Countless movies and plots have emerged from our imagining what it would be like to receive a death sentence from a terminal disease. But what happens when you learn that you have a 50 percent chance of not necessarily dying, but slowly losing your ability to speak, think and control your behavior?

Jody Goldstein coordinates the efforts of the Huntington’s Disease Clinical Research Center at UCSD to study and treat patients with the disease. And as part of our People at Work series, we profile a typical day in her life. In the morning, she helps coordinate the efforts to treat those already suffering from the disease. In the afternoon, she has to help others confront the likelihood that they will too.

This is only one of the many centers of study that surround UCSD and that inspired one of the most vibrant biotech communities in the country. But the number of robust, hopeful young companies fluctuates every day as a new reality sets in for biotech economics.

We tell the story of the “amazing debacle” at Metabasis, whose leaders summoned most of the 52 employees of the company to tell them that they’d better run to the bank to cash their last checks. The company had run out of money and nearly everyone’s job was lost.

The bad economic news — more than 3,000 people have lost their jobs from local life sciences companies recently — may have already been dealt with in the housing market. Rich Toscano tracks a third straight month of rising home prices.

Toscano tracks all of the housing indexes but this reading comes from the size-adjusted measurement. The price per square foot is rising. But remember, the market will have to deal with several interesting shoes about to drop.

Columnist and CEO Scott Lewis says he’s done traveling for a while in a post announcing the winner of a library analogy contest he held. He also responds to the many readers upset about the Union-Tribune’s recent publication of a database where you can search employees and find what many commenters claim is an inaccurate reading of their individual salaries.

In other news of interest, UCSD’s postdoctoral researchers have formed a labor union, according to the U-T. They’ll have more influence over their work but, as the paper points out, “they don’t have a contract that defines their function or sets their benefits.”

The newspaper also documents the irony that as Chula Vista and other places built schools to handle an exploding enrollment from the booming housing market, the housing market crashed. The schools were built but some of them have a lot of room to spare now.

Finally, a few months ago, we looked back at the unfortunate 1930s-era San Diego mayor who cracked up his career — and his city-bought “royal coach” — while driving down a Mission Hills street. The mayor’s drunken hit-and-run accident spawned a cover-up that led to his resignation and a sensational trial in the city of about 150,000.

Last week, the U-T took a look at this mayor-gone-wild in a history feature. The story notes one great irony about Mayor Rutherford B. Irones: He “launched a safe-driving campaign to combat the ‘staggering’ number of automobile accidents in the county.”

Here’s looking forward to a good week from

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