Daily Business Report-July 21, 2015
Qualcomm Inc. headquarters
Qualcomm Reportedly Studying Breakup
Reports of mass layoffs possible
Qualcomm Inc. is expected to conduct a strategic review that may result in the breakup of the company, among other options, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing sources.
The company has been under pressure from hedge fund Jana Partners to spin off its chip business from its highly profitable patent-licensing business.
The San Diego-based chipmaker may announce that it is considering that and other options — including returning more cash to shareholders, when it reports third-quarter results on Wednesday, sources told the Journal. However, there is no guarantee of such an announcement as the company’s plans are in flux, they added.
The news comes after reports earlier on Monday that Qualcomm is preparing to lay off several thousand employees — as much as 10 percent of its workforce.
Qualcomm could not be immediately reached for comment outside regular U.S. working hours. Jana could not be reached for comment.
The company’s shares were up about 3.2 percent in after-hours trading after closing at $63.79 on NASDAQ on Monday.
Bill Would Let Firefighters Destroy Drones
It’s a simple message from two state legislators to anyone who decides to fly a drone aircraft above a fire or other major emergency scene in California: Rescue crews should be able to destroy your remote-controlled device.
“We don’t imagine someone shooting it out of the sky,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), one of the authors of the legislation. “Yet the existing law is insufficient to provide law enforcement that clear authority to take it down.”
Gatto and state Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) have teamed up on two pieces of drone-related legislation: The first bill would increase fines and make possible jail time for a drone that interferes with firefighting efforts.
The growing popularity of inexpensive remote-controlled planes equipped with video cameras has produced a number of thorny policy questions and has been a hot topic of discussion at the state Capitol for the past few years, most notably on concerns over privacy.
But drones being flown into fire zones and other emergency response scenes have presented a more immediate danger, with the latest incident coming last week when a remote device forced air tankers to back off for 25 minutes in efforts to control a fast-moving blaze.
UCSD Medical Center Named
Top Hospital in San Diego
Times of San Diego/City News Service
UCSD Medical Center was the top hospital in San Diego for the fifth consecutive year, according to rankings released Monday by U.S. News & World Report, with Scripps-affiliated facilities finishing second and third in the region.
The hospital in Hillcrest was also ranked 5th overall in California.
In national ranking of specialties, UC San Diego Health — which also includes Thornton Hospital, the Moores Cancer Center, the Shiley Eye Institute and Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center — was ranked sixth in pulmonology; 18th in geriatrics; 20th in nephrology; 22nd in neurology and neurosurgery; 23rd in cancer treatment; 24th for cardiology and heart surgery, and also for gastroenterology and GI surgery; 25th for urology; 31st for both orthopedics, and diabetes and endocrinology; 33rd for ear, nose & throat; and 44th for gynecology.
For Scripps Health, the magazine combined Scripps Memorial and Green hospitals as the Scripps La Jolla Hospital and Clinics. The combined programs were ranked seventh in California and second in the San Diego region. Scripps Mercy was ranked 16th in California and third in the San Diego metropolitan area.
The combined La Jolla hospitals ranked 13th nationally in diabetes and endocrinology, 14th in gynecology, 19th in cardiology and heart surgery, 22nd in pulmonology, 23rd in orthopedics, 31st in geriatrics, 35th in gastroenterology and GI surgery, and 37th in ears, nose and throat.
Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest was ranked 42nd in diabetes and endocrinology.
“These rankings are a testament to the extraordinary care that our physicians and staff provide to our patients every day,” said Chris Van Gorder, Scripps president and CEO.
Audrey Geisel Donates $3 Million
To Renovate Iconic Geisel Library
San Diego philanthropist Audrey Geisel has donated $3 million toward the renovation of UC San Diego’s iconic flagship building, the Geisel Library.
The gift kicks off a major initiative to transform and revitalize the interior public spaces of Geisel Library to meet the evolving needs of students, faculty, and other library users in the digital age.
