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Groups Debate Value Of Jobs Created By Downtown Development

Developers and labor groups are battling over an issue before the San Diego City Council today. It's all about what kind of jobs are created in the city.

Hotel workers and labor advocates gather in front of the Hilton Bayfront in San Diego, Calif. on August 14, 2010. They want the city council to have final authority over  major hotel developments downtown, rather than the Center City Development Corporation.
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Above: Hotel workers and labor advocates gather in front of the Hilton Bayfront in San Diego, Calif. on August 14, 2010. They want the city council to have final authority over major hotel developments downtown, rather than the Center City Development Corporation.

Developers in San Diego’s downtown core say if the City Council burdens them with too many regulations about who can bid on contracts, they will not be able to finance their big hotel projects.

Consultant Gary London has produced a report that supports keeping downtown hotel development decisions in the hands of the Center City Development Corporation (CCDC).

London says more than a dozen big downtown hotel projects are in the works right now. He argues giving final authority to a labor-friendly City Council would have serious economic consequences.

"I can tell you that based on this analysis the hotel rooms won’t be built," London said, "and if the hotel rooms won’t be built, it places the third phase of the Convention Center in jeopardy, in my opinion."

Theresa Quiros of the city’s Affordable Housing Coalition spoke at a press conference held by the hotel workers union, Unite Here. She says she’s received mailers that don’t tell the whole story.

"This mailer says that hotels provide income to the city and that’s true, but it neglects to mention the huge financial burden placed on the taxpayer by the creation of poverty-wage jobs," said Quiros.

Ruben Barrales of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce says it’s more important right now to create jobs than to hold out for better-wage jobs.

The City Council votes today on whether to take back final authority on big downtown hotels.

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