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Attorney Cory Briggs and his motley crew of supporters are taking a carrot-and-stick approach to solving one of the biggest civic conundrums of the last decade.
So says VOSD’s Scott Lewis, who takes an in-depth look at the so-called Citizens’ Plan that’s backed by Briggs, JMI Realty, Donna Frye and, now, the Chargers. Lewis digs into exactly how and why the plan came to be and who else needs to get behind it for it to work.
The complex measure proposes a hotel-room tax hike with a provision that would allow hoteliers who want to help fund a non-contiguous convention center expansion and a new tourism marketing district.
It’s the plan the Chargers recently backed and, in order for it to work, it needs the support of local hoteliers. If the proposal becomes law, they’ll be the ones who’ll be asked to voluntarily invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the joint convention center.
As of now, most of the hotel industry folks – save for one guy Lewis gets talking – aren’t ready to say if they’re for or against the plan. But there are both incentives and threats packed into the initiative.
The interests of local hotel owners, the Chargers, Briggs and JMI Realty’s all come together, sometimes awkwardly, under the Citizens Plan.
On the other side of the table, though, is a powerful group of establishment figures, including Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the Convention Center Corporation, who want the Convention Center to expand in its current location along the waterfront.
“In my time watching the city, I have never seen such a contest take shape,” Lewis writes.
Does the Citizens’ Plan need a two-thirds vote to pass or not?
April Boling, a former board chair of the Convention Center Corporation, makes the case for why it does in a new op-ed.
Boling says the ballot measure does indeed trigger the state law requiring that a tax hike used to pay for a specific purpose needs to garner two-third of votes to pass rather than a a simple majority.
Boling says the complex measure, which packs a lot of things related to the hotel tax and land use into it, “appears to violate California’s single-subject rule, which says citizen initiatives can only make one request of voters.”
“There is a reason why there is a two-thirds requirement for tax increases in California,” Boling adds. “They are typically used as a funding stream for some sort of bonded indebtedness that encumbers future generations.”
• In an op-ed for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Escondido City Councilwoman Olga Diaz tries to explain the explosive decision to axe the Coastal Commission’s executive director. Diaz, who serves as a California Coastal Commission alternate and cast a decisive vote, tries to quiet rumors that Michael Lester was fired in favor of someone more developer-friendly. She says the controversial firing is related to personnel problems that can’t be made public.
• Experiments with outsourcing and a 2008 merger are to blame for the sorry shape of the city’s fire engines, patrol cars and other vehicles, many of which have been driven well beyond their life expectancies. The city and I have a similar approach to car care. (U-T)
• Several cities in San Diego County are digging in their heels and just saying no to medical marijuana, despite a state law legitimizing it. (U-T)
• Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins will only hold her speaker title for a few more days – she’ll also be termed out of the Assembly in November. In an exit interview with The Los Angeles Times, Atkins talked about all kinds of things, including how her rural, Appalachian upbringing played a role in some of her biggest accomplishments, like securing a tax credit for the working poor.
• A local filmmaker is working on a documentary about the Black Panthers’ tumultuous time in San Diego. The U-T talks about the film and includes some little-known history of San Diego’s civil rights struggle.
• Reverend Al Sharpton was in San Diego over the weekend and opted not to endorse anyone in the presidential race just yet. (NBC 7 San Diego)
• Last year, Jeff and Hillary Whittington made a YouTube video about their kid’s transition from a girl to a boy. Now, Hillary Whittington has written a book about it. San Diego 10News sat down to talk to local couple.
• A cat fashion show went down in Balboa Park over the weekend. Here’s some of the evidence.
• Voice of San Diego members went to Tijuana over the weekend and got some great shots.