Opinion

Six Possible Stymies to Innovation in San Diego

Six Possible Stymies to Innovation in San Diego

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Scott Peters

After more than two decades in San Diego, I had some thoughts about Kelly Bennett’s June 3 question, “What could stymie the kind of invention and innovation that San Diego strives to be known for?” Here are six possible stymies:

Fix San Diego Opinion Logo 1.  The federal government backs away from funding basic scientific research. Such federal funding led to the development of the internet, GPS and CDMA. The government did not commercialize these ideas, but each transformed our economy. (Notably, in San Diego, our largest private employer is Qualcomm.) Research funded by the National Institutes of Health here in California led to the birth of biotechnology, groundbreaking treatments for cancer and other conditions. In 2011, biomedical industry employees numbered more than 25,000 in San Diego County alone. According to a May 2012 report, “the U.S. life sciences industry supports more than 7 million jobs and contributes $69 billion annually to U.S. gross domestic product.”

It takes years of education for a scientist to get to a lab where he or she can apply for a federal NIH grant to make the discovery that will cure a disease or start a company. This is a bleak picture for an aspiring scientist, who now can move to another country that is investing in science and more likely to fund the research. According to a May 2012 report, Asia’s share of global research and development expenditures increased from 24 percent to 32 percent between 1999 and 2009, while the U.S.’s share fell from 38 percent to 31 percent. According to that same report, China over the next five years promised to invest $300 billion into biotechnology, twice what the U.S. planned to spend.

Unless our country steps up and meets our international competitors with adequate and consistent funding for basic science research, we face the prospect that the next great cure, invention or tech company is created in another country, maybe by someone educated at a San Diego university.

2.  Government regulation gets in the way of innovation. We invent amazing new devices and treatments that offer promise for better and more efficient health care. Then we tax medical device revenues, not incentivizing that same innovation by hurting startups that are not yet profitable, creating uncertainty for manufacturers, investors and patients, and making it difficult to attract venture capital that is already scarce.

We are failing to recognize that medical innovation can lower health care costs over time. Qualcomm, Dr. Eric Topol and other San Diegans are leading the effort in digital health, using today’s wireless technologies to improve population health through remote monitoring, care-coordination, diagnosis and treatment. The risk here is that health care providers, patients and the state and federal government don’t support – or even notice – the opportunities for better and cheaper care that these innovations promise.

3.  Private investment capital dries up.  After basic science leads to a discovery or invention, the private sector takes over commercialization. That requires private capital, availability of which is somewhat tenuous. For example, the risks in developing a drug are huge. Most efforts to create a drug don’t result in an approval, and it takes a long time and a lot of money to navigate through and endure the approval process. It can cost around $1.5 billion to develop a drug. And there is now pressure to lessen the amount of time an inventor’s patent is protected, further reducing the amount of recovery available to the inventor and the investor. Recently, the availability of private capital has been a challenge, especially in life sciences.

4.  Government immigration policy continues to keep talent off shore. In San Diego and across the country, there is a need for more workers who are skilled in science, technology, engineering and math.  While we work to educate our own children in science, technology, engineering and math, we must expand H-1B visas and green cards for highly skilled workers to make sure that research facilities and technology companies have the workforce they need to move forward. It’s important that the U.S. House of Representatives support an immigration reform bill that sets aside H-1B visas for undocumented immigrants with science, technology, engineering and math degrees from U.S. universities. It makes no sense to educate tomorrow’s innovators in U.S. universities, only to send them back home when they graduate. I support the Staple Act, which would effectively attach residency to an advanced degree in science or technology. Once these future innovators are here, let’s keep them and their economic potential on shore. I’m pushing for Congress to address this issue this year.

5.  Permitting facilities is just too hard. San Diego continues to be a leader in the advanced research and development of biofuels. With the conclusion of the EDGE Initiative, a state-funded, industry-led program to train and educate workers in the biofuels industry, San Diego and California face additional obstacles in developing our leading biofuels industry. Recognition by local, state and federal regulators that policies streamlining the permitting process and allowing for San Diego’s biofuels companies to grow in our region will be critical for the creation of jobs at all levels.

6.  Our quality of life no longer helps us competes for talent. We know that San Diego is an innovation center – in telecom, software, life sciences, cyber security and cleantech – because we have talented innovators here. Urban economists have shown that to attract and retain talent, place matters. The “young and restless” educated cohort demands a high quality of life. A clean environment. Vibrant arts and culture. Good housing and transportation. Fun, walkable and livable neighborhoods. And our weather isn’t bad. San Diego has a lot to offer, but we need to continue to work to maintain and enhance our attractiveness to appeal to a talented work force.

