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Time Is Up For June Vote On Convention Center Expansion

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Michael Schuerman

A view of the San Diego Convention Center and the downtown skyline from Coronado, Feb. 14, 2015.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has promised to put a hotel room tax increase to support a Convention Center expansion on the ballot, but it won't happen in June.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has promised to put a hotel room tax increase to support a Convention Center expansion on the ballot, but it won't happen in June.

"Expanding the convention center is crucial for growing our local economy and creating more jobs, so it’s important that it’s done right," wrote Faulconer’s spokesman Matt Awbrey in an email last week. "We want this measure to pass at the polls, and we believe a future ballot gives us a better path to success than June."

During his annual State of the City speech in January, Faulconer pledged to put "a legally defensible plan on the ballot" to finance the expansion.

"It’s time to settle this once and for all and get the Convention Center expanded," he said.

His proposal would be to raise the tax on hotel rooms to fund the expansion. That would need approval from two-thirds of the voters.

The deadline to put something on the June ballot is Friday, and it would first need the City Council's approval.

The mayor can now wait until the November ballot or try for a special election. If he waits for November, his measure would go head-to-head with a ballot measure backed by attorney Cory Briggs, which would also raise hotel room taxes, among other things.

But Briggs' measure specifically says the city can't spend money on an expansion that's attached to the current Convention Center on the waterfront. That's the option Faulconer prefers.

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Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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