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Filner Offers New Deal To TMD, TMD Rejects It

Mayor Bob Filner said today that a revised operating agreement he has proposed to San Diego's Tourism Marketing District would get funds released to the travel promotion agency faster.


The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island.

Filner told reporters that he delivered his proposed revisions to the TMD last week and is awaiting a response.

The organization has sued the mayor for his refusal to sign off on a contract that releases administrative funds to the organization that promotes San Diego as a destination. A court hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Filner said his updated demands include stronger indemnification for the city in case judges later rule against the TMD's funding mechanism, which is being challenged in separate court actions. The TMD receives a 2 percent surcharge on hotel room rates.

The City Charter authorizes him to withhold funds that are subject to a legal challenge, the mayor said.

He has repeatedly said that indemnification in the contract he has refused to sign is not strong enough to protect the city.

If his version is approved by the TMD, indemnification would be strong enough to allow him to release funds needed to run the organization, the mayor said.

"My money gets money quicker to the tourism industry,'' Filner said.

The TMD was renewed by the City Council last November, but ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders wasn't able to sign all the necessary documents before he left office.

Filner said he believes the original deal was bad for taxpayers.

"When I became mayor and I looked at the contract, I did not like it,'' Filner said. He said he believes the tax collection is illegal.

He dropped his original demands that some funds be used for public safety and for hoteliers to pay employees a "living'' wage.

Instead, he wants the TMD to commit $6 million to planning the Balboa Park centennial celebration in 2015, and for the organization to encourage that a living wage be paid. Hotel union officials estimate a living wage to be around $14 an hour.

His revisions also would prohibit the TMD from funding organizations that pay annual salaries above $160,000.

The TMD board took up Filner's latest offer at its board meeting. Afterward TMD Chairman Terry Brown issued a statement saying “the Mayor’s proposal is not only contrary to all of the approvals last year by the San Diego City Council, but we also believe it is illegal.”

“The Charter does not grant power to the Mayor to enter into a new contract without City Council approval," the statement continued. "Further, the Charter and municipal law is clear that the Council is the only entity that can approve contracts and any contract entered into without their approval would be void. Although we believe this proposal is illegal, even if it could be accepted, it would irreparably damage the tourism economy and create even more instability for the over 160,000 San Diegans who work in tourism and hospitality services.

“As a result, we cannot accept this new contract and will look forward to the court's resolution of this matter. We are disappointed that we have to seek a court order to compel the Mayor to do something we and the City Council believe he is legally obligated to do. We believe this is in the best long term interest of the many thousands who work in the tourism industry and for all San Diego taxpayers who benefit from the hundreds of millions of dollars tourism generates in taxes and economic benefit for our city.”

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | March 18, 2013 at 5:38 p.m. ― 4 years ago

According to the Comparative Analysis of Mayor Filner's Alternative Draft Contract on Pages 1, 34, and 35 "In the 32 page agreement, he added a total of approximately 600 words."

The difference in Mayor Filner's draft TMD Operating Agreement includes Terms of Agreement is "Up to Five Years" instead of "Five Years", restores indemnification for Elected Official, and "requires more robust disclosure of operating documents on the SDTMD website and requied Public Records Act accountability."

Of course the Hotelier could have voted for the draft, then the draft would go to the City Council for a vote, and then the Hotelier could vote again and sign the official amended TMD Operating Agreement.

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | March 18, 2013 at 5:47 p.m. ― 4 years ago

"Filner also insists that TMD executives be prohibited from earning an annual salary of more than $160,000. The current President and CEO of the TMD, Joe Terzi, earns $435,000 per year, while Vice President Margie Sitton earns over $203,000. Two other executives earn over $170,000.

“Nobody would tolerate that if it were city employees making (close to) $500,000 per year,” said Filner, pointing to the vitriol toward public employees during the Prop B campaign last spring."

