Stories for December 2000

Monday, December 18

Energy---Large industrial firms that pushed power deregulation are keeping a low profile

Amid the screaming and finger-pointing over California's power crisis, major industrial companies , the original force behind deregulation of the electricity market , have remained strangely silent.

Software---Computer game designers maintain alliances

Never mind that San Diego has just two independently owned computer game design firms: Angel Studios and Presto Studios, Inc.

Construction---Escalating home prices may be tempered a bit

San Diego County home prices continued their upward climb in November, statistics from the San Diego Association of Realtors show.

Development---Infrastructure a key to Otay Mesa development

Just to the east of the San Diego city limit in Otay Mesa sits between 3,300 and 3,900 acres of flat, vacant land its many owners would like to see become an extension of the busy industrial development within the nearby city limits.

Gallery Gives the Grinch to Children's Hospital

The Fingerhut Gallery of La Jolla made a Christmas gift of a framed limited edition lithograph by Dr. Seuss to Children's Hospital of San Diego.

Editorial---Slowdown: it hasn't happened yet

It seems that about this time every year we anxiously anticipate the bottom dropping out of our economy as soon as the clock strikes midnight Dec. 31.

CyberBucks---Active.com corners participatory sports market

Peregrine Buys Suite of Products From Tivoli Systems Of Austin for $105 Million

UCSD Connect Honors Tech Community

Nuclear medical imaging, microwave broadband connections and other ways to expand our limited senses of sight and sound won Most Innovative New Product awards from UCSD Connect this month.

For The Record

Leasing agents: James G. Clifford of Montgomery Advisors represented the lessee. Mark Wayne, Dan Runyon, Steve Wolf and Geri Lascano of Burnham Real Estate Services represented the lessor.

Health Care---Technology gaining in acceptance in doctors' offices

Cell phones, electronic calendars and laptops accompany today's business people like stethoscopes around doctors' necks.

People On The Move

Gail Gotthelf has joined California Bank & Trust as vice president, corporate banking. Paul Thomas has joined San Diego Funding as a retail production manager.

Profile---From high-rises to synagogues, Doug Austin gives a fresh look to each new project

From High-Rises to Synagogues, Doug Austin Gives a Fresh Look to Each New Project

Biotech---Maxim Pharmaceuticals investors taken aback by cancer drug's early rejection

Two analysts criticized San Diego-based biotech firm Maxim Pharmaceuticals' management team for misleading investors by not following the drug testing guidelines dictated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Government---County supervisors mull high-tech voting method

The county Board of Supervisors took the first step toward its use Dec. 12 by asking Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard to explore the option and seek state and federal funding.

Commentary---Business involvement is key to solving energy crisis

It's a surprising scenario: Businesses that thrive on a free-market system are questioning the value of energy competition and are calling upon the government to remedy the problem.

Lead---Software providers hang 'For Rent' signs

Just as a person of modest income might find a way to live within sight of the breakers on La Jolla's Coast Boulevard, businesses with limited resources are finding a way to harness sophisticated, high-priced software applications.

Tourism---Marquee teams lined up for Holiday Bowl

With the University of Oregon Ducks and the University of Texas Longhorns coming to the 23rd annual Culligan Holiday Bowl on Dec. 29, officials are gearing up for a promising match , not only for the contest itself, but the attention and visitors the even

Small Business---Program aids refugees' entrepreneurial spirit

Starting next month, refugees living in San Diego who aspire to own their own business can begin making the dream a reality through an innovative program organized by the International Rescue Committee.

Telecom---UC telecom center expected to draw new firms

Internet: Program Provides Funding for Development Of Online Wireless Devices

Enterprise---EdVISION programs measuring up to educators' needs

William Tudor doesn't expect his company to be the next Microsoft, nor does he want it to be. He is a respected and successful businessman in his own right, having started and sold several businesses. But Tudor, CEO of EdVISION.com Corp., said he measures

Tourism---Production company sets stage for events

The Kearny Mesa-based production company, known for series such as "Silk Stalkings," "Renegade" and "Pensacola: Wings of Gold," has begun soliciting parties and other events to be held at its 11-acre site. The site has six sound stages.

Firms Have Soft Spot for Toys for Tots

Dozens of businesses are contributing to the local Toys for Tots campaign. Each is doing something special for the holiday season.

Small Business and Retail---Web site security a hot topic for business owners

Worried your Web site isn't safe? You're not alone. Most small business owners are concerned their company's Web site will fall victim to unwanted intrusion, according to a recent survey of more than 700 small business owners nationwide.

Real Estate & Construction

Selling agents: Kevin Mulhern and Dick Schneider of CB Richard Ellis represented the seller and the buyer.

Publisher's Notebook---It was an interesting 2000, to say the least

It seemed like only yesterday we were counting down to the day the Y2K bomb was going to explode. Now we end the year with the presidential election being more prominent than Christmas.

Electricity---The power industry in California faces re-regulation

The more California's electricity crisis continues, the more it seems state officials and electricity experts are moving toward solutions that would amount to re-regulation , while trying to avoid saying the word.

Retail---The area's first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop is expected to have patrons standing in line

Homer Simpson would probably utter his famed cry of exasperation while waiting to get into this doughnut shop , people tend to queue up in lines that go clear out of the store.

Company Top Cat in Charge of Gift Exchange

It's always interesting to hear how local firms promote goodwill among their employees.

Training---Instructional software firms take off with e-learning

These days it's hip to be computer savvy. Even 10-year-olds have their own Web sites.

Tech Scene

Stellcom, Inc. has been named company of the year by the San Diego Software and Internet Council.

Wireless---Lawsuit claims Gateway misled its investors

A lawsuit field earlier this month in federal court by a Gateway, Inc. shareholder alleges the San Diego PC-maker purposely misled investors and gave rosy financial projections that its top executives knew were false.

High-Tech---Technology peeks into suspicious luggage

Move aside, zebra stripes. A major West Coast airport is planning to tag its baggage with radio frequencies, thank you.

Technology---'Bandwidth Bay' is making headway

Over the past 18 months, Downtown business advocates have made a concerted push to attract high-tech firms by highlighting the 70,000 strand-miles of fiber-optic cable located there.

Finance---First Pacific raises capital, opens for business

The county's newest local bank has successfully completed an initial stock offering and is now open for business, its president said.

Sports---Lifelong dream comes true for basketball owners

Los Angeles business owners Ashraf and Susan Farah had long dreamed of owning a professional basketball team.

Health Care---Hospitals to implement cutbacks; lay off 50 staff

Palomar Pomerado Health System officials said they will lay off about 50 people, and cut working hours and programs to curb a $12 million annual loss in operations.

Law---Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear is named top intellectual property firm in the West

For the fifth year in a row, Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear was named the No. 1 intellectual property firm in the West by Managing Intellectual Property magazine.

Monday, December 11

Real Estate & Construction---Westfield Shoppingtowns keep up with times

Two local shopping malls owned by Westfield America Inc. of Los Angeles are getting face-lifts and new tenants.

Elections---Business leaders are encouraged by new council's business backgrounds

In a group recently sworn in to help lead the city of San Diego for the next four years, there is an environmental attorney, a business improvement advocate, a business attorney and a one-time businessman.

Media---KSWB is out of the Nielsen book due to improper promotions

Although there's already an answer as to how KSWB-TV will be penalized for questionable marketing tactics during the November sweeps, the real response will play out in upcoming weeks.

Enterprise---Widcomm has long view on short range wireless technology

The executives at San Diego's Widcomm Inc. want some of the ubiquity promised by Bluetooth.

Lead---Something old, something new in Downtown projects

Across Downtown San Diego, dozens of new buildings are under construction, and their architects said both tradition and innovation are part of the designs.

Biotech---IBM lends high-tech support to local biotech

Analysts have long predicted a marriage between high-technology and biotechnology firms. In recent weeks, the wedding bells have been ringing.

How To---Cooperative strategy between architects and contractors may save time

Putting together a strong, solid project team is the key to any successful development project.

Media---KBZT-FM and KMSX-FM are prepped to battle in the Country's latest craze '80s music

For a couple of months, Arbitron ratings won't indicate the winner of the newest direct competitors in San Diego's radio market ,KBZT-FM and KMSX-FM, both of which became full-fledged '80s music stations last month.

Internet---MP3.com restructures its online music service

That is what Chairman and CEO Michael Robertson and his crew at MP3.com have decided to charge for storing music in an online locker.

Health Care---Nearly bankrupt hospital rescued by local facility

Some 150 Bayview Hospital employees who were facing an uncertain future amid a bankruptcy filing received good news in time for the holidays.

Transportation---A plan for a cross-border air terminal takes flight

Proponents of a cross-border airport terminal in Otay Mesa were buoyed by a recent unanimous San Diego City Council vote in support of the project. The council voted last month to work with the operators of Tijuana International Airport should they move a

Businesses Donate to Facility for Homeless Youths

Backers of the PromiseLand Ranch are a little closer to reaching the $1 million needed to make the facility for homeless children a reality.

For The Record

If you would like your business event that costs less than $50 to attend included in the calendar section, please make sure that your press release arrives at our offices at least 15 working days before the event. Send requests to:

Hotels---Hotel franchise to accentuate regional influences

A national hotel chain with three hotels in the San Diego area has decided to franchise all future hotel projects.

Trade---State releases robust export figures for 2000

Exports of goods coming from California rose 21.5 percent over this year's first three quarters, bringing the total to $94.5 billion, well ahead of last year's tepid rise in annual export growth of only a half-percent.

Trainer for a Day Is All Work & Play

Stuffing ice-cold fish with vitamins. Preparing hundreds of pounds of animal food. Lugging fish buckets. Ah, the life of a trainer at SeaWorld San Diego.

E-Commerce---Internet retailers hoping for a Christmas miracle

The inevitable holiday parking lot horrors, pushy salespeople and crowded stores at shopping malls are enough to put any shopper in an online mood for the holidays , at least that's what online retailers are hoping, some desperately.

Editorial---Beware the whirlwinds of spin

It's called "spin." It's the way you portray an event to the media or the public so defeat looks like victory, failure like success, greed like benevolence.

ADA---Lawsuits bring building accessibility issues to forefront

The final verdict in a civil case against actor Clint Eastwood this year was supposed to reaffirm the validity of a wide-ranging federal law for the disabled.

Energy---Will proposed energy projects benefit San Diego consumers?

San Diego ratepayers may benefit from two projects to bring additional energy capacity to the area , a new power plant in Otay Mesa, and plans to construct a 215-mile pipeline that may provide natural gas to the plant.

Wireless---China deal sends Qualcomm stock surging

With a newly signed document from the Chinese government in hand, Qualcomm Inc. Chairman and CEO Irwin Jacobs said last week he is "optimistic" a code division multiple access wireless network will emerge in China.

Tourism---Local clubs singing the blues over the arrival of entertainment giant House of Blues

As House of Blues made plans for its Downtown nightclub official last week, predictions of higher prices and complete corporate domination of San Diego's concert industry were turned up a notch.

Editor's Notebook---Golding shouldn't depart on low note

It appears that after nearly two decades of service as both an appointed and elected public official, ex-San Diego mayor Susan Golding's lasting impression will be her love of football and baseball.

About The List---Architecture firms diversify to keep up with demands

Projects, projects and more projects are what lie ahead for several of San Diego's architectural firms.

Transportation---The federal EPA blocks completion of Highway 125

For the past four decades, proponents of a new freeway in South Bay have been facing gridlock on two fronts , traffic congestion throughout the region and inaction from the state and federal officials.

Commercial---Art, architecture work together on plaza project

An unconventional relationship between San Diego artists and architects has been forged to help bring a spirit of community and commonality to the Downtown area.

Nurse Tells Students to 'Think First' About Safety

During her 21-year career as a rehabilitation nurse, Dorothy Zirkle has seen too many teen-agers ending up in wheelchairs as a result of high-risk behaviors, such as diving into unsafe waters or drunken driving.

Banking---Escondido bank is set to get new ownership

ESCONDIDO , Palomar Community Bank's senior management said it has obtained an investor to buy the bank from its current owner, Community West Bancshares of Goleta.

Law---Grand jury preparing to seat 2001-02 panel

If you have a knack for interviewing, fact-finding, report writing and computer skills, there could be a spot for you on the San Diego County grand jury.

Government---Councilman Stevens urges delay in picking city's bank

San Diego City Councilman George Stevens recently asked city Treasurer Connie Jamison to hold off on approval of a contract with Wells Fargo Bank for basic banking services.

Health Care---Insurers respond to state mandate for mental health coverage

A new state law requiring extended mental health coverage may be good news for employees struggling with mental illnesses.

People On The Move

Mark Troha has joined Shoreline Partners, LLC as an associate. San Diego National Bank has added Joe Flores as assistant vice president and branch manager of the Clairemont branch office. Union Bank of California has appointed Joseph Benoit, senior vice p

Credit Union Inaugurates Island Theme

Summer may be over, but the surf is still up at North Island Financial Credit Union's new Chula Vista branch office, a company official said.

Small Business and Retail---SBA helps firms fight drugs in the workplace

Small businesses are making headway against a scourge that costs U.S. employers $100 billion a year, thanks to the Small Business Administration.

Media---Big Bang to design fresh ad campaign for restaurants

Look for Big Bang Idea Engineering to try to revive locally based Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. with a $4 million branding campaign in January.

High-Tech---AT & T; unit plans U.S. W-CDMA phone network

The wireless telecommunications standard called code division multiple access (CDMA) comes in various flavors. AT & T; Corp. has always passed up the dish.

Insurance---Insuring construction projects from start to finish

Construction projects are extremely complex , properly insuring them doesn't have to be.

Profile---Phil Trubey unveils his latest venture even though he could retire today

Plush from the success of Websense, an Internet monitoring company he founded that went public earlier this year, Phil Trubey doesn't have to work another day in his life.

Commentary---Safety a primary concern as NTC is redeveloped

Editor's note: The following is an open letter to the readers from the Corky McMillin Cos., master developer for the redevelopment of the Naval Training Center.

Monday, December 4

Fledgling Theater Hopes To 'aMuse' Holiday Crowd

After doing theater in the Midwest for several years, moving to San Diego to raise her family, and then entering the local theater scene, Sandy Hotchkiss Gullans is enjoying her current role.

Commentary---Time may be running out for FOCUS program

When you hear about the 42.6 million uninsured, think about the people who work for me.

Law---Law firms merge to keep diverse staff on board

Bigger is better in the law profession these days. Firms across the board are merging faster and more often than in previous years. The prize for the big firms is an international presence. For the small ones, it's the opportunity to provide a full-servic

Development---Major development under way in South Bay

Residential developers active locally recently have released for sale several new subdivision developments in the county.

Technology---Bay Area execs warn: Don't make Silicon Valley's mistakes

Imagine the average new home in San Diego costing $562,200, requiring $56,000 down and monthly payments of $4,850.

About The List---Private firms are upbeat about business in the new year

Consumer demand has been exceptional in generating revenue and beneficial business this year, and companies on the San Diego Business Journal's List of Largest Area Private Companies predict Santa has more goodies in store for next year.

Tourism---Promotions combine best of Balboa Park at night

By its own nature, Balboa Park's museums and other tourist draws have always encouraged visitors to spend their days with them. Now, in a new cooperative campaign, the park's various marketing representatives have teamed up to promote evening events at th

Energy---Lawsuits accuse power producers and traders of market manipulation

State regulators couldn't do it. The state Legislature couldn't do it. Federal regulators couldn't give San Diegans long-term relief from skyrocketing electrical costs either.

Tourism ---Local tourism attractions pull together to counter Disneyland's hype

Ask the executives in San Diego's tourism industry. They face a major attack on market share in the upcoming year, as Disneyland prepares to launch the biggest expansion in its 45-year history.

Electricity ---Duke Energy's offer of low-cost electricity is questioned

Duke Energy's announcement last week of a long-term proposal to sell power to San Diego Gas & Electric Co. at a reduced price may have been an opening round in some serious negotiations , or little more than a publicity stunt.

Health Care---Lindbergh Field to adopt life-saving equipment

The successful adoption of life-saving automated external defibrillators (AED) by Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports has convinced Lindbergh Field officials to follow suit.

Retail---Conflicting surveys paint differing predictions for holiday shopping

Conflicting economic surveys show this year's holiday shopping season may be merry or dreary.

Profile---Will San Diego's newest Democratic representative be able to succeed in a sharply divided Congress?

he 2000 election has left the country sharply divided. The question of who won the presidency has not yet been settled, while Congress , nearly evenly between Democrats and Republicans , may face gridlock.

Technology ---Gateway stock drops after sluggish holiday start

Gateway Inc., the San Diego-based personal computer maker, alerted the investor community last week that it probably won't meet its fourth-quarter revenue and earnings projections, sending its stock tumbling past its 52-week low.

Tourism---Visitor industry cheerful about holiday business

In what's considered a season of traditions, San Diego's tourism industry is looking to break a longstanding one , in which the slowest visitor business of the year comes during the winter holidays.

People On The Move

Robin Calder has joined Community National Bank as vice president/branch manager.

Holiday Spending Could Be Merry or Dreary

Conflicting economic surveys show this year's holiday shopping season may be merry or dreary. In the week following Thanksgiving, one retail survey indicated consumer spending was up over last year, while another predicted consumer spending would be flat.

Data Box Moving From the Air to the Highway

It's crucial after an airline crash. Reviewing evidence contained in such recorders helps people reconstruct events leading up to an incident.

Business Association Honors Asian Entrepreneur of the Year

Linda Noda Hobbs said she was a little surprised, but honored to be selected as this year's Asian Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asian Business Association, San Diego.

Technology---Dot-com bankruptcies scare off merger scouts

Profitable dot-coms are getting the cold shoulder in the acquisition and merger markets because of their bankrupt brethren, said local business brokers.

Biotech---An uncertain investment market slows biotech IPOs

With the investment market slowed by uncertainty, local biotechs contemplating initial public offerings are likely to wait until after the first of the year before making any kind of move.

CyberBucks---Interactive Telesis banks on voice-recognition technology

While few have heard of its benefits to date, voice recognition technology could become commonplace in a few years, provoking cheers from the folks at San Diego-based Interactive Telesis.

Small Business and Retail---Optimism declines among small business owners

Small business optimism is declining nationwide, indicating the beginning of a slowdown in the economy.

Lead---Corporate mergers aren't always pretty

Local Corporate Combinations Haven't Always Been Pretty, But They Seemed to Work Out in the End

For The Record

If you would like your business event that costs less than $50 to attend included in the Calendar, please make sure your press release arrives at our office at least 15 working days before the event. Send requests to:

Enterprise---Kaylien Inc. opened the door to success slowly

James Knox isn't an entertainer or a showman, but he knows how to make a grand entrance.

Real Estate & Construction

Residential developers active locally recently have released for sale several new subdivision developments in the county.

Surf Camp Becomes A Reality

Baseball fans have fantasy camps. Golfers play in pro-am tournaments. Football fans buy season tickets. Surfers have well they had nothing until now.

How To---Find ways to plan ahead when moving a business

Murphy's law couldn't fit any situation more perfectly than a corporate relocation. No matter how organized, capable or experienced you think you are, things will go wrong.

Editorial---Enough bickering over the presidency

It is now nearly a month after the November presidential election, and we still don't know who will be the 43rd President of the United States.

High-Tech---Let IVAN do your walking through the Internet

Tour the Internet, merely by talking. A pathfinder called IVAN, developed by a San Diego company, can lead where you tell it to go.

Real Estate---Developers offer up new-home projects

South Bay, already one of the fastest-growing regions in the county, is poised to become the most active development area soon, real estate analysts said.

Publisher's Notebook---Working for the Area's Best? Check and See

If you said the people, you are right. If you wanted to see 35 companies that are successful because of their employees, then you should have been at the second annual Best Companies to Work For Awards luncheon held Dec. l.

Finance---Local banks report healthy earnings in 2000

Bank of Coronado and First National Bank officials said their business is booming so far this year.

Health Care---The Elizabeth Hospice generates enough cash to go it alone

The Elizabeth Hospice said it is ending its 15-year affiliation with Palomar Pomerado Health System on Dec. 31, because it has finally gained the financial viability to exist on its own.

Development---Minority construction firm gets boost from WORC

Steve Groves, president of Cats Excavating Corp. of San Diego, and his half-brother, Cliff Smith, thought they were stuck in a rut.

Internet---E-Learning firms merge under University.com

San Diego-based EntrePort Corp., a developer of business-to-business e-learning portals, recently announced separate deals to acquire two companies: Oceanside's By Referral Only and University.com, based in Minneapolis.

Software---Software firms tackle testing the three Rs

In schools near and far, Internet connections are spreading, computer use is evolving and standardized testing is digging in.

Small Business---Competing digital-reproduction firms merge

Two San Diego-based digital color reproduction companies have announced a merger, forming the largest digital color services company in San Diego County, and the largest such company south of Los Angeles.

Commentary---Business ethics should not be an oxymoron

As evidenced by the presidential election stalemate, to "win" , by any means, at all costs, no matter what it takes , has become the prevailing strategy. But does the same apply to business?