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Daily Business Report — July 16, 2014

Daily Business Report — July 16, 2014

Illumina headquarters

Illumina Agrees to 10-Year Business

Incentive Deal to Stay in San Diego

Medical equipment-maker Illumina will keep 300 manufacturing and sales employees in San Diego after reaching a 10-year, $1.5 million economic incentive agreement with the city, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and company officials announced Tuesday.

Illumina, which makes devices for genetic analysis, was recently named the “Smartest Company in the World” by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“This is a perfect example of how San Diego can support middle-class jobs while also encouraging economic growth,” Faulconer said. “This agreement keeps hundreds of high-wage jobs in San Diego, ensures city residents benefit from over a million dollars in annual sales tax revenue, and strengthens our region’s leadership in biotechnology.”

The company, which also has manufacturing facilities in Hayward and Singapore, was considering expanding elsewhere, including to Poway and Memphis, according to the mayor.

Illumina, the 12th-largest provider of sales and use tax revenue to the city, will apply the increase of such levies to the $1.5 million city credit, in exchange for keeping its workers in San Diego for the next decade.

The company leases a half-dozen buildings in San Diego totaling more than 560,000 square feet.

The City Council is expected to vote to ratify the deal next week. Council members enthusiastically approved similar agreements with craft brewers Ballast Point and AleSmith last month.

— City News Service

Gates concealing the construction on the public park at Horton Plaza are seen next to the Balboa Theatre on Broadway Avenue in downtown San Diego, March 2014.

Gates concealing the construction on the public park at Horton Plaza are seen next to the Balboa Theatre on Broadway Avenue in downtown San Diego, March 2014.

Stalled Horton Plaza Project

Gets A $4.5 Million Boost

A stalled project to turn a section of Horton Plaza into a public park received a $4.9 million budget increase on Tuesday from the San Diego City Council.

When the project began nearly two years ago with the demolition of the old Robinsons-May/Planet Hollywood building, city officials touted the park as a 37,000-square-foot public gathering place.

However, the boarded-up site on Broadway at Fourth Avenue has been inactive for many months because of haggling with state officials over whether money left over from the old redevelopment system could be used to pay for construction.

Problems with the property title and a substandard underground electrical box also caused delays.

“We had this amazing project that this council supported, but a funny thing happened on the way to the park — redevelopment got ended,” City Council President Todd Gloria said. “That occurred and the economy came back, so costs were higher.”

Officials with the City Attorney’s Office believe San Diego has a strong case to use redevelopment funds for the project.

The state Department of Finance has twice said the park project is an enforceable obligation for former redevelopment funding, but that was at a lower cost, Deputy City Attorney Kevin Reisch told the council members before they gave their unanimous support for increasing the budget.

The Department of Finance will have 45 days to consider the issue. If state officials say no, litigation could follow, Reisch said.

— City News Service

Water Authority to Consider

Mandatory Water Measures

Drought Watch

Drought Watch

In response to worsening drought conditions, the staff of the San Diego County Water Authority will ask the agency board of directors  to activate a Level 2 Drought Alert calling for mandatory water conservation measures. The actions would help San Diego County keep as much water as possible in storage for 2015 and comply with emergency water conservation mandates approved Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board.

State regulations, which are focused on ornamental landscapes and turf grass that use potable water, take effect Aug. 1. The Water Authority’s board will consider its response at its next meeting on July 24.

The region’s Model Drought Response Ordinance identifies four levels of drought response with progressive water-use restrictions designed to align demand with supply during water shortages. The Board declared a Level 1 Drought Watch condition on Feb. 13. Level 1 outlines a number of voluntary practices to encourage increased water conservation. Level 2 makes Level 1 measures mandatory, and it adds outdoor watering restrictions such as limiting landscape irrigation to no more than three days per week. During the months of November through May, landscape irrigation is limited to no more than once per week.

State Adopts $500 Criminal Penalty for Water Waste

It will now be considered a criminal act to waste water in California.

On Tuesday, amid evidence that existing conservation measures are not working, the State Water Resources Control Board took the unprecedented step of declaring certain types of water waste a criminal infraction similar to a speeding violation. Water use deemed excessive — such as allowing landscape watering to spill into streets, and hosing off sidewalks and driveways — can be subject to fines of $500 per day.

