Daily Business Report — July 25, 2014
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Todd Gloria swing into the opening of Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center.
Swinging into Comic-Con
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his sidekick City Council President Todd Gloria descended Thursday into “Gotham City” (Downtown San Diego) to help kick off Comic-Con 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center.
Faulconer said afterward that the ride was “awesome” and that his staff had proposed the Batman-themed entrance a few days ago. The ride is behind the convention center next to the Hilton Hotel.
Meanwhile, attendees yelled “air conditioning” as they streamed into the cool convention center after enduring hours of daunting heat and humidity. Thursday was projected by the U.S. weather service to be the hottest day of the week.
Thousands of people flooded into the Gaslamp Quarter and area adjacent to Petco Park to see promotions of video games, movies and TV shows.
Crowds gathered as freebies of huge bags and slices of pizza were distributed. People held or fliers to free movie viewings and performances.
The mayor’s ride into the cut-out set of Gotham City wasn’t the only happening that was Batman related.
Lamont Allen told 10News, “You know, they have the Batman theme so I want to see what’s going on with Batman, and they have all the new movies coming out, so I’m really excited about all that.”
The crime fighter started out 75 years ago as a dark comic strip, became a children’s television show and later spawned series of movies.
— Times of San Diego with City News Service
SDSU Virologists Discover New Gut Virus
It could play a major role in obesity and diabetes
Robert A. Edwards, a bioinformatics professor at San Diego State University and his colleagues have discovered a new virus named crAssphage that could play a major role in obesity and diabetes.
The virus, which can be found in more than half of the world’s population, effects one of the most common types of gut bacteria, Bacteroidetes. This phylum of bacteria is thought to be connected to obesity, diabetes, and other gut-related diseases. Researchers are working to isolate the virus and delve into its role in obesity. The research report can be found in the current issue of Nature Communications.
“It’s not unusual to go looking for a novel virus and find one,” Edwards said. “But it’s very unusual to find one that so many people have in common. The fact that it’s flown under the radar for so long is very strange.”
Further details about crAssphage have been difficult to come by. It’s unknown how the virus is transmitted, but the fact that it was not found in very young infants’ fecal samples suggests that it is not passed along maternally, but acquired during childhood. The makeup of the viral DNA suggests that it’s circular in structure. Further laboratory work has confirmed that the viral DNA is a singular entity, but it’s proven difficult to isolate.
“We know it’s there, but we can’t capture it quite yet,” Edwards said.
Port CEO May Face Disciplinary Action or be Fired
The San Diego Port Commission is expected to vote today on whether to discipline or fire the port’s embattled CEO Wayne Darbeau. Darbeau, who has held the job for about four years, got in hot water when he sent an email to Sharon Bernie-Cloward, president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, asking if its members could help in his son’s search for a summer job. He withdrew the request when the message became public.
U-T San Diego later reported that the son and his best friend had obtained a summer job with Pasha Automotive, a major port tenant, two years ago.
The tenants’ group is made up of hotels, restaurants and other businesses on port land that are affected by the actions of the port’s commissioners and executive staff.
In response to criticism about using his position to help his family, Darbeau said he was acting like most parents when he reached out to “professional and personal networks” to help find his son a job.
Port Chairman Bob Nelson disclosed last month that the board was reviewing Darbeau’s performance.
Today’s special meeting is set for 2 p.m. at the port’s headquarters on Pacific Highway.
— City News Service
San Diego Adopts New Water Use Restrictions
Water use restrictions that had been voluntary in the San Diego region are now mandatory, following a vote Thursday by the County Water Authority Board of Directors. The change was prompted by deepening drought conditions and new directives by the state government, according to the water authority.
The CWA says stronger conservation measures will help San Diego County keep as much water as possible in storage for next year and comply with emergency water conservation mandates approved last week by the state Water Resources Control Board.
The water authority does not expect cutbacks in imported water supplies this year that would trigger mandatory supply cutbacks by member agencies. Reductions could happen next year if conditions don’t improve, water officials said.
— City News Service
City Infrastructure Plan Due by Year’s End
A massive effort to create a multi-year plan to deal with the city of San Diego’s billion-dollar infrastructure deficit should be completed by November or December, according to the director of public works. In a report to the City Council’s Infrastructure Committee, James Nagelvoort said he is waiting for facility condition assessments to be completed, to incorporate infrastructure expenses into a five-year financial outlook the mayor’s office puts out each fall, and for other city departments to update their service level needs.
Service levels for the fire department, for example, include desired response times to emergency calls.
The infrastructure plan will prioritize road, building, stormwater and park projects over the next several years, determine their costs and determine financial strategies.
It’s a top priority for committee Chairman Mark Kersey and should help the city begin to address a backlog of work valued at well over $1 billion. A multi-year plan will also ease the budgeting process, because individual projects are often funded by multiple sources, with money actually coming in during different years.
The committee members voted unanimously to accept the report.
— City News Service
USS San Diego Leaving on Maiden Voyage
The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego is scheduled to begin its maiden deployment today when the vessel leaves its namesake city as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, according to the Navy. The fourth naval vessel to be named after San Diego was commissioned in May 2012 in a ceremony at Navy Pier.
The 684-foot ship is designed to carry landing craft, fighting vehicles, helicopters and personnel.
The ships of its class have more capacity than their predecessors, and are designed to carry around 700 Marines — and up to 800 if necessary. The vessels also incorporated “stealth” technology into their design, resulting in a shape that can help avoid detection by radar.
The San Diego will be one of three ships leaving for deployment that can carry about 4,000 sailors and Marines. The group also includes amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock, and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Pendleton.
— City News Service
Voit Appoints Northbrook to Lead Local Office
Eric Northbrook has been appointed managing director of Voit Real Estate Services to oversee all aspects of the company’s operations in the San Diego office. Northbrook will lead a team of brokerage and real estate management professionals.
Prior to joining Voit, Northbrook served as executive director of brokerage services for Cushman & Wakefield of San Diego. While there, his focus was on the Central San Diego County and I-15 Corridor specializing in tenant and corporate representation. Prior to Cushman & Wakefield, Northbrook was with Colliers International for 12 years.
As a result of an accident in 2006, Northbrook is the founder of HeadNorth, a nonprofit organization that enhances the quality of life for individuals and families afflicted with spinal cord injury. The organization is actively involved in spinal cord research and has partnered with the Sanford/Burnham Institute and UCSD to create the HeadNorth Chronic Spinal Cord Research Project.