Filner willing to go to court over tourism funds

SAN DIEGO — Tourism officials said they’re ready to take San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to court, accusing him of putting thousands of San Diegans at risk of losing their jobs.

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 10.11.28 PMMembers of San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District need Filner to sign off on a plan, already passed by City Council, which would release them a $30 million fund generated by tourism taxes on hotels.

City Council members approved the money last year to help the TMD in its mission to market San Diego as a tourist destination around the country and around the world.

But Mayor Filner said he won’t sign on the deal, calling it “a rip off to taxpayers.”

The mayor spoke of the pending lawsuit against the TMD challenging the process by which the hotel tax came to be in the first place.

“It was voted by hoteliers,” said Filner. “I am willing to renegotiate. A lawsuit will only make things worst for everyone.”

“There are thousands of jobs on the line,” said San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria, who voted with the majority that approved the $30 million in annual tax revenue be invested in the TMD and its marketing efforts.

“This is what we’ve been doing for years and to change course now would mean that we’re not marketing San Diego that means fewer visitors with less hotel tax revenue which means less money in our city’s general fund,” said Gloria.

Filner and other taxpayer advocates said they wish to reevaluate the agreement, which also renews the 5 year old contract with TMD for 39 years and 6 months.

“Why can’t we just renew their contract for 1 year, why does it have to be 40, and why can’t we ask the hotels to pay for their marketing that way the city can keep more of the tax revenue to hire police officers and firefighters,” said Filner.

Tourism officials stressed keeping the money in limbo is already putting thousands of jobs that depend on those funds in jeopardy.

12 comments

  • laplayaheritage

    http://www.tinyurl.com/20130424

    The City of San Diego is leaving a Hotelier pre-approved 5 percent, annual $80 million, on the table due to a lack of cooperation between the San Diego Tourism Authority/ConVis, private Hoteliers, and regular San Diegans.

    Instead of cooperation for the public good, it all about private profits and subsidies for the rich Hoteliers, and socialized losses for everyone else.

    Their Hoteliers/ConVis private greed and refusal to cooperate with the public is why the City of San Diego has the lowest Transient Occupancy Tax at 10.5 percent compared to the top North America travel destinations. Hotel rooms do not have to pay public sales tax

  • gary Andrews

    The Money was approved for a specific purpose, it is that simple. Filner is not only Personally a "Tool" but his need to become a "Caesar is already getting out of hand. The Money is for the "Tourism of our City " My " City. Shut up and pay .

  • Guest

    One problem in this article… it is not a $30 million fund generated by tourism tax, the city is already taking the full 2% of the tourism tax and giving none back to the hotels for marketing purposes. What king Filner is holding is an assessment that was approved and is listed as a separate line item on hotel invoices for the purpose of marketing and bringing more guests to the city of San Diego. Without this assessment San Diego will be unable to compete with markets like LA and San Francisco that impose similar assessments and already have put millions of dollars in advertisements out to the public. This means San Diego will be losing market share this summer and people working in hotels will likely have their hours cut or be laid off as a result of lower revenues.

  • Kristen Aliotti

    We have a new Mayor. He wants to slow down a bit, and look at some of the things that were rushed through at the time our last Mayor was making his exit, and giving away the store before he left! If anyone is reading all this information coming out lately and not seeing that this needs to be looked at more carefully (e.g., financial support for MORE police and MORE fire and MORE maintenance of downtown and MORE street improvements) then he/she is probably a "part of the problem" – e.g., the autocratic Big Hotel group.

  • anonymous

    I understand both sides of the argument and maybe a concession could be made. But I agree the money was made for a specifc purpose and should be used that. I also understand that public safety is something that should be invested in. But do what is right. If the budget wasn’t out of wack to begin with then funds could be raise without trying to raise taxes on the citizens of SD. I didn’t vote for this guy but this is what we’re stuck with. And if he is willing to easily go to court for this, who is paying that bill. Is he paying the court fees and the lawyer of are the citizens paying for it?

  • Guest

    This new mayor is an ignorant. From where this idiot came from? he does NOT deserve to be the mayor of our beautiful city. It's common sense to invest in marketing for tourism. He needs to educate himself and follow the example of Mayor Sanders. He should move to Tijuana and take with him his looser followers.

    • Guest

      If you are following Mayor Sanders than where was the Mayor hiding all that money that was suddenly found before finishing his term in office. Was he planning on investing into a hotel chain!
      I have lived in San Diego all my life and have never seen our streets get this bad, pot holes all over San Diego.

  • Ruben Hernandez

    This guy it's not just ugly, but stupid and on top evil. He feels very powerful trying to manipulate the people that knows what is best for the local economy. You are not the King, you are the Joker.

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