City leaders don’t mention “convention center”

In plea for convention center expansion vote

$3.8 billion of the $6.4 billion raised by boosting the hotel tax would go to the convention center.
  • $3.8 billion of the $6.4 billion raised by boosting the hotel tax would go to the convention center.

Local media are reporting this morning (August 9) that the initiative to raise the hotel tax to expand the convention center and purportedly fix the roads and help the homeless doesn’t have enough valid signatures to make the November ballot.

This afternoon at 4 pm, the city council is scheduled to meet to discuss an emergency proposal by Mayor Kevin Faulconer to put the measure on the ballot. If the council agrees, it will take a two-thirds vote to pass the measure, rather than a hair over 50 percent. That’s because the failed proposal was misleadingly called a “citizens’” initiative that doesn’t require two-thirds. (It was questionable that it was actually a “citizens’” initiative becasue the downtown corporate welfare crowd, including city council members, originated and promoted it.)

Statements by backers of the new Faulconer initiative are quite revealing. According to the Union-Tribune, Faulconer declared, “I will not be deterred from addressing the urgent issues of homelessness, road repair and protecting our economy.” Note the absence of the words “convention center.”

Similarly, the group pushing the original initiative, named “Yes! For a Better San Diego,” commented, “Our coalition…will support every available option to immediately alleviate homelessness, create jobs and repair roads.” Again: no mention of “convention center.”

All along, the promoters of a convention center expansion have pushed homelessness and road repair — marketing gimmicks to make the the deal more appealing to voters. But $3.8 billion of the $6.4 billion raised by boosting the hotel tax would go to the convention center and only about $2 billion for the homeless and $600 million for road repair. It appears that the hucksters realize that there is a massive glut of convention center space in the nation, forcing centers to slash prices by 50 percent or more. San Diego’s existing center needs expensive repairs, but Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin, foreseeing massive debt, declining revenues and rising expenditures straining the budget, wonders if there will be funding for operations and maintenance. And the downtown overlords want an expansion?

According to Times of San Diego, City Councilmember David Alvarez, who has long seen through the center expansion’s irrationality, tweeted that the expansion is “not gonna happen in November or maybe ever.” Amen.

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Over his four-plus years as mayor, Kev-boy has done nothing but avoid "addressing the urgent issues of homelessness, road repair and protecting our economy." That's why nobody is buying what he's selling.

Cassander: You are exactly right. I am all for raising the hotel tax to do something about the homeless problem and fixing the god-awful streets and roads. But expanding the convention center into a massive national glut when there is not enough money to fix up the existing center? Madness! Best, Don Bauder

A ballot proposal to raise the TOT by half of what this proposal would have done, and to spend the money on homelessness, road and infrastructural repair, and spiffing up some of the tourist areas would probably pass handily. It would only be fair that the tourists get a little something for the added levy.

Visduh: Such a proposal should pass easily -- and would be great for the community. Best, Don Bauder

The raising of the "hotel tax" should include the proviso that the hotels pay their employees a living wage so that taxpayer won't have to augment their profits by providing welfare benefits to their employees.

Like the oppressive heat and humidity, one has to ask: when will we ever get relief?

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is shockingly inept. He should have made common cause with Councilman David Alvarez to raise the hotel visitor tax to deal with San Diego's ballooning homeless population -- and throw in something for needed street repair -- and there would have been a real chance for two-thirds passage in November. Keeping expansion of the Convention Center in the mix guarantees defeat. Maybe Faulconer will blame this embarrassment on "bad advice," as his inept predecessor ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders recently did in the fiasco over full funding of public employee pensions.

monaghan: And the mayor wants the pro soccer initiative when SDSU needs the land. And who wants to be on November ballot if those two opposing initiatives are also on the ballot? Best, Don Bauder

Strategically, you're quite right about ballot clutter, including the repeal of Gov. Brown's regressive gas tax. But I'm a fan of the SoccerCity proposal and believe its passage would mark a new beginning for San Diego. If voters approve, we could leave behind our same-old same-old business-as-usual white-bread wheeling and dealing and bring transformative positive change to Mission Valley. I like the idea of mixed uses, a real River Park and a small-scale stadium for professional soccer -- "the beautiful game" and a world sport enjoyed for the last 40 years by several generations of local kids and their families.

monaghan: You are one of the first intelligent persons who expressed these sentiments to me. What's wrong with the SDSU proposal? Best, Don Bauder

Pretty much everything, starting with its McMastermind, developer Jack McGrory. Nothing new, more congestion, more sprawl, more death-dealing football and taxpayers on the hook for the cost.

