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San Diego Dismissed As Defendant In TMD Lawsuit

The city of San Diego will be dismissed as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the city's Tourism Marketing District against Mayor Bob Filner, who has refused to sign off on an agreement to release administrative funds to the agency, according to a settlement agreement released today.

The TMD was renewed by the City Council last fall, but ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders was unable to sign all the necessary documents before he left office in December. Filner, his successor, refused to sign the contract to provide funding because he wants higher pay for hotel workers and more money for public safety, among other things.

In exchange for the TMD dismissing the city as a defendant and waiving its rights to recover legal costs from the city, the City Council acknowledges that the mayor is obliged to sign the deal under the City Charter, according to the settlement released by council President Todd Gloria.

He said the City Council agreed to the settlement on Tuesday in closed session.

"This agreement demonstrates the City Council's belief in the tremendous benefit and value of the Tourism Marketing District,'' Gloria said. "We want the TMD to continue operating. I hope the entire matter is quickly resolved so the TMD can go back to publicizing our destination, and we can focus on other priority matters.''

Tourism officials said the TMD has been unable to launch a $5.4 million advertising campaign because of the hang-up with the mayor.

Separately, the San Diego Tourism Authority -- the former Convention and Visitors Bureau -- said it issued 85 layoff notices this week as a result of the TMD funding dispute. The authority said it might have to close by May 13 if the issue isn't resolved.

The TMD is funded by a 2 percent charge on hotel room rates. The resulting revenue is distributed to a variety of organizations that promote tourism in San Diego.

Comments

Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | March 15, 2013 at 11:22 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

City Attorney Goldsmith approved the City Council decision to move booking and sales of the Convention Center to the private Tourism Authority was made through a Quid Pro Quo arrangement in 2012. The No-Bid Contract did not follow Managed Competition guidelines.

The deal included that the Hoteliers would not vote against the new 2 percent TMD or 3 percent Special tax in exchange for moving Convention Center Booking to the private Tourism Authority.

The Hoteliers have stated they wanted to move the lucrative smaller medical convention from our public Convention Center (that pays down our annual $14 million public debt for Phase 2) to private Hotels owned by Tourism Authority Board Members. Major Conflict of Interest. It would be great to see the new Booking of the Tourism Authority since there takeover on July 1, 2012. Did the Hoteliers move the lucrative Medical Convention for their own private financial gain, at the expense of Taxpayers?

How about a news story on the reasons why the Convention Center staff had to take back Booking and Sales of the public Convention Center from the private ConVis in 2004? Was not the Booking and Sales move back in 2004 due to lack of transparancy and incompetence? Between 2004 and 2012 the public Convention Center staff did a great job and exceeded goals for Booking and Sales, but instead were rewarded with Pink Slips and a new private Tourism Authority bosses.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | March 18, 2013 at 1:50 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Todd Goria appears to be continuing his personal campaign to buddy up to the big political contributor hotel owners and undercut Mayor Filner every chance he gets. Very disappointing.

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Avatar for user 'Kapich'

Kapich | March 18, 2013 at 5:01 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Council President Gloria and all city council members understand the value of tourism industry - from 160,000 jobs that can't be outsourced to $18 billion in economic benefit. The self assessed TMD raises $150 million plus in TOT that supports city services. Good for council and TMD in working together to benefit all San Diegans!! Get the facts at sandiego.org/WhyTravelMatters.

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