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According to Business Wire, the San Diego Tourism Marketing District put its 2014 funding requests on indefinite hold today (March 8). Terry Brown of Atlas Hotels, chairman of TMD, said the marketing promotion group does not have a contract -- in reference to Mayor Filner's unwillingness to sign the tourism group's request for funding. Seventeen organizations heard of the decision today; the requested funds total $26.9 million.

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HonestGovernment March 9, 2013 @ 12:44 p.m.

The last IRS filing was for the year ending 6/30/11. For that reporting period 15 organizations were listed as "contractors" receiving "grants" from the surcharge revenue (total ~$23 million). The bulk of the grants, ~$20 mill, went to ConVis/ConVis North.

Have you seen the list of the 17 orgs now on hold?


Don Bauder March 9, 2013 @ 1:01 p.m.

HonestGovernment: Sorry, I haven't seen the list. If you have it, you might post it. Best, Don Bauder


HonestGovernment March 9, 2013 @ 3:23 p.m.

Thanks, Don, but I haven't a clue who the current recipients of TMD contract revenues would be, other than ConVis. For the record, ConVis has a full-page ad in the March Sunset magazine (a smiling girl in bikini: San Diego - HAPPINESS is calling).

ConVis, using the $18 million "grant" from TMD in FY 2010-2011, gave $9,100,047 to an out-of-town company (MeringCarson, Sacramento) for ad design/media placement. MeringCarson still shows ConVis as a client on its web page (meringcarson.com) and if you click the ConVis box, you get to watch a happy video and hear the snappy HAPPINESS is calling tune, which ends by directing you to sandiego.org (ConVis).

Watch it while you can, before the money runs out!


Don Bauder March 9, 2013 @ 3:27 p.m.

HonestGovernment: This money should have gone to a San Diego company, not one in Sacramento. Best, Don Bauder


HonestGovernment March 9, 2013 @ 4:08 p.m.

Yes. Local contracts would be an interesting thing Mayor Bob could promote, in addition to living wages.


Don Bauder March 9, 2013 @ 6:04 p.m.

HonestGovernment: Agreed on both points. Best, Don Bauder


Dorian Hargrove March 10, 2013 @ 6:12 p.m.

It isn't the only big contract that was awarded to an out-of-town firm. The TMD Corp's "Incorporator" and main legal counsel, John Lambeth, is also a resident of Sacramento. His firm, Civitas, is based there. They are the go-to firm for these TMDs. Lambeth is also a member of the Lincoln Club in Sacramento.

I have a records request for his contract and am looking into Civitas. I will post when they respond.

Thanks for the update, Don!


Don Bauder March 10, 2013 @ 6:27 p.m.

Dorian: I will look forward to your post. You and Matt have done a great job sniffing around this TMD slough. Best, Don Bauder


nostalgic March 9, 2013 @ 5:03 p.m.

Is there any evidence that these TV ads work? Do people really go "Hey, I never heard of San Diego! Let's go there!" Or is it just another way for friends to fund friends, who somehow do them favors in some way? No way of knowing. That's why it works so well.


Visduh March 9, 2013 @ 5:24 p.m.

Advertising is something that is often bought on faith. But those who advertise well also do well. If San Diego is in front of the LA megalopolis on an almost-daily basis, many of its denizens will make it a weekend/vacation/getaway destination. If they are not reminded, well, they might go to spots that DO advertise, and advertise a lot, such as Las Vegas. The tourism cabal of SD is very aware of how all that advertising and publicity work, and they expect results. Even Sunset and Westways magazines are full of SD ads, so we can expect that they work.


Don Bauder March 9, 2013 @ 6:09 p.m.

Visduh: Advertising does have power, and no doubt brings tourists. Filner wants the hotel industry to pick up at least part of the tab for it. I believe he is correct on that. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 9, 2013 @ 8:08 p.m.

nostalgic: I am one who believes advertising works, and particularly for travel. I do believe the San Diego ads probably bring tourists. Best, Don Bauder


nostalgic March 13, 2013 @ 6:13 p.m.

If you spend $20 MILLION for advertising, and it brings in $20 MILLION, you are at a zero sum game. A lot of money goes out there that DOESN'T result in advertising. It keeps both organizations in business - the contractor and the contractee. When the funds seem limitless, all parties just glaze over and find a way to spend it.


Don Bauder March 13, 2013 @ 7:26 p.m.

nostalgic: Actually, if the tourist industry spends $20 million for advertising, and reports that tourists spent an additional $20 million, there is no breakeven. There is a loss, because those numbers touting how much tourists spend are phony as a three dollar bill. Best, Don Bauder


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