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Daily Business Report-March 4, 2015

Daily Business Report-March 4, 2015

U-T San Diego headquarters in Mission Valley

Report: L.A. Times Owner Puts in

Bid to Purchase U-T San Diego

A respected media expert reported Tuesday that Tribune Publishing, owner of the Los Angeles Times, is bidding to purchase the U-T San Diego newspaper.

The report by Ken Doctor on the Capital New York website said Tribune is one of three bidders for the San Diego newspaper owned by developer Doug Manchester. Doctor cited “several confidential sources” for his report.

Doctor wrote that the purchase price would be $80 million to $90 million, but would not include the San Diego newspaper’s real estate in Mission Valley.

Other bidders, according to Doctor, include philanthropist Malin Burnham, who has proposed turning the newspaper into a nonprofit corporation, and broadcast veteran John Lynch.

“Give all the activity, and re-bidding, we’d expect a deal to be announced fairly soon,” Doctor wrote.

— Times of San Diego

January’s gain was the eighth in a row for the USD Index.

January’s gain was the eighth in a row for the USD Index.

Leading Economic Indicators Up Sharply in January

The University of San Diego Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose 1.4 percent in January.  For the first time since February 2011, all six components of the USD Index were up during the month.

Leading the way to the upside were strong gains for initial claims for unemployment insurance, help wanted advertising, and building permits.  Bringing up the rear but also positive were consumer confidence, local stock prices, and the outlook for the national economy.

January’s gain was the eighth in a row for the USD Index and was the largest monthly increase since February 2011. The strength of the move combined with the fact that all six components were positive signals a strong local economy at least through the end of 2015.

One potential area of concern was the surge in gas prices that occurred in February. Gas prices rose more than 98 cents a gallon during the month, which has a number of negative effects. First, money is taken directly out of the pockets of consumers.

“By my estimate, every one cent increase in the price of gas takes a million dollars a month out of local economy, which means almost $100 million a month more will be spent on gas instead of on boosting the local economy,” said Associate Professor Alan Gin, author of the index.  “Secondly, the price of shipping goods into San Diego increases, which boosts local prices. Finally, rising gas prices could have a negative impact on consumer confidence.  Despite all these negatives, the rise in gas prices is not likely to significantly slow the local economy, let alone derail it.”

Each Balboa Park Explorer Pass is good for general admission for up to two adults and four children to 17 museums for an entire year.

Each Balboa Park Explorer Pass is good for general admission for up to two adults and four children to 17 museums for an entire year.

$1 Million Worth of Passes to Balboa Park

Museums Will Go to Underserved Families

In honor of the 2015 Centennial Celebration, 17 Balboa Park institutions and more than 75 philanthropic benefactors are donating $1 million in annual Family Explorer Passes for at-risk and underserved San Diego families through Balboa Park’s Community Access Pass Program.

Each Balboa Park Explorer Pass is good for general admission for up to two adults and four children to 17 museums for an entire year.

The passes are being distributed in each City Council district by nonprofit organizations recommended by City Council members. In all, more than 5,000 families will receive free passes, benefitting as many as 30,000 San Diegans.

Featured exhibits and events Explorer Pass holders can visit include the brand new “Coast to Cactus” at the San Diego Natural History Museum, showing the varied habitats of Southern California; “2theExtreme – MathAlive!” at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, including a Mars rover; and the Centennial Railway Garden, recreating a model of Balboa Park in 1915 at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

For details on the Centennial Celebration, visit

Construction Management Firm Hired

For New Tower at Viejas Casino

Xpera CM, a San Diego-based construction management consulting firm, has been retained by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians to provide construction management services for a second hotel tower at the Viejas Casino in Alpine. Construction is currently underway.

The four-star resort project includes a new five-story, 109-room hotel tower, including a top-floor technology suite, added gaming floor, specialty bar, ballroom, meeting and board rooms, resort-style pool and extensive multi-use grounds.

Viejas will hold a topping out ceremony for the project on March 20. Completion is scheduled for November.

Xpera CM team has resort and gaming experience throughout the United States, including the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Stowe Mountain Lodge, Trump National in Los Angeles and Sycuan Resort and Casino.


Petco Park Builder Proposes

Multi-Use Stadium Downtown

JMI, the real estate company that built Petco Park, met with representatives of the stadium task force on Tuesday to discuss a proposed a multi-use stadium plan in Downtown, just one day after the “Save the Bolts” rally and public forum.

The company — founded by former Padres owner John Moores — proposed a plan that would put the complex on Tailgate Park and the MTS Bus Yard, which are located next to Petco Park.

JMI developed four football stadium plans last year and the one that matches the description of their current proposal was a joint use stadium/convention complex that would cost $1.4 billion. This is $400 million less than it would cost to build the complexes separately.

Representing JMI at the meeting were President John Kratzer, senior adviser to Moores Steve Peace and attorney Pat Shea.

“Like (Chargers special counsel Mark) Fabiani, they were sharing the research they gathered and presenting it without bias,” said committee chairman Adam Day to U-T San Diego. Day also told the newspaper that the committee will make their decision on a site soon, due to their self-imposed deadline of May.

There have also been sub-committees formed to help meet the deadline that include tourism officials, the San Diego Bowl Game Association and organized labor.

 — Times of San Diego

The Competitive Advantages of

Living and Working in San Diego

Connect has invited executives from ResMed, Nuvasive Inc. and ViaSat to a March 9 program to explain why each has chosen to be headquartered in San Diego, rather than moving away.

The executives are Peter C. Farrell, founder and board chairman of ResMed; Alexis V. Lukianov, CEO and board chairman of Nuvasive; and Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat.

They will discuss:

The competitive advantages of being headquartered in San Diego.

The myth that the San Diego region is not competitive.

How companies use regional assets to drive talent acquisition.

How San Diego is different from Silicon Valley — a good thing.

The program runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. Connect members $25, nonmembers $50.

County Approves New Online

 Campaign Finance Disclosure Ordinance

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved an ordinance requiring certain candidates to file campaign finance disclosure statements online.

In the past, paperwork was submitted to the Registrar of Voters office and it posted the documents online in a PDF format. For further analysis, each campaign statement had to be reviewed manually to determine how much and who was making campaign contributions.

Now the Registrar’s Office is implementing a new electronic filing option, anticipated to be available in June. Candidates would file their information online and the public could download the information into a spreadsheet format for easier analysis.

State law requires the Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance if candidates and committees are required to file online. The board took the first step at setting the threshold requirement at $10,000, meaning the county requirement would affect only those county candidates and committees that receive or spend an amount equal to or greater than the threshold.

Candidates below the threshold would have the option to file online or bring their campaign finance disclosure statements in to the Registrar’s office.

The board approved the first reading of the ordinance. A second reading takes place March 17 and if adopted would take effect 30 days later.

Five Companies Graduate from

Business Accelerator Program

SD Sport Innovators, a nonprofit business accelerator for sports and active lifestyle companies, said five companies have graduated from its business accelerator program, SDSI Springboard.

Graduating companies:

Avalanche Company — designers and distributors of Twins and King boxing and mixed martial arts gear.

Alii Sport — women’s athletic apparel and versatile sport fashion focused on triathlon and yoga.

EPIC Series — a functional fitness obstacle course and fitness festival, with a course designed and built for all level athletes, beginner to beast.

Plastic Clothing — designs and manufactures beach athletic apparel and accessories with an initial focus on volleyball.

Solo Eyewear — funds eye care for people in need through the sale of their handcrafted sunglasses made with recycled bamboo.

Tribal Snowtools — a new action sports lifestyle brand that makes portable terrain park building tools for backyard, urban and backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and downhill bikers.

SDSI is accepting applications through March 8 for SDSI Springboard Class 6 sponsored by CircleUp and Buchalter Nemer. For information on how to apply, contact Renne Catalano at

Retired Judge Forms Private

Dispute Resolution Practice

Thomas Nugent

Thomas Nugent

Retired San Diego Superior Court Judge Thomas P. Nugent has established a private dispute resolution practice at One America Plaza, 600 W. Broadway, in Downtown San Diego. Nugent will be available to handle all forms of private dispute resolution, including arbitrations, mediations, trials by reference, and related proceedings.

Nugent served on the San Diego Superior Court for 17 years, where for the past two years he assumed responsibility for a department engaged exclusively in conducting settlement conferences. Nugent has substantial experience in all forms of litigation with particular expertise in a number of substantive areas including complex business matters, insurance, real estate, contract disputes, professional liability, employment law, class actions, and personal injury.

Prior to joining the bench,  Nugent was a founding partner in one of San Diego’s oldest general civil law firms, Haskins, Nugent, Newnham & Kane, where he practiced primarily as a litigator handling a range of civil and criminal matters.

San Diego OB-GYN Medical Group

Joins Scripps Clinic Medical Group

San Diego OB-GYN Medical Group in Hillcrest has joined Scripps Clinic Medical Group. The agreement creates the 14th Scripps Clinic location in San Diego County.

The three obstetrics and gynecology physicians include Anupam Garq, M.D., Kelly van den Heuvel, M.D., and Kim Hui, M.D. Each of the physicians is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. By becoming part of Scripps Clinic Medical Group, they join more than 600 providers practicing in more than 50 areas of medicine and surgery. Scripps Health contracts for the exclusive services of the Scripps Clinic Medical Group physicians through the Scripps Medical Foundation.

Scripps Health has acquired the assets of San Diego OB-GYN Medical Group, located near Scripps Mercy Hospital at 2918 Fifth Ave., Suite 100, and the practice’s employees are now employed by Scripps Health. Current patients should experience no change in their care.

 Scripps Health Ranks Among Top 10

Companies for Executive Women

Scripps Health has been named one of the “Top 10 Nonprofit Companies for Executive Women” for 2015 by the National Association for Female Executives. The list recognizes organizations whose policies and practices encourage women’s advancement and whose numbers at the highest levels of leadership demonstrate that commitment. The announcement, is featured in the February/March issue of Working Mother magazine.

Scripps was recognized for its leadership and development programs that help women advance in the workplace. Of Scripps’ 13,700 employees, 76 percent are women, and women make up 68 percent of the management group. Scripps has 61 executives accountable for the success of all aspects of the organization; 24 are women (39 percent).

“The nonprofits on our list illustrate how women are excelling in the health industry,” said Dr. Betty Spence, NAFE president. “Women are running hospitals operations and controlling major decisions – opportunities that at for-profit companies still often elude women. We salute our winning nonprofits for capitalizing on what women bring to the table.”

Conference Aims to Connect

Arts and Science and Technology

STEAMConnect’s second annual Ascend Conference today will bring together more than 500 educators, school administrators, nonprofits, parents, business leaders, funders and policymakers from around the U.S. who share a common interest in bridging the arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in education. The event is from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Attendees, speakers, sponsors and community members will gather for a welcome reception  to celebrate the start of STEAMConnect 2015 at SILO in Makers Quarter, a neighborhood in East Village anchored by artists, makers and entrepreneurs (753 15th St.

On Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall, 5775 Morehouse Drive, attendees of the main conference will hear from 19 speakers, visit 11 spotlight booths featuring STEAM activities and resources, and have the chance to experience three different hands-on workshops. Tickets are available to the public at 

Under this year’s theme “Moving from Dialogue to Action,” conference attendees will share practices and new ideas about the impact of the STEAM movement on education policy, funding, industry innovation and the community.

Personnel Announcements

Restaurant Revolution Technologies

Hires New Director of Software Engineering

Kevin Thomas has joined Restaurant Revolution Technologies Inc. as director of software engineering. Thomas will supervise software development and new service lines for the company, which provides the restaurant industry’s leading order management technology.

Prior to joining RRT, Thomas was the director of technology for Digital Air Strike, a price quoting, lead management, social media and digital marketing solution provider within the automotive technology industry.

Thomas also served in a variety of technical and senior management positions with several companies, including Dealix, Legacy Partners, Envision Software, and AMS Rating.

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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: