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Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, San Diego Metro Magazine

Newsom campaigned on building 3.5 million
homes. He hasn’t gotten even close

By Manuela Tobias

In Summary:

Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigned on housing production, an issue important to many Californians. But despite some accomplishments, the housing crisis is worse now than when he took office.

It’s difficult for housing advocates to criticize Gov. Gavin Newsom because he’s done more to boost production than any other governor in recent memory — but that’s mostly because the bar is so low. 

Measured against the goal he set for himself, Newsom’s record is less impressive. Just 13% of the 3.5 million homes he campaigned on building have been permitted, let alone built. He’s walked back the goal many times, settling on a new target earlier this year: Cities need to have planned a combined 2.5 million homes by 2030. So, a million fewer homes planned for, not built, and over a longer time frame.

Newsom can point to some accomplishments: He signed bills that capped big rent hikes statewidelegalized duplexes and fourplexes on most developable land and unlocked millions of potential apartments on empty strip malls. He sheltered tens of thousands of people experiencing homelessness amid a generational pandemic and dedicated more dollars to housing and homelessness than ever before.

But as he finalizes his first term and coasts into the second, Newsom finds himself mired in an even deeper housing and homelessness crisis than the one he inherited.

Top PhotoResidential single family homes under construction in the community of Valley Center on June 3, 2021. (Photo by Mike Blake, Reuters, via CalMatters)

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Biotech entrepreneur and innovator Gene Lay, right, with his mentor, Professor Emeritus Shu Chien. (Photo courtesy UC San Diego)
With $25 million gift to bioengineering department, 
Gene Lay honors his mentor Shu Chien

By Daniel Kane, Jade Griffin

Eminent biotechnology innovator and entrepreneur Gene Lay, through the Laygend Foundation, has committed to provide $25 million as an endowment gift to support the University of California San Diego’s world-leading bioengineering department. The gift will provide sustained support for students, faculty and teaching facilities in the bioengineering department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. 

Lay’s gift honors Shu Chien, a UC San Diego emeritus professor of bioengineering and medicine who is a renowned bioengineering researcher, educator and mentor. In recognition of Lay’s generous gift, UC San Diego is renaming its bioengineering department the Shu Chien-Gene Lay Department of Bioengineering. 

Over more than three decades of mutual friendship, Chien has served as a mentor and sounding board to Lay, who is the founder and CEO of the San Diego biotechnology company BioLegend, which was acquired by PerkinElmer in 2021. 

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TuSimple terminates chief executive officer

TuSimple, a San Diego autonomous driving technology company, on Monday announced the termination of  Dr. Xiaodi Hou, the former chief executive officer, president and chief technology officer of the company, and removed him rom his position as chairman of the board and as a member of the Government Security Committee.  

The company announced that Dr. Ersin Yumer, TuSimple’s executive vice president of operations, has agreed to serve as interim chief executive officer and president of the company during the pendency of the executive search.  Brad Buss, the Lead independent director, will be chairman of the board. The board is also actively engaged in the search to add new independent members to the board.

These actions have been taken in connection with an ongoing investigation led by the Audit Committee of the board that led the board to conclude that a change of chief executive officer was necessary.

Founded in 2015, TuSimple is developing a commercial-ready, fully autonomous (SAE Level 4) driving solution for long-haul heavy-duty trucks. 

Research unlocks the circuitry of diabetes
Pamela Itkin-Ansari and Randal Kaufman

Researcher led by Pamela Itkin-Ansari and Randal Kaufman has mapped out a network of biochemical interactions that help special cells in the pancreas called islet cells create insulin, shedding light on the origins of diabetes and revealing new targets for future treatments. The study, recently published in the journal JCEM, found that inflammation disrupts these interactions, triggering a snowball effect of cellular stress that damages pancreatic islets and makes it harder for the body to produce insulin.

“One hundred years ago, diabetes was untreatable,” says Itkin-Ansari, an adjunct associate professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys and co-senior author of the study, “Since then, we’ve learned a lot about the effects of diabetes on the body, but there’s so much we don’t know about what actually goes wrong to cause it. These findings open up a new world of potential targets to treat and possibly even cure diabetes.”

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Signing ceremony principals, from left, are Nick Macchione, director of the SD County HHSa, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcier, SDSU President Adela de la Torre, and Steven Hooker, dean of SDSU CHHS.
SDSU, San Diego County Health
form a new Academic Health Department

By Peggy Pico

San Diego State University and the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) have announced the creation of a new Academic Health and Human Services department, The Live Well Center for Innovation and Leadership. After years of working together in clinical research, internships, and successful pandemic-response projects, the university and agency became official partners following the signing of a five-year agreement.   

 San Diego’s HHSA does more than many traditional public health services and addresses complex community health issues including housing, homelessness, hunger, and child, family, and adult well-being. Simultaneously, SDSU’s College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) students and faculty conduct extensive research projects and explore innovative methods to tackle health disparities and emerging public health issues in the region’s urban and rural communities.

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Emergency responders tend to simulated ‘survivors’ during a previous emergency drill at McClellan Palomar airport. (Courtesy San Diego County)
McClellan Palomar Airport to hold
disaster drill Thursday morning

County airport staff, working with Carlsbad police and firefighters, are scheduled to hold a major disaster exercise Thursday morning at McClellan Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. County officials said people living in the surrounding areas should not be startled by the activities, which will run from 9 to 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 3, and could include sirens and fire engines. The airport is required to hold a disaster exercise every three years. The drill is designed to ensure that airport rescue crews can respond immediately in emergencies with backup from the city of Carlsbad’s fire and police departments, and that the airport fully complies with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards.

Thursday’s exercise will simulate a scenario—complete with people made up to look like injured survivors—of a 30-passenger jet aircraft running off the left side of the runway.

Jill Howe joins Lineage Cell Therapeutics as CFO

Carlsbad-based Lineage Cell Therapeutics Inc., , a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing allogeneic cell therapies for unmet medical needs, announced that Jill Howe will join as the company’s chief financial officer, effective Nov. 14.

Howe brings more than 20 years of significant strategic, financial, and operational experience to Lineage.

She has successfully built biotechnology organizations and implemented operational infrastructures alongside the execution of over $1.66 billion of capital raising transactions and will bring extensive strategic experience to the role.

Most recently, Howe was chief financial officer of DtxPharma, and prior to that, was vice president of finance and treasurer at Gossamer Bio Inc.

General Atomics Reaper RPA
General Atomics to deliver MQ-9A Reapers to Poland

As part of a lease agreement, Poland will take delivery of MQ-9A Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI). The new agreement between General Atomics and the Polish Ministry of Defence has a net value of $70.6 million. “General Atomics’ support for Poland and the NATO alliance is steadfast as they confront the ongoing war in the region,” said CEO Linden Blue. “We look forward to delivering our proven MQ-9A platform system to Poland to enhance the nation’s ability to conduct persistent airborne ISR and support its Defense Forces.” MQ-9A Reapers are operated by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. GA-ASI’s newer MQ-9B variant has been acquired by the UK and Belgium. 

Supply chain pioneer CBX Software 
changes name to TradeBeyond

CBX Software, the leading provider of multi-enterprise platforms for extended supply chain orchestration, has changed its trade name to TradeBeyond. The company, which has an office in San Diego, pioneered the multi-enterprise platform that streamlines retail product development, sourcing and supply chain operations. The new name, TradeBeyond, represents a major milestone in the company’s success over the past decade, helping many of the world’s leading brands and retailers to increase private label volumes while reducing lead times and costs. Along with the new name, TradeBeyond will adopt the tagline “Empower Tomorrow.” This embodies the company’s charter to empower retail businesses with the supply chain of tomorrow.

Planet Based Foods introduces
new manufacturing partner

Planet Based Foods Global Inc., whose wholly owned subsidiary in San Diego is California Planet Based Foods, announced that it will be working with new manufacturing partner Cedarlane Natural Foods Inc. With decades of packaged goods manufacturing experience, Cedarlane is one of the country’s leading manufacturers of healthy and innovative frozen and fresh food products. Planet Based Foods is looking forward to partnering with them as they will create a variety of synergistic opportunities in the near and far-term. The new manufacturing will bolster Planet Based Foods product diversity both horizontally; from burritos and taquitos, to handheld, easy-to-make health food options, and vertically with options to  expand flavor profiles of individual food products. Taquito production capacity will increase up to 25 million taquitos annually. 

TASI Bank expands into San Diego market

TASI Bank, a community business bank based in San Francisco, has expanded into the San Diego market and has relocated Jesus H. Leon Guerrero, vice president/relationship manager, to cover the territory. TASI Bank,a division of Bank of Guam®, has operated a branch in San Francisco’s Financial District since 1982, and has total net assets of approximately $450 million. “We have been thinking about the markets for a while,” said Dave Joves, president of TASI Bank. “We are confident that we can duplicate our San Francisco model with a conservative approach. Because of our owners (Bank of Guam), we can look far down the road and take a steady approach to growth.”

Viasat awarded $99 million lot buy
order for military tactical radios

Carlsbad-based Viasat has been awarded a $99 million order for Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) terminals from U.S. Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) on behalf of the MIDS Program Office. This order falls under a U.S. Navy contract awarded to Viasat in 2020 with a maximum value of $998 million for the production, retrofits, development and sustainment of MIDS JTRS terminals.. MIDS are among the most widely used Link 16 terminals by the U.S. military and global allies, acting as the foundational communications datalink on the modern battlefield and providing a secure communications capability for operations in any environment. 

Northrop Grumman’s new navigation
capability approved for U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy has approved Northrop Grumman Corporation’s new Electronic Chart Display and Information System (Navy ECDIS) for deployment to its fleet. The Navy’s Operational Test and Evaluation Force issued a formal determination that Navy ECDIS is “operationally suitable, operationally effective and cyber survivable.” This new capability will be a core element to all U.S. Navy bridge and navigation systems. Navy ECDIS processes and displays multiple chart formats including digital nautical charts developed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The system tracks targets from the vessel’s navigation radar, enabling creation of route plans, automation of plan execution and monitoring progress along the route. 

University of California Television
reaches one-million subscribers in YouTube

University of California Television (UCTV) is celebrating a major achievement with the acquisition of its one-millionth YouTube subscriber after contributing educational content to the platform for over a decade. UCTV’s YouTube Channel is an intersection of informational video content from virtually every corner of the University of California system – and viewers need not be UC students (or even alumni) to watch. The channel hosts thousands of videos on an array of topics – from surgeries to concert performances to documentary films and much more – that can be viewed by anyone with internet access.