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I don’t doubt that Gaylord had trouble putting together its ambitious project for the Chula Vista bay front. I don’t doubt that environmentalists and labor unions may have been intransigent.
But cry me a river. If you read only the letter that Gaylord just put out, you might feel like sending the company a teddy bear or something.
Let’s remember, however, the environmentalists and labor unions just wanted to squeeze this project according to their interests. They didn’t oppose it. There were plenty of smart people in the city — business friendly — who legitimately wondered how the local market would sustain a massive new convention center. And, they wondered how the port and Chula Vista successfully persuaded us that Gaylord deserved at least $308 million in taxpayer funds.
The Union-Tribune, in its recent sniveling screed about the poor way Gaylord was being treated by the unions, neglected to mention the $308 million the company was getting.
Here was a passage in a recent U-T story that came a bit closer to acknowledging the public subsidy. It’s quoting a letter written by a Gaylord executive, Bennett Westbrook.
Westbrook wrote, “if we are unable to reach an agreement by the end of the month, we plan to redirect our attention to pursuing projects in communities where our significant private investment and the ensuing economic benefits will be better appreciated.”
Gaylord is seeking a public subsidy for its Chula Vista project from the Port of San Diego, which manages the bayfront land, and the city of Chula Vista.
A $308 million subsidy. It may or may not have been a good public investment. But again, before we send flowers to Gaylord hoping they forgive San Diego, let’s remember our public officials were offering that company a pretty good deal.