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Marty Graham noon, Oct. 20
The Port of San Diego has called two public meetings to be held this Thursday and the following Monday to discuss rules changes being considered concerning entertainment and commercial activities on Port-owned land, particularly concerning vendors and entertainers in and around the Seaport Village area. Stakeholders last met on the issue in September and October of last year, when public comments were accepted from both Port tenants and vendors.
Port tenants at the meetings complained about vendors that showed up for special events and during high-traffic weekends and sapped business from their year round shops. “Most look like crap,” added one of the tenants. Others complained that tables set up by the vendors blocked sidewalks and created bottlenecks that were inconvenient for tourists.
For their part, vendors expressed displeasure with the Port’s award of a contract to Quality Coast Inc. to handle most of the food and beverage sales on Port-managed land. While Port officials say the contract was awarded through competitive bid, several other vendors complained they weren’t given an opportunity to submit bids.
Artists and buskers also expressed concern, wondering where in the picture they fit. Several asked if they would be allowed to entertain and solicit donations, or whether they’d be forced to contract through Quality Coast as some other vendors had been required to do.
“We feel we’re being viewed like parasites . . . we are not the enemy, we’re a valuable asset,” one commenter said in defense of the vendor/entertainer group.
The discussion continues tomorrow at the Port’s Administration Building, 3165 Pacific Highway, at 5 p.m. (stock photo)