You could call it a Tale of Two Biotech Worlds.
On the one hand, the recession is the worst of times for scientists and others who have gotten laid off in San Diego’s biotech world. On the other hand, it’s the best of times: opportunity awaits for those with innovations in mind.
Last year, the number of startup biotechs in the San Diego area grew by 13 percent to 300. Federal grants are up too. And as our story explains, some of those without jobs are finding their unemployment to be a blessing in disguise: they’re finally free to pursue their dreams.
Still, there are lots of obstacles. Some sources of money are still dried up, and there’s plenty of competition for dollars.
In other news:
• The San Diego school district’s Googocalypse may be coming to an end, and not soon enough for teachers and students who have lost access to a couple crucial tools on the internet.
As we reported last week, the district cut off access to two Google services — Gmail and Google Docs — because of fear that a technical change could make porn more accessible. Now, a Google employee called an “Education Evangelist” (really) says the smut-exposing situation should be fixed soon.
• Also in education: The feds gave money to San Diego schools to help disadvantaged students. The district is using it to pay for counselors and “graduation coaches.” Does that count?
As we explained in an earlier story, critics say no: the district can’t do that with the money. The district says yes: it can. But what, exactly, was the legal advice that cost the district $5,000?
Nobody’s telling. We’d like to find out, however, and we’re asking the school board for help.
• The City Council today will discuss the future of the redevelopment agency that serves southeastern San Diego. The Southeastern Economic Development Corp. wants to begin the process of expanding its borders into Logan Heights. We’ve got details in a new post and two previous stories (here and here.)
• While HBO filmed a series there, Imperial Beach isn’t one of our county’s most famous beaches. It’s not as upscale as La Jolla Shores, as titillating as Black’s Beach or as eccentric as Ocean Beach. There’s no roller coaster or world-famous hotel, and it takes a while to get down there.
So pity the folks who, as we reported earlier this week, actually made their way to IB in 2005 and found mangled rods and metal debris in the sand. It came from a sand replenishment project, and now another is on the way. Environmentalists are not pleased with the process and fear a new mess.
Well. Do tree-hugger types actually like any sand projects? Why yes, as we explain in a new post, they do. That’s because more sand makes for a better beach, and not just for people.
• We provide some background regarding a U-T story that reports on a troubled program designed to help people apply for public aid. Wait times for one phone number are an average of more than 21 minutes.
• Fact Check TV is in the house and checks into a “blonde moment.” (Hold your e-mails: those aren’t my words).
• Now is the time for journalists to break out their “shake-and-bake” headlines: It got a bit warm yesterday, and an earthquake estimated at magnitude 5.7 hit at 9:26 p.m. out near El Centro. (U-T) The quake discombobulated the crowd at the Padres game, where the TV broadcast showed a trembling foul pole, and players temporarily took a breather.
“I don’t think it’s that unusual,” an earthquake expert told the LAT, surprising every native and near-native who is saying, “Man, this is really unusual.” (Must have been some quake: the story said Ocotillo, near where it struck, is in San Diego County. Relax: It’s still in Imperial County. Unless the LAT knows something that we don’t.)
In a related story, I remain cool and collected during quakes. If you heard someone yelling “Mommmmy!” from my house (or “Hold me!” And “Gangway! Run for your lives!”), that was, um, the TV show I was watching.
• Think of the job of an auditor: It’s to make sure everything financial is on the up and up. Auditors, you’d assume, keep a close eye on numbers of all kinds. Meet San Diego City Auditor Eduardo Luna: The U-T says he hasn’t taken a full required pay cut. This has put the City Council in a bit of a pickle.
• Also in the U-T: “The chief safety watchdog for the nation’s nuclear industry said Monday that the county’s nuclear power plant is safe, but the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is keeping it under a microscope to make sure it remains that way.” The San Onofre plant has been in hot water over the last few years over safety issues.
• The County Board of Supervisors today will consider laying off 56 employees in a division of the Public Defender’s office that provides legal representation to children in certain kinds of custody disputes. Some, however, may be rehired by a nonprofit group that’s taking over the services.
• San Diegans love them some World Cup soccer: the U-T reports that the ABC broadcast of the U.S-England game on Saturday attracted 14 percent of the local audience watching TV at that time. That’s about double the national rating. (Even more watched on Spanish-language TV.)
In fact, the rating for San Diego was the highest in the country.
• Finally, it’s the end of an era in North County. As the NCT puts it: “The last of a brood of four beloved barn owls took wing this weekend, a bittersweet milestone for Internet viewers around the world who, for months, have watched Molly the Owl nurture her young in a San Marcos backyard.”
But never fear: There is a 48-page book on the way ($25). And a downloadable song ($3.99). And a bookmark (99 cents).
Sadly, there’s been no interest in Sofa Cam, which tracks my fledgling attempts to leave the couch.