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Mayoral whopper: "Hundreds of millions" will be lost if convention center not expanded

They all say the same thing

Mayor Kevin Faulconer sent an email yesterday (April 7) promoting his plan for a ballot measure that would raise tourist taxes to provide money for fixing the streets (long overdue) and expanding the convention center (unneeded corporate welfare).

In his third paragraph, Faulconer spewed a whopper: he bemoaned an alleged lack of convention space locally and claimed, "San Diego is losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars every year" as conventions go elsewhere because of our lack of convention center space. Hundreds of millions?

I sent Faulconer's comment to Heywood Sanders, professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the nation's expert on convention centers. His reply: "They all say the same thing: 'lost business.'"

Sanders authored a 2014 book, Convention Center Follies, that details how cities have grossly overbuilt convention centers, causing prices to fall and centers to lose bushels of money. He wrote a seminal paper on center overbuilding for the Brookings Institution.

Sanders points out that convention centers are so overbuilt that in at least one instance, Los Angeles actually paid a convention to use the facilities. As previously reported, Los Angeles convention officials last year offered a fantastic deal to the American College of Chest Physicians.

If so-called "incentives" were subtracted from the quoted price, the city would be paying the college $24,000 to hold its convention in L.A. Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Anaheim are planning expansions. It will be hard for San Diego to compete with these West Coast cities.

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Mayor Kevin Faulconer sent an email yesterday (April 7) promoting his plan for a ballot measure that would raise tourist taxes to provide money for fixing the streets (long overdue) and expanding the convention center (unneeded corporate welfare).

In his third paragraph, Faulconer spewed a whopper: he bemoaned an alleged lack of convention space locally and claimed, "San Diego is losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars every year" as conventions go elsewhere because of our lack of convention center space. Hundreds of millions?

I sent Faulconer's comment to Heywood Sanders, professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the nation's expert on convention centers. His reply: "They all say the same thing: 'lost business.'"

Sanders authored a 2014 book, Convention Center Follies, that details how cities have grossly overbuilt convention centers, causing prices to fall and centers to lose bushels of money. He wrote a seminal paper on center overbuilding for the Brookings Institution.

Sanders points out that convention centers are so overbuilt that in at least one instance, Los Angeles actually paid a convention to use the facilities. As previously reported, Los Angeles convention officials last year offered a fantastic deal to the American College of Chest Physicians.

If so-called "incentives" were subtracted from the quoted price, the city would be paying the college $24,000 to hold its convention in L.A. Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Anaheim are planning expansions. It will be hard for San Diego to compete with these West Coast cities.

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Comments
34

So, here he goes expending his dwindling political capital on this ill-conceived piece of development. Rather than put the infrastructure first, and propose that the transient tax all go to its upgrade and ongoing maintenance, he favors diverting some of it to the expansion. But how much of that increased tax revenue will to to fixing the streets vs. the corporate welfare? Not very darned much, I'd guess, regardless of what the language in the proposal is.

If Kev would really get serious about the infrastructure and show the residents of the city some improvements--the streets would be the place to start--they would love him. How many of them care about the convention business? How many are affected by it at all? Very few for sure. I can only figure that he's captive of some powerful interests, some of whom we know about, and others who are shadows, who want the things he's been promoting. If he would just do one small thing that displayed some independence and a willingness to take a chance at losing his big bucks supporters, I'd stop my tirades about his failure to keep any of his campaign promises. Once again the mayor of SD has been hijacked and now serves his masters while ignoring the voters.

April 8, 2017

Visduh: You are right. Overwhelmingly, the proceeds of the proposed bond offering will go to the convention center. The only winner will be the hoteliers. Infrastructure will be a small part of the offering, and thus ignored, as it has been for years.

Keeping up the infrastructure is a legitimate function of government. Subsidizing hoteliers with a convention center that will be slashing its prices, and thus losing money, is NOT a legitimate function of government.

All convention centers claim that they must be expanded because they are losing business, as Heywood Sanders points out. In possibly every case, that is a lie. There is so much excess capacity in centers that convention planners can fish around for massive price slashes and get them.

With the current glut, there may be no convention centers in the U.S. that can justify expansion. Best, Don Bauder

April 8, 2017

Math isn't his strongest subject.

April 8, 2017

his strong suit is doing what he is told to do

April 12, 2017

Murphyjunk: Yes, doing what he told to do by the downtown plutocrats. Best, Don Bauder

April 12, 2017

Murphyjunk: Ditto for the mainstream media in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

April 12, 2017

Ponzi: The mayor's strongest subject is paying off his business supporters with taxpayer money. There should immediately be a protest movement promoting a hotel tax, but ONLY for infrastructure. Remember, Faulconer used to represent the downtown oligarchs. All he knows is paying them off with taxpayer money.

They all preach private enterprise and rugged individualism. But they get their succor from the government teat, thanks to the politicians who are paying them off. Best, Don Bauder

April 8, 2017

But the idiot voters still voted for him and will again.

April 9, 2017

AlexClarke: Yes, he looks so sweet. But there is hope in San Diego. Voters were able to figure out the Chargers convadium scam and vote it down.

Also, just from my conversations with people, I suspect voters may get wise to the SoccerCity scam. There is no actual commitment to a soccer stadium. But there are commitments to subsidized real estate development.

First, the plan is hundreds of pages long and indecipherable. Then, the developers wanted it to go to the council, not the voters. Third, they wanted to do it rapidly. Now, they are willing to go to voters but they still want it fast. Any time there is a proposal that is highly complicated, and the developers want it rushed through, the public should ASSUME that it is a taxpayer ripoff. Best, Don Bauder

April 9, 2017

One complaint I heard was that the signature gatherers were telling voters that by signing the petition, they were insuring a vote on the deal. That was a lie, because the SoccerCity developers want to take it to the council and get it approved WITHOUT a vote. Any time one of those petition scammers tells you that your signature will "put it to a vote" an appropriate reaction would be to spit in his or her face. If you don't buy the story fully, never sign one of those measures!

Voters are getting smart in some cities. Despite a hard-hitting and very costly campaign, Carlsbad voters turned down the Caruso development scheme to develop the strawberry fields area south of Agua Hedionda lagoon. That was another one that was supposed to "put it on the ballot", but was approved by the council to avoid the cost of an election, or so the members said. There was such an outcry that the council reneged, put it up to a public vote and it failed. And anyone on the council along with the mayor is now vulnerable to being turned out of office. Occasionally there is a little justice at the ballot box.

April 9, 2017

Visduh: Hooray for Carlsbad voters. About half of the matters that come before city councils are land use matters. You can see how council members can get secretly rich during their terms. Best, Don Bauder

April 9, 2017

Promises, promises, liars, liars.

April 9, 2017

“He was a consummate politician-- which is to say he was given to expedient speech and lacked even a vestigial spine.” ― Nick Taylor,

April 12, 2017

Murphyjunk: Offhand, I don't know Nick Taylor, but his insights are brilliant. Best, Don Bauder

April 12, 2017

Flapper: Voters go for physically attractive candidates who make promises and tell lies. Best, Don Bauder

April 10, 2017

PHYSICALLY ATTRACTIVE? That dude's gotta be one of the unsexiest men on the planet!

April 10, 2017

Flapper: I am not a judge of such things, but I think Faulconer is handsome and smooth. Those are his positives. I have addressed his negatives in previous posts. Best, Don Bauder

April 10, 2017

You mean lawyers?

April 10, 2017

Flapper: Have you noticed how, from a sound standpoint, the words "lawyer" and "liar" are so much alike? Best, Don Bauder

April 10, 2017

Homophonic?

April 10, 2017

Flapper: Not really. Best, Don Bauder

April 10, 2017

Aside from music.

April 11, 2017

Flapper: I only know the word in relation to music. Best, Don Bauder

April 11, 2017

Flapper: Touche! Best, Don Bauder

April 11, 2017

and plays whatever the musician ( person in charge) decides

April 12, 2017

Murphyjunk: Dancing along behind the Pied Piper. Best, Don Bauder

April 12, 2017

David Priver: I believe a boost in the hotel tax would require a 2/3rds vote, but there may be some slippery item in there that would make it majority only. After all, the developers initially wanted to take it to the council only and bypass a vote. Best, Don Bauder

April 10, 2017

". . . I suspect voters may get wise to the SoccerCity scam. --Don Bauder

Upon what basis doth thou believeth so?

April 11, 2017

Flapper: Conversations with San Diegans. Best, Don Bauder

April 11, 2017

Will our fellow voters resist the millions spent on bowlshit or read the tiny peeps to the contrary herewith?

April 11, 2017

Flapper: There is little chance that many voters will read the god-awful long SoccerCity document. But they may figure there is a Mephistopheles in the verbiage. Best, Don Bauder

April 11, 2017

That's why they are made so godawful long. To trip up the reviewers. And, of course, there's nothing of substance to review, so the technical gremlins will remain ignored--even by the technicians.

April 11, 2017

Flapper: Amen. Best, Don Bauder

April 12, 2017

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