I thank the Voice of San Diego and Kelly Bennett for calling attention to this issue. I hope VOSD will be a forum for entrepreneurs and innovators to discuss our challenges in innovation and what we can all do together to secure San Diego’s future leadership.

Scott Peters is a U.S. congressman, representing the 52nd District of California, which includes Poway, Coronado and large portions of the city of San Diego. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology. He is a former environmental attorney, City Council president and Unified Port of San Diego commissioner.

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31 comments
Richard Ross
Richard Ross

Fortunately VOSD'S let's the public express their opinions. As for Scott Peters he tried to do away with it when he was city council president. He succeeded in shutting down Mondays non agenda public comment and tried to push it off to an unknown time at the end of Tuesdays council meeting. So anything he has to say, well......no comment.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross subscribermember

Fortunately VOSD'S let's the public express their opinions. As for Scott Peters he tried to do away with it when he was city council president. He succeeded in shutting down Mondays non agenda public comment and tried to push it off to an unknown time at the end of Tuesdays council meeting. So anything he has to say, well......no comment.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

Most of these points are very tenuous or outright wrong. 1. The internet, GPS and CDMA came out of military research. It's complex and each is different in it's commercialization, but basically the government paid for each of these with our tax money, they were developed to some point by private industry contracted by the government, then further commercialized by civilian investment because the profit potential was seen. In reality, it isn't the "innovation paid for by taxpayers", it's the commercialization based on profit that caused these to grow, and if they were not available as seeds from the military they would have been developed anyway. 2. Certainly CDMA, the internet and GPS were massively helped by the FCC and government regulation rather than hurt by it, and certainly the government initially stopped private development in these areas prior to these technologies. The government does a lot of attempted manipulation of the private sector by tax code, I don't think a blanket statement that this is hurting innovation is valid without a better analysis, and the real problem is the government control of so many sectors. Government killed the initial innovation of men like Marconi in many ways, replacing it with a military industrial complex. 3. Um, government money dries up as well, at least venture capitalists have smarter people and better motivation on how their money is spent. The money that government threw away on renewable energy companies could have done a lot of good in the hands of capitalist investors, instead of being simply wasted. 4. H1b's are way overused and need to be cut back. We need to fix our education system so we don't have to go to India or China to get all those Qualcomm engineers working here for cheaper than domestic on H1B's already. 5. Arizona is the US Biofuel capital. San Diego has a couple algae growers, I think they grow elsewhere though. Hard to say where these companies will end up but leeching off other taxpaying companies to subsidize a high risk low probability of success start-up isn't smart. San Diego should fix it's business climate, not throw money at Solyndra II. 6. San Diego is a niche market, we are dysfunctional and strangled by Sacramento, which blunts instead of enhancing out natural attractions. We don't need more misguided or special interest government policy further messing up a good thing, we need to get back to what we were when we were a boom town. We need to dramatically curtail Sacramento and our local governments meddling, and let private industry of all types grow. That won't happen though, especially if we encourage more failed money wasting heavily subsidized technology that will fail, in the name of innovation, while we dampen any true innovation. The only thing that keeps us from being Detroit is what God put here. What keeps us from being a truly world class place, instead of just an expensive tourist destination is what government has done here, usually with the misguided logic we see in this article.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

Most of these points are very tenuous or outright wrong. 1. The internet, GPS and CDMA came out of military research. It's complex and each is different in it's commercialization, but basically the government paid for each of these with our tax money, they were developed to some point by private industry contracted by the government, then further commercialized by civilian investment because the profit potential was seen. In reality, it isn't the "innovation paid for by taxpayers", it's the commercialization based on profit that caused these to grow, and if they were not available as seeds from the military they would have been developed anyway. 2. Certainly CDMA, the internet and GPS were massively helped by the FCC and government regulation rather than hurt by it, and certainly the government initially stopped private development in these areas prior to these technologies. The government does a lot of attempted manipulation of the private sector by tax code, I don't think a blanket statement that this is hurting innovation is valid without a better analysis, and the real problem is the government control of so many sectors. Government killed the initial innovation of men like Marconi in many ways, replacing it with a military industrial complex. 3. Um, government money dries up as well, at least venture capitalists have smarter people and better motivation on how their money is spent. The money that government threw away on renewable energy companies could have done a lot of good in the hands of capitalist investors, instead of being simply wasted. 4. H1b's are way overused and need to be cut back. We need to fix our education system so we don't have to go to India or China to get all those Qualcomm engineers working here for cheaper than domestic on H1B's already. 5. Arizona is the US Biofuel capital. San Diego has a couple algae growers, I think they grow elsewhere though. Hard to say where these companies will end up but leeching off other taxpaying companies to subsidize a high risk low probability of success start-up isn't smart. San Diego should fix it's business climate, not throw money at Solyndra II. 6. San Diego is a niche market, we are dysfunctional and strangled by Sacramento, which blunts instead of enhancing out natural attractions. We don't need more misguided or special interest government policy further messing up a good thing, we need to get back to what we were when we were a boom town. We need to dramatically curtail Sacramento and our local governments meddling, and let private industry of all types grow. That won't happen though, especially if we encourage more failed money wasting heavily subsidized technology that will fail, in the name of innovation, while we dampen any true innovation. The only thing that keeps us from being Detroit is what God put here. What keeps us from being a truly world class place, instead of just an expensive tourist destination is what government has done here, usually with the misguided logic we see in this article.

Presley Parker
Presley Parker

very little as long as people are programmed to raise the cost of living so that the majority of their income goes to paying for their land and home and lets not forget that includes buying a bank a home first before an american ever gets to own one. Fact is if we kept the prices of homes low there would be so much more money on the table for american families. But this isnt the country we live in. We are a people who must get wealthy off the backs of the next poor family that comes and buys our old decrepid homes. Our nation is built upon a pyramid scheme, and as long as we are set up that way, a fall is inevitable. Its the old we reap what we sew saying in action. If we could learn to share the land and quit telling others what to do on their land starting with the bureau of land management. How many more centuries are they going to "manage" our land before we realize they stole it from us? Currently there is an issue where some land is being leased for oil and gas, (my land and your land) however because our government is set up to consume us and not serve us, we will never see not one dime of that lease money, but rest assured if we want to camp somewhere we can expect to pay 17-35 dollars a night on OUR LAND. It has become illegal to live on planet earth without paying some other man for the right, dont believe me? Go talk to some homeless people who spend much of their time in and out of court for trespassing fines, all whilst our government continues to grow with millions in grants for homeless shelters, but they use the money to remodel their existing buildings, and the poor get nothing. This wont set well with the real land lord when he comes, just wait and see. When you add to this the genetically modified food plants that produce one year and then the next year they mutate to non-fruit producing to serve the greedy. I'm afraid of what kind of people actually are up to.

Joseph Monroe
Joseph Monroe

There are a number of common misunderstandings about the H-1B program, the first of which is its size. H-1B quotas are set by Congress and vary from 65,000 to 190,000 per year. While that would seem to limit the impact of the program on a nation of 300+ million, H-1B is way bigger than you think because each visa lasts for three years and can be extended for another three years after that. At any moment, then, there are about 700,000 H-1B visa holders working in the USA. Most of these H-1B visa holders work in Information Technology (IT) and most of those come from India. There are about 500,000 IT workers in the USA holding H-1B visas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 2.5 million IT workers in America. So approximately 20 percent of the domestic IT workforce isn’t domestic at all, but imported on H-1B visas. Keep this in mind as we move forward. H-1B is a non-immigrant visa. H-1B holders can work here for 3-6 years but then have to return to their native countries. It’s possible for H-1B’s to convert to a different kind of visa but not commonly done. The most common way, in fact, for converting an H-1B visa into a green card is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. H-1B isn’t the only way for foreigners to work in America. They can work to some extent on student visas and, in fact, many student visas are eventually converted to H-1B for those who have a job and want to stay but maybe not immigrate. Source:http://www.cringely.com/2012/10/23/what-americans-dont-know-about-h-1b-visas-could-hurt-us-all

Joseph Monroe
Joseph Monroe subscriber

There are a number of common misunderstandings about the H-1B program, the first of which is its size. H-1B quotas are set by Congress and vary from 65,000 to 190,000 per year. While that would seem to limit the impact of the program on a nation of 300+ million, H-1B is way bigger than you think because each visa lasts for three years and can be extended for another three years after that. At any moment, then, there are about 700,000 H-1B visa holders working in the USA. Most of these H-1B visa holders work in Information Technology (IT) and most of those come from India. There are about 500,000 IT workers in the USA holding H-1B visas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 2.5 million IT workers in America. So approximately 20 percent of the domestic IT workforce isn’t domestic at all, but imported on H-1B visas. Keep this in mind as we move forward. H-1B is a non-immigrant visa. H-1B holders can work here for 3-6 years but then have to return to their native countries. It’s possible for H-1B’s to convert to a different kind of visa but not commonly done. The most common way, in fact, for converting an H-1B visa into a green card is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. H-1B isn’t the only way for foreigners to work in America. They can work to some extent on student visas and, in fact, many student visas are eventually converted to H-1B for those who have a job and want to stay but maybe not immigrate. Source:http://www.cringely.com/2012/10/23/what-americans-dont-know-about-h-1b-visas-could-hurt-us-all

Joseph Monroe
Joseph Monroe

.." I support the Staple Act, which would effectively attach residency to an advanced degree in science or technology.." I have been following the H-1B drama for two decades. The H-1B get their residency anyway. They hire a lawyer and flaunt the law. They don't return to their homeland unless they really have a desire to return. The H-1B program has been responsible for the stagnation of computer and engineering wages for Americans. Companies say they need more engineers... but they won't train them, pay for their training or pay market wages when the can cherry pick from third world labor pools. Of course technology companies would love to have tons of smart human capital, they just don't want to pay for it.

Joseph Monroe
Joseph Monroe subscriber

.." I support the Staple Act, which would effectively attach residency to an advanced degree in science or technology.." I have been following the H-1B drama for two decades. The H-1B get their residency anyway. They hire a lawyer and flaunt the law. They don't return to their homeland unless they really have a desire to return. The H-1B program has been responsible for the stagnation of computer and engineering wages for Americans. Companies say they need more engineers... but they won't train them, pay for their training or pay market wages when the can cherry pick from third world labor pools. Of course technology companies would love to have tons of smart human capital, they just don't want to pay for it.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott

Hi, Scott - Thanks for the opinion. I'm glad you're contributing to VOSD. WRT to your points, I don't have much expertise on any of the biotech issues, but I can say that from our POV in the dot-com world, it seems the most important point is your last. I know NYC and SF have an easy time recruiting because they have capital and a tradition of software development in their DNA. But then there are cities like Austin and Boulder that came out of nowhere to create their own niche dot-com rich ecosystems. How? Brad Feld wrote the book on it: http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2011/12/startup-communities-creating-a-great-entrepreneurial-ecosystem-in-your-city.html He visited San Diego recently and created quite a stir when Brant Cooper blogged about San Diego's weaknesses, as he saw them, through the lens of Feld's lessons learned in building Boulder. You can read Brant's Rant here: http://market-by-numbers.com/2013/04/success-and-failure-san-diego-startup-community/ And you can read Martha Dennis' response here: http://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2013/04/22/supporting-startup-communities-some-reflections-on-brants-rant/ Particularly notable for the commentary below the article itself in coming to Brant's defense. Rants aside, I find the start-up ecosystem here to be thriving. I say that without hesitation. I'm proud of our work. I just wish we were better at marketing it both inside and outside of San Diego. Who knows about our great innovations? The inner circle of geeks who created them and their happy customers. Beyond that there's very little support we get from the city or local VC's or Qualcomm and Intuit for promoting the ecosystem. We have no identity, no unifying message, to tout. We don't "kill it" at any one thing and we're not sharing that far and wide. That said, Mark Cafferty, the CEO of the SD EDC, asked me once to come up with my pitch to his group on what they could do to support our efforts in the dot-com startup world. I went home and thought about it and haven't come up with anything better than this appeal to would-be dot-preneurs. In San Diego, you can have it all. You can start your company, live a great lifestyle, grow up and grow old and be the envy of all your friends back in Ohio. I did. You didn't know it, but we have more than great weather. We have the best beer in the world. We have great restaurants. We have beautiful people everywhere you look. And we have the humility of being the not-so-special city in California to boot. Let's face it, LA and SF are brutal. Come to San Diego, start your company and commit to a lifestyle where you can have it all. I did exactly that 13 years ago and haven't regretted it since.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott contributormember

