Hotel taxes for homeless, not a new convention center

A new survey suggests there's strong support among San Diegans for an as-yet hypothetical measure to address the city's homelessness issue by increasing hotel taxes.

The study, conducted between May 31 and June 4 by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, a Los Angeles-based public policy research firm, found that if a special election were held in November, 70 percent of likely voters in the city would approve a two-percent hike to the transient occupancy tax paid by local hotel guests. A full 75 percent of voters

would approve same if a proposition were to be offered in November 2018 as regular elections, even midterms, tend to skew more liberal (and more likely to assent to tax increases) as more voters participate. Either result would surpass the two-thirds majority threshold to pass a new tax.

The results come in stark contrast to a proposal floated by Mayor Kevin Faulconer to increase hotel taxes by three percent to fund another convention center expansion, despite arguments that such facilities are already in excessive abundance across the country. When pitched on the idea with no background information, the 400 likely voters surveyed indicated only a 54-percent approval rate in the special election Faulconer is pushing for — the total jumps to 60 percent if the issue were delayed until 2018, but neither surpasses the two-thirds threshold.

Worse, after hearing simple pro/con arguments regarding the viability of the convention center, support drops to just 47 and 51 percent, respectively.

"San Diegans have their priorities straight," said homeless advocate Michael McConnell in a release from the pollsters. "Voters want to get our homeless neighbors off the streets, and allocate appropriate funding to do so."

Under the idea floated, the two-percent tax would raise up to $60 million annually until voters approve its cancellation. The full text of the survey question reads as follows:

City of San Diego Plan to Prevent and Combat Homelessness

To fund mental health, substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, rental subsidies, emergency and affordable housing, transportation, outreach, prevention, and supportive services for homeless children, families, foster youth, veterans, battered women, seniors, disabled individuals, and other homeless adults; shall voters authorize an ordinance to levy a two-percent transient occupancy tax, paid only by hotel/short-term rental guests, providing 60 million dollars annually until ended by voters, with independent annual audits and citizens’ oversight?

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Homelessness can never be solved. There will always be bums and druggies among us who want nothing to do with being productive citizens. The more you do the more you will get. The mentally ill should be institutionalized. The druggies and alcoholics that WANT to get off drugs/alcohol should be helped. Those who need a hand up should get it. The rest are bums and should be shunned. It is said that there are 9,000 homeless in San Diego County. If everyone was taken off the streets there would just be another 9,000. If you feed a stray dog all you will get is more stray dogs.

Now there's an enlightened 21st Century response to one of man kind's perpetual problems since recorded history began. What do we do to the poor. That's right, what do we "do to them" because that is what you are deciding.

You can decide to keep them hidden from sight and compartmentalize your guilt if you are capable of feeling that emotion. You can actually try to change things, like actually dedicating enough health care resources to help the ones that want it. And you might be surprised at how many people actually want to be helped. Other than the mentally ill, virtually 100% of the people I know would prefer to be helped when they are in need of it rather than be shunted aside and judged not worthy of helping. Of course it takes time and effort and resources to make that determination, not blind judgment that certain people, especially those with darker complexions, don't want to be helped. They would rather be miserable and suffer. Everyone knows who those people are, anyone can tell just by looking at them. NOT.

Bums are bums no matter the color. I agree that the money should be there to help those who want help. Many of the non-mentally ill people on the streets want to be on the streets. They don't want to work or clean up and get sober or conform to any social norms. I have worked with people who want to contribute to society and I have no problem helping them but the rest are just bums plain and simple.

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