Daily Business Report-April 14, 2014
San Diego Ranked 2nd in Solar Survey
In a nationwide survey of solar energy prowess among cities, San Diego ranked No. 2, overshadowed by celebrity neighbor Los Angeles, the U-T San Diego reports.
A study released Thursday by the nonprofit Environment California Research & Policy Center ranked more than 50 U.S. cities according to their solar energy capabilities. The center is based in Los Angeles.
San Diego previously ranked first in smaller, statewide surveys published in 2009 and 2012 by the same group. By the end of 2013, Los Angeles had 23 percent more solar within its city boundaries than San Diego.
The publicly owned Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has spurred a wave of solar construction on industrial properties under a temporary “feed-in tariff” that provides fixed, long-term contracts to solar energy producers, the report said.
“It’s a little discouraging that we slipped from No. 1 to No. 2,” said Dan Sullivan, president of San Diego-based solar installer Sullivan Solar Power. “But I take some comfort in knowing that we still have three times as much solar installed per person compared to Los Angeles. So we still have that going for us.”
San Diego Selected for Program to Attract Foreign Investments
San Diego is one of only six cities selected to participate in a new pilot program to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
San Diego is the only city in California selected for this pilot program and is one of only two cities in the program for which Brookings will be developing and publishing the complete FDI plan.
Foreign direct investment has long supported regional economies, not only by infusing capital, but also by investing in workers, strengthening global connections and sharing best business practices. Sean Barr, vice president of economic development at EDC, sat on panel moderated by Amy Liu, senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, which discussed establishing a region’s global identity at the launch in Seattle last week.
Faulconer to Unveil $3 Billion Budget Proposal
Mayor Kevin Faulconer today plans to unveil a proposed $3 billion budget for the coming fiscal year that calls for sharply increased infrastructure spending, expanded library hours and accelerated hiring of firefighters and police officers, the U-T San Diego reports.
The budget Faulconer is scheduled to release at a 12:30 p.m. City Hall news conference also includes money to add 17 civilian positions in the police department, hire staff for new and expanded recreational facilities, and 25 jobs focused on potholes, street-paving and facilities repairs.
Funding for the new initiatives and jobs comes from a combination of tax revenues a, small cuts to a few departments and savings on labor costs from outsourcing and pension reform.
The proposed $2.97 billion in spending for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is $180 million more than the $2.79 billion in budgeted expenditures for this fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Opera Board Still Making Plans to Close
The San Diego Opera board decided Friday to move forward with plans to fold after its 49th season concludes this month, but some of its members will continue exploring other options for the opera organization.
Opera fans and some board members had hoped that a last-ditch effort to stave off the the company’s pending shutdown could be achieved, but that was not the word that emerged after the three-hour meeting Friday afternoon in La Jolla.
Board member Pam Slater-Price, a former county supervisor and arts supporter, said after the meeting that the San Diego Opera would proceed with closure plans, although a committee was created to explore ways to fundraise or possibly take the nonprofit organization in a new direction.
That committee, headed by board member Carol Lazier, will present its ideas to the board when it meets again Thursday. — KPBS report
Foundation Awards Grants for
Land Restoration and Acquisition
The San Diego Foundation Center for Civic Engagement has awarded $182,412 in grants to six nonprofit organizations committed to land restoration and acquisition.
The six grant recipients are: Earth Discovery Institute ($28,575); Endangered Habitats Conservancy ($50,000); Escondido Creek Conservancy ($29,756); Living Coast Discovery Center ($30,392); Preserve Calavera ($13,692); and San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy ($29,997).
The grants from the Conservation Catalyst Fund that supports time-sensitive projects that conserve biodiversity, and protect native plant and animal species.
Petco Foundation to Honor Hillary Swank
The Petco Foundation will host its sixth annual Hope Gala at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. This year’s event honors Hilary Swank, actress and animal lover, for her work in animal rescue and commitment to animal advocacy.
Swank will receive the Petco Foundation’s Hope Award, which celebrates the spirit of hope through a life dedicated to promoting the human-animal bond. Past recipients of the annual Hope Award include Ellen DeGeneres, Betty White and Lily Tomlin.
A portion of the proceeds from the event will also go to Swank’s own animal-welfare organization, The Hilaroo Foundation, which brings together youth, who have been given up on, and animals, who have been abandoned, to help heal one another through Rescue, Rehabilitation, Animal Adoption and Responsibility Training.
Gala attendees will learn about Swank’s lifelong love of animals, what inspired her to create Hilaroo, and how the organization helps both animals and children in need.
Pinnacle Towers Sub-Contractor Faces Fines
Work on the drywall portion of the $150 million, 45-story Pinnacle Towers construction project in Downtown San Diego has stopped after the Contractors State License Board determined the sub-contractor hired for the work, Clayton Wall & Ceiling Systems Inc., was not properly licensed in the state of California.
The primary contractor, Pinnacle International Development, contracted with Clayton, which is based in Kelowna, British Columbia, in August for the $6.3 million drywall job. It was later determined the company did not have a contractor’s license at the time it began work on the project. It was assessed a penalty of $15,000. The Labor Commissioner’s office also fined the company $64,000.
Rental Car Center Under Construction at Airport
Construction of a state-of-the-art, $316 million Rental Car Center at San Diego International Airport is under way on the north side of the airfield. The center will house a number of rental car companies, including the leading national brands, as well as local, independent and small business rental car companies. Construction is by a joint venture, Austin | Sundt, with architecture by Demattei Wong Architecture.
The center will serve as a central location for rental car customers, with one consolidated shuttle service serving all rental car companies, versus the many brand-specific shuttles that have served the airport up to now. Officials said this will dramatically reduce rental car traffic on Harbor Drive and the number of shuttle busses circulating around the airport.
The design and construction of the Rental Car Center will be funded by customer facility charges.
Port Handles Big Shipment for Power Plant in Mexico
A 300-ton generator for the Agua Prieta power plant in Sonora, Mexico, was offloaded at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in Downtown San Diego earlier this month. The generator — the Port of San Diego’s heaviest shipment in a decade — was offloaded from the heavy lift vessel M/V Palabora along with 200 wooden pallets and ancillary equipment and trucked across the U.S.-Mexico border to the power plant.
The power plant equipment was shipped by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas Inc. It was loaded onto Combi Lift’s M/V Palabora in Dunkerque, France. Contractors Cargo Companies transported the equipment from the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
Scripps Research Institute Announces New Drug Discovery Initiative
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) announced the formation of Scripps Advance, a new drug discovery initiative to translate early-stage biomedical research projects into clinical development candidates. Its first collaborator is the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California.
Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center will tap into Scripps Advance’s ties with academic researchers at TSRI, other academic centers and early stage companies to help identify potential collaborators. Scripps Advance will facilitate match-making between Johnson & Johnson Innovation and emerging life science companies, companies-in-planning, researchers conducting translational research and entrepreneurs that are part of Scripps Advance’s network.