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Daily Business Report-Nov. 6, 2015

Daily Business Report-Nov. 6, 2015

Waves reach Highway 101 north of Solana Beach in 2010.

Scientists Enlist the Public to Help

Document Large El Niño Event


‘Citizen Science’ will help assess effects

As one of the largest El Niños in recent years continues to develop in the Pacific Ocean, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is calling on the public to help document a historic climate event.

Scripps Oceanography’s “citizen science” projects will focus on data collection to document the impact of large waves on beach erosion and coastal flooding. Citizen science contributions may range from photographs to measurements of water temperatures and other environmental variables that are important to ongoing scientific research. Researchers are working with citizens and municipalities to expand their capabilities and engage amateur scientists, students, and teachers.

The citizen science surveys are part of an ongoing evolution of El Niño research at which Scripps Oceanography has been at the forefront for several decades. The research community’s ability to forecast and understand El Niño events has progressed considerably since 1982, when one of the largest El Niños of the last century arrived almost undetected, and through 1997-98, the year of the strongest El Niño of recent times in which Scripps scientists made their first public calls for preparedness ahead of the event.

Project leaders anticipate that beneficiaries of this crowdsourced data will not be just scientists but a host of end-users ranging from fire departments to transportation managers, urban planners, and major Southern California port occupants including the U.S. Navy.

“The Navy is concerned about impacts of sea-level rise on its coastal bases. Taking additional measurements of regional impacts during this winter’s El Niño storm events is an opportunity not to be missed,” said Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment. “More needs to be done to accurately characterize and predict the strength and frequency of regional sea-level rise impacts.”

El Niño, a climate phenomenon that is characterized by warmer waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean among other conditions, could amplify the number and strength of winter storms along the Southern California coast. Researchers say the event presents an opportunity for the public to help monitor coastal erosion, and to use the record of these events as a predictor for the effects of longer-term sea-level rise along the coast. What happens this season could simulate the effects of sea-level rise that is projected over the next 30-40 years.

“What we learn about the effects of an El Niño on our coastline is not limited to this weather event. And after the El Niño, we will continue to monitor sea-level rise and erosion along the coast due to climate change,” said Scripps Oceanography Director Margaret Leinen. “Engaging our researchers with community volunteers will provide access to more information and help us assess the changes to our coastal environment.”

— UC San Diego News Center

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Rendering of science and engineering building

Rendering of science and engineering building

SDSU Angling to Become

Elite Research School

San Diego State University will try to vault into the ranks of the nation’s top 50 public research schools, one of the boldest and most difficult initiatives in the university’s 118 year history. Campus officials call it a “doable” aspiration that will take hundreds of millions of dollars, including the $90 million it will cost for the science and engineering complex the school will begin building today. San Diego Union-Tribune

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Chicano Park’s $1 Million Facelift Unveiled

City News Service

San Diego officials on Thursday unveiled more than $1 million in improvements to Chicano Park in Barrio Logan, including new playgrounds and a skatepark.

Upgrades to the three-acre park under the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge also include a handball court with decorative stamped concrete, 10 pieces of adult fitness equipment and a new drinking fountain. Turf was removed to conserve water and a decomposed granite zone designed for organized workouts took its place.

“Growing from a seed idea at the city, this project creatively brought state resources into Barrio Logan, making it a shining example of San Diego collaboration and our love for our neighborhoods,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “With these improvements, we will continue to relish Chicano Park as an iconic destination of Mexican-American art and culture.”

Contributions from the Urban Corps, Shea Properties, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Tony Hawk Foundation augmented public money that funded the project.

“Chicano Park exemplifies the broad cultural, political, economic and social history of the community and I am proud to have this region-wide treasure in my council district,” Councilman David Alvarez said. “The collaborative effort involved to make these recreational park improvements happen is to be commended.”

According to the city, a Chicano heritage theme was incorporated into the equipment design in two play areas, which was inspired by the nearby kiosk where Aztec dancers and Ballet Folklorico groups practice and perform. Sand was removed from the playgrounds and replaced by colorful rubberized surfacing.

Budget Committee to Consider

Dueling Pension Reserve Proposals

City News Service

The City Council’s Budget Committee plans to hold a special meeting Monday to consider increasing the city’s fiscal reserve level.

The idea stems from a proposal by Mayor Kevin Faulconer to set aside $21 million of surplus money in a special reserve account that would be tapped if the city’s required pension contributions spikes in a future year. City officials expect the 2016 pension bill will be $6 million higher that originally projected.

The mayor wanted to set up the pension stabilization reserve in the budget for the current fiscal year, but the City Council tabled it for more study. Some council members, including Budget Committee Chairman Todd Gloria, objected to setting aside a significant amount of money for a solitary use.

“The mayor’s proposal gives the impression that the city’s pension crisis has returned, and has potential to harm San Diego’s reputation and undermine the progress we’ve made in reforming our pension system,” Gloria and Councilman David Alvarez wrote in a memo to council President Sherri Lightner and committee members this week.

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Personnel Announcements

John Rice Joins Higgs Fletcher & Mack as Partner

John Rice

John Rice

John Rice has joined the law firm of Higgs Fletcher & Mack as a partner, serving in business litigation, criminal law and privacy and information security practice areas.

Rice has more than 25 years of experience in the legal field. An adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law for more than 11 years, Rice comes to Higgs from Ballard Spahr LLP where he was a member of the white collar and governmental investigations and securities litigation practice groups. Prior to that, he was Partner at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP.

Rice was an assistant United States Attorney for the United States Department of Justice for nearly 17 years. He tried more than 40 criminal cases to verdict and argued numerous cases before the Ninth and Second Circuit Courts of Appeal. During his career, he prosecuted a wide variety of federal crimes ranging from drug offenses and organized crime cases to public corruption and white collar crimes. Rice served as a prosecutor in both the Southern District of California and the Southern District of New York.


Kathleen Hansen is New Director of San Diego Chorus

Kathleen Hansen

Kathleen Hansen

The San Diego Chorus has welcomed its first new director in 30 years. Music educator and choir director Kathleen Hansen takes over the 61-year-old award-winning chorus of more than 80 women, who perform and compete singing a cappella in the barbershop style. Hansen takes over from Kim Vaughn, who was director from 1985 to 2015.

Hansen has been working in the field of music education since 1998 with students of all ages and backgrounds. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree, specializing in music education and trumpet, a single-subject teaching credential and a Master of Music degree, specializing in conducting.

Hansen also is director of the San Diego Women’s Chorus, a nonprofit community chorus that strives to use the power of women and the power of music to entertain and inspire audiences. She serves as director of the Sun Harbor Chorus and the North County Tremble Clefs (a therapeutic chorus for people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers/loved ones). She also operates Serenity Sound Healing, where she uses traditional Tibetan instruments as a therapeutic modality.

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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: