Stories for March 2009

Tuesday, March 31

Arena Drug News Doesn't Wow Wall Street

An experimental obesity drug made by San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals failed to impress Wall Street despite its ability to lower weight, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure in patients in a late-stage clinical trial.

Mickey's Cruise Liner to Dock in Los Angeles

Well, there's one mouse that won't be visiting San Diego on a gangplank, as hoped.

TorreyPines Therapeutics Cuts Staff, Mulls Options

TorreyPines Therapeutics will eliminate all but three employees as it seeks strategic alternatives, the company said March 31.

Monday, March 30


We get letters: Sunrise Powerlink is not needed at all

Lindbergh Field Expected To Award 2 Big Contracts

Now that airport officials have a configuration for the future of Lindbergh Field, they can turn their attention to a long-delayed series of improvements estimated to cost $876 million , up 25 percent from $700 million in 2008 and 35 percent from 2007.

Recession Forces Law Firms to Cut Associates, Staffers

K & L; Gates, which recently moved into San Diego after merging with Bell, Boyd & Lloyd, became the latest law firm to conduct attorney layoffs in a recession that has battered the legal industry.

Demand Runs High for Short Supply of Green Office Space

Looking for green office space? Your options are limited in San Diego unless you build your own environmentally friendly and energy-efficient building.

Week In Review

Top Business News: March 20 - 26, 2009

Sale Values 41 Apartments for $3.8M

The El Tesoro Apartments in El Cajon sold for $3.8 million, CB Richard Ellis said March 26.

Nonprofits on Notice: Stimulus Cash Coming

Irene Stillings, director of the California Center for Sustainable Energy, is confident she's in a good position to tap money the state receives from Washington's economic stimulus package.

Chase Opens La Mesa Office to Help Reduce Foreclosures

JPMorgan Chase, which now owns Washington Mutual Bank, opened one of its homeownership centers in La Mesa on March 25, offering assistance in an effort to stem a growing flood of mortgage defaults and foreclosures.

Soaring Vacancies Bring Down Rates for Office Rentals

Double-digit vacancy rates are bringing down office lease rates.

Coronado First Founder Resigns Over Objections to SD Branch

Tom Stickel, former chairman of Coronado First Bank, resigned after the board went ahead with a plan to open a branch in downtown San Diego.

Stem Cell Therapies Good For Healing Animals, Too

On-the-job injuries are commonplace on a working farm.

HP Taps Nontraditional Printing Markets

The company that built an empire selling a printer with every computer is struggling to reinvent itself as environmentally minded consumers eschew paper.

Evans Tire Still Rolling, Eyes Opening More Stores

John Andonian wants to grow his way out from underneath the recession.

We're Entering a Values-Driven Era in the Recession

Perhaps some of you remember the line from the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," when the character Maria Portokalos screamed at her son Nicko, "Don't play with the food! When I was your age, we didn't have food!"

BlokHaus Shows Its Creativity in East Village Projects

The renovation of the old Wonder Bread factory in East Village is one of the projects helping to transform the neighborhood into hip, creative space.

Tech Firms Pursue Anti-Counterfeiting

Carlsbad-based Life Technologies will branch into the high-tech world of anti-counterfeiting in a new deal inked with Palo Alto-based nanotechnology firm Nanosys.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Los Angeles-based Smart & Final opened its 14th store in the county March 18.

Executive Profile - Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate is president of At Your Home Familycare.

Factory Floor Still Good Place for Career

There is a burgeoning movement to motivate students in America to consider careers in the unlikeliest of places , the factory floor.

Sempra Not Slowing Down in Slow Economy

Sempra Energy, the San Diego-based Fortune 500 powerhouse, is a big-shouldered player here, a top-tier public company that anchors the downtown economy. Sempra was formed in 1998 and has 13,600 employees globally.

High Drama

Leon Natker's wondering what's next after the curtain rises on "A Waltz Dream" at The Stephen Birch North Park Theatre on April 3.

National Mortgage Lender to Serve Multifamily Market

NorthMarq Capital, a privately owned commercial real estate mortgage bank in Minneapolis, opened a new office here earlier this month. The lender will focus on multifamily lending from its local office.

Security Software Maker Pioneer in Protecting Against Threats

Anton Zajac, president and chief executive officer of ESET, takes the saying, "the early bird catches the worm," quite seriously, catching worms, viruses, spyware, trojans, phishing and other Internet menaces before they know what hit 'em. ESET stands for

SAIC Founder Robert Beyster Commits $2M to Rutgers

Robert Beyster, founder of area defense contractor SAIC, has committed $2 million to Rutgers University's School of Management and Labor Relations , to establish the J. Robert Beyster Professorship of Employee Ownership.

C4 Waterman's Paddleboard Finalist for Surfboard of the Year

A stand-up paddleboard designed by C4 Waterman, based in Encinitas and Honolulu, Hawaii, is one of five finalists for Board of the Year by the trade group Surf Industry Manufacturers Association, or SIMA, which honors top designers, producers and retailer

Agencies Spending More to Offset Decline in Tourists

Despite a $1.7 million shortfall in what it budgeted this year, the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau has fattened its spring marketing campaign significantly in the face of declining tourism.