Californians as a whole have failed to conserve water during the worst drought in a generation, according to data reviewed by the board at its meeting Tuesday in Sacramento.

Residential and business water use in California rose 1 percent in May compared to a three-year average of the same month from 2011 to 2013, according to a recent survey of 276 water agencies. Those agencies represent about two-thirds of all urban water users in the state.

That is a long way from the 20 percent conservation target Gov. Jerry Brown set in his emergency drought proclamation in January.

“Not everyone in California realizes how bad this drought is,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. Speaking of the May data, she said, “Folks just didn’t get how bad this is and how bad it could be. We are really in desperate times.”

— Sacramento Bee

Read more…

Business Leaders May Seek Referendum

To Overturn Increase in Local Minimum Wage

Leaders of San Diego’s business community say they’ve begun exploring a referendum that could overturn the City Council’s vote on Monday to incrementally increase the local minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by January 2017, the U-T San Diego reports.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer criticized the wage hike as anti-business on Tuesday and said he’s “likely” to veto it, but added that it would be premature for him to decide whether he’ll participate in a possible referendum.

Faulconer’s veto wouldn’t matter because the wage hike is supported by enough members of the council — six out of nine — to override it.

Meanwhile, City Council President Todd Gloria called the new law a “historic” advance for the city’s working people during a press conference Tuesday, and characterized it as a quality compromise that will boost the local economy by giving low-wage workers more buying power.

Tierrasanta Research Park

Tierrasanta Research Park

Tierrasanta Research Park Sold

Tierrasanta Research Park, a multi-tenant, 112,300-square-foot business park in the Kearny Mesa, has been sold for $19.5 million to IPG-Monro Capital Fund I LP. The seller was Hudson Pacific Properties Inc.

The new owner, Monro Capital, is a commercial property investment firm in San Diego that acquires, develops and manages a portfolio of industrial, office, retail and mixed-use properties. Mitchell Perlman, vice president of Monro Capital, underwrote the acquisition and is charged with upgrading Tierrrasanta Research Park.

The property has four buildings at 9755, 9765, 9771 and 9775 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. The project was built in 1985 and is 86 percent leased.

Current tenants in Tierrasanta Research Park include RBF Consulting, California Bank & Trust,  Luminex and NxGEN Electronics Inc.

Cassidy Turley represented both parties in the sale.


U.S. News & World Report: UCSD Medical

Center Tops in San Diego, 5th Best in State

UCSD Medical Center

UCSD Medical Center

UCSD Medical Center Tops UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, Rady Children’s Hospital and the Scripps La Jolla Hospital and clinics were named the top health-care facilities in the region in the annual U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” issue that came out Tuesday.

The UCSD Medical Center was ranked first in the San Diego area and fifth in the state by the magazine.

The 582-bed hospital was nationally ranked in 11 specialties, including sixth in pulmonology and 15th in nephrology. Other top areas were cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology and GI surgery; geriatrics, neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; and urology.

The 377-bed Rady Children’s Hospital was nationally ranked in cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.

Scripps, evaluated as a combination between Scripps Memorial and Scripps Green hospitals, was nationally ranked in cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology and GI surgery; geriatrics; gynecology; orthopedics and pulmonology.

— City News Service

Three Students Selected for Space Camp

Three San Diego middle school students — Mario Rodriguez Alves, Kevin Nguyen and Gicel Abraham  — have been chosen to receive full scholarships to attend the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., this summer, courtesy of the Fish & Richardson law firm. The goal of Fish’s Space Camp Scholarship program – which the firm has run for 16 years,  is to get middle school students excited about the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Daniel Chan, who leads the program in San Diego, selects the scholarship winners based on a written application and an in-person interview. Each year, Fish sends 33 students — from economically disadvantaged areas in the 11 cities across the country where the firm has offices — along with teacher chaperones to Space Camp.

In San Diego, the students were selected from Preuss School UCSD, a charter middle and high school for low income, highly motivated students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college.

The scholarship winners spend six days at Space Camp experiencing simulated space shuttle missions, participating in programs on space exploration and learning about mission control.

Otay Ranch Academy for the Arts Launched

Academy Director Philip Parks

Academy Director Philip Parks

Springs Charter Schools has launched Otay Ranch Academy for the Arts, a program that incorporates art throughout its core curriculum on the campus of Mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista.  Although not an art school, music, the visual arts and performances will be used as a resource for teaching in all core subject areas.

“By using art as the resource, students will begin to notice their world more deeply and make connections between subject areas and content. Students will spend time discussing art, making art and applying what they learn across the curriculum,” said Academy Director Philip Parks.  “By fostering the use of imagination through the arts early in a child’s education, we can encourage the innovators of the future.”


SDSU Researchers Identified as Two of the

‘World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds’

Walter Oechel

Walter Oechel

Forest Rohwer

Forest Rohwer

Walter Oechel and Forest Rohwer, both professors of biology at San Diego State University, were identified as two of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters.

Oechel was ranked as a top influencer in the category of agricultural sciences for his long standing work on climate change as a plant eco-physiologist and systems ecologist. Rowher was ranked as a top influencer in the category of microbiology, for his high impact in metagenomics and microbial ecology in natural ecosystems and human health.

“They are the people who are on the cutting edge of their fields,” according to Thomson Reuters. “They are performing and publishing work their peers recognize as vital to the advancement of their science. These researchers are, undoubtedly, among the most influential scientific minds of our time.”

Both in the College of Sciences at SDSU, the two researchers are among some 3,200 individuals who published the greatest number of highly cited papers in one of 21 broad fields from 2002 to 2012.

The distinction was given by analyzing which researchers had the highest number of citations over the past 11 years; data was analyzed using Web of Science and InCites platforms. Thomson Reuters reports highly cited papers rank in the top 1 percent by citations for their field and year of publication.

Personnel Moves…

Jassim & Associates Adds Attorney

Nathan Batterman

Nathan Batterman

Nathan G. Batterman has joined the San Diego law office of Jassim & Associates. A licensed attorney since 2011, Batterman graduated from California Western School of Law in San Diego, in 2011, and received his undergraduate degree in legal studies from The University of Wisconsin- Madison, in 2006. Prior to joining Jassim & Associates, Batterman worked for the Levinson Law Group and Campbell Law Offices, and clerked for San Diego firm Gallagher Krich. In his new position, Batterman expands his practice areas to include family law, contract law, legal malpractice and medical malpractice.

Parsons Brinckerhoff Names San Diego Area Manager

Rex Plummer

Rex Plummer

Rex Plummer has been named San Diego area manager at Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global infrastructure consulting, engineering, and program/construction management organization. Plummer is responsible for leading all aspects of the firm’s operations in the San Diego area, including business development and marketing, client relationship management, and project performance. He has more than 40 years of experience in the architecture/engineering/ construction industry.

Plummer joined Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2010 as a senior engineering manager and has been providing leadership for the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit project on behalf of the San Diego Association of Governments. He previously served as president of a consulting firm that once ranked as the largest civil engineering firm in San Diego.

Zephyr Partners Selects Chief Operating Officer

Chris Beucler

Chris Beucler

Zephyr Partners, a private real estate development and investment company focusing on residential assets, has named custom home builder and former Ryland Homes executive Chris Beucler as  its new chief operating officer. Beucler will take charge of all operations for Zephyr Partners Real Estate Group, overseeing entitlements, forward planning, product development, construction and sales and marketing.

Beucler has 30 years of experience in the residential real estate field. For the last 10 years he has owned and operated Beucler Signature Homes, was also owner/president of Johnson Beucler Communities, and for more than 12 years was an executive with Ryland Homes. While at Ryland, he was president of the Riverside/San Diego region, before being promoted to president of Southern California, taking charge of all operations throughout that region.

San Diego Foundation Gets New President/CEO

Kathlyn Mead

Kathlyn Mead

Kathlyn Mead, former chief operating officer of The California Endowment, has been named president and chief executive officer for The San Diego Foundation, joining the organization on July 21. Mead is a  long-time San Diego community member and resident of Escondido. Prior to The California Endowment, She held positions as CEO of the Council of Community Clinics in San Diego, vice president of CalPERS Sector for Blue Shield of California, and president and CEO of Sharp Health Plan in San Diego. She was recently appointed by Gov. Brown to the 22nd District Agricultural Association/San Diego Fair Board of Directors, and serves as trustee and vice-chair for the Alliance Healthcare Foundation.

Mead attended  Regis University and received a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

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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: