This proposed convention-center expansion is being discussed, despite a global surplus in convention space and falling rents.
  • This proposed convention-center expansion is being discussed, despite a global surplus in convention space and falling rents.
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Late last year, the Port of San Diego put out a so-called fact sheet touting the proposed $520 million expansion of the convention center. The port listed reasons why the expansion should be important to San Diegans. Last on that list was the claim that the project is expected to “meet the global demand for convention center space.”

Oh? Are the port and convention center sure that there is a big demand for convention center space? In fact, there is a huge glut of convention center space, and the port and the convention center know it.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research, which is allied with the convention industry, has put out an analysis of the 2012 exhibition industry and the future outlook. The center studies international as well as domestic convention center business.

“Even the industry says how bad the convention and trade-show market is,” says professor of public policy Heywood Sanders.

“Even the industry says how bad the convention and trade-show market is,” says professor of public policy Heywood Sanders.

Says the center’s chairman, Greg Ortale, in his message to the industry: “In the current buyer’s market, unrealistic concessions [price slashes] are being made to book business. That practice cannot continue over time…the current excess supply [emphasis mine] is more likely to come into balance through a reduction in inventory [closure of convention center facilities] rather than an increase in demand [emphasis mine] as destinations accept that they no longer can keep investing in a facility if they cannot market it at a fair price.”

In short, convention centers are slashing prices because there is far more supply than demand. That demand [attendance] won’t rise significantly, so some centers have to close.

“Even the industry says how bad the convention and trade show market is,” says Heywood Sanders, professor of public policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the nation’s expert on convention centers. His 2005 report for the Brookings Institution remains the seminal work on the industry glut. He will be updating that study. Next year, he is coming out with a book, Convention Center Follies, to be published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

The industry admits business will remain lousy, but new centers continue to be built while existing centers are expanded. “There is nothing about this business that makes economic sense,” says Sanders. “This has never been more apparent than on the West Coast, where all the [major] centers are expanding at the same time while they are obliged to give away their space for free.”

The market is so glutted that San Jose has resorted to offering convention space for free.

The market is so glutted that San Jose has resorted to offering convention space for free.

San Jose has expanded and renovated its center. Its promotions shout, “FREE Convention Center Rental. That’s right, FREE!” To celebrate its expansion, it is slashing center rentals to zero while giving away many services: tables, chairs, linens, wireless in public areas, telephone, coffee availability, and much more — all FREE! San Francisco, which plans to expand its Moscone Center, is putting together a Convention Incentive Fund to provide “rental offsets in order to attract meetings,” the city says in one document.

Anaheim plans another expansion of its center. Los Angeles wants to tie an expansion to a subsidized football stadium, but if that kinky deal doesn’t go through, it wants to expand its current center.

San Diego wants a half-billion-dollar expansion but is slashing prices aggressively. A center document from this year outlines how rental discounts can be more than 40 percent of gross rents. Says the center, “The use of rental credits has grown over the last decade as competition increased and the economic downturn reduced event attendance.”

A recent story in U-T San Diego shows how rent for Comic-Con, San Diego’s major attraction, has been sliced in half from $300,000 to $150,000. But the deep slash is worth it, according to Joe Terzi, president of the San Diego Tourism Authority, because the hotels and restaurants benefit.

This is a classic example of downtown corporate welfare. The taxpayer-supported center takes it on the chin, but that’s okay because privately owned hotels and related businesses are reaping the harvest. It’s proposed that the center’s expansion be financed by $30 million a year from hotel taxes, $3.5 million from the City, and $3 million from the Port of San Diego. The fact that citizens could not vote on the hotel tax — although extremely dubious — was upheld by a court.

But this money could be used to do something for the public, such as helping close the $1 billion infrastructure deficit, tackling the homeless and affordable-housing crises, and helping run-down neighborhoods.

The questionable method by which hoteliers — not the public — voted on the room tax is in practice elsewhere, notes Sanders. Downtown boosters in various cities “don’t have to sell it to the public — there is never a public vote — they only have to sell it to a handful of elected officials, and [those officials] have to sell it to the hotel owners,” says Sanders. The hoteliers will rake in the bucks if the project succeeds only moderately, although those prospects are ever shakier.

If the publicly financed and money-losing project brings in even a few more conventioneers, “effectively, taxpayers pay for hoteliers to get rich. Is the City of San Diego spending that money on other things that might be more beneficial?” asks Sanders.

San Francisco is trying to develop a fund to subsidize large-scale conventions.

San Francisco is trying to develop a fund to subsidize large-scale conventions.

I emailed Terzi and asked whether he has shared information on the glut with San Diegans. He did not reply.

I emailed two communications officials, Michelle Ganon at the port and Marit Hill at the convention center, and asked them where I could find information on the purported “global demand for convention center space.” I told them I could only find references to the glut-caused, self-destructive price slashing, with no expectation of an increase in demand. They did not reply.

“You create a fantasy and everybody in town buys into it,” explains Sanders, noting how business, labor, and other constituencies conspire to make an economic boondoggle gather unstoppable political momentum.

Meanwhile, across the country, convention center space continues to mushroom into the glut, as prices fall. Cleveland has just opened a $465 million government-financed convention and health center. Now politicians say the public should subsidize a 600- to 700-room convention hotel. Chicago, $1 billion in the red, has closed 50 schools and laid off 1000 teachers. But it thinks that plunking $100 million of public money into a basketball arena near its flagging McCormick Place convention center will pay off.

And then there is the promotion that touts the COBO Center, located “in the heart of vibrant downtown Detroit.” Huh? Indeed, that’s the word for all this convention center activity: Huh?

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Comments

danfogel Aug. 14, 2013 @ 7:46 a.m.

It is certainly true that when cities are cutting budgets, and when a decision has to be made between maintaining a police force or fire department, or funding a convention center, something has to give. There is no doubt that the future is going to be challenging for some destinations and their convention centers. But that being said, exhibitions are still a cost effective way for face to face marketing.

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 8:06 a.m.

danfogel: Cost effective? When prices are being slashed 50% in San Diego and down to zero in San Jose? Convention centers are wildly overbuilt. But the combination of corporate welfare boosters and organized labor creates a political juggernaut that is unstoppable. This is insanity -- and not just in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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Yankeedoodle Aug. 14, 2013 @ 5:16 p.m.

Don: I think he meant it is cost-effective for the persons attending conferences, but maybe not.

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 7:41 p.m.

Yankeedoodle: Now that I read danfogel's comment a second time, I think you are right. He meant that conventions are cost-effective ways to market products. That is becoming less true as airline travel becomes more bothersome, hotel prices escalate, and face to face electronic marketing burgeons. Best, Don Bauder

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Yankeedoodle Aug. 14, 2013 @ 8:46 p.m.

Don: Yes, I think that is a double-edged sword, business wise. We have that paradox: save money on the travel, save even more money by having employees telecommute, but at some point will you lose a necessary component of communication and innovation?

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Don Bauder Aug. 15, 2013 @ 6:31 a.m.

Yankeedoodle: This is an interesting discussion that should have been thoroughly hashed out before the powers-that-be went ahead with plans for the $520 million expansion without a vote of the people. I don't know that the subject got a proper airing. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Aug. 14, 2013 @ 9:59 p.m.

reply to donbauder, an initial face-to-face visit with a prospective customer at an exhibition is startlingly cheaper when compared to the first sales visit in the field, to the tune of more than $00 on average. When a company exhibits at an event that captures their target audience, it is a powerful opportunity to meet with that audience face-to-face cost-effectively.

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Don Bauder Aug. 15, 2013 @ 6:36 a.m.

danfogel: If this is true, why does the chairman of the industry's research body conclude that the huge gap between supply and demand will NOT be closed through increased demand (attendance)? Shouldn't this argument have been presented to San Diegans -- who should have been permitted to vote on the matter? Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Aug. 15, 2013 @ 8:57 a.m.

reply to donbauder First there is a typo in my comment that I did not catch: should be more than $900, no $00. Personally, I couldn't tell you whether conventions and/or exhibitions are effective or not. The only one I have gone to recently is my last trip to CES, which was 3 or 4 yrs ago However, those statements were not a personal opinion. Those statements are taken from comments written by the esteemed Nancy Drapeau, Principal at Drapeau Research Services and Research Director at Center for Exhibition Industry Research. She was commenting on a report based on a study was conducted for CEIR by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Center at the University of South Carolina entitled The Cost Effectiveness of Exhibition Participation: Part I. She also recently wrote an interesting column about about the unique value of face to face marketing at exhibitions. So if you disagree, well since it seems we're both referring people at the same organization who, according to you, express opposite viewpoints, then there seems to be an obvious disconnect somewhere.

BTW, if you actually read what I wrote, there was nothing about about the gap between supply and demand and closing it or not. It was simply comparing the average cost to make a first face-to-face contact with a potential customer with and without an exhibition/convention. That's it. nothing else was stated or implied. How many people show up at conventions/exhibitions and a cost comparison between individual customer contacts and mass contact opportunities are 2 disparate subjects. But I think you know that. Or at least you should be able to clearly comprehend what was written. Instead, you chose to go rogue on a completely off topic subject.

BTW2, as for whether or not San Diegans should have be permitted to vote on the matter, the one you commented on that is? Yeah, probably. But they couldn't/didn't because of politics. So whose fault is that. Those same voters are the ones who put the pols in office. It matters not if it's San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle or Tucson. If you voted them in, then live with it, or vote them or get them recalled. I would point out, however, that since I only recently was informed that you have not resided in San Diego in about a decade, I don't think you have any more reason to whine about the politics there than someone like me, someone who left 2 decades ago. To keep on doing it the way you do is rather silly, in my opinion.

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Don Bauder Aug. 15, 2013 @ 11:26 a.m.

danfogel: You quote one researcher for CEIR who was writing about the value of face-to-face marketing at a convention. The chairman of CEIR, whom I quote in the article, was talking about the REALITY of the convention center scene today: supply utterly overwhelms demand (attendance), so prices are being slashed drastically. He feels that the supply/demand imbalance is so bad that convention centers will have to close; demand won't catch up. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Aug. 15, 2013 @ 8:53 p.m.

reply to donbauder, Everything you wrote above is irrelevant. Again, I commented about the benefit for the exhibitors, not the usage prices the convention centers are charging the organizations to rent the centers out. Two disparate subjects you're the only one in this conversation talking about attendance, not me. The fact that you can't distinguish the difference is really disturbing. . My very first comment, the first one on this story, was that the future is going to be challenging for some destinations and their convention centers. But that being said, exhibitions are still a cost effective way for face to face marketing. Apparently, you don't realize that I was agreeing with you on that point. You then chose to challenge my comment that conventions are an effective marketing tool for face to face contact. Obviously, I was referring to the exhibitors, but apparently you still can't see to figure that out. You then challenged the veracity of my remarks about those face to face opportunities and there cheap cost as compared to visits in the field, which came from the same organization you are quoting. Again though,nothing to do with attendance. I don't know what is so confusing to you that you can't tell the difference between my topic and yours. Again, very disturbing.

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Don Bauder Aug. 15, 2013 @ 9:22 p.m.

danfogel: It disturbs me that you are talking about the value of face-to-face marketing at convention centers. Fine. Talk all you want. What I am saying is that however valuable it might be, it is not working: supply is far greater than demand. Attendance is weak. Supply overwhelms it because of cities' continuous expansion into a huge glut. That is the reality. That is what the head of CEIR says. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Aug. 15, 2013 @ 10:30 p.m.

reply to donbauder, and what is now very, very disturbing me is that for some reason you just don't seem to be able to comprehend what I said. I am not the one talking about the face to face value of marketing at convention centers. As I said, I was only repeating something that was said by the CEIR. You are saying is that however valuable it might be, it is not working: supply is far greater than demand. Fine, whatever. I don't have first hand knowledge either way, other than my last visit to CES a few years ago, and really don't care. What I am saying, which for some reason that seems to elude your understanding, is that BOTH statements came from the SAME ORGANIZATION. It doesn't matter who holds what title, the two messages, which apparently you deem to be antithetical are being touted by the SAME ORGANIZATION. It's beyond me why your are unable, or simply don't want to see that point. If you want to keep trying to tell me how wrong one is and how right the other is, by all means, knock yourself out. Like I said, they weren't my words, they belong to the CEIR.

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Duhbya Aug. 16, 2013 @ 5:35 a.m.

Stalking highly-regarded, long-standing journalists and then attempting to both bait and discredit them (incessantly) with puerile and sardonic comments could be considered just as abhorrent as Filner's transgressions. Which begs the question: Are you a plant?

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Don Bauder Aug. 16, 2013 @ 7:32 a.m.

Duhbya: As I have said, danfogel's statement of what somebody at CEIR said is not at odds with what I said somebody at CEIR wrote. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya Aug. 16, 2013 @ 9:06 a.m.

Which helps to explain why I'm so "disturbed" today. TGIF!

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Don Bauder Aug. 16, 2013 @ 12:28 p.m.

Duhbya: And just think: next week may be more exciting. Best, Don Bauder

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KLoEditor Aug. 17, 2013 @ 7:18 p.m.

Feed this thread. It is getting anorexic.

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Don Bauder Aug. 16, 2013 @ 7:30 a.m.

danfogel: Both statements can come from CEIR. They don't contradict one another. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Aug. 14, 2013 @ 7:58 a.m.

"Port of San Diego" its the persons that make it up that benefit from expansion, not the city.

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 8:13 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Taxpayers get fleeced. Hotels (most of which are based elsewhere) can rake in a few bucks unless the expansion flops (as is likely) or the higher TOT tax inhibits tourism (less likely, given the high rates in competitive coast cities). This will certainly be a lose-lose proposition for San Diegans; it might be a mild plus for out-of-town hotel owners. You can bet on one thing: the convention center will juggle the books to make it look successful. As has been revealed in the Reader before, and affirmed by the city auditor, you can't trust the convention center's bookkeeping.Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Aug. 14, 2013 @ 8:16 a.m.

If pressed, the proponents of this local expansion would probably cite the "fact" that the rules that seem to apply elsewhere don't apply here. Why? Well, San Diego has its weather, sunshine, beaches and blue water aplenty, and that means it will always attract attendance. Compared to LA, it is the Garden of Eden. But the existing facility isn't used all the time, and it doesn't attract gatherings that fully occupy all the space very often at all. No, whether it is conventions or just regular, everyday tourism, San Diego is sucking wind now, and has been for several years. Could it be that the amenities available here just no longer measure up? The prices are high and the offerings are just not compelling?

The bigger matter is why attendance at conventions is declining. I'd suppose that we are just becoming less social in a face-to-face way, find electronic communication and socialization easier, and a change of scenery less compelling. But the 800 pound gorilla in the corner is air travel. Airports are hectic, crowded, and generally unpleasant, and not just due to security. Planes are flying full or nearly full, meaning less comfort than ever before, and the airlines treat economy travelers like cattle. You have to really want to go somewhere to put up with today's air travel. It all adds up to fewer, smaller conventions and continued declines as the younger folks eschew such gatherings.

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 8:27 a.m.

Visduh: You have thought this through very well. Yes, electronic communication is one reason that demand is badly lagging supply, and the industry fears that demand (attendance) won't rise significantly to make up the gap. And your observation about air travel is right on the money. Air travel is unpleasant these days. Yes, San Diego has nice weather, but so do some other cities on the West Coast, as well as some elsewhere, depending on the season. One of the most interesting facets to me is that San Francisco -- the darling of American cities -- has to cut prices. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Aug. 14, 2013 @ 8:55 a.m.

Judging by the comic con "convention" conventions seem to be and escape for persons to act out.

( and comic con is probably one of the few conventions that does not benefit the booze and hooker market)

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 9:09 a.m.

Murphyjunk: The San Diego convention center has slashed the cost to Comic-Con by 50%. Yet retaining Comic-Con is the major reason for this lunatic expansion. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Aug. 14, 2013 @ 10:08 a.m.

Don: It is more than 50%. 2013: Normal rate $479,535 ComicCon paid $188,925 2014 normal rate $410,850

2015 normal rate $410,850 2016 normal rate $454,700
ComicCon will pay $150,000 in rent in 2014, 2015, and 2016

These numbers are from a U-T San Diego article dated 7/17/2013

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 11:59 a.m.

aardvark: I took the numbers from that U-T article, too. Note that there was a chart with three columns. Far left was "full rent," middle was "discount "and far right was "rent paid." I believe it is a somewhat misleading comparison to use the "full rent" number. So I compared the $300,760 "rent paid" of 2010 with the $150,000 for 2014 and 2015. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Aug. 14, 2013 @ 2:06 p.m.

Don: Fair enough. It does make one wonder, however, that if ComicCon stays after 2016 and the convention center is not expanded, will ComicCon even be paying any rent?

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 3:48 p.m.

aardvark: At the rate that rents are being deeply slashed in San Diego -- and in other competing cities -- a zero rental rate for Comic-Con is certainly within the realm of possibility.

A glut is a glut is a glut. Among San Diego leaders, a liar is a liar is a liar. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat Aug. 14, 2013 @ 9:54 a.m.

At least Comic-Con benefits the costume shops and underground-marijuana businesses! ;-)

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 12:01 p.m.

dwbat: I am not so sure that Comic-Con does not benefit the booze and hooker markets, but I am open to arguments. Best, Don Bauder

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KLoEditor Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:44 p.m.

Everybody knows that geeks and nerds aren't interested in wimmins. Just look at the guys posting on this thread.

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Don Bauder Aug. 17, 2013 @ 10:57 p.m.

KLoEditor: Since I post more than anybody on this blog, I guess I am a geek and a nerd who is not interested in women. You may be wrong on several of those assertions.... Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Aug. 14, 2013 @ 10:49 a.m.

Port Districts (and similar entities) are fiefdoms that answer to no one. Legislation (initiative petition?) is the only way to slay such dragons.

1

Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 12:04 p.m.

Twister: Agreed. The port is a fiefdom that doesn't answer to the people. If a very expensive project such as the convention center expansion makes utterly no sense, there is no one to bring this to the public's attention, with the exception of the Reader. Best, Don Bauder

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Tired_of_PC Aug. 14, 2013 @ 11:10 a.m.

In theory, those voices pushing for the convention center expansion are rational business people who understand market economics and trade-offs and how to evaluate risks.

However, it would seem that they are utterly clueless and are ignoring the empirical evidence demonstrating the utter folly of this project.

Democrats routinely do this sort of thing because of their utopian vision of the way they think the world operates.

Why do we have supposedly rational business people similarly ignoring the evidence?

Being as those pushing for the expansion are all sales people of one sort of another, perhaps we have a case of: Nobody is easier to con than a Con Artist!!!!

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 12:13 p.m.

Tired_of_PC: There is an answer to your question. And it is this: rational business people understand market economics and trade-offs and how to evaluate risks WHEN THEY ARE USING THEIR OWN MONEY, OR THEIR COMPANY'S MONEY.

But when they are using taxpayer money, as they are with all corporate welfare scams such as the convention center expansion, rationality goes out the window.

This goes to the heart of the Filner lynching. Filner tried to bring rational decision-making to corporate welfare projects. So he was taking the goose laying golden eggs away from the downtown crowd.

It knew long before he was elected that he was vulnerable because of his dealings with women. So as soon as he tried to rein in corporate welfare and runaway real estate development, he was attacked with the help of a naive press. Best, Don Bauder

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Tired_of_PC Aug. 17, 2013 @ 7:14 p.m.

I disagree with your analysis of Filner. He is a rabid socialist as is obvious by looking at his political history. Thus his fundamental mindset is to abusively use the powers of government to destroy private enterprise and take over their functions. This economic model has failed miserably throughout the world wherever it has been tried.

Filner's "Noble Vision" as it has been labeled by one commentary in the UT, is just so much preposterous nonsense.

The fools who write such nonsense would be well advised to read Thomas Sowell's book: The Vision of the Anointed: Self Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.

This book drives home the points with pile-driver thoroughness that the "progressive vision" of how the world works is silly utopian garbage and is destroying our nation. The present sorry economic situation of California is proof positive that this "vision" is utter nonsense.

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Don Bauder Aug. 17, 2013 @ 11 p.m.

Tired_of_PC: It may surprise you to hear this, but not everybody believes that Thomas Sowell is a great genius. Best, Don Bauder

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Tired_of_PC Aug. 18, 2013 @ 7:52 a.m.

Perhaps you should consider reading more of what Sowell has to say.

I do think this article you wrote on the convention center is excellent.

However, having read some of your other articles on different subjects it would appear that you've swallowed the liberal/progressive mantra hook line and sinker.

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corybriggs Aug. 17, 2013 @ 7:13 p.m.

Except that Filner now SUPPORTS the taxpayer fleecing that the expansion represents.

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Don Bauder Aug. 17, 2013 @ 11:03 p.m.

corybriggs: You are correct. After you and two others lit the match, the media threw on the gasoline, and the corporate welfare machine threw in the money, Filner -- in an unwise bid to court the downtown overlords -- threw his support to the nonsensical convention center expansion.

Bad move on Filner's part. Best, Don Bauder

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monaghan Aug. 14, 2013 @ 12:57 p.m.

Great column, Don Bauder -- timely, relevant and on the mark.

ComicCon gets a huge discount? This is ostensibly San Diego's most famous gathering because of the press it generates, with photos of freaks-on-the-streets and some Hollywood visitors. A few years ago downtown business promoters were publicly wringing hands over possible loss of ComicCon to Anaheim. I guess they figured out how to handle that threat. Isn't this tactic called a loss-leader?

So the City's Convention Center takes it in the shorts, but hoteliers make out and get to use public money -- additional taxes/fees on visitors' hotel bills -- to further promote their properties.

Wake up San Diegans. Your interests are not being protected, except by Mayor Bob Filner, and he is in a world of hurt generated by these same ConVis hucksters.

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 3:53 p.m.

monaghan: Excellent points, and quite similar to the arguments for a city subsidizing a football or baseball team owned by a billionaire.

The establishment will argue that the city gets free publicity from the televising of games. Big-time cities have big-time sports.

This suggests that nobody in the world has heard of Los Angeles or Las Vegas because neither has a professional football team. Best, Don Bauder

2

aardvark Aug. 14, 2013 @ 5:36 p.m.

Las Vegas can't afford to have an NFL team--they would lose hundreds of millions in gambling revenue on pro football. They are also too busy trying to build arenas on every other corner.

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Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 7:49 p.m.

aardvark: Some day, people will go to a pro football game and then go to a window and place a bet on the game. Just wait and see. The National Football League and the gambling industry have slept together since the founding of the league in the 1920s. Best, Don Bauder

1

aardvark Aug. 14, 2013 @ 10:31 p.m.

Don: I have my doubts that will ever happen--then again, the NFL has made many changes to rules regarding injury reports, and when they must be reported. Of course, it would have NOTHING to do with gambling...

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Don Bauder Aug. 15, 2013 @ 6:43 a.m.

aardvark: The NFL's injury reports each week have everything to do with gambling. And I can see that you know that. Best, Don Bauder

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corybriggs Aug. 17, 2013 @ 7:15 p.m.

As I said above, Filner now supports this corporate welfare.

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shirleyberan Aug. 14, 2013 @ 1:49 p.m.

Didn't know who the good guys were. Can't really blame Democrats especially if you need Filner's therapy to take. Hate losing more downtown bay area to more and more buildings and if expansion is for nothing but a dream gone bad, too sad. Used to be able to go fishing down there. Should be more park, interest in updating schools and technology for students... Thanks Don. What to do now? No voting on it? Really? Is Filner to be saved?

1

Don Bauder Aug. 14, 2013 @ 3:58 p.m.

shirleyberan: Remember, Filner is not clean on this scam.

He was skeptical of the convention center expansion initially, but then when he got attacked for his treatment of women, he came out in favor of the idiotic expansion of the center. It was a move to appease the corporate welfare crowd and big labor.

You mention education. In the sorry history of California redevelopment -- now hopefully dead -- the money for subsidization of sports stadiums, shopping centers, hotels, auto dealerships, movie theaters, etc. ultimately came out of the schools. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 15, 2013 @ 11:37 a.m.

stevecsd: I trust the discourse will expand. This $520 million scam calls out for discussion. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Aug. 15, 2013 @ 9:24 p.m.

Don: I responded on another thread about who else has resurfaced, and is really looking to get his hands (or at least his employer's hands) on that $520 mil. Mark Fabiani.

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Don Bauder Aug. 16, 2013 @ 7:36 a.m.

David Crossley: Did you expect Fabiani NOT to jump into this? He is a paid propagandist. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 16, 2013 @ 7:37 a.m.

viewer: I could look that up but I don't have time at the moment. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 16, 2013 @ 12:31 p.m.

dwbat: Do you mean that when convention centers start to close down, they will open up as tourist attractions like Alcatraz? I doubt it. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat Aug. 17, 2013 @ 9:21 a.m.

I didn't "mean" anything. I made no comment. I just posted a link to Alcatraz. You are reading into things now.

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Don Bauder Aug. 17, 2013 @ 11:05 p.m.

dwbat; No, I am getting tired. Best, Don Bauder

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KLoEditor Aug. 16, 2013 @ 11:33 p.m.

Well though I am with you on a lot of issues, this is one issue where I think we are going to disagree. We do miss out on a number (big or small I can't say) of mega conventions that go to the bigger venues like Vegas. And there's no question Comic Con is way too big for our convention center; for my tax money Comic Con alone would be worth building the extension for, and I don't think Comic Con would be the only convention that would make use of the larger space. I'm not privy to the plans, if you think it's too big, maybe they could scale it down. And I'm not saying I would be heartbroken if it doesn't get built, though if we lost Comic Con, man ... I don't even want to think about that possibility.

Also, wouldn't building out the convention center lessen the chances of putting the new stadium down there? That would be a plus.

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Don Bauder Aug. 17, 2013 @ 11:07 p.m.

KLoEditor: Why build a $520 million expansion for Comic-Con when the center is already cutting Comic-Con's payment by 50%? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 17, 2013 @ 11:10 p.m.

viewer: Not hit by a baseball. By a sledgehammer....I guess. I confess I am not following this thread. Best, Don Bauder

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