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Daily Business Report-Jan. 26, 2015

Daily Business Report-Jan. 26, 2015

The Civic Center Plaza in Downtown San Diego

San Diego City Council to Consider

Buying Civic Center Plaza Downtown

The San Diego City Council today will consider whether to approve a 20-year lease-to-own arrangement for a privately held 18-story office building in the Civic Center complex, a deal that the city’s Independent Budget Analyst contends is being rushed.

According to a staff report, the city of San Diego has been trying to buy Civic Center Plaza, the brown tower across from City Hall where more than 800 municipal employees work, for three years now. Plans for an outright purchase fell through when it was determined that a type of bond usually used by the city wasn’t appropriate.

The current deal calls for a third party, Cisterra Development, to buy the office tower and a smaller adjacent building that houses the King/Chavez Charter School and lease it to the city at rates agreed to during earlier talks. Ownership of the building would transfer to the city at the end of the 20-year term.

The hitch, according to the city’s budget analyst, is that the current owner wants the deal signed by Friday or the building will go up for sale on the open market. The city would then be faced with leasing space at current market rates — the difference being $1.15 per square foot compared to $2 per square foot or more.

While council members have been kept apprised of the negotiations, they haven’t had a chance to publicly question staff about the agreement, the budget analyst said in a report released Friday. Details were only provided to the council last week, the report said.

“Bringing the item forward in this manner and asking council to take an immediate action to approve the proposed lease-to-own agreement, while at the same time highlighting the potential for significantly increased costs absent immediate action, does not allow council sufficient time to fully vet the item, request additional information, or suggest modifications,” the budget analyst said.

A city staff report said San Diego will save around $9.1 million by jumping at the deal now, and avoiding current market lease rates.

The city also wants to rearrange some office space to cram 245 more employees into the building, and make other improvements, at an estimated cost of $15 million. That would be partially offset by rental income from the school and revenue from a 418-space underground parking garage.

The total lease cost over the 20-year term would be $91.4 million under the proposed lease-to-own plan. If the city decides to wait, staff believes the cost would rise to $100.5 million.

— City News Service     

Nominations Open for Inaugural

Women of Influence Awards

Connected Women of Influence, an organization of women business owners, executives and professionals, is accepting applications for its inaugural Women of Influence Awards through Feb. 15.

The awards luncheon will take place on March 25 at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley and was created to celebrate Women’s History Month.

“The program will be a visible way to recognize San Diego women who lead the way in business, industry and enterprise, along with the organizations and individuals that champion such leaders,” said Connected Women of Influence co-founder and CEO Michelle Bergquist. “We expect a packed crowd of more than 300 at the event and are looking forward to shining a very positive light on those who are making a positive impact for women leaders in the region.”

There are more than nine categories available to recognize those in emerging organizations as well as individuals who have given a lifetime to empowering women in professional roles. More information on the program as well as a link to the online nominations are available at

Carey Lohrenz

Carey Lohrenz

Aviation Pioneer Carey Lohrenz to Speak

at Executive Women’s Day on Feb. 4

Carey Lohrenz, the U.S. Navy’s first female F-14 fighter pilot, will be the keynote speaker at Executive Women’s Day Feb. 4 at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Fairway Pavilion at Torrey Pines Golf Course, the host course of the Farmers Insurance Open.

Lohrenz  will discuss her experiences as a Navy pilot and provide insights as to how women can live well, work smart and be fearless leaders wherever their workplace may be. Her appearance is part of the PGA Tour Women’s Initiative.

More than 175 businesswomen are expected to attend the event, which will include presentations and panel discussions, networking sessions and a behind-the-scenes tournament tour.

Also appearing at the event will be Sue Botos, vice president of community relations for the Padres; Suzanne Taddei, director of global sports sales and marketing for Tiffany & Co.; Rear Adm. Linnea Sommer-Weddington, U.S. Navy deputy director of warfare integration for information dominance; and Katherine Cody, head of distribution finance and analytics for Farmers Group Inc.

For more information, call (904) 280-5004.

Pinard horns are still commonly used in parts of the world where modern health care technologies are scare or limited.

