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Mayor Filner Signs Tourism Marketing Agreement

Mayor Bob Filner signed an agreement with San Diego's Tourism Marketing District today. The City Council then unanimously approved a measure directing Filner to execute the amended agreement.

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TMD Agreement Signed By Filner

TMD Agreement Signed By Filner

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The council delayed a decision on the agreement last week because Filner and the TMD disagreed over the extent to which the area's biggest hotels should protect the city from risk. Three lawsuits filed against the city say a 2 percent fee on hotel rooms to fund the tourism district's marketing is illegal because it amounts to a tax, which must be approved by a public vote. If the courts agree, San Diego could have to refund money it paid to the tourism district.

The agreement signed by Filner today says each hotel's monetary obligation should be limited to "the dollar amount of the TMD assessment paid by that indemnifying hotel" for 12 months. It also says each hotel's obligation will only be triggered after the city's TMD fund is exhausted and says the city can save $2.3 million in hotel assessments for legal defense costs.

Last week, Filner had wanted hotels to protect the city from any risk associated with the lawsuits, but the hotels had agreed only to be liable for the money they give to the marketing district.

Filner vetoed the pact last week after a deal on amendments with the tourism agency's board fell through.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he had not seen the new agreement until immediately before today's City Council meeting. But, he told councilmembers he trusts TMD's lawyers and is willing to sign off on the deal.

The tourism funds will not be released until Filner signs the original agreement. He hasn’t done that yet. But his staff told the City Council his signature on the amendment should be a sign of good faith that he will also sign the original. Filner's staff said he’ll sign the original when he returns from Mexico in three days.

Comments

Avatar image for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | April 15, 2013 at 11:20 a.m. ― 1 year ago

www.tinyurl.com/20130415a

Irrespective of today’s City Council hearing, on a parallel track the City Council should put the issue of increasing Hotel taxes to a public vote, in order to save taxpayer money and an additional 2 years of courtroom drama. The City, Hoteliers, and the SDTA employees can get certainty immediately after a public vote.

The first opportunity to put a 5% legal Hotel Tax increase before the public for a vote would be as part of the Special Election for City Council District 4 scheduled for Tuesday May 21, 2013. A public vote would get rid of the need for the private 2% TMD and 3% Special Tax for the Convention Center Financing District (CCFD), and all expensive lawsuits. The private Hoteliers, City Council, the Independent Budget Analyst (IBA), and City Attorney Goldsmith have all pre-approved a 5% TOT increase from the existing 10.5% TOT to a Maximum effective rate of 15.5%. Therefore the Hoteliers’ complaints that a maximum effective 15.5% Hotel Tax rate would hurt the tourism industry in San Diego, can be ignored.

The effects of the City Council’s approval of today’s TMD Agreement and the Convention Center Financing District (CCFD) will cause a domino effect on a range of development possibilities for the San Diego Region. Without a public vote to increase hotel taxes by 5%, the City of San Diego and the NFL Chargers would not have the option of a multi-purpose Olympic Stadium and Contiguous Convention Center Expansion on our public waterfront. Without a multi-use structure in downtown, the City of San Diego will not have the opportunity to Redevelop our public QUALCOMM Stadium site in Mission Valley, and our public Sports Arena in the Midway District. Kowtowing to the private Hoteliers and SDTA should not come at a cost of a potential lost our NFL Chargers franchise, and no opportunities to redevelop Qualcomm Stadium and the Sports Arena.

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Avatar image for user 'ericjlund'

ericjlund | April 15, 2013 at 3:42 p.m. ― 1 year ago

The tourism industry is nearly to the next waypoint toward being in position to once again market San Diego as a great destination. We should all be cautiously optimistic that the Mayor will follow through and ensure funding flows so marketing can begin anew. It was nice o see the Council acknowledge that the tourism industry stepped up and retuned millions of dollars to the General Fund during the Great Recession to help San Diego balance it's budget when the first five year TMD was established as a solution to funding marketing outside of the General Fund. For more tourism facts go here: www.sandiego.org/whytravelmatters

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Avatar image for user 'ericjlund'

ericjlund | April 15, 2013 at 3:44 p.m. ― 1 year ago

The tourism industry is nearly to the next waypoint toward being in position to once again market San Diego as a great destination. We should all be cautiously optimistic that the Mayor will follow through and ensure funding flows so marketing can begin anew. It was nice to see the Council acknowledges that the tourism industry stepped up and retuned millions of dollars to the General Fund during the Great Recession to help San Diego balance its budget when the first five year TMD was established as a solution to funding marketing outside of the General Fund. For more tourism facts go here: www.sandiego.org/whytravelmatters

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