Deft Touch for Guerrilla Marketing Efforts Online

Sorrento Valley's IntelliTouch Communications, which started out peddling cassette tapes that play music for callers on hold and now sells wireless speakers, has expanded its sales after launching a new guerrilla marketing strategy in November.

Charlotte Russe Board Doesn't Like Opposition Slate

Charlotte Russe Holding board says an opposition slate of directors nominated by a major shareholder and potential buyer is akin to allowing foxes into the henhouse.

Baja Mayor Lashes Out at News Stories

The drug wars becomes the media war Hugo Torres, the mayor of Rosarito Beach, recently e-mailed reporters and editors a few harsh words in a commentary about our coverage of the drug wars south of the border, and in this case, the wars are not so far so

Sales Tax Rates Rise April 1

The new month brings sales tax increases of at least 1 percent to California communities.

Wireless Health Institute to Blaze Trail for New, $2B Industry

Officials with Qualcomm and Scripps Health announced plans March 30 for an institute dedicated to improving health care using wireless technologies.

Executive Profile - Vernon Evans

Vernon Evans is the top financial officer for the San Diego County

Friday, March 27

First Pacific Bank Amends 2008 Results

First Pacific Bank of California reported March 26 it amended its 2008 financial results and increased its net loss for last year to $21.8 million, a change of $6.9 million.

Thursday, March 26

Entropic to Cut Jobs

Entropic Communications, which makes networking chips that can connect home electronic products connected by coaxial cable, said it is cutting 55 employees or 18 percent of its work force as part of a restructuring effort.

Padres Sale Closes, Moorad Becomes CEO

The sale of the Padres to Jeff Moorad, the former Arizona Diamondbacks chief executive, closed today, the team announced at Petco Park March 26.

New Names, New Chapter for Gaslamp Watering Holes

Two bistros in the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego that were formerly under the operation of celebrity nightclub owner Rande Gerber have been renamed.

Home on Jamacha: Apartment Complex Sells for $14.7M

A 144-unit apartment complex on Jamacha Road in El Cajon sold for $14.7 million. Hendricks & Partners announced the sale March 26.

French Firm Offers 'Unrestricted Support' for Salk Program

La Jolla's Salk Institute has inked a multiyear deal with French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis that establishes a joint program supporting cutting-edge research in the field of regenerative medicine.

Amylin Says New Byetta Effort Remains on Schedule

San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals said March 26 it is on schedule to file for FDA approval of a once-weekly version of diabetes drug Byetta by the end of the second quarter.

Economic Index Takes Big Fall in February

The University of San Diego's Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell 2.7 percent in February, according to Alan Gin, the university economist who compiles the monthly report.

SuperShuttle Buys Express Shuttle

SuperShuttle International of Phoenix increased its share of the Southern California airport ground transport market with the March 25 acquisition of Express Shuttle, which operates in San Diego and Los Angeles.

Sempra Energy Turns Up Earnings Forecast

Sempra Energy boosted its previous earnings forecast for 2010 in advance of an investors conference in New York, stating it expects earnings per share for that year to come in between $5 to $5.25.

Overland Storage Gets More Borrowing Power

Overland Storage, a maker of data backup systems, said March 26 it closed an accounts receivable agreement with FGI Finance, allowing it to borrow up to $5 million or the value of its foreign accounts receivable.

Wednesday, March 25

SAIC Puts Wraps on a $10B Year

SAIC on March 25 reported fourth quarter net income of $120 million, up 21 percent from the like period in 2008.

Sandag Saves on Borrowing, Beginning in 2018

The San Diego Association of Governments said March 25 it amended a set of agreements that resulted in lowering its annual borrowing costs by an estimated $5 million over the course of 20 years, or $100 million.

Tuesday, March 24

SAIC Sells Unit, Gets Army Contract

SAIC, the San Diego research and engineering firm, sold a tactical communications product unit for $5.7 million to New Jersey-based Ultralite Corp., the buyer said March 23.

Monday, March 23

Time to Break the Hourglass Economy

The time has come to break the hourglass economy.

Old Town Shopping Complex to Change Name

Plaza del Pasado, a California State Park concession in Old Town, will be renamed Fiesta de Reyes, which in Spanish means celebration of kings, according to Chuck Ross who officially took it over on March 8 from Delaware North Corp.

Private Bankers Easing Anxieties About Investments

In these times of financial uncertainty, community banks offering private banking services to wealthy clients, law firms and nonprofits are spending a lot of time trying to reassure clients.

Five Point Capital Hires CEO to Get Firm Back on Fast Track

After taking equipment leasing firm Five Point Capital to $100 million in revenue, its co-founders realized they needed to hire a chief executive.

$24.5M Parking Structure to Add 1,400 Spaces at Grossmont College

McCarthy Building has topped out the exterior concrete frame for the new 402,503-square-foot, three-level parking structure and adjacent 3,200-square-foot Public Safety Office at Grossmont College, which is located at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Ca

Headhunter Boils Business Down to Wealth Management

Eric Armstrong said he saw the handwriting on the wall as the financial world his Carlsbad recruiting business serves began collapsing last year, forcing him to make some serious changes.

