Daily Business Report-Feb. 26, 2014
Court Ruling Gives County Water
Authority Major Victory
A San Francisco judge handed the San Diego County Water Authority a major victory on Tuesday when he tentatively ruled that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California violated cost of service requirements and the state constitution in setting rates between 2011 and 2014.
The tentative ruling by San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow came in lawsuits filed in 2010 and 2012 by the San Diego County Water Authority challenging rates imposed by the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
“Today’s tentative ruling validates the difficult and extraordinary measures the Water Authority was forced to take to protect the ratepayers and the economy of San Diego County,” said Thomas V. Wornham, chair of the Water Authority’s board of directors. “MWD has fought us every step of the way for more than three and one-half years, but our board, our member agencies and the entire San Diego community have stood united and resolved to fight these illegal rates. We will continue to fight for lawful rates from MWD inside and outside the courtroom.”
Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of MWD, told the LA Times that the ruling “is one step in a very long process.”
The parties will have 15 days to file objections to the court’s order, after which the court will issue a final statement of decision. A second phase of the trial will be scheduled on the Water Authority’s claims based on breach of contract and preferential rights.
San Diego Police Chief Steps Down
San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne, whose department has been beset by a series of recent officer-misconduct allegations, announced his retirement Tuesday, effective Monday. Lansdowne, 69, has been the city of San Diego’s top law enforcement officer for 10 1/2 years.
On Friday, Mayor Elect Kevin Faulconer met with the chief to discuss the direction of the department in the wake of accusations of on-duty sexual improprieties on the part of several sworn officers.
Though Faulconer did not ask him to resign, Lansdowne “felt it was time to do so,” according to SDPD public-affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer. “The chief absolutely supports the new mayor and believes in his vision and direction for the city,” Mayer said. “This was a difficult decision for Chief Lansdowne to make, as he considers San Diego his home and truly values the citizens of this city and the employees who work here.”
Lansdowne served as police chief in Richmond and San Jose for four and five years, respectively, before taking charge of the SDPD in August 2003.
During his tenure in San Diego, Lansdowne “successfully led the department through countless critical events,” Mayer said.
In recent weeks, several women have come forward with allegations of being sexually abused by SDPD officers, one of whom has since resigned and been charged with criminal counts. — City News Service
Real Estate Market Continues to Slow
San Diego home prices dipped one tenth of a percent between November and December of last year as the nation’s real estate market continued to slow, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday, City News Service reports. The monthly decline into negative territory took place in half of the 20 large cities tracked by the indices.
Annual gains from December 2012 to December 2013 continued to be in double-digits in most places, however. In San Diego, the yearly climb was 18 percent.
David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said the year-to-year pickup gave Case-Shiller its best year since 2005. “However, gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over,” Blitzer said. “Year-over-year values for the two monthly composites weakened and the quarterly national index barely improved.”
The indices were created by taking the price of homes in January of 2000, assigning them a value of 100, and tracking their subsequent rise and fall.
San Diego’s index figure in December was 193.87, reflecting an appreciation of nearly 94 percent in home values over the past 14 years. That rate was topped only by Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
County Supervisors Ease Rules for Farmers Market Vendors
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors gave tentative approval Tuesday to an ordinance designed to make it easier for vendors to sell their goods at farmers markets in unincorporated areas, City News Service reports. Under the current ordinances, growers certified by the county agriculture commissioner can sell their produce at eight certified farmers markets located outside city limits, while uncertified vendors, like those who sell arts and crafts or handmade clothing, have to get a solicitation license from the Sheriff’s Department.
Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said requiring each individual non-certified vendor to obtain a solicitors license from the Sheriff’s Department “proved a hassle for vendors, and a logistical nightmare for the sheriff to oversee.”
The proposed changes would allow the operator of the farmers market to obtain an annual solicitation permit so that each uncertified vendor wouldn’t have to do so. The solicitor’s license, which would be subject to an annual fee, would act as an umbrella permit covering all the vendors.
If adopted in a second vote on March 11, the changes would take effect May 1.
Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon 610 and 615
Qualcomm Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that the company has added the Qualcomm Snapdragon 610 and 615 chipsets to the Snapdragon 600 tier for high-end mobile computing devices. Both new chipsets integrate Qualcomm Technologies’ 3rd Generation LTE modem, supporting Category 4 data rates for new requirements such as LTE-Broadcast and LTE Dual SIM Dual Active (DSDA). The company said it expects to begin sampling the processors in the third quarter of 2014 and the first commercial devices are expected in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Scripps Health Executive Fills Seat on
San Diego North Chamber of Commerce Board
Don Stanziano, corporate vice president and chief marketing officer for Scripps Health, has been elected to fill a seat on the board of directors of the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce. Stanziano has worked for Scripps
for more than 12 years and has been CMO since 2010. In addition to health care marketing communications, he has worked as a print and broadcast journalist, public relations consultant and communications director/press secretary for a member of Congress. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in health care administration from Ohio University.
Nobel Laureate to Speak at SDSU on March 6
Mario Capecchi, The 2007 Nobel Laureate in physiology or medicine, is guest speaker at this year’s Donald R. Wassenberg II Memorial Lecture on Genetic Disease Research on the San Diego State University campus.
Capecchi, professor of human genetics and biology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, will speak at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, in Room 333 of the Geology, Math and Computer Science Building. The lecture is free and open to the public and is hosted by Anca Segall, chair of the SDSU biology department.
The technology pioneered by Capecchi allows scientists to create mice with mutations in any desired gene. The investigator chooses which gene to mutate and how to mutate it, and has virtually complete freedom to manipulate the DNA sequences that are subsequently inserted in the genome of living mice. This allows the researcher to evaluate in detail the function of any gene during the developmental or post-developmental phase of the mouse.
President Named for Countywide Mechanical Systems
SANTEE — Paul Duke has joined Countywide Mechanical Systems as president. The company specializes in the installation and service of commercial HVAC, plumbing, electrical and solar projects. Duke has more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Before joining the company, he was president of the San Diego office of Comfort Systems. Duke also has held positions as operations manager, chief financial officer and president.
Scripps Clinic First to Implant
Miniature Cardiac Monitor
Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego has become the first hospital in the United States to implant the world’s smallest implantable cardiac monitoring device. Scripps Clinic cardiologist John Rogers successfully completed the first implant of the Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM) in 71-year-old San Diego resident Chuck Beal on Saturday.
Beal, the owner of San Diego-based Beal Racing, has a lengthy history of heart palpitations, and is at an elevated risk for stroke following a previous heart valve replacement, making him a prime candidate for the LINQ ICM.
“Mr. Beal was given a local anesthetic and the device was inserted under the skin of the chest wall. The entire process took about 10 minutes and he was able to go home immediately after,” said Rogers. “The monitor is so discreet that it is unlikely that he will even know it is there and he can go about his life without interruption or discomfort from the device.”
In addition to its continuous and wireless monitoring capabilities, the system provides remote monitoring through the Carelink Network. Through the Carelink Network, physicians can request notifications to alert them if their patients have had cardiac events.
San Diego Rescue Mission Names VP of Development
San Diego Rescue Mission has named Michael A. Johnson as its new vice president of development. Johnson comes to the Rescue Mission from the Hunger 2 Help nonprofit, which he founded in 2010. Prior to his venture into nonprofits, Johnson spent more than 23 years in the corporate world, most currently as the vice president of sales and part owner of Rimrock SMB. Previously he served as sales vice president for MJ Sports and Fotoball Sports, as a sales/general manager of Sports Products Corp., and as a sales consultant/manager for Technicomp/EXCEL training.