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Mayor Bob Filner has not released hundreds of thousands of dollars the City Council allocated to the organization planning for Balboa Park’s grand 2015 celebration and the group has ceased operations for now.
Accountants told Ben Clay, chairman of Balboa Park Celebration Inc., that they were running low on funds.
“We could be out of money by the end of the month. We’ve stopped all work as of yesterday until we get clarification,” Clay said Wednesday. Contractors working on traffic analysis, venue allocation, event designs and media outreach were told not to continue until further notice.
We’ve previously explained the hurdles the 2015 celebration faces. This would, of course, be a significant new one. Filner is clearly looking at everything crossing his desk to see what leverage he can squeeze or what changes may need to be made. He recently vetoed two appointments to the port commission apparently after realizing only after they were made that he had the power to do that.
Filner has also held up funds approved with the hotel-room tax hike and destined for the Tourism Marketing District.
Filner claims that tax hike was illegal without a vote of the people. Those funds are also earmarked for a future 2015 celebration. But the $459,000 the committee is waiting on now is not related to the Tourism Marketing District. It’s from $300,000 in city funds and $159,000 in funds each City Council office is able to allocate.
I’ve asked Filner’s office to help us understand the hold-up.
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