Daily Business Report-June 12, 2017
The USS Gabrielle Giffords will depart Galveston, Texas and begin her transit to her homeport at Naval Base San Diego (U.S. Navy photo)
USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned
Before Heading to Homeport San Diego
The USS Gabrielle Giffords, the Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, was commissioned Saturday in Galveston, Texas before departing to her homeport in San Diego.
Adm. William Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, delivered the ceremony’s principal address before officially commissioning the ship into service.
“As we man the rails today, blood gets pumped, the ship comes alive, and the heart begins to beat,” said Moran. “It’s the blood that is infused by the spirit, the attitude, and the courage of its namesake. We are so proud to be part of Gabrielle Giffords’ legacy to the United States.”
Gabrielle Giffords is the 10th LCS to be commissioned and is named for former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
In 2012 the Secretary of the Navy announced the future ship’s name, and USS Gabrielle Giffords became the 16th ship to be named for a woman and only the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.
The ship is commanded by Cmdr. Keith Woodley, a native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who leads the core crew of 50 officers and enlisted personnel.
Most other Navy surface combatant ships have a crew of 300 or more sailors, but littoral combat ships like Gabrielle Giffords have more automated systems and much smaller crews than their counterparts. Gabrielle Giffords’ crew is just 73 at the ship’s commissioning.
The 3,200-ton Gabrielle Giffords was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. The ship is 421 feet in length and has a beam of 103 feet and a navigational draft of 15 feet. The ship uses two gas turbine and two diesel engines to power four steerable waterjets to speeds in excess of 40 knots.
Littoral combat ships are fast, agile, mission-focused platforms designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking, and win against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft.
San Diego Home Prices Reach Record Highs
Median price of single-family homes
tops out at $612,500
Home prices hit record highs in May, with the median price of single-family homes topping out at $612,500, according to housing statistics compiled from the Multiple Listing Service by the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.
Condominiums and townhomes (all attached properties) also reached a record $394,000 median price in May. Home prices have seen a year-over-year increase of 8 percent for all previously owned properties.
Single-family home sales in May increased 8 percent over the previous month, and condominiums and townhomes (attached properties) posted a strong 11 percent increase. For the year to date 2017, sales of existing homes were down by about 2 percent over the prior year.
San Diego homes continue to be scooped up soon after they go on the market. In May, single-family homes were selling in an average of only 27 days, while condos and townhomes closed an average of 19 days after the for-sale signs have gone up.
“While the rise in prices is astounding considering where we were a decade ago,” said SDAR President Bob Kevane, “there is less worry about a boom-and-bust scenario with our stronger lending standards. I am optimistic that our improving economy will make for a strong summer home sale season.”
In May, the ZIP codes in San Diego County with the most single-family home sales were:
- 92028 (Fallbrook) with 67
- 92127 (Rancho Bernardo West) with 62
- 92009 (Carlsbad Southeast) with 60
- 29064 (Poway) with 57
- 92065 (Ramona) with 56
The most expensive residential property sold in the county last month was Los Robles Ranch in Santa Ysabel — a 640-acre, 8-parcel luxury retreat, including a 3,550-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 3-bath main house built in 2006. The price tag was $8.5 million.
San Diego Miramar College Receives More
Than $1.1M in Workforce Training Grants
More than $1.1 million in state grants are coming to San Diego Miramar College to build on the success of job-training programs that are putting people to work in the fields of biotechnology and alternative fuels.
Awards include two grants totaling $572,500 for a Miramar College-based Southern California Biotechnology Center, which for more than a decade has worked closely with the life sciences industry in sharpening the skills of teachers, students, and those already working in the field..
Two other grants totaling $572,500 will go to the Miramar College-based Advanced Transportation and Renewable Energy program and its Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy Center, which works with community colleges statewide in developing curriculum, acquiring equipment and training instructors who are educating students and faculty about clean fuels technology and aligning resources with industry needs.
San Diego Community College District
Adopts Tentative $724 Million Budget
The San Diego Community College District has a new tentative budget of nearly $724 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year that prioritizes initiatives promoting student success and student equity and boosts an array of job-training programs that are putting people to work.
The budget includes funds for intersession class offerings between the fall and spring semesters, enabling students additional opportunities to take the core classes they need to graduate on time.
The SDCCD’s Board of Trustees adopted the tentative spending plan on a unanimous vote at its June 8 meeting. While the $724 million figure represents a decline of more than 8.5 percent in authorization from last year, most of that decline — nearly $44 million — is due to a sharp decrease in the anticipated budget required for Proposition S and N construction projects. A final adopted budget must be approved by the Board of Trustees at its Sept. 15 meeting.
How the Brain Recognizes What the Eye Sees
If you think self-driving cars can’t get here soon enough, you’re not alone. But programming computers to recognize objects is very technically challenging, especially since scientists don’t fully understand how our own brains do it. Now, Salk Institute researchers have analyzed how neurons in a critical part of the brain, called V2, respond to natural scenes, providing a better understanding of vision processing. The work is described in Nature Communications n June 8, 2017.
Cancer Cells Conspire to Increase
Drug Resistance Among Themselves
Scientists at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine say that cancer cells seem to communicate to other cancer cells, activating an internal system that increases resistance to chemotherapy and promotes tumor survival. Their study (“Intercellular Transmission of the Unfolded Protein Response Promotes Survival and Drug Resistance in Cancer Cells”) appears online in Science Signaling.
NASSCO Awarded $105.4 Million
Contract for Work on USS Makin Island
General Dynamics NASSCO has been awarded a $105.4 million contract for a major upgrade of the USS Makin Island in drydock.The contract was awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command. The cumulative value of the contract can be up to $106 million, if the options included in the agreement are exercised.
Manufactured by Huntington, USS Makin Island is the eighth and final WASP-class amphibious assault ship — the only ship in her class powered by LM 2500+ Gas Turbine Engines and Electric Drive.
Festival of Genomics
On June 26-27, the Festival of Genomics is bringing the industry’s best to the San Diego Convention Center for a fun, free and educational event. Research and development in topics such as precision therapies and personalized medicine will be discussed, over 30 exhibitions will be held and over 70 genomics leaders will present their latest discoveries and innovations. To register, click here
City Council Grapples with Special
Election on Convention Center, SoccerCity
The City Council today is scheduled to consider whether to call a special election on Nov. 7 for San Diegans to vote on Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to raise hotel room taxes to pay for expansion of the convention center, street repairs and homeless programs. The decision will also impact another issue, the proposed SoccerCity“ redevelopment of Qualcomm Stadium, which is scheduled to come before the council a week later. That will also requires a public vote.
Faulconer included $5 million in funding for a special election in the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, but the money was redirected to other programs by City Council members who preferred to wait until the next regularly scheduled general election, in November 2018.
The mayor, accusing the council majority of “being squeezed by their political backers,” subsequently restored the funding, which he has the power to do. The City Council can consider overriding the mayor’s action this week, with six votes.