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Daily Business Report-Nov. 22, 2013

Daily Business Report-Nov. 22, 2013

San Diego Water Rates

To Jump 15 percent

The cost of water in the city of San Diego is set to increase 15 percent over the next two years. The San Diego City Council approved the rate increases by a vote of 8-1 on Thursday. The rate structure will boost revenue by 7.25 percent in 2014 and 7.5 percent the following year.

The majority of the added revenue will pay for increases in wholesale water rates. The remaining revenue will cover the debt on the city’s major infrastructure projects, according to the City Council.

The combined rate hikes would increase a typical family’s water bill by more than $80 a year. Consumer water bills will include a base fee as well as a charge on the amount of water used.

Currently for single-family homes, the city uses a three-tiers rate for low, moderate and heavy water users; That will expand to four tiers in 2014.

Councilman Scott Sherman cast the only no vote. “This water rate increase hurts working families and is absolutely unnecessary,” he said in a statement. “It could have been avoided if the city would have taken additional cost-cutting measures or used cash reserves.”

The last time water rates were increased was in March 2011. — KPBS Report

San Diego to Relaunch Tourism Marketing

San Diego will soon be marketed as a visitor destination again as a result of action taken Thursday by the San Diego City Council. The council approved the second amendment to the operating agreement between the city and the San Diego Tourism Marketing District Corp.  It allows the city to quickly disperse $6 million of collected assessments to the Marketing District to re-launch marketing efforts and draw visitors to San Diego. “The agreement balances the need to protect the city by building a litigation reserve with the need to again invest into marketing to bring visitors to San Diego,” said Interim Mayor Todd Gloria.

The city would then begin releasing district assessment funds to SDTMD on a monthly basis, but withhold funds from these monthly disbursements to ramp up to a reserve of $30 million within four years.  Once litigation concludes, those funds will be released.  One lawsuit remains against the renewed SDTMD. The  agreement includes a provision that would allow the city to always withhold funds should another suit be filed.

Breakthrough Biofuel Research From

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

A scanning electron microscope image of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana.

A scanning electron microscope image of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana.

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have developed a method for significantly enhancing biofuel production in tiny marine algae. Scripps graduate student Emily Trentacoste led the development of a method to genetically engineer a key growth component in biofuel production. The method lowers the cost of biofuel production by increasing lipid content (the desired oil product for fuel) and the study has also led to advances in the speed of algal biofuel crop production due to the efficient screening process used.

In addition to lowering the cost of biofuel production by increasing lipid content, the new method has led to advances in the speed of algal biofuel crop production due to the efficient screening process used in the new study.

“Maintaining high growth rates and high biomass accumulation is imperative for algal biofuel production on large economic scales,” the authors note in the paper in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Supercomputer Center Selects Denver Firm for File System

The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego has selected Denver-based Aeon Computing to build a 7-petabyte file system as part of the new petascale-level Comet supercomputer. The center said the file system will exceed 200 gigabytes per second. The Supercomputer Center was awarded a $12 million grant from the National Science Foundation to deploy the new Comet system, which will be based on next-generation Intel Xeon processors.

Marine Group Boat Works Pledges In-Kind

Donations To the Living Coast Discovery Center

CHULA VISTA — Marine Group Boat Works, a neighbor of the Living Coast Discovery Center, has pledged more than $25,000 of in-kind donations to the center for 2014. It’s the fifth  consecutive year that the locally owned boat-building and repair facility has covered the Living Coast’s annual animal food budget, which represents one of the center’s largest annual expenses. Additional in-kind support comes in the form of drinks and refreshments for staff and volunteers throughout the year, as well as facility maintenance assistance and equipment. Marine Group President Herb Engel will continue to serve as a member of the Living Coast’s board of directors.

i.d.e.a. Acquires Rappaport Communications

i.d.e.a., a public relations, marketing and branding company in San Diego, has acquired Rappaport Communications and hired its founder, Amon Rappaport, to expand the agency’s client roster. Rappaport will serve as vice president. He has more than16 years of experience in senior marketing communications roles and agency positions. Rappaport developed a public affairs and communications strategy for the Blue Shield of California Foundation, trained youth brand ambassadors to launch a White House jobs and education initiative with President Obama and served other clients including Life Technologies and Revolution Foods.

Domus Academy Launches Product Design Bachelor’s Degree

The Domus Academy School of Design at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design has added a Bachelor of Arts in Product Design program to its suite of design programs. The program, which is open to enrollment for the 2014–2015 school year, provides students with an integrated design study experience through interdisciplinary education opportunities, an emphasis on international design perspectives, and hands-on projects developed in conjunction with leading design practitioners and companies. A Dec. 12 event at NSAD featuring innovative products will formally mark the launch of the product design program, which has been developed in collaboration with the Domus Academy in Milan, Italy.

Corporate Forum Directors Forum Announce Speakers

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler

Corporate Directors Forum has announced the keynote speakers for the Directors Forum 2014 conference that will be held Jan. 26-28 at the University of San Diego. The forum brings together business leaders to discuss the most challenging issues directors and officers face. Keynote speakers will include John Engler, president of Business Roundtable and former Michigan governor; Bethany McLean, author; Mary Schapiro, former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; and Myron Steele, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware.



Luminaria Festival features Holiday Lighting



The neighbors and businesses of South Park are planning a month-long holiday festival for December, to be the first of an annual tradition.

The first “Luminaria San Diego” festival will feature specially installed holiday lighting on trees that line 10 blocks along 30th Street and Fern Street from Kalmia to Beech. A neighborhood party to celebrate the “First Light” will be held on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Grape Street Square.

Installed on Grape Street will be an artist-inspired tree sculpture of reclaimed wood and metal, atop the South Park kiosk facing Fern Street. Interim Mayor Todd Gloria will officially “flip the switch” to light up the neighborhood.

Residents who live along the main South Park corridor will also be lighting homes, porches, gates and doors, and eligibile for prizes donated by local shops and restaurants. The winning displays will be marked by lawn signs throughout the month.

“We hope that families from all over town, and visitors to San Diego, will visit South Park to enjoy the festive lights and iconic Luminaria tree,” said Christy Jaynes of the South Park Business Group. “It’s a great way to enjoy our picturesque and historic neighborhood with family and friends.”

The local businesses will also celebrate Luminaria at the Holiday Walkabout on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 10 p.m. Carolers will roam throughout the neighborhood, shops will stay open late, and the San Diego Mandolin Orchestra performs at The Grove on Juniper. A free trolley is available throughout the evening as well.



JFK In Memoriam

In Memoriam


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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: