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Daily Business Report-Nov. 6, 2014

Daily Business Report-Nov. 6, 2014

Rendering of the Mission Hills-Hillcrest branch library, which the city wants to build using lease revenue bonds.

City Wins $120 Million

Infrastructure Bond Lawsuit

Suit delayed fire stations, libraries, storm drains, streets, sidewalks

A Superior Court judge has denied a legal challenge by San Diegans for Open Government to a financing method the city of San Diego has used for several years to pay for neighborhood improvements.

The lawsuit had sought to block several neighborhood projects, including replacement of the Hillcrest fire station, reconstruction of City Heights fire station 17,  construction of the new Mission Hills/Hillcrest branch library, among others.

The city also wants to repair the Mission Beach Boardwalk sea wall.

The city also wants to repair the Mission Beach Boardwalk sea wall.

SDFOG and lawyer Cory Briggs sought to outlaw the use of lease revenue bonds to pay for city infrastructure projects — replacing storm drains and sidewalks, repaving streets and building libraries and fire stations. At the time he filed his lawsuit, Briggs publicly accused City Attorney Jan Goldsmith of allowing the city to use an illegal financing method. “Our City Attorney doesn’t go to any great lengths to make sure the city follows the law,” Briggs claimed at the time.

But the decision by Superior Court Judge John S. Meyers concluded that the financing method Briggs claimed to be illegal was expressly approved by the California Supreme Court in the 1998 landmark case Rider v. San Diego, and is now used by public agencies throughout the state. “Rider very clearly establishes the structure of lease financing as appropriate,” Meyers said, adding, “it’s legal.”

“This lawsuit was unnecessary,” Goldsmith said. “Like it or not, the Supreme Court has found lease revenue bonds legal and they are relied on for infrastructure projects by cities throughout California.”

The Hillcrest Fire Station is on the city's list for replacement.

The Hillcrest Fire Station is on the city’s list for replacement.

“Now that this legal roadblock has been removed, we’ll be able to move aggressively on neighborhood repairs and ensure every community benefits,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

Had the Briggs lawsuit succeeded, San Diego would have been unable to finance any city project that could not be built and paid for within a year absent a ballot measure.

The $120 million in lease revenue bonds at stake in the case were earmarked to pay for capital improvement projects prioritized by the mayor and City Council.

The bonds would provide more than $48 million for neighborhood libraries, fire stations, life guard stations and other neighborhood facilities designated earlier this year. In addition, it will fund nearly $22 million to replace aging storm drains and facilities, $43 million for new paving and streets and $1 million for new sidewalks.

Other funds will be used for the La Jolla Cove lifeguard station, San Ysidro Branch Library, the San Carlos Branch Library, the University Village tot lot, Tierrasanta athletic field lighting, upgrades to the SDPD pistol range and the Mission Beach Boardwalk sea wall. In addition, the bonds will fund $4.3 million in accessibility projects citywide.

“This is an important step toward fixing our neighborhoods,” Council President Todd Gloria said. “During this legal battle over a known responsible funding mechanism, our neighborhoods have had to wait for road repairs, expanded branch libraries and fire station upgrades. I hope to be able to deliver those improvements soon.”

The F-35 settles down on the flight deck of the USS Nimitz.

The F-35 settles down on the flight deck of the USS Nimitz.

F-35 Makes First Carrier

Landing Off San Diego

The Navy made aviation history Monday when its version of the Joint Strike Fighter  conducted the first arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego.

Navy test pilot Cmdr. Tony Wilson landed F-35C Lightning II aboard USS Nimitz, which is based in Everett, WA.

“Today is a landmark event in the development of the F-35C,” said Wilson. “It is the culmination of many years of hard work by a talented team of thousands. I’m very excited to see America’s newest aircraft on the flight deck of her oldest aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz.”

The F-35C combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, cutting-edge avionics and advanced jamming. With a broad wingspan, reinforced landing gear, ruggedized structures and durable coatings, the F-35C is designed to stand up to harsh shipboard conditions.

By 2025, the Navy’s carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle-management and control aircraft, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.

Lockheed Martin  is also building variants of the fighter for the Air Force and Marine Corps.

— Times of San Diego


Ibis Betancourt  directs the SDSU Women's Choir.

Ibis Betancourt directs the SDSU Women’s Choir.

Fulbright Scholar Leads SDSU Women’s Choir

Ibis Betancourt is making the most of the opportunity granted to her by a Fulbright award. Originally from Mexico, she received a Fulbright to study in the United States and chose to attend San Diego State University in fall 2013.

Betancourt is a graduate student studying choral directing under Patrick Walders. The mentorship has led to great things for Betancourt and beginning this semester, she has taken over the role of conductor for the new Aztec Women’s Choir at SDSU. She had her conducting debut in October at the SDSU Choir’s Fall Colors Choral Concert.

