By Doug Porter
One of the most frequently told tall tales during the Filner administration had to do with the consequences of San Diego Tourism Authority’s reduction in advertising and promotional expenditures. Doom and gloom studded media accounts, like one just published in UT-San Diego on September 8th, warned that falling hotel occupancy would have widespread impacts on the local economy.
This most recent account had Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi ominously warning the number of room nights generated this fiscal year in San Diego will fall by as much as 350,000.
The latest reporting by industry analysts at Smith Travel Research indicates San Diego’s hotel occupancy rose by “only” 1% over July levels and is up year-to-date.
I have no doubt the local tourism tax dollar welfare recipients downtown will wail none-the-less by pointing out that tourism in other California coastal cities increased by a larger amount.
And it’s true: So far this year San Diego occupancy is up 0.8%, versus 3.3% for Orange County, 1.8% for L.A., and 3% for San Francisco. That doesn’t look like we’re losing hundreds of thousand of hotel rooms to me.
And this difference parallels the historical growth rate, with or without Tourism Authority funding. San Diego already trailed other cities from 2008 to 2012. There was no indication that the figures from 2013 to 2015 would be different.
Fact: for the 5-year temporary Tourism Marketing District trial period of 2008 to 2012, San Diego easily did worse than Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, and Anaheim.
When the biggest hotels refused to sign the waivers (protecting the taxpayers of San Diego from liability in case of adverse legal decisions) negotiated by Councilman David Alvarez last the spring , the amount of tax money going to the Tourism Authority went down.
They were forced to live within a budget pared down from about $30 million to $12 million. Staff was laid off and the blame was laid on the Filner administration. Stories warning of layoffs of hospitality employees (and even a recession) were pumped through the media. “Everybody knew” it was the truth.
What everybody should know is the Tourism Authority (formerly known.as the Convention and Visitors Bureau) and the San Diego Convention Center has a long and sad history of cooking their books when it comes to reporting hotel room nights generated by their marketing efforts.
For example, they have a history of promising inflated projections of visitor nights for upcoming events, and then failing to amend those projections when the number of actual nights proves lower than the original projections, as reflected in San Diego Reader investigative articles.
Nineteenth century retailer (and early advocate of print advertising) John Wannamaker was quoted as saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
In San Diego’s tourism marketing, we now have a big clue.
It’s Off to The (Mayoral) Races
It looks as though Nathan Fletcher’s campaign has received its posters back from the printer. My North Park neighborhood is covered, and then some. Also seen on the morning 7-11 run: a poster for gun rights advocate Lincoln Pickard’s mayoral campaign.
Of course the big news today is the 10News/U-T San Diego poll, showing Fletcher as front-runner in the race for San Diego mayor. I got the call from 10News the other night and passed on the opportunity—I was busy watching Star Trek Next Generation.
The poll asked 800 city of San Diego respondents, “If the special election for San Diego mayor were today, who would you vote for?”
Of those, 30 percent of respondents said Fletcher. Councilman Kevin Faulconer came in second with 22 percent, and Councilman David Alvarez came in third with 17 percent.
According to the poll, 9 percent said they would vote for former City Attorney Mike Aguirre. Bruce Coons, the head of the Save Our Heritage Organisation, received 2 percent.
Four percent said they would vote for another candidate and 15 percent said they were undecided.
If those rankings seem familiar, it’s because they strongly resemble earlier generic name recognition polling done by a variety of political organizations. Given the UT-San Diego’s intervention in this election as the “official” media provider for campaign debates, we can expect to see Kevin Faulconer’s numbers increase in future polls.
Asked about characteristics that would be important in influencing their choices for San Diego’s next mayor, the breakdown among those surveyed was: Integrity 30%, Leadership 26%, Fiscal responsibility 16%, Reach across party lines 13%.
Non News—Voice of San Diego has a story up about Katherine Faulconer (wife of Kevin) being (gasp) a little more than a week late in paying the city’s annual tax for her restaurant event planning business. Really? Raise your hand if you care?
Today’s the big day for the local Democratic Party. They may (or may not) endorse a mayoral candidate. David Alvarez and Nathan Fletcher are the only two candidates in contention. Oh, to be a fly on that wall!
This morning Alvarez rolled out endorsements from three former Chairs of the San Diego County Democratic Party: Maureen Steiner, Bob Jellison, and Kennan Kaeder. The city councilman was also endorsed by colleagues Mytle Cole and Marti Emerald on Monday.
The San Diego Port Tenants Association has obviously recovered from their disappointment that Carl DeMaio isn’t running. They endorsed Kevin Faulconer, calling him “a man of his word”.
Nathan Fletcher picked up another union endorsement of Sunday, getting the nod from Southern California’s largest nurses union, United Nurses Association/Union of Health Care Professionals.
Follow the Big Money (Total large donations as of 4pm Monday): Faulconer $196,000, Fletcher $105,000, Alvarez $13,000.
DeMaio’s on Troll Patrol
Former mayoral wannbe Carl DeMaio took to Twitter yesterday to gloat, urging VOSD’s Scott Lewis to turn his publication’s investigative energies into reporting on “the civil war within labor, right @lorenaSgonzalez?”
There was no word from the Congressional candidate on how he’d approach the pending Federal shutdown resulting from Republican House members’ dedication to killing Obamacare.
Meanwhile DeMaio was busy canvassing:
— Matt Corrales (@MattCorrales) September 23, 2013
Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Rancho Santa Fe:
- California State University-San Marcos (about 8 miles; San Marcos, CA; Full-time enrollment: 6,621)
- National University (about 9 miles; La Jolla, CA; FT enrollment: 8,504)
- Palomar College (about 9 miles; San Marcos, CA; FT enrollment: 9,170)
- Alliant International University (about 11 miles; San Diego, CA; FT enrollment: 2,472)
- University of California-San Diego (about 11 miles; La Jolla, CA; FT enrollment: 27,502)
- MiraCosta College (about 14 miles; Oceanside, CA; FT enrollment: 5,490)
- San Diego Mesa College (about 16 miles; San Diego, CA; FT enrollment: 5,178)
It’s Banned Book Week
Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2013 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held thru September 28th.
Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. For more information on Banned Books Week, click here. According to the American Library Association, there were 464 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2012, and many more go unreported.
The 10 most challenged titles of 2012 were:
- Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
- Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
- And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
- The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
- Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
- The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Here’s the latest effort from people with small minds, from Time.com:
Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man has just been banned in school libraries in one North Carolina county. The 1952 novel about a man who seems to have fallen into a racial oblivion in America has remained firmly on countless school reading lists and many lists of best books, including TIME’s own Top 100. So it may seem surprising that the book was banned, and not for inappropriate content — as books often are — but rather for lack of literary merit, according to one Randolph County school board member.
This book wasn’t simply removed from reading lists, either. It was explicitly banned by a 5-2 vote, which took place after a 12-page complaint was placed by a parent who thought the story was inappropriate for her 11th grade child.
The board’s decision is scheduled for reconsideration later this week in light of the national publicity it’s received.
Have you read a banned book lately?
Today is National Voter Registration Day
For those of you who can be bothered:
Registration info for anywhere in the US: http://www.rockthevote.com/
Register to vote ONLINE in California:
San Diego residents can check their registration status:
On This Day: 1960 – The first nuclear powered aircraft carrier was launched. The USS Enterprise set out from Newport News, VA. 1961 – “The Bullwinkle Show” premiered in prime time on NBC-TV. The show was originally on ABC in the afternoon as “Rocky and His Friends.” 1996 – The United States, represented by President Clinton, and the world’s other major nuclear powers signed a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to end all testing and development of nuclear weapons.
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