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Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, San Diego Metro Magazine

New report explores why unemployment
checks are so often hard to get

By Grace Gedye | CalMatters

In Summary

The state agency that handles unemployment benefits pursued lowering costs and hindering fraud over making it easy for workers to access benefits, a new report found.

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If you get laid off, there’s a system that’s supposed to help you get by: unemployment benefits. Whenever California stares down a pandemic or a possible recession, the partial wage-replacement program is one of the most important economic safeguards for workers. 

But the benefits have become more difficult for workers to access, due to the program’s design and decisions made by California’s embattled Employment Development Department. That’s according to an in-depth report released by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonpartisan agency that provides advice to the Legislature.

The report found that the benefits program’s orientation toward businesses — which fund the benefits and have an incentive to keep costs down — led the department to emphasize holding down costs. Pressure from the federal government to avoid errors led the department to try, however successfully, to minimize fraud.

The result, according to the report: The department pursued lowering costs and hindering fraud over making it easy for workers to access benefits.

“Looked at individually, one of these policies might seem totally reasonable, either to limit fraud or or minimize business costs,” said Chas Alamo, the report’s author and principle fiscal and policy analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s office. “But when you look at them, and kind of step back and look at the suite of policies that have been made over several decades, it becomes clear that there’s a sort of imbalance in the system,” said Alamo. 

Read more…

Top Photo: Hospitality workers apply for unemployment benefits at the Hospitality Training Academy in Los Angeles on March 13, 2020. (Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo)

Pennie McLaughlin of Del Mar
appointed judge of San Diego Superior Court
Pennie McLaughlin

Pennie McLaughlin, 60, of Del Mar, has been appointed to serve in an interim appointment as a judge in the San Diego County Superior Court by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

McLaughlin has served as a commissioner at the San Diego County Superior Court since 2004. She served as an assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California from 2000 to 2004. 

McLaughlin also served in several positions at the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office from 1990 to 2000, including supervising attorney and senior trial counsel. 

McLaughlin served as a deputy public defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1987 to 1990. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. 

McLaughlin fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Tamila Ipema. The governor’s appointment allows her to immediately assume the position she was otherwise elected to begin in January 2023. McLaughlin is a Democrat

Knauss Center for Business Education officially opens

The Knauss School of Business has a new home

Don and Ellie Knauss

The Knauss Center for Business Education officially opened Aug. 4 following a ribbon- cutting ceremony that featured University of San Diego Board Chairman Donald Knauss, the former CEO of Clorox, and his wife, Ellie.

In December 2021, the couple increased their philanthropic giving to the university to $50 million to help fund construction of the new facility. In honor of the gift—one of the largest in USD history—the business school was renamed the Knauss School of Business.

More than 100 members of the USD community including top administrators, trustees, staff, students and alumni gathered around the fountain in Paseo de Colachis to view the ceremonial opening of the 120,000-square-foot building.

Together with the recently renovated Olin Hall, the new complex has more than tripled the size of the university’s 50-year-old business school. 

In April 2021, the university broke ground on the Knauss Center for Business Education and the renovation of the 37-year-old Olin Hall. The school had long outgrown the space and its faculty, staff and programs have most recently resided in six different buildings across campus. 

Housing market educational session Aug. 20

The Thank You Heroes Home Rebate Program will hold a free, two-our education session on the housing market on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Thank You Heroes corporate headquarters, 8787 Complex Drive, Suite 210, San Diego 92123.

Industry experts will walk attendees through a list of questions and considerations on the current market environment, including:

• Are we in a housing bubble? When will it burst?

• Are these prices really sustainable?

• When will prices stop going up?

• Should I sell now before the market crashes? How do I know when it is tine to sell?

Registration is recommended

UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital
join nationwide Long-COVID study

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego have joined a nationwide study to better understand the long-term impact of COVID-19 on patients in the United States across all demographic groups.

The $1.15 billion, four-year study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is called the RECOVER Initiative (Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery). The purpose is to better understand “post-acute sequelae of the SARS-CoV-2” infections or PASC, more commonly known as ‘long-COVID.’”

More than 90 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the United States since the pandemic began in early 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The incidence of long-COVID is not precisely known, but current data suggests 10 to 30 percent of those who have an acute infection will experience persistent symptoms lasting at least one month. Preliminary data suggests PASC may disproportionately affect certain socioeconomic and demographic groups, including groups that will be represented within the UC San Diego/Rady study.

Read more…

Discovery advances potential of gene
therapy to restore hearing loss

Scientists from the Salk Institute and the University of Sheffield co-led a study that shows promise for the development of gene therapies to repair hearing loss. In developed countries, roughly 80 percent of deafness cases that occur before a child learns to speak are due to genetic factors. One of these genetic components leads to the absence of the protein EPS8, which coincides with improper development of sensory hair cells in the inner ear. These cells normally have long hair-like structures, called stereocilia, that transduce sound into electrical signals that can be perceived by the brain. In the absence of EPS8, the stereocilia are too short to function, leading to deafness.

The team’s findings, published in Molecular Therapy – Methods & Clinical Development online on July 31, 2022, show that delivery of normal EPS8 can rescue stereocilia elongation and the function of auditory hair cells in the ears of mice affected by the loss of EPS8.

Read more…

Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office mailing
defaulted tax bills to property owners

The San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office has begun mailing defaulted tax bills to property owners who have prior year unpaid property taxes. The defaulted bills total over $139 million.
“We’re sending about 700 fewer defaulted bills than we sent last year,” said Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister. “We appreciate San Diegans for paying what they owe; these taxes fund our public schools, first responders, and other essential services.” 

The deadline to pay the 2021-2022 annual tax bill was June 30.  Per California Revenue and Taxation Code, beginning July 1, each late bill will incur a 1.5 percent penalty each month (18 percent per annum) that it remains unpaid. That is on top of the 10 percent penalty added for each late installment.  

Threat of increased penalties is not the only incentive for people to pay their taxes. Under California State law, the Tax Collector may sell any or all portions of properties that have been in default for five or more years. McAllister encouraged taxpayers to make future payments via the free e-check payment system at www.sdttc.com

Vietnam tour package offered by North San Diego Business Chamber

The North San Diego Business Chamber is presenting an international travel  package to Vietnam Feb. 19-28. The $2,399 tour price includes:

• Roundtrip international airfare and tax fro Los Angeles International Airport

• Vietnamese domestic airfare and tax

• 4- and 5-star hotel accommodations

• Daily 3 meals

• Deluxe bus tours

• Fluent English-speaking tour guides

• Entrance fees to attractions

Visa fee, gratuities and personal shopping are not included.

Working with agencies that plan Chamber exclusive travel allows bigger group discounts and savings for those that travel with the North San Diego Business Chamber. For more information call (858) 487-1767 Ext. 10 or email [email protected]

WILDCOAST partners with Bureo Inc. to recycle old fishing nets

WILDCOAST, an international team conserving coastal and marine ecosystems and addressing climate change through natural solutions, has partnered with Bureo Inc. to engage local fishers in efforts to give a second life to discarded fishing nets.

Bureo has addressed the challenges of end-of-life fishing nets, including the lack of infrastructure for proper disposal, by developing a fishing net waste collection program in California and, with the support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, WILDCOAST has joined these efforts. 

Collected in five ports throughout Southern California and sent to Bureo’s Net Collection Hub in Oxnard, Calif., the fishing nets are sorted, cleaned, shredded and packed for transport to Bureo’s processing partners​​.

The pre-processed nets go through advanced recycling where they are transformed into NetPlus material, the raw feedstock to make products for Bureo’s brand partners, such as Patagonia, Carver Skateboards, Jenga and many other leading companies.  

San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program
hosts annual Justice for All Celebration

The San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program will conduct its Justice for All Celebration on Sept. 29 at Farmer & The Seahorse in Torrey Pines. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Local attorneys will be honored at the event for outstanding pro bono contributions. The 2022 award recipients are:

• Pro Bono Publico Award: Liliana Menzie, attorney, DLA Piper

• Outstanding Law Firm: Latham & Watkins LLP

• Community Service Award: Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association

Last year, Liliana Menzie donated over 500 hours of her time to pro bono representation of SDVLP clients.

Attorneys in the firm’s San Diego office volunteered hundreds of hours across nearly all SDVLP’s programs, providing crucial pro bono legal services to low-income and disadvantaged San Diegans.

Several members of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association are volunteers of SDVLP and dedicate themselves to helping the Black community access effective legal representation and advice. 

Planet Based Foods announce first retail distribution

Planet Based Foods, a Sann Diego-based company, announced its first retail distribution at New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets. Shoppers can now find Planet Based Foods’ Original Hemp Burger and Green Chili Southwest Burger in the frozen aisle at 26 stores across Northern California, the California Central Coast, Oregon and Washington. 

The brand’s hemp-based burgers deliver high-performance nutrition, including up to 21 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, and a healthy ratio of omega 3-6-9 fats with no soy, gluten or GMO ingredients.

Planet Based Foods’ products feature hemp seed as the hero ingredient, along with pea protein and brown rice, to maximize nutrients and fiber with zero waste. The company perfected the taste and texture of its burgers based on real diner feedback at Stout Burgers & Beers restaurants in Southern California, and is now making its hemp-based meat available to West Coast grocery shoppers.

PumpMan acquires Ransom Pump & Supply in Ramona

PumpMan, a leader in the sales, service, maintenance, and repair of pumps, motor, and control systems in the United States, announced the acquisition of Ransom Pump & Supply based in Ramona.  Ransom Pump & Supply will join Baldwin Park-based PumpMan SoCal and PumpMan San Diego in serving the commercial, industrial, municipal, agricultural, and multi-unit residential pump systems in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial counties.

Ransom Pump & Supply designs, services, repairs, and installs complete residential and commercial well-based freshwater systems.  These complete systems include pumps, motors, system controls, water storage, and pressure boosters, and include generators or solar panels as back-up power supplies to ensure service reliability.