CITIZENS’ PLAN FAN
There is much to comment on after reading Mr. Donoho’s editorial on the Citizens’ Plan [“Comic-Con: Contiguous expansion, please,” July 20], which I very much support.
First, Mr. Donoho says the Citizens’ Plan has a “contiguous expansion ban” and he wants the Convention Center expansion just along our waterfront.
The Citizens’ Plan increases the tourist tax and makes that revenue available for various cool uses, including added convention center space and tourist improvements in East Village and downtown.
It does not allow for that new revenue to be used on a waterfront expansion because, let’s face it, it’s a dumb idea to wall off our waterfront from us, or our tourists.
But there’s nothing in the Citizens’ Plan stopping the city from walling off the waterfront if they want to do that and can get it approved by a public vote—not likely—and use existing tourist taxes or other city money to pay for it.
The Citizens’ Plan provides financial incentives for hoteliers spending their own money to promote the city and build tourismrelated facilities, including convention center expansion facilities, just not on the bayfront.
Mr. Donoho also worries there is a problem with the Citizens’ Plan because the expansion “has mistakenly become entangled with building a new football stadium.”
That isn’t so, either. The Charger Initiative openly raises new tourist taxes exclusively for a football stadium. The Citizens’ Plan does not provide even one penny for a new football stadium and we have worked hard to make that distinction plain.
And there’s nothing in the Citizens’ Plan that requires building a new football stadium downtown in conjunction with a convention center expansion. In fact, the Citizens’ Plan allows the Chargers to stay either in Mission Valley or downtown (or go elsewhere), but prohibits new tourist funds from the Citizens’ Plan for construction of that facility, wherever it goes.
Mr. Donoho supports “hefty provisions for homelessness services and affordable housing in the nearby neighborhoods, including Barrio Logan and Sherman Heights.”
That’s a good idea. There are other equally good ideas. The Citizens’ Plan specifically provides for at least $18 million in new tourist tax revenue to be used for purposes determined by the city council.
Our plan doesn’t even tie the council’s hands regarding the spending of that revenue and does not involve any bonds or indebtedness.
Those new general fund revenues will be available to the city for every year for homelessness services, affordable housing, Balboa Park, infrastructure, community investment, police/fire/911 safety services, etc.
Based on what Mr. Donoho says he wants, the Citizens’ Plan is not the problem, it’s the only reasonable solution.
Donna Frye, San Diego
FROM THE EDITOR: This letter from the former city councilmember is graciously appreciated. It should be noted that my Editor’s Letter did not state that the Citizens’ Plan is tied to stadium construction, as is the case with the Chargers Initiative. I agree with everything in the Citizens’ Plan with the exception of bias against a contiguous convention center expansion.
CHARGERS PLAN FAN
Obviously you didn’t attend any of the All-Star Game events last week where over 400,000 people tortuously walked around downtown, not just the convention center, spending millions of dollars, filling hotel rooms and enjoying San Diego. Contiguous expansion isn’t going to happen so we need to look at the next best option [“Comic-Con: Contiguous expansion, please,” July 20].
The Chargers Plan is the next best option. A stadium downtown will allow for more than just 10 football games a year. It will bring in events like Super Bowls, college football playoffs, college basketball Final Fours, major soccer games and countless other major events. Comic-Con is nice but with a new, state-of-the-art stadium in San Diego there are much bigger opportunities.
A stadium downtown is about so much more than the Chargers, which is why the city will need to contribute to the funding. And don’t get me started on your homeless Utopian pipe dream. Look at San Francisco. Throwing money at the homeless does them no good. It only exacerbates the problem.
Andrew Brouwer, Via sdcitybeat.com