Geisel’s gift will be used to renovate and update the entry level of Geisel Library, which opened in 1972 as the university’s Central Library. In 1995, the William Pereira-designed building — known by many as “the spaceship” — was named in honor of Audrey and her late husband, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, in recognition of a major gift from Audrey Geisel.
“We are extremely grateful to Audrey for this generous lead gift to launch the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “This will ensure that Geisel Library, a campus and architectural landmark, continues to provide the outstanding services and spaces needed to support today’s students and scholars, as well as members of the local community.”
The UC San Diego Library is ranked amongst the top 25 academic research libraries in the nation, with more than seven million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials. While many of the library’s information resources are available online 24/7, more than 1.5 million people stream through the Geisel Library and the Biomedical Library buildings each year, and the library’s vast resources and services are accessed more than 5.7 million times via the library website.
The 285,000 square-foot facility — which is more than four decades old –has become dated. As the library’s collections continue to shift from print to digital, spaces no longer needed to house books and journals are increasingly needed for collaborative learning and research.
The second floor of Geisel Library is the most active learning space in the library. Based on ongoing assessments of user needs and traffic patterns, this floor will be redesigned to more effectively support the various approaches to study, research, and learning of today’s students and scholars. The major renovation will include a reconfigured lobby entrance; a significant upgrade to the existing Learning Commons; a new Research Commons; a café and lounge; the implementation of new technologies; and significant enhancements to furniture, carpeting and finishes.
Geisel Library is also home to the Dr. Seuss Collection — in Mandeville Special Collections — with more than 12,000 original drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, books, notebooks, photographs, and other memorabilia documenting the creative achievements of Theodor Seuss Geisel.
Rady School of Management Launches
Master’s Degree in Business Analytics
The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego has launched a Master of Science in Business Analytics degree program.
The new program will offer hands-on training to prepare students to use data and analytics to identify business opportunities, generate business insights and create business solutions. It is the first in the UC system and one of a few in California.
The program is designed to meet the rapidly growing need for skilled professionals who can frame key operational and strategic business questions and leverage data, analytics and information technology to discover new insights and to address these questions, according to Rady School Dean Robert Sullivan.
“Companies are increasingly data driven and there is a vast need for professionals who are able to analyze that data and translate it into meaningful business outcomes,” said Sullivan. “The Rady School’s Master of Science in Business Analytics provides students with the unique skillset needed to quickly make a significant impact at companies that rely on data for business solutions.”
Rady School Professors Terrence August and Vincent Nijs will co-direct the program.
The program is open to recent graduates as well as professionals and is currently accepting applications for fall 2016. The 50-unit degree program can be completed in 12 months. For more information, go to:
Del Mar Highlands Town Center Collaborates
With Uber to Offer Free Rides up to $25
Del Mar Highlands Town Center is collaborating with ridesharing service Uber to pay for customers’ travel to and from the center — up to $25 each way. The promotion is the first of its kind in San Diego and is being offered for a limited time based on demand.
The promotion marks only the second time a U.S. shopping center has joined with Uber to pay the cost of customers’ travel for an extended period, according to center officials.
The average fare for Uber customers in the San Diego region is $15. Del Mar Highlands Town Center will cover the costs of travel up to $25. The UberX service will be appropriate for most customers, but UberXL may be used for large groups. For parents traveling with children, Uber also offers car seat service.
The promotion is available to anyone with an active Uber account. For information, visit www.uber.com/GO/DMHTC.
Officials said the center is preparing to get underway with the addition of a new parking structure and approximately 90,000 square feet of retail space, improving parking, shopping choices and customers’ overall experience at the center. Initial renovations will be complete in summer 2016.
In addition to the new Uber service, the center’s existing services, such as the curbside shuttle, 20-minute parking stalls, curbside restaurant pick-up stalls, valet parking and motorcycle parking will remain in place throughout the renovation to accommodate visitors.
Sweetwater Desalination Plant
Gets Federal Funds to Expand
Times of San Diego
Rep. Susan Davis announced Monday a $5.2 million federal grant for the
Sweetwater Authority to expand a desalination plant serving Bonita, Chula Vista and National City.
The grant from the Department of the Interior will go toward increasing the desalination output of the Richard A. Reynolds Desalination Facility from 3,600 acre-feet of water per year to 8,000. The plant treats “brackish,” or saline, groundwater to make it safe for human use.
The average household in the San Diego area uses less than a quarter of an acre-foot of water a year.
“Increasing sources of reliable drinking water and our region’s water independence must be a priority,” said Davis. “California is in the grips of a historic drought and improving our water infrastructure will be key to surviving this drought and any future water shortages.”
San Diego is partnering with the Sweetwater Authority in the expansion and will receive some of the additional water produced.
A much larger desalination plant under construction in Carlsbad is set to open later this year and provide 112,000 acre-feet of water per year
Waterfront Park to be Closed to Public on Thursday
The Downtown Waterfront Park will be closed to the public on Thursday because it has been reserved by the Environmental Systems Research Institute for its User Conference Party.
Some 10,000 conference attendees and their families are expected to take part in the festivities which will include food, drinks and live entertainment. While the party runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m., the park will be closed the entire day starting at 6 a.m. to allow for set-up of the event.
Attendees will be arriving by bus from the San Diego Convention Center. As part of the event, Harbor Drive between Ash and Grape Streets will be closed to traffic between 4 and 11 p.m
Mt. Soledad Cross Controversy Ends
With Government’s Sale of the Land
The 26-year-long legal battle over the cross at the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is apparently over.
The Department of Defense has sold the half-acre parcel of land on which the veterans memorial sits to the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, the nonprofit organization that has overseen the maintenance and administration of it from its inception in 1954.
The sale — for $1.4 million — effectively renders moot the argument from opponents of the cross that it violated the First Amendment of the Constitution because it was located on government land.
For the past two years, the 43-foot cross was in danger of being taken down as a result of an order by a federal judge in San Diego in 2013 that the cross had to be removed because it violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in 2011 that the cross violated the First Amendment. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, it was remanded back to federal court in San Diego. In December 2013, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered the cross to be removed within 90 days, but stayed the order until all possible appeals had been exhausted.
The display of the cross on government land was challenged in a 2006 lawsuit by the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America and several local residents, all of whom were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial counties. “We support the government paying tribute to those who served bravely in our country’s armed forces,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. “But we should honor all of our heroes under one flag, not just one particular religious symbol.”
The cross was erected in 1954 and was dedicated at an Easter Sunday ceremony describing the monument as a “gleaming white symbol of Christianity.” In 2006, the federal government, through an act of Congress, obtained the title to the cross and its surrounding property by eminent domain, and declared the cross to be a national war memorial.
The sale of the land follows passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 calling for the sale of the property by the federal government to the association.
“I am honored to be leading our Association at this most significant time in our Memorial’s history,” said Bruce Bailey, president and CEO of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association board of trustees. “It marks the first time where our membership can manage the memorial’s affairs from a place of ownership and accountability for the property, which is a new and welcomed step for the association.”
To date, more than 3,700 individual plaques of veterans, both living and deceased, are mounted on the Veterans Walls, honoring veterans who have served from the time of the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in the Middle East. Honorees on the walls hail from across the country.
The association recently hired an executive director, retired U.S. Navy Masterchief (SEAL) Larry Wilske who, working with a combination of office staff and volunteers, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the memorial.
Rebecca Briskin Joins Higgs Fletcher & Mack
Higgs Fletcher & Mack announced the hiring of Rebecca Briskin as its newest attorney. The trust and estates lawyer is a 2010 graduate of the Cal Western School of Law.
Prior to joining Higgs Fletcher & Mack, Briskin was an associate attorney with the Bolander Law Group, where she drafted a variety of probate petitions, accountings, discovery, correspondence, settlement offers and agreements as well as mediation/mandatory settlement conference briefs.