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There is no way the city can or should give funding for an expanded Convention Center from its general fund. (“Convention Center Expanders Eye City’s Day-to-Day Money.”)
Now, if the hospitality industry really feels an expansion is necessary it should look to the Port of San Diego.
The port provided the land and some of the funding for the original Convention Center, so clearly this is a use authorized by law.
The port brings in over $100 million in annual lease payments from businesses located on tidelands, and within the city limits of the city of San Diego. The port does not return anything near this amount to the city of San Diego.
The problem is, the hotel operators are on port land and hesitant to take on the port because of worries about retributions.
San Diego’s political leaders, including the field of mayoral candidates, do not understand port operations and thus are unable to speak in an informed matter on the possibility and defensibility of cost sharing.
The port continues to subsidize maritime operations that provide the unions with high-paying jobs, while the operation runs at a loss. The port continues to subsidize other south bay cities, such as Imperial Beach, which might not exist with out port funding (particularly given the possible outcome of litigation concerning redevelopment income and who gets it).
These subsidies are actually funds that were collected from city of San Diego tideland lessors and these funds more rightly belong to the city of San Diego rather than the port’s welfare program.
I know of that which I speak.
Peter Q. Davis is a former chairman of port and a former candidate for mayor of San Diego.