SAN DIEGO: City dismissed as defendant in TMD lawsuit
(CNS) – The city of San Diego will be dismissed as a defendant
in a lawsuit filed by the city's Tourism Marketing District against Mayor Bob
Filner, who has refused to sign off on an agreement to release administrative
funds to the agency, according to a settlement agreement released this week.
The TMD was renewed by the City Council last fall, but ex-Mayor Jerry
Sanders was unable to sign all the necessary documents before he left office in
December. Filner, his successor, refused to sign the contract to provide
funding because he wants higher pay for hotel workers and more money for public
safety, among other things.
In exchange for the TMD dismissing the city as a defendant and waiving
its rights to recover legal costs from the city, the City Council acknowledges
that the mayor is obliged to sign the deal under the City Charter, according to
the settlement released by council President Todd Gloria.
He said the City Council agreed to the settlement on Tuesday in closed
“This agreement demonstrates the City Council's belief in the
tremendous benefit and value of the Tourism Marketing District,” Gloria said.
“We want the TMD to continue operating. I hope the entire matter is quickly
resolved so the TMD can go back to publicizing our destination, and we can
focus on other priority matters.”
Tourism officials said the TMD has been unable to launch a $5.4 million
advertising campaign because of the hang-up with the mayor.
Separately, the San Diego Tourism Authority — the former Convention and
Visitors Bureau — said it issued 85 layoff notices this week as a result of
the TMD funding dispute. The authority said it might have to close by May 13 if
the issue isn't resolved.
The TMD is funded by a 2 percent charge on hotel room rates. The
resulting revenue is distributed to a variety of organizations that promote
tourism in San Diego.