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Here’s some responses to readers’ comments:

Reader Christopher Hall writes:

“Kelly said ‘The visitor industry is one of few offering career advancement from entry-level to top executive.’ This is an idealistic concept but meaningless in reality, as fewer than 1% of the workforce will ever achieve such ladder climbing”.

And, Reader Sparky notes

“Most in the hospitality industry don’t get benefits (health care, etc) nor do they earn enough (despite Mr. C’s assertions) to actually afford to own real estate in our region.”

I’m not sure where I asserted they could afford real estate. San Diego’s housing situation is another issue that is clearly out of balance, but that is another day’s blog.

These criticisms miss the important point that mid and upper-level jobs in the visitor industry typically do not require the kind of advanced technical degrees required for many of the other “traded” clusters in the San Diego economy. For more on this read here. There you can compare the kind of technical education required to move up respective job ladders. (As in my original post, bear in mind that much of the wage data for the jobs in some of these areas are likely to be higher because of biases in the data collection method.)

I would also suggest checking out our policy report on the visitor industry posted on the San Diego Institute for Policy Research website, and the discussion about efforts by local universities to build career ladders.

It is great that scientists and engineers are well paid, but not all of us are cut out or want to be scientists or engineers.

The broader point, which is probably worth many a day in the Café, is about what industries in a globalized and service oriented economy will create “middle class” jobs for those without a college degree. As an opening salvo for this debate, let us point out that industries which produce lots of those kinds of jobs (international trade and logistics) were dealt a pretty severe body blow when voters emphatically rejected efforts to move the airport. Likewise the community has often voiced opposition to having more heavy industry and trade infrastructure on San Diego Bay. This debate reaches all the back to the roots of San Diego’s industrial development. (See the conflict between “smokestacks” and “geraniums” when George Marston ran for Mayor in 1917.)

Reader Southof8 wrote:

“Could it be that some of the larger funding for Mr. Cunningham’s think tank is from—say, the visitor and hospitality industry? I wouldn’t bet against it.”

I am not a gambling man, but will make that bet in a heartbeat. (If you said the healthcare industry, however, I would refrain.)

Reader Sparky writes:

“Had the Hotel/Motel & Visitor industry supported the increase to the TOT a couple of years ago this would not have been an issue.”

Sal Giametta has already responded to this comment. The industry emphatically SUPPORTED the effort to raise the TOT that guaranteed a certain percentage go toward visitor promotion (as well as a percentage toward upgrading the city’s fire fighting efforts). That effort came close, but ultimately failed to garner the two-thirds necessary to pass.

Reader Robert wrote:

“Isn’t all of this just a rehash of what you said the last time you were on here???”

Really? In what way … or how so?

— KELLY CUNNINGHAM

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