Stories for October 2004

Monday, October 25

Murphy: S.D. Still A Great Place to Do Business

Mayor Dick Murphy has had a particularly tumultuous year in office, with San Diego's pension crisis, related investigations by the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. attorney's office, and national media scrutiny at odds with San Die

Builder Pays Record Price For Downtown S.D. Land

Gray Development, an Arizona builder, set a record in Downtown San Diego when it purchased 1.15 acres for $18 million.

30-Year Fixed a Thing of The Past?

The affordability index produced monthly by the California Association of Realtors to show how many , or in the case of San Diego County , how few people can afford to buy a median-priced house may not be an accurate indicator of the number of people find

Gas Prices Eating Into Restaurants' Bottom Line

George Georges, a partner and general operations manager of Max Restaurant and Lounge in Downtown's Gaslamp Quarter, raised his menu prices six months ago to reflect increased overhead, including higher meat, produce and dairy prices.

Roberts Seeks to Restore Fiscal Responsibility

County Supervisor Ron Roberts was the lone challenger to Mayor Dick Murphy in the Nov. 2 mayoral race until City Councilwoman Donna Frye jumped in Sept. 30.

Prop. 72 Hurts Employers, Workers and Families

Just as California is finally addressing our costly workers' compensation system, employers face yet another multibillion-dollar unfunded government mandate , Proposition 72 on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Executive Profile: Jack Berkman

With more than 30 years of experience in the public relations industry, Jack Berkman is a veteran in the San Diego business community.

No on Prop. J; Yes on Prop. A

In a presidential election year that's predicted to draw a record number of voters both here and across the nation, there are several ballot measures that directly affect the local business community.

Profitable Quarter Still Eludes Applied Micro Circuits

Some day down the line, Applied Micro Circuits Corp., a San Diego maker of high-speed chips and storage equipment used by major telecom equipment manufacturers, may turn a profit. But that day appears to be still a ways off.

Baby Boomers Concerned About Physical Fitness

When family practitioner Dr. Steve Green tells patients to start eating well and exercising more, he's merely trying to give them a dose of his own medicine.

Ballpark Area Project Likely to Include Housing, Retail

With their eyes on a mix of development rather than an office district, San Diego-based JMI Realty and Miami-based home builder Lennar Corp. have entered into a joint venture partnership to master plan construction on more than 7 acres near Petco Park in

Frye Claims Her Activism Doesn't Mean She's Anti-Business

City Councilwoman Donna Frye , the late entrant in the Nov. 2 San Diego mayoral race as a write-in candidate , made her name as an environmental activist. But that doesn't mean she's anti-business.

For the Record


San Diego People Key Hires & Recognitions

Awards & recognition The Public Relations Society of America, San Diego announced the winners of the Edward L. Bernays Mark of Excellence Awards, the industry's highest and most comprehensive form of recognition.

Getting the Most From Marketing Dollars

Question: We're a small firm with limited marketing dollars and the usual need to grow the business while still servicing our existing customers. How do we get the best use of our marketing energy, resources and dollars?

Small Business

With revenues tripling in the last five years, Zauss-Godwin Hardwood Flooring, Inc. has seen the hardwood flooring industry rising in popularity, replacing typical household flooring products such as carpet and tile.

BBB Warns Of Possible Voter Fraud

With the election nearing, the San Diego Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning about possible voter fraud that could result in identity theft

Lack of Flu Vaccine Won't Slow Down 1 Major Firm

One of the largest local employers doesn't anticipate a surge in sick days and lost productivity resulting from the national flu vaccine shortage.

Employment Jumps Over 2003 Figures

Some 18,500 jobs were added to the payrolls of San Diego employers in the past year, the second strongest showing in the state, according to the latest report from the state's Employment Development Department.

Recycling Companies Turn Attention to E-Waste

Fueled in part by the continuous introduction of new electronic equipment into the market and new legislation, businesses centered on recycling discarded electronic goods are popping up around San Diego.

There's No Simple Cure for Manufacturers of Vaccines

A decade ago, our technologically advanced nation had five manufacturers of the influenza vaccine. Now, we have two, which places us in the position where we are in a crisis when one of those factories fails for any reason.

Drop in ConVis Funding Creates Dilemma for Hoteliers

As county hoteliers plan their annual budgets for 2005, their chief concern is how to make up for the deficiency in destination marketing resulting from decreased funding to the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the belief it won't be restored i

Qualcomm Speeds Up Siemens' Technology

Siemens Communications, a unit of Germany's Siemens AG, will build some of its next-generation wireless telephone handsets with Qualcomm Inc. microchips, the San Diego company announced last week.

Candidates, Political Groups Turn to Radio, Print, Web

As the Nov. 2 election draws closer, political advertisements are beginning to be routine on many San Diego media outlets as candidates and coalitions hope to get their message across to the voters.

Doctors Encouraged to Prescribe More Generic Drugs

There may be a little extra incentive for your physician to write up that generic prescription. While much of the focus in lowering pharmaceutical benefit costs has been placed on encouraging patients to try over-the-counter and generic medications, He

Gray Cary Merger Keeps the Consolidation Trend Going

San Diego's Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP wanted to be "in front of the wave" when it agreed to merge with East Coast-based Piper Rudnick LLP, making it one of the 10 largest law firms in the United States.

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Shares Lose 60% of Value

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co.'s stock lost more than 60 percent after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered the biotechnology firm to run another study testing its experimental lupus drug, Riquent, before considering marketing approval.

Changes Required to Keep Local Film Industry Rolling

The San Diego Film Commission says it has generated $45 million for San Diego's economy this year. But, according to many in the industry, if things don't start changing soon, that figure could dramatically decrease , impacting thousands of jobs and em

Getting on the Health Track

At Hunter Industries, a San Marcos-based maker of irrigation systems, hundreds of employees are dripping wet from lifting heavy equipment or out of breath from walking.

Monday, October 18

Local Red Cross Tallies $7.5 Million in Firestorm Donations

Individual and corporate donations to the worst fire in the state's history last year came to about $7.5 million, but some of that money was also spent in 10 other Southern California counties that also suffered fire damage, according to a report issued l

Producer Has a Fire Chapter of His Own

Every day, Jimmy Valentine literally carries with him memories of Oct. 27, 2003, the morning the Cedar fire roared through East County and burned his home in rural Dehesa Valley to the ground.

Many Get Burned Twice: By Fire, Then Insurer

Karen Riemus was glad she was an attorney when she began dealing with her insurance company after her house was destroyed during the October 2003 wildfires.

Del's Ghost Puts Scare in British Television Crew

In the spirit of Halloween ghost stories, the Hotel del Coronado is living up to its heritage, or rather, its heritage ghost.

County's Largest Wal-Mart Ready to Open in El Cajon

When a wall of balloons separate during grand-opening ceremonies early in the morning of Oct. 20, revealing 200 Wal-Mart employees at Westfield Shoppingtown Parkway, the mall's owner hopes the mass retailer's largest San Diego County store will give shopp

S.D. Voters Take Up Hotel-Room Tax Hike Measure

On its face, Proposition J on the November ballot asks San Diegans to approve a 24 percent hike in the city's transient occupancy tax. However, the real question this ballot measure poses to voters is: Do you trust this City Council, and future council

SAIC Resets Its Common Stock Price

The board of Science Applications International Corp. reset the price of the company's Class A common stock Oct. 8, to $38.14 per share. That is a 2.2 percent increase from last quarter's price of $37.31. At this time last year, SAIC set the stock price a

Small Business Spotlight

Claudia Johnson is one energetic lady. The president and owner of Exclamations! "The Art of Gift Giving," Johnson has worked hard to establish herself in the San Diego community. Her business has grown from a 500-square-foot office into a 5,000-square-foo

County Wants to Limit Flu Shots to High-Risk Patients

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency is following a statewide order by asking healthy adults to skip flu shots this year so that high-risk patients can get them.

