Daily Business Report-Feb. 14, 2014
The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, about 500 miles from San Diego, is critical to California’s water future.
C-3 Forum to Explore Critical Water Issues Facing State
The future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — an estuary critical to California’s water future — is the subject of a Feb. 27 forum sponsored by Citizen’s Coordinate for Century 3. Andrew Poat, consultant to the California Resources Agency, and Dennis Cushman, assistant general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority will serve on a panel discussing critical water issues in light of Gov. Brown’s drought declaration.
The event is open to the public and will be held at the Wyndham Hotel, 1355 North Harbor Drive in Downtown San Diego. For reservations, visit www.c3sandiego.org or call (858) 277-0900.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, located about 500 miles from San Diego, provides about a third of this region’s water and is critical to maintaining economic well-being and quality of life. Tens of millions of Californians rely on the Delta as a unique environmental habitat, recreational resource, agricultural economy and vital source of water. Brown has proposed plans to address 150 years of uncoordinated actions that have altered water courses and natural habitats, while undermining water reliability for Southern California.
Cary Lowe, a new C-3 board member, will moderate the panel discussion which will explore a number of pressing questions, including how much water the proposals would make available locally, and how much ratepayers will have to pay to assure that Southern California has an adequate supply of water now and in the future.
Water Authority Calls for Self-Imposed Water Conservation
The San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors on Thursday unanimously called upon the region’s residents, businesses and institutions to increase water conservation efforts in response to severe drought conditions across California. The board formally activated the agency’s Water Shortage and Drought Response Plan to preserve stored water reserves in Southern California in case dry conditions continue into next year. Additional water savings can also provide relief for other areas of the state more significantly affected by the drought by reducing the region’s need for imported water.
The board also approved notifying the Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that the region is at Level 1 Drought Watch of the region’s Model Drought Response Ordinance. In coming weeks, member agencies will consider what specific actions are necessary for their communities.
The Water Authority said it is not anticipating cutbacks to its imported water supplies this year that would trigger mandatory supply cutbacks to its member agencies.
Obama Arriving in California With Drought Aid
President Barack Obama is bringing additional drought aid with him as he arrives today in California’s stricken San Joaquin Valley, the Sacramento Bee reports. The new assistance includes sped-up livestock disaster assistance for California producers, provided under a newly signed farm bill, as well as targeted conservation assistance, watershed protection funds, additional summer feeding programs and emergency community water grants. “Our goal here is to provide growers help and assistance,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters.
By directing Agriculture Department staff to make the livestock assistance a “top priority,” officials say they expect to provide California producers an estimated $100 million for 2014 losses and up to $50 million for losses in previous years. The conservation assistance includes an estimated $5 million in new aid for California, and an additional $5 million in emergency watershed protection grants and $3 million in water grants for rural communities.
Researchers Watch El Nino Prospects As Dry
Conditions in Southern California Persist
El Nino prospects are growing in the Pacific, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency said there’s a nearly 50 percent likelihood the weather phenomenon, which can bring heavy rains to Southern California, will develop this fall, KPBS reports. But the other 50 percent projects neutral conditions, similar to this year.
Another group of global researchers is predicting an even bigger chance an El Niño event could occur in 2014. In a study published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers stated there’s a 75 percent chance for an El Niño, and that the event could push the global temperature to its highest level on record by next year, exceeding the previous record of 1998, set during an El Niño year.
El Niño is a warming of ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific that occurs about every four to 12 years. It can cause above-average rainfall in San Diego as well as potentially damaging waves along the coast.
“Even if we do have the El Niño, it’s not destiny,” said Edward Aguado, professor of geology at San Diego State University. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to have a wet winter next year; it favors a wet winter but it doesn’t guarantee anything.”
Aguado said we’re in a wait and see pattern.
Community Housing Works to Celebrate
Major Renovation of Los Robles Apartments
VISTA — Community Housing Works will join with federal, state and local leaders on Feb. 20 to celebrate the completion of a major renovation of the Los Robles Apartments, which was purchased in 2013 to preserve the units as affordable to lower income, working families, seniors and persons with disabilities. Originally built in 1974, the property, located at 1475 Oak Drive, was modernized with major water and energy upgrades.
CHW upgraded all the apartments with new bathrooms, kitchens and windows; added patios, barbeques, bike racks and an upgraded the play area; and rebuilt and expanded the community building.
In 1996, CHW helped the residents of Los Robles form a corporation and purchase the property from the former owner in order to prevent it from converting from HUD-restricted affordable rents to market rate rents, likely resulting in the eviction of many residents from the property. “This rental community is 40 years old and was in need of substantial renovation,” said Thomas Azumbrado, California HUB director of the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The new financing for Los Robles includes low income housing tax credits and tax-exempt bonds, purchased by Union Bank and the California Community Reinvestment Corporation.
Councilman Urges Regulation of E-Cigarettes
San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey proposed Thursday that the city of San Diego implement regulations to address the proliferation of electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigarettes. In a memo to the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, of which Kersey is a member, he asked to docket an item to begin considering regulations for the products.
Kersey said e-cigarettes should be regulated in the same manner as traditional cigarettes, which would prohibit their use at parks, libraries, public facilities like Qualcomm Stadium and Petco Park, and inside restaurants and bars.
“There are a lot of questions about the safety of e-cigarettes both for users and those who may inhale the second-hand vapor,” Kersey said. “We didn’t know the true health impacts of secondhand smoke from regular cigarettes until much later and I simply don’t want to take the same risk with this new form of nicotine.”
The Behind-the-Scene Story of MiP
An engaging, self-balancing robot developed
in partnership between WowWee and UCSD
Mix a bunch of university robotics fanatics together with a nimble high-tech toy company willing to take creative risks, and what do you get? A dynamic new line of game-changing self-balancing robotic vehicles that become instant hits at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) and overnight media darlings, and which are poised to shift the needle in the public’s perception of robotics in our everyday lives.
On Feb. 27, Connect’s Frontiers in Science & Technology program will tell about the remarkable team effort responsible for making this all happen.
“MiP, short for Mobile Inverted Pendulum, sways gently when standing or moving, and steps back to regain its balance when disturbed,” says Professor Thomas Bewley, director of the Coordinated Robotics Lab at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. “In a very real way, the dynamics of MiP mimics life.”
Of course, with organic moves like that, MiP can’t resist dancing to your music library, boxing with other MiPs, playing stacking games, or simply kicking around ping-pong balls. And, with its (included) carrying tray, built-in bluetooth, free apps, infrared sensors, and remarkable hackability features, the perennial “yes, but can it bring me a beer” question is one major step closer to being solved.
At the event, Bewley will review his lab’s recent and ongoing efforts in robotic vehicle design, as well as some of the unique design and commercialization challenges of MiP.
He will be joined by Peter Yanofsky, president of WowWee USA, who will speak regarding the complex processes of creative prototyping, refinement of a toy’s playspec, design for manufacturing, production and distribution, all of which are essential in the making of a major success in the toy industry.
Moderating the discussion will be Dave Gibbons, the physical science licensing officer in UC San Diego’s Technology Transfer Office that brought Bewley’s and Yanofsky’s talented teams together, catalyzing the remarkable collaboration that brought MiP to life.
The event will be from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Knobbe Martens, 12790 El Camino Real, Suite 100, San Diego. Connect members and students are free, nonmembers pay $20 and cost at the door is $40.
Medical Marijuana Regulations
The City Council will take another stab at establishing regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego at its Feb. 25 meeting, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said Thursday. The panel has addressed the issue numerous times since California’s Compassionate Use Act was approved by voters more than 17 years ago. Zoning and operating guidelines passed in 2011 were rescinded after medical marijuana advocates collected enough signatures to force council reconsideration. -- City News Service
Alvarez to Seek Re-Election
After falling short in the election for mayor of San Diego, David Alvarez confirmed his future plans Thursday by taking out nominating papers to run for reelection to his City Council seat. Alvarez lost Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election to council colleague Kevin Faulconer by a margin of 54.4 to 45.6 percent, according to an updated count released by the Registrar of Voters Office. Around 28,000 absentee and provisional ballots are left to be tallied. On the City Council, Alvarez represents District 8, which encompasses Barrio Logan and South Bay neighborhoods. He also chairs the panel’s Environment Committee. Former mayoral candidate Lincoln Pickard and Valley Coleman have also taken out nominating papers in the district represented by Alvarez. Residents in even-numbered council districts will vote in the June 3 primary. - City News Service
SDSU to Host High School Students
San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management will host hundreds of high school students at its 16th annual conference next Friday at the San Diego Convention Center. The school’s Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Volunteer and Mentorship Center is spearheading this initiative that will showcase the area’s hospitality industry and the myriad of careers it offers. “The goal is to provide tips and information about how to get hired and how to be successful in that all important first job during high school,” said Carl Winston, director of SDSU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “The effort could not be done without our great partners, including the California Restaurant Association’s San Diego chapter, the California Hotel & Lodging Association, Cal State University San Marcos’ Hospitality Management Education Initiative and the San Diego Convention Center.”
Legend3D to Open Hollywood Office
Carlsbad-based Legend3D Inc. announced that construction is under way for its new Hollywood hub that will feature a RealD review theater, editorial suites and a technology lab. The office — with a mezzanine, 28-foot high ceilings and exposed brick and beams — will serve as a location for partner and sales meetings. In addition to office space and meeting rooms, the Legend3D team will use the Hollywood hub to host educational events for industry professionals. In 2013, Legend3D opened a high-tech 60,000- square-foot facility in Carlsbad with the capacity to allow more than 400 artists and creative supervisors to collaborate on projects simultaneously. The Hollywood office is scheduled to open in March.