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Daily Business Report — July 14, 2014

Daily Business Report — July 14, 2014

 City Council to Consider Minimum Wage Increase Today

The San Diego City Council will decide today whether a ballot measure to increase the city’s minimum wage should go before voters. The council will hold its meeting on the measure at 6 p.m. at the City Administration Building, 202 C St. It could decide to either put the minimum wage proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot, or it could try to pass the wage increase without voters as an ordinance.

The plan comes from City Council President Todd Gloria, who’s proposing raising the minimum wage in San Diego to $9.75 an hour at the end of this year. The minimum wage would then grow to $10.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and then $11.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017.

The current minimum wage in San Diego is $9 an hour after a state-mandated increase this month. The state wage will rise to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016.

While Gloria originally wanted to raise pay to $13.09 an hour by 2017, he compromised after talking with Mayor Kevin Fauloncer, other council members and small business owners.

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and other business groups remain opposed to any increase.


The SDG&E drone

The SDG&E drone

SDG&E to Test Small Drones in East County

San Diego Gas & Electric announced Friday that it is the first utility in America to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval to test the use of small, unmanned aircraft to monitor electric and gas lines.

SDG&E project manager Dallas Cormier holds one of the unmanned aircraft. (Photo/courtesy SDG&E)

SDG&E project manager Dallas Cormier holds one of the unmanned aircraft. (Photo/courtesy SDG&E)

The FAA granted a Special Airworthiness Certificate allowing the utility to research, test and train flight crews on the unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, in a sparsely populated airspace in east San Diego County.

The FAA certificate for SDG&E is significant because the agency has approved only very limited commercial use of unmanned aircraft as it works to develop comprehensive regulations by Sept. 30, 2015.

“The unmanned aircraft system provides us with another tool in our electric and gas operations tool chest,” said Dave Geier, SDG&E’s vice president of electric transmission and system engineering. “This versatile technology would allow us to improve our response to emergency situations such as fires, as well as complete aerial inspections in remote areas that are otherwise difficult to access, and locate the cause of power outages faster.”

Measuring 16 inches in diameter and weighing less than a pound, these small devices use a camera to inspect utility equipment and relay live images back to the controller. The UAS can examine infrastructure in areas that are off-limits to helicopters or difficult to access by road or other means.

Once the technology is tested, and if it proves effective, SDG&E may then seek FAA approval to use the aircraft more broadly in the field for inspections. SDG&E inspects more than 26,000 miles of transmission and distribution power lines for safety and compliance purposes and to make sure the grid is running smoothly and effectively.

— Times of San Diego

Ethics Commission Votes to Rein in Independent Committees

The San Diego Ethics Commission took a major step to constrain the activities of deep-pocketed independent political committees. The commissioners voted 6-0 last Thursday with one abstention to forward a proposal to the City Council that would effectively ban the independent committees from using material produced by candidates’ campaigns in advertisements that the committees pay for.

Committees controlled by candidates and independent committees that support candidates are not allowed to coordinate their activities. But complaints about independent committees cutting and pasting candidates’ material into ads prompted the Ethics Commission to investigate.

The proposal the commission recommended, which the council could take up as soon as September, would have the practical effect of ending the practice of independent committees taking campaign videos published on candidates’ web sites, downloading them and paying television stations to run them as advertisements.

Unlike candidates whose campaigns can accept contributions of no more than $1,000 per election from an individual and $20,000 from a political party, many of these committees can raise unlimited funds from nearly any source: individuals, corporations, labor unions and practically anyone and anything else.


The future amphibious assault ship USS America is saluted as it departs Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. (Navy photo)

The future amphibious assault ship USS America is saluted as it departs Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. (Navy photo)

Navy’s Newest Assault Carrier Headed to San Diego

The first of a new class of warship, the future amphibious assault ship USS America, left Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., Friday on route to its new homeport of San Diego.

America is the first new-generation, “big-deck” amphibious ship, optimized for aviation and capable of supporting the Marines’ new tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey and F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. It is bigger than the standard aircraft carriers of many foreign navies.

The new ship will replace the USS Peleliu, which will be decommissioned.

America is scheduled to be formally commissioned during a ceremony in San Francisco on Oct. 11, but the ship earned commission status after the crew successfully completed three major inspections.

Capt. Robert A. Hall Jr. is America’s commanding officer.

America is scheduled to engage in cooperative maritime security operations over the next several months. The ship will visit Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Peru as well as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A second ship in the class, the USS Tripoli, is under construction, and a total of 11 vessels are planned.

— Times of San Diego

UC Extension Ranks ‘Hot Careers’ for Graduates

UC San Diego Extension said job prospects for college graduates are “considerably brighter” than in recent years, and identified 10 mostly tech-oriented careers that are likely to expand in the foreseeable future. The continuing education division of the university released its sixth annual “Hot Careers for College Grads and Returning Students” report identifying the job opportunities most likely to expand.

The report lists the top careers for 2014 as:

1. Computer systems analysis

2. Market research analysts and marketing specialists

3. Accountants and auditors

4. Management analysts

5. Elementary school teachers (excluding special education)

6. Cost estimators

7. Financial analysts

8. Database administrators

9. Computer programmers

10. Meeting, convention and event planners

— Times of San Diego

Environmental Science Associates Names Sr. V.P.

Bobbette Biddulph

Bobbette Biddulph

Environmental Science Associates, an environmental consulting firm, has named Bobbette Biddulph as senior vice president. She is the company’s Southern California regional director.

Biddulph has more than 22 years of experience in environmental planning. She is versed in the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Biddulph has managed projects throughout California for clients and lead agencies including the California Department of Parks and Recreation, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, California State Lands Commission, the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Escondido, Encinitas, Del Mar, Oceanside, Temecula, and the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, Tuolumne, and San Diego.

UC San Diego Names Dean of Arts and Humanities

Cristina Della Coletta

Cristina Della Coletta

Cristina Della Coletta, a professor of Italian and an associate dean at the University of Virginia, has been appointed dean of arts and humanities at the University of California at San Diego.

A doctoral alumna of UCLA, Della Coletta will, as dean at UC San Diego, hold the Chancellor’s Associates Chair in Italian Literature.

Della Coletta has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards and fellowships. And for the past decade, she has volunteered as a senior mentor to junior faculty in two University of Virginia programs, one focused on excellence in diversity and the other on teaching.

She is also an award-winning author of three books, with research interests that include contemporary Italian literature, particularly historical fiction, film and cultural studies, women’s studies, and the use of technology in the humanities.

As dean of arts and humanities, Della Coletta will lead a division with more than 1,700 undergraduates, 450 graduate students, and faculty spanning six large academic departments.

Seltzer Caplan Associate Certified as Taxation Law Specialist

Brian M. Katusian, an associate at the San Diego-based law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, has been certified as a specialist in taxation law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Katusian’s practice emphasizes tax law, tax-exempt organizations, business law and ERISA/employee benefits.

Attorneys are certified through a process that includes successful passage of a written examination in the specialty area, demonstration of a high level of experience in the specialty area, attendance at a prescribed number of approved education programs, and favorable evaluation by other attorneys and judges familiar with the attorney’s work.

Katusian advises clients regarding the various tax consequences of a wide range of business, employee benefits, and estate planning transactions.

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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: