Daily Business Report-Feb. 4, 2014
David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer
Study Says Mayor’s Race Will be Tight
Though early returns of absentee ballots put Councilman Kevin Faulconer in the driver’s seat for the Feb. 11 runoff election for San Diego mayor, the race will be close, City News Service reports. A strong Democratic turnout on Election Day will be needed for his opponent, Councilman David Alvarez, to win, according to a study released Monday.
Vince Vasquez, author of the report for the National University System Institute for Policy Research, a San Diego-based think tank, said he based his conclusion on data gathered from the November special election, in which Faulconer gained the most votes and Alvarez nosed out Nathan Fletcher, and compared them with returns of absentee ballots for the second round of voting.
Political observers have suggested the mayor’s race would come down to how many voters Alvarez’s candidacy could draw to the polls on Election Day and how many Fletcher voters would opt for Faulconer.
According to Vasquez, increases in the rate of mail ballot returns as of Jan. 31 were greater in precincts that favored Faulconer and Fletcher in November than in neighborhoods that supported Alvarez. The uptick is more than 10,000 in Faulconer and Fletcher precincts and nearly 6,800 in Alvarez areas, he said.
Also, about 49 percent of GOP ballots were already returned by year’s end, compared to 36 percent for Democrats and 28 percent of independents. However, more Democratic ballots overall have been sent back to the county Registrar of Voters office. Vasquez said those numbers favor Faulconer because of Republican enthusiasm, and because many San Diego Democrats are fiscally conservative and willing to vote GOP in local elections.
“For now, Faulconer is leading early voting in the mayoral election,” Vasquez said. “Still, there are thousands more votes to be cast, and nearly 30 percent of all ballots are expected to be cast on Election Day. Regardless of the winner, we anticipate a close election.”
Santa Ysabel Casino Shuts Down
SANTA YSABEL — The Santa Ysabel Casino, which has been struggling financially for years and has debts of more than $50 million, has shut its doors, the U-T San Diego reports. Santa Ysabel Tribal Chairman Virgil Perez confirmed the closure Monday but declined to answer further questions. He issued a news release in which he said all 115 casino employees had just been informed of the shutdown.
The Santa Ysabel Casino — the smallest Indian gaming center in San Diego County, with just 349 slot machines — opened in April 2007 in North County, atop a hill a few miles south of the intersection of state Routes 76 and 79. Its remote location far from population centers, and the existence of several much larger Indian casinos in the area, appeared to have doomed the venture from the beginning.
Court documents show that in its first three years, the casino lost $24 million. The tribe tried to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012, but was denied by the court. The tribe’s many creditors include the County of San Diego, which struck an agreement with Santa Ysabel in 2005 that allowed the casino to open as long as it gave money to the county to pay for off-site improvements and services such as an additional deputy sheriffs.
The tribe made very few payments and still owes the county more than $3 million, Senior Deputy County Counsel Thomas Bunton said Monday.
Sheriff’s Dept. Hiring Deputies For Women’s Detention Facility
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is hiring deputies in preparation for the opening this summer of the San Diego County Women’s Detention Facility. The $270-million, 45-acre jail will replace Las Colinas, located next door. The current Las Colinas inmate population is more than two-times over capacity, housing 840 inmates, said John Ingrassia, commander with the San Diego County Sheriff’s.
Ingrassia said the number of inmates swelled with the state’s prison realignment program. “We have about 200 more inmates since October 2011 when realignment went into place,” Ingrassia said.
Phase one of the project, located in the heart of Santee on Riverview Parkway, includes eight housing units — each with 56 beds, a shower room, classroom and outside courtyard. Inmates are scheduled to transfer to the new units in August. Construction on phase two will begin after the transfer, as will the demolition of old buildings at Las Colinas. The second phase will provide 400 additional beds, classrooms and a religious services building.
For more information, visit www.joinsdsheriff.net.
Council to Counsider Horton Plaza Park Project
The San Diego City Council today is scheduled to consider approving plans and specifications for an $11.7 million public park project at Horton Plaza that’s about one year behind schedule. City officials envision a 37,000-square-foot urban plaza at the site of the former Robinsons/May building that would host around 200 events a year, including concerts, cultural festivals and civic celebrations. Demolition of the building and surrounding grounds began in November 2012.
The actual plans for building the site back up were never approved, however. The project was also subject to numerous uncertainties created by the dissolution of the redevelopment system in California.
That’s left the front of Horton Plaza along Broadway walled-off to the public while very little work has taken place over the last several months. The park had been scheduled to open this spring, but the estimate is now the summer of 2015, said Daniel Kay of Civic San Diego.
The project will include restoration of a fountain and a lawn; construction of an amphitheater; underground storage; installation of granite paving, chairs and tables; the building of public restrooms, retail and refreshment pavilions, according to city documents.
When the park is completed, it will be owned by the city but managed for 25 years by Westfield, the international operator of shopping malls.
– Reported by City News Service
Ann Schick Named VP of Affiliate Relations for Cable Networks
Herring Networks Inc., the parent company of national cable networks AWE and One America News Network, announced the appointment of cable industry veteran Ann Schick to the position of vice president of affiliate relations for both national cable networks. Schick is a veteran of the telecommunications industry who has more than 25 years of experience on both the programming and distributor side of the business in marketing, sales and affiliate relations. At Verizon, Schick worked with a team of video professionals responsible for the launch of FiOS TV. While at Starz, Schick was part of the launch of the Starz family of networks and oversaw account management of several of the top 10 cable operators.
Torrey Pines Bank Names Allan Paranada VP at La Mesa Office
Torrey Pines Bank announced the hiring of Allan Paranada as vice president, relationship manager at its La Mesa office. Paranada will be responsible for advising local business owners and professionals about financial instruments that may help them better manage their operation. He started his banking career in 1995 as a personal banking officer with a leading national diversified financial services company. Since that time he has held a number of client advisory positions in the financial industry. Prior to joining Torrey Pines Bank, Paranada was a portfolio manager for a local bank. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Polytechnic University-Pomona.