Daily Business Report-March 19, 2015
The San Vicente Dam
Gov. Brown and Legislative Leaders To
Announce $1 Billion Drought Legislation
Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins from San Diego and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon are expected to introduce a $1 billion emergency drought legislation today. A press conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in Sacramento.
A mild winter has done little to boost water supplies in the fourth year of the drought. Last week, NASA scientist and UC Irvine professor Jay Famiglietti reported that California has only a year’s worth of water left in its reservoirs.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the package of emergency measures under consideration totals $1 billion.
This will mark the second consecutive year in which the Legislature has acted on emergency drought relief. In 2014, Brown signed a $687.4 million drought package that offered aid to communities facing acute water shortages and food and housing assistance to those harmed by the drought.
The Legislature also crafted a $7.5 billion water bond that was approved by voters last November, but most of those funds will go to longer-term projects to bolster the state’s water infrastructure.
The State Water Board tightened its watering restrictions earlier this week, telling urban agencies to limit the number of days residents can water their yards. They also warned that they will impose tougher restrictions in coming months if local agencies don’t ramp up conservation efforts.
— Times of San Diego with City News Service
Study to Examine Convention
Center Expansion Alternatives
A study that could determine the fate of a convention center expansion was given the go-ahead Wednesday by the board that oversees San Diego’s bayfront facility, the U-T San Diego reports.
The Convention Center Corp. board will contract with the firm, Convention, Sports & Leisure International, or CSL, to analyze the pros and cons of alternative expansion scenarios, taking into account the changing trends in the meetings and trade show industry.
It will share in the cost of the $90,000 study with the city of San Diego and JMI Realty, which owns nearby land where it has considered building a 1,500-room hotel. JMI, which developed Petco Park, also has offered up various development scenarios for a combined football stadium and convention center complex across the railroad tracks from the current center, generally east of Petco Park.
The decision to reexamine the expansion question was precipitated by a court ruling last year that effectively killed a $520 million plan to enlarge the center. A hotelier-approved room tax that would have generated the bulk of the revenue to finance the expansion was deemed invalid under the state Constitution.
The last study to examine an expansion was six years ago, and the meetings industry has likely changed since then, said board chairman Steve Cushman, who has been working with Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office to look at expansion alternatives.
“The mayor has said, we need to be open to what others have proposed,” Cushman said. “A facility across the street, maybe our clients would like this. We don’t know.”
— UT-San Diego
AT&T Brings State-of-the-Art Simulator
To San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering
If the ring, beep or buzz of your cell phone triggers an intense urge to respond, and you find yourself reaching for the phone — even when you’re driving — you’re not alone.
A survey commissioned by AT&T and Dr. David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, found that twice as many people with self-reported cell phone addiction are showing compulsive phone behaviors — with three-in-four people admitting to at least glancing at their phones while behind the wheel.
What can happen when you text and drive? Teens and adults alike will be able to experience firsthand the dangers of texting and driving as AT&T brings its innovative It Can Wait driving simulator to the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering EXPO on Saturday at Petco Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The simulator is an interactive, 3-D console similar to an arcade-style racing game. Participants sit behind the wheel of the simulator and try to maneuver around obstacles while texting on their own phones. If the driver speeds, goes too slow, or crashes, the simulation ends to demonstrate that it’s impossible to be an attentive driver while texting. During the event, participants and onlookers will be encouraged to take a pledge that they will never text and drive.
Target Schedules October Openings
For Two Stores in San Diego County
Retailer Target Corp. has scheduled October openings for two San Diego stores that will be among 15 locations under various formats debuting nationwide during 2015.
Officials said a general-merchandise Target store will open at 17170 Camino Del Sur, serving the residential community of Del Sur in north-central San Diego.
That store is expected to open during the same month as a previously announced South Park store, carrying the company’s new small format known as TargetExpress. The store at 3030 Grape St. is among eight set to open nationally, with a footprint averaging around 20,000 square feet and geared to urban settings.
Target in late 2014 made a $10 million purchase of approximately 10 acres near the intersection of Camino Del Sur and Paseo Del Sur, for a store that will anchor a retail center known as Del Sur Town Center, being developed by Shea Properties of Aliso Viejo.
Target officials said six new U.S. general-merchandise locations — also planned in Texas, Hawaii, Illinois and Massachusetts –will test new layouts and merchandise assortments featuring local vendors and “lifestyle setting” displays of home products.
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. currently operates 15 stores in San Diego County.
Target Raising Minimum Wage,
Giving Refunds Up to Year Later
With 15 stores in San Diego County, Target is set to make many workers happy — along with customers.
The nation’s No. 2 retail chain announced Wednesday a change in its return policy for certain store-branded items. At the same time, Dow Jones reported that the retailer is raising its minimum wage to $9 an hour, effective in April.
“The announcement comes just about a month after Walmart said that it would up its starting wage to $9, giving an estimated 500,000 workers a raise,” Reuters reported.
All customers have a full year to return or exchange any products from Target’s assortment of Target-owned and exclusive brands.
Target operates stores in San Diego, Chula Vista, Santee, Vista, Escondido, National City, Rancho San Diego, La Mesa, Mira Mesa, Poway, El Cajon and Encinitas. Two new county stores will open in October — one at 17170 Camino Del Sur, the other at 3030 Grape St. in South Park.
