April 24 2013 09:50 AM

Our readers tell us what they think

Regarding your April 3 editorial on Bob Filner and the Tourism Marketing District: Why not just say, "Well done, Mayor Filner!" All this CityBeat quoting and agreeing with the U-T is unbecoming. Where was the "low road" you mention?

Filner took the high road— the one that delivers the greatest public benefit. He did favors for taxpayers with the indemnification provision, by reducing the number of years the TMD agreement will run and by opening the possibility that there will actually be public hearings on the less-than-living wages of hotel workers who are the backbone of San Diego tourism. (All this, despite the possibility that the TMD tax/fee may be found illegal in court.)

You falsely equate the mayor's campaign support from hotel workers' with the pay-to-play contributions from hoteliers to City Council members like Sherri Lightner and elected City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. Filner has championed working people throughout his public life, so labor gets behind him. That's how it works if you consistently stand up for improving the lives of workers and other powerless people, as Filner has.

Lightner lives in a house on the beach in La Jolla amid business types who demand evidence of fealty. Her council colleague Todd Gloria is busy feathering his political future with quid pro quo favors from deep pockets, wherever they may be. Goldsmith is a longtime conservative Republican politico, accustomed to such funding.

You "wish" Lightner and Gloria had sided with Filner in the "tourism flap"? Laughably, you say, "for whatever reason, they didn't," citing their different "policy choices." Those weren't "policy choices"; they were bought-and-paid-for votes by wishy-washy Democrats, serving themselves, and inexcusably giving the city's first Democratic mayor heartburn. But Filner prevailed, with the help of Democratic Councilmember David Alvarez, to find the common good. I repeat: That was the high road.

And then you wander off, citing "scorched-earth retribution." Huh? Who did that—Mike Aguirre?

Frances O'Neill Zimmerman, La Jolla

TMD alternatives

I liked your April 3 editorial about Bob Filner's victory against the hoteliers. Filner attached conditions to the renewed Tourism Marketing District (TMD) contract that the City Council never would have proposed.

But there are alternatives. 

First and foremost, what about putting this increased tourism tax on the ballot? Many lawyers say this is what the California Constitution requires for increased taxation. Mayor Filner proposed this before he made his deal with the hoteliers.

The other alternative is quite simple: Since advertising is such a good investment, why don't the hotel owners buy the advertising? No tax needed. Can the hotels afford it ? Their gross annual income, calculated from what they pay in transit occupancy taxes, is $1.5 billion. Spending 2 percent on advertising equals $30 million, the amount now spent by the Tourism Marketing District.

Mel Shapiro, Hillcrest

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