Daily Business Report-Feb. 5, 2015
Protests like this one have cropped up across the country over the FCC’s proposal to treat the Internet like a utility.
San Diego’s Connect and Local Startups
Say FCC Should Keep Hands Off the Internet
The Federal Communications Commission will seek more influence on Internet regulation to ensure net neutrality, its chairman said Wednesday.
In an editorial published on the website of the magazine Wired, Tom Wheeler explained new rules, proposed this week, “to preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input.”
The proposed new rules brought an immediate negative reaction from San Diego-based Connect, and more than 40 of its startups and partners. They sent a letter to leaders in Congress asking the federal government to maintain a “hands off the Net” approach.
“Connect and all the signatories’ main concern regarding any regulation of the Internet is to ensure that start-ups receive a fair chance in the competition for quality network services,” the letter states. “But if any regulatory change is considered necessary, it should be done by Congress after careful deliberations and input from all parties. However, we believe a “hands off” approach is best and has worked in allowing the innovation necessary for the Internet to thrive.”
The new rules will cast high-speed Internet service as a public utility. The change would give the FCC more power to regulate arrangements between Internet and content providers, and would change current policy in which Internet providers charge content companies, such as Netflix, for direct access to customers through broadband. The FCC would have the power to ensure broadband companies do not create “slow lanes” for public internet traffic, a concept known as net neutrality.
Click here to read the Connect letter.
Target Delays Planned Opening
Of TargetExpress Store in South Park
Target has delayed the planned opening for its tiny store in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood.
The TargetExpress, which has met resistance from some community members, is now scheduled to open in the old Gala Foods at 30th and Grape streets in October instead of July as originally planned.
Spokeswoman Erika Winkels said the opening date was postponed to make sure the property meets government codes and regulations.
The Minneapolis-based retail chain included the new date for the South Park store in an announcement that it plans to open a total of 15 smaller-format stores across the country this year, including that one.
Target, like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has already come close to saturating the market with its larger general-merchandise stores. It is now going after consumers in more urban, walking communities by opening smaller stores that carry a curated selection of groceries, home goods and other quick-trip items.
— By U-T San Diego
Atkins Proposes $10 Billion
To Fix State Highways, Bridges
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) unveiled a plan Wednesday to spend $10 billion over five years to fix California’s deteriorating highways and bridges.
“California cannot have a strong middle class or a thriving economy if our roadways are congested and people and goods cannot move efficiently throughout the state,” said Atkins, who spoke in Sacramento at the California Transportation Foundation’s 16th Annual Forum. “The Assembly is stepping up and proposing $10 billion for transportation infrastructure — $2 billion per year over the next 5 years.”
The plan she outlined includes:
• $1 billion per year by returning truck weight fees to transportation instead of using them to repay general obligation debt.
• $200 million per year for transportation funding by accelerating repayment of transportation loans.
• $800 million per year in new net funds for transportation by establishing a new road-user charge, which Atkins said would amount to a dollar a week for most drivers.
“This is the right proposal at the right time. California has overcome a dangerous recession in our very recent past, the present is fiscally stable and looking stronger every day, so now we need to look ahead and help fix the future,” she said. “And addressing transportation funding so we can have better, safer, and faster infrastructure is a key part of fixing the future.”
California has 33 million registered vehicles, the most of any state, along with the second-highest share of roads rated in “poor condition” and problems with a third of its bridges
— Times of San Diego
Water Authority Partners With Companies
To Offer Discounts on Artificial Turf
Residents, businesses and public agencies across the San Diego region can save money on artificial turf and save water at the same time through a pilot program launched by the San Diego County Water Authority in partnership with artificial turf companies.
The public-private partnership is part of the agency’s drought response effort and is designed to help increase water conservation during what is shaping up to be a fourth consecutive dry year. It offers a 10 percent discount on turf materials and installation from participating retailers. Participating companies currently include Turf Evolutions, EasyTurf, Hellas, Athletic Turf Solutions and Players Turf USA.
The program is open to residential, commercial and public sector property owners. No application is necessary. Customers can call any of the participating vendors and mention the Water Authority’s program.
Discounts offered by artificial turf companies can be combined with a turf removal rebate of $2 per square foot from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to provide substantial savings on both professional and do-it-yourself artificial turf projects. Turf removal rebates are partly funded by the Water Authority through water rates paid to MWD.
ViaSat Co-Founder Selected
For Satellite Hall of Fame
ViaSat’s co-founder and Chief Executive Mark Dankberg has been selected for the 2015 Satellite Hall of Fame by the Society of Satellite Professionals. Dankberg is being honored for creating innovations in satellite technology for defense, mobile and Internet communications.
Dankberg, 58, and three other satellite industry leaders will be officially inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame at a ceremony on March 17. The satellite Hall of Fame was created in 1987 to recognize pioneers in satellite communications. There are more than 40 inductees to date.
Airport Seeking Design-Build Team
A design-build team to create the parking structure of the future is being sought to lead development of the next major improvement at San Diego International Airport.
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for firms for a “high-level experience” public-use parking plaza. The Airport Authority seeks a team that will extend the aesthetic and experiential elements of the Terminal 2 West expansion at San Diego International Airport.
The RFQ specifies innovative elements such as elegant architectural design accentuating views, sustainable landscape architecture, new parking technologies, advanced communications and security systems, public art (under a separate solicitation) and benchmark sustainability.
