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Filner Releases $6M To Tourism Agency After Balboa Park Celebration Compromise

Evening Edition

Aired 5/31/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has reversed his position and says he'll release money owed to the city's Tourism Marketing District. That ends a couple of days of uncertainty that could have shut down an agency that markets San Diego to tourists.

— Bob Filner's decision to release the tourism marketing money means an injection of cash for the city's tourism marketing arm. That staved off layoffs at the local Tourism Authority, formerly know as the Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The Authority had run out of cash to meet payroll.

Terry Brown, Chair of San Diego Tourism Marketing District

That shutdown won't happen because San Diego Mayor Bob Filner said the money has been wired to the district.

The mayor was holding back cash earned from the city's hotel taxes and funneled into city's Tourism Marketing District. Earlier this week he told reporters about his frustration.

"I'm a little tired, frankly, about the wining of these very rich hotel owners and the hotels they represent," said Filner.

Filner wasn't happy about the possibility that the Balboa Park Centennial Committee might not get its share of the district's cash. That committee is putting on a celebration of the park in 2015.

Tourism Marketing District Chair Terry Brown says the Balboa Park committee wouldn't get anything if Filner continued to hold back the money.

"As soon as we have the money, we'll be able to write that $499,000 (check) we approved today and then, whatever the balance was ... as it comes through the year and it's released by the city under our agreement," said Brown.

The money Filner was holding captive had already been collected from hotel taxes, Brown said.

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Avatar for user 'SanDiego2015'

SanDiego2015 | June 2, 2013 at 3:15 a.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

1) This is supposed to be a mandatory assessment by the City on behalf of the TMD (not tax on tourists - which Prop 26 states taxes should benefit the payers) on lodging owners based upon their occupancy and rates. That is the work-around of the TMD, still to be determined as valid by the courts.
2) Balboa Park Celebration, Inc. is spending the money on "A Celebration of Balboa Park" with a focus on Balboa Park - not on a Celebration of the 1915 Exposition in San Diego - which had its focus on bringing business and people to the Region.
3) The organization is still calling itself a Committee - because it doesn't really have much in the way of organization?
4) The Committee has a mandate under its contract to do only things of a temporary nature for Balboa Park, which creates the question of what is the Return on Investment for the TMD, the Public, and contributors?

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