Topping Off: Grossmont College Parking Structure, Public Safety Office

A new 402,500-square-foot, three-level parking structure and adjacent 3,200-square-foot Public Safety Office on the Grossmont College campus in El Cajon.

Navy to Spend $139M on Point Loma Construction Project

The Navy plans to break ground March 27 on a five-year project to update its fuel depot on Point Loma. The project will add six new fuel tanks, each with a capacity of 5.25 million gallons.

Economically Injured Are Still Sick and Awaiting Treatment

The local hospital waiting room is full of economically injured people waiting for care.

Researchers on 2-Year Oceanic Quest to Find New Genes

Two years after researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute published data detailing the discovery of millions of new genes found in microscopic oceanic organisms, their namesake leader set sail last week on another two-year quest.

Buyer Likely to Restructure U-T

The March 18 announcement that The Copley Press had entered into an agreement to sell The San Diego Union-Tribune answered the big question of who would buy the city's only major metropolitan daily , Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity.

Sorenson Media Eager to Dive Into Area's Rich Talent Pool

Get your resumes updated. Sorenson Media, which pioneered video compression technology, allowing computer applications such as Apple's QuickTime and Macromedia Flash to play video, is hiring locally.

New Hotel Rooms Glutting Market at Check-In Low Point

San Diego County added more hotel rooms than any other county in the state last year, and analysts say that even though development is slowing, it will start back up when the economy improves.

Chamber Celebration Custom Made for Framer

Rick Sturdivan, owner of Rick's Custom Framing, has been perfecting his craft for the past 30 years.

Hollis-Eden Loses Its Namesake

The longtime CEO and founder of Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals was let go last week by a special committee serving the company's board of directors, according to March 23 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Osiris Finding Its Shoes Still Fit in Action Sports Market

While the action sports industry is reporting declining sales, Osiris Shoes says its revenues have increased.

Week In Review

Top Business News: March 13 - 19, 2009

Executive Profile - Wayne Hickey

Wayne Hickey is CEO of Roel Construction.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Sonic, which calls itself the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants, plans to open an eatery at the corner of Mission Gorge Road and Magnolia Avenue on March 28.

RQ Construction Wins Bid to Build Museum

The windfall from regional military contracts continues to benefit San Diego's general contractors.

News Network Signing on With New Voice

While big city newspapers are busy writing their own epitaphs, a husband-and-wife entrepreneurial team is launching San Diego News Network, a news Web site using $1 million in private financing, much of it from their own pocketbooks.

Forget Web's eBay, Cheap Goods Abound At Kobey's Swap Meet

Sharon Ramsey used to sell collectibles, including rock star memorabilia, on eBay, but when she saw revenue declining in the fall she decided to try her hand at Kobey's Swap Meet in Point Loma.

Take Control of Workers' Comp Costs

What's happened to workers' compensation reform in California?

Gen-Probe Lands 1 Year, $180M Loan at Incredible 1.1%

Biotechs, especially those in the research phase, have been hurting as funding for higher risk businesses gets scarce.

Sales and Leases

Anthony Bedford purchased a 37-unit, multifamily property at 4150 National Ave. for $1.64 million from Steve and Cindy Vorres.

Roche Reshuffling Operations in $46B Genentech Deal

On March 12, Swiss drug maker Roche agreed to buy the remaining 44 percent of Genentech it didn't already own for $46.8 billion, ending a long corporate struggle.

Three's a Charm

Having undergone a 25-year overhaul that included the reception of new nuclear fuel, the USS Carl Vinson is in Newport News, Va., and becoming a functioning aircraft carrier again. In April 2010, the ship is set to swap its home port for Naval Air Station

United Jewish Federation Women's Division Raises $200,000

The Women's Division of the United Jewish Federation raised $200,000 at its 2009 Options Event, which was held Feb. 24 at the Marriott San Diego La Jolla.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Jim Pathman

Gen-Probe to Get New CEO in May

Gen-Probe's board of directors elected Carl Hull as the company's next CEO, the company said March 23. Hull will take the job following the retirement of longtime leader Henry Nordhoff in May.

Viewer Discretion Urged, Jim Cramer Is Really an Entertainer

You may have heard about the recent cable television dust-up between "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, who appears on Comedy Central, and "Mad Money" manic host Jim Cramer, who appears on financial news cable channel CNBC.

Striking a Balance Between Market's Highs and Lows

When banking customers with high net worth see a continuing barrage of negative financial news coverage, they know they need to figure out with their bank how to stop the bleeding.

Pfizer Puts Its Incubator Building on the Market

Pfizer has put its La Jolla Incubator building up for sale, signaling one of many changes for the nation's biggest drug maker as it seeks to trim costs in anticipation of competition for some of its best-selling drugs.

Women's Alliance Network Opens 6 Chapters

Women's Alliance Network, a networking organization, announced its countywide launch March 23.

