Daily Business Report-Feb. 3, 2015
Councilmen Todd Gloria (left) and David Alvarez talk after Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s State of the City Address on Jan. 14.
Stadium Task Force Criticized
Gloria, Alvarez complain about lack of diversity, plans to meet privately
Two members of the City Council called Monday for more transparency by a task force designed to develop plans for a new Chargers stadium in San Diego, but the City Attorney’s Office said the group doesn’t need to meet in public.
The nine-member task force announced Friday by Mayor Kevin Faulconer includes business and civic leaders and land-use experts.
In a memo to Faulconer, Councilmen David Alvarez and Todd Gloria said they’re troubled by a lack of openness for the group, “especially because you have tasked them with the development of a proposal that is expected to include a commitment of public resources in the form of land and/or tax revenue.”
The councilmen requested that the panel hear public input on the stadium issue, that the mayor or task force issue monthly progress reports, and for information on how much public funds the group will spend.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith weighed in with his own memo, which said the task force is allowed to meet behind closed doors since it is not an official municipal body and does not represent the city.
He said that, as he understands it, the group will operate informally.
“It will not be required to conduct public meetings, submit financial disclosure forms or otherwise publicly identify conflicts of interest,” Goldsmith said.
“Our office has been asked whether this group is legally obligated to follow Brown Act requirements that apply to public bodies,” Goldsmith said. “The answer is that as long as the group remains an informal advisory group to the mayor and nothing more, it does not have to comply with the rules designed for public bodies. In fact, it is common for politicians to receive informal input from members of the community without demanding such compliance.”
He said the task force will not be allowed to make decisions or negotiate on behalf of the city, and will not receive legal advice from the City Attorney’s Office.
Faulconer created the task force to determine whether to place a new playing home for the Chargers downtown or the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley, and develop a funding plan that will pass muster with two-thirds of the city’s voters next year. A final report from the panel is due in the fall.
Craig Gustafson of the mayor’s office said the task force is just one part of what will be a “very public” process.
— City News Service
America’s Finest, Least Affordable City
America’s Finest City is America’s least affordable.
Homes in San Diego aren’t as expensive as those in San Francisco or New York, but a new study by Realtor.com says San Diego still has more people who can’t afford to buy a place in their own back yard, the U-T San Diego reports.
The study, released last week, gives San Diego the honor of being least affordable because fewer of its residents can afford to buy homes in their neighborhoods. That’s because incomes haven’t kept up with home price appreciation.
To determine whether a city was affordable, the analysts measured how many people could afford to buy a home in their ZIP code. The study found that in 99 of San Diego’s 106 ZIP codes, or 93.3 percent, fewer than half of the households could afford the median priced home because they couldn’t qualify for a loan. That made for the highest ratio of any city in the study.
San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and New York rounded out the five least affordable in the nation.
Customers Choosing Qualcomm’s
Snapdragon Despite Samsung Loss
Qualcomm said Monday there is a growing demand for its new Snapdragon 810 processor, with more than 60 mobile devices being designed to use it — despite Samsung’s decision to use a different chip on the upcoming Galaxy S6.
“New devices based on Snapdragon 810 include the LG G Flex2 and the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro, with many more expected in the coming weeks and months,” Qualcomm said in a statement, also citing Motorola Mobility, Sony Mobile and Microsoft as customers.
Motorola Mobility and Qualcomm have a long history of cooperating to create amazing mobile experiences,” said Rick Osterloh, president of Motorola Mobility. “The Snapdragon 810 processor will enable us to push the boundaries even further so we can continue delighting our customers with devices that give them new choices.”
“Xiaomi prides itself on embracing the leading-edge of innovation for premium mobile devices,” said Lei Jun, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Xiaomi. “We make every effort to bring the newest and most innovative technology to our enthusiastic customers, drawing on the best in the industry.
Last week Qualcomm lowered its financial outlook because of Samsung’s decision to use its own chip, rather than the Snapdragon, as the processor for its next signature mobile phone.
— Times of San Diego
Qualcomm Spin-off Tag Sold to Rival
Qualcomm’s spin-off, Tagg, maker of GPS pet tracking devices, has been sold to rival pet technology firm Whistle at an undisclosed price. Whistle made the acquisition after raising $15 million in venture capital this past week. The purchase will give Whistle access to Tagg’s GPS tracking technology so it can expand its product line of pet activity trackers
First Wave of Special Guests
For Comic-Con Announced
Comic-Con International has announced the first wave of special guests for its venerated summer show. The event will again be held in San Diego beginning on Thursday, July 9, and running though Sunday, July 12, at the San Diego Convention Center.
“Comic-Con is grateful to feature such talented individuals from comics and popular art,” saidDavid Glanzer, spokesperson for the nonprofit organization.
The first round of guests include:
• Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick: “Captain Marvel,” “Pretty Deadly,” “Bitch Planet.”
• Artist Carlos Ezquerra: Co-creator, “Judge Dredd,” “Stontium Dog. ”
• Author Lev Grossman: “The Magicians.”
• Writer/director/producer Reginald Hudlin: “Django Unchained,” “Black Panther” animated series.
• Artist/illustrator William Stout: “The Dinosaurs.”
For information on guests and all aspects of the summer show, visit www.comic-con.org and check out Toucan Blog, the official blog of Comic-Con International.
County Supervisors to Make Final
Decision on Campaign Finance Rules
The County Board of Supervisors is to give final consideration today to caps on the amount of money political parties may donate to candidates for county offices.
Last week, the panel voted 4-1 to establish limits of $25,000-per-district for supervisor races and $50,000 for countywide offices. Supervisor Bill Horn cast the dissenting vote.
When a federal judge struck down the city of San Diego’s $1,000 cap on political contributions some years ago for being too restrictive, the county did away with its own limit, which was the same amount.
The city responded in 2013 by capping political contributions for district races at $10,000 and $20,000 for citywide campaigns.
Supervisor Ron Roberts proposed similar individual election limits — $10,000 for supervisors candidates since they’re elected by district, and $20,000 for countywide races like sheriff, district attorney, treasurer-tax collector and assessor/recorder/clerk — but later upped the amounts to $25,000 for supervisor races by district and $50,000 for countywide offices.
“The substance is to enact a limit that allows political parties to maintain both their rights of freedom of expression and to help ensure competitive elections,” Roberts said last week. “The appearance part comes with providing a reasonable cap that gives the public confidence that political parties cannot dictate opinions to candidates.”
There is no limit on how much political parties can spend on county races.
Horn suggested that the board should postpone the issue until the 2018 election.
“I don’t think we should (be) voting here on the dais to limit the next opponent’s ability to get elected,” Horn said.
— City News Service
UC San Diego to Assist Malaysia University
To Become a Top Academic Medical Center
UC San Diego announced plans to collaborate with Perdana University in Malaysia to further develop the Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine. UC San Diego was chosen from among the top schools of medicine in the United States to lead the initiative.
The collaboration is designed to help Perdana University capitalize on the breadth and depth of UC San Diego’s experience in stimulating and helping to sustain San Diego’s status as a major research, health care and biotechnology hub.
“The 10-year joint collaboration will focus on enhancing and implementing a forward-thinking medical curriculum, a model for comprehensive patient care and a platform for innovative world-class research in Malaysia and Southeast Asia,” said David A. Brenner, vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Opportunities for clinical research from a global health perspective will exist in many areas, including cardiovascular, neuroscience, tropical diseases, diabetes, cancer and trauma care.”
Mohan Swami, chairman of Perdana Univesity’s board of governors, said the collaboration will help Perdana achieve its vision of becoming a top-tier academic medical center serving the 21st century health care needs of Malaysia and the broader region.
2 UC San Diego Scientists Receive Funds
To Accelerate Stem Cell Therapies
The governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has awarded two UC San Diego researchers almost $3 million in combined funding to pursue new technologies intended to accelerate advances moving stem cell therapies out of the lab and into the clinic.
Shaochen Chen, professor in the Department of Nanoengineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering and a member of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego, received $1.3 million for development of 3D bioprinting techniques using human embryonic stem cell-derived heart muscle cells to create new cardiac tissue.
Chen and colleagues are exploring the possibility of engineering healthy cardiac tissues bioprinted from heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes, created from human embryonic stem cells. These tissues could then be implanted in a damaged heart, restoring function.
Shyni Varghese, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering and director of the Bio-Inspired Materials and Stem Cell Engineering Laboratory, received a $1.4 millio to improve in vivo function of transplanted stem cells. Varghese’s lab focuses upon the complex interactions of cells with their surrounding microenvironment, and how the conditions necessary to promote normal, healthy survival and growth occur.
Sports Center Construction to Begin
Feb. 16 at Cal State San Marcos
Construction of the new Sports Center at Cal State San Marcos is scheduled to start on Feb. 16.
The new 25,000-square foot facility would involve an expansion of The M. Gordon Clarke Field House, located in the heart of campus at the corner of E. Barham and Campus View Drive.
The center will include seating for 1,400 spectators of basketball and volleyball in an NCAA-compliant setting, ticket office, concession stand, expanded sports medicine training room, home and visiting team locker rooms, student-athlete lounge, officials/umpires locker rooms, media office for press conferences and administrative offices for coaches.
The current home of the Cougars, The M. Gordon Clarke Field House, features only a half-basketball court gymnasium. Currently, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball are practicing and playing off campus at a local high school and community college. The current facilities do not meet NCAA minimum standards.
Father Joe’s Village Names New President/CEO
Jimmy F. Vargas, a veteran in management and human resources fields, has been named president and CEO of Father Joe’s Village in San Diego. A deacon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, Vargas — often called “Deacon Jim” — will oversee all facets of the organization, including the services of St. Vincent de Paul Village, Toussaint Academy, Josue Homes and the agency’s portfolio of low-income housing. He starts on Feb. 17.
Vargas has more than 30 years of broad management and human resources experience at companies like The Copley Press Inc. and Citicorp/Citibank. In his most recent role as vice president and chief human resources officer at Copley Press, Vargas oversaw human resource operations for 5,000 employees across a chain of newspapers with news bureaus in multiple U.S. locations and Mexico.
Before The Copley Press, Vargas served as senior vice president of the Education Group at KIII Communications. There, he led human resource development for publishing companies in the fields of medicine, films, humanities, primary school education and book clubs.
Earlier, Vargas served in various director and vice president positions of human resources at Citicorp/Citibank, within its bankcard, private bank, real estate, information systems, and investment divisions.
Interim President & CEO Diane K. Stumph will continue her role as chief financial officer.
UC San Diego Names a Vice Chancellor
UC San Diego has named Becky Petitt vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion — the lead senior executive responsible for providing a holistic vision on all major equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. The appointment is effective March 23.
Petitt has 24 years of progressive leadership experience in diversity work across the university community, most recently at Texas A&M University as associate vice president for diversity.
Petitt will report to UC San Diego’s executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and will be a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet.
At Texas A&M University, Petitt currently serves as associate vice president for diversity, chief of staff to the Office of the Vice President and associate provost for diversity. An adjunct faculty member, she has taught courses focused on educational administration, social justice and organizational development
Brian Anderson Reappointed to Mining, Geology Board
Brian Anderson, 50, of Carlsbad, has been reappointed to the State Mining and Geology Board, where he has served since 2014. Anderson has been vice president of property permitting and environment at Vulcan Materials Company since 2013, where he has held several positions since 2002, including director of environment, regulatory affairs and sustainable development, environmental affairs manager and area resources manager. He held several positions at Brown and Caldwell Inc. from 1994 to 2002, including program leader, operations manager and senior project manager.
Anderson has been a California registered geologist since 2002. He earned a Master of Science degree in geological sciences from the University of California, Riverside. The position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Anderson is a Republican.
Corinna Gattasso Joins JLL as Vice President
Corinna Gattasso, a San Diego retail real estate broker, has been hired by JLL as vice president. Gattasso, who has more than 14 years of commercial real estate experience, will play a role in the expansion of firm’s Southwest Retail Brokerage team, assisting owner and investor clients to position their retail assets to meet market demand and to help tenants identify the right space to run a successful business.
During her career, Gattasso has focused solely on retail representation and has negotiated more than $350 million in retail transactions. She specializes in mixed-use leasing, consulting and investment sales services on behalf of owners and developers in urban markets throughout San Diego.
Gattasso earned a business administration degree from University of Central Florida and graduated from the LEAD San Diego program.
Matthew Foehr Promoted at Ligand Pharmaceuticals
Matthew W. Foehr has been promoted to president and chief operating officer at Ligand Pharmaceuticals. He was the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. John Higgins, who had been serving as president and CEO, will continue to serve as the company’s CEO.
Foehr has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having managed global operations and various research and development programs. Prior to joining Ligand in 2011, he was vice president and head of consumer dermatology R&D, as well as acting chief scientific officer of dermatology in the Stiefel division of GlaxoSmithKline.