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Daily Business Report-Dec. 9, 2013

Daily Business Report-Dec. 9, 2013

Michael Zucchet, who heads the city of San Diego’s largest labor unions, could have a significant role in Civic San Diego’s effort to expand its authority beyond Downtown.

Expanding Civic San Diego’s Authority

Beyond Downtown Could Rest With Unions

The first official step toward expanding Civic San Diego’s authority beyond downtown could take place in the City Council’s closed session today, Voice of San Diego reports.

Civic San Diego, a city-controlled nonprofit formed by consolidating the city’s former redevelopment agencies, currently has the authority to approve projects in the downtown area. It also has is in the process of finishing up all the redevelopment projects approved before the state ended the program, manages the parking district downtown, and seeks out federal tax credits to help pay for projects in low-income areas around the city.

But the group would also like to start building “transit villages” in underserved areas that have a transit line running through them. It has specifically discussed Encanto and City Heights as targets for this sort of development plan.

Civic San Diego says it can make it cheaper to build projects in those areas — thus making it more likely projects get built, and that those communities will get things they need, like grocery stores and inexpensive housing.

Before they can do that, however, the City Council would need to change the current agreement under which Civic San Diego conducts its various operations on behalf of the city.

And before it can do that, Civic San Diego would need to go through formal negotiations with the city’s white-collar union, the Municipal Employees Association, over the new responsibilities.

Go to full story…

Balboa Park Trams Go Into Service Today



Interim Mayor Todd Gloria today was to take the inaugural ride on the new Balboa Park trams. The trams will go into service immediately and operate until 6 p.m. Daily service will normally begin at 9 a.m. on all future days.

The City Council approved a lease financing agreement to allow the city to buy three motorized trams and nine trailers for $1 million. A staff report presented ahead of the council vote estimated the trams would carry about 100 passengers each, and would last 10 to 20 years.

USD Launches Expansion of Social Innovation Challenge

The University of San Diego has received a contribution from the Moxie Foundation to expand a program where students are challenged to come up with ideas to solve social, economic, environmental and other problems in the U.S. and the world. Funds from the San Diego-based nonprofit will enable USD to expand its Social Innovation Challenge competition to other San Diego universities.

The grant will allow students from UC San Diego, San Diego State University, San Diego City College and Point Loma Nazarene University to

compete for the “Moxie Prize” of $17,500 in 2014. The  Moxie Foundation also is providing funding for operations and marketing.

The grant was made to USD’s Center for Peace and Commerce, a collaboration of the School of Business Administration and the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.

“By opening up the Social Innovation Challenge to more students across San Diego, we can advance the Moxie Foundation’s vision of engaging the brightest, most creative people in our region to address the most pressing needs of our community and planet,” said Peter Zahn, president of the Moxie Foundation. More schools likely will be added to the competition in future years.

In 2014, USD’s Social Innovation Challenge will award $50,000 to USD students and $17,500 to students from the other San Diego universities.

San Diego Citywide Bike Path Plan Goes Before Council

The San Diego City Council on Monday will consider adopting a Bicycle Master Plan that envisions the creation of an expanded citywide bike network in San Diego over the next 20 years, City News Service reports. The plan would more than double the existing bikeways network, adding 595 miles to it. It would define high priority projects, encourage bicycling as a transportation mode, and recommend new systems of on-street bike storage such as bike corrals. Councilwoman Lorie Zapf backs the plan, as do the two mayoral runoff candidates, David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer.

But the master plan contains no funding, and the city has a long way to go. Only 0.8 percent of San Diegans commute to work by bike. The master plan points out that bike collisions are more than twice as likely to be fatal in San Diego than in the nation as a whole.

Former NASSCO VP to Head Jet Aviation

Robert E. Smith, a former vice president and CFO of General Dynamics NASSCO, has been appointed president of Jet Aviation, a subsidiary. He succeeds Daniel G. Clare, who was appointed chief financial officer of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., also a subsidiary. The appointments are effective Jan. 1. Smith has been the vice president and chief financial officer of Jet Aviation, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, since July 2012, responsible for oversight of all financial functions

San Diego Foundation Names Four to Board of Governors

The San Diego Foundation has named Bob McNeely, Christine Moore, Audie de Castro and Jacob James to its board of governors. The  30-member board oversees the foundation by establishing policy, setting priorities and making final decisions to approve awards and grants.

Bob McNeely is a retired executive vice president and director of the Corporate Social Responsibility Group for Union Bank and currently serves as a senior executive adviser to the bank.

Christine Moore is  director of external affairs for AT&T California. Prior to this role at AT&T, she spent two years as deputy district director for the office of Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny.

Audie de Castro is founder of de Castro P.C., Attorneys and Counselors. He oversees all practice areas of the agency and litigates business and commercial disputes.

Jacob James serves as managing director of the Waitt Foundation, focusing on novel approaches to philanthropy and public-private partnerships. James joined the Waitt Foundation in 2009 as lead policy adviser.

La Mesa Citizens Launch Drive for Term Limits

LA MESA — A group of La Mesa citizens is collecting signatures for a voter referendum on whether to adopt term limits for the mayor and city council members, La Mesa Courier reports. The City Council had discussed putting it on the ballot in October, but the citizens behind the referendum said they did not have time to wait for the council to spend months debating the issue. Instead, they have begun gathering signatures now. “The most valuable asset you have in a campaign is time,” said Bill Baber, an attorney who is working on behalf of the proponents, the La Mesa Term Limits Committee.

If they had waited for the City Council to debate the issue and then decide not to put the question to voters, the proponents would have had less time to gather signatures, said Baber, who is also an elected member of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District School Board.

The proposal is enact a limit of three consecutive four-year terms as either mayor or city councilmember. After three consecutive terms in either position, the incumbent would have to wait four years before being eligible for office again.


Westgate Hotel Rooftop

Westgate Hotel Rooftop

Westgate Hotel Opens New Rooftop Amenities

The Westgate Hotel has opened its new rooftop pool, lounge and fitness amenities with 360-degree views of San Diego’s Downtown skyline. Designed by Hollander Design Group, the 10,000-square-foot rooftop deck creates a new venue for events, leisure and fitness. The opening of the rooftop pool now allows The Westgate Hotel to accommodate large events for up to 340 guests. Views of the urban skyline are set apart by the rooftop’s modern design, highlighted by an expansive landscape wall display created by GreenScaped Buildings. The reimagined space also offers cocktail and dining services, available by the touch of a poolside phone to room service. Additional features include modern lounge furniture and a jacuzzi available exclusively to guests. Features include a Junior Olympic sized lap pool (heated year-round), a 1/10 Olympic running track and outdoor fitness equipment.

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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: