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Daily Business Report-Dec. 22, 2015

Daily Business Report-Dec. 22, 2015

The $1 billion Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant was dedicated one week ago and is expected to provide around 50 million gallons of drinking water a day at full output, roughly 10 percent of the region’s supply.

With New Desalination Plant Online,

State Proposes Easing Water Restrictions

City News Service

State Water Resources Control Board staff on Monday proposed a four percentage point reduction in water conservation mandates for San Diego County agencies that receive water from the new desalination plant in Carlsbad.

The $1 billion Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant was dedicated one week ago and is expected to provide around 50 million gallons of drinking water a day at full output, roughly 10 percent of the region’s supply.

After Gov. Jerry Brown ordered Californians to reduce water consumption by 25 percent in face of the drought, state water officials established specific conservation goals for individual water agencies and regions.

In November, Brown called for the regulations to be extended into October of next year, should drought conditions persist. The State Water Resources Control Board has been receiving input from various stakeholders, and on Monday staff issued a report with its recommendations on the suggestions that have been received.

Regarding desalination, the agency is proposing a four-point reduction in state targets for water districts that can show that 4 percent of its supply comes from desalinated seawater, in projects developed since 2013 — the year construction began on the Carlsbad facility. If approved by the water board, the statewide decrease in water savings would be 0.6 percent, according to a staff estimate.

Approval would bring welcome relief to North County water agencies stuck with the toughest, and hardest-to-hit, mandates.

Customers of the Rainbow Municipal and Valley Center Municipal districts, Santa Fe Irrigation district and Fallbrook Public Utilities District are all required to reduce water use by 36 percent over the comparable month in 2013. The city of Poway and Olivenhein Municipal mandates are 32 percent.

The city of San Diego, the larger distributor of water in the region, has to reduce consumption by 16 percent. Dana Friehauf, water resources manager of the San Diego County Water Authority said SDCWA officials were reviewing the proposed revisions, but appreciates the staff efforts.

“We remain committed to ensuring that a potential extension of the state regulation provides a more sustainable and equitable approach to managing this drought,” Friehauf said. “We will continue working closely with our member agencies to assess the elements of Monday’s proposed regulatory framework and their impacts on the San Diego region’s 3.2 million residents and $218 billion economy.”

A request from the Water Authority to have the credit extended to Colorado River water was denied. The state board will accept comments on the recommendations through Jan. 6.


DePodesta said he could apply the lessons he learned in baseball to an industry “ripe for this kind of revolution.”

DePodesta said he could apply the lessons he learned in baseball to an industry “ripe for this kind of revolution.”

Baseball Data Guru Joins Faculty at

Scripps Translational Science Institute

City News Service

Scripps Health announced Monday that baseball data guru Paul DePodesta is joining the Scripps Translational Science Institute faculty as an assistant professor of bioinformatics.

DePodesta, who will start Jan. 1 but maintain his role in the New York Mets front office, rose to fame with the use of data analytics to acquire players who kept the low-budget Oakland A’s competitive under General Manager Billy Beane. Their successes were recounted in the “Moneyball” book and film, with actor Jonah Hill portraying DePodesta.

The Harvard graduate later worked for the Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

“In disciplines as disparate as baseball, financial services, trucking and retail, people are realizing the power of data to help make better decisions,” DePodesta said.

“Medicine is just beginning to explore this opportunity, but it faces many of the same barriers that existed in those other sectors — deeply held traditions, monolithic organizational and operational structures, and a psychological resistance to change,” said DePodesta, who lives in La Jolla.

He said he could apply the lessons he learned in baseball to an industry “ripe for this kind of revolution.”

STSI is a National Institutes of Health-sponsored consortium led by Scripps Health in collaboration and The Scripps Research Institute. The research partnership is leading efforts to translate wireless and genetic medical technologies into diagnostics and treatments for patients.

At STSI, DePodesta will work on large medical data projects with the center’s analytics team.

Their studies include sequencing and analyzing the DNA of adults, children and infants whose sudden deaths can’t be explained using traditional medical investigative methods; identifying genetic mutations associated with atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat, so doctors can predict patient risk; and using DNA to look for genetic causes and potential treatments of serious, but rare and perplexing health conditions that defy diagnosis and standard treatment.

According to Scripps Health, DePodesta read “The Patient Will See You Now,” by STSI Director Dr. Eric Topol, and contacted the author because he was struck by the parallels between baseball and medicine, and was looking to apply his skills and knowledge to a field with global impact. A planned one-hour lunch turned into a more than three-hour discussion about big data analytics and health care.

DePodesta was a featured speaker at a STSI conference in October.


Institute for Allergy and Immunology

Receives $18 Million Consortium Grant

An international team led by investigator Alessandro Sette at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology is one of four recipients of an $18 million Human Immune Profiling Consortium  grant in 2015.

With the grant, the LJI team will characterize the immune response to dengue virus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, both of which represent major global health challenges.

“Advances in technology and data analysis have given us sophisticated tools to study the activity of the human immune system across diverse populations in unprecedented depth,” said Mitchell Kronenberg, president and chief scientific officer.

The HIPC award presented to LJI will support both research and the collection, shipping, and processing of thousands of samples from a network of clinical sites around the world (Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Peru, and Sweden). Employing samples from such a geographically and ethnically diverse populations will ensure that conclusions drawn from this research are broadly applicable.


Christian College to Offer

Leadership and Justice Degree

San Diego Christian College in Santee will offer a new online Bachelor of Science in Leadership and Justice with classes starting January 2016.

The Leadership and Justice degree program is one of eight online programs offered through SDC’s Adult and Professional Studies. The program focuses on practical perspectives in developing leadership skills to inspire service in areas of the church, education, law, government, and advocacy.

“Developing new programs for adult learners is always a priority for SDC’s Adult and Professional Studies,” said Dean Lorri Ague. “The Leadership and Justice team is poised to launch this new major as we seek to serve adults balancing life, work and career alongside obtaining their bachelor’s degree.”

For more information, visit


Northrop Launches Unmanned

Ground Surveillance Aircraft for NATO

GovCon Daily

Northrop Grumman on Saturday flew NATO’s first ground surveillance aircraft from a facility in Palmdale to Edwards Air Force Base in California for the vehicle’s inaugural flight.

The company based the aircraft from its Global Hawk wide-area surveillance drone and built the platform in an effort to help NATO monitor borders, protect soldiers and civilians and facilitate humanitarian assistance missions, Northrop said Saturday.

“Collaboration between the alliance and industry partners continues to move this extraordinary program forward,” said Rob Sheehan, Northrop’s deputy program manager for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance initiative.

Northrop is scheduled to deliver the aircraft to a military base in Sigonella, Italy, next year for the alliance.

NATO intends to procure up to five Global Hawk-derived AGS aircraft from Northrop as well as mobile and transportable terminals for data exploitation, processing and connectivity activities.


The Falcon 9 booster seconds after landing at Cape Canaveral.

The Falcon 9 booster seconds after landing at Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX Successfully Lands Booster

Rocket After Satellite Launch

Times of San Diego

Los Angeles-based SpaceX on Monday successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral after lofting 11 communications satellites into orbit. The historic landing promises to dramatically lower the cost of space travel, and also signaled SpaceX’s successful return to flight after one of its rockets exploded in June.

Seconds after the Falcon 9 booster landed, video from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne showed cheering worker shouting “USA…USA…USA.”

The primary mission of the launch was to deliver a 11-satellite array for the ORBCOMM communications company. All satellites were successfully placed into orbit.

Until Monday’s landing, it was standard practice for rockets to crash into the ocean after launch, requiring entirely new equipment for every flight. SpaceX will be able to refurbish and reuse the booster that landed.

Last month, SpaceX, which has sent unmanned supply ships to the International Space Station, was awarded a contract from NASA to launch a manned mission to the station. It’s Dragon capsule is being re-designed to carry astronauts.

SpaceX and Boeing were each awarded contracts for the manned flights — replacing the retired space shuttle program — but the flights likely will not occur until at least late 2017.


Janitorial Company Indicted

On Workers’ Compensation Fraud

City News Service

The owners of a Southern California janitorial company that provides cleaning staff to major hotels in San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside counties were indicted on charges of workers’ compensation fraud, payroll tax evasion and extortion, authorities announced today.

Hyok “Steven” Kwon and his wife, Woo “Stephanie” Kwon– the owners of Good Neighbor Services — each face up to 31 years in prison if convicted.

Good Neighbor Services provides cleaning staff to major hotels such as the Hotel Del Coronado, Loews Coronado, La Costa Resort and Spa, the Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and the Hilton and Hyatt hotel chains.

The investigation — which began 2 1/2 to three years ago — allegedly uncovered a methodical and systematic shell game involving six straw owners. Those straw owners were used to conceal the existence of hundreds of hotel workers to avoid paying millions of dollars in insurance premiums and payroll taxes, the government alleges.

“These defendants lied on the backs of their employees, who were cleaning rooms in some of the most prestigious hotels in California,” said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. “If employees got hurt on the job, they were threatened with being fired.”

For nearly a decade, Good Neighbor Services concealed its real payroll information in order to fraudulently obtain workers’ compensation insurance from multiple companies, the indictment alleges.

In doing so, the janitorial company avoided paying more than $3.6 million in insurance premiums and evaded paying more than $3.3 million in payroll taxes, according to the government.

Employees said they did not receive overtime pay or workers’ compensation benefits when they were injured on the job, and feared retaliation if they reported their injuries, Dumanis said.


Research Building at UCSD

Receives LEED Certification

The Health Sciences Biomedical Research Facility II building, which opened in 2014 on the UC San Diego School of Medicine campus, has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

 The $113 million, 196,000-square-foot building houses a diverse array of programs, including bioinformatics, genomic medicine, pathology, immunology, psychiatry, neurosciences, glycobiology, infectious diseases and gastrointestinal medicine.

Designed by ZGF Architects, the building features: Moisture generated by the cooling system and non-potable water collected from numerous sites within the building is recycled to provide 100 percent irrigation of outside lawn; all plumbing is low-flow and can use non-potable water; windows are operable and employ both fixed and computer controlled exterior shading.


Personnel Announcements

Jewish Community Foundation Promotes Sharleen Wollach

Sharleen Wollach

Sharleen Wollach

The Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego has promoted Sharleen Wollach to vice president of operations.

Wollach joined JCF in 2009 and has assumed increasingly responsible positions. She currently oversees donor services, grants administration, and communications and marketing. She is also directing the Endowment Leadership Institute in partnership with Jewish agencies, day schools and synagogues.

Under her direction, ELI’s Create a Jewish Legacy program has increased to over 1,100 families and continues to be a national model.

Wollach also manages the Governance Leadership Institute, to educate community organizations about best practices in board governance.

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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.

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