Daily Business Report-Feb. 4, 2015
Building a new stadium at the site of Qualcomm Stadium is one of the ideas that will be studied by the stadium task force.
Who Should lead the Chargers Stadium Task Force?
Here we go again.
Will it finally happen — that is, a Chargers stadium location at a reasonable deal which the city’s taxpayers will buy into and support?
So far, that looks like a shot longer than the 614 yard, 13th hole on Torrey Pines’ South Course, at least according to the most recent U-T San Diego poll.
The public doesn’t support tax breaks for the Chargers, or local governments contributing publicly owned land for a new stadium, both by substantial margins.
What is before the mayor’s new group is formidable. First, overcoming taxpayers who are suspect, and secondly, if they do find a solution, selling it to both the Chargers and the public.
What the committee needs most right now is a chair, someone who is a no-nonsense, take charge, throttle-to the-floor leader. Anyone less than that and this will be another exercise doomed for failure.
I’ve a modest suggestion: Jason Hughes.
Hughes is the undisputed commercial real estate guru in San Diego, who owns the most successful (and locally owned) commercial real estate company in the city. He has done some of the largest and most complex real estate deals in San Diego over the past 25 years.
He is connected to virtually everyone within the real estate world who could help in evaluating sites, construction, environmental issues and every other aspect of real estate imaginable.
When the city needed to figure out its space needs, it turned to Hughes. When the New Children’s Museum was facing extinction, he came to the rescue.
Is not the issue of a new Chargers stadium a real estate deal? If not, then what is it?
We’re past play time. Screw this up further and you can kiss the Chargers goodbye.
Someone who understands this, who eats, breathes and sleeps real estate, and with the personality and capacity to brings these desperate sides together, is needed now. As well as a consummate salesman.
The clock is ticking. Time to wake up San Diego.
The committee and the mayor need to put Jason Hughes in charge.
Bob Page, CEO, SD METRO Magazine
UC San Diego to be Testing Site
for Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE
The Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at UC San Diego has been named the official testing site for the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, a global competition sponsored by the Qualcomm Foundation to develop a consumer-friendly, mobile device capable of diagnosing and interpreting 15 physiological conditions and capturing vital health metrics.
The XPRIZE competition is inspired by the tricorder medical device that debuted in the original 1966 Star Trek TV show and was frequently featured in subsequent series and movies.
“Of course, the tricorder in Star Trek was originally fantasy, a wonderful bit of science fiction,” said Gary S. Firestein, CTRI director. “But the idea — and this XPRIZE competition –symbolizes a very real vision of how we can shape a healthier future with creative use of cutting edge discoveries.”
CTRI will serve as the physical location of the test program, with doctors, technicians and staff providing logistical and personnel management. CTRI will be responsible for recruiting up to 480 volunteers to serve as consumer-testers, gaining their consent and instructing them in the use of the devices, overseeing device testing and conducting follow-up surveys.
Late last year, 10 teams were selected as finalists for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. The teams come from the United States, Canada, India, Taiwan, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, representing both academic and private enterprises. Final results will be announced in 2016 — the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series. First prize is $7 million, with $2 million for second place and $1million for third.
Carlsbad’s MaxLinear to Purchase
Shrinking Entropic for $287 Million
Carlsbad chipmaker MaxLinear will buy San Diego semiconductor firm Entropic, the companies announced Tuesday after unanimous approval by their boards of directors. Based on MaxLinear’s closing stock price Monday, the merger is valued at $3.01 per Entropic share, or $287 million. Entropic shareholders will get $1.20 a share in cash and 0.22 MaxLinear shares for each share they own.
The stock-watching website Seeking Alpha says Entropic shareholders will own 35 percent of the post-merger company.
The move comes three months after Entropic announced the elimination of 200 jobs, following June layoffs of 150 workers when it closed facilities in Austin, Texas, India, Israel and Taiwan.
U-T San Diego also reported that, in 2012, Entropic bought the assets of bankrupt set-top box chip maker Trident for $65 million “in hopes of making its own all-in-one products.”
“I think it’s is pretty apparent it has not worked out for them,” Alex Gauna, an analyst with JMP Securities, was quoted as saying in November.
Headquartered in San Diego, Entropic pioneered the MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) home networking standard, invented Direct Broadcast Satellite (“DBS”) outdoor unit single-wire technology, and developed the industry’s first set-top box SoC platform based on the ARM processor with advanced OpenGL graphics.
“The acquisition will add significant scale to MaxLinear’s analog/mixed-signal business, expanding its addressable market and enhancing the strategic value of MaxLinear’s offerings to its broadband and access partners, OEM customers, and service providers,” the company said. “MaxLinear sees immediate cross-selling opportunities and longer-term platform integration opportunities with Entropic’s leading MoCA technology.”
Along with broadening MaxLinear’s presence in its existing markets, Entropic adds immediate scale and deep relationships in MaxLinear’s most recent growth area of the satellite Pay-TV market.
Entropic, listed on NASDAQ, boasts 1,500 issued and pending patents. MaxLinear is MXL on the New York Stock Exchange.
MaxLinear’s fourth-quarter 2014 revenue is expected to be in the range of $32 million to $33 million.
— Times of San Diego
California Met 20 Percent Water
Conservation Goal in December
It took a whole year of trying, but in December California at last achieved Gov. Jerry Brown’s directive to slash water use 20 percent in response to the continuing drought, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Californians collectively cut their water consumption by 22.2 percent in December, based on reports filed by urban water agencies with the State Water Resources Control Board. It was the first time the state as a whole reached that goal since Brown ordered the 20 percent cut as part of his January 2014 emergency drought declaration.
“That’s good news indeed,” water board chairwoman Felicia Marcus said at a meeting Tuesday in Sacramento. “If I had a little sparkler, I would probably be lighting it right now.”
The water board ordered local agencies to begin submitting monthly water use data in June so it could track compliance with the 20 percent order. It’s been an uncertain path ever since, as conservation improved through August – reaching 11.5 percent – but then dropped sharply in October.
Voters Should Have Say on City
Salaries, County Grand Jury Says
The city of San Diego should change the way salaries for elected officials are set and place alternatives before voters next year, the county grand jury concluded in a report released Tuesday.
The current system is “fundamentally flawed” and “creates a conflict of interest by requiring council members to vote for their own base wages,” the report says.
Every two years, a Salary Setting Commission made up of residents meets to determine the appropriate salaries for council members, the mayor and city attorney. Its recommended adjustments are then sent to the City Council for approval.
Because San Diego municipal finances have been so weak until the last year or so, the council members have been loathe to raise their pay. As a result, the base compensation of the mayor has been frozen at $100,464 since 2003, and the pay of council members has been $75,386 since that time.
The grand jury said the cost of living has risen 25 percent in the interim.
“The resulting relatively low compensation, as compared with private- sector salaries for jobs with similar responsibilities, may discourage qualified individuals from running for public office,” the report says.
“The grand jury recommends an amendment to the City Charter by which salaries of the mayor and council members are determined by an external benchmark,” the report says. “This would eliminate the need for a council vote on mayor and City Council salaries.”
The grand jurors found that of the eight largest cities in the state, San Diego’s mayor has the lowest salary — despite having the second-largest population. City Council pay, which varied widely among the cities, was fifth.
The grand jury suggested linking the salaries to two commonly used benchmarks — the pay of Superior Court judges or the consumer price index — but did not recommend either one.
The report called for the City Council’s new Charter Review Committee to look at the salary issue and place a City Charter amendment on salaries before voters in the June 2016 election. The committee was set up to examine San Diego’s primary governing document and place recommended changes on the ballot.
— City News Service
Former Sen. Olympia Snowe to Keynote
Lawyers Club’s 43rd Annual Dinner
Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe will be the keynote speaker at the Lawyers Club of San Diego’s 43rd annual dinner on May 12 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in Downtown San Diego. Snowe will receive the Lawyers Club Icon Award in recognition of “exceptional achievement by individuals furthering the advancement of women in the law and in society.”
A moderate Republican with a reputation for courageously crossing the aisle, Snowe served in the legislative branch at the state and federal level for 40 years. She has a track record of supporting women, including a pro-choice voting record that spans over three decades in Congress.
Snowe was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1973 and, three years later, to the Maine State Senate. From 1979 to 1995, she served as representative of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Snowe served as a senator for nearly two decades, from 1995 to 2013. During her time in Congress, Snowe worked with the last six Presidents, from Carter to Obama.
Registration begins at 5:30 p.m., and the dinner and program are set for 6:30-8 p.m. Individual tickets go on sale on March 2 for Lawyers Club members, and on March 16 for the general public. For more information, visit www.lawyersclubsandiego.com.
$1 Billion in Obama Budget
For Trolley to University City
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that its budget proposal for the next federal fiscal year includes $1 billion to help pay for the extension of the San Diego Trolley from Old Town to University City.
The funding would account for about 49 percent of the project’s cost, according to the agency. The rest would come from the TransNet sales tax and bond proceeds.
The federal department is proposing funding for 25 major transit projects across the country, several of which are in California.
“President Obama has laid out a bold vision for investing in 21st century transportation infrastructure that provides millions of Americans improved access to employment, education and other vital services, while also supporting the nation’s growing economy,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are committed to ensuring that every American has access to the ladders of opportunity that lead to success — and public transportation is essential to making that happen.”
The trolley extension will run 10.9 miles and include nine stops, including the Veterans Administration Medical Center, UC San Diego and the Westfield UTC shopping mall. Construction planning is under way, and passenger service along the route is expected to begin in May 2019.
— City News Service
San Diego Navy Bases Participating
In Major Security Exercises
The Navy is conducting a nationwide force protection training exercise this week and next, including San Diego-area bases and installations. Held annually, Exercise Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield enhances the training and readiness of Navy security personnel to respond to threats to installations and units. It is not a response to specific threats, but is regularly scheduled for practical experience and learning.
Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base and station operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases or delays in base access. Area residents may also see increased security activity associated with the exercise.
Petco Getting Metal Detectors Under
Major League Baseball Safety Program
Starting this year, walk-through metal detectors will be in operation at all public entrances to Petco Park, it was announced Tuesday.
The change is part of a Major League Baseball program to strengthen and standardize security practices across the country, according to the San Diego Padres’ front office.
As part of the new process, fans will have to remove cell phones, cameras, sunglasses cases and other large metal objects — but not belts, shoes, jackets, wallets or coins — before passing through the detectors.
An alternate method of screening will be provided for fans with strollers, people in wheelchairs and those with medical devices that set off metal detectors, according to the team.
“The safety of our guests and our staff is first and foremost our top priority,” said Mark Guglielmo, general manager of Petco Park. “We will make every effort to ensure this security enhancement doesn’t slow down the process of getting into the game. However, we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as these changes are implemented.”
As they have in years past, fans still will be required to have their bags checked by ballpark security staff prior to reaching the entry gates. Express lines will be available at all main entrances for fans without bags and for season-ticket holders.
— City News Service
Procopio Partner Gets City Panel Post
Evelyn F. Heidelberg, partner in the Procopio law firm in San Diego, has been appointed to serve on the City of San Diego’s Development Services Department’s ad hoc committee on development permit review streamlining.
Under the direction of newly appointed Deputy Director for DSD’s Project Management Division Elyse Lowe, the committee is charged with advising on steps the department can take to reduce the burden, cost and time taken in reviewing applications for discretionary entitlements.
Heidelberg’s practice emphasizes land use entitlements, as well as real estate, land use and environmental litigation.
Scott Moffatt Joins Lincoln Property Co.
Scott Moffatt has joined Lincoln Property Co. as vice president of its San Diego office. Moffatt’s responsibilities include sourcing, underwriting and conducting due diligence related to new acquisitions for Lincoln Property.
Prior to joining Lincoln Property, Moffatt was a senior associate at Colliers International, as well as a summer associate at TA Associates Realty.
Moffatt received his B.A. from the University of San Diego and his Masters of Business Administration and Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California.
Teresa Acosta Hired as Public Affairs Manager
Teresa Acosta has been hired as public affairs manager for Madaffer Enterprises Inc., a San Diego government relations firm. Her areas of expertise are local government relations, inter-regional, inter-agency collaboration, and Latino community relations.
Previously the principal andfFounder of TAC Communications and Public Affairs in Carlsbad, Teresa has almost 15 years of experience in building long-term relationships and managing communications and outreach for public officials, nonprofit organizations, and private companies throughout California. She has held executive positions in small businesses in Los Angeles and San Diego counties and was a regional public affairs manager for the League of California Cities from 2008 to 2010. From 2001 to 2008, Acosta served as field representative and internship director for state Sen. Jack Scott in Pasadena.
San Diego Land Lawyers Adds Partner
Morgan Wazlaw has joined San Diego Land Lawyers Inc. as a partner. Her areas of expertise include the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, permitting, stormwater, groundwater, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Prior to joining Land Lawyers, Morgan was a project anager for Rincon Consultants, an environmental consulting firm, for six years. She assisted municipal and private developer clients throughout California with land use, planning, and permitting matters. Morgan graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2008. At Davis, she was a member of the NCAA Division I Track and Field team and was awarded the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award of 2008. In 2014, she graduated magna cum laude from California Western School of Law.
Alan Lewis Joins Batu Biologics Board
Batu Biologics, a San Diego biotechnology company, has named Alan Lewis as chairman of its board of directors.
Lewis spent 15 years at the pharmaceutical company Wyeth-Ayerst, where he was vice president of research, leading translational research efforts in diabetes, CNS, cardiovascular, inflammatory, allergy and bone metabolism diseases. He subsequently became CEO of Signal Pharmaceuticals, a drug development company that he successfully merged with Celgene.
He became CEO of Novocell Inc (Viacyte) and served as CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the largest research funding body for diabetes. Subsequently, he was CEO of Ambit Biosciences.