Daily Business Report-April 24, 2015
Rendering of the Broadstone Makers Quarter, an apartment project at 16th and E streets Downtown, which received Civic San Diego board approval in November 2014. It is expected to open in 2017.
Legislative Counsel: Civic San Diego Has No
Authority to Make Final Land Use Decisions
A San Diego assemblywoman Thursday released an opinion of the state legislative counsel that says Civic San Diego does not have the authority to make final land use decisions.
Civic San Diego, formed three years ago when the state abolished redevelopment, handles many development projects for the city. It replaced the former Centre City Development Corp. and Southeastern Development Corp.
Members of the City Council have recently been questioning the scope of the agency’s powers, prompting Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), to seek an opinion from the Legislature’s lawyers.
“Civic San Diego’s authority is comparatively new, unique in the state of California, and has not been sufficiently examined legally or legislatively,” Gonzalez said. “This opinion is an important step towards clearly defining a legal and responsible role for Civic San Diego that protects the city while continuing to facilitate effective efforts to revitalize our communities.”
(NOTE: Civic San Diego President Reese Jarrett responded to the legislative counsel’s opinion: See Next Item.)
Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine and Deputy Legislative Counsel Joanna Varner opined in a memo last Friday that a city conveying land use decisions to a nonprofit public benefit corporation is akin to giving away its police powers, which is unconstitutional.
However, a city can delegate administrative functions to such an agency, “if it retains ultimate control over administration so that it may safeguard the public interest,” the state lawyers wrote.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith subsequently released a memo in which he said the city can delegate to another agency “to perform certain land use- related governmental functions within specific areas of the city, provided that the city’s delegation is limited and specific, accompanied by appropriate controls and safeguards to protect the public, and properly authorized by the mayor and City Council.”
The city has the sole discretion to terminate its agreement with Civic San Diego, but the deal could be improved to strengthen the oversight and reporting requirements by the agency, according to Goldsmith.
— City News Service
Civic San Diego Responds to
Legislative Counsel Opinion
Civic San Diego President Reese Jarrett released the following statements regarding the state Legislative Counsel’s opinion:
“For 40 years we have followed a public process that has ensured strong community involvement and council oversight, and has successfully resulted in the revitalization of downtown. We agree with the state legislative counsel’s broad analysis about contracting out land use authority. As affirmed by the San Diego City Attorney’s analysis, that’s not the case in San Diego. The responsibilities delegated to Civic San Diego are legally permissible. Civic San Diego has attracted billions of dollars in investments, created thousands of jobs and more than 5,000 affordable homes for San Diego. We remain committed to ensuring we continue our mission of creating positive economic activity in our neighborhoods.”
Jarrett also released figures showing development activity in the Downtown area between 2000 and 2015:
Civic San Diego Economic Impact Figures
Development Activity: More than 150 new developments have occurred during this time period.
Housing: 14,345 new homes (20 percent affordable in Downtown).
Office: 872,000 square feet.
Retail: 978,000 square feet.
Hotel: 3,600 hotel rooms.
Public Parking: 1,500 public parking spaces.
Parks and Open Space: Three new parks completed. Two parks under construction
General Atomics Developing
Laser Weapons for Navy Ships
San Diego-based General Atomics is reportedly developing laser weapons that could be fitted on the Navy’s latest guided-missile destroyers.
The authoritative trade journal Aviation Week & Space Technology reported Tuesday that General Atomics has responded to a Navy request for a 150-kilowatt laser weapon to counter unmanned aircraft and small boats using only ship power and cooling.
The weapon is supposed to be demonstrated in 2018 aboard a Navy test ship off Port Hueneme in Oxnard, according to Aviation Week.
Earlier this month, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced that it successfully completed government tests of its Gen 3 High Energy Laser System. The tests measured beam quality and power.
“These measurements confirm the exceptional beam quality of the Gen 3 HEL, the next-generation leader in electrically-pumped lasers,” said Claudio Pereida, executive vice president for mission systems.
The laser is powered by a compact lithium-ion battery and can be use on land, sea or airborne platforms in 50, 75, 150 and 300 kilowatt power levels.
— Times of San Diego
California Congressional Delegation Urges
Navy to Increase Aircraft Carrier Fleet
A bi-partisan Congressional delegation from California, including all five representatives from San Diego, has called on the Navy to increase its fleet to 11 aircraft carriers despite budget pressure.
San Diego-area Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa and Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas joined 10 of their colleagues in signing a letter Wednesday to Defense Secretary Aston Carter.
“Any permanent reduction below a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers would jeopardize America’s ability to simultaneously sustain carrier operations in the Mideast and Asia and potentially change us from a global to a regional power,” the Congress members wrote.
Currently the Navy operates 10 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and has two Gerald Ford-class vessels under construction.
The Navy’s budget proposal calls for 11 carriers, and Congress has passed a law requiring that many, but the budget sequestration has made it impossible to fund a full fleet.
San Diego has been home to as many as three carriers in recent years. California has numerous companies that contribute parts, services and support to the production and maintenance of Navy aircraft carriers.
Public Opinion Poll Shows Increasing Support
For Water Supply Diversification Strategy
The vast majority of San Diego County residents — 84 percent — support the region’s water supply diversification strategy, according to the San Diego County Water Authority’s most recent public opinion poll presented to the board of directors on Thursday.
The survey also showed that 87 percent of respondents believe using water efficiently is a civic duty, while more than half said they could conserve more at home and support mandatory measures to cut water use. Overall, the results indicate that severe drought conditions have translated into a growing appreciation for the value of water across the region.
The latest poll of 1,000 adults in San Diego County was conducted by Probe Research from March 16 to April 1, the day Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order that mandated 25 percent water-use reductions statewide.
“These survey results show San Diego County’s residents are highly engaged in water issues and understand that a reliable water supply is critical for our region’s $206 billion economy and our quality of life,” said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s Board. “They agree that using water efficiently is a civic duty that we all share, and they realize that our region must continue to diversify our supplies while taking aggressive actions to conserve. These attitudes and opinions inspire confidence that together we can get through this drought.”
On May 5 or 6, the State Water Resources Control Board is expected to adopt water-use reduction mandates to implement the governor’s April 1 executive order to reduce water use 25 percent statewide starting June 1.
Airport Authority Named Recycler of the Year
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which owns and operates San Diego International Airport, was named a Recycler of the Year by the city of San Diego for the ninth consecutive time. The award recognizes key advancements in waste reduction and recycling. The Airport Authority has received the award 11 times in the past 13 years.
In 2014, San Diego International Airport diverted nearly 100,000 tons of waste from landfills, including 98,000 tons in construction waste and 1,243 tons of other recyclable materials recovered from the waste stream. Not counting the construction waste, the Airport Authority recycled 18 percent more waste in 2014 compared to 2013, and 47 percent more than in 2012.
Overall, 2014 recycling efforts resulted in $46,566 savings in disposal costs.
New Chargers-Raiders Stadium Design Released
A new design was released Thursday for the proposed $1.7 billion Chargers-Raiders football stadium in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson.
Manica Architecture posted several renderings on its website, www. manicaarchitecture.com.
Included were drawings of the stadium for Chargers games — signified by bolts of lightning swirling behind a 120-foot glass tower above the end zone — and, for the Raiders, a cauldron at the tower with a flame honoring the late team owner, Al Davis.
Significant changes have been made to the shape of the stadium, meant to accommodate about 65,000 spectators with an expansion that would hold up to 72,000. The previous design depicted two sets of bleachers facing the playing field. But the new renderings show the seating arranged around a bowl, inspired by the Los Angeles Coliseum
— U-T San Diego
Annual Count Finds 8,700 Homeless in County
The annual count of the homeless in San Diego County found 8,742 people living on the streets or in shelters, a 2.8 percent increase over last year, the San Diego Regional Continuum of Care Council announced Thursday.
The council, an umbrella group of nonprofits and government agencies that oversaw the Jan. 23 count, said nearly 4,600 were living in shelters, with the rest on the streets. Of those who were unsheltered, 70 percent were men and 15.4 percent were military veterans.
Among other survey results specifically for those living on the streets:
• More than 70 percent had been homeless for at least one year.
• Almost 28 percent suffered from either drug or alcohol addiction, and/or severe mental illness.
• Nearly 27 percent had no health insurance.
• More than 45 percent visited an emergency room in the past year.
Nearly 1,500 volunteers — including numerous elected officials — took part in the count, according to Dolores Diaz, executive director of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, which organized the count on behalf of the Continuum of Care Council.
— City News Service
Chula Vistan Appointed to State
Teachers Retirement System Board
Nora Vargas, 43, of Chula Vista, the vice president of community and government relations at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, has been appointed to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Directors by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Vargas has been vice president at Planned Parenthood since 2009. She was executive director at the Latino Issues Forum from 2007 to 2009, consultant at Nora Vargas Consulting from 2005 to 2007, founding director at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs from 2004 to 2005 and vice president of governmental and political affairs at Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties from 2001 to 2004. She served as legislative relations specialist at San Diego State University from 2000 to 2001, was a consultant at Kaufman Campaign Consultants from 1998 to 1999 and a confidential assistant at the U.S. Selective Service System from 1997 to 1998. Vargas is vice president of the Southwestern Community College District Governing Board and chair of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Board of Directors.
The position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Vargas is a Democrat.
J. Walcher Rehires Ashley Weaver
J. Walcher Communications a San Diego PR agency, has announced the rehire of Ashley Weaver as account coordinator to its South Park office. Weaver, originally an intern at the agency, will provide public relations support to the firm’s diverse roster of local and national clientele through strategic media relations, community outreach, social media marketing and more.
Weaver previouslymserved as an account coordinator at KCD PR, a San Diego-based public relations and marketing agency specializing in the financial services industry. She was responsible for daily client communication, social media management, media relations and content creation for public relations and marketing campaigns.
Weaver became a PR assistant at Walcher after interning there. She graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations.