A recent report from Conventions, Sports, and Leisure International claims that San Diego will reap a maximum return on investment if the convention center is expanded in place, as opposed to building a separate facility some distance away. But Mayor Faulconer says that money isn't the only reason for keeping the convention center contiguous, which is why the plan should go forward despite a lawsuit challenging it on the grounds that it would prevent legally mandated coastal access for San Diego residents.
"People think they want coastal access," says Faulconer. "But that's a mistake. Remember, if you have access to the coast, then the coast has access to you as well. Global warming is a fact, folks, and it seems to be connected to the increasing commonality of extreme geological events. How much longer before San Diego, a city with a downtown right on the water, faces its own tsunami? And when that happens, what's going to be more important: coastal access or a contiguous convention center built to withstand and divert all but the most powerful of wave events? Some people think that all I care about is money, but that's not true. I also care about the people who make, possess, and spend that money. And a lot of those people live and/or work in the downtown area. It's my job as mayor to protect those people and their money, and also our valuable urban real estate developments. This convention center plan is simply the most effective way to do that, and I'm not about to let some faux-populist lawsuit stand in my way."