Stories for November 2008

Tuesday, November 25

Awarepoint Zeroes in on $13.3M Series D Round

Awarepoint Corp. said Nov. 25 that it closed on a Series D financing round of $13.3 million.

New Job, Same Mission for Novocell CEO

Alan Lewis, CEO of the privately held stem cell engineering company Novocell, has been named president and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Mitchell Merger Faces Roadblock

A planned merger of San Diego's Mitchell International and its larger rival in the auto software industry, CCC Information Services of Chicago, was hit with a setback when the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against the transaction, according to a com

Monday, November 24

'09 Real Estate Advice? Build Presold Projects

It's not all doom and gloom for the commercial real estate industry for 2009.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's roundup of news from around San Diego County: Millicent Salon has reason to celebrate.

Collapse of Retailing Is Fed By Decline in Disposable Income

What happens when recession meets green meets retailing?

Bachelor Pad Still for Sale

The bachelor pad of all bachelor pads remains on the market. Power broker Gregg Neuman of Neuman & Neuman continues to list a four-bedroom, five-bath penthouse in the Renaissance, a residential high-rise at the corner of Market and Front streets downtown.

Fight for Flight: Gliders Oppose Research Facility

The tan, windswept bluffs of Torrey Pines have long beckoned daredevil pilots who, with a little wind and enough momentum, launch their gliders off the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean.


San Diego County Big Brothers Big Sisters raised $450,000 at its annual dinner held Oct. 30. Rick Valencia, founder of Profit-Line, was honored as man of the year for his commitment to mentoring kids ages 7 to 18 The YWCA of San Diego County sponsored t

Executive Profile: Zach Tibbs

Zach Tibbs, president of 1 Off Motorsports.

Scripps Overhauls Hospital

Scripps Mercy is waging a campaign to give its Hillcrest hospital a $203 million facelift that would double the size of its emergency department and trauma center, centralize cancer services and prepare it for upcoming earthquake safety requirements.

Wireless Industry Expects First Slowdown Since '80s

About 180 wireless professionals gathered at the US Grant Hotel on Nov. 19 and 20 to discuss the future of the mobile handset industry, which is expecting its first slowdown since the introduction of the cell phone in the mid-1980s.

Pacific Trust, Torrey Pines Bank Gain From $700B Bailout Fund

Assuming approval from its board, Pacific Trust Bank in Chula Vista is poised to increase its lending capacity by $100 million, thanks to a $19.3 million capital infusion from the U.S. Treasury.

Seismic Work Finishing Up at Hillcrest Medical Center

The local office of gkkworks, an Irvine architecture firm, is finishing up nonstructural seismic improvements at UC San Diego's Hillcrest Medical Center.

Economy Likely To Perk Up in '09, Experts Say

A panel of economists at the University of San Diego agrees that the nation and region are in the throes of a recession, but they give some hope things may improve next year.

Layoffs Looming? Proceed With Caution, Labor Lawyers Warn

Local businesses are dispensing pink slips by the stack , testing the expertise of human resources managers responsible for ensuring that their companies avoid wrongful termination claims.

Nonprofit Profile

The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center provides opportunities to facilitate positive, life-changing experiences through arts, sports, fitness, spiritual discovery and community service.

Retailers Dive In Internet's Unlimited Pool

For small shops and boutiques that lack the funds to grow their business the old-fashioned way , with a big advertising splash , the Internet gives them an opportunity to cast their bait in a virtual retail sea.

Progress Report

McCarthy Building is nearing completion on the 72,000-square-foot expansion of the Women's Center emergency room at Rancho Springs Medical Center, located at 25500 Medical Center Drive.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Horace Hogan II.

ZyGEM Inks Deal to Sell Its DNA Analysis Products

ZyGEM said Nov. 17 it penned a deal with laboratory supply and distribution powerhouse VWR International that will allow the sale of its DNA extraction technology products throughout North and South America.

SBA Loan Production Down 30 Percent, Lending Conditions Tighten

The local office of the federal Small Business Administration office had its slowest month in a long time in October when partner banks in the region made 38 loans. The top two banks made only four SBA guaranteed loans each, far off what the office would

Nextivity Aims to Boost Indoor Cell Phone Signal

To improve coverage, Nextivity has developed a "smart repeater" to boost indoor cell phone signals.

Denim 'Saloon' Store Singing the Blues

Jeanomix Style Saloon, a Cardiff-based chain of so-called denim bars that mixes sales of pricey jeans with pool playing and beer drinking is liquidating , no pun intended.

Former TV Anchor Looks to Cash in on Cyber Monday

Former NBC 7/39 news anchor Vic Salazar has launched a Web site,, which he says provides one-stop shopping for retail discount coupons.

Renegotiating the Lease Requires a Set Strategy

Renewing a lease is the most profitable transaction for any commercial landlord, says Scot Ginsburg, a broker with Jones Lang LaSalle. Ginsburg works only with tenants to renew leases, relocate, seek additional space or downsize.

Wedbush Snaps Up First Wall Street

First Wall Street Corp., a San Diego brokerage founded in 1982 and one of the largest locally owned brokers, entered into an agreement to be acquired by Wedbush Morgan Securities, the parties said Nov. 24.

Oceanside Hotel and Condo Project Closer to Construction

A proposed hotel and condo project near Oceanside pier took another step closer to construction Nov. 13 when the California Coastal Commission voted to update the city's downtown coastal zone.

Kratos Joins Forces With Digital Fusion

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions of San Diego has acquired Huntsville, Ala.-based Digital Fusion Inc. in a stock-for-stock transaction, the companies said Nov. 24.

Nonprofits Coordinate Support Services for Small Businesses

Eleven years ago, Gail Brent's dream of starting her own acupuncture and massage business nearly faltered for the same reasons that hold true today.

Sales and Leases

A 6,000-square-foot office building located in Scripps Poway Office Park West at 14265 Danielson St. in Poway has sold for $1,857,000. This is the second building in the office park to be purchased in the last six months. The buyer was represented by Scot

Wal-Mart Settles Over Scanning Errors

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed on Nov. 24 to pay $1.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by authorities over checkout counter scanning errors at the chain's stores throughout California.

FDIC's Move Creates 12 More U.S. Bank Locations

U.S. Bank, with 49 offices in San Diego County, gained 12 new ones here after it acquired the deposits of two savings banks , Downey Savings & Loan and PFF Bank & Trust , following the takeover of the lenders by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Nov.

Food Bank Assisting Broader Swath of Hungry San Diegans

J. Scofield "Scody" Hage recently picked up a telephone call to his organization, which really hit a nerve.

Keller Williams Launching Commercial Unit

Keller Williams Realty, which announced plans to launch a commercial division earlier this year, is officially opening a Hillcrest office next month.

Getting Defensive: Small Biz Learns to Work With Military

The war machine was on conspicuous display last week at the San Diego Convention Center for Milcom 2008, an annual gathering for military professionals, engineers and businesses selling wireless gear and gadgets.

Combined Global Destiny Is Already in Motion

Here's the problem: Serious intellectual narrowing can happen to even the brightest folk once nested down on the East Coast.

Vical to Scale Back With Staff Cuts, Office Closure

Vical, a San Diego-based biotech developing DNA vaccines, said Nov. 21 it planned to cut 20 percent of its work force and close a research facility in an effort to preserve capital.

HELP OFFERED: Free Agents Seeking Contract Work

An economy stuck in second gear fuels speculation about work force trends and labor redistribution , topics tightly bound to sustained periods of layoffs and budget cuts.

Tweak Sarbanes-Oxley, Don't Repeal It

It is a shame that a former speaker of the House and potential presidential candidate has written so recklessly, as Newt Gingrich did recently. Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley? I think not.

Week in Review

Cymer Slims Down: Cymer, the San Diego maker of laser equipment used to manufacture chips, said it is cutting its work force by 8 percent or 85 employees, blaming the slowdown in the economy and semiconductor industry.

Friday, November 21

Five Enter Guilty Pleas Related to Mortgage Lending

Five San Diego mortgage loan employees, who were netted in a national mortgage fraud sting in June, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and face a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines, U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt said Nov.

Artes Medical Mulls Bankruptcy

San Diego-based Artes Medical, maker of the "smile lines" wrinkle filler ArteFill, said Nov. 21 it will cut jobs and explore liquidation through bankruptcy.

October Unemployment Rate Hits 6.8 Percent

San Diego County's unemployment rate shot up to 6.8 percent in October, compared to September's revised 6.5 percent, and well above last October's rate of 4.8 percent, according to the latest state Employment Development Department report released Nov. 21

New NCTD Director to Start Jan. 5

The North County Transit District on Nov. 20 named a permanent director to replace Karen King, who resigned in June to head Bakersfield's Golden Empire Transit District.

Mile of Cars Losing San Diego Dodge

Showing effects of the automobile industry downturn, San Diego Dodge of National City is going out of business.

Thursday, November 20

Staccato to Merge, VCs Pile On

In what is likely a harbinger of a difficult winter for startup tech companies, two startups developing next-generation USB technology announced a merger and pulled $20 million from their existing investors.

Burger Bucks: Jack in the Box Earns $119M for the Year

Jack in the Box, the San Diego-based quick-service eatery chain, reported earnings of $26.9 million or 47 cents per share for the fourth quarter that ended Sept. 28, or basically flat compared with $26.8 million, or 43 cents per share in the same quarter

Waterfront Fixture Celebrates 70 Years

One of San Diego's oldest waterfront businesses, R.E. Staite Engineering, turned 70 years old this week.

New York Investors Buy Bumble Bee Foods

Bumble Bee Foods, headquartered in San Diego, was acquired as part of a larger purchase of Connors Bros. Income Fund of Canada by Centre Partners, a New York private investment bank, the buyers said Nov. 19.

Border Crossing Proposal Clears Hurdle

A planned second border crossing a few miles west of the existing Otay Mesa crossing passed another hurdle when the agency overseeing the project, the San Diego Association of Governments, was granted a presidential permit Nov. 20 to proceed with the proj

Wednesday, November 19

Charlotte Russe Says 'No Thanks' to Takeover Bid

Jennifer Salopek, chairwoman of the San Diego-based, publicly traded women's clothier Charlotte Russe Holding Inc., has responded negatively to a takeover bid by KarpReilly Capital Partners and H.I.G Capital made earlier this month.

North County Times Cuts Staff

The North County Times said Nov. 18 that it laid off 34 employees.

State Financing Helps Label Maker Grow

Kieran Label Corp., a San Diego maker of tags and labels, is expanding into a larger, 54,000-square-foot building in Otay Mesa thanks to $3 million in a new type of financing backed by the California Enterprise Development Authority.

SAIC Computer Deal May Grow to $115M

SAIC said Nov. 19 that it received a deal from the Naval Sea Systems Command valued at $115 million if all options are exercised.

DivX Sues Yahoo, Forecasts Lower Earnings

DivX Inc., a San Diego maker of video compression software, said Nov. 17 it filed a lawsuit against Yahoo, alleging the Internet services provider breached its two-year advertising contract.

Tuesday, November 18

HR Society Honors Scripps Health

Scripps Health, which operates five area hospitals and provides a wide range of health services, said Nov. 18 that it took home a workplace excellence award from the San Diego Society for Human Resource Management.

Sentek and Spawar Tackle Domain Awareness

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center awarded San Diego-based Sentek Consulting a $5.2 million contract.

AIS Acquires Complex Drive Data Center

American Internet Services, a major data center operator in San Diego, said Nov. 17 it acquired fellow data center Complex Drive in Kearny Mesa. Terms of the deal were not announced.

ZyGem Going Places With New Distribution Partner

ZyGem said Nov. 17 it penned a deal with laboratory supply and distribution powerhouse VWR that will allow the sale of its DNA extraction technology products throughout North and South America.

Monday, November 17

Future Farmers Learn to Grow Organically at Seeds at City

One-third of an acre planted with corn, squash, green beans, broccoli, pumpkins and sunflowers where grass once grew at San Diego City College is an urban farm project that could revolutionize residential landscaping throughout the county, says Karon Klip

Nonprofit Finds a Home for Its Adult Treatment Program

After losing its lease June 30, Pathfinders of San Diego has found a permanent home for its adult treatment shelter with support of the North Park community looking to boot a troubled hotel that charges by the hour and attracts vagrants.

Gaylord Pulls Out of $1B Project

Gaylord Entertainment, a Tennessee developer and operator of hotels, said Nov. 17 that it is withdrawing its plans to build a $1 billion convention center/hotel at Chula Vista's bay front.

Attorneys Seeing Fertile Ground in Niche Wine Practice

A fertile plot of land, an enterprising spirit and a significant amount of capital have been the foundation for eager entrepreneurs interested in the Southern California wine business.

Encinitas Civic Center Gets Green Makeover

A Carlsbad construction firm has completed a $3.5 million retrofit at the Encinitas Civic Center to improve its energy efficiency.

Sempra's Share Price Drops After Beating Wall Street Projections

You know it's a strange market when Sempra Energy reports earnings that easily beat Wall Street projections but its stock still drops $1.75 a share.

Shaking Things Up

On the brink of extinction in 2003, Quake Global has carved out a slice of the booming market for satellite-based tracking services.

Cynergy Systems Launches Local Online Media Division

Cynergy Systems, a software company based in Washington, D.C., is launching a new media and entertainment division in San Diego.

Solera to Put More Shares on Market

Solera Holdings, a San Diego maker of software for the auto insurance industry, said Nov. 14 it plans to sell 4.5 million shares of its common stock.

Hotel Industry Coping With Lower Occupancy Rates

A precipitous drop in hotel room occupancy signals a rocky road ahead for the county's hospitality industry, some say.

Entrepreneur Profile - Jeffery Adler

Jeffery Adler is CEO of D'lush, a rapidly expanding fast-fashion specialty beverage retailer.

How Asians Relate to Our New President

Let me explain why the Asian political experience, at least since the '80s, offers us insight into the triumph of Barack H. Obama.

Manchester Taps Investors for Lion's Share of La Jolla Bank

Plans to open a Manchester Financial Bank in La Jolla are still on track despite Chairman Doug Manchester's decision to scale back his investment.

Early Stage Work Begins on Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge

SCS Engineers has begun draining and soil remediation for the new Harbor Drive pedestrian bridge. Fulfilling a California Public Utilities Commission requirement, the bridge is being constructed across Harbor Drive at Park Boulevard.

Eatery Listings Abound, But Fewer Buyers Biting

The effect of San Diego's declining housing market is spilling over into the restaurant industry.

Sales & Leases

Meadow Ridge, a 33-unit apartment community at 415 Plymouth Drive in Vista, was sold for $4.1 million.

Cricket's Broadband Service Makes Its Debut Here

San Diego-based Cricket launched its broadband service in its home market Nov. 10.

Architectural Foundation Spotlights Best, Worst Designs of Area Projects

UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and the Oceanside Museum of Art were winners at the San Diego Architectural Foundation's Orchids and Onions gala held Nov. 13 in Balboa Park.

Financial Adviser Opens Escondido Office

Financial adviser Jeff Todd said Nov. 17 that he has launched Todd Financial Group.

Clean-Tech, the New Darling of Investors, Ready for Growth

In August, locally grown startup Verenium announced it had partnered with energy giant British Petroleum in a deal valued at up to $90 million.

USD Campus Revs Up for Zipcar's Arrival

On-demand transportation provider Zipcar recently entered the San Diego market at the University of San Diego campus.

Careening Auto Industry Doesn't Need Rescuing

Anyone who keeps track of such things may have read a couple of weeks back that Toyota Motor reported a mere $5.5 billion in profits for the end of its fiscal year , a third less than projected at the start of the year.

Fast Payments a Factor in Receivables Business

Ernie Tarut, owner of Old Gringo Boots, a Chula Vista maker of handmade boots, can easily qualify for a bank loan, but prefers using a factor to finance his 18-year-old business.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Schubach Aviation said Nov. 6 that it has leased hangar space and moved three of its 21 private aircraft to Lindbergh Field in space formerly occupied by Jimsair Aviation Services.

New Top Executives Face Takeover Bid at Charlotte Russe

Women's retail clothier Charlotte Russe Holding said it received a takeover bid Nov. 12, the same day that it reported a loss for the most recent quarter.

PriceSmart Earnings Increase

International warehouse club retailer PriceSmart reported 2008 fiscal year net income of $38 million on revenue of $1.1 billion for the year ended

San Diego People

Key hires and promotions. Executive Spotlight , Edward Wallace Jr.

Coleman College Graduates to University Status on 45th Anniversary

Coleman College, a San Diego-based nonprofit technical institution, celebrates its 45th anniversary this month, coinciding with plans to expand academic offerings and become Coleman University by including a new doctoral program.


During a summer internship, a team of UC San Diego engineering students journeyed to a remote village outside of Mumbai, India, and solved a problem they wouldn't have encountered in a typical college lab.

Musician Loses Fraud Case Against Business Manager

The San Diego accountant accused of defrauding the former front man of the pop punk band blink-182, Mark Hoppus, and his wife, Skye, out of a $600,000 investment was cleared of all charges by a San Diego Superior Court jury.

Week in Review

Top Business News: Nov. 7 - 13, 2008.

Auto Shop Internships Turn Out Master Mechanics

Nathan Lopez works as an intern at Mossy Toyota while he completes a two-year associate degree in automotive technology at Miramar College. He says his career choice is based on three factors: the continuing need for people with his training, the salary p

Chula Vista Apartments Sell for $125,000 Per Unit

A 96-unit apartment complex on K Street in Chula Vista sold for $12 million or $125,000 per unit. The complex, Casa La Paz, was near full occupancy at the time of sale.

Foundation Gives $100K to Jewish Family Service

Jewish Family Service of San Diego received a $100,000 grant from the Leichtag Family Foundation to support the agency's Jewish BigPals and older adult nutrition programs. The BigPals program for boys and girls matches Jewish adults and Jewish children of

Military on Mission to Maximize Region's Water Supply

Leaders in San Diego's military community are studying how to wring more from their water supplies, a move that benefits communities on either side of the fence.

Feds Tune in Sentek for Help on Radio Project

Sentek Consulting said Nov. 7 that it won a five-year, $3.5 million contract from the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office Joint Tactical Radio System.

Kyoto Prize Winners Get Set to Celebrate

Media meltdown makes the news. A panel of experts debates the future of journalism in the wake of the economic crisis at a special forum starting at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at San Diego State. Panelists include J.W. August, managing editor at KGTV 10 News, Dian

Executive Profile - Ken Schmitt

Ken Schmitt is president of TurningPoint Executive Search, a staffing firm for finance, accounting, operations and sales professionals.

JPMorgan Chase Hiring 300 Workers to Assist Mortgage Holders

At least one job category is showing signs of growth , loan counselors.

Friday, November 14

New Top Executives Face Takeover Bid at Charlotte Russe

Women's retail clothier Charlotte Russe Holding said it received a takeover bid Nov. 12, the same day that it reported a loss for the most recent quarter.

Could Shamu Follow Labatt Out of the Anheuser-Busch Arena?

By federal order, Belgian-based InBev will have to buy a slimmed-down Anheuser-Busch. The question for San Diego is what will happen to the brewer's SeaWorld amusement parks.

CCDC to Review City Hall Redevelopment Plan

The city's downtown redevelopment agency said Nov. 14 it has hired national accounting firm Ernst & Young to reevaluate an analysis for redeveloping the civic center "out of an abundance of caution" once it discovered a potential conflict of interest.

Cymer to Cut Staff

Cymer, the San Diego maker of laser equipment used to manufacture chips, said Nov. 14 it is cutting its work force by 8 percent or by 85 employees.

Shaking Things Up

On the brink of extinction in 2003, Quake Global has carved out a slice of the booming market for satellite-based tracking services.

Nonprofit Finds a Home for Its Adult Treatment Program

After losing its lease June 30, Pathfinders of San Diego has found a permanent home for its adult treatment shelter with support of the North Park community looking to boot a troubled hotel that charges by the hour and attracts vagrants.

Moores Gives $2.1M to Scripps Research Institute

San Diego Padres owner and businessman John Moores has given The Scripps Research Institute a $2.1 million gift that will be used for recruiting researchers and supporting the work of existing scientists.

Military Communications Experts to Converge in San Diego

Military and combat technology will be on display next week at Milcom 2008, the annual defense communications forum.

Manchester Taps Investors for Lion's Share of La Jolla Bank

Plans to open a Manchester Financial Bank in La Jolla are still on track despite Chairman Doug Manchester's decision to scale back his investment.

On the Eve of Its Sale, SpaceDev Reports Profit

Poway aerospace company SpaceDev reported higher profits and revenues on the quarter ending Sept. 30 as it prepares for its merger with the privately held electronics and aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corp.

Thursday, November 13

Electronics Recycling Event Set for Nov. 15

Sony Electronics and Waste Management Recycle America are staging an electronics recycling event Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Miramar College in Mira Mesa.

U.S. Treasury Takes Stake in First Pac Trust Bancorp

First Pac Trust Bancorp, parent of Pacific Trust Bank in Chula Vista, said the U.S. Treasury granted the bank's request to participate in the government's capital injection program.

Qualcomm Calls Off Project, Halts Hiring

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said Nov. 13 the company has halted its 4G platform, called Ultra Mobile Broadband, and will instead support a competing technology, called Long Term Evolution, that's favored by its major customers including Verizon.

Court Won't Reverse Decision Over City Pension Benefits

The 4th District Court of Appeals on Nov. 13 denied an appeal by City Attorney Michael Aguirre that sought to roll back increased retirement benefits approved by the city of San Diego's retirement board in two controversial votes in 1996 and 2002.

Home Prices Continue Downward Slide

Home prices fell again in San Diego County last month as the economy and sales of distressed inventory continue to depress the housing market.

Genoptix Ranks High in National Tally of Fast-Growth Companies

Twenty-two San Diego companies were listed among Deloitte's Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies in North America.

Metabasis Cuts Staff; Satellite Office to Close

Metabasis, a San Diego-based biotech developing therapies to treat liver disease and diabetes, said Nov. 13 it would cut 35 employees, or 30 percent of its work force, in an effort to preserve cash and reduce expenses.

Wednesday, November 12

Net Loss, New Faces at Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. reported a net loss of $6.6 million or 32 cents a share for its fourth fiscal quarter ended Sept. 27, despite an 8.6 percent increase in sales to $206.7 million.

Blue Sky Counts Emirates as a Client

The United Arab Emirates government has selected Blue Sky Network to provide GPS flight tracking and communications aboard certain government-operated aircraft, Blue Sky Network reported Nov. 12.

More Sellers Take Losses in Home Sales

More than 50 percent of homes sold in San Diego were sold for a loss in the past year.

Phoenix Footwear Mulling Future

Phoenix Footwear Group said Nov. 11 it had a net loss of $2.1 million for the third quarter on sales of $18.7 million, compared to a net profit of $11 million on revenue of $22.3 million for the same quarter in 2007.

Cricket Broadband Service Makes Its Debut Here

San Diego-based Cricket launched its broadband service in its home market Nov. 10. Its parent company, Leap Wireless International, already offers broadband services in 61 markets in 29 states.

Upper Deck to Lay Off 60

Upper Deck, the Carlsbad maker of sports cards and other novelties, recently handed out layoff notices to 60 employees, the company said Nov. 12.

MicroIslet Files for Chapter 11

MicroIslet, a publicly traded San Diego biotech engaged in stem cell therapies to treat diabetes, said Nov. 10 it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Tuesday, November 11

Peckham Family Donates $10M to Rady Children's Hospital

Rady Children's Hospital said Nov. 10 it received gifts totaling $10 million from the Peckham family of San Diego County.

Cynergy Chooses San Diego for New Division

Cynergy Systems, a Washington D.C.-based software company, is launching a New Media and entertainment division in San Diego, the company said Nov. 11.

SAIC Explores Infrared Technology for Air Force

The Air Force awarded a $45.6 million contract to San Diego-based SAIC to provide research and development of new infrared countermeasure technologies to help protect U.S. military aircraft.

Optimer Share Price Nearly Doubles

Optimer Pharmaceuticals said its lead drug candidate for the treatment of Clostridium difficile, a drug-resistant "superbug" known to wreak havoc on a patient's gastrointestinal tract, outperformed the only FDA-approved drug to treat the infection in a re

Peters and Black Get Port District Seats

The San Diego City Council, meeting Nov. 10, appointed outgoing Councilman Scott Peters to fill one of two seats on the Board of Port Commissioners whose terms expire in January.

New Skipper at Helm of Silvergate Bank

Silvergate Capital Corp. said Nov. 11 it appointed Alan J. Lane as president and chief executive for the company's main subsidiary, Silvergate Bank, based in La Jolla with $284 million in assets.

Monday, November 10

Latest Offer Advances Effort to Acquire Union Bank

San Francisco-based Union Bank of California, with 60 retail branches in the county, is in the middle of being acquired by majority owner, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Healthy Market for Retail Space Locally Contradicts National Decline

Vacancy rates in San Diego's retail real estate market may be increasing, but it still fares very well against other markets and the national average of nearly 10 percent.

Green Features in Commercial Landscaping Reduce Waste

Drought-tolerant landscaping and water-saving technologies are becoming more critical for commercial buildings in the region's semi-arid climate.

Del Mar Voters Give Thumbs Up to Mixed-Use Project

Del Mar voters have approved the city's largest commercial construction project in more than 20 years.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: On Nov. 12, Henry's Farmers Market plans to celebrate the reopening of its store off Mission Gorge Road.

Debt Collectors Charge Ahead in Faltering Economy

With the economy tanking, banks hording cash and more consumers getting deeper into hock, collectors of defaulted credit cards such as Encore Capital Group are finding opportunities for growth.

Sempra Energy Musters Net Income of $308M

Sempra Energy had net income of $308 million for the third quarter, up 1 percent from the net profits for the third quarter of 2007, the company reported Nov. 10.

Ruling Raises New Set of Issues for Planned Powerlink

The future of the Sunrise Powerlink, a proposed high voltage transmission line to import solar and renewable energy from Imperial County, remains cloudy despite a clear thumb down by a state administrative law judge Oct. 31.

Executive Profile - Ned Israelsen

Ned Israelsen is managing partner of Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, a law firm specializing in intellectual property rights.

Religious Projects Lifting Spirits of Designers, Builders

The slowdown in the real estate market has left many builders and architects praying for the end of difficult times.

TelCentris Unveils Software to Unify Communications

A San Diego telephone company, TelCentris, rolled out a computer application last week that it says will integrate all the messaging and communication applications modern man must tangle with to communicate with colleagues and friends.

Cleaning Up

One mark of a good salesman is the ability to find a kindred spirit in a position to buy.

Topping Off: San Diego Mesa College Allied Health Building

San Diego Mesa College Allied Health Building

Executive Profile - Jayne Hancock

Jayne Hancock is president and CEO of JHG, a local marketing company that focuses on companies in sports and entertainment, technology and lifestyle industries.

Isis Pharmaceuticals Turns in a Profit

Isis Pharmaceuticals said Nov. 10 it swung to a third-quarter profit driven mostly by partnerships with big pharmaceutical companies.

'Horrid Bets' Put Dent in Fortune

Last week we reported on the misfortunes of local philanthropist Ernest Rady in the wake of the economic meltdown Well, reports that professional money manager and self-made billionaire Charles Brandes, who ranked No. 1 on the Business Journa

Ground Breaking: Career Technology Center at San Diego City College

Career Technology Center at San Diego City College

Nonprofit Profile - Developmental Services Continuum

A conversation with Elaine Lewis, executive director of Developmental Services Continuum.

Medical Facility Expansions Hoist the Sagging Economy

While residential and even nonresidential construction has slowed, construction of health care facilities continues to provide jobs to the national and local economy.

The Crowd Thins at Bio Forum

Noticeably fewer people roamed the hallways of the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco this year for the seventh annual investor forum put on by the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

SafeCon Provides Safety Services for Colleges' Projects

The San Diego Community College District contracted with La Mesa-based SafeCon Consulting Group to provide a range of risk-management and safety services for 23 construction projects.

FDA, Investors Deal Amylin Pharmaceuticals Another Blow

The FDA's rejection of data from diabetes drug developer Amylin Pharmaceuticals last week sent shares of the already battered stock down again, to close at their lowest point since September 2001.

San Diego Lender Takes on Failed Los Angeles Bank

Pacific Western Bank, based in San Diego and with $4.6 billion in assets, said Nov. 10 it assumed control of four branches of Security Pacific Bank, a Los Angeles-based bank seized by federal regulators Nov. 7.

Amylin Cuts a Quarter of its San Diego Work Force

Amylin Pharmaceuticals, the San Diego-based maker of diabetes drug Byetta, said Nov. 10 it will reduce its San Diego work force by about 25 percent, or 340 employees.

McCain's Heart Was Never in the Race

History's losers can emerge as history's winners. This is especially true in American politics.

IdeaEdge Seeks Piece of $100B Gift Card Market

Can't decide what color shoes to buy your teenage daughter , why not add cash value to her Nordstrom gift card on Facebook?

Scripps Health Medical Office in Rancho Bernardo Completed

Progress Report: Construction has been completed on the 150,677-square-foot Scripps Health medical office building on Lot 2 at Innovation Corporate Center in Rancho Bernardo.

Security Weaver's Training Center May Boost Downtown

Carlsbad enterprise software vendor Security Weaver is opening a 4,000-square-foot training center in downtown San Diego, which promises to bring customers to town for training sessions.

City, County Employee Pension Funds Take a Beating

The market downturn has ravaged investment portfolios worldwide, including the two employee pension funds for the city and county of San Diego.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: The Villas at La Mesa, located at 8515 Chloe Ave., has been sold.

Election to Embolden Dems to Spend More?

President-elect Barack Obama certainly has his hands full, internationally speaking; he'll have to deal with a deteriorating political landscape, as well as the continuing economic meltdown.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Shari Rodriguez

Lack of Trust at Heart of Nation's Troubled Financial System

If there is any single metropolitan region typifying the current state of the real estate market, it is the Miami-Dade region of Florida.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, 2008

Friday, November 7

Voices for Children Event Raises $525,000

Voices for Children's Starry, Starry Night was held Sept. 20 at the home of Joan Waitt, honorary chair for the event.

Sentek Lends Hand to Pentagon Radio Project

Sentek Consulting won a five-year, $3.5 million contract from the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office Joint Tactical Radio System, the company said Nov. 7.

Job Fair Seeks to Match Companies With Returning Veterans

The U.S. Department of Labor will host 120 veterans' job fairs in 31 states including one in San Diego this month. The Department of Labor's HireVetsFirst job fair is Nov. 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium.

Schubach Establishes Lindbergh Field Presence

Schubach Aviation, a Carlsbad air charter service, has leased hangar space at Lindbergh Field, the company said Nov. 6.

Thursday, November 6

With an $11B Year in the Books, Qualcomm Lowers its 2009 Forecast

The world's largest chipmaker for mobile devices missed its earnings target on the quarter and lowered guidance for 2009, saying the credit crises and economic uncertainty would affect device sales more than previously thought.

SAIC to Keep VA's Record System in the Pink

SAIC won a contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs to support the agency's Health Data Systems Repositories. The deal will last up to five years and is valued at $56 million if all options are exercised.

Biotech Group to Discuss Outsourcing to Asia

Unleash the Dragon, a daylong event hosted by the Sino-American Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Professionals Association, will explore cross-Pacific deal-making Nov. 8.

DJO Posts Larger Revenue Numbers After Merger

DJO Inc., the Vista maker of prosthetics and other medical devices, said Nov. 6 it had third quarter sales of $243.6 million, compared to $108.4 million for the like quarter of 2007.

Wednesday, November 5

Voters Pass Judgment on Marine Terminal Plan, Sales Taxes

A ballot measure that would have opened the door to commercial development at San Diego's Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal went down to defeat Nov. 4.

La Mesa Apartments Sell for $131,403 Per Unit

A 406-unit apartment portfolio in La Mesa sold for $53.35 million or $131,403 per unit.

Leap Wireless Loses $49M; Customer Count and Revenue Rises

Leap Wireless International, parent firm of flat-rate cell phone service Cricket, reported Nov. 5 a net loss of $48.8 million for the third quarter, compared to a net loss of $43.3 million for the like quarter in 2007.

Invitrogen to Operate Under Life Technologies Name

A merger between scientific instrument makers Invitrogen Corp. and Applied Biosystems Inc. will create a new company named Life Technologies Corp., the companies said Nov. 4.

Tuesday, November 4

Shares in Amylin Slide After FDA Decision

The FDA rejected data from an experimental, once-weekly version of type 2 diabetes drug Byetta, sending shares of drugmaker Amylin Pharmaceuticals down 26 percent Nov. 4 to $7.94, the lowest closing value since September 2001.

RF Industries Targets More Shares for Buyback

RF Industries said Nov. 4 it plans to buy back an additional 100,000 shares of its stock.

Fenton Buys Ruffin Road Business Park

San Diego-based The Shidler Group sold Ruffin Road Business Park for $8.6 million to H.G. Fenton Property. The Shidler Group announced the sale Nov. 4.

Maxwell Technologies Shows Sales Growth

Maxwell Technologies, a maker of industrial power storage devices, reported a net loss of $5.7 million on revenue of $21.7 million for the third quarter on Nov. 3.

Podcast: This Week's Front Page, at a Glance

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Nov. 3, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Or listen to archived podcasts from as far back as January 2007.

Monday, November 3

Risk-Averse Investors Leave Biotechs

Many biotechs that registered to go public have withdrawn their attempts to capture a piece of the public markets in lieu of alternative financing.

Thinking Out of the Box to Provide Security

Verimatrix has built a reputation protecting the delivery of TV programming to households over the Internet.

Costs to Expand Business Edge Up With Higher Rates on Loans

With more banks tightening lending standards, some borrowers are forced to seek out alternative sources of funding, and are paying dearly for the money.

Law Firms Reflect Greater Demand for Diverse Work Force

As the global economy develops, big corporations are increasingly looking for their suppliers and contractors to reflect the diversity of their customer bases

Report Cites Glut of Office Vacancies

The San Diego office market is facing an oversupply problem rivaling that of the housing market, according to Studley's third-quarter office market report released Oct. 27.

Barking Up the Right Tree

The Honest Kitchen has gone after a market with the drive of a golden retriever chasing a tennis ball.

Circuit City to Shutter Stores in Escondido, Vista

Circuit City plans to close 155 stores, including those in Escondido and Vista, as part of a wider strategy to restructure its business, the company reported Nov. 3.

An Ear for Success

Nikki Gutshall and Kailynn Bowling, who built a mini fashion empire in Orange County, are now operating in San Diego and expect to reach $1 million in sales this year.

Banks' Losses Prove to Be Credit Unions' Gains

For the most part, area credit unions have sidestepped the worst of the financial upheavals that have taken down some of the largest banks, and even have been reporting gains in deposits and lending in recent months.

Chambers Mix Culture and Commerce

As minority-owned businesses have become a growing force in the modern business landscape, they may owe at least some of their progress to specialized chambers of commerce set up to assist ethnically and culturally diverse groups.

Halloween Goes, Tax Deadline Arrives

San Diego County Treasurer and Tax Collector Dan McAllister reminds property owners that the first installment of their 2008-09 taxes is due Nov. 1 and becomes delinquent if not paid by Dec. 10.

Two Planned Banks May Fall Prey to Dreary Economy

Two banks that planned to open this year probably won't do so, thanks to the lousy economy and overburdened bank regulators.

Sorting Out the Right From the Wrong in Crisis

Sure, it will all be over someday. Sleepy governments have woken up. Economists are starting to figure out the secret dimensions to this financial crisis, and look to be putting together, internationally, the bitter-tasting but probably necessary formula

La Jolla's Jai Restaurant Adds Flexible Catering

Celebrated master chef Wolfgang Puck, who celebrated the grand opening of his restaurant Jai in La Jolla two months ago, has now added catering services.

Scripps Coastal Medical Center Up and Running

Progress Report: Scripps Coastal Medical Center opened Oct. 20.

Nonprofit Profile - UC San Diego Extension

A conversation with Mary Walshok, Associate vice chancellor of public programs and dean at UC San Diego Extension

Henry's Poised to Open New Santee Store

Henry's Farmers Market is closing its doors at 9751 Mission Gorge Road in Santee on Nov. 11 and opening the next day at a nearby location at 9361 Mission Gorge Road, the company said Nov. 3.

Epsilon's Navy Communications Deal Worth $46M

Epsilon Systems Solutions said Nov. 3 it received a Navy communications contract which, if all options are exercised, could bring the company $46 million by 2013. Has Big Part in Aftermarket Sales

As economic woes pummel retailing, is posting double-digit growth.

Tech 'Rally' Likely to Draw Fewer Investors This Year

Executives will be reading the tea leaves at the upcoming American Electronics Association (AeA) trade show to gauge investors' appetite after the global market meltdown.

Santarus Trims Quarterly Net Loss to $4M

Specialty pharmaceutical company Santarus Inc. posted a smaller net loss Nov. 3 helped in part by sales of its heartburn drug Zegerid.

Local Attorney Represents Filmmaker in Wiretapping Probe

Attorney Todd Neal of Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel is wrapped up in a case that has all the makings of a great Hollywood flick.

Area Code Issue Provides Civics Lesson for Everyone

I've said for years that state regulators are hard to regulate and once they make up their minds it is hard to turn them around.

The Meltdown Impacting San Diego's Wealthiest

The ceaseless hammering reaches the ranks of the ultrawealthy.

Santee Files Lawsuit Over Jail Expansion Proposal

Santee's recent retail growth, spurt of new home construction, and completion of its first Class A office building makes for strange neighbors for the aging Las Colinas Detention Facility, the county's only jail for women.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce's board named Joan Priest its president and CEO on Oct. 22.

Borrowers Look to Microloans to Bail Them Out of Credit Crunch

With the credit crunch in full swing, small-business owners and startups looking to borrow money have been turning to microloans to meet their financing needs.

Gafcon Takes the Wraps Off a New Planning Division

San Diego-based Gafcon formed a new planning and entitlement division. The development and construction management firm announced the expansion of services Oct. 30.

TV, Radio Station Ad Sales Heading Downward

Station owners and analysts who expected 2008 would be a banner year have trimmed their forecasts in view of the weakened economy of the past few months.

Websense Sales Grow, Stock Outperforms Dow Jones, S & P; 500

During the past 52 weeks, looking back from Oct. 28 when its third-quarter results were released, Websense stock has lost about 13 percent.

Union-Tribune Circulation Slips

The San Diego Union-Tribune's carriers have fewer papers to throw on doorsteps these days.

Another Boom in Homes Sales Inevitable?

I wrote here in the Oct. 27 issue about an inherent virtue of small-business owners , the ability to save, and save in large amounts, to better survive the ups and downs of the sales stream.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Oct. 24 - 30, 2008

Real Estate Leases

Leases: CB Richard Ellis announced that GameStop leased 1,200 square feet of retail space at 5665 Balboa Ave. from Balboa Realty.

Four Miles of Walking Nets $1 Million

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer raised $1 million at its Four-Mile Walk held Oct. 19 at Balboa Park.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Anita Bye

Entrepreneur Profile - Jake Pescatello

Jake Pescatello, Anthony Balsamo, Trevor Gates and Alex Barnett are partners of Integrity First Financial Group, a La Jolla-based mortgage lending company.