— Times of San Diego
Supervisors Add ‘Green’ Measure
To the County Building Code
New homes built in unincorporated San Diego County will soon be “greener” — or at least, prepared to be greener — after the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved changes to the County building code Wednesday.
The Board voted 4-1 to approve four changes related to solar power and electric vehicles to the code that will require all new homes to:
• Be built with 200-amp electric panels — large enough to allow future electrical additions.
• Have electrical conduit built into homes that would allow homeowners to put in wiring for rooftop solar electricity-generating panels.
• Have electrical conduit installed that would allow homeowners to add wiring for electrical car charging stations if desired.
• Be built with space reserved on south-facing rooftops that would allow homeowners to install solar photovoltaic panels.
Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Dave Roberts, who successfully lobbied the rest of the board in April to have staff look for cost-effective green improvements for the building code, praised the additions Wednesday. They said the changes would give homeowners built-in power “flexibility” and add value to homes by adding features inexpensively during construction that would cost much more to add afterwards.
Board Chairman Bill Horn voted against adding the changes, saying it was not the county’s role to tell builders what to put in homes to make them more attractive.
If the building code ordinance changes are approved again by the board in a second reading, they are expected to go into effect July 1.
San Diego Police Exodus Continues:
100-Plus Officers Have Left Since July
More than 100 police officers have left the San Diego Police Department since July 1, at least 19 for other law enforcement agencies that offer higher pay, according to a report presented Wednesday to a City Council committee.
The rate of losing about a dozen officers a month has been the norm for the past several years, even though city officials have made headway in improving compensation packages.
The report, given by the SDPD to the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, says the department’s officer count stands at 1,861 as of Wednesday. The department is budgeted for 2,013 officers, leaving a deficit of 152 employees.
“The numbers are not good,” said Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.
She said that of those in the fold, 126 are in the police academy or going through field training.
— City News Service
San Diego County Forecast
To Grow by 100,000 Every Five Years
As San Diego County grapples with drought, traffic and high-density development, the state of California’s latest population forecast suggests these challenges will grow.
The latest projection from the California Department of Finance shows the county adding approximately 100,000 people every five years through 2060. By then, the county will have nearly 4.1 million people, almost 900,000 more than now, and equal to the population of Oregon today.
Among California’s counties, only Los Angeles will be larger than San Diego in 2060, with 11.5 million people.
The official state projection assumes “people have the right to migrate where they choose and no major natural catastrophes or war will befall the state or the nation.”
By 2060, California’s population will have grown to 51.6 million, compared to 38.9 million today.
— Times of San Diego
Penn State to Set Up Campus at MCRD
Penn State will begin offering select courses this fall at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego with the goal of giving military personnel more access to a college degree.
The site will be the university’s first classroom on a military base, the school announced Wednesday.
The courses, from defense- or business-related academic programs, will be taught in a dedicated Penn State classroom at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot via Penn State World Campus, the university’s online campus.
“We are excited to expand access to higher education to the San Diego military community,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “The university has a long history of educating members of our armed forces, and we are committed to providing them with a high-quality academic experience and the opportunity to become part of the Penn State community.”
The academic operations will be managed by Penn State World Campus through a five-year agreement with the Marine Corps, and military personnel who take classes on-site will be registered as World Campus students.
The agreement calls for on-site face-to-face instruction, which is designed to orient military personnel into an education setting for them to finish their degrees online through World Campus.
The San Diego area has one of the largest concentrations of military installations in the country, which include Naval Base San Diego, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Within a 15-mile radius of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot are more than 55,000 military personnel, according to the Department of Defense’s 2012 Demographics Report, the most recent available.
— Times of San Diego
Malashock Dance Renames Art Studio
After Benefactor Abbe Wolfsheimer
Malashock Dance has renamed its art studio in Liberty Station The Abbe Wolfsheimer Studio in honor of the former San Diego Councilwoman and dance supporter who died March 14, 2014.
The organization received a $100,000 gift from David Stutz, Wolfsheimer’s husband, in January. “The studio is our most distinguished asset,” said John Malashock, founder of Malashock Dance. “It provides us the capacity to serve the community through a myriad of artistic and educational activities. Because of the studio’s quality and beauty, it has become one of the most notable spaces to take class, rehearse or attend informal performances in San Diego.”
The gift allows Malashock Dance to continue its residency as a tenant in the Dance Place San Diego building, while assuring physical upkeep and studio improvements can continue to be made.
Longtime Malashock staff member Molly Puryear is now the managing director. Puryear was instrumental in the founding and development of the school in 2007, and as education director from 2009 to 2014.
Puryear is a modern dancer and instructor with over 15 years experience teaching dance and over 25 years of training in various dance genres. She has choreographed and performed for numerous local dance events, including Sound Dance Company in San Diego.
Hina Gupta Joins Allen Matkins Law Firm
Allen Matkins, a real estate and business law firm, has hired land use and environmental attorney Hina Gupta in its San Diego office. As a member of the firm’s Real Estate Department, Hina will work with the office’s land use attorneys on a variety of entitlement and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) matters.
Prior to attending The George Washington University Law School, Hina was a senior consultant at ICF International in Los Angeles where she managed the environmental review for major public infrastructure, including portions of the high-speed rail project, and private real estate development projects.
She received her juris doctorate, with honors, from The George Washington University Law School where she was the managing editor of the Journal of Energy and Environmental Law.