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Daily Business Report-March 27, 2014

Daily Business Report-March 27, 2014

Lighting up the walls of the museums lining El Prado in Balboa Park was under consideration for the 2015 centennial celebration at one time, but the plan, like the ‘Edge2015’ theme, was discarded. BRC Imagination Arts created this illustration.

Council Committee Orders Audit

Of Balboa Park Celebration Inc.

A San Diego City Council committee on Wednesday ordered an audit of all public funds spent by Balboa Park Celebration Inc., the nonprofit that spent millions of dollars on unrealized plans for a centennial party before voting to go out of business earlier this month, the U-T San Diego reports.

Members of the committee want to know where the city funds went and what the organization has to show for its trouble.

“Through a lot of closed-door decision-making — and little or no public participation — a lot of public money has been spent, and some would say wasted,” said Councilman David Alvarez, who chairs the committee that oversees city cultural resources. “There’s a lot of lessons learned, and there is more to learn from the audit going forward.”

The committee also asked City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to prepare a confidential memo outlining potential liability the city might face as its assumes control over planning of centennial events honoring the milestone Panama-California Exposition of 1915.

It was not immediately clear how long the City Auditor’s Office would take to complete its review. Alvarez scheduled a follow-up hearing for April 23 to measure progress toward production of records and other responsibilities of the soon-to-be defunct nonprofit.

The group was established in 2011 to organize a yearlong party that would lure millions of extra visitors to Balboa Park and fill as many as 400,000 additional hotel rooms through next year.

The organization spent more than $2.6 million — most of it city funds. U-T Watchdog began reporting in January about missed deadlines and exaggerated claims of partnerships by the organization.

The CEO stepped down in February, and the group’s board voted to disband earlier this month.

Click here for the full story…

 19 Candidates for Faulconer’s City Council Seat

City News Service — The San Diego City Council’s appointment of a representative for Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s old district is scheduled for April 7, council President Todd Gloria said. At a news briefing, Gloria said the 19 candidates who have qualified for the seat will each get three minutes to state their case, and will be questioned by council members. Whoever gets a majority vote from the council members will be appointed, he said.

“It’s our intention to have (the winner) sworn in immediately,” Gloria said. “We need a fully staffed council.”

Faulconer vacated the seat in his beach and bay district earlier this month when he inaugurated as mayor. His replacement will be appointed — instead of going through a special election — because Faulconer was scheduled to be termed-out following the vote scheduled for November of this year.

The candidates are former CBS8 Executive Producer Stephanie Antin; retired Judge Robert Coates; advocate for the disabled Mary Elaine Cooluris; preservationist group leader Bruce Coons; Karl Strauss Brewing Co. co-founder Christopher Cramer; City Council staffer Ricardo Flores; retired San Diego State University education professor Jane Gawronski; lifeguard union chief Ed Harris; accounts receivable clerk Daniel Holstein; lawyer Cary Lowe; California National Guard pilot James Mark McBride; ex-City Council staffer Don Mullen; sales account manager James Musgrove; LeSar Development Communications Director Gretchen Kinney Newsom; attorney Wayne Raffesberger; retiree and frequent City Council public speaker Richard Jarvis Ross; state Deputy Attorney General Michael Howard Wayne; retired lawyer John Wertz; and architect Matthew Winter.

The city asked for people who will not run in this year’s elections for the seat’s next full term. The candidates on the June 3 ballot are Councilwoman Lorie Zapf — who is switching from District 6; federal prosecutor Sarah Boot; Pacific Beach community activist Jim Morrison; and Mark Schwartz, a marketer of organic fertilizers.


Above: Disorganized patches in the autistic brain suggest the disorder develops during pregnancy. (Photo/Eric courchesne/UC San Diego)

Above: Disorganized patches in the autistic brain suggest the disorder develops during pregnancy. (Photo/Eric courchesne/UC San Diego)

Research Suggests Autism

Develops During Pregnancy

By pinpointing irregularly developed patches in young autistic brains, UC San Diego researchers have discovered new evidence suggesting autism begins in the womb.

In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, Eric Courchesne and his colleagues compared brain samples from autistic and typical children, all who died between the ages of 2 and 15.

The researchers specifically looked at layering in the cortex. These layers form during fetal development, and proper layering helps different brain regions and cell types communicate with each other. More than 90 percent of the autistic brains showed patches of disjointed layering.

“It’s something that hasn’t been seen before,” Courchesne said. “The defect is such that it appears likely it occurred as early as the second or third trimester.”

These brain samples have been difficult to obtain, making the study significant yet limited. Only 22 individuals were analyzed. However, the findings add to Courchesne’s previous research finding an overabundance of cells in certain parts of the autistic brain.

Courchesne’s latest work again points toward prenatal origins for autism. But the research is not conclusive, and Courchesne still isn’t sure what exactly is driving this difference in fetal brain development. The results do poke even more holes in debunked theories claiming autism is caused by vaccines.

— Reported by KPBS

INDUS Technologies Awarded $36.8 Million Contract

INDUS Technology Inc. has been awarded a three-year contract with a potential value of $36.8 million to provide satellite communications, radio frequency and navigation systems supporty services to thre Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific. Work will be performed on board Navy ships in San Diego and is expected to be completed by March 2017. INDUS is an employee-owned, service disabled, veteran-owned business.

Sandstrom and Timmons Pledge $1.2 Million to UC San Diego

Richard Sandstrom and Sandra Timmons

Richard Sandstrom and Sandra Timmons

Richard Sandstrom, co-founder of Cymer, and his wife Sandra Timmons — alumni of UC San Diego — have pledged a gift of $1.2 million to the campus for student support through their charitable Timmstrom Family Fund. They want the gift to be split to support graduate students in the Jacobs School of Engineering and undergraduates through the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars program.

Timmons earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at UC San Diego in 1981. She went on to work as a television producer and writer before dedicating her time to community service. Sandstrom completed his entire university education in applied mathematics and engineering science at UC San Diego–he received his undergraduate degree in 1972, his master’s in 1976 and his Ph.D. in 1979.  Together with fellow alumnus, Bob Akins, Sandstrom founded Cymer Inc. developer of lithography light sources, which are used by computer chip manufacturers.

Chamber Opens Small Business Awards Applications

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce is calling on small businesses to submit applications for the 2014 Small Business Awards. Small and micro businesses can apply in the following categories: outstanding emerging business, innovative product or service, innovative marketing campaign or concept and excellence in customer service. Applications will be evaluated by 12 judges and based on the criteria, a winner will be chosen in each category. Applications are due by May 2 and winners will be recognized at the chamber’s Small Business Award reception June 17.

Realtors Group Holds Informational Session

The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors’ Global Real Estate Council is inviting all Realtors to an informational meeting from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 3, at the PSAR South County Service Center, 880 Canarios Court, Chula Vista. Information will be available about educational opportunities to enable Realtors to expand their practice internationally, including the International Realtor Membership and Certified International Property Specialist, which are professional designations offered by the National Association of Realtors. Additional topics will include referral programs, trade missions and benefits to local Realtors. For more information, call (619) 421-7811 or visit

New Maps Show Tsunami Risk Zones in San Diego County

San Diego emergency officials and geologists teamed up at La Jolla Shores on Wednesday to unveil new tsunami flood zone and evacuation maps. The maps and information materials were mailed to 30,000 residents and businesses this week as part of Tsunami Preparedness Week.

Click here to view the story and the map…

Wait Time for San Diego Doctors’

Offices: 17 Minutes, 48 Seconds

According to the Vitals Index annual report analyzing U.S. trends in patient care, the shortest wait time in doctors’ offices in the top 50 cities increased by a full minute, compared to last year. Of the top 10 cities with the shortest average wait times, San Diego came in ninth, with a wait of 17 minutes, 48 seconds. Seattle was the shortest at 16 minutes, 15 seconds. The longest wait time was reported in El Paso at 29 minutes, 20 seconds, an increase of 41 seconds, compared to last year.

Balboa Park and Mission Bay Among Most Visited Parks

Central Park in New York has more visitors than any other urban park. San Diego’s Mission Bay and Balboa Parks were also among the most visited, making San Diego the only city with two parks among the top five most-visited. That’s according to the 2014 City Parks Facts report by the Trust for Public Land.

