San Diego power brokers are back with a new attempt to expand the Convention Center.
Leaders from the mayor’s office, Downtown Partnership, labor, the tourism industry, and community activist groups met Friday morning, renewing negotiations for tax increases to expand the Convention Center and alleviate the city’s homelessness and affordable housing crises.
The meeting took place at the offices of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, an umbrella group that represents many of the region’s labor unions.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s director of budget and finance policy, Jessica Lawrence, attended the meeting. A mayoral spokesman said Lawrence submitted leave time from work for Friday morning, so she was attending as a private citizen not as a representative of the mayor.
The Friday meeting also included Kris Michell, CEO of the business group Downtown Partnership; Mike McDowell, director of the San Diego Lodging Industry Association; Robert Gleason, CEO of Evans Hotels; Murtaza Baxamusa, policy head for the San Diego Building and Construction Trades; Rick Bates, research analyst for Unite Here Local 30, San Diego’s hotel workers union; Ismahan Abdullahi, an organizer for the progressive advocacy groups Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans and Build Better San Diego; Michael McConnell, a homelessness advocate who previously conducted a poll on a ballot measure to raise taxes for homelessness needs; Laura Fink, a Democratic political consultant; and Joe LaCava, a land use consultant and community planning advocate.
“Community, business and labor coming together in conversation is a great thing for San Diego,” Fink wrote in a statement on behalf of the group. “The hope of everyone involved is to find common ground and work together.”
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
I see that Unite Here was included (good!), so hoping this means Brigette Browning is a part, pushing for a Harbor Dr-side expansion. That would make the expansion an asset for San Diegans and not just the big 3 hotels. And it'd improve waterfront access, not obliterate it.
Homelessness reduction is worth taxing for, and one would hope it could stand on its own. But a deal can help. Ordinary corporate welfare, though, even with labor wins is a weak deal. Much better would be pairing this to a real improvement to downtown and the city. (Looking at you, Downtown Partnership.) Heal the gash, expand on the north side.
San Diego doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem, something no amount of revenue can cure.
Representatives of all the groups that will profit the most met Friday to discuss how to use the hepatitis outbreak as a way to influence San Diego taxpayers to expand the convention center.
One attendee, Mayor Faulconer’s director of budget and finance policy, Jessica Lawrence, played hooky from work so she could pretend to attend as a private citizen and not a representative of the mayor.All actual private citizens were forbidden from attending the meeting.
End result - plenty of money for the Convention Center, but homeless housing will continue to stay in the morass it's in right now. San Diego "leaders" and "power brokers" have their priorities and nothing, not one damn thing, is going to change that..