San Diego Business Journal Quote of the Week

'She's been a force in the community for more than 20 years. She took a chance going into the Gaslamp when there was nothing there but hookers and tattoo parlors.'

, Tourism executive Reint Reinders on restaurateur Ingrid Croce. Click here for the story.

Monday, Dec. 5

Sanders Takes Office: Jerry Sanders was sworn in as San Diego mayor during a meeting of the San Diego City Council.

"My goal will be to re-create government, both in form and function, so that it matches this distinction," said Sanders at his swearing-in ceremony. "But it won't be easy and it will take some time. Our city government is broken, there's no other way to put it. The problems that plague San Diego weren't created overnight and they can't be fixed overnight either."

Sanders said that he would keep his campaign promises to streamline city operations, making government more accountable, "making ethics and customer service the foundation of a new City Hall culture."

He succeeds Dick Murphy, who stepped down from office July 15, amid federal investigations into city finances, a pension deficit, budget battles and scathing national press. City Councilwoman Toni Atkins had been serving as deputy mayor in the interim.

Sanders defeated City Councilwoman Donna Frye for mayor in the Nov. 8 election.

Sanders becomes mayor at a pivotal time in San Diego's history. On Jan. 1, the city will begin a five-year test of a strong mayor form of government, in which the mayor will function as the chief executive officer of the city. This replaces the city manager form, which, most recently, had Lamont Ewell in the job. He left his post Nov. 28 to accept a similar position in Santa Monica.

City Councilman Scott Peters has been tapped to serve as City Council president, and will be taking over the duties once assigned to the mayor, presiding over the City Council meetings and making committee appointments.

, Pat Broderick

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Congressional Race Widens: The 50th District congressional race continued to attract candidates since Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned after pleading guilty Nov. 28 to tax evasion and conspiracy.

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Newsome, a San Diego native, announced his plans to file for candidacy later this month. Newsome is a 44-year-old Republican who lives in Big Bear Lake. He plans to relocate to the San Diego area.

On Dec. 1, Alan Uke, a prominent Poway businessman, and Brian Bilbray, who had represented the 49th Congressional District in the South Bay, announced their candidacies for Cunningham's seat.

, Pat Broderick

Tuesday, Dec. 6

Viejas Mulls Embarcadero Project: The San Diego Unified Port District announced it would enter negotiations with Federal Viejas LLC to build two new high-end hotels, a new cruise ship terminal , viewed as a necessity to maintain and grow its cruise line business , and parking facilities in Downtown San Diego.

The developments are planned for the North Embarcadero, at the intersection of Broadway and Harbor Drive.

Federal Viejas, which is controlled by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, will have 90 days to conclude a deal for what is being called the Embarcadero Circle , a development that could cost up to $600 million. The projected date of opening the operation is 2010.

However, the agency apparently could wind up in talks with Manchester Financial, an entity controlled by local real estate developer and hotel owner Doug Manchester, in the event that negotiations are unsuccessful with Federal Viejas.

Hardage Suite Hotels of Del Mar Heights and a team that included San Diego developer Robert Lankford had also thrown their hats into the ring.

The Federal Viejas plan calls for two hotels that would contain a total of about 800 rooms on Lane Field, the former home of the Pacific Coast League's San Diego Padres minor league baseball team. They are expected to carry the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton flags. Plans also call for about 3,000 parking spaces, including 600 at the cruise ship terminal.

Martinez + Cutri Architects would design the Viejas project.

Viejas Enterprises includes the Viejas Casino and Viejas Outlet Center near Alpine. The American Indian tribe also holds part ownership in a 233-room Residence Inn by Marriott in Washington, D.C., and a 233-room Residence Inn by Marriott under construction in Sacramento.

More than a year ago, some major cruise line companies, including Seattle-based Holland America, essentially put the Port District on notice that they would take their business elsewhere unless a new cruise ship terminal was built to replace the old, outdated B Street Terminal.

, Connie Lewis

Thursday, Dec. 8

AmNet Deal OK'd: Shareholders of AmNet Mortgage Inc., a San Diego-based mortgage bank, approved the sale of the company to Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia Corp. during a special meeting.

In September, AmNet accepted a cash offer of $10.30 for each share of AmNet for an aggregate price of $83 million. At the time of the deal, AmNet was trading at $9.77, so the company was acquired at a 5 percent premium. At least one major shareholder, Flagg Street Capital, which owns 15 percent of the shares, said the price was too low.

The company refused to release the results of the vote to accept Wachovia's offer. The transaction should be completed by the end of this year, AmNet said.

AmNet will continue operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Wachovia under its Fixed Income Division. The company's top management, including Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Robbins, signed three-year employment contracts.

, Mike Allen