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Daily Business Report — Sept. 9, 2014

Daily Business Report — Sept. 9, 2014

Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California, will be in San Diego Thursday for a legal system program.

California Chief Justice to Keynote

Program On Fair and Impartial Legal System

Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California, will be the keynote speaker at a Thursday program on the critical role voters play in preserving the country’s fair and impartial legal system. UC San Diego Alumni and the University Club are presenting the National Association of Women Judges’ “Informed Voters—Fair Judges” project from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the University Club atop Symphony Towers, 750 B St. in Downtown San Diego.

The non-partisan event, which will focus on civics education regarding the judicial system, is open to the public. Cost is $15 per person. A networking reception for business, community and legal professionals will follow.

According to the sponsors, the fairness and impartiality of courts is threatened by powerful special interests seeking to tip the scales of justice in their favor. The success or failure of special interest efforts to weaken the courts rests on their ability to mislead voters, particularly if voters lack sufficient knowledge about how impartial courts uphold the rule of law.  The “Informed Voters—Fair Judges” project is a voter education project developed to increase public awareness about the judicial system, to inform voters that politics and special interest attacks have no place in the courts, and to give voters the tools they need to exercise an informed vote in favor of fair and impartial courts.

Click here to register.

San Diego County Home Sales Rise in August

Home sales were up in August, and the median sale price of single-family homes in San Diego County remained above 500,000, according to new housing statistics from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.

Resale single-family home sales rose 4 percent in August compared to July, while condos and townhomes sales were virtually unchanged. However, sales were down nearly 20 percent compared to a year ago.

The median price of condos/townhomes increased nearly 5 percent in August from the previous month, standing at $340,000, which is 10 percent higher than a year ago. Single-family home prices in August, at $510,000, were down slightly from July, but 6 percent higher than August of 2013.

The number of active listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in San Diego County remained stable at about 8,400, with just over three months of inventory. (Six months of housing stock is generally considered a healthy inventory level.) Homes that sold in August were only on the market for an average of 40 days.

“It’s encouraging to see that properly priced homes sell quickly,” said Leslie Kilpatrick, SDAR board president. “The market, overall, is stabilizing, but the impact of low inventory levels at key price points is present. If our local economy continues to rebound and produce job growth at good wages, the market will benefit.”

In August, the ZIP codes in San Diego County with the most single-family home sales were: 92127 (Rancho Bernardo) with 56; 92057 (Oceanside) with 54; 92078 (San Marcos) with 44; 92056 (Oceanside) with 43; 92028 (Fallbrook) with 42; and 92117 (Clairemont) also with 42.

The most expensive listing sold last month in the county: a seven-bedroom, seven-bath, 10,200-square-foot home in La Jolla that sold for $9 million.

UC San Diego students. (Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications)

UC San Diego students. (Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications)

UC San Diego Named Nation’s

Eighth Best Public University

The University of California, San Diego was ranked as the 8th best public university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report  in its 30th annual college report released Tuesday.

The publication’s 2015 Best Colleges report ranks UC San Diego the 37th best university in the U.S. among more than 200 public, private and for-profit institutions.

For more than a decade, the widely followed report has listed UC San Diego among the nation’s top 10 public universities. Last year, the campus was ranked the 9th best public university and 39th best university.

The rankings are based on academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduate rate performance and alumni giving.

Five of California’s public universities made the top 10, with UC Berkeley ranked first, UCLA second, UC Davis 9th and UC Santa Barbara 10th.

Click here for the rankings.

Bank of America Building Sold

CARLSBAD — Dan Floit has purchased the two-story, freestanding Bank of America building at 7700 El Camino Real in Carlsbad for $7.2 million from the Ingold Family LLC. CBRE represented the buyer and seller.

Neonatal Research Institute Reports

Success in Treating Fragile Newborns

Neonatal Research Institute

Neonatal Research Institute

After one year, the Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital has benefited 200 newborns, and have the potential to help thousands of fragile newborns at hospitals around the country, the institute reports.

The NRI’s first major trial compared a method called umbilical cord milking — where the umbilical cord is squeezed to provide premature newborns with extra oxygen-carrying red blood cells and stem cells — with delayed cord clamping, in which the umbilical cord remains unclamped for about one minute. Its findings suggested milking to reduce illness and risk of bleeding in the brain.

The potential impact of the cord blood delivery trial drew support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which awarded the NRI a two-year grant of $128,000 for the trial. The NRI’s latest study will determine whether resuscitating babies with the umbilical cord still attached improves their outcomes. The NIH stands behind the NRI, this time with a two-year, $350,000 grant to support the delayed cord clamping study.

“The results of this trial could change the practice of delivery on an international scale,” said Dr. Anup Katheria, director of the Neonatal Research Institute. “Imagine how comforting it will be for ill newborns to stay with their parents after delivery. By remaining connected to the mother, babies can get vital cord blood while doctors help the infants breathe.”

Specialized HIV Clinic to Open in Hillcrest

AIDS Healthcare Foundation today is opening its first specialized HIV clinic at 3940 Fourth Ave., Suite 140, in Hillcrest. The AHF San Diego Healthcare Center will begin offering specialized, client-centered HIV/AIDS care through the Hillcrest location. A private reception and ribbon-cutting will be hosted at the clinic on Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Michael Weinstein is president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Dr. Adam Zweig is medical director of the AHF San Diego Healthcare Center.

Zweig is a Southern California native with a Harvard education and a medical degree from the UC San Diego who has been serving the San Diego community since 1992 as a physician at the Scripps Medical Group.

Beginning Oct. 8, AHF will also be offering free testing and treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis to San Diego men through its soon-to-open AHF San Diego Men’s Wellness Center, which will be housed in the same location as the health care center and pharmacy.

According to a report from the county of San Diego HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Unit,there were 1,819 HIV diagnoses between 2007 and 2011, 91 percent of which occurred in men. Though the African-American community carries the heaviest HIV burden in the county, 43 percent of the 1,819 recent diagnoses were white, 36 percent were Hispanic, and 15 percent were black.

San Diego Company Develops Test

To Indicate Risk of Acute Kidney Injury

A San Diego company, Astute Medical, has developed a test that can determine someone’s risk of developing acute kidney injury. It’s the first such test that’s been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Acute kidney injury is an abrupt change in kidney function that can lead to organ failure.

Nearly two-thirds of patients in intensive care units develop acute kidney injury.

Paul McPherson, Astute Medical’s chief scientific officer, said standard tests can only indicate whether a patient may already have the condition. “Acute kidney injury has no symptoms, so there’s no pain, so it’s very hard to tell who may be at risk,” he explained. “So the idea is to detect this earlier than you can with those standard measures that they use now.”

McPherson said the new test, which uses a urine sample, indicates whether a patient will likely develop the condition in the next 12 hours. That allows doctors to intervene.

Company officials said the test is available in France and Germany, and will be sold in the U.S. in a few weeks.


SDG&E Looking to Buy Locally Produced Electricity

San Diego Gas & Electric announced Monday that it is looking to buy 500-800 megawatts of electricity from local producers to replace what had flowed from the San Onofre power plant. At least 200 megawatts would need to come from renewable sources, according to SDG&E. The utility said it would accept bids until Jan. 5.

“With the region facing a future without the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, we must take new and creative approaches to the problem to help sustain reliability in the region at the lowest cost,” said James Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E.

According to SDG&E, 23 percent of its electricity came from renewable sources last year and expects to get 33 percent of its juice from renewable sources by the end of this year — six years ahead of the state-mandated target.

The nuclear plant at San Onofre, on the northern San Diego County coast, has been idle since a noninjury radioactive leak in January 2012.

— City News Service

Credit Info on Guests at Five Hotels

Compromised in a Security Breach

Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites

Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites

Credit and debit card information of as many as 55,000 guests who stayed at five hotels in San Diego was compromised in a security breach, the company that owns the lodging houses announced Monday.

Guests who stayed at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina on Shelter Island, the Dana Inn on Mission Bay, Humphreys Half Moon Inn & Suites on Shelter Island, the Pacific Terrace Hotel in Pacific Beach and the Days Hotel on Hotel Circle South are being advised to check their credit and debit accounts for signs of unusual activity.

The properties are owned by San Diego-based Bartell Hotels, which said it called in law enforcement and independent forensic data experts to investigate the breach.

The breach affected customers who used payment cards for lodging, food and beverage, or retail transactions between Feb. 16 and May 13 of this year, according to hotel CEO Richard Bartell. No other personal identifying information was given up, he said. He said the company is in the process of notifying the affected guests about the breach, which appears to be the work of a third-party intruder.

The hotel owner is providing a toll-free information line, at (877) 437- 4010, to address customer questions and concerns, and has contracted with AllClear ID to provide identity monitoring and protection services to affected individuals.

— City News Service

The Home Depot Updates Breach Investigation

ATLANTA — The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, confirmed Monday that its payment data systems have been breached, which could potentially impact customers using payment cards at its U.S. and Canadian stores. There is no evidence that the breach has impacted stores in Mexico or customers who shopped online at While the company continues to determine the full scope, scale and impact of the breach, there is no evidence that debit PIN numbers were compromised.

Home Depot’s investigation is focused on April forward, and the company has taken aggressive steps to address the malware and protect customer data. The Home Depot is offering free identity protection services, including credit monitoring, to any customer who used a payment card at a Home Depot store in 2014, from April on. Customers who wish to take advantage of these services can learn more at or by calling (800) 466-3337).

Budget Mobile Launches in San Diego

Budget Prepay Inc., doing business as Budget Mobile, has launched operations in San Diego, opening the second local full-service retail store in El Cajon. Budget’s San Diego operations include two customer service kiosks and two brick and mortar retail stores offering free wireless services and phones to qualified customers under the California LifeLine Program — a state program that provides discounted home phone and cell phone services to eligible households.

“Since launching in California in May, we have activated over 55,000 free phones through the California LifeLine program, giving families in need a vital communication link to doctors, teachers, potential employers and other social services necessary to stay connected,” said Chris Holderman, vice president of sales for the West Coast.

Budget’s San Diego operations are located at:

• 4153-B University San Diego (full service retail store).

• 1047 E. Main St. in El Cajon (full service retail store).

• 3007 Highland Ave. in National City (kiosk in El Super).

• 1444 Mission Ave. in Oceanside (kiosk in USA Checks Cashed).

“Budget plans to hire 250 full and part-time employees in California, including 40 positions for the San Diego operations,” saidHolderman.

Personnel Moves

Batu Biologics Appoints Chief Scientific Officer

Batu Biologics, an immunotherapy company working to develop ValloVax, the first cellular anti-angiogenic cancer vaccine, announced the appointment of  Dr. Hong Ma as chief scientific officer.  Ma – who has extensive business development and scientific consulting experience in domestic and international markets in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries – will provide oversight for R&D and business strategy for Batu Biologics.

Ma has multi-cultural experience in the United States, China and Japan, and brings successful scientific expertise to Batu Biologics in pharmacology; cell and molecular biology; animal models (for cancer and cardiovascular diseases); and research in cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Batu Biolgics plans to submit an Investigational New Drug application to the FDA for the ValloVax vaccine in the first quarter of 2015.

Business Chamber Names

Economic Development Manager

Mark Sensano

Mark Sensano

North San Diego Business Chamber has appointed Mark Sensano as its new manager of economic development. Sensano is a retired Navy officer with more than 25 years of experience in executive leadership and program management.





Michael Murray to Manage Hilton

And Homewood Suites Properties

Michael Murray

Michael Murray

Michael Murray has been appointed general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar at 3939 Ocean Bluff Ave. and the adjacent Homewood Suites San Diego/Del Mar at 11025 Vista Sorrento Parkway by R.A. Rauch & Associates, the company that owns both properties.

Over the past year, Murray worked as general manager at the Homewood Suites in Carlsbad and partnered with Rauch at the Hilton Garden Inn Edmonton International Airport. Prior to that, he managed the Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas/Henderson after experiences at numerous Hilton properties. including a Director of Front Office Operations role at Hilton Times Square in New York City.


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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: