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Daily Business Report-Jan. 27, 2015

Daily Business Report-Jan. 27, 2015

A woman admires a series of sculptures entitled ‘Nuestros Silencios’ (Our Silences) by Mexican artist Rivelino installed in Victoria Tower Gardens on Jan. 13, 2011 in London, England.

Mexican Artist’s Monumental Artwork

‘Our Silences’ to be Installed on Bayfront

Sculptures by Mexican artist Jose Rivelino that are meant to convey the importance of freedom of expression are to be installed today at the Port of San Diego’s Ruocco Park overlooking San Diego Bay.

A passerby observes one of the ten bronze sculptures in Rivelino's exhibit, "Our Silences," when it was displayed in Madrid. Photo courtesy of Rivelino.

A passerby observes one of the ten bronze sculptures in Rivelino’s exhibit, “Our Silences,” when it was displayed in Madrid. Photo courtesy of Rivelino.

The 10 large bronze sculptures will be on display at the park, located at 585 Harbor Lane, through March 15.

The Port of San Diego, in partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, is sponsoring the temporary exhibit of the monumental artwork by Rivelino.

The exhibit includes 10 large bronze sculptures, each 11 ½-feet tall, and a 6 ½-foot tall steel cube called a “Braille box,” which contains smaller scale models of the sculptures that people can touch and feel through openings in its sides.

The artwork is titled “Nuestros Silencios” or “Our Silences.” Each figure has a metal plate covering its mouth, representing the importance of freedom of expression.

The artwork has been exhibited in 14 countries, including Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Mexico. This will be the first time that it is exhibited in the United States.

The artwork will be unveiled in a formal ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Port Board Chair Dan Malcolm, Consul General Remedios Gomez Arnau and the artist Rivelino will speak at the event.



Rendering of the so-called Discovery Point structure.

Rendering of the so-called Discovery Point structure.

Giant Ferris Wheel Sought for

Bay Called Aircraft Hazard by FAA

Four developers are interested in erecting a giant Ferris wheel on San Diego Bay, but the FAA calls the so-called Discovery Point structure a hazard to aircraft.

In a five-page memo obtained by NBC San Diego, the Federal Aviation Administration said its study of the proposed 443-foot-high “observation wheel found it “exceeds obstruction standards” and could hurt navigation because of electromagnetic interference.

But the FAA’s “Notice of Presumed Hazard” dated Jan. 22 also said the government could issue a “favorable determination” if the wheel didn’t exceed 277 feet.

If the Port wanted federal OK of the 443-foot height, the FAA said, “further study would be necessary,” including a public-comment period that could last 120 days.

Real estate developer David Malmuth, behind one of the proposals, told NBC San Diego that the FAA report was expected.

“You have to have a lot of persistence,” he was quoted as saying. “You need to be flexible. But you also need to firmly believe in the worth of your project.”

San Diego port commissioners have scheduled a Feb. 10 hearing on the Ferris wheel in a parking lot south of the Midway Museum.

“February’s meeting will simply give the board an opportunity to hear from developers interested in moving this concept forward,” said Port Chairman Dan Malcolm. “The public should be aware that this is an informational meeting only and that no decisions either for or against any particular proposed project will be made at this time.”

The board will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the Port’s Administration Building, 3165 Pacific Highway, San Diego.

— Times of San Diego

Rendering of the Outpatient Pavilion for UC San Diego Health Services.

Rendering of the Outpatient Pavilion for UC San Diego Health Services.

$78 Million  UCSD Outpatient Pavilion

Contract Goes to Rudolph and Sletten

Rudolph and Sletten Inc. has been awarded a preliminary contract to begin work on the new Outpatient Pavilion for UC San Diego Health Services. The $78 million construction contract is expected to be booked in the third quarter of 2015.

The 145,000-square-foot building will be built on a 3.5-acre site on UC San Diego’s East Campus, between the Perlman Ambulatory Care Unit and the Moores Cancer Center east of Interstate 5, said Rick Guinn, senior project executive.

The four-story structure will have one story fully-to partially below grade with a connection to the adjacent Perlman facility.

Planned to consolidate and centralize outpatient surgical services, the pavilion will also provide support services for the nearby Jacobs Medical Center. Programs at the newest addition to the UCSD health complex will include ambulatory surgery, outpatient imaging, physical and occupational therapy, rehabilitation, pharmacy, and disease-specific centers for pain, urology, musculoskeletal, breast, apheresis and stem cell treatments.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with UCSD in helping them to transform the East Campus,” Guinn said, noting Rudolph and Sletten’s role as general contractor for the nearby UCSD’s Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute. That $170 million, seven-story project, where researchers will advance scientific knowledge and translate it to medical application, is under construction southwest of the planned Outpatient Pavilion.

CO Architects of Los Angeles has designed the planned outpatient center with two wings connected by a public spine and linked by a grand interior stairway.


San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria outside the San Diego Press Club office in the historic Spreckels Building downtown. (Photo by Chris Jennewein)

San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria outside the San Diego Press Club office in the historic Spreckels Building downtown. (Photo by Chris Jennewein)

Gloria Shares Hope for Balboa Park

Centennial After ‘Spectacular Failing’

The councilman whose district includes Balboa Park  said the downsized plans for this year’s centennial celebration set the right tone for San Diego.

Todd Gloria said the park’s 100th anniversary is “not about sheiks and kings and folks flying in from across the world” but an opportunity to repair and improve San Diego’s favorite park. “San Diego in many ways likes the park just as it is,” said the self-described “cheerleader for the park.”

Gloria spoke to the San Diego Press Club at the professional organization’s first event of 2015. The event was held in the historic Spreckels Building downtown.

He acknowledged a “spectacular failing” by Balboa Park Centennial Inc.,   the group formed to produce a centennial celebration. The new plan started with December Nights and includes three other major seasonal events, but more importantly, according to Gloria, much needed long-term improvements for the park.

“When we close the books on this effort … a significant amount of money will be spent. And those things are permanent,” Gloria said.

He cited $64 million in public improvements to the park, including the Carbrillo Bridge retrofit, re-opening of the California Tower, new lighting, expanded wifi, improvements at the San Diego Zoo and overdue maintenance in many areas.

At the end of 2015, he hopes San Diegans will reflect that “these folks made the right investment. They did the right thing.”

He said former Mayor Bob Filner is partly to blame for the Balboa Park committee’s failure by unduly raising expectations.

“Ultimately the responsibility of that effort exceeded the abilities of the individuals involved,” Gloria said.

— Times of San Diego

Merger Update: Vibra Bank and Pacific Commerce

In late October, locally based Vibra Bank revealed that it had entered into a merger agreement with Los Angeles-based Pacific Commerce Bank. Frank Mercardante, who took the helm of Vibra Bank last February, will become CEO of the merged bank.

Frank Mercardante

Frank Mercardante

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco approved the merger earlier this month. Approval by the Department of Business Oversight is pending and the shareholder meetings of both banks are scheduled for Feb. 23 to approve the transaction. The transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2015.

Mercardante explains that “The combination of the two banks will provide a solid opportunity for the shareholders and employees of both banks to become part of a growing organization with a keen focus on creating shareholder value in the future.”

The combined footprint of the two banks, he adds, “will also enable us to more effectively compete for business in the greater Southern California marketplace.”

In a recent net earnings report for year end for Vibra Bank, earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014 totaled $600,000 compared to $44,000 for the same period in 2013. The fourth quarter earnings represent an annualized return on average shareholders’ equity and average assets of 17.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, compared with 1.3 percent and 0.1 percent for the fourth quarter of 2013.


USD UCSD Ranked Among the Top

Business Schools in the World

The business schools at the University of San Diego and the UC San Diego were ranked among the top 100 business schools worldwide by the Financial Times.

The authoritative British newspaper ranked USD’s School of Business Administration 66th and UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management a 93rd. It was the first time on the list for the USD program.

“We are delighted with this significant worldwide recognition,” said David Pyke, dean of the USD’s business school. “This prestigious ranking helps highlight the outstanding curriculum and faculty in our MBA program, and serves as evidence that we offer one of the best experiences for students and alumni among MBA programs around the world.”

Of the 100 ranked schools, 50 are in the United States and seven are in California.

— Times of San Diego

Actress and Advocate Kim Coles Keynotes

North San Diego Business Chamber Event

Kim Coles

Kim Coles

Actress and best-selling author Kim Coles is the keynote speaker for the North San Diego Business Chamber’s Leaders of Change event on Wednesday from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Maderas Golf Club, 17750 Old Coach Road, in Poway.

Cost is $39 for members, $59 for nonmembers.

Coles offfers humorous lessons in re-inventing yourself and your career.

Her pointers: Assess Your Career Today: What do you already have versus what you want to have. Shift Your Perception: Looking at your life from different perspectives with a fresh focus. Sprint Into Action: Turning your dreams into reality.

Coles is best known for her five-season turn as Synclaire on FOX’s comedy series “Living Single,”and has starred in numerous hit television programs including “Frasier,” “Six Feet Under,” and “In Living Color,” among others.

Coles was the co-host of the nationally syndicated daytime talk show, “In the Loop” with iVillage and has been a guest co-host for various shows, including “The View” and “Good Day Live.”

She is the author of the best-selling book, I’m Free But it Will Cost You: The Single Life According to Kim Coles.” Her newest book, “Gratitude Journal,” shares her own personal journey in order to inspire others, is available at

For information, call (858) 487-1767 or visit


Plate of Foie Gras

Plate of Foie Gras

Top San Diego Chefs Collaborate

For Prix Fixe Foi Grass Dinner

Following the lift of the controversial foie gras ban in California, farm-to-table restaurant Kitchen 4140 will showcase the skills of 11San Diego chefs during a prix

Kitchen 4140 owner and executive chef Kurt Metzger.

Kitchen 4140 owner and executive chef Kurt Metzger.

fixe foie gras dinner on Monday, Feb. 2.

The special event, priced at $150 per person, will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature six courses — each created by a pair of chefs. The prix fixe dinner is part of a two-part foie gras dinner series celebrating the lift of the ban; the first dinner in the series was a multi-chef collaboration Monday at Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside.

Participating chefs at the Feb. 2 dinner will include Kitchen 4140 Chef Kurt Metzger alongside event creator Chef Daniel Barron and a lineup of San Diego chefs, including Chad White, Craig Jimenez, Ian Smith, James Montejano, Stephen Bennett, Karen Blair, Mikel Anthony, Ricardo Heredia and Miguel Valdez.

Chefs are staying silent about the details of each course, though the group has revealed that every plate — even desser t– will incorporate foie gras.

“Chefs in San Diego are incredibly excited to be able to offer foie gras again,” said Chef Kurt Metzger, owner and executive chef of Kitchen 4140.

The sale of foie gras, or fattened duck or goose liver, was previously banned in California after much debate. The ban was lifted by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson on Jan. 7, 2015.

Reservations to Kitchen 4140’s prix fixe foie gras dinner can be made at The restaurant is at 4140 Morena Blvd.

 Brown Administration Reverses

Regulation on Ride-Booking Services

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has abruptly retracted a Department of Motor Vehicles regulation that created tighter rules for ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber.

The DMV announced the rule earlier this month. It stated that drivers who earn a profit using their private cars to transport people must register those cars as commercial vehicles.

But the Brown administration revoked that regulation at midnight Friday after media reports earlier in the day prompted a backlash.

“We jumped the gun, and we shouldn’t have,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto in a statement. “The matter requires further review and analysis which the department is undertaking immediately.”

