Daily Business Report — Dec. 9, 2014
City Council President Todd Gloria proposed the delay in the vote for council president. (Photo by Chris Stone)
City Council Delays Vote
On New Council President
The City Council on Monday postponed a vote on a new leader for a couple of days until a new colleague is seated.
The delay proposed by current council President Todd Gloria stems from a conflict between the panel’s rules on when to choose a leader for the upcoming year and a City Charter amendment approved by voters that sets inauguration day for Dec. 10, or the first business day thereafter.
The way the dates fell this year, a council president could have been chosen Monday, before incoming District 6 representative Chris Cate is sworn in Wednesday.
Instead, Gloria’s wait and call a special meeting for Wednesday afternoon was approved unanimously.
Cate — speaking as a member of the public — said the delay was the “logical, necessary and right thing to do,” and was in keeping with what the voters decided when approving the charter amendment.
The postponement comes amid a backdrop of talk that Gloria will be challenged for the post by Sherri Lightner, who serves as the president pro tem, or second-in-command. Both are among the majority Democrats on the technically nonpartisan City Council. Their margin is 6-3, but will shrink to 5- 4 when Cate takes office. Lightner could win the post if supported by all of the Republicans.
Lightner’s office did not respond to a request for comment, while other council members have remained silent on the matter.
The council president wields considerable power over setting meeting agendas, determines committee assignments and often appears with the mayor in a ceremonial role.
The council on Monday also established a special committee to review the City Charter, which several San Diego officials have described as obsolete.
Recommendations issued by the committee, which will meet for 18 months, would go before voters over the next couple of years. The committee, which will consist of four council members, could be extended for another year and a half, if necessary.
— City News Service
$1.5 Billion in Property Tax Payments
Still Outstanding, County Treasurer Says
The first installment of property tax payments is due Wednesday, according to San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister.
As of late last week, less than half of the nearly 984,600 tax bills mailed in September had been paid, McAllister said. He said the 530,000 or so unpaid bills carry a total value of around $1.51 billion.
In total, the county expects to bring in $5.08 billion in property tax revenue during this fiscal year, according to McAllister. He said late payments are assessed a 10 percent penalty.
He said Treasurer-Tax Collector offices will be open Wednesday with extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cash is accepted only at the County Administration Center, at 1600 Pacific Highway in downtown San Diego.
“We are prepared for a busy week and look forward to a productive tax season,” McAllister said.
Offices are also located in Chula Vista, 590 Third Ave.; El Cajon, 200 S. Magnolia Ave.; Kearny Mesa, 9225 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.; and San Marcos, 141 E. Carmel St.
Property owners can also make payments online at www.sdtreastax.com, or by phone at (855) 829-3773.
— City News Service
Mayor Faulconer to Deliver His
First State of City Address Jan. 15
Mayor Kevin Faulconer will deliver his first “State of the City” address on Jan. 14 at the Balboa Theatre in Downtown San Diego, his office announced Monday.
Faulconer said it’s time to turn potential into progress for the city. “As mayor, I’m grateful to work on your behalf to build a more trustworthy, inclusive and effective city government,” he said. “I know there is much more work we need to do, so I invite you to join me as I discuss how we move forward together.”
Faulconer, who won a special election to succeed scandal-plagued Bob Filner, took office in March. Faulconer succeeded City Council President Todd Gloria, who delivered the address last January while serving as interim mayor.
A statement from the mayor’s office touted Faulconer’s accomplishments to date, including the hiring of the first female police chief in city history; directing 50 percent of all new major revenue toward neighborhood improvements; improving emergency response times in underserved neighborhoods; and increasing hours at libraries to their highest level in a decade.
San Diegans can RSVP for the State of the City Address online at http://www.sandiego.gov/mayor/sotc/index.html. The event is free and open to the public.
— City News Service
Baseball Executives, Jobseekers
In San Diego for Winter Meetings
For the first time in nearly 30 years, Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings are being held in San Diego. This is the largest gathering of baseball executives. They come together to prepare for next season.
“I’ve been in minor league baseball 25 years,” said Tim Brunswick, vice president of Minor League Baseball Business Operations. “As far as the space and the attention it brings to a city, they compare this to the Democratic and Republican national conventions, believe it or not.”
Organizers expect about 3,000 people at the event, which is underway at the San Diego Convention Center and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The mix of activities include a trade show and player trades.
For some attendees, the big draw is the chance at a job. Attendees can meet face-to-face with baseball executives at a job fair and interview on-site.
