Natasha Collura, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the City of San Diego, appeared at the Budget and Finance committee meeting today to give an update on the effort to sell ads at public beaches and parks. Proponents of the corporate sponsorship program claim selling ad space in public places will generate some needed revenue for the City. Critics, however, say banner ads and stickers will mar the beach and bay aesthetic. They also worry that the revenues generated from the program will get washed away in the City's general fund.
Councilmember Kevin Faulconer, the district representative for Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and Pacific Beach, expressed his concerns during the meeting.
"If the City is going to do something then it has to benefit those communities where the advertising is taking place. Will this money be dedicated for specific improvements to the beach area?" Faulconer asked Collura.
Before the Director of Strategic Partnerships could respond, Mary Lewis, Chief Financial Officer spoke up. "We look at this as unrestricted revenue to the General Fund. The priorities are determined in the budget. We are not proposing any earmarking of revenues."
Faulconer said that in order for him to support selling ads at the beach, then that would have to change. Sherri Lightner, who represents La Jolla, agreed.
One other issue that councilmembers had with the program was the amount of revenue that program would generate. Collura estimates that the pilot program will make anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000 per year.
"That doesn't seem like a lot of money," said Faulconer.