Chamber Goes Green; City Appreciates It

The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce was recognized for its efforts in improving the environment when Mayor "Bud" Lewis proclaimed March Sustainability Month.

Airport Board Looks Over Growth Options

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board, meeting March 23, accepted a report on the potential future redesign of Lindbergh Field that contained a variety of options.

$563M Hospital Slated For Camp Pendleton

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton will get a $563 million hospital to replace its current naval hospital as part of the federal government's economic stimulus plan.

Equity Fund Closes, Returns Cash to Investors

What sounded like a great idea, establishing an equity fund to help small developers meet loan requirements for urban infill projects, worked four years ago but not in today's slow economy.

Special Report Profile - David Reagan

David Reagan is a senior vice president with City National Bank and financial adviser to business owners, high-net-worth individuals and nonprofit organizations.

Can You Blame Me or My Genes?

The Nierenberg family and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego honor popular science writer Richard Dawkins on April 7 with their prestigious ninth Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest.

Friday, March 20

Region Lost 38,000 Jobs in Last Year

San Diego's unemployment rose again in February to 8.8 percent from a revised January rate of 8.7 percent, as the region lost nearly 3,000 jobs during the month.

City Issues $103M in Bonds to Fund To-Do List

To pay for a slew of improvement projects including street resurfacing and storm drain repairs, the city of San Diego issued $103 million in 10-year lease revenue bonds on March 19.

Pink Slips Go Out at K & L; Gates

K & L; Gates, which recently moved into San Diego after merging with Bell, Boyd & Lloyd, became the latest law firm to issue attorney layoffs in a recession that has battered the legal industry.

Thursday, March 19

Justice Department Sues Union Pacific

The U.S. Department of Justice filed two separate suits, including one in San Diego federal court, against the Union Pacific Railroad March 18 alleging the company failed to prevent the use of its rail cars for smuggling thousands of pounds of narcotics i

North County Chamber Has New Leader

The San Diego North Chamber of Commerce said March 19 that it hired former Union-Tribune employee and head of Escondido Downtown Business Association Debra Rosen as interim CEO.

Sandag Bonds Get High Marks

Two Wall Street bond rating agencies reaffirmed the highest ratings on $600 million in transportation improvement bonds that were issued last year, according to the San Diego Association of Governments in a statement March 19.

Kaiser IT Layoffs Won't Hit Locally

Information technology workers in San Diego will not be affected by Kaiser's plans to lay off 860 workers this year, according to a company spokeswoman.

Callaway, Perry Ellis to Collaborate

Callaway Golf, which is based in Carlsbad, reached an agreement with Perry Ellis International to design, manufacture and distribute Callaway golf and sportswear apparel in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Wednesday, March 18

Copley Press Sells U-T

The Copley Press of La Jolla sold its flagship publication, The San Diego Union-Tribune, to a Beverly Hills private equity firm, Platinum Equity, for an undisclosed price.

Beverly Hills Firm to Buy Union-Tribune

The Copley Press Inc. has entered into an agreement to sell The San Diego Union-Tribune, the city's only major daily newspaper, for an undisclosed price to Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, the paper reported March 18.

Tuesday, March 17

Viejas Name Goes on SDSU Arena in $6M Deal

The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians will put its name on San Diego State University's sports and entertainment venue, now known as Cox Arena.

RF Industries Cuts Back

RF Industries, a maker and distributor of cables and connectors for the wireless telecom industry, reported net income of $162,000 for its first quarter ended Jan. 31, down from $182,000 for the like quarter last year.

Monday, March 16

Sly Move: Fox Sports Grill Gets In on Ground Floor of Hotel

At a time when many restaurants are pulling back on expansion plans or closing, Fox Sports Grill, a Westlake Village-based chain of upscale eateries, is opening its seventh location.

Judge Dismisses Broadcom Complaint Against Qualcomm

Qualcomm said March 16 that a federal judge has dismissed a recent claim brought by fellow chipmaker Broadcom in the latest development in a long-running patent lawsuit between the two companies.

Executive Profile - Suzanne L. Bond

Suzanne Bond is vice president and chief compliance officer of Madison Ave & #173;nue Securities.

Web Site Falls in Love With Dating

San Diego News Network, a local news Web site, goes live with a soft launch March 17.

CEO Leaving ConVis

David Peckinpaugh faced the 2007 firestorms and the 2008 stock market crash during his time as president and CEO of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. Industry sources gave his performance mixed reviews.

Cymer to Lay Off 130, Take $3.7M Charge

Cymer said March 12 that it plans to lay off 16 percent of its work force, or 130 employees, in response to a deteriorating market for its products.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Harley-Davidson plans to hold a grand reopening of its store at 621 El Cajon Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28.

Life's a Beach: Spring Break Tour Operators See Solid Sales

After the U.S. State Department issued an alert in late February warning would-be travelers of the risks involved in going to Mexico, particularly Tijuana and Northern Baja, San Diego State University and other Western schools followed with their own warn

Top ConVis Executive to Step Down

David Peckinpaugh will not renew his contract as president and CEO of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, the agency said March 16.

SDG & E; Opponents Motivated By Cause or Cash?

For readers seeking a respite from the news deluge involving the troubled economy, take a look at an example of the street theater that passes for politics here in America's Finest City.

Music to Its Ears: Symphony Receives $200,000 From Recital

A recital benefiting the San Diego Symphony was held at the home of Joan Jacobs and Irwin Jacobs on Feb. 25.

$12M Purchase Offer May Bail Out Troubled Discovery Bancorp

The troubled San Marcos financial institution Discovery Bancorp agreed March 6 to a buyout offer from CommerceWest Bank of Irvine that could be approved by regulators and shareholders by the second quarter of 2009.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Jennifer Bryant

Topping Off: Hotel Indigo

Hotel Indigo: A 12-story, 210-room hotel currently under construction downtown.

Ailing Hoteliers Hoping Students Boost Business

With affordable rates for rooms offering a view of the ocean, the Surfer Beach Hotel in Pacific Beach has long been a favorite among college students celebrating that annual rite of passage , spring break. But revelers will be fewer in number this year, p

Home Equity Partners Claims 'Win-Win'

Home Equity Partners, an equity management firm that recently launched to buy and restructure troubled residential real estate mortgages, has opened its doors in Carlsbad.

Getting Defensive: BAE Heads for New Liberty Station Building

Building 902, a 104,000-square-foot Class A office building at Liberty Station, is being constructed to meet LEED Silver certification requirements and is slated for completion this month.

Housing 'Ground Zero' for Economic Recovery

Is it good that home prices have decreased? After all, by any measure housing is more affordable in San Diego than it has been in decades. Isn't that a good thing?

Kyoto Prize Has Many Local Connections

Dr. Andrew Viterbi, co-founder of Qualcomm, is scheduled to serve as the distinguished invited scholar for a presentation by Kyoto Prize laureate Dr. Richard Karp, a computer science professor from UC Berkeley, as part of San Diego's Kyoto Prize Symposium

Anchors Aweigh!

A federal government decision made in 2005 is turning into a boost for San Diego today , just in time to help ease the economic slump.

Home Prices Dropping in County's Coastal Enclaves

High-end homes valued at $1 million or more dropped 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the same quarter in 2007, according to a recent home index report.

Surfboard Maker Riding Out the Storm

Longtime businessman Bob Rief says not all sectors are suffering equally, and that small companies in niche markets are "the mortar between the bricks" of the economy.

Researchers' Joy Stems From New Funding Policy

Scientists with the Burnham Institute for Medical Research didn't waste time last week in tearing stickers off their equipment that had long served as a reminder of the restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research.

Autism Grant Could Have Big Impact in Latino Neighborhoods

Until recently, a program run by UC San Diego's Autism Center of Excellence could only go so far to help parents who suspected their child was at risk for the complex brain disorder.

Sales and Leases

Community HousingWorks bought a 43,000-square-foot parcel of land at 3783-3825 Florida St. in North Park for $4.9 million.

ID Analytics in Project to Better Track Sex Offenders

San Diego-based ID Analytics, which provides identity fraud services to commercial and government clients, has joined an 18-month academic study to better track sex offenders.

Clinics Offer Free Legal Counsel in Stressful Times

A program started by the San Diego County Bar Association will give the public a chance to seek information about legal issues from lawyers specializing in family law, real estate and foreclosures, bankruptcy, employment and immigration.

Federal Highway Stimulus Funds May Get Direction This Week

The San Diego Association of Governments said March 13 that it will recommend putting the bulk of its federal highway stimulus money in coastal North County , to widen a curving section of state Route 76.

Week In Review

Top Business News: March 6 - 13, 2009

Friday, March 13

North County Chamber and CEO Go Separate Ways

The San Diego North Chamber of Commerce said that Michael Robinson, president and CEO, has resigned.

Carlsbad OKs Legoland Hotel

The Carlsbad City Council gave Legoland California the nod during a March 10 meeting to go ahead with plans to build a 250-room hotel on a portion of its parking lot.

Delta-Northwest Merger Creates New Routines, Job Turnover

The merger of Delta and Northwest airlines is bringing a new look to Lindbergh Field and it will result in some ground crew job losses, but how many is uncertain.

Aldila Suffers as Consumer Confidence Ebbs

Aldila, a Poway-based golf club shaft maker, said March 12 that it finished 2008 with a net loss of $2.5 million, on net sales of $53.6 million.

Thursday, March 12

Work Force Forecast Contains Ray of Optimism

The good news is 12 percent of San Diego employers say they plan to hire more workers, while 63 percent are holding steady on the staffing during the second quarter starting in April, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook survey.

Cadence Drops Plans for Topical Anti-Infective Drug

Cadence Pharmaceuticals said March 12 it was ending plans to develop its topical anti-infective gel Omigard after the drug failed to meet its goals in a late-stage study.