DCH Auto Group Acquires Honda of Mission Valley

DCH Auto Group of New Jersey has acquired Honda of Mission Valley and will rename it DCH Honda of Mission Valley. The company has 26 other existing new and pre-owned car dealerships in New Jersey, New York and California. Located at 5812 Mission Gorge Road, DCH Honda of Mission Valley will be the auto group’s 14th in Southern California.

Tower II at La Jolla Commons

Tower II at La Jolla Commons

Net-Zero Office Building to Open in La Jolla

LPL Financial will hold a ceremony and reception on April 2 to mark the opening of Tower II at La Jolla Commons in La Jolla. The company claims the 13-story, 415,000-square-foot office tower is the country’s largest net-zero building. Attending the ceremony will be Mark Casady, LPL Financial chairman and CEO and Robert Moore, company president. Hines Real Estate owns the building at 4707 Executive Drive. The ceremony is at 10 a.m.

Mutual of Omaha Honors Loan

Officers With Diamond Club Award

Sean Barry

Sean Barry

Susan Stotler

Susan Stotler

Mutual of Omaha Bank has awarded two mortgage loan officers in San Diego with the company’s Diamond Club Award — an honor given annually to the top performers in the bank’s national mortgage operation. Sean Barry and Susan Stotler ranked among the bank’s top nine performers nationwide for mortgage loan production in 2013, measured by total dollar value and number of mortgage loans closed.

Based out of the bank’s Torrey Hills location at 3580 Carmel Mountain Road, Barry and Stotler are both senior mortgage loan officers for the bank and work with clients throughout Southern California on their home financing needs.

Diamond Club Award recipients are selected based on performance, leadership and a demonstrated commitment to Mutual of Omaha Bank’s purpose and core values. Performance is measured by production goals, demonstrated exceptional service and contribution to a positive work environment, among other criteria.

Sherri Irvin Named Senior Accounts Manager at Cavignac & Associates

Sherri Irvin

Sherri Irvin

Sherri Irvin has been appointed senior account manager in the employee benefits department of Cavignac & Associates, the San Diego-based risk management and commercial insurance brokerage firm. Irvin has 28 years of experience in the insurance industry. She will serve as the point of contact for the agency’s clients. Irvin previously worked as a sales executive for

Coordinated Group of Companies in San Diego, where she was employed for 20 years. Prior to that, she was the operations manager for Manulife Financial Group and Pension Division, where she was employed for eight years.

Irvin attended San Diego State University, and holds a California State Life/Health license. She is a past president of the San Diego Employee Benefits Council. Her civic involvement includes annual fundraising and participation in the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides” walk.

Silvergate Bank Appoints New Executive V.P.

Dino D’ Auria has been appointed the new executive vice president and chief banking officer for Silvergate Bank. D’Auria, who will work out of Silvergate Bank’s headquarters in La Jolla, has more than 25 years of banking experience to.  Most recently, he was president of the commercial banking group of a mid-sized West Coast bank. His experience in the greater San Diego area includes holding senior vice president roles from 1998 through 2010 at U.S. Bank/San Diego National Bank and Comerica Bank/Imperial Bank. His prior experience also includes eight years with Wells Fargo Bank.

Advertising Fund For Emergencies to Hold Fundraiser

The San Diego Advertising Fund for Emergencies (SAFE), a volunteer, nonprofit organization providing confidential financial assistance to local advertising and marketing professionals and their families facing a life crisis emergency, will host its 13th annual fundraising party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, at the Ivy Rooftop Lounge atop the Andaz Hotel, 600 F St., in the Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego. The party, SAFE’s major fundraiser of the year, will feature food, networking, entertainment and a silent auction to benefit grant recipients. Theme of the party is “Rally on the Rooftop.” Cost to attend is $50 per person, $30 per person for students, or $70 per person at the door. For tickets and more information, visit

Carol Wallace Reappointed to Travel and Tourism Board

Carol Wallace

Carol Wallace

Carol Wallace, president and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corp., has been reappointed to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The appointment was announced by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

This is the second two-year term for Wallace, who was elected to the board for her areas of focus:  the use of tourism as an economic development tool, advocacy and outreach, and job creation and training to promote national

The Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, established in 2003, serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States.

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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: