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SATURDAY • JUNE 28, 2014 HAS ANOTHER HOUSING RECESSION STARTED? C3 • Real estate experts on U-T’s Housing Huddle panel discuss the impact of the decline in home sales for eight consecutive months.

M SUNDAY

ECONOMY & PERSONAL FINANCE MARK E TS € 5.71 Dow 16,851.84 € 18.88 Nasdaq 4,397.93

MONDAY

IDEAS & INNOVATION

TUESDAY

RETAIL & SMALL BUSINESS

€ 0.01 10-yr. T-note 2.54%

Get ready for just a smidgen of relief at the pump. The per-gallon tax Californians pay on a regular gallon of gas, called the excise tax, will drop from 39.5 cents per gallon to 36 cents on Tuesday. That means if you drive 15,000 miles per year at 20 miles per gallon, the decrease saves you $26.25 over the year. Drivers, however, pay more than just the California excise tax. They still have to pay the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal excise tax, state and local sales taxes and other fees that add up to about 70 cents per gallon, the

Ü $0.02 Silver $21.08 Euro 0.7328 • Peso 12.9707 STOCKS NOTCH TINY GAINS: Summertime

settled into Wall Street on Friday as major stock indexes drifted slightly higher going into the weekend. The listless day of trading left the stock market with a tiny loss for the week, its second this month. A handful of corporate results drove trading in some big names. Warnings of weaker earnings pushed DuPont down, while stronger results pushed Nike up.

FRIDAY

TECHNOLOGY & ENERGY

California’s excise levy edges down, but other fuel fees can add up for drivers JONATHAN HORN • U-T

Ü $0.10 Oil $105.74

THURSDAY

TOURISM & RESTAURANTS

GAS TAX DROP STARTS TUESDAY

€ 3.74 S&P 500 1,960.96

€ $2.40 Gold $1,318.50

WEDNESDAY

BIOTECH & HEALTH CARE

highest in the nation and well above the 50-cent national average, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Still, the drop is better than what happened July 1, 2013, when the state raised the excise tax by 3.5 cents to 39.5 cents per gallon. On Friday, a regular gallon of gas in San Diego County cost $4.13. That’s just three cents above the the per-gallon price a year ago. The Board of Equalization has been charged with setting the excise-tax rate each year since 2010, when then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Legislature instituted a complex system

If you drive 15,000 miles per year at 20 miles per gallon, the decrease saves you $26.25 over the year.

SEE GAS TAX • C4

TODAY

REAL ESTATE & GROWTH

BIOTECH LEADS 2ND-QUARTER SURGE OF IPOs MIKE FREEMAN • U-T

Strong returns continue to fuel investors’ appetites for newly minted public companies, with initial public offerings in the second quarter the highest in a decade. Ernst & Young’s U.S. IPO analysis said 91 companies nationwide went public in the quarter, up from 62 a year earlier. These firms raised $23.1 billion — up 47 percent year over year. San Diego County companies have been stepping into the game, with Celladon Corp., Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Biocept, Ignyta and SEE IPO • C4

B R I E F LY CEO TO RETIRE: Dollar

General Chief Executive Officer Rick Dreiling plans to retire in 2015, sending the company on a search for a new leader at a tumultuous time for the dollar-store industry. Since Dreiling took the helm in 2008, Dollar General’s annual sales have risen 80 percent to $17.5 billion. Other chains haven’t done as well, putting pressure on the industry to consolidate. A TEPID RESPONSE:

Michaels Cos. raised $472 million in its IPO, selling 27.8 million shares for $17 each after pricing the shares in its initial public offering at the low end of the marketed range. Its stock rose 2 cents in its first day of trading to close at $17.02 on Friday, showing that investors are wary of retailing and the fragmented $30 billion arts and crafts industry 48 RECALLS THIS YEAR:

General Motors extended its record-breaking string of safety problems, announcing Friday three more recalls. The recalls, part of a top-to-bottom safety review, bring the company’s total for the year to 48, covering more than 20 million cars and trucks. Friday’s recalls cover 474,000 vehicles worldwide for a variety of problems including with transmissions.

A La Jolla house, called “Clean Living” due to its low energy consumption, won a grand award at the Gold Nugget contest at this year’s Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco. JIM BRADY ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY

AS GOOD AS GOLD

13 county projects, architects win awards at annual Pacific Coast Builders Conference in Bay Area ROGER SHOWLEY • U-T

A

MERCEDES, INFINITI TIE UP: Daimler and

Nissan Motor will jointly produce as many as 300,000 Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti compact luxury cars next year at a new $1.4 billion factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the biggest project to date in their four-yearold partnership.

DIGIT

$6B

Value of AT&T’s 8.3 percent stake in America Movil — based on Friday’s closing price for the shares — that will be bought out by billionaire Carlos Slim, propping up his Latin American mobile-phone company’s stock price as his longtime partner from the U.S. exits the business. America Movil didn’t say how much Slim’s holding company, Inmobiliaria Carso, would pay. U-T NEWS SERVICES

San Diego architect Joseph Wong’s design for a Hyatt Regency Hotel in Shanghai, China, also won top honors. YIJIE HU

La Jolla project and San Diego architect struck gold at this year’s Gold Nugget Awards, announced Thursday at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco. San Diego projects also won 11 merit awards in the contest that drew nearly 600 entries, primarily from builders, developers and architects in Western states but also extending to countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. The local grand awards went to: Best custom home with less than 4,000 square feet: “Clean

Living,” a house in La Jolla designed by Domus Studio Architecture and built by Hill Construction. The 2,700-square-foot custom home, built for a family of educators, was rated LEED Platinum, the highest designation for energy conservation and sustainability from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The six-member jury called it a “wonderfully designed contemporary home that is a welcomed neighbor in its established community.” Best international commercial and special-use project: Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chongming, ShangSEE GOLD • C3

SIGNIFICANT SIGNAGE SHOWING UP DOWNTOWN Companies’ profiles elevated by massive billboards on buildings, bigger than the 100-square-foot max

ROGER SHOWLEY • U-T

Bank of America got one. Sempra Energy got two. And Kleinfelder, a worldwide engineering firm based in San Diego, has joined the exclusive club as well. These companies weren’t asking for tax breaks, but for corporate billboards in the form of giant signs atop their downtown office towers. The issue came to a head at a Civic San Diego board meeting Wednesday, where the staff argued for enforcing a 100-square-foot maximum. Kleinfelder asked for a waiver to allow a 343-square-foot sign at the top of the 550 Corporate Center at India and C streets. Company

officials said the extra space was needed because the 11-letter name couldn’t fit into 100 square feet and still remain legible without binoculars. Sign envy is breaking out all over San Diego as companies slap their names and logos on buildings that can be seen from a freeway, an airplane flying into town or a cruise ship sailing into port. Tenants negotiate sign rights, and owners entice companies with come-ons that read “Your Name Here.” Kleinfelder, founded in Stockton in 1961 and locally based since 1999, moved from a low-profile corporate headquarters in Governor Park off Interstate 805 (where its monument sign was at street level) to SEE SIGNS • C4

The corporate sign will be at the top of the Kleinfelder building at 550 Corporate Center in San Diego. CO-STAR GROUP


C3

U-T SAN DIEGO | SATURDAY • JUNE 28, 2014

U-T HOUSING HUDDLE

Given that sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis for 8 consecutive months, has the county’s next housing recession already begun?

Murtaza Baxamusa

Michael Lea

Leslie Kilpatrick

Bill Davidson

Robert Vallera

Kurt Wannebo

Directs planning and development for the Family Housing Corp., of the San Diego Building Trades

Real estate professor at the Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate at San Diego State University

President of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors

President of Davidson Communities

Senior vice president of Voit Real Estate Services in San Diego

Real estate broker and CEO of San Diego Real Estate and Investments

NO

NO

Summer should tell which way the market is headed in San Diego. Unfortunately, projections of a spring recovery in home sales, including my own, were too bullish. The deadwood of distressed inventory took longer to burn off, the domestic market demand was not as strong as anticipated and growth in sales tempered by an expected increase in mortgage rates. Nevertheless, the economic winds of consumer confidence, new construction and labor-force employment are gently blowing in the right direction. There continues to be a healthy uptick in home prices and active inventory. So I remain optimistic about a continued recovery.

The decline in housing sales reflects two underlying trends. The volume of distressed sales has fallen sharply. As distressed sales are replaced by normal transactions, the health of the housing market improves. However, this replacement is relatively weak due to a significant portion of homeowners with low or negative equity. These homeowners are reluctant to sell, either because they don’t want to take a loss or that they cannot qualify for a mortgage on a replacement dwelling. As house prices gradually increase and the lending environment improves, sales volume should return to normal levels.

NO

The market remains fundamentally strong with recent price gains, shortened market times and low interest rates. The number of active listings recently surpassed 7,000 for the first time in two years; yet that only represents 3 months of inventory. Resale homes are on the market an average of 40 days. The median price point of single-family homes reached $500,000 in May for the first time in seven years. Underneath all that, we are facing a long-term housing shortage and rising rents in a recovering economy. The time to invest in San Diego is now.

NO

The outlook for the San Diego housing market continues to be positive with moderately increasing prices and a strengthening economy. The economy has recovered all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, and strong underlying fundamentals include rising employment, increases in tourism, rising home construction and a declining volume of distressed homes. Although the housing market started the spring home buying season somewhat slow due to limited inventory, higher prices and lower investor sales, the forecast for 2014 continues to be solid as relatively low interest rates and job growth contribute to an improving market.

NO

Declining yearover-year sales are observed at the beginning of almost every recession, but a market slowdown does not necessarily signal a recession. My initial suspicion was that the extremely low interest rates of the past few years accelerated transactions in 2012-13, effectively cannibalizing buyer demand from 2014. However, the revised GDP figures released this week suggest that this slowdown extends beyond the residential real estate market. Employment trends have a broader impact on the overall economy than home sales. California’s civilian labor force expanded by 1 percent in the past 12 months. While positive, this is hardly robust.

NO

I would not characterize this as a real estate recession yet. I would call it a “cooling” of the market at this point. We are at a normal point in time where inventory increases seasonally, and thus, prices have stabilized and softened. But we had seen prices doing well, even though sales were down this past year. I anticipate when the inventory recedes later in the year, that prices will stay even. Many of the sales from years prior were investor purchases, and with them leaving the market we are moving more towards a normalized, traditional market that we saw in prior years. JONATHAN HORN • U-T

SMARTPHONE CANCER SCREENINGS TO DEBUT Low-income women in S.D., Tijuana eligible for cervical diagnostic services in pilot program ROXANA POPESCU • U-T

A La Jolla home called “Clean Living” was lauded for energy savings. JIM BRADY ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY

GOLD • 11 merit awards went to local projects FROM C1

hai, China, designed by San Diego-based Joseph Wong Design Associates. The 235-room hotel, the chain’s first “eco-resort” in China, includes traditional Eastern garden spaces and a series of courtyards woven into the landscape. Among the 11 merit awards was Arterro La Costa, a housing project by Davidson Communities in Carlsbad, a runner-up as residential project of the year. It was designed by R. Douglas Mansfield and planned by Hunsaker & Associates with the interior by Design Line Interiors. The project also won a merit award for best single-family tract home of more than 4,000 square feet. The other nine merit awards went to: Special use project: Na-

tional Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla Shores; designed by the Gould Evans and Delawie firms and built by Rudolph & Sletten. Commercial project: Ivanhoe office building in La Jolla; designed by LPA; built by Dempsey-Legacy and developed by HAV Capital; landscape architecture by MAK Design. Rehabilitated commercial or industrial project: University Towne Centre in University City; designed by Architects Orange; built and developed by Westfield. Custom single-family home under 4,000 square feet: Marine Lair in La Jolla; designed by Matrix Design Studio; built by Hill Construction. Renovated or restored project: Structure Lofts

in Bankers Hill; designed by H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects; built by R&R Construction; developed by Hammer Ventures and Balboa Phase I LLC. Multifamily project with less than 18 dwelling units per acre: Frame & Focus in Mission Valley; designed by Woodley Architectural Group; built and developed by Shea Homes; interior design by CDC Designs and Ami Samuel Interiors. Multifamily project with 18-30 dwelling units per acre: Lucent in Mission Valley; designed by Woodley Architecture Group; built and planned by Shea Homes; interior design, Design Line Interiors. Multifamily project with 30-60 dwelling units per acre: Domain San Diego in Kearny Mesa; designed by TCA Architects;

