Systems and others, the level of support hasn’t been enough to cover the center’s budget gap.

SDSU’s Alex DeNoble Wins Entrepreneurship Pioneer Award

Alex DeNoble

Alex DeNoble

Alex DeNoble, executive director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State, has been named recipient of the Karl Vesper Entrepreneurship Pioneer Award. The award is given to the “individual who has demonstrated the entrepreneurial spirit in overcoming obstacles while implementing significant contributions that have been instrumental in the ongoing development of entrepreneurship as a field of study and research.” “Alex represents the very best in our field: he is an innovator in the classroom and in program building, and has overcome significant obstacles in moving the field forward,” said Michael Morris, academic director for entrepreneurship at the University of Florida, who headed the award selection committee.


Naval Base Coronado to Get a New Skipper

Capt. Gary Mayes, commanding officer, of Naval Base Coronado, will relinquish command of the base to Capt. Christopher Sund during a 10 a.m. ceremony Friday at Naval Air Station North Island. Sund has served as Naval Base Coronado’s executive officer for the past 16 months and will “fleet up” to Commanding Officer. Mayes’ next duty station will be Commander Navy Installations Command in Washington, D.C. where he will serve as deputy director of plans and programs. Naval Base Coronado is a consortium of eight Navy installations: Naval Air Station North Island; Naval Amphibious Base Coronado; Navy Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island; Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach; Silver Strand Training Complex; Remote Training Site Warner Springs; Camp Michael Monsoor and Camp Morena.

Mayoral Candidates Forum on Oct. 9

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Business Leadership Alliance are teaming with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council to host a mayor forum on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at The Jacobs Center, 404 Euclid Ave., San Diego. Invited candidates are Mike Aguirre, David Alvarez, Kevin Faulconer and Nathan Fletcher.

New Provost Announced for Ashford University

Ashford University has appointed Lori Williams as the university’s new provost. Williams has 25 years of experience in education. Most recently, she served as the vice provost of curriculum development and innovation at Kaplan University. Before that, she was the executive director of the center for student success at Walden University. Previous positions include vice president of product strategy and development at Laureate Online Education, executive director of Laureate’s eLearning Group, and director of instructional technology at Union Institute & University.


Nominations are Open for Most Admired Companies

SD METRO is soliciting nominations for 2013’s Most Admired Companies in San Diego County. Send us your nomination of a company you believe demonstrates the highest level of honesty, integrity, business practices and service to its industry and community. Nominations may be emailed to Rebeca Page at or Bob Page at The deadline is Oct. 20. Our Most Admired Companies report will be published in November.


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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: