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Daily Business Report-Feb. 28, 2014

Daily Business Report-Feb. 28, 2014

 Aquatic biologist Bob Sheath, a professor at Cal State San Marcos, joins a group of notable individuals who have organisms named for them.

San Marcos Professor Honored With an Algae

SAN MARCOS — How would you like to have an algae named after you? Professor Bob Sheath, an aquatic biologist at Cal State San Marcos, says it’s “a big honor.”

Researchers at Ohio University, in collaboration with European colleagues, have named a new group of red algae “Sheathia,” after the professor, one of the preeminent experts on North American freshwater algae.

The newly identified genus, or collection of species, can be found in freshwater streams both locally and worldwide. This is the first time an organism has been named after a CSUSM professor.

The red algae 'Sheathia'

The red algae ‘Sheathia’

“The total number of species on earth is estimated to be 8.7 million,” said College of Science and Mathematics Dean Katherine Kantardjieff. “To have an organism named after you is a distinct honor that places Dr. Sheath in very distinguished company as a scientist. Dr. Sheath joins a group of notable individuals who have organisms named for them, including naturalist David Attenburough, as well as Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.”

The new group of Sheathia algae was formerly lumped in with the Batrachospermum genus, until a research team led by Morgan Vis, professor of environmental and plant biology at Ohio University, recently discovered a subgroup within the species that shared a distinct morphological characteristic, known as heterocortication, and is distinct on DNA sequence gene trees. A term coined by Dr. Sheath —  heterocortication –describes a mix of spherical and cyclical cells that cover the main axis or branch of the organism. The varied cell-structures are believed to help protect the algae from breaking apart in the moving current of the stream.

Having the new name published in the Journal of Phycology, one of the most cited journals in aquatic botany, is also a touching tribute for Sheath after serving five years as the editor-in-chief of the publication.

“It’s a big honor to have my work in the field of freshwater algae be recognized in this way,” said Sheath.

Sheath has been studying freshwater algae for almost 40 years. In 2012 his lab at CSUSM was certified as the California Primary Algae Laboratory, the only lab in California to collect and catalog freshwater algae samples.

New Police Chief Can Only Serve Four Years

San Diego police chief nominee Shelley Zimmerman only has four years of city employment remaining because she enrolled in a deferred-retirement plan, pension system officials revealed Thursday. Zimmerman entered the so-called DROP program on March 2 of last year, and will have to leave March 1, 2018, according to the San Diego City Employees Retirement System. Her retirement status was first reported by the San Diego Reader.

Currently an assistant chief, Zimmerman was selected Wednesday by Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer to replace William Lansdowne who announced his retirement last week.

Zimmerman will be the first woman to lead the department after she is confirmed next week by the San Diego City Council, where she enjoys widespread support.

It was unclear if Faulconer knew of Zimmerman’s DROP enrollment when he nominated her. In response to the question, his office sent the following statement: “I picked Shelley Zimmerman to be our next police chief because our department needs immediate leadership. I am confident she will do a fantastic job over the next four years, and take action to ensure public confidence and trust in the police department for years to come.”

Driver using a cell phone

Driver using a cell phone

Court Rules Drivers Can Read Cellphone Maps

By  the Associated Press

A California appeals court says it’s legal for drivers to read a map on their hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel.

Thursday’s ruling by the state’s 5th District Court of Appeal reverses the conviction of a Fresno man who was ticketed in January 2012 for looking at a map on his iPhone 4 while stuck in traffic. That driver, Steven Spriggs, challenged his $165 fine with the appellate court.

In their explanation, the judges say that the law prohibiting people from talking on their cellphones withouty a hands-free device doesn’t apply to looking at maps on cellphones.

The court says the law a California Highway Patrol officer used to give Spriggs a ticket applies specifically to people “listening and talking” on cellphones.

Southwest Value Partners Acquires Arizona Business Park

San Diego-based Southwest Value Partners has purchased Continuum, a 152-acre master-planned business park in Chandler, Ariz., for $51.75 million. Cassidy Turley brokered the transaction. The seller was Capital Commercial Investments of Austin, Texas. SVP already owns a 38-acre land parcel directly adjacent to Continuum.

Todd Gloria Thanks San Diegans for Mayoral Term

Won’t say what he’ll do after he’s termed out in 2016

Councilman Todd Gloria

Councilman Todd Gloria

Todd Gloria said Thursday that being interim mayor has been a “humbling experience,” and he thanked San Diegans for their support during his six months in the job.  Gloria, who succeeded scandal-plagued Bob Filner on Aug. 30, will be replaced Monday by Kevin Faulconer, who defeated fellow Councilman David Alvarez in a runoff election Feb. 11.

“This has been a humbling experience for this San Diego native, the son of a hotel maid and a gardener,” Gloria said at his final weekly media briefing. “I thank San Diegans for being so supportive, the very kind and generous things they say to me when they see me when I’m out and about.”

Gloria has worn three hats over the past six months — interim mayor, representative of Council District 3 and City Council president.  He pointed to numerous accomplishments, including the relaunch of tourism marketing efforts, filling numerous vacancies on city boards and commissions, opening the new Central Library and getting approval for a $120 million infrastructure bond.

Questioned about his future, Gloria said he was looking forward to returning to the council presidency and promised to work collaboratively with Faulconer. He deflected questions about what he might do in 2016, when he’s termed out. His options would be to run for mayor, follow the path set by his council district predecessors and go to the Assembly, or run for Congress — he used to be on the staff of Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego.

— Reported by City News Service

Elizabeth Iglesias Joins Fish & Richardson Firm

Elizabeth Iglesias

Elizabeth Iglesias

Elizabeth Iglesias has joined Fish & Richardson’s  litigation group as an associate in the Southern California office, based in San Diego. She was previously an associate with Irell & Manella in Los Angeles. Iglesias’ practice emphasizes patent litigation and reexamination, and her experience includes work in the semiconductor, medical device, wireless communications and power generation industries. She also has experience in the area of patent prosecution, and has worked on a number of pro bono matters. Iglesias has authored several articles for regional and national publications.

Iglesias received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law where she received an American Jurisprudence Awards in Patent Law and International Contracts. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton University. Iglesias was a judicial extern for The Honorable Ronald M. Whyte of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.


Jeff Graham Named Senior Vice President at Jones Lang LaSalle

Jeff Graham

Jeff Graham

Jeff Graham will join the Public Institutions Group of Jones Lang LaSalle as a senior vice president for the company’s Western Division in March. He will be based in San Diego and work on major projects throughout the Southwest and Northwest regions. In his new role, Graham will provide consultative services to public entities.

Graham was most recently president of Civic San Diego, a public, nonprofit corporation that plans and implements Downtown San Diego’s redevelopment on behalf of the city. He brings more than 25 years of real estate experience and is a leading national expert on urban development and public private partnerships.

County’s Top Administrator to Speak at Women’s Week

Helen Robbins-Meyer, chief administrative officer for the County of San Diego, will be a speaker at the March 20 Femme Finance event of San Diego Women’s Week program sponsored by the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce. The event will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Hewlett-Packard in Rancho Bernardo. Robbins-Meyer is the first woman appointed by the Board of Supervisors to be CAO. She manages a workforce of more than 16,000 employees in more than 40 departments with an annual budget of $5 billion.

Other speakers for the evening will include:

Alison Sullivan, FICO, Demystifying the Credit Score; Jan Allen, Allen Barron Inc., Taking Control of Your Financial Decisions; Pat Reno, RBC Wealth Management, Financially Fatal Choices That Keep Us in Debt; and

Wanda Brackins, RBC Wealth Management, Smart Women, Smart Investments.

Tom Urtasun Promoted to VP at Focuscom Inc.

Tom Urtasun has been promoted from account manager and director of business development to company vice president at Focuscom Inc., a public relations and public affairs firm. As vice president, Urtasun is responsible for the management and execution of Focuscom’s daily operations with focus on business development, ongoing client relations and strategic communication. Urtasun has been working in governmental, utility and public relations agencies. In the past, he worked for Congress in Washington, D.C., San Diego Gas & Electric, Hutchens P.R. and Southwest Strategies. Urtasun also worked as a consultant internationally for Enersud Clean Energy in Rio de Janeiro where he helped design a targeted marketing strategy in both English and Portuguese. His team presented the plan to the president of the company, who shortly thereafter implemented the recommendations.

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Voice Your Opinion

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?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: