Daily Business Report-March 25, 2014
Minimum Wage Hike Ballot Measure
Proposal Moves Ahead in San Diego
The City Council’s Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee cleared the way Monday for Council President Todd Gloria and the City Attorney’s Office to draft a ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage in San Diego faster than planned state hikes, City News Service reports.
Gloria wants to place before voters in November an initiative that would provide a “meaningful” increase in the minimum wage for all people working in San Diego; tie the pay rate to a cost-of-living index that would be updated annually; allow a phase-in period that gives more time for small businesses and nonprofits to raise pay; and give five days of earned sick leave for all employees, regardless of industry or business type.
“Nobody who works full-time should have to live in poverty,” Gloria told the committee members. “And yet more than a quarter of full-time workers in San Diego find themselves in that very situation.”
Gloria has not specified an actual amount of pay that he prefers. The minimum wage in California is $8 per hour. The state plans an increase to $9 an hour in July and $10 an hour in two years.
The Center on Policy Initiatives, which supports a wage increase, estimates that a single person living on a stripped-down budget needs to make a $13.09 hourly wage to live in San Diego. Around 300,000 households in the region have incomes too low to meet basic expenses, according to the CPI.
The committee voted 2-1 to have Gloria and the city attorney return April 30 with a more detailed ballot proposal.
Councilman Mark Kersey, who cast the dissenting vote, called for an impartial analysis of the economic impact of a faster rise in the minimum wage.
San Diego Ranked No. 5 Best City for Medical Technology
San Diego came in fifth place as one of the best cities for medical technology innovation in a top 10 list crafted by Medical Device Business. San Diego is emerging as an innovator in the field of wireless medical technology and digital health with innovators such as Sotera Wireless, Qualcomm and the West Wireless Foundation. Local research institutes such as those at UC San Diego and the Scripps Research Institute also help boost San Diego’s medical technology innovation rankings.
Justice Department Review of Police Department Begins
A U.S. Justice Department review of the San Diego Police Department is under way and will take about six to eight months to complete, federal officials said Monday. It was also revealed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI are leading a criminal probe of the SDPD.
“We believe every rock should be turned over, and if — and I do emphasize if — crimes were committed in addition to those already prosecuted, perpetrators should be brought to justice,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who announced the criminal investigation. He told reporters that the probe was “case specific,” but would not elaborate.
The audit of the police department, requested by recently retired Chief William Lansdowne, will be handled by the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Division, U.S Attorney Laura Duffy said.
“The review itself will focus primarily on police misconduct overall, with an emphasis on sexual misconduct by on-duty officers,” Duffy said. “The process will include an examination of the police department’s hiring processes, the supervision of officers and the mechanisms that are in place to detect misconduct.”
CEO Selected for Cyber Center of Excellence
Holly Smithson, director of enterprise practice for Sentek Global, has been selected to head the newly formed Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE), a San Diego-based public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating the cyber innovation economy. The member-based organization was founded by and is comprised of global private sector cyber companies including Sentek Global, ESET, General Dynamics IT, FICO, PacketSled, Sempra Energy, Leidos, Morrison Foerster, Lockton Insurance, and VPSI, to name a few. Through the CCOE’s programs, industry partners, including SPAWAR and universities, will foster the growth of the 100 cyber companies and their 8000 employees that call San Diego home.
As CEO of the Cyber Center of Excellence, Smithson will direct the organization as a clearing house of resources and strategic programs in developing and implementing cybersecurity initiatives. The formation of the advocacy group stemmed from a 2014 Cybersecurity Economic Impact Report co-sponsored by Sentek Global and the San Diego Regional EDC. The report projects regional cybersecurity jobs to grow by more than 25 percent in 2015.
“The cybersecurity industry’s economic benefit to this region is more than $1.5 billion,” said Smithson. “Its incumbent upon the CCOE to collaborate around this vibrant economic engine for a variety of reasons. “
Information on the center can be found online at www.sdccoe.org.
Design Firm Changes Names to McCormick & Wright
Interior design firm Bast/Wright Interiors has changed its name to McCormick & Wright to acknowledge Kellie McCormick’s contributions to the firm over the past 16 years and her new position as principal. “This is a natural transition to acknowledge Kellie’s enormous contribution and leadership,” said Robert Wright, president of the firm. “In addition to being a talented and creative interior designer, she has been the driving force behind technological advances and management innovations within the firm.”
The firm was started in 1985 by Jan Bast, as Design & Space, and changed to Bast/Wright Interiors in 1991 after Wright joined the firm. Wright has received several awards, including the national 2013 Designer of Distinction award from the American Society of Interior Designers. Wright has served as the national president of ASID and as president of the San Diego chapter.
Small Business Owners Optimistic
Optimism about the future appears to be gaining momentum among the state’s small business owners. A new survey finds more than half of the California’s small-business owners think the state is going in the right direction. More than 500 companies responded to the 10th annual Small Business California survey.
“That’s a big number,” said Steve Hauge, president of the lobbying group. He said that is a positive sign following last year, when 58 percent thought the state was going in the wrong direction.
He also found the perception of the overall economy is getting better. “Fifty-four percent said poor and very poor last year. This year was 44 percent,” Hauge said. “And then when we asked about hiring, there was more that said they were going to be doing hiring in the next six months, so overall they seem to be much more positive.” — KPBS report
Camp Pendleton Marines Battle
Styrofoam Waste by Recycling It
Camp Pendleton is attacking its disposable waste by concentrating on polystyrene packaging, or Styrofoam, and recycling it. Most people think that Styrofoam is not recyclable, but the truth is the material is a petroleum-based product and it is highly recyclable, just like plastics, according to Charles Bradshaw, the recycling program manager for Camp Pendleton.
“Styrofoam, although light by weight, can occupy a sizeable amount of space,” said Bradshaw. “Diverting it from the landfill is easy and doing so gives this material an extended life by being processed and made into other usable products.”
It is estimated that by volume, it takes as much as 30 percent of landfills worldwide, according to www.all-recycling-facts.com.
Aside from the large amount of space this material takes in landfills, it is important to dispose of it carefully due to its effect on animals and the environment. When ingested by animals, it often blocks their digestive tracts, causes starvation, and ultimately death. The material is not biodegradable and in the absence of a suitable solvent, Styrofoam can last almost forever.
“We all can reduce our personal use of Styrofoam but the fact is most Styrofoam is acquired through products we purchase, like computers, televisions and other appliances,” Bradshaw said.
— Times of San Diego via Marine Corps press release
Biocom Institute Launches Youth STEM Video Competition
The Biocom Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting and enhancing the life sciences industry workforce, announced the launch of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Voice video competition in collaboration with The Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes (CSBI).
The STEM Voice video competition is an online video competition introduced at Expo Day at The San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering in San Diego. The competition is open to all United States students in grades 5-12. The students will be required to create a one-minute video designed to answer one of two questions – Why is STEM important to YOU? or Who is your STEM hero and why?
Video submissions should be uploaded to YouTube and the application and additional details are available online. The winner of the competition will receive a $5,000 cash award and be recognized at the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s annual international convention, which will take place in San Diego on June 23-26. The Biocom Institute and CSBI’s education committees will conduct the judging.
For more information, visit http://biocom.org/stemvoice