Mayor signs disputed tourism agreement

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San Diego Tourism Marketing District AdSAN DIEGO — Mayor Bob Filner Monday signed an operating agreement with San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District that releases administrative funds to the agency that promotes the city as a vacation destination.

The mayor’s action ends a months-long dispute and came about an hour before the City Council was poised to override his veto of the deal.

The City Council renewed the tourism district last November, but then- Mayor Jerry Sanders was unable to sign all the necessary paperwork by the time he left office.

Filner objected to several points in the agreement, including protections for the city in case judges invalidate the TMD’s funding mechanism are still insufficient.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed challenging the 2 percent levy on hotel room rates that generates money for the agency. The charge is separate from the hotel room tax.

If the TMD is legally required to pay back money to the hotels that has already been spent on marketing, the city’s general fund would have to pick up the tab, according to Filner. He wanted the hotels to assume the risk.

An earlier agreement fell through, leading to the City Council’s agenda items scheduled for this afternoon. It’s unknown how the council agenda will be impacted.

Tourism officials had said industry layoffs could begin in the next couple of weeks if they didn’t get the funding.

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