Last year, after months of negotiations with ride-hailing companies and the taxicab industry, lawmakers passed and Gov. Brown signed legislation that requires ride-hailing service drivers to obtain stronger auto insurance coverage starting this July.

— By Capital Public Radio

City OKs $5.2 Million Annual Rental

Of Civic Center Plaza for Employees

A last-minute deal to keep city of San Diego employees working in a privately held 18-story office building in the Downtown Civic Center complex was approved unanimously Monday by the City Council.

The 20-year lease-to-own agreement involves the Civic Center Plaza, the brown tower across from City Hall where more than 800 municipal employees work, and a smaller adjacent building that houses the King/Chavez charter school. The city will own the structures at the end of the term.

According to a staff report, the city has been trying to buy Civic Center Plaza for three years. Plans for an outright purchase fell through when bonds used by the city became hung up in litigation.

The latest deal calls for a third party, Cisterra Development, to buy the buildings and lease them to the city at rates agreed to during earlier talks.

Cybele Thompson, the city’s real estate director, said the deal came together just in the past few weeks.

The city pays around $4 million a year to rent 92 percent of the space in the building. Rent will increase March 15 to $5.2 million a year with the new deal, she said.

If the council didn’t approve the agreement, Cisterra would have leased the space at market rates, leaving the city with a choice of either paying $6.5 million annually or vacating the building, Thompson said.

She said if the council had chosen the latter route, it still would have had to pay market rates and incur moving costs. Also, since buildings in the area don’t have massive blocks of vacant space, the city would have had to spread operations around at least five different locations, she said.

— City News Service


Personnel Moves

(W)right On Communications Adds Staff

Shae Geary

Shae Geary

Keely Smith

Keely Smith

(W)right On Communications, the communications and public relations firm headquartered in San Diego, has hired Shae Geary as senior communications strategist and Keely Smith as design and multimedia specialist.

With 17 years experience in the industry, Shae will direct and execute communication and public relations efforts for the agency’s client partners, with focus on the hospitality and lifestyle industries. Keely will be supporting the design and multimedia needs of all agency client partners in the hospitality, health care, energy, technology, development, public agency and non-profit industries.

Formerly PR director with Four Seasons Resorts and a consultant for a variety of resorts in California, Hawaii and Mexico, Shae’s expertise in communications and all things hospitality includes a range of niche markets – spa, golf, recreation, weddings, dining, luxury, family and green travel. Shae holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a master’s degreefrom UC Santa Barbara.

Keely’s experience extends across web, print and other media as she engages various mediums including graphic design, sculpture and illustration in traditional and software environments. She holds a bachelor’s degree San Diego State University.

Brooks Elected Chair of Girl Scouts Board

Rick Brooks, chief investment officer for Blankinship & Foster, has been elected chairman of the board of directors of Girl Scouts of San Diego. His tenure began at the start of the annual Girl Scout cookie program.
Brooks has served on the board of Girl Scouts San Diego for four years, and also participates in a number of other local organizations, including the San Diego Foundation and Presidio Little League. He is a past president of the Chartered Financial Analysts Society of San Diego.

Blankinship & Foster is a wealth advisory firm in Solana Beach.

Whitney Peyser Rejoins Canter Companies

Whitney Peyser,  a real estate professional, has rejoined the brokerage division of Canter Companies, an investment and real estate firm in San Diego. She will work out of the Downtown office at 655 West Broadway.

Peyser previously worked at Canter Companies from 2011 to 2013 before deciding to pursue a management opportunity as sales director for SD Homes.

Peyser brings nearly a decade of real estate and brokerage experience to her position. She also has a background in video marketing and her skills in this area led to semi-regular appearances on a local television show covering real estate and finance called, “The American Dream.”

Peyser ran her own property management business while studying at the University of San Diego. After graduation, she worked as a Realtor for Coldwell Banker before transitioning to Middleton and Associates Real Estate where she held the same position.

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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: