Daily Business Report-Feb. 19, 2014
Members of the Jobs Coalition raised signs in protest downtown Dec. 11, 2013 in opposition to the San Diego City Council’s vote to increase the linkage fee, or ‘jobs tax.’
San Diego Housing Fee Opponents to Force Issue
City News Service — Opponents of an affordable housing fee increase for big construction projects in San Diego collected enough voter signatures to qualify the issue for a ballot or to have the City Council reverse course, the City Clerk’s Office announced.
The referendum challenges the councils vote to restore the fee to its original level — 1.5 percent of cost of construction. In 1996, it was halved to 0.75 percent as an economic incentive.
Opponents, led by ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders, believe the fee hike will be a job killer, because it would increase costs for business owners who want to move or expand in San Diego.
Sanders, the chief executive of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, recently said the affordable housing fee at 1.5 percent of the project cost would have an “extremely negative impact on jobs and our local economy and should be repealed.”
His group, which calls itself the Jobs Coalition, turned in more than 53,000 signatures on Jan. 22. Nearly 34,000 voter signatures are needed to force action on the issue.
According to the City Clerk’s Office, the issue will be addressed at a City Council meeting, where members will decide to rescind approval of the fee increase — which passed on two 5-4, party-line votes — or call for a public vote.
While the city’s overall fee on the total construction cost is doubling, opponents say some types of businesses would be charged increases of more than 700 percent, while making only a minimal impact on San Diego’s affordable housing shortage.
The city calls the fee a “Workforce Housing Offset.”
Supporters of the fee increase point to studies that show San Diego’s housing market is among the least affordable, and more affordable housing would make the city more attractive to businesses.
Foreclosures, Default Notices Tick Up
Foreclosures and default notices in San Diego County edged up in January, but are still hovering around post Great Recession lows, the U-T San Diego reports. Last month, lenders foreclosed on 149 properties in San Diego County and issued 490 default notices, which kick off the 90-day foreclosure process, real estate tracker DataQuick reported Tuesday.
While the overall trend is down, January’s default notices jumped 58 percent above January 2013’s tally of 310. They were also up from the 387 filed in December.
“That’s disconcerting and something to keep an eye on,” said Mark Goldman, a loan officer and real estate lecturer at San Diego State University. “It’s probably too early to blame it on something like Congress deciding not to extend unemployment benefits. If that were a factor, we’d see that coming up in the next 60 days.”
A year ago, default notices dropped from 878 in December 2012 to 310 in January 2013. They were back up to 551 in February.
Scripps Opens Region’s First Proton Therapy Center
Local health care and community leaders will gather today to celebrate the grand opening of San Diego County’s first proton treatment center for cancer care. The $220 million Scripps Proton Therapy Center is just the 15th facility in the United States to offer proton therapy — the most accurate radiation treatment available, which attacks solid tumors while preserving far more of the surrounding healthy tissue nd organs.
A proton beam stops precisely where the tumor stops, unlike conventional X-ray radiation beams that create damage well beyond the tumor. Proton patients receive significantly less radiation, lowering their probability of side effects and treatment-related cancers later.
The Scripps center is the first in the nation to treat patients exclusively with “pencil-beam scanning,” the latest advancement in proton therapy that lets doctors “paint” radiation onto tumors with unmatched precision and versatility.
The new center, located at 9730 Summers Ridge Road, has the capacity to treat 2,400 patients annually when fully operational.
Major Bond Sale Completed for Future Rental Car Center at Lindbergh Field
Completion of a $305.3 million bond sale for construction of a Rental Car Center and related improvements on the north side of San Diego International Airport was announced by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. The bonds are secured by future Customer Facility Charge (CFC) revenue from customers who will use the Rental Car Center, which is scheduled to open in January 2016.
It is the largest stand-alone CFC-backed bond deal ever and the first issued in California. The All-in True Interest Cost for the entire transaction was 5.49 percent.
UC San Diego to Pay a Special Tribute to Actor James Avery
UC San Diego will host a special tribute to James Avery, the late acclaimed actor, poet and UC San Diego graduate of 1976, on Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m., at the campus’s Mandell Weiss Forum. The event, which is open to the public, will include an afternoon of theater, live music, personal reflections and poetry readings in Avery’s honor.
Best known for his portrayal as the charismatic Uncle Phil Banks on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Avery was a classically trained UC San Diego actor and scholar. He died on Dec. 31, 2013, due to complications from heart surgery. He was 68.
The memorial tribute will feature campus artists, friends and performers including UC San Diego faculty emeriti Cecil Lytle, Arthur Wagner and Jorge Huerta; alumni Monique Gaffney, ’93 and John Wesley, ’77; and Daphne Maxwell Reid, who played Avery’s television wife, Vivian Banks on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Avery’s long playing character, Uncle Phil, was ranked among TV Guide’s “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.” His many credits include appearances on the television shows “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Closer” and “That ’70s Show.” Avery lent his iconic voice to over a dozen animated television series and features. He was also the primary host of the popular PBS travel and adventure series, “Going Places.”
Avery frequently returned to his alma mater as a featured guest, performer and commencement speaker. Together with his wife, Barbara, he established the James Avery Scholarship to support African-American students studying performing arts at UC San Diego. Barbara Avery is also an alumna of UC San Diego; she received her Ed.D. in 1974.
“James Avery was a talented artist, and a strong champion of our campus and our students,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “He established a legacy of support for future student artists with the James Avery Scholarship, an endowed fund that will continue to help generations of students.”
Coastkeeper: Voluntary Water Conservation A Good First Step — But is it Enough?
Citing 2013 as California’s driest year on record, city officials echoed the San Diego County Water Authority’s claim that the region has plentiful water in storage and called on the community to do more to conserve in light of the state’s formal drought declaration. San Diego Coastkeeper, which protects fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters, praised the city for its call to conservation, but warns that voluntary measures may not be enough to ensure water supply, sdnews.com reports.
“As water importers, we have a responsibility to conserve when our end-of-pipe habits have devastating effects rippling throughout the western United States,” said Matt O’Malley, global policy director for the waterkeeper movement. Coastkeeper is one of a dozen waterkeeper organizations in California alone. “We import over 80 percent of our water from outside the region, which means the low snowpack and the drying Colorado River have major implications on our water supply,” he said.
O’Malley said the drought can serve as a good educational tool to inform the public as to why permanent conservation methods are a necessary part of life in San Diego. Regionally, he said, almost 60 percent of the drinking water supply is used on outdoor irrigation.
“I’d like to see the city investigate and implement permanent scheduled irrigation in San Diego as part of its Water Wise Program,” said O’Malley, who will request the city’s Environment Committee to amend municipal code chapter 6. He said he’d like the code to include mandatory and permanent irrigation scheduling of two days per week maximum, or a similarly restrictive localized schedule, and restrictive timeframes on the duration of the watering to maximize water conservation. “This restriction should be the new normal in San Diego.”
Cavignac & Associates Hires Surety Account Administrator
Theresa Luu has been hired by Cavignac & Associates as its newest surety account administrator. Luu will serve as the point of contact for the agency’s clients, processing and managing their bond requests and fulfilling their additional service needs. She’s also charged with maintaining servicing documents, managing control and summary sheets, setting up new client accounts and notarizing documents.
Prior to joining Cavignac & Associates, Luu was a quality assurance tester for Sony Electronics in San Diego, where she ran test cases on products prior to their market release and worked with the company’s software team to resolve any issues. Previous experience includes having worked as a laboratory assistant at Scripps Research Institute, and as a math and reading tutor for three years at Kumon Math and Reading Center.
Luu attended the UC San Diego, majoring in international studies with a focus on sociology. She completed the Grossmont College Office Training Professional program for accounting and insurance.
Procopio Law Firm Promotes 5 to Partnerships
The Procopio law firm announced the promotion of five attorneys to the partnership: Dave Deonarine, Jeff Hood, John Lemmo, Scot Omohundro and Fred Taylor.
Dave Deonarine’s practice focuses on complex intellectual property litigation and counseling. Deonarine represents clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical manufacturing, and consumer product industries. Jeff Hood is a member of the firm’s litigation team, with a focus on construction litigation matters. His construction practice includes the representation of public and private owners, general contractors, subcontractors and sureties in a wide variety of matters.
John Lemmo is a member of Procopio’s public agencies and charter schools, and environmental and land use practice groups. He represents public agencies, private developers and landowners in matters involving environmental and land use regulation and litigation.
Scott Omohundro’s practice emphasizes business and civil litigation including construction disputes and breach of contract matters. He is experienced in representing owners and contractors in disputes arising on public and private works of improvement, including contractual disputes, stop notice and payment bond claims, and delay, disruption, and inefficiency claims.
Fred Taylor’s practice focuses upon intellectual property litigation and complex commercial litigation. Taylor has extensive jury trial, arbitration, and appellate experience. He has represented clients in a wide range of industries and fields.
Urban Dash to Give Students Taste of Commercial Real Estate Opportunities
Commercial Real Estate Women San Diego (CREW) will stage the UCREW Urban Dash on Saturday, March 8 — an interactive tour of Downtown’s East Village business core to give male and female college student exposure to opportunities in commercial real estate. Throughout the day the students will be educated on the types of professions that exist in commercial real estate and hear firsthand stories of how industry’s leaders, from various industry sectors, got to where they are today.
9-9:30 a.m.: Petco Park VIP tour
9:30-noon: East Village business tour
Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch at Basic Pizza
The event is an opportunity for students looking to learn more about the field of commercial real estate and those seeking out scholarships, job shadowing positions and internships.
Registration is available through Feb. 24 at
http://www.crewsandiego.org/event/ucrew-urban-dash. Ticket prices are $10 and space is limited to 40 students. For more information, contact Katie Yee at kyee@ fuscoe.com.