The opportunity is an exciting one for Betancourt, who hopes to bring the beauty of choral music to less fortunate children in Mexico. She knows first-hand the struggles children face in Mexico and believes singing is an art form that anyone can practice.

Betancourt first became interested in choral studies during her undergraduate years at the University of Veracruz. “I went to an international choir festival in Cuba and it was like ‘oh, I’m in love,’” Betancourt said.

After graduating in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in music education, Betancourt decided she wanted to further her education and study in the United states.

“After graduating, I spent two years preparing,” Betancourt said. “I worked on improving my English and voice before I applied for the Fulbright scholarship.”

The application process took Betancourt close to a year to complete, but is an opportunity she has taken full advantage of.

Becoming the director of the Aztec Women’s Choir has been both a fulfilling and challenging task for Betancourt. Because she received her music education in Spanish, conducting in English is a tall task.

“There are challenges for me as a conductor,” Betancourt said. “It’s my first time teaching and English is not my native language, which brings me some complications.”

Read more…

The San Diego Convention Center Turns 25.

The San Diego Convention Center Turns 25.

Officials Mark Convention Center’s 25th Anniversary

The San Diego Convention Center Corp. will hold a celebratory luncheon on Friday to toast the 25th anniversary of the Convention Center. The event, to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Ballroom 20, will serve as a fundraiser for the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s “Make Change Count” program to assist the homeless.

Guest Speakers:
 Mayor Kevin Faulconer; Mayor, City Council President Todd Gloria; Port Commissioner 
Rafael Castellanos; Nico Ferraro, chair of the San Diego Convention Center Corp.; and 
Carol Wallace, president and CEO of the Convention Center Corp.

The Convention Center first opened its doors on Nov. 24, 1989. The benefits generated by the Convention Center since opening, according to officials, include: regional impact: $24.2 billion; direct attendee spending: $10.2 billion; 
tax revenues: $450.2 million; 
hotel room nights:14.3 million
; attendance: 19.2 million; 
events: 5,146.

National Bicycle Tourism Conference gets underway Wednesday at the Bahia hotel.

National Bicycle Tourism Conference gets underway Wednesday at the Bahia Hotel.

National Bike Conference Gearing Up in San Diego

The four-day National Bicycle Tourism Conference will get underway at the Bahia Hotel Wednesday with workshops and lectures on staging safe and successful bicycling events.

This year’s conference — hosted by the Bicycle Tour Network, the League of American Bicyclists and People for Bikes — will showcase San Diego as a bike-friendly city and focus on ways to connect tourism and cycling, according to event organizers.

Marketing to women and casual urban cyclists will also be key points. Throughout the conference, advocates, industry officials and travel and tourism experts will present the latest data, tools and techniques.

People for Bikes’ Executive Director Tim Blumenthal is scheduled to give the opening speech, titled “Bicyclinbg 20/20: Increasing Rider Engagement; Growing Our Business.”

Organizers said other scheduled speakers include Velo Quebec President Susan Lareau, who will speak about bicycle tourism, and closing remarks by League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke.

Also on the conference’s agenda are an interactive panel on attracting women to bicycle tourism, talks on trends in bike travel and the role of bike share programs in urban bicycle tourism, a presentation by New Belgium Brewing’s Marketing Director on beer’s contribution to the bicycle tourism industry, and an event jersey contest.

Prior to the conference’s kickoff, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition will lead a 5-mile tour of the Bayshore Bikeway in Coronado. The ride was designed to highlight the local progress toward creating a safer and more appealing place for bicycling tourists and residents, organizers said. Coronado was among the 60 communities designated as bicycle-friendly by the League of American Bicyclists.

— City News Service

The Sonic Drive-In North Park will have a grand opening on Nov. 10.

The Sonic Drive-In North Park will have a grand opening on Nov. 10.

Sonic Drive-In to Open in North Park

Sonic Drive-In will hold a grand opening for its first North Park restaurant on Monday, Nov. 10 — the chain’s second location in metro San Diego and its seventh in San Diego County. The address is 2829 El Cajon Blvd. The restaurant’s hours will be from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Sonic has been around since 1953, with over 3,500 locations coast to

coast. Sonic serves a variety of made-to-order menus, allowing customers to

personalize their meals. It’s known for its personal carhop service.

Other Sonic Drive-In locations in San Diego are: Camp Pendleton, Kearny Mesa, National City, San Marcos, Santee and Vista.

Governor Plaza

Governor Plaza

Governor Plaza Sold

Governor Plaza, a two-story, 38,679-square-foot office building at 5151 Shoreham Place in San Diego has been sold to Palisades Property Trust. The seller was development and investment firm Cruzan. The price was not disclosed.

