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Council President Todd Gloria is now at the center of the clash between Mayor Bob Filner and officials from the Tourism marketing District.

During a public hearing on Tuesday, Filner accused Gloria of playing politics by not allowing more time for negotiations over the TMD to take place.

After the meeting, where six city councilmembers including Gloria voted to force the mayor's hand in signing the contract, Filner released a statement again calling the Council President out for adding the item to the agenda.

"We are 90% of the way toward an agreement. And I am confident that we can conclude our negotiations in just a few more days," was the statement from Filner's office.

"But anxious to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Council President Gloria today has decided that rather than protect taxpayers – he would have last year’s deeply flawed agreement shoved right down the taxpayer’s throats.

That is wrong – and I will not allow that to happen."

Gloria answered back with a statement of his own.

"More promotion of San Diego equals more services for San Diegans. This council has worked hard to compromise with Mayor Filner and the TMD to come up with a solution that will protect our general fund and provide certainty to the tourism industry."

But Gloria's support of the Tourism Marketing District and the efforts to market San Diego as a destination has been evident for some time.

From 2009 to July 2012, Council President has served as a non-voting board member on San Diego's Toursim Authority. During that time he served alongside managers for some of San Diego's largest hotels and many of the outspoken proponents of the TMD such as Downtown Partnership's Kris Michell, and President of Manchester Grand Resorts, Tom Voss.

"He remains Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and serves on the Land Use and Housing Committee. Council President Gloria represents San Diego on the boards of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Metropolitan Transit System, and the San Diego Tourism Authority, and he is Chair of the SANDAG Transportation Committee," reads Gloria's city council profile.

According to the Council President's deputy chief of staff, Gloria served as a non-voting member of the Tourism board.

"The Tourism Authority historically asks a City Councilmember to sit as an ex-officio member of its Board," wrote Gloria's top staffer, Katie Keach.

Keach said that because the Council President was a non-voting member and did not receive any benefit from membership, he is not required to disclose his involvement in San Diego's marketing efforts.

Gloria announced a special meeting today at 3:30pm to seek a compromise between the TMD and Bob Filner.

I am waiting to hear back from the City Attorney's Office on the disclosure requirements. I will update this story as soon as soon as they get back.

Comments
2

Keach is misdirecting: Gloria wasn't on the Board to receive benefit, but rather to show that he was compliant and would give benefit, where he could, then and forever.

As for Gloria's comment, "More promotion of San Diego equals more services for San Diegans" I'm wondering what services for San Diegans is he meaning? I'm also rethinking who exactly, among the hotel/motel owners, voted for the TMD. The Ebony Inn Motel is one example of a "yes" vote. It 's a very sleazy place at 740 F Street, where a fugitive unit recently captured a most-wanted suspect. Here it is on Google street view, next to a chain-linked weedy lot: http://goo.gl/maps/IKVmB

The owners, GOPI Incorporated, are the Bhakta family. They were mentioned in a UT story in 2004 http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040502/news_mz1c2motel.html

How many other budget motel owners voted for the TMD, and why? Does tourism promotion benefit these owners? Would the Bhakta family be getting benefits from promotion by charging fugitives and other one-night-stand budget-minded room renters 2% more for the Ebony Inn Motel?

Very odd.

March 28, 2013

The same sort of voting occurred in the Golden Hill Maintenance Assessment District. The condo owners were charged $35. a year, and voted YES resoundingly, as property values were starting their downward trend. The largest property owner paid $10,000 a year and VOTED Yes, for different reasons. The Middle voted no - people who wanted to take are of their own problems and didn't want to turn the money over to someone else. And are there other benefits? Can you use the 2% for cash flow before you turn it over to the city to turn it over to the TMD? How the money is collected and distributed plays a part in the scheme. The budget motels see it as possibly some benefit and no direct cost.

March 29, 2013

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