The project scope is for a building with three parking levels and approximately 3,000 parking stalls with integrated parking technology and customer service measures.
To register, visit www.san.org/business.
Supervisors Tentatively Approve
Two Solar Projects in Boulevard
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday gave tentative approval to a pair of proposed solar projects in Boulevard that are expected to generate enough energy to power around 46,000 homes.
The 420-acre Tierra Del Sol Solar project is planned for an area south of Interstate 8, south of Tierra Del Sol Road and adjacent to the U.S.-Mexico border. The 765-acre Rugged Solar project is to be constructed north of Interstate 8 and east of Ribbonwood Road.
The state has certified both Soitec projects as California Environmental Leadership Development Projects.
“We are quickly changing over to electric cars and electric everything that are going to require far more electricity per capita than ever used before,” Supervisor Ron Roberts said. “In addition, the state’s requiring us to use renewable energy, and that means windmills, means solar, that means geothermal, and we know all of these things are opposed by somebody.”
Prior to the supervisors’ 4-1 vote, several area residents voiced their concerns about groundwater resources, fire risks, glare and other aesthetic impacts, harm to plants and animals, and Soitec’s financial stability. Last month, the French electronics firm announced that it was eliminating around 200 jobs at its 3-year-old solar energy plant in Rancho Bernardo.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who cast the dissenting vote, said area residents were fighting an uphill battle.
“These people are important. They’re just as important as people in La Jolla or Rancho Santa Fe or any other part of the region, and I think their property rights should be considered along with the property rights of the owner of the projects that are proposed,” Jacob said.
— City News Service
EastRidge Group Rebrands to Become
Eastridge Workforce Solutions
The Eastridge Group of Staffing Companies has rebranded to become Eastridge Workforce Solutions.
“From millennials to seasoned veterans, recruiting and managing today’s diverse workforce has become increasingly complex,” said Seth Stein, president of workforce recruitment for Eastridge Workforce Solutions. “Given today’s intense competition for talent across all business sectors, our rebrand enables us to continue providing top-notch guidance to candidates while also offering a strategic approach for companies based on analytics to manage their growing teams.”
With the improved economy, CEOs cite attracting and retaining talented workers as the primary challenge. Even millennials, new to the workforce, are being more selective and are willing to change positions after short periods at companies. These trends, said Stein, are driving today’s environment and are a focal point for Eastridge Workforce Solutions and its mission to provide “uncommon” solutions.
The 43-year-old company, headquartered in San Diego, is ranked by Staffing Industry Analysts as one of the top 1 percent of firms nationwide and has offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and New Jersey.
Marshall Goldsmith Speaks at USD
Leadership expert Marshall Goldsmith, author of “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” and other best-sellers, will speak at the University of San Diego on Saturday, Feb. 14.
He will discuss how successful leaders can become even better by achieving positive, lasting change in behavior for themselves and their employees.
The event includes a continental breakfast at 9:30 a.m., followed by the program from 10 to 11 a.m. in the USD Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre.
To reserve for the event, call (619)260-4828.
Fab Lab in East Village Serves
A new incubator in the East Village packed with the latest machine tools officially opened Wednesday to help San Diego entrepreneurs create high-tech hardware.
With a crowd of a few hundred spilling into 14th street, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Sherri Lightner made brief remarks to dedicate Fab Lab San Diego.
Faulconer said the warehouse space, which is crowded with tables for projects, is an excellent example of the innovation taking place in San Diego.
“This is about dreaming. This is about entrepreneurs. This is about taking risks,” Faulconer said. “We’re not just talking about innovation; we’re doing it.”
After his remarks, Faulconer was treated to a lesson in soldering and presented with a 3-D printed sculpture of his head.
Lightner, a licensed engineer with over 25 years of experience, drew applause from the crowd when she revealed there is a 3-D printer in her home.
“San Diego is the perfect place to cultivate innovation,” she noted.
The nonprofit Fab Lab was established in 2007 as part of a network of incubators set up by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It completed a move from Kearny Mesa to the East Village’s “Maker’s Quarter” several weeks ago, and already has a dozen entrepreneurial projects underway.
Entrepreneurs use the lab’s machine tools, 3-D printers, laser cutters and other tools for “short-term fabrication” of new products.
The lab’s emphasis on physical products dovetails with the philosophy of the Maker’s Quarter, where artists and entrepreneurs have set up in the neighborhood’s former warehouses and factories.
Kevin Rast, program director for the Fab Lab, invited the crowd to come “invent with us” because “the maker’s movement is a testament to the American dream.”
— By Times of San Diego
Former Copley Mansion For Sale: $25 Million
The La Jolla mansion once owned by the Copley publishing family is for sale. $25 million gets you seven bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms and garages for a dozen cars. Foxhill is an eight-acre estate that features panoramic ocean and hillside views.
The country-style manor home was built in 1959. It includes a guest house, pool pavilion, staff quarters and a fitness center and office space.
Helen Copley, a former publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, made Foxhill her home and entertained such dignitaries there as President Nixon, according to the L.A. Times. After her death in 2004 at 81, the property passed to her son David C. Copley. He was also a publisher for the Union-Tribune and died three years ago at age 60.
Greg Noonan of Greg Noonan & Associates, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, is the listing agent.