“I’m looking for club house positions,” jobseeker Royce Reed said. “Taking care of players, taking care of equipment, inventory, food preparations, delivery.”
Travis Voss said he flew in from Milwaukee to look for a full-time job.
“I’ve loved baseball all my life,” Voss said. “It’s been my passion. When I can work in it, I don’t consider that a job. I have something I’m passionate about that I can look forward to going to in the morning. That’s the big appeal for me.”
December is considered the height of baseball hiring season. An average of 400 to 500 jobs are posted each year.
The convention runs through Wednesday, with a closing gala at Petco Park.
North San Diego Business Chamber
To Lead 2015 Excursion to France
The North San Diego Business Chamber will be taking a group to France and the French Riviera from March 24 to April 1, 2015.
A travel preview of the trip will be held on Dec. 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the North San Diego Business Chamber at 10875 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 104, San Diego, CA 92127. It’s an opportunity to receive an overview of the places that will be visited and get answers to questions.
Chamber members and the community at large can take advantage of the opportunity to discover France’s coastal towns along the Mediterranean Sea. Excursions include Cannes, host city of the famed film festival, and Grasse, the perfume capitol of the world.
Departing from San Diego, travelers will first arrive in Cannes on France’s Mediterranean coastline. Other cities on the itinerary will be Antibes, Sophia Antipolis, with optional excursions to St. Tropez and Monte Carlo.
Tour price is $2,999 per person double occupancy and includes roundtrip airfare from San Diego, first class hotel accommodations, daily breakfast and one dinner, professional tour escort, baggage handling and transfers, local taxes and service charges.
November Home Sales
Reflects Seasonal Decline
A drop in homes sales during November reflects a seasonal decline heading into the holiday season, according to new housing statistics from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.
Single-family home sales were down month-over-month by nearly 22 percent, and about 14 percent from November of 2013. Similarly, condominiums and townhome sales were down about 19 percent from October and nearly 11 percent from a year ago.
Home prices saw little movement in November. The median price of single-family homes ($491,000) was down approximately 1 percent from a month ago. Condos and townhomes saw prices dip 4 percent compared to October. Compared to the same month last year, the median price of all resale properties is up 5 percent. Heading into the end of 2014, prices are up about 8 percent compared last year.
“While we are experiencing some typical seasonal slowing, housing prices and inventory levels have stabilized, interest rates remain low and homes continue to sell quickly,” said Leslie Kilpatrick, SDAR’s board president.
In September, the ZIP codes in San Diego County with the most single-family sales were:
92128 (Rancho Bernardo) with 39
91910 (Chula Vista) with 38
92065 (Ramona) with 37
92028 (Fallbrook) with 36
92057 (Oceanside) with 32
The most expensive listing sold in the county last month was a four-bedroom, four-bath, 2,900-square-foot beach home in Del Mar that sold for $16 million.
Vacancy Rate Drops for County Rental Units
The countywide vacancy rate for rental units has dropped to 2.3 percent, and more rental units are being built to keep up with the higher demand, according to the San Diego County Apartment Association’s latest analysis.
The 2.3 percent vacancy rate (the percentage of units available for rent), down from 4.1 percent a year ago, confirms rental units are in high demand throughout San Diego County, mirroring national trends driven by the mortgage crisis, the association said. The demand also reflects the region’s economic recovery and job growth, meaning more people are living on their own.
“It reflects the continued high demand for rental units and the need for more supply and fewer barriers to developing multi-unit housing in the region,” said SDCAA Executive Director Alan Pentico. “According to SANDAG estimates, 83 percent of future growth in San Diego will live in multifamily housing.”
Multifamily permits comprised 63 percent of the 4,079 building permits issued through July in San Diego County, according to the Building Industry Association of San Diego County. In and near Downtown San Diego, there are 26 multifamily projects that have either just opened, are under construction or are in the planning stages.
The survey also found that the average rent on all unit types is $1,321; for studio units it was $812; $1,066 for one-bedroom units; $1,463 for two-bedroom units; and $1,813 for units with three or more bedrooms.
A year ago, the average rent on all units was $1,311.
Bill Would Protect HOA
Residents Who Install Artificial Turf
California homeowner associations would be required to allow artificial turf in front yards under a bill recently proposed by the San Diego County Water Authority, the U-T San Diego reports. The bill, or a version of it, is likely to be championed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).
Only a fraction of the state’s 47,000 HOAs permit synthetic grass on front lawns, with many saying its out-of-place look is a threat to property values.
Citing the growing need to conserve water, the San Diego agency sponsored similar legislation in 2010 and 2011. Both times, the Legislature approved the bills. But they were vetoed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown, respectively.
San Diego officials, and some frustrated HOA residents, hope the third time’s a charm.
“We think the conditions are changing since we’re facing another year of potential drought,” Glenn Farrel, the authority’s Sacramento lobbyist, said on Monday. “We think this will give it more consideration.”
Council to Consider $13.7 M Contract
For Security at Public Infrastructure Sites
The City Council Tuesday is scheduled to consider a five-year, $13.7 million contract with Securitas Security Services USA Inc. to provide enhanced security services at critical public infrastructure sites in San Diego.
The contract, called for under federal Department of Homeland Security guidelines for water and wastewater infrastructure, is for one year at nearly $2.5 million, with four one-year options to renew.
The affected sites are the Miramar, Alvarado, and Otay Water Treatment Plants; Point Loma, North City, and South Bay Wastewater Treatment Plants; Metro Biosolids Center, Chollas Yard, the Metropolitan Operations Complex, and all dams operated by the Public Utilities Department.
According to the city, security guards with “a higher level of competency” are required at such locations.
A previous contract expired two years ago. The current vendor has been providing security until the new deal takes effect, according to city documents.
— City News Service
San Diego Radio Stations in $105M
Lincoln Financial Media Sale
Entercom Communications Corp. of Pennsylvania has agreed to acquire Lincoln Financial Media from Lincoln Financial Group for $105 million plus working capital. The agreement includes 15 radio stations in the San Diego, Atlanta, Denver and Miami markets, and it will expand Entercom’s station portfolio to more than 130 stations in 26 markets.
San Diego radio stations that are part of the deal are KBZT-FM (Alternative); KSON-FM/KSOQ-FM (Country); and KIFM-FM (Adult Contemporary).
CREW Board of Directors Announced
The San Diego chapter of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) has elected Lori Ann Stevens president of the 2015 board of directors. Stevens is construction executive/manager of business development for Turner Construction Co.
Other board members, who will each serve a one-year term, are:
President-Elect — Jackie Isidore, vice president of marketing and business development, Johnson & Jennings General Contracting.
First Vice President Membership — Jill Winchell, principal, Jill Winchell Design LLC.
Second Vice President Sponsorship — Melissa Foster Scofield, associate, CBRE.
Treasurer — Susan Steele, senior manager, Deloitte.
Secretary — Catherine Hughes, studio manager, Ware Malcomb.
Director of Education/Programs — Yaara Siler, legal counsel, Realty Income Corp.
Director of Marketing Communications — Toni McMahon, business development and marketing, Good & Roberts.
Director of Special Events — Bree Tsaniff, vice president of marketing and business development, SWS Engineering.
National Delegate — Amanda Seimer, vice president, Unisource Solutions.
New Director Named for Burnham-Moores
Center for Real Estate at University of San Diego
Stath Karras, Cushman & Wakefield’s executive managing director for the San Diego area, has been named the new executive director for the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego, effective Jan. 19. Karras succeeds Mark Riedy, founder of USD’s real estate program in 1993, who is retiring on Jan. 15.
Karras was the long-time CEO of Burnham Real Estate Services before its acquisition by Cushman & Wakefield in 2008. He is past chair of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and continues to serve on the EDC’s board of directors.
Doug Phillips Named Sales and Marketing Director
Doug Phillips has joined the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center as director of sales and marketing. A longtime hotelier with more than 30 years of experience, Phillips will help lead the repositioning of the property as it starts a comprehensive renovation project late next year.
Phillips comes to San Diego from Seattle where he served as regional director of sales and marketing for Destination Hotels. In this role, he oversaw the successful rebranding of Motif Seattle, a luxury four-star hotel that had undergone a three year, three-phase, multi-million dollar renovation. He also provided marketing and sales support to several other area properties including Woodmark Hotel, Yacht Club & Spa, Suncadia, Skamania, Sun River and Valley River Inn.
Alliance Healthcare Foundation Adds Staff
Alliance Healthcare Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving the poor and underserved population in San Diego and Imperial counties, has hired Paul Brown as chief financial officer and Michele Silverthorn as program officer.
Brown previously worked at The Wheat Group, where he positioned the assets of the multimillion-dollar company. He also provides services to the San Diego Sports Innovators as a financial adviser for innovative projects and companies.
Silverthorn comes to AHF from Foundation for Change, where she built communities at the grassroots level. Silverthorn managed grant processes, facilitated board of directors activities, and coordinated community engagement efforts throughout San Diego County.