County Experiences Drop in Hotel Rooms Being Built

While San Diego County led all others in the state in terms of the number of new hotel rooms under construction, a development report shows that the total number in the pipeline has dropped dramatically when comparing the first half of 2004 with the same

Executive Profile

Gary Cady began his career working for one of the nation's largest banks , Bank of America , but now heads up one that launched in May 2003, Torrey Pines Bank, which has offices Downtown and in Carmel Valley.

Week in Review

Week in Review

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions

Clamor Dies For Workers On H-1B Visas

A run on visas for foreign-born scientists and engineers is not stirring up much anxiety in San Diego's tech community.

Gen-Probe Signs Deal With French Firm

San Diego-based diagnostic firm Gen-Probe Inc. recently said it signed a non-exclusive licensing deal with French test-maker bioMerieux to exchange technologies it hopes will pay off in the form of products.

County Tries to Prepare for Next Emergency

One year after the October 2003 wildfires that claimed 16 lives and destroyed 2,668 homes in San Diego County, dozens of recommendations for emergency preparedness are now on the table.

Companies Face Calculated Risk Rebuilding Homes

In the face of rising construction costs and other challenges, builders have been faced with the tough decision of whether to increase the prices they're charging the victims of the October 2003 wildfires, which destroyed 2,722 homes in San Diego County.

Reporters Answer Bell to Cover S.D. County Firestorms

As the fires of October 2003 began sweeping across the county, San Diego media were quick to grab their notepads, cameras and microphones despite most organizations being understaffed, as the disaster unfolded.

Health Care Measure May Result In Lost Jobs

If Proposition 72, which calls for sweeping reform in health insurance coverage, is approved Nov. 2, local business leaders contend that it could take a toll on jobs without addressing some fundamental problems within the health care system itself.

Prop. J Makes Visitors Pay Their Fair Share

Wealthy hoteliers, along with Libertarian zealots, are bending the truth in an attempt to defeat Proposition J, the proposed 2.5-cent increase in San Diego's transient occupancy tax rate.

Panel Finds Common Ideas In Report on Fire Solutions

Once the smoke cleared from the October 2003 wildfires, and as the deaths and destruction were assessed, the questions started.

County's Resale Housing Prices Continue to Drop

Economic news during the last few months seems to be leaving a bitter taste in investors' mouths these days, causing the stock market to spike up or down each time an employment or productivity report is released.

Koreans See Expansionist Bull in the China Shop

LOS ANGELES , If John Kerry, the Democratic challenger for the White House, is admittedly the candidate of policy "nuances" (sometimes excessively so), and if President Bush is incontestably the candidate of policy "clarity" (sometimes frighteningly so),

California's Small Firms Are Growing

In the last nine months, California small businesses have seen a 5.7 percent growth in the overall size of their firms, suggesting that small businesses are on the rise, but payroll for those same businesses has not been following the growth, according to

A Firestorm 2004 Is All Too Possible

It's a hypothetical question, but a legitimate one: If a wildfire with the potential to grow into another Cedar or Pines fire broke out tomorrow, would the county's firefighting agencies meet the challenge as we near the first anniversary of last year's d

Some Say Area Is Better Prepared; Others Contend More Must Be Done

San Diego city and state lawmakers , burned by the failure of key legislation rising from the ashes of the October 2003 fires ,have three words for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger , "We'll be back."

October 2003 Fire Statistics

October 2003 Fire Statistics

BMW Has Its Own Oktoberfest With Upscale 6-Series

For the first time since 1989, BMW has revived its upscale 6-Series class of cars, and it's done so with the level of passion, performance and panache one would expect from this legendary name.

Bank of Escondido Sets Sights on Profitability

After its first year, things are going so well at the Bank of Escondido, it is setting new goals.

S.D. Money Managers Value Their Job of Investing for Clients

John Messner and Ellis Smith are proud of how they've grown their money management firm during the two decades it's been in business. Just don't call them growth investors.

Encinitas Advertising Firm Lands Major Account

Beating out 10 other advertising agencies, NYCA, an Encinitas-based firm, has been retained by ViewSonic Corp., a leader in visual display products.