built by Cobalt Construction; developed by Wood Partners; interior design, Catalina Design Group. Multifamily project with morethan60dwellingunits per acre: Ariel in downtown SanDiego;designedbyAVRP studios; built by Swinerton Builders; developed by Ariel Suites LP. The contest judges were Amy Albert, design editor of Builder magazine and editor in chief of Custom Home magazine; San Francisco architect David Baker; Tom Doucette, president of Doucette Homes in Tucson, Ariz.; Florida architect Phil Kean; Boyce Thomson, author of “The New, New Home”; and Laguna Beach architect Bob White. roger.showley@utsandiego.com (619) 293-1286 Twitter: @rogershowley

STUDY: MOST IPHONE DAMAGE BOOZE-RELATED KATHERINE POYTHRESS U-T

We all have that friend with the shattered iPhone screen, but now there’s a study telling us roughly how many people are clumsy with their expensive Apple handsets. One in three American consumers have confessed to using a damaged iPhone, says CouponCodesPro.com, with nearly half blaming alcohol-related incidents for the damage. After noticing a spike in visitor searches for iPhone repairs, the money-saving website polled 2,487 U.S. citizens 18 years and older about their iPhone use. Everyone participating in the survey — the results were released Wednesday — owned

an iPhone for at least six months, up to and including the polling period. One-fifth of respondents, or 21 percent, said they were using an iPhone with a cracked or damaged screen.

21%

of respondents said they were using an iPhone with a cracked or damaged screen.

One-third, or 34 percent, said the iPhone was damaged in some way. Nine percent admitted their phone had been affected by water damage. The leading cause for the damage? Inebriation, said 47 percent of respondents.

Nearly one-third said they had a protective case on the back of the phone when the damage occurred, and 59 percent said they had purchased one since the damage occurred (supposedly to prevent further damage or loss of pieces from the initial incident). The majority of respondents, 71 percent, said they haven’t repaired their phones yet because they don’t want to pay for it. Two-thirds of those with damaged handsets said they were carrying an iPhone 5, 5C or 5S, one-third had an iPhone 4 or 4S model and the other 7 percent had one of the three earlier models. katherine.poythress@ utsandiego.com • (619) 293-2517

Causes of iPhone damage 47% — I was under the influence of alcohol and dropped my iPhone on a hard surface: 19% — My child/a child was responsible for the damage 17% — I was clumsy and dropped my iPhone on a hard surface 9% — I dropped my iPhone into water (toilet/ pool/sink) 4% — My pet/an animal was responsible for the damage 4% — Other

Low-income women in San Diego and Tijuana will soon be able to receive cervical cancer diagnostic services via smartphone. The pilot program will happen thanks to a $300,000 first-place award granted in May by the Vodafone America Foundation to a San Diego- and Tijuana-based team of public health and research organizations. “(We) will use this firstplace prize to bring our lowcost cancer screening technology to the women who need it most,” said Ariel Beery, CEO of Mobile OCT, part of the winning team. According to the company’s website, the smartphone tool combines “a lens and a set of algorithms that enable advanced screening for cancer.” Women on both sides of the border will be eligible to participate in the study’s different phases. Scripps Health

will work with patients in San Diego, and Fronteras United Pro Salud, a nonprofit in Tijuana that focuses on reproductive health, will work with those in Mexico. Public health officials say screening for cervical cancer is critical, because the disease is the leading cause of cancer death among women with limited resources. While there’s already a test — known as a Pap smear — for this cancer, the World Health Organization estimates that 85 percent of the world’s women don’t have access to it. The winning team’s participants were: Mobil OCT, maker of the cancer diagnostic tool; International Community Foundation, a San Diego-based health and education nonprofit; Scripps Health;andFronterasUnited Pro Salud. roxana.popescu@utsandiego.com (619) 797-6312 Twitter: roxanapopescu