Hi, Scott - Thanks for the opinion. I'm glad you're contributing to VOSD. WRT to your points, I don't have much expertise on any of the biotech issues, but I can say that from our POV in the dot-com world, it seems the most important point is your last. I know NYC and SF have an easy time recruiting because they have capital and a tradition of software development in their DNA. But then there are cities like Austin and Boulder that came out of nowhere to create their own niche dot-com rich ecosystems. How? Brad Feld wrote the book on it: http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2011/12/startup-communities-creating-a-great-entrepreneurial-ecosystem-in-your-city.html He visited San Diego recently and created quite a stir when Brant Cooper blogged about San Diego's weaknesses, as he saw them, through the lens of Feld's lessons learned in building Boulder. You can read Brant's Rant here: http://market-by-numbers.com/2013/04/success-and-failure-san-diego-startup-community/ And you can read Martha Dennis' response here: http://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2013/04/22/supporting-startup-communities-some-reflections-on-brants-rant/ Particularly notable for the commentary below the article itself in coming to Brant's defense. Rants aside, I find the start-up ecosystem here to be thriving. I say that without hesitation. I'm proud of our work. I just wish we were better at marketing it both inside and outside of San Diego. Who knows about our great innovations? The inner circle of geeks who created them and their happy customers. Beyond that there's very little support we get from the city or local VC's or Qualcomm and Intuit for promoting the ecosystem. We have no identity, no unifying message, to tout. We don't "kill it" at any one thing and we're not sharing that far and wide. That said, Mark Cafferty, the CEO of the SD EDC, asked me once to come up with my pitch to his group on what they could do to support our efforts in the dot-com startup world. I went home and thought about it and haven't come up with anything better than this appeal to would-be dot-preneurs. In San Diego, you can have it all. You can start your company, live a great lifestyle, grow up and grow old and be the envy of all your friends back in Ohio. I did. You didn't know it, but we have more than great weather. We have the best beer in the world. We have great restaurants. We have beautiful people everywhere you look. And we have the humility of being the not-so-special city in California to boot. Let's face it, LA and SF are brutal. Come to San Diego, start your company and commit to a lifestyle where you can have it all. I did exactly that 13 years ago and haven't regretted it since.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott

The H-1B debate as told here has a significant loophole. Big tech farms, I mean firms, are the source of whatever anxiety we have over H-1B's. Can we put a simple cap on the number of permits can be sponsored by a single company? Wouldn't that solve the "hire an immigrant to replace a citizen" problem? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/silicon-valley-h1b-visas-hurt-tech-workers How H-1B Visas Are Screwing Tech Workers - http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/silicon-valley-h1b-visas-hurt-tech-workersA few years ago, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer informed hundreds of tech workers at its Connecticut R&D facilities that they'd soon be laid off. Before getting their final paychecks, however, they'd need to train their replacements: guest workers f...

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott contributormember

The H-1B debate as told here has a significant loophole. Big tech farms, I mean firms, are the source of whatever anxiety we have over H-1B's. Can we put a simple cap on the number of permits can be sponsored by a single company? Wouldn't that solve the "hire an immigrant to replace a citizen" problem? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/silicon-valley-h1b-visas-hurt-tech-workers How H-1B Visas Are Screwing Tech Workers - http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/silicon-valley-h1b-visas-hurt-tech-workersA few years ago, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer informed hundreds of tech workers at its Connecticut R&D facilities that they'd soon be laid off. Before getting their final paychecks, however, they'd need to train their replacements: guest workers f...

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott

I never thought I'd side with Grover Norquist on anything. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/04/16/the-economics-of-immigration/immigration-reform-people-are-an-asset-not-a-liability But I do share his stance on this. It comes from a place of warmth and respect for immigrants and an appreciation of hard-working people no matter where they come from. People Are an Asset, Not a Liability - http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/04/16/the-economics-of-immigration/immigration-reform-people-are-an-asset-not-a-liabilityIn a free economy, people are an asset not a liability. Immigration reform will increase the size of the American work force and increase its productivity: key factors in economic growth.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott contributormember

I never thought I'd side with Grover Norquist on anything. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/04/16/the-economics-of-immigration/immigration-reform-people-are-an-asset-not-a-liability But I do share his stance on this. It comes from a place of warmth and respect for immigrants and an appreciation of hard-working people no matter where they come from. People Are an Asset, Not a Liability - http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/04/16/the-economics-of-immigration/immigration-reform-people-are-an-asset-not-a-liabilityIn a free economy, people are an asset not a liability. Immigration reform will increase the size of the American work force and increase its productivity: key factors in economic growth.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

The H-1B visa program makes it easier to higher foreign talent. Making it easier to hire foreign talent eliminates the need to educate and hire Americans, so it forces those Americans to avoid technical degree fields or accept lower salaries than they would earn without the H-1B program. Is that really what we want?

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

The H-1B visa program makes it easier to higher foreign talent. Making it easier to hire foreign talent eliminates the need to educate and hire Americans, so it forces those Americans to avoid technical degree fields or accept lower salaries than they would earn without the H-1B program. Is that really what we want?

paul jamason
paul jamason

"We don't need more misguided or special interest government policy further messing up a good thing, we need to get back to what we were when we were a boom town". You mean when our local defense industry was (more) flush with special interest government policy money? From what I've read of San Diego's history, that's when it typically "boomed". Here's one reference:San Diego History - http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/San-Diego-Covered/San-Diego-History/ALONZO ERASTUS HORTON stepped off a San Francisco steamer and strolled ashore in 1867 on land that would become the center of a new San Diego, he was awed by what he found.

paul jamason
paul jamason subscribermember

"We don't need more misguided or special interest government policy further messing up a good thing, we need to get back to what we were when we were a boom town". You mean when our local defense industry was (more) flush with special interest government policy money? From what I've read of San Diego's history, that's when it typically "boomed". Here's one reference:San Diego History - http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/San-Diego-Covered/San-Diego-History/ALONZO ERASTUS HORTON stepped off a San Francisco steamer and strolled ashore in 1867 on land that would become the center of a new San Diego, he was awed by what he found.

Jed Sundwall
Jed Sundwall

I think looking at innovation from the "dot-preneur" perspective is too narrow. I understand what Brant and Brad are talking about re: a community that is more supportive of new kinds of businesses, but there's much more to innovation than VC money and hockey stick growth. Measured Voice is doing great, and we couldn't care less about VCs and startup mythology.

Jed Sundwall
Jed Sundwall subscribermember

I think looking at innovation from the "dot-preneur" perspective is too narrow. I understand what Brant and Brad are talking about re: a community that is more supportive of new kinds of businesses, but there's much more to innovation than VC money and hockey stick growth. Measured Voice is doing great, and we couldn't care less about VCs and startup mythology.

Kelly Abbott
Kelly Abbott contributormember

http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2013/04/18-h1b-visa-immigration-ruiz-wilson moreA Balancing Act for H-1B Visas - http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2013/04/18-h1b-visa-immigration-ruiz-wilsonThe annual H-1B visa scramble ended in just five days earlier this month. Due to high employer demand, 39,000 requests for H-1B workers were denied, and the 65,000 available visas were allocated using a lottery system. So it's wait until next year fo...

Jed Sundwall
Jed Sundwall

I believe our policies should make it easy for talented people to make great things happen here if they want, no matter where they're from. But I agree with Derek's sentiment. The H-1B program helps large business recruit cheap talent, but it's probably not the most efficient way to foster innovation and a strong economy over the long term.

Jed Sundwall
Jed Sundwall subscribermember

I believe our policies should make it easy for talented people to make great things happen here if they want, no matter where they're from. But I agree with Derek's sentiment. The H-1B program helps large business recruit cheap talent, but it's probably not the most efficient way to foster innovation and a strong economy over the long term.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

San Diego Reader is a fluff magazine, and it's a LOL that written in 1996 it says San Diego is perched for a boom, I think we all know what happened to the economy here after that, growth fell to a third of what it was, but regardless even your link shows the biggest boom in San Diego was caused by commercial land speculation, not by the military. The military was never needed for growth and the military here today is an impediment to growth rather than an enabler of it, sitting on some of the most valuable land in the area. Even in it's heyday of WII and after, military growth was a fraction of the rates from when the railroad boom hit. Hortons "new town" growth rate was 500% at its peak, the Military peak growth during and after WWII was 60%. Which is more? Unfortunately today the prospect of any real growth is so mired in red tape, government roadblocks, and corruption that it is impossible to overcome, and the land south of the high value parts of the city is devalued by a government that ignores law.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

San Diego Reader is a fluff magazine, and it's a LOL that written in 1996 it says San Diego is perched for a boom, I think we all know what happened to the economy here after that, growth fell to a third of what it was, but regardless even your link shows the biggest boom in San Diego was caused by commercial land speculation, not by the military. The military was never needed for growth and the military here today is an impediment to growth rather than an enabler of it, sitting on some of the most valuable land in the area. Even in it's heyday of WII and after, military growth was a fraction of the rates from when the railroad boom hit. Hortons "new town" growth rate was 500% at its peak, the Military peak growth during and after WWII was 60%. Which is more? Unfortunately today the prospect of any real growth is so mired in red tape, government roadblocks, and corruption that it is impossible to overcome, and the land south of the high value parts of the city is devalued by a government that ignores law.