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There were some insightful comments by readers in response to my initial post on the “The Truth about TOT.” I must commend the sophistication of the readers of voice.

For starters, Reader Pgeezer says:

“This group squats on public lands paying below market rents and relies on public parks to attract customers, but objects to the city raising the TOT to pay for improved services and infrastructure.”

It is time to evaluate our leaseholds and http://www.sandiego.gov/real-estate-assets/“target=”_blank”>lease policy for city land to ensure that San Diegans benefit from the hotels on our land.

It also behooves our public agencies to act on behalf of the public in making deals that involve public land. Next month, the Port of San Diego will be hearing the two hotels on Lane Field (across from the cruise-ship terminal). This project has never undergone a project-level environmental review. A last-minute traffic study was hastily done to show that no traffic impacts will be generated from these 800 hotel rooms. Public comments filed on the project show that there could be significant impacts to water supply, traffic, fire and police protection and global warming. The problem is that public agencies in San Diego often do not pay attention to public comments for projects on public land, unless accompanied by the threat of lawsuits. Is this the San Diego we want?

Reader Point Loman makes an interesting point regarding the consequences of promoting tourism beyond our carrying capacity:

I don’t care how much you promote, if we have pipes bursting everywhere, people will stop coming.

I will refer you to my previous blog “Time to Take Stock” after the fires about our need to raise revenues that are commensurate with the expectations San Diegans have about level and quality of service.

Finally, regarding my call for San Diegans to re-examine whether the public can take back the TOT revenue that has been earmarked for tourism promotion, council member Donna Frye has a proposal that reaches that very goal. It will be exciting to watch what happens as this new “tax” goes into effect in 2008.

— MURTAZA BAXAMUSA

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