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Daily Business Report-Feb. 11, 2014

Daily Business Report-Feb. 11, 2014

San Diego Councilmen David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer

 Early Voting Patterns Favor Faulconer in Mayor’s Race

With Election Day here, political operatives and campaign volunteers are fanning out across the city in massive get-out-the-vote operations. But nearly 165,000 people already have voted, and those ballots may well determine who wakes up tomorrow morning as San Diego’s mayor-elect, inewsource | KPBS reports.

At inewsource, some of the early voting patters were analyzed and compared with votes cast in the primary election.

Here are some of the numbers:

In the Nov. 19 primary, votes were cast in 582 precincts. Republican Kevin Faulconer won a majority in 176 of them. The Democrats — David Alvarez, Mike Aguirre and Nathan Fletcher — combined to win a majority in 337 of them. Of those 337 precincts, Alvarez alone won a majority in 57.

In the precincts Faulconer won, the average early voting return rate was 53.7 percent as of Monday, Feb. 10.

In the precincts the three Democrats won, the return rate was 41.9 percent.

In the 57 precincts in which Alvarez alone won a majority, the return rate on early ballots was 32.6 percent.

That stark divide in turnout doesn’t surprise one close watcher of San Diego politics.

“Traditionally, Republicans end up with a higher mail-in (turnout) and Democrats have a higher turnout on Election Day,” said Carl Luna, a professor of political science at San Diego Mesa College.

And early voting promises to make up the bulk of all ballots cast in the race. In the Nov. 19 primary, early ballots comprised 68 percent of all votes cast.

That pattern seems to be holding true, according to a recent analysis of early voting returns by the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

That analysis, authored by senior policy analyst Vince Vasquez, revealed that as of Jan. 31, 49 percent of early ballots issued to registered Republicans were returned as compared with about 36 percent issued to registered Democrats.

In absolute numbers, Democrats — thanks to their substantial advantage in voter registration — actually returned more ballots — 48,419 to 51,147.

According to this month’s voter registration report, 39.8 percent of registered voters in the city are Democrats. Republicans make up 26.4 percent of registered voters.

That means Faulconer’s only hope for victory is that turnout among Republicans — whether by early ballot or on Election Day — be strong.

“If they (Republicans) have anything less than a 50 percent turnout, I don’t see Faulconer winning,” Luna said.

The Interstate 8 Dividing Line

The freeway that splits San Diego between north and south is one that many San Diegans drive over every day. Interstate 8 is part of many residents’ routes to work, to the store, or to school. But beyond being a road that helps us get around,  I-8 has also become a symbolic dividing line between red and blue, white and brown, rich and poor.

San Diego City College labor studies professor Jim Miller said the simple fact is that the city is demographically different south of the highway. “It has long been traditional more working class more black and brown area of San Diego and it’s politically and historically been under-represented,” he said.

But according to Miller that is changing. “What you are seeing with the change in the population and the character of the city is really south of 8 rising.”

Read more…

Taxpayers Group Credits Zoo and Safari Park

With $870 Million Impact on County Economy

A study performed by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association estimates the 2012 San Diego Zoo and Safari Park  impact on the San Diego economy at more than $870 million. The contributions are the result of the everyday business operations of the visitor attractions and the conservation organization — everything from payroll, to purchasing supplies, to attracting visitors to San Diego County, according to the association.

“Tourists who come to San Diego primarily to visit the Zoo or Safari Park spend more than $250 million dollars at other businesses in our county,” said Taxpayers Association economist Sean Karafin. “While San Diego Zoo Global employs a little more than 2,300 people, we estimate that San Diego County has 7,420 more jobs because of all of San Diego Zoo Global’s impacts.”

The Association said payroll alone tops $117 million each year. Spending by employees creates an additional $158 million in regional economic activity.

Council OKs $250K to Settle Filner Lawsuit

The San Diego City Council on Monday approved a $250,000 outlay to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the resignation of former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, City News Service reports. The lump-sum payment will resolve all aspects of the litigation filed by Filner’s ex-communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. The council approved the settlement unanimously in closed session.

McCormack Jackson, represented by Los Angeles-based women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred, alleged the then-mayor told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked and that he was eager to “consummate” their relationship.

McCormack Jackson has been on unpaid leave. Under the settlement, her municipal employment will terminate on April 1.

San Diego Tech Coast Angels Report Most Active Quarter

The San Diego Tech Coast Angels announced that its fourth quarter 2013 was the most active investment period of last year. The association seeded 10 companies with nearly $3 million between September and December; more than 40 percent of the $7.3 million that TCA invested in San Diego startups for all of 2013. “We revamped our due diligence process to enable us to evaluate more companies more efficiently, and thus do more deals,” said Jeff Draa, president of San Diego Tech Coast Angels. “Overall, we exceeded our investment goal by more than 40 percent and look to continue the momentum into 2014.”