Monday, October 11

Business Journal Staff Wins Press Club's Top Honors

The San Diego Business Journal staff won 15 awards in the non-daily news category at the San Diego Press Club's Excellence in Journalism awards Oct. 8.

How to Ease Tension When Changes Occur

Resistance to change usually occurs when an individual experiences anxiety about the unknown. Empathy, communication and involvement are important elements when dealing with resistance.

Titan Execs Face Suit Over SureBeam

SureBeam Corp.'s bankruptcy trustee, Richard Kipperman, filed suit against the firm's former directors and officers in September, seeking damages to the tune of $100 million. The suit alleges the defendants deliberately set up SureBeam as an undercapitali

Expansion Pays Off For Business

Amanda McLaren hoped to remain with her company and knew that to do so she would have to go out on a limb. So, at age 24, McLaren, a loan officer with United Home Loan Co. Inc., convinced her company to allow her to open a branch in La Jolla, taking on th

Spotlight: Geppetto's, A Child's Fantasy

While toy companies such as Toys "R" Us are struggling to make profits, local specialty toy store Geppetto's, A Child's Fantasy is in the black, increasing by nearly 20 percent from 2002 to '03. Geppetto's, a family owned business, has five locations in S

Stars Have Been Born on San Diego State's KCR

Thirty-five years ago, San Diego State University's college radio station beamed its first signal. Out of a small station that broadcast only as far as the campus dorms and the cafeteria, KCR has become a breeding ground for local talent , both on and off

New CDMA Stats Bring Forth a GSM Confession

Worldwide, there were nearly 124 million people using the advanced version of Code Division Multiple Access called CDMA2000. That's the kind of service that can carry data services such as text messages, picture messages and game downloads. The CDMA Devel

Peregrine Indictments Reveal a Tangled Conspiracy

Last week's federal grand jury indictments of 11 individuals allegedly involved with the massive fraud at San Diego-based software maker Peregrine Systems aimed squarely at the reason behind the accounting scandal: to boost the company's financial results

Copley Set to Make New North County Push

The North County Times will soon have a new competitor with the launching of the Copley Press publication Today's Local News.

Week in Review

More passengers flew in and out of Lindbergh Field during August than any other month in the airport's history.

Another Condo Tower Scheduled for Irvine

Two Arizona developers have submitted plans to Irvine to build a third condominium high-rise on Jamboree Road and scuttle a proposed five-story office building.

San Diego Tech Companies Make Fastest-Growing List

A whopping 20,000 percent and 19,000 percent five-year revenue growth track won San Diego County-based companies SkinMedica Inc. and Digirad Corp. the gold and bronze medals on this year's Deloitte & Touche's 50 fastest-growing technology companies list.

Attorneys' 'Inner Circle' Adds San Diegan to Group

Craig McClellan's law practice has racked up some 68 verdicts for $1 million or more in settlements over 17 years. And now, McClellan has another victory , being tapped as the first lawyer in San Diego to join the Inner Circle of Advocates, a prestigious

Office Space Goes Condo as Trend Hits Los Angeles

The office condo is a concept that's in use elsewhere in the country, but it has been slower to catch on with Southern California developers.

Executive Profile: John Phillips

John Phillips knew it was time to change careers when many of his fellow anti-drug fighters were being seriously injured and even killed on the job. But the founder and chief executive officer of Satellite Security Systems was initially dazzled by the pro

Desalinated Water Crucial to County's Economic Growth

Perhaps the most critical project the San Diego County Water Authority will undertake in the future is the development of an abundant local source of water, the Pacific Ocean. By 2015, the Water Authority plans to provide 80 million gallons per day of saf

How to Beat High Cost of Steel, Concrete? Don't Build

It has been difficult for construction firms to break the bad news this year that prices for steel and concrete are rising sharply. Local contractors report that some materials have almost doubled in price since the beginning of the year.

Petco Park: A Season of Success

The San Diego Padres didn't make Major League Baseball's playoffs, but it didn't seem to dampen the high spirits of some businesses around Petco Park.

Small Biz Reaches Out to Larger Range of Customers

Small businesses have leveled the playing field by exporting products and services, enabling them to reach a wider range of customers. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, small and medium-sized companies account for almost 98 percent of growth i

San Diego People

Scripps Health has named John Engle as chief developmental officer and senior vice president.

Sports Council Returning to Its Roots

The San Diego International Sports Council was formed to attract a National Football League team. Now, the council is trying to help keep the NFL team it attracted some 45 years ago by getting a new football stadium in San Diego.

City Needs Qualified Operators to Fix Pension Mess

The root cause of San Diego's pension plan problem is simple: We elect people to public office who are not qualified in any sense to run a multibillion-dollar corporation.

Seeking Skilled Laborers

As commercial construction ramps up in San Diego County, the task of finding workers skilled in numerous construction trades becomes more challenging. Skilled labor has been in relative short supply for some time.


Very timely counsel you offered that companies must take a holistic approach to protecting computer networks from cyber attacks with firewalls, patches and restricted access as key safeguards. But it's important to add a new prevention tool recently devel

Major Industrial Developer Quietly Enters S.D. Market

With only one local project, the Opus Group of Cos. based in Minnetonka, Minn., has opened a San Diego office.

Bigger Can Be Better in Case of HSBC's Office

HSBC, which operates its North American auto finance unit in Kearny Mesa, goes through rebranding.

Naming of New Auditor Helps to Boost Ligand Stock

San Diego-based publicly traded biotechnology company Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. had a mixed bag of news. On Sept. 30, analyst David Webber of First Albany, a New York-based investment banking group, upgraded Ligand's stock rating from "neutral" to "buy"

Gen-Probe Debuts Multi-Facet Blood Testing Plan

San Diego-based Gen-Probe Inc. and its Emeryville-based research partner Chiron Corp. recently announced that they filed a new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration for a blood test that simultaneously detects HIV and hepatitis B and C in

San Diego Radio Station Flexes Its Mighty Power

As the nearly 2-year-old XPRS-AM 1090 continues to climb the scales of sports-talk radio, longtime sports station XTRA-AM 690 is showing signs of losing ground. Since the summer of 2003, XPRS, commonly known as the Mighty 1090, has surpassed XTRA in the r

Center Hopes Eateries Keep Folks Around Awhile

The 15,000-square-foot, 500-seat food court that opened recently at Mission Valley Center reportedly cost $8 million to build. The mall has good foot traffic, said shopping center general manager Raj Chandani. "We want to keep the customers happy and here

Alliance CEO Leaving Firm to Head University Program

Life science industry executive Duane Roth has taken the vacant executive director's post at UCSD Connect, the UC San Diego program that promotes entrepreneurship and nudges university technology toward the marketplace.

Business Groups Hesitate Backing a Mayoral Choice

While many business and trade organizations are neutral or divided on their choice for San Diego mayor, they're taking stances on some propositions facing voters next month , particularly one calling for continuation of the half-cent county sales tax for

Support for S.D. Hotel-Room Tax Measure Fizzles As Election Nears

For the second time this year, voters will be asked to approve a 2.5 percent increase in the tax people pay to stay in San Diego hotels. But unlike the election in March, no high-powered, well-orchestrated campaign committee is raising money to push Propo

Condo, Retail, Office Project Set for Fullerton

Fullerton is stepping up its downtown redevelopment bid with a condominium, retail and office project.

Moores: 'We Underpromised And Overdelivered'

Petco Park, which racked up more than 3 million in ticket sales in its inaugural season Downtown, has made John Moores a very happy man.

Monday, October 4

Ad Agencies Sending a Message

While Los Angeles and New York are known to have some of the best advertising agencies in the nation, the San Diego advertising community is looking to make its mark on the industry.

Week in Review

WebSideStory Goes Public: Stock in San Diego-based WebSideStory began trading Sept. 28.

Iomega Laying Off 145 Workers

Iomega Corp., a San Diego-based maker of data storage zip drives, said it is laying off 145 full-time employees, about 100 of whom work at its engineering and R & D; site in Roy, Utah, and about 10 people locally.

Ex-Ad Director for AMS Pleads Guilty in Federal Case

Marcy Wilson Roke, 38, a former director of advertising for San Diego-based book distributor Advanced Marketing Services, Inc., pleaded guilty Sept. 29 to two counts of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Nita Stormes.

Loan Firm Learns That Education is Lucrative

Ensconced in the San Diego bedroom community of Rancho Bernardo, College Loan Corp. keeps a low profile, but not in the world of student finance.

City Might Charge Fees for Downtown Projects

When the city suggests charging fees for new development, as is being discussed in Downtown San Diego, builders bristle at the thought of the additional expense.

Taiwan's 'Formula Three' Pushing a Bit Too Hard

TAIPEI, Taiwan , If Vice President Annette Lu is the Margaret Thatcher of the feisty island of Taiwan , unyielding, immensely quotable and never taking any intellectual prisoners , then easygoing Chen Tan Sun is its Harry Truman, courteous though gutsy, a

Report: Emergency Departments Feel Fiscal Pain

The county's emergency room departments collectively drained $23.5 million from hospitals in fiscal 2002, as more uninsured and underinsured patients turned to them for care, according to a recent report by the California Medical Association.

Attorney to Receive Award At Trial Lawyers Dinner

Within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy that destroyed thousands of lives and devastated the World Trade Center, David Casey Jr. and his colleagues knew what they had to do.

Alliance Settles Dispute With Investors

Consequently, Oxygent rights reverted back to PFC, leaving Alliance to look for a new partner and investors unhappy over a significant stock drop.

S.D. Business Makes Deal With AT & T; Wireless

Imagine watching surveillance video on a mobile phone handset. San Diego-based Perseus Wireless makes that possible. Its products prepare surveillance video for transmission over a mobile phone network, delivering video at a jerky but very-useable 15 fram

No Model for Other Cities

San Diego city officials are boasting that they soon will be on the cutting edge of public agency financing with a plan to implement guidelines set down by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Ocean's Eleven Bets on Proposition 68

California voters may hand Bob Moyer an interesting problem if they approve Proposition 68 on Nov. 2.

Poway's Space Cowboys Mum On Virgin Deal

Powered by a rocket engine made in Poway, a flying machine named SpaceShipOne roared to 330,000 feet on Sept. 29.

Tapping Into the Pacific

San Diego business leaders are keeping a sharp eye on the progress of a planned desalination plant in Carlsbad, billed as the largest in the Western Hemisphere and one that could ultimately serve the entire county.

Revenue Isn't Ad-ing' Up

With the economy on an upswing, companies are spending more to advertise their message, nationally and locally.

Executive Profile: Dr. Jonathan Lim

Dr. Jonathan Lim isn't your average biotechnology CEO.

Del Mar Heights Corporate Plaza Sold to D.C. Firm

Louay Alsadek, Joe Anderson and Rick Reeder of San Diego-based Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial have brokered the $35.6 million sale of Corporate Plaza II in Del Mar Heights to Washington, D.C.-based CarrAmerica Realty.

Group to Develop $250M Oceanside Business Park

A group of investors seems to be anticipating further strength in the local office and industrial market, preparing for development of the $250 million Pacific Coast Business Park in Oceanside.

Seacoast Takes Slow, Steady Path To Success

In its first full year of operation, Seacoast Commerce Bank won't be breaking any growth records, but then, it's seldom a good thing in banking to grow too fast.

Downtown Projects Enter A New Phase

Downtown San Diego's renaissance has moved into a new phase of redevelopment, with small firms wrapping up their projects and large builders gaining a foothold in the urban real estate market.

Firm to Expand Storage Operation

JK Investment Properties, Inc., a San Diego-based investment company that purchases and manages self-storage facilities, will soon see its investment prosper across the Atlantic. Jeff Quinn, a co-founder of JK, said the company has been looking into opera

S.D. Ad Firm Plays Role in Upcoming Elections

As November closes in, electoral campaigns and ballot-related measures become more and more prevalent in the media.