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Mayor Faulconer Weighs Options For Future San Diego Convention Center Expansion

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announces a proposed ballot measure to raise ...

Photo by Christopher Maue

Above: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announces a proposed ballot measure to raise the city's hotel room tax by up to 3 percent to fund a Convention Center expansion and pay for road repairs and homeless services, April 3, 2017, San Diego, Calif.

It’s been more than a week since we found out voters would not see a convention center expansion measure on the November ballot — and that could end up costing the city of San Diego millions.

In June San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a deal between the city, the Port of San Diego and land leasehold owner Fifth Avenue Landing. The deal said the port would make a $5 million down payment on behalf of the city to secure land for the convention center.

RELATED: Fallout From Failed Convention Center Expansion Measure Could Cost San Diego Millions

That deal stipulated if the citizens initiative did not pass in November, the city would lose the down payment. We know that initiative did not have enough signatures to automatically qualify for this November’s ballot. Then we found out a similar ballot measure proposal from Faulconer also was not going to voters this November.

The original citizens initiative, YES For A Better San Diego, could still qualify for the 2020 ballot.

"You’ve seen since that vote San Diegans coming together saying, 'We need this now — we don’t want to wait two years from now,' Faulconer said. "So look, it’s that important. We’re continuing to push while the signatures are being counted. So many San Diegans came together — Democrat, Republican. This is the right thing to do for our city to move forward."

When asked if a special election could be called before 2020, Faulconer said, "It's always possible, sure."

Faulconer did ask the San Diego City Council to call a special election for a similar convention center expansion in 2017, but they decided otherwise.

RELATED: Convention Center Expansion Initiative Fails Fast-Track To 2018 Ballot

A three-party deal was signed in June, and the city has 60 days to give the down payment to the port. By some counts, that deadline is Monday.

So is the city still on the hook for that money? Faulconer said there are a number of options on the table, and all parties are having positive discussions. Faulconer said we will know more on Monday.


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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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