TSRI TO START REVIEWING OTHER FINANCIAL OPTIONS Institute faces opposition to possible tie-up Amid faculty opposition to having The Scripps Research Institute merge or be taken over by the University of Southern California, the institute’s board chairman has announced a broader review of financial options for the biomedical powerhouse in La Jolla. Starting next week, a committee of trustees, administrators and researchers will meet to “comprehensively evaluate the best path forward,” chairman Dick Gephardt said in a letter posted online Friday. He added that the group’s discussions “will take as long as necessary to achieve success.” The panel’s 14 members include Gephardt; institute president and CEO Michael Marletta; James Paulson, head of the cell and molecular biology department; and Thomas Kodadek, a chemistry professor at the institute’s satellite campus in Jupiter, Fla. Scripps Research faculty members were told this month about the potential of some type of partnership between the institute and USC. Neither the institute nor the university has given details of their possible alliance, and it’s unclear whether they are still actively considering a tie-up. In his letter, Gephardt said Scripps Research’s finances are solid “and will remain so fortheforeseeablefuture.”He

also wrote that “any honest and thoughtful assessment of our future must take into account near-term and potentially significant changes in funding from the National Institutes of Health ... and the reduced funding from private medical and pharmaceutical organizations.” Like other institutions, Scripps Research is trying to become less dependent on the National Institutes of Health, which essentially has had a flat budget in recent years but faces growing demand for money. The agency is the nation’s largest public underwriter of life-science research. It provided about 86 percent of Scripps Research’s revenues last year, according to Fitch Ratings. Last June, Fitch said the institute’s “recent trend of negative operating margins combined with high reliance on declining grant income from National Institutes of Health ... raise concerns about long-term endowment sufficiency.” Two other well-known biomedical centers in La Jolla rely far less on the agency’s grants. Last year, NIH funding made up less than 50 percent of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies’ budget. For the nearby Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the figure was 35 percent.

HIEU TRAN PHAN • U-T


C3

U-T SAN DIEGO | SATURDAY • JUNE 28, 2014

U-T HOUSING HUDDLE

Given that sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis for 8 consecutive months, has the county’s next housing recession already begun?

Murtaza Baxamusa

Michael Lea

Leslie Kilpatrick

Bill Davidson

Robert Vallera

Kurt Wannebo

Directs planning and development for the Family Housing Corp., of the San Diego Building Trades

Real estate professor at the Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate at San Diego State University

President of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors

President of Davidson Communities

Senior vice president of Voit Real Estate Services in San Diego

Real estate broker and CEO of San Diego Real Estate and Investments

NO

NO

Summer should tell which way the market is headed in San Diego. Unfortunately, projections of a spring recovery in home sales, including my own, were too bullish. The deadwood of distressed inventory took longer to burn off, the domestic market demand was not as strong as anticipated and growth in sales tempered by an expected increase in mortgage rates. Nevertheless, the economic winds of consumer confidence, new construction and labor-force employment are gently blowing in the right direction. There continues to be a healthy uptick in home prices and active inventory. So I remain optimistic about a continued recovery.

The decline in housing sales reflects two underlying trends. The volume of distressed sales has fallen sharply. As distressed sales are replaced by normal transactions, the health of the housing market improves. However, this replacement is relatively weak due to a significant portion of homeowners with low or negative equity. These homeowners are reluctant to sell, either because they don’t want to take a loss or that they cannot qualify for a mortgage on a replacement dwelling. As house prices gradually increase and the lending environment improves, sales volume should return to normal levels.

NO

The market remains fundamentally strong with recent price gains, shortened market times and low interest rates. The number of active listings recently surpassed 7,000 for the first time in two years; yet that only represents 3 months of inventory. Resale homes are on the market an average of 40 days. The median price point of single-family homes reached $500,000 in May for the first time in seven years. Underneath all that, we are facing a long-term housing shortage and rising rents in a recovering economy. The time to invest in San Diego is now.

NO

The outlook for the San Diego housing market continues to be positive with moderately increasing prices and a strengthening economy. The economy has recovered all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, and strong underlying fundamentals include rising employment, increases in tourism, rising home construction and a declining volume of distressed homes. Although the housing market started the spring home buying season somewhat slow due to limited inventory, higher prices and lower investor sales, the forecast for 2014 continues to be solid as relatively low interest rates and job growth contribute to an improving market.

NO

Declining yearover-year sales are observed at the beginning of almost every recession, but a market slowdown does not necessarily signal a recession. My initial suspicion was that the extremely low interest rates of the past few years accelerated transactions in 2012-13, effectively cannibalizing buyer demand from 2014. However, the revised GDP figures released this week suggest that this slowdown extends beyond the residential real estate market. Employment trends have a broader impact on the overall economy than home sales. California’s civilian labor force expanded by 1 percent in the past 12 months. While positive, this is hardly robust.

NO

I would not characterize this as a real estate recession yet. I would call it a “cooling” of the market at this point. We are at a normal point in time where inventory increases seasonally, and thus, prices have stabilized and softened. But we had seen prices doing well, even though sales were down this past year. I anticipate when the inventory recedes later in the year, that prices will stay even. Many of the sales from years prior were investor purchases, and with them leaving the market we are moving more towards a normalized, traditional market that we saw in prior years. JONATHAN HORN • U-T

SMARTPHONE CANCER SCREENINGS TO DEBUT Low-income women in S.D., Tijuana eligible for cervical diagnostic services in pilot program ROXANA POPESCU • U-T

A La Jolla home called “Clean Living” was lauded for energy savings. JIM BRADY ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY

GOLD • 11 merit awards went to local projects FROM C1

hai, China, designed by San Diego-based Joseph Wong Design Associates. The 235-room hotel, the chain’s first “eco-resort” in China, includes traditional Eastern garden spaces and a series of courtyards woven into the landscape. Among the 11 merit awards was Arterro La Costa, a housing project by Davidson Communities in Carlsbad, a runner-up as residential project of the year. It was designed by R. Douglas Mansfield and planned by Hunsaker & Associates with the interior by Design Line Interiors. The project also won a merit award for best single-family tract home of more than 4,000 square feet. The other nine merit awards went to: Special use project: Na-

tional Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla Shores; designed by the Gould Evans and Delawie firms and built by Rudolph & Sletten. Commercial project: Ivanhoe office building in La Jolla; designed by LPA; built by Dempsey-Legacy and developed by HAV Capital; landscape architecture by MAK Design. Rehabilitated commercial or industrial project: University Towne Centre in University City; designed by Architects Orange; built and developed by Westfield. Custom single-family home under 4,000 square feet: Marine Lair in La Jolla; designed by Matrix Design Studio; built by Hill Construction. Renovated or restored project: Structure Lofts

in Bankers Hill; designed by H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects; built by R&R Construction; developed by Hammer Ventures and Balboa Phase I LLC. Multifamily project with less than 18 dwelling units per acre: Frame & Focus in Mission Valley; designed by Woodley Architectural Group; built and developed by Shea Homes; interior design by CDC Designs and Ami Samuel Interiors. Multifamily project with 18-30 dwelling units per acre: Lucent in Mission Valley; designed by Woodley Architecture Group; built and planned by Shea Homes; interior design, Design Line Interiors. Multifamily project with 30-60 dwelling units per acre: Domain San Diego in Kearny Mesa; designed by TCA Architects;

built by Cobalt Construction; developed by Wood Partners; interior design, Catalina Design Group. Multifamily project with morethan60dwellingunits per acre: Ariel in downtown SanDiego;designedbyAVRP studios; built by Swinerton Builders; developed by Ariel Suites LP. The contest judges were Amy Albert, design editor of Builder magazine and editor in chief of Custom Home magazine; San Francisco architect David Baker; Tom Doucette, president of Doucette Homes in Tucson, Ariz.; Florida architect Phil Kean; Boyce Thomson, author of “The New, New Home”; and Laguna Beach architect Bob White. roger.showley@utsandiego.com (619) 293-1286 Twitter: @rogershowley

STUDY: MOST IPHONE DAMAGE BOOZE-RELATED KATHERINE POYTHRESS U-T

We all have that friend with the shattered iPhone screen, but now there’s a study telling us roughly how many people are clumsy with their expensive Apple handsets. One in three American consumers have confessed to using a damaged iPhone, says CouponCodesPro.com, with nearly half blaming alcohol-related incidents for the damage. After noticing a spike in visitor searches for iPhone repairs, the money-saving website polled 2,487 U.S. citizens 18 years and older about their iPhone use. Everyone participating in the survey — the results were released Wednesday — owned

an iPhone for at least six months, up to and including the polling period. One-fifth of respondents, or 21 percent, said they were using an iPhone with a cracked or damaged screen.

21%

of respondents said they were using an iPhone with a cracked or damaged screen.

One-third, or 34 percent, said the iPhone was damaged in some way. Nine percent admitted their phone had been affected by water damage. The leading cause for the damage? Inebriation, said 47 percent of respondents.

Nearly one-third said they had a protective case on the back of the phone when the damage occurred, and 59 percent said they had purchased one since the damage occurred (supposedly to prevent further damage or loss of pieces from the initial incident). The majority of respondents, 71 percent, said they haven’t repaired their phones yet because they don’t want to pay for it. Two-thirds of those with damaged handsets said they were carrying an iPhone 5, 5C or 5S, one-third had an iPhone 4 or 4S model and the other 7 percent had one of the three earlier models. katherine.poythress@ utsandiego.com • (619) 293-2517

Causes of iPhone damage 47% — I was under the influence of alcohol and dropped my iPhone on a hard surface: 19% — My child/a child was responsible for the damage 17% — I was clumsy and dropped my iPhone on a hard surface 9% — I dropped my iPhone into water (toilet/ pool/sink) 4% — My pet/an animal was responsible for the damage 4% — Other

Low-income women in San Diego and Tijuana will soon be able to receive cervical cancer diagnostic services via smartphone. The pilot program will happen thanks to a $300,000 first-place award granted in May by the Vodafone America Foundation to a San Diego- and Tijuana-based team of public health and research organizations. “(We) will use this firstplace prize to bring our lowcost cancer screening technology to the women who need it most,” said Ariel Beery, CEO of Mobile OCT, part of the winning team. According to the company’s website, the smartphone tool combines “a lens and a set of algorithms that enable advanced screening for cancer.” Women on both sides of the border will be eligible to participate in the study’s different phases. Scripps Health

will work with patients in San Diego, and Fronteras United Pro Salud, a nonprofit in Tijuana that focuses on reproductive health, will work with those in Mexico. Public health officials say screening for cervical cancer is critical, because the disease is the leading cause of cancer death among women with limited resources. While there’s already a test — known as a Pap smear — for this cancer, the World Health Organization estimates that 85 percent of the world’s women don’t have access to it. The winning team’s participants were: Mobil OCT, maker of the cancer diagnostic tool; International Community Foundation, a San Diego-based health and education nonprofit; Scripps Health;andFronterasUnited Pro Salud. roxana.popescu@utsandiego.com (619) 797-6312 Twitter: roxanapopescu

TSRI TO START REVIEWING OTHER FINANCIAL OPTIONS Institute faces opposition to possible tie-up Amid faculty opposition to having The Scripps Research Institute merge or be taken over by the University of Southern California, the institute’s board chairman has announced a broader review of financial options for the biomedical powerhouse in La Jolla. Starting next week, a committee of trustees, administrators and researchers will meet to “comprehensively evaluate the best path forward,” chairman Dick Gephardt said in a letter posted online Friday. He added that the group’s discussions “will take as long as necessary to achieve success.” The panel’s 14 members include Gephardt; institute president and CEO Michael Marletta; James Paulson, head of the cell and molecular biology department; and Thomas Kodadek, a chemistry professor at the institute’s satellite campus in Jupiter, Fla. Scripps Research faculty members were told this month about the potential of some type of partnership between the institute and USC. Neither the institute nor the university has given details of their possible alliance, and it’s unclear whether they are still actively considering a tie-up. In his letter, Gephardt said Scripps Research’s finances are solid “and will remain so fortheforeseeablefuture.”He

also wrote that “any honest and thoughtful assessment of our future must take into account near-term and potentially significant changes in funding from the National Institutes of Health ... and the reduced funding from private medical and pharmaceutical organizations.” Like other institutions, Scripps Research is trying to become less dependent on the National Institutes of Health, which essentially has had a flat budget in recent years but faces growing demand for money. The agency is the nation’s largest public underwriter of life-science research. It provided about 86 percent of Scripps Research’s revenues last year, according to Fitch Ratings. Last June, Fitch said the institute’s “recent trend of negative operating margins combined with high reliance on declining grant income from National Institutes of Health ... raise concerns about long-term endowment sufficiency.” Two other well-known biomedical centers in La Jolla rely far less on the agency’s grants. Last year, NIH funding made up less than 50 percent of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies’ budget. For the nearby Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the figure was 35 percent.

HIEU TRAN PHAN • U-T

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