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Daily Business Report-Nov. 1, 2013

Daily Business Report-Nov. 1, 2013

The garage at Fifth Avenue and A Street Downtown would be sold under a plan by Civic San Diego.

How Civic San Diego Plans to Respond

To its Identity Crisis

Civic San Diego needs to find a long-term role for itself. Without one, it dies. So that’s basically what the former redevelopment agency has spent 2013 working out, reports Voice of San Diego.

It wants to designate specific areas in the city — along the Orange Line in Encanto and along El Cajon Boulevard in City Heights — for a series of programs aimed at lowering the cost of development to stimulate new projects, thereby increasing jobs and housing in those low-income areas.

At the root of the plan is an attempt to take over planning and permitting authority, currently handled by city employees, because it says it can take care of that function faster than the city can. In this case, faster processing means cheaper, and therefore more attractive, development projects.

It’s big idea seems to be gaining traction: Some of its primary components have shown up in the mayoral contenders’ plans. But it’s also running up against opposition from at least one powerful force: the union representing the city’s white-collar workforce.

Civic San Diego was formed when the state, to close a major budget gap, ended the redevelopment program. Redevelopment aimed to improve neglected neighborhoods by building major projects with property tax revenue from other projects it had previously built. New development gives birth to new taxes, which were used to build more projects, ad infinitum.

That program was handled in the Downtown area by the Centre City Development Corp. (CCDC), in the southeastern neighborhoods by Southeastern Economic Development Corp (SEDC) and in 12 other areas around town by city staff.

But when that state program ended, the new tax revenue that sustained it went back to Sacramento, and projects that had already been approved but weren’t yet completed fell under the supervision of the state department of finance.

The actual work of finishing those projects locally was handed to Civic San Diego, a nonprofit agency formed by merging CCDC and SEDC that also has authority in the redevelopment areas formerly controlled by city staff.

Completing that task won’t take forever, though. And when it’s done, there’s not much left of Civic San Diego. So it’s looking for an ongoing role — and an ongoing revenue stream — that would not only allow it to exist, but let it pursue the same basic goal of improving blighted neighborhoods.

Read more…

Scripps Research Institute Professor Gets National Appointment

George F. Koob

George F. Koob

Scripps Research Institute Professor George F. Koob has been named director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Koob will oversee the institute’s $458 million budget, which primarily funds alcohol-related research in a range of scientific areas: genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, prevention and treatment. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems. Koob’s selection was announced by Francis Collins, director of the national institute.

Koob, who is currently chair of the Committee on Neurobioligy of Addictive Disorders and co-chair of the Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research at the research institute, is expected to assume his new duties in January.

 

Opponents of Barrio Logan Zoning Plan Submit Petition

Opponents of the City Council’s plan for rezoning Barrio Logan turned in more than 53,000 petition signatures to the City Clerk’s office Thursday in an attempt to get it rescinded, City News Service reports. Led by the area’s three main shipyards, the group contends the rezoning will force their suppliers out of the area, and that would result in higher costs for the suppliers and the shipyards.

Both sides support idea of keeping residential areas separate from the industrial area south of Downtown. The disagreement stems from the nature of a buffer zone, where maritime suppliers say the new rules could make them move.

A little less than 34,000 signatures need to be certified as those of registered voters for the City Council to rescind the zoning changes or put them to a vote.

“This overwhelming show of support demonstrates that the City Council adopted a flawed plan that represents a dangerous first step toward the elimination of San Diego’s shipyards,” said Derry Pence, president of the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association.

Overland Storage Acquires German Data Storage Company

Overland Storage of San Diego is acquiring Tandberg Data, a privately held firm in Dortmund, Germany, the company announced today. “The Overland and Tandberg combination will accelerate our strategy of becoming a global leader in the data management and data protection industry,” said Eric Kelly, president and CEO of Overland Storage. “With more than $100 million in annual revenue for the combined company during the last fiscal year, we expect the combination of these two businesses to provide us with a clearer path to profitability.”

Kelly will continue to serve as president and CEO of the combined company, Kurt Kalbfleisch will continue to serve as CFO and Randy Gast of Overland will serve in the newly created position of COO.  Overland’s board of directors will be expanded to seven directors, of which five will be current board members, and the other two of which will be new board members appointed by Cyrus Capital. The acquisition is currently expected to be completed by the end of December.

San Diego Council to Consider Plastic Grocery Bag Ban

The city of San Diego is moving closer to an ordinance that will change the typical shopping experience.

Early next year, the San Diego City Council will decide whether to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. The proposed new law also would require grocery stores to charge 10 cents for paper bags.

If approved, San Diego would join Solana Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco in banning plastic bags.

Environmentalists are big supporters of the move, but some small retailers are concerned their businesses and customers will suffer. (KPBS report)

Interim Mayor Gloria Announces More Appointments

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria announced two more appointments to his leadership team Thursday. Stacey LoMedico was promoted from director of parks and recreation to assistant chief operating officer. Mary Lewis returned to her former position as the city’s chief financial officer. LoMedico, in her former position since 2007, is succeeding Scott Chadwick, who moved up to COO Thursday. His promotion, announced earlier this month, was confirmed by the City Council Tuesday. Lewis was CFO and financial management director for six years under former Mayor Jerry Sanders. She left two years ago to become CFO of the San Diego City Employees Retirement System. (City News Service)

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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: info@probolskyresearch.com