Mitchell to Forge Ahead Without Merger

Mitchell International, a provider of software that helps auto collision shops estimate the cost of repairs, said March 11 it jointly decided to terminate its planned merger with CCC Information Services of Chicago, citing a federal court issuing a tempor

Charlotte Russe Turns Attention to Possible Sale

Charlotte Russe, a nationwide retailer of trendy clothing for young women and teens, said March 12 that it has put itself up for sale.

Wednesday, March 11

Top Producers Applauded

Grubb & Ellis|BRE Commercial named its top producers March 11.

That '70s Complex: $12.4M Buys 117 Units in Escondido

A 117-unit apartment complex in Escondido sold for $12.4 million. CB Richard Ellis in San Diego announced the sale of Park Terrace Apartments by Nordiego Capital Ltd. to Conrad Prebys Trust on March 11.

Law Layoffs Reach Paul Hastings

Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker joined the ranks of law firms nationwide that have cut back on costs by eliminating lawyers.

Penick Expands to Support Massive Las Vegas Development

T. B. Penick & Sons announced March 10 it was moving into space in Las Vegas to support several projects in the area including an $11 million subcontract on the $8 billion MGM Mirage CityCenter development.

Tuesday, March 10

Tab for Restaurant Building Is $2.41M

The Coco's restaurant building on Balboa Avenue in Clairemont Mesa sold for $2.41 million.

South Korea Accuses Qualcomm of Unfair Business Practices

The Korea Fair Trade Commission has issued a formal protest against Qualcomm related to its business practices, the San Diego chipmaker acknowledged after markets closed on March 10.

Monday, March 9

Sales and Leases

Aethercomm, a local technology company, purchased an industrial building in Carlsbad for $7.3 million.

Doug Barnhart a Fearless Leader at National AGC

In addition to launching a slew of new companies involved in real estate ventures, Doug Barnhart serves as president of The Associated General Contractors of America. A position, he says, was 14 years in the making since he first became chairman of AGC's

Oregon Firm Scouts East County for Wind Farm Site

An Oregon company is seeking approval to build a wind farm in eastern San Diego County by the end of next year.

'Water, Water Everywhere, But None to Drink'

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped well below 7,000 on March 2, after insurer AIG announced a staggering $61 billion loss for the last quarter.

Obama Lifts Ban on Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research

President Barack Obama lifted eight-year-old restrictions March 9 that have kept federal funds from flowing into research on human embryonic stem cells.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Paula Danker

The Nation's Recent Big Bank Losses Are Heart-Stopping

We know banks have been having problems, but looking at the latest report from the industry's main regulator might not be advisable for readers with heart conditions.

Construction Industry Weighing Costs of Clean Air Act

For local businesses using heavy machinery, 2010 could wind up being a costly year , and it's not just a lack of construction projects that has them worried.

Cheap Eats Doing Well

Restaurant industry analyst Dennis Lombardi takes exception with Washington's prediction that the economy will begin to shape up in the third quarter.

Irwin Jacobs Hands Reins to Son

At its annual shareholders meeting March 3, Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs effectively passed the baton to his son Paul, who has been CEO since his father relinquished the role in 2005.

Nonprofit Profile - Technology Training Foundation of America

A conversation with Jeanette Roache, president and founder of Technology Training Foundation of America.

Let's Give Americans a Chance to Own America

Rather than adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt to pay for our long-overdue infrastructure revival, perhaps the president and Congress should consider an alternative path.

Economy Got You Down? Real Estate Groups Can Help

With commercial real estate expected to slide into its worst year since the industry's crash in the early 1990s, local professional organizations are finding ways to ease their members' pain , and trying to help themselves.

UCSD Takes Super Lead in Computer Storage Capacity

The supercomputer center at UC San Diego said Feb. 25 it increased its tape-based archival storage capacity by 43 percent to 36 petabytes , or roughly the size of 1,400 plain text copies of the printed collection of the Library of Congress.

New Tax Credits to Help Boost Area Home Sales?

The recovery of the economy relies on a recovery in housing, believe economists.

Overseas Buyers Retreating From Local Commercial Real Estate Market

U.S. commercial real estate investors aren't the only buyers who've cut back on their purchases. International investors, who have long eyed American assets because of the weak dollar and the growing number of attractive, but distressed properties, have a

Lusardi Construction Finishes Work on Carlsbad Complex

Construction is complete on the ECR Corporate Center at 6250 and 6260 El Camino Real in Carlsbad.

New Owners Hoping to Kick Sockers Back Into Action

The playing field is still under construction, and all the players haven't been signed. But by June, the backers of a new San Diego Sockers team hope to relaunch one of the more vaunted and successful franchises in indoor soccer history.

Safety Measures Could Prove Costly to Public Pool Owners

A new federal ruling, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which calls for improved safety equipment to prevent people from being entrapped in the drains of public swimming pools and spas, went into effect in late December.

Even in This Economy, There Are Businesses in Bloom

How eager are we to get positive news these days? The first two months of 2009 have had very little positive news for us to celebrate, but that was not the case Feb. 20.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Feb. 27 - March 5, 2009

Sloth Joins Menagerie of Fossil Finds at Construction Site

Bone fragments of a third Ice Age creature have been discovered downtown at the construction site of the planned Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the East Village.

Tax Time!

It's tax season. And whether the economy is up or way, way down, most working Americans have to file income tax returns, which is a business model that Intuit has built TurboTax around.

Venerable Belmont Park Features Two New Attractions

For boomers who grew up here, a bumper car at Mission Beach's Belmont Park was where you learned to drive. Combined with a ride or two on the Giant Dipper roller coaster and you had about all the thrills you could cram into one day.

Executive Profile - David Umstot

David Umstot is vice chancellor of facilities management for the San Diego Community College District, which consists of three two-year colleges and six Continuing Education campuses.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club said Feb. 27 that it is considering shortening its 2009 racing season.

'09 Comic-Con Looking Strong

Boost this summer for the ailing tourism industry? David Glanzer, Comic-Con International's spokesman, tells a source that all systems are go for another congested gathering July 23-26 at the Convention Center.

Consultant One of the Best in Guiding Green Building Projects

Hernando Miranda, owner of Soltierra, a one-man consulting firm based in Carlsbad, has worked on 100 green construction projects, including 50 U.S. Green Building Council-certified projects.

VMIX Has New Client in

An online network of 1,500 newspapers, said March 9 it hired San Diego-based VMIX to upgrade its online video platform and generate more ad revenue.

East Meeting West in the Doctor's Office

The combination of traditional Western medicine and mind-body therapies used by other cultures for centuries has won over some previously skeptical doctors who now integrate the techniques into their practice.

Officials to Steer Funds Toward Big Transportation Projects

A pair of big freeway projects and light-rail improvements are expected to get the lion's share of stimulus package money slated for San Diego County in the coming months.

Rita Moreno Helps Raise $600K for Retirement Communities

Seacrest Village Retirement Communities hosted Let's Party on Broadway featuring Rita Moreno on Feb. 21 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla.

Novalar Sinks Its Teeth in $600M Dental Treatment Market

Following FDA approval in May, Carmel Valley-based Novalar Pharmaceu & #173;ti & #173;cals launched its first product Feb. 27 at a national dental convention in Chicago.

Conference to Highlight Climate Change Issues

For the third time in its seven years, the annual Navigating the American Carbon World conference and trade fair will be held locally , at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina , April 1-3.

Power Couples: Bob and Peggy Eddy

Bob and Peggy Eddy are co-founders of Creative Capital Management, a Mission Valley-based financial advising company.

Friday, March 6

Allegiant Air's Monterey Route to Take Flight

Allegiant Air plans to add round-trip, nonstop flights between Lindbergh Field and Monterey Peninsula Airport three times a week beginning May 3.

Irvine Bank to Acquire Discovery Bancorp

Troubled San Marcos financial institution Discovery Bancorp has agreed to a buyout offer from CommerceWest Bank of Irvine, the institutions said March 6.

Isis Pharmaceuticals Acquires More of Vancouver Biotech

Isis Pharmaceuticals said March 6 that it increased its ownership in iCo Therapeutics.

Thursday, March 5

County Unemployment Rate Rises to 8.6%

San Diego County's unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in January, up from a revised 7.5 percent rate in December and above the year-ago estimate of 5.1 percent, the California Employment Development Department reported March 5.

Optimer to Raise $33M in Stock Offering

Optimer Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego-based biotech developing drugs to treat traveler's diarrhea and infections caused by antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," said March 5 that it plans to raise $32.9 million from investors who agreed to buy 3 million newly

Wednesday, March 4

State Fines Scripps Mercy Hospital

California public health officials levied the maximum fine March 3 on Scripps Mercy Hospital for the preventable death of a patient at its Chula Vista campus about a year ago.

Regulus Therapeutics Raises $20M

Carlsbad-based startup Regulus Therapeutics said March 4 that it has raised $20 million as part of a first round of financing.

Tuesday, March 3

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs Elected Chairman

Qualcomm Chairman Irwin M. Jacobs has relinquished his leadership role in the business he co-founded in 1985.

Padres Take a Swing at Higher Sales By Lowering Prices

With Opening Day a month away, the San Diego Padres announced a bunch of price reductions on tickets, concessions and beer for the 2009 season.

Prosecutors: Local Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud

A San Diego man pleaded guilty to debit card fraud and conspiracy to launder money March 2 in federal court, relating to a scam that resulted in the loss of $371,000, prosecutors said.

NTN Hopes New Leadership Turns Company Around

NTN Buzztime, a Carlsbad-based provider of interactive games to restaurants and bars, said March 2 that CEO Terry Bateman is leading its new management team.

Monday, March 2

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The nonprofit Gemological Institute of America said Feb. 21 that it would pare its U.S. work force by 9 percent.

Bargain Hunters Send Home Sales Up

Home sales increased in Southern California for the seventh consecutive month in January, according to MDA DataQuick.

Conflict Expected on Second Convention Center Expansion Review

This city hasn't added major public facilities like the downtown ballpark or the expanded convention center without considerable controversy and occasionally lawsuits.

Impact of Obama's First 100 Days on San Diego

Tip O'Neill, legendary speaker of the House during the Reagan years, was fond of saying "All politics is local" though for years cities were clearly not a priority in Republican or Democratic controlled congresses or the White House.

End Is Nearing for Downtown's High-Rise Condo Boom

More than a hundred new condo and apartment projects consisting of 11,300 units have been completed since 2001 in downtown San Diego.

Opportune Time for Snooping Out Bargains in the Market

Investors are acting like deer caught in the headlights, paralyzed with fear and unable to think beyond the near term, says Brent Wilsey, a Poway investment professional who's taking a much more optimistic view of the stock market.

Work Begins on 2nd Hangar at El Centro Naval Air Station

San Diego-based T.B. Penick & Sons general contractors has completed the pre-engineered metal building and masonry phase on one of two double-bay modular hangars at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro and started work on the second hangar.

Economic Tsunami Hits Baja's Beachfront Condo Projects

Two years ago, 100 projects were under construction or in the planning stages along the Pacific Ocean in Baja California. Now only 20 remain.

Stimulus Package Includes Mismanagement Safeguards

The economic stimulus package, signed into law Feb. 17, came with new protections to employees of private companies and state and local governments who blow the whistle on mismanaged stimulus funds.

Local Employers Warn of More Staffing Cuts

San Diego employers in aerospace, finance, food production, electronic manufacturing, and temporary staffing laid off workers in recent weeks, which will certainly increase the area's jobless rate last measured at 7.4 percent.

Sales and Leases

Dr. Ramiz Naim Elias has purchased a 2,147-square-foot medical office condominium at Cabrillo Medical Center located at 7695 Cardinal Court in San Diego for $891,005.

Did You Hear the One About

In at least a handful of venues around San Diego, comedians are offering up funny repertoires at a time when their audiences need it most. And, it seems, everyone can relate.

Measuring Where the Home Market Now Stands

Last week a key index reported that home prices in San Diego (and four other cities) have slowed in their declines.

Good News, Gridlock Down 8 Percent Countywide in '08

Locals and tourists alike might be excited to learn that traffic congestion decreased 8 percent here last year.

Renewable Energy Player Turns Up Revenues

The economic stars are still shining for green-related industries such as Maxwell Technologies, which makes devices that capture and store energy from renewable sources such as wind turbines.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Leana Wood

Wal-Mart Donates $100K to SDSU Student Veterans Center

San Diego State University President Stephen Weber and students who are veterans have recognized Wal-Mart Stores for a $100,000 donation to the campus Student Veterans Center.

Novalar Puts Dental Injection Product on Market

Novalar Pharmaceuticals launched its first FDA-approved product, called OraVerse, at an annual dental meeting Feb. 27 in Chicago.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Feb. 20-26, 2009

Profits on The Line

Anyone who's looked at their cell phone bills knows they're hard to decipher. So, imagine what the U.S. Postal Service, which has 40,000 mobile devices, must deal with.

Executive Profile - Rick Mickels

Rick Mickels is president of American Relocation Services, which helps businesses move their facilities.

Ground Breaking: Urban Corps' Recycling Education and Community Outreach Center

Urban Corps of San Diego County held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Recycling Education and Community Outreach Center on Feb. 20 at 3127 Jefferson St. in downtown San Diego.

Plunge in the Dow Is Scary to Watch

In September, when our big banks were teetering on the precipice, and the stock market was beating a hasty retreat, I predicted , based on historic trends , that the Dow could drop 50 percent to 7,000 from its high of 14,000 a year earlier.

Mighty Boost for Contractors

San Diego County, boasting the world's largest concentration of military bases, is on a construction spree.

Piggy Bank Boom

As the world's banking system slides into the abyss, more and more folks are looking for some relief for all that pain.

Bankrupt Builder Slams Stimulus

Embattled home builder Mick Pattinson, who says he was forced to put his Carlsbad-based Barratt American into bankruptcy last summer because of unfair treatment by his bank, checks in with the Insider to update us on his recent activities.

Healthy Infusion of Funds

The $787 billion economic stimulus plan could provide a major revenue boost to local businesses developing electronic health record systems and health insurers that offer government assistance programs.

County's Foreclosure Rate Slows in January

Foreclosure activity in San Diego slowed in January as fewer homes fell into notice of default or were seized by banks than in the previous month or year , even as housing prices continued their slide

Answered Prayers

Early stage startups in need of capital may be turning to angel investors in greater numbers to fill a role abandoned by venture capital firms, which have been forced to pull back on new investments.

City Secures Its Place in Defense Industry

The recession may be taking its toll in lost jobs, but the defense industry, particularly businesses engaged in deep cover activities requiring security clearances, is doing well locally.

Hard Rock Owners Put 50 Condotel Units on the Market

It's been about a year since Hard Rock Hotel San Diego opened as the county's first 100 percent condotel, but many who bought the rooms and suites are trying to sell their piece of the rock.

Power Couples: Chris and Jen Martino

Chris and Jen Martino run Project X Media, a branding agency combining brand