Pinard horns are still commonly used in parts of the world where modern health care technologies are scare or limited.

Listening for Life

Professor mentors entrepreneur from Uganda

with invention to improve prenatal care in developing countries

In a surprisingly large chunk of the world, prenatal care looks — or more accurately, sounds — like this: A small, conical wooden tube used to listen to heartbeat of an unborn child.

Pinard horn collection

Pinard horn collection

The Pinard horn or fetoscope was invented by Adolph Pinard in 1895 after the French obstetrician noticed that sound was greatly amplified when it passed through a tube pressed against a pregnant woman’s belly.

Modern medicine long ago progressed to stethoscopes and technologies such as Doppler monitors, which employ sonic waves to detect fetal heartbeats, but Pinard horns continue to be the tool of choice, if not necessity, in developing countries where healthcare is limited. And where, according to international health authorities, most of the 3 million newborn deaths and 2.5 million stillbirths occur each year.

These facts are well known to Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy. As professor of epidemiology and chief of the Division of Global Health in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Al-Delaimy has devoted much of his career to addressing healthcare issues and crises around the world.

“They’re part of my perspective, my interest in improving health irrespective of borders or background,” he said.

Late last year, Al-Delaimy was invited by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. Department of State to participate in an unusual competition called the GIST Initiative, short for Global Innovation in Science and Technology. Thirty would-be entrepreneurs from developing countries would gather in Morocco to present their ideas or devices related to health, agriculture, technology or energy to a panel of international judges. The winners would receive modest cash prizes but, maybe more importantly, they might garner the attention of investors who could provide the funding necessary to turn their aspirations into reality.

“It was a novel idea. Anybody with any idea that was innovative could submit a 5-minute video describing either an idea or a start-up prototype,” Al-Delaimy said. “There were hundreds of applications and these were winnowed down to 67 semi-finalists and then, after another round of filtering, to 30 finalists who were invited to give presentations during the four-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech in November.”

Click here for the results of the competition.

San Diego County Jobless Rate Drops

Nonfarm jobs up by 600 over the month; up by 44,500 over the year

The unemployment rate in San Diego County was 5.2 percent in December 2014, down from a revised 5.8 percent in November 2014, and below the year-ago estimate of 6.5 percent, the state Employment Development Department reported.

California’s jobless rate for the same period was 6.7 percent and the nation’s jobless rate was 5.4 percent.

Between November 2014 and December 2014:

Total nonfarm employment increased from 1,375,500 to 1,376,100, a gain of 600 jobs. Agricultural employment declined by 600 jobs, or 6.3 percent.

• Trade, transportation, and utilities recorded the greatest month-over gain, adding 2,100 jobs. Seasonal growth in retail trade (up 2,300) accounted for most of the growth in this sector, primarily from general merchandise stores (up 1,200) and clothing and clothing accessories stores (up 500). Transportation, warehousing, and utilities added 600 jobs, while wholesale trade (down 800) offset the overall job growth in this sector.

• Five other sectors also added jobs over the month: manufacturing (up 900); professional and business services (up 700); other services (up 300);

• Four other nonfarm sectors posted month-over job losses. The most significant came from leisure and hospitality (down 2,200), mainly from food services and drinking places (down 1,600).

Between December 2013 and December 2014:

Total nonfarm employment increased by 44,500 jobs, or 3.3 percent.

• Professional and business services recorded the greatest year-over gain, adding 15,900 jobs. Professional, scientific, and technical services (up 11,200) contributed to roughly 70 percent of the job growth in this sector. Administrative and support and waste services increased by 4,000 jobs, followed by a gain of 700 jobs in management of companies and enterprises.

• Eight other sectors also added jobs over the year. The most notable job growth came from leisure and hospitality (up 7,000), primarily from food services and drinking places (up 5,000); trade, transportation, and utilities (up 6,200), mostly from retail trade (up 2,800) and wholesale trade (up 2,700); and educational and health services (up 4,700), all from health care and social assistance (up 4,700).

• One industry posted year-over job losses: financial activities (down 300).

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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: