Wednesday, July 20, 2022, San Diego Metro Magazine

Media Arts Center San Diego moves Downtown

By Vince Meehan

Ethan van Thillo is the executive director and founder of the Media Arts Center San Diego (MACSD), a local non-profit whose mission is to help amateur and independent movie makers get a foot in the door of the somewhat exclusive cinematography world. Until recently, his center was located in a modest building tucked away in North Park. But earlier this year, he found a different home at Park & Market, a new modern complex Downtown which doubles as a residential tower as well as an extension for UCSD.

Thillo is also the founder of the San Diego Latino Film Festival, which debuted 30 years ago as a small program that has grown into a 20,000-attendee event. However, Covid put the kibosh on most film festivals in 2020 and in-person movie attendance has yet to rebound completely since theaters have reopened. But Thillo is determined to get people back into the seats of theaters, especially screenings of the amateur or student films that he showcases. This year is looking to be on track as the breakout period for films in theaters as well as film festivals, and Thillo is ready to begin.

Thillo’s arts center serves as an incubator for San Diego and Tijuana’s future cinematographers and he goes through extra effort to make sure that nobody is left out. His youth programs are without equal. His center serves as a safe place for young film students to learn everything there is about the art and business of filmmaking.

Read more…

Top photo: Ethan van Thillo, founder of Media Arts Center San Diego, in the center’s theater.

City of San Diego explores potential use of 
city-owned properties for child care facilities

In an effort to address the shortage of affordable child care facilities, the City of San Diego issued a Request for Information (RFI) to child care providers asking for their input on how it can potentially establish child care facilities on city-owned properties. 

Last May, the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee asked the city to identify properties owned by the city that could be turned into or made available for the construction of child care centers. The facilities assessment identified a list of 72 sites, consisting of 18 libraries, 12 office buildings and 42 parks and recreation facilities. 

Information gathered from the RFI will assist the city in determining the requirements necessary to potentially establish viable child care facilities and help inform a future Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFI is expected to close on Friday, Sept. 16, and an RFP is expected to be issued next year. Anyone interested in submitting a response to the RFI is required to register on the city’s website by visiting sandiego.gov/purchasing/bids-contracts/vendorreg.

Sony Electronics named ‘Business of the Year’
by North San Diego Business Chamber

By Elizabeth Marie Himchak

Sony Electronics, Inc., headquartered in Rancho Bernardo, was named “Business of the Year” for large companies by the North San Diego Business Chamber.

The award was among 10 presented on June 23 to businesses and individuals during the chamber’s annual “Celebration of Business” to recognize their leadership.

Sony was selected for its workplace practices, including its Best Place to Work Employee Network designed to enhance employee experiences to attract, motivate and retain quality talent, according to its nomination.

The network has four tracks to support the overall employee experience pertaining to childcare/eldercare, work-life balance, survey analysis workplace excellence awards and life hacks/site ambassadors. The latter promote work-life balance initiatives.

One of the components of the initiative is the Fridays Program. Sony closes its offices at 3 p.m. on Fridays and in the summer extends that to 1 p.m. Employees also get one free Friday per month for better work-life balance. This applies to not only Sony’s Rancho Bernardo employees but to the more than 1,300 company-wide throughout the United States and Canada.

Read more…

FCC moves to block car warranty robocalls

By Octavio Blanco | Consumer Reports

Many U.S. phone customers can get an alert when they receive an annoying robocall that their car warranty is about to expire–though the call still goes through. Now the Federal Communications Commission is moving to block the spam call altogether.

The agency announced that it has told eight small phone carriers that route the majority of these robocalls to stop sending them through. That means customers of the big carriers like Verizon and AT&T are less likely to get such robocalls.

Major phone carriers already have software that recognizes many legitimate phone numbers while weeding out or warning about suspicious numbers. While that has helped consumers to know which calls are spam, it hasn’t significantly reduced the number of such calls.

Robocalls this year are expected to reach 48.5 billion, down only slightly from the 50.4 billion calls in 2021, according to the latest figures by YouMail, a robocall blocking and tracking firm. That volume of calls breaks down to an eye-popping 4 billion monthly robocalls.

It’s hoped that the FCC’s latest efforts—along with an expanded partnership with 36 state attorneys-general, will help steepen the drop in robocalls.

Read more…

Glorietta Bay Inn honors general manager for 20
years service overseeing Spreckels Mansion
Claudia Ludlow

Glorietta Bay Inn is honoring General Manager Claudia Ludlow and her 20 years of service overseeing the historic Spreckels Mansion, an integral part of the resort.

Ludlow grew up in the Coronado Island area and has gifted her dedication, local expertise, and her own special personal touch to literally thousands of guests over the years.

The Glorietta Bay Inn is a landmark in Coronado, first built in 1908 as the home of sugar baron and San Diego developer John D. Spreckels. With 12 unique guest rooms and a sprawling penthouse suite, along with 89 contemporary rooms with a host of amenities, the Glorietta Bay Inn is one of the crown jewels of San Diego.

“We are ecstatic to offer our congratulations to Claudia for her distinguished service,” said Arianah Fresques.

“She is absolutely foundational to the resort and is beloved by everyone here on the island. Everyone here knows her and for good reason. We could tell you so many stories about her commitments to her team and the guests – she truly makes every single day special here and we just could not imagine a day without her.”

Victoria Torres Gallardo joins Seltzer 
Caplan McMahon Vitek as an associate
Victoria Torres Gallardo

Victoria Torres Gallardo has joined the San Diego-based law firm Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek’s Business Law and Cross-Border practice groups as an associate.  

Torres Gallardo’s practice focuses on cross-border, business and real estate transactions, as well as estate planning matters. She has extensive experience in Mexican corporate, business, M&A, joint venture and real estate transactions, operations and investments, including regulatory matters.

Public and private entities have benefitted from Torres Gallardo’s guidance on sophisticated cross-border real estate transactions, from acquisition negotiation and development to leasing and financing to disposition of industrial, retail, hospitality and residential portfolios.

Before joining SCMV, Torres Gallardo was an in-house counsel at the Mexican company Teisa, S.A. de C.V., working on international commercial transactions, as well as corporate, financing and real estate matters.

Prior to that, she was an in-house associate at PGIM Real Estate, S.C. (f.k.a. Prudential Real Estate Investors Latin America) in Mexico, where she represented the company in sophisticated transactions spanning the cycle of commercial real estate, including a REIT IPO. 

San Diego Public Library offers exclusive card
and hosts special events for Comic-Con

Comic-Con International’s world-famous summer convention is back and the City of San Diego Public Library (SDPL) is celebrating with an exclusive library card, storytimes and a conference focused on the role comics play in promoting education and literacy.

Central Library in Downtown will also host a cosplay repair station to mend any costume emergencies during Comic-Con.

This year’s Comic-Con library card was designed by Tijuana-based artist Charles Glaubitz. 

The exclusive card is licensed by Comic-Con and is the first time an SDPL card has been produced in Spanish. It features a person in a costume riding a zebra and reading a book with the iconic Central Library dome and Tijuana Arch at the bottom of the card.

The card will be released on Preview Night at Comic-Con on Wednesday, July 20, at the SDPL booth on the San Diego Convention Center floor and will be available at all SDPL locations starting Thursday, July 21.

Supplies are limited and the cards are available on a first come, first served basis.

During Comic-Con, SDPL’s Central Library, located at 330 Park Blvd., will offer a cosplay repair station.

People can visit the IDEA Lab on the 4th floor of Central Library July 21 – 23 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for quick fix solutions to costume problems including sewing supplies, 3D printers, adhesives and soldering irons.

No appointment is necessary and all ages are welcome. 

For more on SDPL’s Comic-Con library card and other events, including the Superhero Storytimes planned at several libraries, visit the Comic-Con @ the Library web page.

A doctor listens to a man’s heart beat at a clinic in Bieber, Calif. on July 23, 2019. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)
Covered California insurance rates to increase

By Anna B. Ibarra | CalMatters

Premiums for health insurance plans sold through the state marketplace will increase an average of 6 percent next year, Covered California officials announced Tuesday. 

This rate hike is the largest California has seen since 2019. In the last three years, insurers had kept average increases under 2 percent.

Rate changes vary by region — from an 11.7 percent increase in Imperial, Inyo and Mono counties to zero change in Fresno, Kings, and Madera counties.

When premiums increase, an individual’s financial aid usually does, too. Aid is based on household income, so subsidies may offset some of the increase. But people who don’t qualify for subsidies will bear the full cost of the rate hike.
“Premiums are a capturing of what health care costs are, how they vary across geographies and communities, how health care costs are growing over time, which we know in this country are already too high and rising,” said Jessica Altman, executive director of Covered California.  

She noted that California’s rate hike is still lower than it is in other states. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found a 10 percent average premium increase proposed by 72 insurers in 13 other states.

Read more…

IRA Capital acquires Vista medical 
buildings anchored by Scripps Health

Southern California private equity firm IRA Capital announced the acquisition of two medical office buildings totaling 21,000 square feet predominantly occupied by Scripps Health in Vista. Scripps Health is a $2.9 billion private, nonprofit, integrated health system in San Diego that is ranked among the top 15 health systems in the nation.  The buildings are located at 902 and 916 Sycamore Ave. within a four-building medical office park. 

One of the buildings is 100 percent leased to Scripps as a state-of-the art radiation therapy center, and the other houses a Scripps oncology clinic in addition to other leading imaging/diagnostics providers including Tri-City Pet CT and Quest Diagnostics.   

The acquisition of the Scripps buildings represents IRA’s third medical office acquisition in the San Diego region within the past year.  In December 2021, IRA acquired another property within the same four-building complex that is 100 percent leased to UC San Diego Health on a long-term lease. IRA is working on a comprehensive capital and leasing program to fill the limited vacancy in one of the buildings and has engaged Cushman & Wakefield’s medical leasing team to spearhead the effort.

Applications open soon for the California Competes Tax Credit

Applications will open July 25 – Aug. 15 for companies looking to expand or retain jobs in California. If your business is looking to grow over the next five years or is considering leaving California, you may be eligible for up to $85 million in tax credits from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).
Join the hundreds of San Diego companies that have benefitted from the program. Awards are primarily based on factors including: 

• Number of jobs created or retained

• Anticipated amount of new capital investments

• Overall economic benefit to the state

• Opportunities for future growth and expansion

Learn more from GO-Biz

Nuvve partners with San Diego Gas & Electric

Nuvve Holding Corp., a global cleantech company, and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) announced an agreement that will help reduce constraints on California’s energy grid while supporting local school districts by pairing Nuvve’s Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology and services with the utility’s Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP). 

Through this partnership, electric school bus fleets (ESBs) equipped with V2G charging through Nuvve’s GIVe platform can provide energy back to the grid during emergency load reduction events, allowing customers to participate in energy conservation efforts in the event of a grid emergency and get paid for their load reduction results.

Persephone Biosciences closes $15 million seed financing

Persephone Biosciences Inc., a San Diego synthetic biology company reimagining patient and infant health through the development of microbiome-based medicines, announced that it has closed a $15 million seed financing round. The round was co-led by First Bight Ventures and Propel Bio Partners, and included investments from Y Combinator, Fifty Years, Susa Ventures, American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Fund, Pioneer Fund, and ZhenFund among others.

“This financing is a significant milestone for Persephone and the culmination of years of thoughtful engagement with forward-thinking investors and individuals who are committed to the vast potential of our platform and technology,” said Stephanie Culler, CEO and co-founder of Persephone Biosciences. “We plan to deploy this capital to further expand our research and clinical programs across a range of therapeutic areas, as well as pursue new collaborations. With our ARGONAUT study ramping up, it is an exciting time for us. We are grateful for the support of all our stakeholders and their commitment and confidence in our vision.”