Football isn't going away just because there's no stadium in Mission Valley. The Aztec program, like it or not, is still popular and probably more so since the Chargers decamped. They'll find some place to play. Trust me.

Visduh: It will take many years for football to die, unfortunately. Best, Don Bauder

monaghan: I dislike the university's intention to rip down the stadium and build a smaller one for football. That stadium is not old by college standards. Stadiums for Michigan, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Mississippi State and many other major football powers have much older stadiums. I have written columns on that. Best, Don Bauder

monaghan: Education spending is wise capital spending. Stadiums are not. Neither are real estate housing/retailing developments. Best, Don Bauder

RE: "Neither are real estate housing/retailing developments."

That general statement is not necessarily accurate. It depends on the developer, location, marketing, etc. Rick Caruso has been extremely successful doing that. For one example, see: http://americanaatbrand.com/

The City would be better served to have neither initiative get 50% in November, then the City would be able to present an RFP for future use, at a much higher value.

Kevin Falconer is pushing hard for the expansion of the Convention Center because he, through his wife's company, directly profits from tourism and convention dollars. A KPBS article dated 2/6/2014 states "Katherine Stuart Faulconer owns the business Restaurant Events, which helps companies, conventions and other groups book restaurants for events mostly in the Gaslamp Quarter. Faulconer says she earned about $174,000 in 2012. Faulconer’s campaign did not respond to requests for his tax returns".

His thinly veiled attempt at appearing to care about the homeless crisis is really a way to get taxpayers to fund a project that helps people like he and his wife, not the majority of taxpayers in San Diego.

clash84: I don't know if she still owns that business, but if she does, the situation stinks. Also, remember that he used to represent the downtown district, and he is still in hock to the corporate welfare oligarchs there. Best, Don Bauder

Don, according to the current filings on the CA Secretary of State website, she does. She is the only director and lists herself as the CEO, Secretary and CFO. She also describes herself as president of that company on her LinkedIn profile, which also appears to be current. See below. C2131103    RESTAURANT EVENTS, INC. Registration Date: 01/19/1999 Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA Entity Type: DOMESTIC STOCK Status: ACTIVE Agent for Service of Process: KATHERINE F STUART

Clash84: I am delighted that the clarification of this issue is running in the Reader. As I said earlier, it stinks. Best, Don Bauder

It seems if your husband is the mayor, you can comfortably run a DMC that screams “Take Over the Streets of San Diego!” You can talk about strategy over dinner or in bed.

This should be a separate story. There must be a conflict of interest.


Marketing, is that what they call it these days? More like bait and switch if you ask me. With more than 50% of the funds going towards the Convention Center it’s bordering on criminal behavior not to clearly state to the voters where the majority of the funds will be spent.

With the Mayor termed out and and ever dwindling chance of higher elected office, the taxpayers will be left with the debt and a vacant center. But, who knows, maybe waterfront property is where we need to house the homeless. Hoteliers deserve it!

JustWondering: Good idea. San Diego could put a shelter for the homeless on that lot next to the existing center where the overlords want to build an expansion. Best, Don Bauder

GROUP PROMOTING CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION MAY SUE A SIGNATURE-GATHERING FIRM. 'Yes! For a Better San Diego," the major promoter of the convention center expansion, today (August 9) announced its "intent to sue" its signature gathering firm, Arno Petition Consultants. The pro-expansion folks fell short of getting the necessary number of signatures, as announced today.

"Yes! For a Better San Diego" charges that campaign officials "found information that the firm fabricated signature reports for months -- making misrepresentations about how many signatures had been collected, what the validity rate was and how many gatherers were being paid." Allegedly, this forced the campaign to recruit volunteers who were not able to make the deadline. Best, Don Bauder

Maybe this is an indicator of how San Diegans really feel about this initiative. If so called professional signature gatherers cannot get people to sign up, why do our local politicians believe this thing would ever pass if given a full unbiased vote at the ballot box?

The Airbnb crowd is now out gathering signatures, using professional canvassers. Let it be true that San Diegans will not fall for that campaign either. Are the city residents finally awakening to how they keep getting screwed? It would be so nice to think so.

JustWondering: The downtown overlords don't care if the public opposes this fatuous corporate welfare plan. The overlords have been plotting for years to shove a convention center expansion down the public's throat. Best, Don Bauder

Visduh: One would surely hope that San Diegans are waking up at how, for decades, they have been fleeced by the downtown crowd. Best, Don Bauder

ENCOURAGING NEWS: CITY COUNCIL REFUSES TO PUT FAULCONER'S SUBSTITUTE CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION MEASURE ON NOVEMBER BALLOT. The city council today (April 9) turned down Mayor Faulconer's last-minute scheme to have a vote on the convention center expansion in November. After news came out yesterday that the original plan didn't have enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, Faulconer quickly proposed a substitute measure (See above.)

According to Times of San Diego, "The council didn't actually vote on the initiative Thursday. Before that would have happened, they voted 4-4 on waiving the policy by which the council approves measures for the ballot, which was required to move the proposal forward on such short notice."

Councilmembers Barbara Bry, David Alvarez (a long opponent of the convention center expansion), Georgette Gomez, and Myrtle Cole voted against waiving the policy, according to Times of San Diego. Councilmembers Mark Kersey, Lorie Zapf, Chris Cate, and Scott Sherman (all who generally line up with corporate welfare and real estate projects) voted in favor. Chis Ward wasn't present. Best, Don Bauder

How does a 4-4 vote work? Can a tie vote kill something? Alvarez, Bry, Cole and Gomez voted AGAINST WAIVING a policy that needed to pass before the Council could consider placing Faulconer's matter on the November ballot. To have succeeded, Faulconer needed five votes. Getting only four, the matter died. Is that correct?

monaghan: That's how I read it, and the way Times of San Diego presented it. Best, Don Bauder

So if this remains as the status quo, only the guys holding the 5th Avenue Landing Lease come out smelling like a 🌹rose, with money in the bank. Our accomplish nothing Mayor is once again revealed as the sycophant that he’s always been to the downtown interest and not the citizens. It time for Faulconer to call it a career and go back to the private sector where he’ll be ignored by the folks he likes to suck up to.

JustWondering: I agree with your assessment. Termed out, he wants to ascend to higher office. He should be rejected. If so, he will get a job with the downtown corporate welfare boosters. Best, Don Bauder

Here’s a law the citizens of San Diego should pass. Former city officials, elected or appointed, are banned from lobbying, in any way, current city officials, elected or appointed, in any form whatsoever, for a period of no longer than twenty years.
The framers of our republic intended for citizens to participate in public service and then to return to their private lives. Career politicians = malfeasance and corruption, we see it over and over.

JustWondering. We need such restrictions locally. And even more so in DC. Best, Don Bauder

The convention center and stadium fiascos are the reason I moved out of San Diego decades ago. Smaller communities address quality of life issues much better than San Diego does.

Big cities, by their archaic bureaucratic structure, constant lobbying by big-bucks corporations, corrupt fundraising by elected officials, lawsuits against police departments, and words-speak-louder-than-actions behavior, have become almost ungovernable. There is little incentive to fix problems, because the city employees don't see any rewards coming their way.

Well that’s an overstatement. Rank and file city employees work hard serving the citizens who fund their salaries. These employees have neither the authority, or the power, to fix what politicians and upper management have caused.

Amen! The problem is the politicians and the department heads not the rank and file worker. The problems always start at the top.

I think it's a combination of both.

dwbat: The heart of the problem is that charismatic politicians get elected but don't know how to run anything. Best, Don Bauder

AlexClarke: Generally, that's true: the rot spreads from the head down. Best, Don Bauder

JustWondering: I agree with you on salaries. I wish I could be as confident on pensions. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Big cities have big problems, but look at some making progress; Seattle, Denver, etc. Best, Don Bauder

AlexClarke: That is true. Best, Don Bauder

Let's bring Roger Hedgecock in as a consultant and pay him $450,000, to properly deliberate what is best for the City of San Diego. ;o? ;o/

Darren: How about paying him $450,000 to stay away? Best, Don Bauder

If you don't have more conventions and tourists, how can your wife help events "Take Over the Streets of San Diego!"


by Ponzi

Ponzi: Corruption in San Diego? Particularly among downtown oligarchs? Come now. Can't happen. Best, Don

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