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San Diego Leaders Tell Peters, Hoyer What Innovation Economy Needs From Congress

— Congressman Scott Peters lead a forum at UC San Diego Monday on what Congress can do to support local innovation. San Diego business leaders, researchers and special guest House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer focused mostly on what Washington isn’t doing.

Aired 8/20/13 on KPBS News.

How can Congress support local innovation? Congressman Peters led a forum to discuss just that.

Congressman Scott Peters.

Hoyer opened the afternoon panel airing his concerns about cuts to federal grants for the kind of long-term projects known as basic research.

“Stockholders are not necessarily interested in basic research,” he said. “They may be very interested in applied research but they look at that quarterly report, and what government has always done is be able to do the long-term visionary research.”

Hoyer said during his more than 20 years on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, representatives had a goal of giving the National Institutes of Health enough funding to support a third of the grant applications they received. Hoyer said today, many federal agencies are down to funding less than 10 percent of grant applications.

Local leaders on the panel told Hoyer what San Diego businesses need is stability. Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation said many employers had to consider layoffs because of sequestration.

“Only to lose a lot of their best workers whether they wound up ever needing to let them go or not,” he said. “Because their sharpest and smartest workers who could go elsewhere were going elsewhere.”

Holly Smithson, President of Clean TECH San Diego, said she is looking to Congress for to make tax credits for companies that invest millions in research and development permanent.

“They have to be able to plan more than 1 year, more than 5 years, so that we can have consistent tax policy that invite this type of private investment,” she said.

Former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who now leads the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Magda Marquet, chair of the BIOCOM board of directors, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla and John Dunn, board member for CONNECT also sat on the afternoon’s panel.

They pointed to immigration and tax reform as other areas that could grease the wheels of local business.

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Avatar for user 'ICare'

ICare | August 20, 2013 at 8:40 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Thank you to Congressman Peter's for bringing in leadership from DC to San Diego. Been a long time since we have had a voice in DC representing the San Diego region. Just shows us what an effective member of congress can do, even as a freshman. Keep up the good work Scott. We are so proud of you.

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Avatar for user 'Van'

Van | August 20, 2013 at 10:39 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Thanks to Congressman Peters for organizing this event. As important as the economic issues discussed were, they are dwarfed by the need to consider and act upon environmental economics that are currently not sustainable. I anticipated that this larger issue would not be addressed, so I asked both Congressman to take 5 actions in response to their question - How Can Congress Support America's Science and Innovation Economy?
1. Divert oil industry subsidies toward micro-grid & rooftop solar development to stabilize the grid with affordable decentralized power production.
2. Ban "fracking" to protect water supplies.
3. Establish a carbon tax that does not allow environmental costs to be dumped on the public.
4. Transform the transportation sector and support redevelopment over urban sprawl.
5. Overall, understand that a healthy economy requires policies that sustain a healthy environment.

I'm hopeful that it will not take a storm surge or other climate change related natural disaster for leaders to start engaging in serious dialogue and action on the larger issues that set the foundation for the entire economy.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 20, 2013 at 11:02 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

UCSD ex-Chancellor McGill: "It is a simple fact that every nuclear weapon manufactured in the USA was manufactured under the auspices & on the property of the UC. How do you square the openness of a university and universal access to knowledge with the closed environment associated with security matters? You can't." UCSD has done UAV research for 12 years, on structural integrity & better propulsion systems / ways to fly drones in packs. “Our challenge in San Diego is access to FAA-approved airspace for flight testing autonomous UAVs,” said Prof. John Kosmatka of the Jacobs School. At 183,000-sq-ft Structural & Materials Engineering Bldg inaguration, current UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla said "THIS is the future of the university" (pointing). Linden Blue of General Atomics agreed. Khosla served on DARPA for Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems. Adm. Froman retired from the Navy '01. In '05 she was appt. City of San Diego COO by Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders. In June '07, during Sunroad airport high-rise scandal, she left the job, to become VP of General Atomics. She married 50% owner Linden Blue, a donor to Republican causes. Froman told U-T’s reporter Diane Bell: "I often say: 'Put your big-girl panties on.' In other words, suck it up and don’t whine." Dianne Feinstein made the announcement when Froman married Blue.

'I encourage you to reach out to Congress people" said Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs at Mar. 6, '13 shareholder meeting. He's in favor of earnings repatriation free-of-tax or very-low-tax a la Apple. Qualcomm contributed $2,500 to Susan Davis, and $3,500 to Darryl Issa. Duncan Hunter ($4,500). House Speaker John Boehner ($6,500). Dianne Feinstein ($2,500). Chamber of Commerce of the USA, $385,000
• The Wireless Association, $392,500 • Semiconductor Industry Association, $207,500
• San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, $50,000
“I launched Qualcomm's 1st internat'l R&D Ctr in Haifa, Israel '92, staffed entirely with Technion graduates & purposely located near campus to take advantage of its great education & research,” said Irwin Jacobs. Jerusalem Post, 10/23/2011: Technion & Cornell U will be partnering to establish a new applied science & engineering campus for graduate students on Roosevelt Island in NYC "in a completely 50-50 partnership." The NYC Tech Campus was awarded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs have pledged $133 million to Cornell U and the Technion-Israel Instit. of Tech. as part of a new applied science & engineering campus in NYC.

Technion graduates head 59 of 121 Israeli companies on NASDAQ, and these companies have a combined market value of over $28 billion. Israeli companies headed by Technion graduates employ 85% of Israel’s technical workforce.

Jacobs served on selection committee for Khosla. He contributed millions to his mansion w/ 20 priv. parking ss. His salary is greater than that of POTUS.

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