David Dodd 1:48 a.m., May 18
Majority of Tourism Marketing District board didn't even vote to renew the Tourism Marketing District
Vote results from the City Clerk's Office shows support for hotel tax came from smaller hotels.
The Tourism Marketing District isn't very popular these days. And judging by the official vote, the two percent tax on hotel guests isn't considered all that important to District board members either.
The five board members who voted to file a lawsuit against Mayor Bob Filner on February 22, hoping to force him to sign the District's 39 and one-half year contract, represent 13 hotels in San Diego. Of those 13 hotels only one hotel voted in favor of the surcharge, three hotels voted against it and the remaining nine hotels didn't even bother returning their ballots.
The sole hotel to cast a yes ballot was the Best Western Plus Island Palms, owned by hotel magnate Richard Bartell. Oddly enough, Bartell's other hotels, The Dana, Humphrey's Half Moon, Holiday Inn Bayside, Days Hotel all failed to submit ballots while the Pacific Terrace and Sheraton La Jolla voted against the tax.
As for the four other members of the board who voted to take Filner to court: C. Terry Brown's two hotels, The Town and Country and Kona Kai, sat out the vote; "Papa" Doug Manchester's Grand Del Mar didn't participate; General Manager Mohsen Khaleghi's The Hyatt Regency La Jolla did not cast a ballot. Rounding out the group, Luis Barrios and the Best Western Hacienda Hotel Old Town he manages rejected the tax.
In fact, even TMD treasurer William Evans's two hotels, the Bahia and Catamaran, voted against the tax while his posh Lodge at Torrey Pines did not participate -- Evans also sits on the District's board but was not present at the meeting.
And, it doesn't appear that the five board members who chose to file suit against the Mayor were voting on behalf of those members who could not make the meeting. Just three of the 12 hotels owned or operated by board members not at the February 22 meeting voted in favor of the Tourism Marketing District's 39 and one-half year contract.
And it wasn't only board members who didn't feel inclined to vote for the Tourism Marketing District. The majority of hotel owners didn't seem to care much either.
Most support for the hotel tax came from owners of hotels with less than 100 rooms. Out of the 127 hotels that voted in favor of the assessment, 97 have fewer than 100 rooms. As for the larger hotels, 20 with 100-199 rooms voted for the tax while just ten hotels with more than 200 rooms joined in support.
The vast majority, 1,034, didn't bother to cast a vote.