Built in 1984 on 2.41 acres, Governor Plaza tenants include financial services, design and real estate management firms. The building is 73.4 percent leased. CBRE represented the seller.

Airport Authority Launches Fellowship

Program for Military Veterans

On Nov. 12 — the day after Veteran’s Day — the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority will welcome three participants in a new program assisting veterans in the transition from active duty to the civilian workforce. The six-month fellowship program will provide veterans with practical work experience, networking opportunities and an understanding of the aviation environment.

“With so many diverse facets, the airport provides a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between a veteran’s military experience and the civilian work environment,” said Thella F. Bowens, president and CEO of the Airport Authority. “Through this program, we’re not only helping San Diego’s veterans gain valuable work experience but also fostering interest in a future career within the aviation industry – so it’s a win-win.”

The program will employ a total of six fellows annually over two terms, with three opportunities in the fall and three in the spring. The first term includes positions with the Airside Operations; Aviation Security & Public Safety; and Procurement departments at the airport. Fellows will receive basic benefits and compensation based on the requirements of the position.

To be eligible, candidates must meet the requirements of the position, have served a minimum of three years of active duty or mobilized reserve duty and been honorably discharged within the last year. Positions are determined based on interest and the operational needs of the airport.

Available opportunities will be posted on the Airport Authority’s career page:

California Brain Initiative Launched

Ralph Greenspan

Ralph Greenspan

The California Brain Research Initiative, a statewide research grant program aiming to revolutionize our understanding of the brain has officially begun. The initiative is led by UC San Diego and Ralph Greenspan, director of UC San Diego’s Center for Brain Activity Mapping. The first call for proposals have been sent and the program expects to announce the first awards in early 2015.

The program is seeking interdisciplinary teams from throughout the state to develop innovative new technologies for monitoring and analyzing wide-scale activity in the brain.

An initiative led by UC San Diego, Cal-BRAIN is short for California Blueprint for Research to Advance Innovations in Neuroscience. The program was signed into law in June and is the California complement to the federal BRAIN Initiative announced by President Barack Obama in 2013.

To reduce the possibilities for conflict of interest, an out-of-state reviewing committee will assess the proposals.

For more information on the program and to apply, visit the Cal-BRAIN website or write to

Cubic Corporation Wins Contracts

Cubic Corporation has been awarded two multi-million dollar contracts. The company received a task order contract from the U.S. Army that could be worth more than $15 million. Cubic will provide services at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Mission Training Complex near Tacoma, Wash., and other locations. The company also was awarded a three-year, $46.5 million contract from the Marine Corps to provide training systems support.

Personnel Moves

Sandel Avionics Hires Sales Rep

Mike Marie

Mike Marie

VISTA –Sandel Avionics Inc., a manufacturer of advanced avionics for aircraft retrofits, has hired Mike Marie as its North American sales representative.  Marie has  nearly 30 years of experience in the aviation industry.

The past 14 years of Marie’s career have been focused in avionics with companies such as Ryan International, Avidyne, and DAC International. For Sandel, he will be responsible for North American sales, working with clients and dealers.



Pancoast Resigns as President/CEO of Lpath Inc.

Scott Pancoast

Scott Pancoast

San Diego biotech firm Lpath Inc.  announced the resignation of Scott Pancoast as president, chief executive officer and member of the board of directors. The board of directors has appointed biotechnology consultant Michael Lack as the company’s interim chief executive officer while the board conducts a search for a new CEO.

Pancoast served as the president and CEO of Lpath since March 2005 and as a director since 1998.

Lack has more than 15 years of experience serving in executive roles for companies in the biotechnology and technology industries. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Immunomic Therapeutics Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company.  Since August 2012, Lack has served as a management consultant with Presteza Partners LLC.

Qualcomm Revenues Top $26 Billion,

‘Another Record Year’

Qualcomm Inc., the San Diego-based provider of cell phone technology, Wednesday reported net income of $8.0 billion, or $4.65 per diluted share, for its fiscal year ended Sept. 28, compared to $6.9 billion, or $3.91 per share, in the previous fiscal year. Revenue for the year totaled $26.5 billion, up 7 percent from the previous fiscal year.

For the final quarter, Qualcomm’s net income was $1.9 billion, or $1.11 per diluted share, compared to $1.5 billion, or 86 cents per diluted share, in the final three months of the previous fiscal year. Revenues were $6.7 billion, a 3 percent increase from the same quarter a year ago.

“We are pleased to report another year of record financial performance as our 3G/4G LTE multimode and other advanced technologies continue to enable the growth of wireless data around the world, driven by our broad chipset roadmap,” said CEO Steve Mollenkopf. “We are forecasting continued growth of global 3G/4G device shipments in calendar year 2015, particularly in emerging regions.”

However, the company said it was having difficulties collecting royalties from business partners in China and could face an antitrust investigation in the Asian nation.

— City News Service

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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: