Days after Mayor Kevin Faulconer pitched a hotel-room tax hike that aims to throw some cash at addressing San Diego’s homelessness crisis, some City Council Democrats are already pushing for a larger commitment.
One of them is negotiating with the mayor’s office and hoteliers.
The current version of Faulconer’s proposed November ballot measure prioritizes the San Diego Convention Center. More than 60 percent of the roughly $660 million projected in the first 10 years of collections would pay off a waterfront expansion of the facility and fund capital and maintenance projects.
The measure would direct about 18 percent each to homelessness services and street repairs over its first decade.
Here’s a visual of how the tax breakdown looks for now:
Help Us Raise $100k By the End of May
There are three separate and important issues here. Each deserves its own definitive and separate discussion and solution. The mayor's proposal as it stands will be nothing but a giant slush fund to use at his whim. For starters, how about the city's Planning Dept (or whoever is in charge of such) reigning in the elimination of existing low-cost housing. Dan McSwain's article in yesterday's U-T is truly shocking:
"Over the last six years, officials have allowed 10,000 units of its cheapest housing to disappear — in violation of city law — bulldozed for condos or converted to boutique hotels. For perspective, the city’s housing commission has helped fund construction of just 615 new apartments dedicated for the homeless since 2005."
Mr. Mayor, your proposal deserves the same fate as the Chargers ballot initiative.
Let’s see, the pie chart currently shows splitting the tax take four ways, each having it’s own vocal constituency. Then there’s the little tidbit in the U-T this morning showing our unfunded pension liability growing steadily despite all the alleged “fixes” the geniuses at city hall sold to the public quite a while ago that were supposed to solve the problem gradually by steadily decreasing the liability as new employees came aboard and old ones retired, another trumpet blaring claiming part of the pot.
Here’s an easy prediction to make: This tax increase, if it passes, will be diverted to several vocal constituencies, the convention center won’t be expanded and street repairs, a routine maintenance item in most cities but a project requiring specific taxes here, will be minimal.
Does this remind anyone of recent school bond issues?
The tax increase devoted to the homeless issue should be separated in another ballot measure and should be increased to a level that would yield a lot more than $120.5 million over 10 years. The mayor is merely using a token for the homeless as a way to pass his convention center expansion. If 80% of the proosed amount devoted to the homeless was used to build new housing (re: the "Housing First" model), it would yield less than 700 new units. That barely scratches the need. Why can't we boldly go after the issue, as did Los Angeles and 4 other California jurisdictions?
I have some news for Competitive Edge San Diego Taxpayers are not very impacted by the hotel tax. And I agree as stated here before with Mr Cade's stand on funding homelessness! I'm not sure I agree with his mechanics because I haven't read about his ideas for the actual building of low income homes.
I think we already have a budget for street repairs - is anyone questioning the City why it is underfunded? It certainly only falls on Falconers shoulders because
1. someone used the funds for another project or emergency
2. It has not, in recent history, (much like pensions) been properly funded.
If we lack funding for streets (CALTRANS) or City of San Diego needs and audit. I think the two men who have the lease on the Convention Center are asking a large amount to be bought out? How much?
Why is there no mention of them in this initiative, or is there?
Is there somewhere the voters can educate themselves? It seems an odd mix of funding and whenever San Diego has many unrelated fundings rolled into one I think we have to watch the moving of funds back and forth or simple forth- and my guess if one of these projects suffers it will be homelessness. This opinion is based on past experience with City Councils