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Avatar for user 'Roberto Rolando Salinas'

Roberto Rolando Salinas | March 19, 2013 at 7:03 a.m. ― 4 years ago

My hats off to Mayor Filner for trying to stop yet another corporate give away by Republicans, and one Democrat, to multimillionaire Republican hoteliers. If the voters of San Diego want to stop this "Good Ole Boy" corruption of the system, they have to become more vocal and more supportive of Mayor Filner. The voters of San Diego have to show their disgust with those elected officials that reward campaign contributors by passing anti-taxpayer measures. Many of the elected officials that put corporate interest above public interest, are up in arms, as are their financial allies. Mayor Filner has stirred a hornet's nest of the who's who of the power structure in San Diego. The final say as to who wins the final outcome, might rest temporarily in Republican judges hands, ultimately it will be in the hands of the voters who will decide if multimillionaires should be getting taxpayer subsidies. It's time to end socialism for the rich. Pigs eating at the public trough have to be put on a forced diet.

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | March 19, 2013 at 8:02 a.m. ― 4 years ago

Mayor Bob Filner video on his alternative Tourism Marketing District (TMD) Proposal.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 19, 2013 at 10:08 a.m. ― 4 years ago

It's taking San Diego awhile to adjust.

For years and years, the good 'ol boy network of wealthy "protect our own" Republicans permeated city hall with their tunnel-versioned approach to pay-for-play and governing by letting wealthy developers control everything.

I don't think the fat-cat hoteliers realize city government is changing and that can't get away with everything the way they used to.

Of course, you still have remnants of the good 'ol boys network lurking around like "city" attorney Jan Goldsmith who are trying everything they can to make sure San Diego remains a backwards cow-town that operates solely based on what a tiny, extremely wealthy percent of the populace wants.

Let's not forget the lengths the rich out-of-touch old cranks will go to cling on to every last drop of their dwindling power.

Buying-out our local media and using it as a political and propaganda machine (Manchester)

Becoming a political activist while engaging in dereliction of their duties (Goldsmith)

Running candidates like DeMaio who they have secured backroom deals with that ensure business as usual will remain (the entire Republican Political Machine of this city).

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Avatar for user 'ericjlund'

ericjlund | March 19, 2013 at 12:08 p.m. ― 4 years ago

If you really want the facts about the impacts of tourism and Tourism Marketing District (TMD) funding, you can go here;

It seems to me that this issue gets confused between Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) vs. TMD. TOT is generated through a room tax; TMD is generated much like a Business Improvement District through an assessment district, in this case, on lodging properties who voted by majority to approve it, to support specifically, marketing San Diego to visitors. For every dollar of TMD revenue generated, more than three dollars of TOT revenue is generated. Translated this means that the more successful tourism marketing is in generating room nights, the more successful the city is in collecting revenues for the general fund 3:1. The beneficiaries, people who execute the work through grants from the TMD do not have rich pension funds. They are the private sector, typically in non-profit public benefit corporations and it is market competition that dictates how much executives and staff are paid.

This is not a Republican or Democratic issue; this is a San Diego issue. Do you want our 2nd largest traded economy to grow and prosper, benefitting all San Diegans or do you want the tourism industry to be handicapped and become non-competitive? If our tourism weakens as a result of funding delays, then government employees will receive less funding, city services will receive less funding, and support companies that serve the visitor industry will receive less revenue. This should not become a political football as it really impacts the quality of life for all of San Diego. Trying to confuse and define it as a wedge issue of fat cats vs. labor is totally missing the mark, tourism is good for all of San Diego and we need to get back to marketing our destination, period!

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | March 20, 2013 at 6:33 p.m. ― 4 years ago

I hope that voters are keeping close track of the names of the judges who are making decisions in this matter and remember them when they come up for reelection. Too often, San Diegan's don't know who they are voting for when it comes to judge's political campaigns. It's time that they started paying attention.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | March 20, 2013 at 6:36 p.m. ― 4 years ago

In fact the majority of local hotel property owners and leasees voted against the TMD tax extension, but a rigged vote weighting system cooked up by the city attorney allowed the highest revenue hotel operators to push the tax increase through, but Prop 13 and Prop 26 require that local voters, not hotel operators vote on this tax extension. It's state law.

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