Daily Business Report-Feb. 27, 2014
Cox, Sony Lay Off Hundreds in San Diego
Cox Communications and Sony Electronics announced Wednesday that they are cutting 900 local jobs between them.
Cox is cutting 500 jobs at its call center in Kearny Mesa as part of a nationwide downsizing, company spokesman Dennis Morgino said. The company, which currently operates 19 customer call centers around the country, will reduce that to seven call centers, Morgigno said.
Some employees are being offered severance packages and other are being encouraged to take jobs at the call centers that will remain open, Morgigno said. Some of the local jobs will end in May and the rest will end in September, he said.
Cox is the largest cable provider in San Diego County, with roughly 500,000 subscribers. It will have 2,000 employees in California after the call center closures.
Sony Electronics is laying off about 400 employees from its Rancho Bernardo office. The job cuts are part of a company-wide downsizing that totals about 1,000 layoffs across the U.S. The company is also closing 20 retail stores around the country. Its stores at the Fashion Valley and UTC malls will remain open. – Reported by Fox 5 San Diego
San Diego Gets Its First Female Police Chief
Shelly Zimmerman will become the first female police chief in San Diego history when she takes over next week as William Lansdowne officially retires, KPBS reports. The 31-year veteran takes over amid sexual-abuse scandals that placed an unfavorable light on the department recently.
Shelley ZImmerman, the assistant police chief, was named as the next chief by Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer on Wednesday.
The announcement came as somewhat of a surprise as some city leaders, including Interim-Mayor Todd Gloria, had hoped for a nationwide search to find a new chief.
“There is no better choice to lead this department than Shelly Zimmerman,” Faulconer said. “She understands clearly what will be acceptable in the department and what will not be.”
Zimmerman, who has worked in vice, narcotics, Internal Affairs and community relations, will “ensure trust within the police department and ensure and insist upon the highest standards,” Faulconer added.
Flanked by Councilwoman Marti Emerald and Lansdowne, Faulconer said Zimmerman was ideal for the job and that no further search was needed.
Emerald, who heads the council’s Public Saftey Committee, lauded outgoing Chief Lansdowne. “William Lansdowne has shepherded this department through 10 years of rocky waters, including tough budget issues, and he has done it with class and great confidence,” Emerald said.
Zimmerman said she totally supports an outside audit of the police department, which Faulconer said will commence soon. And the new chief vowed that misconduct by officers will not be tolerated going forward. “As a proud member of our division, I can say all our officers will serve with professionalism and integrity,” Zimmerman said.
Native American Judge is Guest of Honor
At Lawyers Club of San Diego Reception
Superior Court Judge Sunshine S. Sykes, the first Native American appointed to the Riverside County Superior Court bench, will be guest of honor at tonight’s International Women of Color Day reception presented by the Lawyers Club of San Diego. It will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Procopio Tower in Downtown San Diego. Procopio is the sponsor.
The reception aims to bring together the leadership of San Diego’s various diverse bar organizations, the judiciary and the legal community, to highlight the achievements of women of color and underscore the struggles that still persist for women of color, particularly in the legal field.
Procopio has one of the most prolific Native American law practices in the California, representing numerous tribes and tribal organizations throughout the community. Ted Griswold, leader of the firm’s Native American practice, said Sykes’ work on both sides of intergovernmental actions affecting tribes and municipalities brings a unique perspective to the bench.
The International Women of Color Day reception is open to the public. Tickets are $15 per person, or free for Lawyers Club and members of co-sponsoring organizations. Register at lawyersclubsandiego.com. Representatives from San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program’s Women’s Resource Fair will be at the event to collect donations of full-size toiletry items and monetary donations to purchase toiletries and other items for the fair.
Taxpayers Group President Takes Job With Faulconer
Felipe Monroig, president and CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association is leaving his position to join the administration of Mayor-Elect Kevin Faulconer. Sean Karafin, the association’s economic policy analyst, will serve as interim president and CEO while the association conducts a search for a replacement. Monroig’s last day is March 7; he starts at the city of San Diego on March 10. Monroig started with SDCTA in 2013. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff for then-Councilman Carl DeMaio.
Open Government Ballot Measure
Tabled by San Diego City Council
Former City Councilwoman Donna Frye has been fighting for a long time to force more open government in San Diego, and on Tuesday her battle hit another roadblock. Frye’s open-government ballot measure was tabled by the City Council indefinitely, KPBS reports.
Frye is president of the open government advocacy group Californians Aware, where she helped lead a charge to put an open-government ballot measure before San Diego voters this June. The measure would make changes to San Diego’s City Charter language to require communication on all media, including emails and text messages, that concerns city business to be open to public records requests. This is a requirement under the California Public Records Act, but Frye says the city charter is out of date and currently only requires that “books, records and accounts” be open.
Although Frye’s measure passed the city’s Committee on Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith raised concerns that some parts of the measure could expose the city to more lawsuits.
Tuesday was the last day the council could approve the measure for the June ballot.
BRAVO! Awards Set for May 21
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) San Diego will host its annual BRAVO! Awards, on Wednesday, May 21 to celebrate the achievements of women business owners. Ursula Mentjes, founder of Sales Coach Now, will be the keynote speaker at the evening event, which will be at the Marriott Courtyard Airport/Liberty Station, 2592 Laning Road, San Diego. Mentjes will share her story of beginning her sales career in 1996 and achieving success as the founder of Sales Coach Now. Mentjes also serves as the statewide chairperson of the NAWBO-CA Education Fund. Nominations for the six BRAVO! Awards will be announced in April. Registration is now open at nawbo-sd.org. For more information, call (877) 866-2926.
Plan for Police Officers to Wear Uniform
Cameras Gets Support From Council Panel
A plan to distribute cameras to San Diego police officers to record interactions with the public received strong support from a City Council committee Wednesday. City officials hope the cameras, which can be worn on an officer’s uniform, will prevent some of the problems that have plagued the department in recent years, including alleged sexual misconduct. They can also protect officers from false claims of abuse.
Financial staff recommended to the council’s Budget Committee that $2 million be set aside from the program. It was one of several suggestions on how to spend part of a $50.8 million budget surplus projected for the end of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said the uniform cameras will demonstrate to the public that the City Council is serious about dealing with the SDPD’s problems.
California’s First MRI-Guided
Laser Treatment for Brain Cancer
Neurosurgeons at UC San Diego Health System have for the first time in California, successfully treated a malignant tumor inside a patient’s brain using a magnetic resonance imaging MRI-guided laser — The NeuroBlate System developed by Monteris Medical of Plymouth, Minn.
The technique used by neurosurgeon Clark C. Chen, vice chairman of research, UC San Diego Division pf Neurosurgery and his team, is called laser interstitial thermal therapy.
The procedure is performed inside an MRI machine while the patient is under general anesthesia. A dime-size hole is created in the patient’s skull to access the tumor. A laser probe is then inserted into the tumor under real-time MRI monitoring and computer guidance. When the tumor is reached, the laser beam is activated, heating and destroying tumor cells.
This technology significantly helps neurosurgeons treat tumors while preserving healthy brain tissue. According to Chen, many types of brain tumors can be treated using this laser technology.