Daily Business Report-Oct. 31, 2017
On Wednesday, Californians will start paying 12 cents more per gallon of gas (20 cents more for diesel) at the pump.
Big Gas Tax Hike Takes Effect Tomorrow
Opponents mount initiative drive to repeal
$5.2 billion in taxes and fee increases
A group of Californians has filed papers to launch an initiative drive aimed at repealing a gas tax and vehicle fee increases and require future tax hikes be approved by voters.
The tax and fee increases signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will raise $5.2 billion annually for road and bridge repairs and expanded mass transit. The hikes — raising the gas tax from 18 cents to 30 cents per gallon — start Nov. 1.
Brown blasted the initiative proposal.
“I can’t believe the proponents of this ballot measure really want Californians to keep driving on lousy roads and dangerous bridges,” the governor said in a statement. “Taking billions of dollars a year from road maintenance and repair borders on insanity.”
Reform California, headed by former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, filed papers with the state attorney general’s office Thursday to start the process to collect 587,407 signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot.
“Sacramento politicians really crossed the line with these massive car and gas tax hikes and we intend to give taxpayers the chance to reverse that decision with this initiative,” DeMaio said in a statement.
- On Wednesday, Californians will be subject to 12 cents more per gallon of gas (20 cents more for diesel) at the pump.
• Estimates suggest it will cost each car owner upwards of $500 per car, per year.
• Auto registration fees will increase as much as $175 a year.
- The tax revenue goes into the state’s General Fund, meaning there’s zero guarantee the money will be used to actually fund the transportation fixes they claim will happen, say gas tax opponents.
• More than 45 events will be held across the state over the next 30 days to continue to grow the public awareness of the effort.
— From LA Times and Other Media
Pumpkin-carving contest spices up R/V Roger Revelle cruise
Scripps Oceanography research vessel Roger Revelle may not get many trick-or-treaters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, but that hasn’t stopped those aboard from getting into the Halloween spirit.
Captain David Murline recently shared photo highlights of the pumpkin-carving contest held by the researchers and crew.
The vessel is currently involved in the second Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS-2), the goal of which is to better understand the fate of freshwater deposited on the sea surface as rainfall. Much of the cruise involves recovering equipment that Revelle deployed for the NASA- and NSF-funded study in 2016: monitoring equipment moored to the ocean floor, autonomous vehicles such as Seagliders and Wavegliders, and other floating gear.
NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System
to Carry Northrop-Made Flight Instrument
NASA has announced that a solar energy-measuring instrument from Northrop Grumman will launch aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 in November.
JPSS-1 is scheduled to lift off Nov. 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 4:47 a.m. Eastern time and will carry the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Flight Model 6, NASA said.
The space agency’s Langley Research Center awarded Northrop a contract in May 2009 to build CERES FM6.
“CERES provides critical observations of how solar energy absorbed and terrestrial infrared radiative energy emitted by Earth are distributed over the planet,” said Norman Loeb, principal investigator for NASA’s Radiation Budget Science Project.
Scientists will use global data from the sensor to validate models designed to measure the cloud’s effect on planetary cooling or heating as part of efforts to increase the accuracy of seasonal climate forecasts.
NASA noted that CERES data can also help researchers study the climatic and radiative effects of natural calamities.
Five similar instruments currently function aboard three satellites in orbit, the agency added.
Students Benefit from NASA Community
College Aerospace Scholars Program
Seven San Diego Community College District students, including six from San Diego City College, have been studying at NASA research centers across the country as part of the prestigious NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program.
The six from City College are members of the campus MESA Program, an acronym for Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement, which offers academic support, industry exposure and leadership training to prepare students for a four-year college or university and STEM-based careers.
“It’s a learning culture that we’ve built here, a culture that breeds success,” said MESA Program Director Rafael Alvarez.
A key part of that culture is the MESA Martians, a support group, in partnership with Northrop Grumman, for students interested in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program. The program launches each summer with a five-week, online workshop filled with discussions, webinars with NASA engineers and scientists, and myriad design challenges. Students who successfully complete the interactive web-based activities can qualify for an onsite experience at NASA to work on a team project mentored by NASA engineers, attend briefings, and tour NASA facilities.
Shawn Moore, who enrolled at City College after serving nine years in the Navy, said he wouldn’t have known about the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program had it not been for MESA. He recently returned from several days of workshops, lectures, and a robotic programming competition at the Neil Armstrong Flight Research Center inside Edwards Air Force Base near Mojave, Calif.
“An amazing experience,” said Moore, who is studying physics and who plans to transfer next fall to a university en route to a Ph.D. in astrophysics. “My goal is to one day work with NASA, so I couldn’t be more pleased to take part in this program.”
County Gets Grant to Monitor
High-Risk DUI Offenders
The San Diego County Probation Department will use a half-million dollar grant to keep high-risk DUI offenders from getting behind the wheel again.
Nationally, nearly one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders and 50 to 75 percent of convicted drivers continue to drive on a suspended license, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The $535,111 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety will help the department make sure high-risk, felony, and repeat DUI offenders are complying with all court orders. These offenders are over-represented in traffic crashes involving alcohol and other drugs, often with tragic results.
“The funding is vital to our efforts to reduce and try to stop alcohol- or drug-impaired driving by people who are have already been convicted of this offense,” said San Diego County Probation Chief Adolfo Gonzales. “Intensive monitoring paired with treatment and counseling are how we are tackling this serious threat to public safety.”
UC San Diego Joins Prestigious
The University of California San Diego has joined the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Research University Consortium, a prestigious academic leadership group in the humanities. There are currently 35 additional top universities in the consortium.
The consortium’s mission is to increase financial support for and overall number of academic researchers in the humanities and related social sciences. Individual fellowships are awarded through rigorous, peer-reviewed competitions.
ACLS invited UC San Diego to the consortium based on its innovative approach to humanities research and engagement, shown through multiple years of successful fellowship competitions, recent academic growth and future trajectory.
“The strength in humanities research and education at UC San Diego is remarkable, and inclusion by the American Council of Learned Societies is a welcome reflection of the hard work, dedication and ground-breaking research being done by our outstanding faculty and students,” said Cristina Della Coletta, dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities. “We are honored by the invitation to be a part of this prestigious consortium, and look forward to participating fully.”
Southwest Strategies Hires 3 New Staffers
Southwest Strategies has added three new employees – Manager of Public Affairs Kenneth Moore; Manager of Public Affairs Melanie Wilson; and Account Executive Alexis Lopez.
Moore is a public affairs and communications professional with expertise in media relations, community outreach and strategic planning. Moore oversees multi-faceted communications and media campaigns on behalf the firm’s clients, working on large residential and commercial development projects and helping lead the firm’s social media team. Prior to joining Southwest Strategies, Moore worked as a senior associate at Hutchens PR.
Wilson joins Southwest Strategies with a background in government relations and community outreach. Prior to joining the team, Wilson was land use adviser to Supervisor Bill Horn and policy adviser to Supervisor Ron Roberts. She worked on a range of issues from infrastructure, land use, water, energy, transportation and affordable housing.
Lopez brings her expertise in politics, government relations, binational affairs and public outreach to her new role as an account executive. Prior to joining Southwest Strategies, Lopez worked at the Office of Mayor Kevin Faulconer, where she assisted with planning the 2017 State of the City Address, framing policies, preparing briefs and conducting high-level legislative research on federal and local issues.