Daily Business Report-Jan. 22, 2014
Assemblywoman Toni Atkins is keeping mum about reports of her becoming Assembly Speaker.
Toni Atkins In Line for Speaker of the Assembly
Talk has heated up in Sacramento that Toni Atkins is on the verge of becoming the next speaker of the Assembly. The U-T has reported in recent weeks that the San Diego Democrat was in the hunt for the top job of in the lower house of the Legislature. Now political insider Scott Lay says in his widely followed political blog The Nooner that Atkins “has enough pledges” for votes to be speaker.
Atkins’ office was officially mum about her prospects.
Atkins, who is termed out after her expected re-election this year, would be a one-session speaker if selected. Lay said her bid is helped by freshmen from Southern California who may go for her with the prospect of a longer-term speaker starting in 2016, according to Lay.
The former San Diego city councilwoman’s bid as speaker would mean Southern Californians would lead both houses, as Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, is in line to succeed Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, as senate president.
Current Speaker John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, is running for state controller.
Multi-Million-Dollar Tourism Marketing
Campaign to be Announced Today
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego tourism industry officials are scheduled to announce today a multi-million-dollar tourism marketing campaign that will include national television advertising and a multiple-platform campaign across the West. Appearing with him at a press event are Joe Terzi, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority; Bill Evans, treasurer of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District; and other local tourism industry officials.
Gonzalez Proposes Guaranteed Sick Days for Workers
California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) has introduced legislation to guarantee workers in California at least three days of paid sick leave annually, KPBS reports. Gonzalez said that providing employees with paid sick leave could reduce health care costs. The extra days would allow workers and their family members time to visit a physician, instead of having to rush to an emergency room in an effort to avoid missing work.
“Both workers and their employers lose out when employees have to choose between reporting for work while sick or losing pay because they don’t,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Every time this choice comes up for a sick employee, everyone loses money — whether it’s through unnecessary emergency room costs, the billions of dollars lost in productivity annually when sick employees try to work while under the weather, or lost wages that impact whether working families can put food on the table.”
Under her proposed bill, workers in California would accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and employers would have the option of capping an employee’s paid sick leave at 24 hours or three work days.
Leadership Change at CleanTech San Diego
Holly Smithson has resigned as president and chief operating officer of CleanTech San Diego to pursue opportunities in the for-profit sector, the organization announced. Smithson served six years with the organization.
Jason Anderson, executive director of the Cleantech Education Foundation, was appointed interim president by the board of directors.
Two other new leadership changes also were announced. Shannon Casey has joined the organization as the new communications director and Jason Harman was hired as a new program manager.
Scripps Health To Screen Visitors For Flu-Like Symptoms
Scripps Health will impose temporary restrictions on visitors at its five hospitals beginning today to reduce the chance of spreading the flu, City News Service reports. Visitors will be screened, and those displaying symptoms of flu-like illness will be asked to leave, according to Scripps Health. Patients will be limited to a maximum of four visitors per day, and children ages 14 and younger will not be allowed in hospitals unless they are patients or have appointments.
Exceptions may be allowed by infection control and department supervisors for special circumstances, according to the hospital.
The limitations took effect at 8 a.m. today at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego, Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla.
“With cases of H1N1 influenza rising quickly in the area, we are taking precautionary measures to limit the risk of infection in our hospitals,” Scripps Chief Medical Officer Dr. James LaBelle said. “We ask that visitors follow these new guidelines so that we can maintain the safest possible environment for everyone.”
As of the middle of January, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency had counted nearly 1,400 cases of influenza in the region, resulting in seven deaths. All the fatalities involved people who already had medical conditions. Most of the influenza cases are of the H1N1 strain, according to the HHSA.
Escondido Moves Rapidly Ahead on Charter Debate
ESCONDIDO — The city of Escondido is considering whether to become the 10th city in San Diego County to gain more independence from state regulation, KPBS reports. The debate over becoming a charter city is part of a statewide political battle and a more local political battle shaping up over the mayor’s seat in Escondido.
A City Council majority rejected pleas from some city residents to set up a commission to work on the charter, which is the equivalent of a city’s constitution. A charter measure on last year’s ballot was defeated by Escondido voters. Now, the wheels are in motion to put it on the ballot again in November.
More than 100 California cities have voted themselves charter cities primarily in order to get out from under state requirements on things such as paying prevailing wages on public works projects. But a new state law, Senate Bill 7, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, could mean charter cities lose millions in state funding if they don’t pay prevailing wages. That law is not yet in effect, and legal battles are almost guaranteed once it does next year.
In the meantime, the Escondido City Council has instructed staff to go ahead with a proposed charter that omits mention of the prevailing wage issue.
Councilwoman Olga Diaz, who will challenge Escondido Mayor Sam Abed for his seat in November, wants to involve as many people as possible in the new charter. However, Escondido’s City Council majority has approved just two public hearings, arguing a charter commission could unnecessarily delay matters.
The New Aztec Student Union Opens its Doors
The new, four-story Aztec Student Union at San Diego State is finally finished. Today marks a new era on campus when students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community walk through its arches.
The 206,000 square-foot union’s LEED Platinum design includes sustainable living, dining, retail space, lounges, meeting rooms, a 300-seat theatre, a multi-purpose ballroom and outdoor courtyards.
While some amenities won’t quite be ready for this week’s opening, many of the groups and departments that will call the building home will open their doors, including Associated Students, the Center for Leadership & Service, the Center for Intercultural Relations, the Commuter Resource Center, and expanded offices and workspaces for student organizations.
Also in the building — a 6,000 square-foot Aztec Recreation Center Express that features a wide variety of state-of-the-art fitness equipment. And Aztec Lanes is SDSU’s new 12-lane bowling alley and games center complete with a gaming lounge, five professional-grade billiard tables, two professional-grade table tennis tables and eight big-screen TVs.
There will be several dining options coming soon to the union, including: Starbucks, The Habit Burger Grill, Chipotle, Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Company and an expanded Aztec Market with a Shake Smart kiosk.
During the first week of spring classes, Associated Students has activities planned for students including nooner concerts, Aztec Nights Events, a men’s basketball viewing party, 50 tons of snow and lots of themed bowling events.
The official Grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, March 7. The Grand Dedication Week, March 3 through 8, will feature daily themed celebrations.
San Diegan Appointed to California Building Standards Commission
Elley Klausbruckner, 44, of San Diego, has been appointed to the California Building Standards Commission by Gov. Jerry Brown. Klausbruckner has been owner and principal at Klausbruckner and Associates Inc. since 1998. She was a fire protection engineer at Tomes Van Rickley and Associates from 1994 to 1998. Klausbruckner is a member of the National Fire Protection Association, the International Code Council and the San Diego chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. She earned a master’s degree in fire protection engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Klausbruckner registered decline-to-state.
Shawna Bortolussi Joins McCullough Landscape Architecture
McCullough Landscape Architecture announced the addition of Shawna Bortolussi, who has 12 years of industry experience working with several firms in Southern California. Bortolussi, a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. She specializes in water conservation and irrigation design. Bortolussi is a LEED Accredited Professional and is a licensed landscape architect through the state of California.
Keith Wilson Takes Chair of S.D. Center for Children
Keith Wilson, president and chief scientific officer of local pharmaceutical company Takeda California, has been appointed chairperson of the board of trustees for San Diego Center for Children. Wilson has been a member of the board since 2009. The San Diego Center for Children provides an array of services to children with complex behavioral and emotional challenges.
For the past 11 years, Wilson and Takeda employees have hosted a holiday party at the center to support youth between the ages of 13 and 18. In 2011, the company also funded a state-of-the-art behavioral health diagnostic program to enable a more comprehensive assessment of behavioral patterns for every new patient entering the center.
Wm. Joel King Named Campus Architect for UC San Diego
Wm. Joel King has been named campus architect for UC San Diego, succeeding M. Boone Hellman, who retired from the post after nearly 30 years with the university. King joined UC San Diego in 2008 as a principal architect, and most recently served as acting assistant vice chancellor for facilities design and construction. King also has served as the university’s director of architectural services and senior director of campus project management. He has been a leader on various capital projects over the past several years.
King has an extensive background in design and construction. He interned with the San Diego architectural firm of Hallenbeck Chamorro & Associates where he obtained his architecture license and ultimately became principal-in-charge. He also started his own architecture practice in 1994 that specialized in waterfront development on Port of San Diego tidelands of San Diego Bay. Before joining UC San Diego, he worked as director of construction services for the Catholic Diocese of San Diego for more than 14 years where he oversaw the design and construction of a diverse institutional capital building program. King has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University.
Ben Vallejos Promoted to Executive Director
Of the Living Coast Discovery Center
Ben Vallejos has been promoted to executive director of the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista, moving up from his post as chief operating officer. Vallejos had been serving as acting executive director since July 2013, stepping in at a time when the center faced imminent closure due to a $200,000 funding shortfall. Under his leadership, The Living Coast was able to raise $415,000 in 30 days, allowing the center to remain open and to execute a new strategic plan for long-term sustainability.