Stories for December 2008

Wednesday, December 31

Cardium Therapeutics Could Lose Listing

Cardium Therapeutics, a San Diego cardiovascular drug and device maker, said Dec. 30 it could lose its listing on its exchange, the NYSE Alternext US LLC.

Clear Channel Has New Local Manager

Clear Channel Radio has tapped a Tucson, Ariz. executive to manage its seven San Diego stations.

Home Prices Hit 2003 Levels

Gray Davis was governor, Dick Murphy was mayor and the daily news brought harrowing new accounts of the Iraq invasion. April 2003 was also the last time San Diego home values had been this low.

Huntington Capital Fund Reaches $78M

Huntington Capital, a San Diego-based private equity firm, recently announced the closing of $78 million in capital commitment for its second mezzanine fund.

Tease photo

Peregrine Figures Get Prison, Probation

Four more former executives of Peregrine Systems Inc., the San Diego software firm embroiled in a massive accounting scandal which erupted in 2002, received prison sentences and probation in recent court hearings.

Tuesday, December 30

New Operator Lined Up for Old Town Venue

Restaurateur Chuck Ross will take over the Plaza del Pasado complex of shops and restaurants in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, perhaps by March, according to a statement issued by Ross Dec. 30.

Monday, December 29

SAIC Rings Up $97M Army Purchase

SAIC said Dec. 29 that it received a $97 million delivery order from the Army to provide security equipment.

Friday, December 26

NextWave Sells Stake in IPWireless

NextWave Wireless said Dec. 26 that it sold a 75 percent stake in its IPWireless subsidiary to IPW Holdings, a business made up of senior management of IPWireless.

Wednesday, December 24

Podcast: The Outlook 2009 Issue, at a Glance

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Outlook 2009 issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Or listen to archived podcasts going back to January 2007.

Kratos Ties Knot With Digital Fusion

San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions said Dec. 24 it completed its merger with Digital Fusion.

Raytheon Gets $15M Shipboard Computer Deal

The Pentagon said Dec. 23 that it awarded a $14.9 million contract to Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems of San Diego.

Tuesday, December 23

Two Hundred East County Apartments Sell for $19.75M

Essex Property Trust sold a 200-unit apartment community in El Cajon for $19.75 million to R & V; Management Corp., a San Diego-based investment firm.

Charlotte Russe's Suitor Returns, With Pointed Questions

A shareholder of Charlotte Russe Holding Inc., the women's wear retailer, called on the company's board of directors Dec. 23 to explain why it rejected a nearly $200 million buyout of the company last month.

Volcano Makes a Run for Axsun

Volcano, a San Diego medical device company, said Dec. 23 that it agreed to acquire Massachusetts-based Axsun Technologies for $21.5 million in cash.

Monday, December 22

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Mary Ellen Doyle

All-Around Real Estate Slump Here to Stay in '09

Analysts are predicting another soft year in real estate.

Real Estate Outlook for '09: Prepare for Market Recovery

While many of us are focused on the global economic crisis, the financial debacle in our nation, and the fiscal calamity facing our state and region, as individuals we can only really solve our own situation. Examining your own portfolio and developing re

Turn the Recession Into Marketing Opportunities

Have you noticed how quickly so-called "business leaders" can turn into wimps?

Nonprofit Profile - San Diego Armed Services YMCA

A conversation with Paul Steffens, executive director of the San Diego Armed Services YMCA.

Executive Profile - Douglas G. Ford

Douglas G. Ford is president and CEO of San Diego computer and network consulting firm The I.T. Pros.

Sycuan's Holiday Gift for 35 Nonprofits

Well, there's more disappointing news for the local news industry. Sources say at least six employees lost their jobs at San Diego Magazine last week, half of whom worked in the custom publication division.

Barnhart Wraps Up Work on $25M Oxnard Civic Center Project

Barnhart completed renovations and additions to the Oxnard City Service Center in Oxnard.

Solera Buys HPI for $117M

Solera Holdings Inc., a provider of software to the auto insurance industry, completed the acquisition of HPI Ltd., a subsidiary firm of Aviva PLC, a British insurance corporation, in a cash and debt deal valued at $117.4 million.

Sempra Completes Project to Harness Nevada Sun

Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, said Dec. 22 it completed construction of the company's first solar energy project, a 10-megawatt photovoltaic power plant in Boulder City, Nev., near Las Vegas.

Energy Providers Under Pressure to Meet 2010 Deadline

The next two years are critical to energy independence in California. Statewide, utilities providers are feeling the pressure to meet what Will Gabrielski, analyst at Broadpoint.AmTech, calls "the most aggressive renewable energy mandates" in the country.

Road Hazards

Next year is shaping up to be a crucial year for transportation in San Diego County.

Dark Clouds & Silver Linings

Even the most optimistic industry boosters are buckling down for a tough year ahead, which is expected to include more layoffs, housing foreclosures and difficulty for businesses across nearly all sectors.

Local Banks Weathering the Storm

Bankers are mostly optimistic folk, but 2008 was so bad, that most had a hard time coming up with anything positive to say about the industry's prospects for the coming year.

City Hires Brokers to Maximize Income From Property Sales

The city of San Diego has sold 17 underperforming or nonperforming properties considered "surplus" properties this year, bringing in nearly $30 million for capital improvement projects.

Ailing Tourism Industry Has More Than One Bright Spot

The outlook for San Diego County's tourism industry contains some good news and some bad news.


Crescent Healthcare has leased 10,500 square feet of research-and-development space at 10070 Carroll Canyon Road in San Diego.

Experts: More Real Estate Pain Before Economic Gain

James Hamilton and Kelly Cunningham, economists.

Quotes of the Year

Quotes of the year

Happier Days Ahead In the New Year?

It's almost time to wring out the old, and ring in the new.

Industry Insiders Betting on Declining Revenues for Casinos

The 10 American Indian casinos in San Diego County that previously brought in $2 billion a year will deliver less to their owners, the tribal governments, in 2009.

Make-A-Wish Foundation Celebrates 25th Birthday

Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego celebrated its 25th anniversary at Westfield UTC on Dec. 2.

How to Negotiate With North Korea

In a few months, a former U.S. president probably will be asked to travel to North Korea in pursuit of military denuclearization. His name won't be George W. Bush, of course.

More Cutbacks Likely for Cash-Strapped Biotechs

Cash-strapped biotechnology firms will continue to seek new avenues for cutting costs and raising money in the New Year, industry analysts said.

What's Ahead in '09

Question and answer featurettes with industry leaders.

Friday, December 19

USD Index Tumbles; Five Components Drop by More Than 1 Percent

An index measuring San Diego's economy released Dec. 18 fell by 1.9 percent in November, the second largest drop ever following a record 2.3 percent decline in October.

November Jobless Tally Hits 6.9 Percent

San Diego's unemployment rate for November was 6.9 percent, or flat from a revised 6.9 percent in October, according to the Dec. 18 report from California's Employment Development Department.

Pfizer Inks Deal With Novocell

Novocell, a San Diego-based company developing stem cell treatments for diabetes, said it signed a two-year deal that will give pharmaceutical giant Pfizer access to its insulin-producing pancreatic cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.

Thursday, December 18

SpaceDev Goes Under Sierra Nevada's Wing

Sierra Nevada Corp., a Chico aerospace manufacturer, completed the $38 million acquisition of SpaceDev, a Poway-based public company, Dec. 17.

Temecula Valley Bancorp Fills CEO, President Positions

Temecula Valley Bancorp, which terminated the employment contract of chairman, CEO and President Steve Wacknitz earlier this month, named Frank Basirico as CEO and Martin Plourd as president Dec. 17.

Charlotte Russe's Comeback Plan Includes a Dose of Liberation

After spurning an unsolicited takeover bid saying it wanted to continue its turnaround goal of becoming a top-tier specialty retailer, Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. of San Diego said that it will become the exclusive distributor for People's Liberation Inc

Feds Issue Setback to Proposed Toll Road

A proposed toll road that would have connected inland Orange County with Interstate 5 at San Onofre suffered a blow Dec. 18 when the U.S. Commerce Department upheld a state panel's decision against the road.

Big Pharma Deal May Deliver $163M, Plus Royalties, to Ligand

San Diego-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals said Dec. 18 that it granted GlaxoSmithKline exclusive rights to its experimental thrombocytopenia drug, used to treat low platelet levels, in a deal valued at $163 million plus royalties.

Sunrise Powerlink Surges Ahead

The California Public Utilities Commission approved San Diego Gas & Electric's $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink electric transmission line on Dec. 18.

Wednesday, December 17

Food Bank Gains Warehouse Space

The San Diego Food Bank said Dec. 15 it has struck a deal to acquire an 82,000-square-foot warehouse in the Miramar area for $625,000.

Ritz Camera to Sell PowerGenix Batteries

Ritz Camera will sell rechargeable AA nickel-zinc batteries made by San Diego's PowerGenix, the companies announced Dec. 16.

Abbott Pays $175M for Remainder of Isis Subsidiary

Carlsbad drugmaker Isis Pharmaceuticals said Dec. 17 that Abbott has purchased the remaining piece of subsidiary Ibis Biosciences for $175 million.

Two Peregrine Executives Receive Prison Sentences

Two more former executives involved in the Peregrine Systems accounting fraud case received prison sentences for their crimes Dec. 17 from U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. Whelan.

Cadence Therapeutics Shares Rise 28 Percent on Study Results

Findings from a late-stage study showing positive results for Cadence Therapeutics' pain relieving drug sent shares up 28 percent Dec. 17 to close at $6.40.

Tuesday, December 16

Foreclosures Make Up More Than Half of Home Sales

Foreclosures now make up the majority of existing home sales in San Diego, accounting for 52.1 percent of transactions last month, according to MDA DataQuick of La Jolla.

Padres For Sale

John Moores, who purchased the San Diego Padres in 1995, hired Goldman Sachs to help sell all or part of the baseball club, according to a report by Major League Baseball Dec. 15.

Monday, December 15

Construction Meltdown Heats Up Deals on Equipment Rentals

During the downturn, a lot of equipment is available, which means less wasted time waiting on equipment rentals and reduced transportation costs when a contractor can find local rentals.

Fitch Upgrades Ratings on San Diego Bonds

The city of San Diego recently got some positive news when Fitch Ratings upgraded the credit ratings on several previously issued bonds, reflecting "significant management structural and procedural changes" the city made.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Dec. 5 - 11, 2008

Copley Symphony Hall Upgraded In Time for Holiday Performances

The $3.4 million interior renovations in the main performance hall and backstage areas at Copley Symphony Hall are complete.

Sempra Energy Foundation Gives $250,000 to the Zoo for Conservation Efforts

The San Diego Zoo received $250,000 from the Sempra Energy Foundation, which will benefit the EnviroSchool program, the 2009 Cans for Critters recycling program and the Baja California Condor Education Effort, all zoo conservation programs.

Big Bailouts May Trigger Rapid Inflation

Chet Billingsley says Washington's strategy for solving the financial crisis is all wrong and will create more problems, namely inflation, down the road.

Sales and Leases

The Aesthetic Arts Institute of Plastic Surgery has purchased one of La Mesa's historic buildings, the James Morrison House, from Grant Street Development for $1,683,000.

Good News for a Change

Mortgage lenders are seeing a flurry of refinancing activity as mortgage rates drop to the lowest levels in several years.

The Face of San Diego Magazine Heads for the Door

Jim Fitzpatrick, the face of San Diego Magazine as former owner and publisher for the past two decades, has made a sudden exit.

Safety Around Towering Cranes Is Hefty Issue

At the height of the real estate boom, three dozen giant cranes towered over the San Diego skyline, some stretching upwards of 500 feet in height.

Regional Job Losses May Reach Up to 5,000 in 2008

A higher than expected turnout at a Dec. 9 University of San Diego real estate forecast led some speakers to congratulate real estate professionals still in the fight amid the recession. But panelists at the Residential Real Estate Conference: Outlook 200

Hotel or Condos? Developer In Dispute With Lender

A bank that loaned money to build a condo project west of Old Town, then subsequently gave the go-ahead to convert it into a residence hotel, wants it turned back into condos now that it's nearly finished, says the developer, Constellation Property Group.

Real Estate Profile - Laura Barry

Laura Barry, a real estate agent under the brokerage of Barry Estates in Rancho Santa Fe, has been the No. 1 producing agent in San Diego County for two consecutive years, according to the firm.

Gateway Pacific Finds New Leader at Manchester Bank

No doubt about it, starting a bank is a lot tougher this year.

May I Help You?

Small businesses have long faced the challenge of competing pricewise with the mega-retailers. But now that the big-box stores are slashing prices even further to try to boost sales during the holiday shopping season, they're forcing mom-and-pop stores to

N. County Lawyer Advising Firm in Billion-Dollar Deal

Scott Stanton, a corporate lawyer in Morrison & Foerster's Carmel Valley office, is representing Santa Barbara-based Mentor in its pending $1.07 billion sale to Johnson & Johnson.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: AHC/Zero's Subs said Dec. 8 that it plans to open a quick-service Zero's restaurant in mid-December.

Poinsettia Bowl Scores With Pairing of Top-Ranked Teams

Bowl fever has broken out in San Diego as organizers of the two postseason college football games at Qualcomm Stadium are basking in the good fortune of hosting two of the best matchups of the year.

SDSU Football Fanatic Turns Fantasy Into Reality

With the help of local entrepreneur Mark De Philippi, Jamie Kiskis is launching a fantasy sports Web site, On the Record Sports, scheduled to go live Dec. 15.

East County Businesses Sued Over Disabled Access

Small-business owners in the East County have become the subject of the latest round of lawsuits claiming that people with disabilities were denied access.

Ground Breaking: Concordia Lutheran Church, Phase 1, Early Childhood Center

Concordia Lutheran Church in Chula Vista is relocating from its current site on East Oxford Street to a new campus in Otay Ranch.

Executive Profile - Douglas W. Burke

Douglas Burke is CEO of DefenseWeb Technologies, which provides customized software solutions for federal health care, well-being and family readiness organizations.

Union Local Fears Loss of Jobs If Grand Hyatt Is Sold

Developer Doug Manchester claims a labor union boycott at his downtown hotel is using the guise of gay-marriage support and protecting jobs to cover its real goal of organizing his workers.

In This Economic Climate, Learn to Master Your Fear

As the year winds down, all of us start preparing our new fiscal year budgets, while at the same time trying to forecast what the local economy might look like.

Novatel Unveils Wireless Hotspot for Mobile Warriors

Novatel Wireless has unveiled a product line in the mobile Wi-Fi market that it plans to make available in the first half of 2009.

Public Has Lofty Ambitions for Its Artsy Architectural Designs

Good designers find a way to thrive in grim economies.

Title Insurance Giant Files for Bankruptcy

LandAmerica Financial Group, the nation's third largest title insurer, filed for bankruptcy late last month, but said it hopes to sell its two principal units, Lawyers Title and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance, to Fidelity National Title Insurance by De

Should We Settle for a New New Deal?

With the many recent feature articles and opinion pieces calling for increased government spending for public works as a way out of our deepening economic gloom and rapidly growing unemployment, perhaps we ought to step back and look before we leap.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Angie Bisone

Imagine if You Are an Indian Official

The carnage in Mumbai brings volatile South Asia back into the world media spotlight (where it should stay).

Commercial Realtors Group Honors First-Rate Brokers

A total of 29 brokers were recognized by the San Diego County Commercial Association of Realtors at its Deal Makers Awards ceremony on Dec. 4 at Liberty Station.

Boll Weevil Steers Into Chapter 7

Six hamburger restaurants belonging to the Boll Weevil corporation were closed earlier in December after the company went into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They are in La Mesa, Lakeside, San Marcos, Mira Mesa, Bonita and Shelter Island.

Adventrx Eyes Long-Term Options

Adventrx Pharmaceuticals said Dec. 15 it would explore its strategic options, including the sale of one or more of its drug programs or a possible merger.

Snake Eyes

San Diego County's backcountry casinos have grown with the vigor of wild mushrooms on a rain-wetted lawn. But that growth may be over.

Navy Money Pushes Shipbuilding Projects Forward

San Diego's Nassco announced it received $940 million in additional contract funding from the U.S. Navy

Metabasis Founder Steps Aside, Another Founder Takes Top Post

Metabasis Therapeutics, the maker of experimental drugs for diabetes and high blood pressure, announced the resignation of its CEO Dec. 15 and the appointment of a new executive.

Friday, December 12

Chula Vista Fills City Manager, Attorney Posts

Chula Vista, the county's second largest city, hired two key executives this week: City Manager Jim Sandoval and City Attorney Bart Miesfield.

DivX Cuts Staff

Publicly traded media company DivX laid off 21 employees or 10 percent of its San Diego work force, spokesman Tom Huntington confirmed Dec. 12.

Survey Shows 3.6 Percent Apartment Vacancy Rate, Average Rent of $1,188

Apartment rents are falling, even as the supply of available units shrinks, suggesting that the recession is depressing the market, according to the Fall 2008 Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey by the San Diego County Apartment Association.

Thursday, December 11

Life Technologies, Novocell Receive Stem Cell Agency Grants

A governing board for the state stem cell agency voted Dec. 10 to approve more than $19 million in funding for a new round of grants intended to accelerate stem cell research.

Two Eateries Reserve Places at Paseo Carlsbad

Paseo Carlsbad, a proposed 56,000-square-foot retail center on Paseo del Norte and Car Country Drive, attracted its first tenants.

Novatel Wireless President Resigns

Novatel Wireless President Brad Weinert has resigned, the company said Dec. 10.

Block of 111 Condominiums Sells at Otay Ranch

A portion of Terra Vista at Otay Ranch Condominiums in Chula Vista sold for $18 million to Terra Vista Genpar.

Peregrine Figure Gets Eight Years, One Month in Prison

Stephen Gardner, the former CEO of Peregrine Systems Inc., was sentenced to 97 months in prison Dec. 11 based on his guilty pleas last year to three felony counts relating to one of the largest and most spectacular accounting scandals in local history, ac

Wednesday, December 10

Dot Hill to Cut Staff, Postpone Move

Dot Hill Systems Corp., a Carlsbad maker of data storage equipment, said Dec. 9 it is shutting down 40 percent of its local operations by year end to sublease the space, and is cutting 10 percent of its work force or 27 persons as part of a restructuring

WD-40 Declares Dividend

WD-40, the maker of lubricants and other products for the home and workshop, said Dec. 9 that it plans to distribute a dividend of 25 cents per share, a sum unchanged from last quarter.

Tuesday, December 9

Survey: One in 10 Employers Plans to Hire in New Year

Only 10 percent of local employers said they plan to hire more workers in the first quarter of 2009, yet most, or 61 percent, said they're maintaining current staff levels, according to a Dec. 9 Manpower Employment Outlook survey.

GEM Commercial Lending Expands Services

San Diego-based Golden Equity Mortgage Corp. said Dec. 4 that it was expanding lending services into the commercial real estate market.

Crossflo Picks Up Health Care Software Program

Crossflo Systems said Dec. 9 that it acquired the assets of Belmont-based Iameter, including the Iameter software portfolio, for an undisclosed sum.

Novocell to Collaborate on Diabetes Treatment

San Diego-based stem cell engineering company Novocell said Dec. 9 it will collaborate with renowned Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University to push forward stem cell treatments for type 1 diabetes.

Monday, December 8

Henry's Farmers Market Anchors New Santee Shopping Center

Henry's Farmers Market opened its newest location Nov. 12, becoming the anchor supermarket at The Marketplace at Santee.

Radio Sales in Decline, With Little Relief in Sight

San Diego County's radio stations will finish 2008 with a 10.5 percent drop in revenue, according to an estimate from BIA Advisory Services.

Sales and Leases

Ernest and Susan Marugg have sold the 5,240-square-foot office space at 343 E. Lexington Ave. in El Cajon.

Downtown Hotel Revenue Declines as Conventioneers Shorten Stays

While the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in late October drew less on-site registration than hoped for, preregistration was strong.

Ryan's Build-to-Suit Project Suits Santee Just Fine

Minneapolis-based Ryan took a step closer to developing a 47,700-square-foot, build-to-suit educational building for Liberty Charter High School at RiverView at Santee with the city's recent approval.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Entrepreneur David Spatafore has a new eatery. Lil' Piggy's Bar-B-Q opened Nov. 28 at Coronado Ferry Landing.

Salvation Army Holds Thanksgiving Dinner

The Salvation Army hosted its annual community dinner Nov. 27 at Golden Hall, a program initiated by Joan Kroc to serve those who had no place to go for Thanksgiving.

Scripps Web Site Gets Healthy Upgrade

A push to make health care more user-friendly got a boost from Scripps Health last week.

