Opinion January 2016

Posted: January 1st, 2016 | Opinion, Opinion & News | No Comments

Guest editorial: New Year brings new opportunities for ex-Qualcomm employees

By William Moore

As the New Year begins, San Diego has opportunities to continue its recent economic successes. In the most recent quarter, year over year, the unemployment rate in San Diego plummeted by 1.5 percent, with overall economic growth at 3.5 percent. Even in the face of challenging headlines, like drought, notoriously high utility expenses and the recent Qualcomm layoffs, San Diego keeps going.

Why? It’s the people.

The most important driver of regional success is not capital or the companies or even the infrastructure or regulations — it’s the talent. Firms and capital go where the talented people are. Regions that attract talented people and keep them through the occasional hiccup are historically the most successful.

Last year, San Diego faced a small crisis. Qualcomm — considered by many the region’s flagship tech company — laid off a significant number of very talented people. Those people are starting the New Year evaluating their options. It is imperative to San Diego that the city keeps as many of these people as possible here.

Workers affected by the layoffs who want to stay in San Diego have two basic paths. Most of them will get picked up by other local companies that would be ecstatic to bring on these skilled people; but a determined minority have been dreaming of doing it on their own for years, and will decide the time is right.

I have seen many successful companies start this way. Those startups make up a more important share of the economy than any one large company and 57 percent of San Diego’s companies have one to four employees. Only 1 percent of the region’s companies report more than 250 workers.

Shortly after Texas Instruments closed its San Diego mobile division in 2008, a group of just-laid-off engineers came into my office. Since a few of them had been laid off at the same time, they were able to quickly form an entire team that already knew each other. They launched a new business called IPG, and started developing cellular base-station chipsets.

It worked beautifully. Within three years, larger companies were clamoring to bring them in, paying not only to hire the team, but also to purchase the intellectual property that they had developed.

The team ended up doing better over those three years than they would have if they’d just kept their jobs at Texas Instruments. Plus, they didn’t have to relocate, pull their kids out of school or find their spouses new jobs. They did it right here in San Diego, and they’re still here today.

San Diego provides an excellent ecosystem for keeping talent local. The local community colleges and UC San Diego Extension provide training opportunities that can translate exceptional talent from one domain to another. The service corps of retired executives provides both classes and one-on-one mentoring for those new CEOs. Anybody who is looking to embark on a new business has a great opportunity to do so here.

This is a chance for the rest of us to help as well. Now is the time for:

  • Wireless and tech associations can intensify their support of the formation of startups through expanded incubator programs, building mentorship connections and intensifying educational sessions to encourage entrepreneurship.
  • Supporting businesses (lawyers, accountants, etc.) can formulate ways to accommodate the needs of these unique startups.
  • Tech companies that have thrived under the shadow of big brother Qualcomm can acquire local talent — both as employees and as contractors.
  • Angels who might have some money stashed in limited partnerships in out-of-town VCs can turn their attention to the attractive opportunities in San Diego.

San Diego is growing. And it will keep growing if we keep our best people in town. If we can make San Diego a fertile place for people’s businesses and their lives, San Diego’s economy can continue to do great things. 

—William Moore is a business lawyer in San Diego and founder of The Moore Firm. He has extensive experience in a variety of cases and growing industries such as wireless communications and clean tech and focuses on serving entrepreneurs. For more info, visit

Guest editorial: Happy New Year from AMR

San Diego’s new emergency medical provider

By Mike Murphy

As you may know, American Medical Response (AMR) recently purchased Rural/Metro, the city of San Diego’s 911 emergency medical responder.  With the acquisition, AMR has now become the city’s official 911 responder.

We at AMR could not be more excited to be serving the people of San Diego and delivering the highest quality of emergency care to communities throughout the city, including Downtown San Diego.

We’re certainly not new to San Diego. In fact, AMR has very deep roots here. We’ve been serving communities in the North, South and east County for more than 65 years.

AMR is now pleased to bring to the city of San Diego and its 1.3 million residents the resources of one of the nation’s most respected emergency medical responders, with more than 19,000 paramedics, EMTs, Registered Nurses and other professionals who transport more than 3 million patients every year.

Since taking ownership of Rural/Metro, we have been working closely with the San Diego Fire Department, moving quickly to improve service and address some of the response time issues that occurred under the previous provider.

We immediately brought in additional ambulances and paramedics, as well as a strike team of experts to design a citywide deployment plan aimed at reducing response times in both the urban core and outlying communities. To date, these efforts have been successful.

For AMR, though, serving the community means more than responding to life-threatening emergencies — it means preventing them as well. We will be working across the city to create a healthier and safer San Diego through community-based programs that range from improving one’s heart health, to helping people avoid household accidents, to training San Diegans in the life-saving skill of CPR.

Whether it’s responding to emergencies or preventing them, saving lives is what we’re all about — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On behalf of the women and men of AMR here in San Diego, I want to wish you and your family a happy — and healthy — New Year.

—Mike Murphy is the General Manager of AMR in San Diego. To learn more, visit


Trimble at the helm

Great article about Michael Trimble and his new position as executive director of the Gaslamp Quarter [see “Trimble sets up shop,” Vol. 16, Issue 12 or at].

Just as a fact check, it was Rob Hagey not Rob Hegge who started Street Scene and ran it for 25 years.

Rob Hagey was really a part of Downtown revitalization in the late ’80s through about 2005. Street Scene had a national reputation. Unfortunately things changed and I hear Rob Hagey Productions went bankrupt. Nonetheless, he should be remembered as part of our local history as a real entrepreneur.

Thanks again for the great publication. If you ever want more Downtown history let me know.

—Donna Smith Burns, former executive director for Gaslamp Quarter Association, via email

Editor’s response: We searched for the proper spelling and came up short. With deadlines looming we didn’t ask Mr. Trimble and in hindsight, we should have. We deeply regret the error. A correction has been made online.

Looking forward to seeing what’s ahead for Gaslamp Quarter — a San Diego treasure — as surrounding areas continue to grow and thrive alongside. Best of luck to Mr. Trimble and his team!

—Ben Cartwright, via

So long to Albie’s Beef Inn

As a customer since the late ’70s, I will surely miss it. Best wishes. [See “The long goodbye” Vol. 16, Issue 12 or at]

—M.G. Fletcher, via

A positive spin on development

The Broadstone in Bankers Hill is a great looking property — I have a couple of friends who moved in and they love it [see “A changing landscape in Bankers Hill,” Vol. 16, Issue 12 or at].

I hope for more development like that up the street in Hillcrest too!

—Ben Cartwright, via

G’day Chad

Welcome to Spokane Chad, we are looking forward to your new restaurant. [See “San Diego top chef heads to greener pastures,” Vol. 16, Issue 12 or at].

—Sophie Dufranses, via

Film Forum loss felt

The discourteous behavior shown Ralph is a sad commentary of what our city government has become [see “The lights go up on Film Forum,” Vol. 16, Issue 11, or at].

At one time it was work together, enjoy what you were doing, and people took time to talk to each other. I’m sure his programs were also enjoyed by young people who gained the benefits of listening to someone who is well versed in what he is sharing. I sincerely hope the Council takes another look at the $5k that would extend this program rather than “just an email after 30 years.”

—Pat Taylor, via sandiegodowntownnews

Film forum events at the Central Library have been the greatest; kind of like going over to a friend’s house to view his favorites or attending the wonderful screenings at the Pacific Film Archive (in Berkeley). This June, Ralph showed the blockbuster “Selma” accompanied by a hearty performance of movement spirituals, for free.

Over the last year the Central Library’s support of the Film Forum program has ranged from poor to none. Ralph has been stuck with broken fixtures, inadequate audio, insufficient signage and even a lack of curtains to create the necessary darkness.

Should one have desired to consult the schedule, and made the mistake of querying the library website, your interest would have been quickly diminished by being sidelined into the city’s website morass.

Now it turns out they were only paying Ralph $5k per year for all of his efforts at the various branches.

How could the library bureaucrats have done any worse? Oh, by cancelling the program.

Nice going, bureaucrats. Maybe you could use the money saved to free up more of the Central Library to Comic-Con next year …

—Dave Duncan, via sandiegodowntownnews 

Rethinking transit

I hope the next round of bus route improvements considers all us Downtowners who need to travel car-free to recreation and community life places also on weekends [see “Rethinking a city,” Vol. 16, Issue 11, or at]. For one, I have the 30, 50 and 150 buses to Old Town, UC San Diego, and La Jolla run on weekends and two, I have the 3 and 11 buses run more than every half an hour on Saturday and more than once an hour on Sunday.

Additionally, one finds in the Uptown News more to engage in on weekends requiring more frequent bus service on the 3 and 11 and new bus services on the 30, 50 and 150 — including many activities at Balboa Park — than one finds in the Downtown News.

—Lynne Shapiro, via sandiegodowntownnews



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