The money placed into companies last year included both new funding and follow on rounds. Funds were also allocated to TCA’s Angel Capital Entrepreneurs Fund, a mutual fund-type pool of the organization’s members and other investment dollars. Four of the individual funding events for 2013 were $1 million or higher. Companies included MOGL, Senior Quote Insurance Services and Rock My World.

Home Prices Hold Steady But Sales Are Down

The median price of a single-family home stayed about the same from December to January, even though fewer San Diego homes were changing hands. The San Diego Association of Realtors says the median price of a previously owned single-family home in the county hovered at $475,000. The median price for condos and town homes was $305,000. Both prices were more than 20 percent higher than a year ago.

Association President Leslie Kilpatrick said more higher price homes are on the market, and most of the sales activity occurred at lower price points. “We had places that had median and average price points in the upper-threes to mid-fours,” Kilpatrick said. “And that represents a larger percentage of people who can actually buy within the county.”

Kilpatrick expected the strong home prices to lure more homeowners to put their homes on the market. That should ease some of the inventory issues that are making it tough to buy a home, according to Kilpartick.

— Reported by KPBS

Water Authority Board Meets Thursday on Drought

Reacting to severe drought conditions in California, the board of the San Diego County Water Authority will conduct a special meeting on Thursday to consider urging increased voluntary water conservation.

The Water Authority staff is recommending a stepped-up drought response by activating the agency’s Water Shortage and Drought Response Plan to help preserve stored water reserves in Southern California and assist in managing the potential long-term impacts of the state’s water crisis.

The Water Authority said the San Diego region is expected to have adequate water supplies for 2014.

At Thursday’s meeting, the board also will consider a staff recommendation to notify the Water Authority’s member agencies that the region is at Level 1 Drought Watch of the Model Drought Response Ordinance. Typical voluntary conservation steps at Level 1 include: Washing paved surfaces only when necessary for health and safety; eliminating inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff and overspray; irrigating only before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.; serving and refilling water at restaurants only on request.

Solar Financing Through Property Taxes

Now Available in Five Cities of the County

Residents living in some cities in San Diego County are now able to participate in a new government solar financing program that allows property owners to finance solar power systems through property taxes without spending money out-of-pocket and without a credit score requirement. The cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Solana Beach and Lemon Grove have opted in to offer homeowners Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) financing through Renovate America.

“Property Assessed Clean Energy is a game changer for San Diego property owners who have thought about going solar,” said Daniel Sullivan, president and founder of Sullivan Solar Power. “Residents who were not approved in the past for solar financing, may now be approved through HERO.”

With HERO Financing, homeowners can go solar for no upfront payment and repay for their solar power system through property taxes and the interest is tax deductible. This allows homeowners to tie their solar investment to property taxes rather than taking a personal loan, and the investment stays with the property when a homeowner moves. Annual payments are often much lower than current electric bills, and the homeowner is able to secure a lower electricity rate for the lifetime of the system, according to Sullivan.

An informational HERO Financing seminar will be held on March 22, at the Oceanside Public Library from 11 a.m. to noon.

Susan Day Named Burn Institute Executive Director

Susan Day

Susan Day

Susan Day has left her job as president of Combined Health Agencies to become executive director of the Burn Institute in San Diego. During her tenure at Combined Health Agencies,  internal fundraising results doubled, development of two annual recognition events grew in attendance and sponsorship support and the organization was named Community Partner of the Year by Biocom. “I’m honored to be part of the Burn Institute team and excited to work with the fire service, our partners at UC San Diego Regional Burn Center and the numerous corporate sponsors, foundations, donors and volunteers who value our critical educational efforts that keep our community safe and unique burn survivor programs” Day said.

Day has more than 17 years of nonprofit experience in management, fundraising, community outreach and collaboration.


SCS Engineers Adds Staff

Tyler Overton has joined SCS Engineers as associate professional and George Liddle joins as technical editor, the environmental consulting firm announced.

Overton brings more than 10 years of experience managing environmental projects at engineering, development, and solid waste firms and at a nonprofit organization. At SCS his efforts will focus on due diligence and environmental site assessments.

Liddle has more than 10 years of experience as a technical writer and editor, and experience performing environmental site assessments. At SCS he will continue to perform these responsibilities, as well as assist with surface and storm water projects.

Overton earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies from the University of Colorado. Liddle received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the UC San Diego.

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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?

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