Chargers Kicking Around Idea to Build Stadium at New Site

The San Diego Chargers are keeping alive hopes for a new stadium in Chula Vista, and would consider a site abandoned by Tennessee-based Gaylord Entertainment.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Greg Fitchitt

T. Boone Has Bone to Pick

High profile consultant Stedman Graham, who bills himself as an author, businessman and educator (and is often seen with Oprah Winfrey as her man about town), has been quietly building a client base here in San Diego County.

Hard-Money Lenders Gain From the Crunch

As more borrowers are shut out of traditional lending sources, lenders who aren't as picky about documented income or credit history are gaining new customers.

Avoid Disaster! Eat, Drink and Be Smart!

People do and say all sorts of inappropriate things at holiday parties.

Hines' Texas-Sized Portfolio Grows With 8-Building Purchase

After bowing out as a finalist to develop a new San Diego Civic Center complex in August and completing a LEED-certified high-rise in the University Towne Center area in September, Hines has wasted no time in widening its local market share.

Merger With Global Firm Would Have Local Impact on Bell Boyd

A law firm that established a hub for its life sciences practice in Carmel Valley in February is considering merging with an international firm.

Good News for '09: Real Estate Still in Limited Supply

As we approach the end of the year, it does indeed feel more like twilight. But I have a hopeful sense that come later in January it will feel more like "sunrise."

Fund Manager Gets Four-Year Prison Term

Clementine Estrada, who managed two defunct high-yield investment funds in Escondido, was sentenced Dec. 4 to 50 months in prison and three years supervised release by U.S. Judge Barry Moskowitz.

How to Create the Walkable Community

According to author Charles Handy, we live in an age of paradox.

Marine Corps Jet Crash Kills Four

Four people died after a Marine Corps F/A-18 jet crashed in University City, a residential area south of University Towne Center, at 11:59 a.m. Dec. 8, authorities said.

Discovery Bancorp Shedding Pieces to Bump Capital Reserves

Saddled with an increasing number of problem loans and losing money, San Marcos-based Discovery Bancorp is selling off parts of the business to boost capital reserves.

High Rates, Long Hours for Cart Operators

If you're out of a job and mulling the idea of becoming self-employed, a shopping mall cart or kiosk might be just the thing.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Nov. 30 - Dec. 4, 2008

Boise State Takes Perfect Record to Poinsettia Bowl

San Diego's two college football bowl games were set Dec. 7, with the first game, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23, looking as the more attractive matchup between No. 9 Boise State and No. 11 Texas Christian University.

Artes Medical Files for Bankruptcy

Artes Medical, a San Diego biotechnology company that makes a permanent wrinkle filler for so-called smile lines, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection Dec. 1.

Executive Profile - Ron Chamberlain

Ron Chamberlain is area developer for the San Diego and Imperial counties for Sport Clips, an athletics-themed sports haircut company.

In the Lab

A partnership forged between two competing drug companies has produced scientific results that show the potential for a new class of drugs aimed at fighting heart failure.

Importer Taps Into New Midmarket Loan Program

A San Diego produce importer became the first business to obtain financing through a new program launched by the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank.

Cohu to Spend $80M on Rasco

Cohu, the Poway company that makes equipment for the semiconductor industry, said Dec. 8 that it will buy Dover Corp.'s German subsidiary Rasco for $80 million in cash.

Friday, December 5

One in 10 Homeowners Nationwide Behind on Mortgages

One in 10 U.S. homeowners were either behind on their mortgages or in the process of foreclosure, with loan defaults and foreclosures in California and Florida leading the nation, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Dec. 5.

Orexigen Changes Course, Share Price Falls

Shares of Orexigen Therapeutics fell sharply Dec. 5 following news of CEO Gary Tollefson's resignation and plans to scale back on the number of drugs in development.

Thursday, December 4

Cubic Sales and Earnings Down From 2007

Cubic Corp. reported Dec. 4 lower profits and revenue for its 2008 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, mainly from a drop in sales in its defense segment.

Bayfront Hilton Opens Doors

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a 30-story hotel with 1,190 guest rooms on 13 waterfront acres controlled by the Port of San Diego, officially opened on Dec. 3.

Vista Manufacturers Open Warehouses for Holiday Sales

Manufacturers of consumer goods in the Vista Business Park have banded together to put on a coordinated holiday warehouse sale on Dec. 12, said the Vista Chamber of Commerce Dec. 4.

Bell Boyd Considers Merger With Global Firm

A law firm that established a hub for its life sciences practice in Carmel Valley in February is considering merging with an international firm.

Enterprise Informatics Signs Up Two Nuclear Operators

Enterprise Informatics, a San Diego company that sells Microsoft-based management software for industrial clients, signed up a pair of nuclear operators this week for its flagship product, Enterprise Bridge for Nuclear.

Linkabit Lands $28M Army Contract

L-3 Communications said Nov. 24 that its Linkabit unit received a $28 million contract to provide its Prophet signals intelligence platforms to the Army.

Wednesday, December 3

Appeals Court Modifies Ruling on Qualcomm-Broadcom Dispute

Qualcomm's long-running patent dispute with rival chipmaker Broadcom Corp. found little clarity this week after a federal appeals court restored some patent rights to two Qualcomm technologies that play video over mobile phones, but sent the case back to

Calling All Entrepreneurs Contest Deadline Near

Organizers of the UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge have set a 5 p.m. deadline on Dec. 5 for business plan submissions.

Waterfront Players Take Step Toward Convention Center Expansion

The San Diego Convention Center Corp. entered into a memorandum of understanding Dec. 2 with the San Diego Unified Port District and Fifth Avenue Landing LLC to negotiate for the possible expansion of the center.

Artes Files for Chapter 7

Artes Medical, a San Diego biotechnology company that makes a permanent wrinkle filler for so-called "smile lines," filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection Dec. 1.

Taylor Guitars Extends Reach to the Rhine

Taylor Guitars said Dec. 2 that it has opened a service center in Dusseldorf, Germany, which can provide factory-authorized guitar repair, modification and maintenance services.

Green Building Council Hires First Executive Director

The San Diego chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council hired its first executive director, Gary Goodson, to lead the 500-member-strong environmental and energy conscious organization.

Private Sector Beckons Assessor

County Assessor-Recorder Gregory Smith is retiring after 25 years to take a "once in a lifetime" job in the private sector, he said Dec. 3.

Tuesday, December 2

USD Index Sees Big Decline

An economic index for San Diego County fell 2.3 percent in October, the largest one-month decline on record, propelled mainly by big drops in the stock prices of local companies and a surge of unemployment insurance claims, according to the report release

Cubic Lines Up $10M Range Instrumentation Deal

Cubic Defense Applications, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Cubic Corp., said Dec. 1 it won a two-year, $10 million contract for work on the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System program.

Sharp Receives $10M Gift, Largest in Its History

Sharp HealthCare has received a $10 million gift from the Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation to help fund the construction of a new facility at Sharp Memorial Hospital.

Monday, December 1

Business Profile , Etienne Snollaerts

Etienne Snollaerts is CEO of Coldpack, a San Diego company with an insulated packaging system that protects temperature-sensitive goods while being transported.

Goodbye, JBX JACK to Appear on Nasdaq

Jack in the Box Inc., the San Diego fast food purveyor, said Dec. 1 it is moving from the New York Stock Exchange to Nasdaq effective Dec. 15, and changing its ticker symbol from JBX to JACK.

Ivy Hotel Raises $50K for CARE

The Ivy Hotel raised $50,000 from its one-year anniversary event for CARE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting world poverty. Shannon Darke of CARE said, "It was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with the Ivy.

Fast & Furious

At a time when many businesses are throttling back because of the slow economy, Nigel Hook is taking the opposite tack, acquiring a new company, hiring more people and expanding business.

Foreign Car Sales Stuck in Neutral, Inventories Piling Up

Lackluster sales of autos nationally is causing a backlog of imported cars to stack up at some of the nation's docks, including the National City Marine Terminal. But the overflow is nowhere near what's happening at the Port of Long Beach.

Cutting Costs

Squeezed credit markets have reined in spending at San Diego's small and midsized biotech companies, many of which have less than a year's worth of cash on hand to keep operations running.

Entrepreneur Profile , Angela Hill

Angela Hill, president and creative director, Incitrio Design.

Sales and Leases

Hendricks & Partners said Imperial Villa Apartments purchased the Casa La Paz apartment community at 370 K St. in Chula Vista. Plus other sales and leases.

Orange 21 Rebuffs Attempts at Sportswear Merger

Mark Simo wants to do a merger, but his former colleagues on the board of Orange 21, the Carlsbad maker of Spy Optic sunglasses, apparently aren't interested in joining up with No Fear, another Carlsbad sportswear firm.

West Coast Law Firm Expands Local Practice

Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, a law firm consisting of 100 West Coast attorneys, is expanding its San Diego presence.

Employers Must Take Action Against Diabetes and Obesity

Diabetes and obesity are dangerous, even deadly, diseases affecting many San Diegans at epidemic levels. More than 113,000 San Diegans have diabetes, and 52 percent are estimated to be overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventio

Tourists, Military Patrons Help Business Stay Afloat Along Coast

The economy has tossed San Diego's small businesses into rough waters this year and many expect that trend to continue in the year ahead, said the leaders of three coastal chambers of commerce.

Affluent North County Not Immune to Economic Malaise

Efforts are in full swing in North San Diego County to help the area's business community weather the storm of a national downturn, which looks like it could continue for months.

East County Businesses Brace for Tough Economic Fight

"How long do I continue to fight this battle?" A business owner, faced with some tough economic news, recently asked that question of Mike Cully, president and CEO of the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.

13 Clich & #233;s We Don't Need in the Business World

As companies whack away at their budgets, cut out capital expenditures and dismiss employees, there is still room for additional sacrifices , things every business can easily do without, particularly in a time of economic distress.

Regional Roundup

Zodiac Pool Care recently opened a customer care center at 2620 Commerce Way.

Four Diamond Awards Like Silver Medalists

Hotelier Bill Evans called a while back to ask if I remembered who won the silver medal for swimming in the last Olympics.

Car Pricing Web Site Trying to Find Road to Profits

The founder of, a website that searches for the best car prices, says he can help the ailing auto industry by pointing his customers toward the lowest-price deals.

Power Couples , Nikki and Ben Clay

Nikki and Ben Clay represent one of the highest profile couples involved in San Diego's business and civic affairs.

Roadside Assistance Needed

The $200 billion in federal loan guarantees aimed at supporting consumer finance announced Nov. 25 is good news for the automotive industry, said local dealer Dave Grundstrom, chairman and part owner of Marvin K. Brown Auto Center in Mission Valley.

Gene Silencing Drug Shown to Block Heart Failure in Mice

A partnership forged between two former competitors has produced new scientific data that shows the potential for a new class of drugs aimed at fighting heart failure.

San Diego People

Key hires and promotions. Executive Spotlight: Dave Cully

Don't Wait to Cut Costs, Adviser Warns Tech CEOs

Business adviser and turnaround specialist Peter Shaw of Shaw Management Advisers has some advice for tech company CEOs in the current meltdown: Don't wait to cut costs.

Intense Trade Pulling South County Through Retail Slump

Things don't stand still in southern San Diego County. They roll. South County has multiple lanes of concrete and asphalt reaching toward the international border. Eighteen-wheeled trucks carry all manner of freight through the border crossings.

Ground Breaking , Parking Garage at Cal State San Marcos

Cal State San Marcos Parking Structure 1.

Presidential Election Results Are Hard to Come By in China

I just returned from my second trip to China where I visited Hong Kong, Macau and several other southern cities.

Will Marketside Make Its Mark?

Wall Street analysts may applaud Wal-Mart for posting healthy third-quarter sales while competitors are struggling, but the jury is still out with regard to the discount giant's new scaled-down grocery stores.

Scripps Institution Nets $12M From Washington

A $12 million award from the Department of Commerce will jump-start efforts to build environmental research laboratories at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Tech Companies Hunkering Down By Pairing Up

Technology companies are resorting to layoffs and forming partnerships to survive a punishing economy that is turning competitors into bedfellows.

Overland Storage Gets Financial Boost

Overland Storage, the San Diego provider of data storage systems, said Dec. 1 it closed an accounts receivable transaction of up to $9 million with Marquette Commercial Finance, giving the company the needed cash it was seeking for months.

All Aboard to Margaritaville

Economic turmoil? Well, what would Jimmy (not Warren!) Buffett do?

Week in Review

Top Business News: Nov. 21 - 26, 2008

Martin Furniture's Warehouse Construction Complete

Progress Report: Design and construction are complete on Martin Furniture's two furniture warehouse buildings, according to Ware Malcomb.