Public Comments & Letters
August 31, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

As an attendee of Comic Con every year and as someone who sees first hand the amount of people, and their dollars, that this event brings to San Diego I would hate to see us lose it to Las Vegas.

I know that one of the arguments against the expansion is the current economy and that San Diego cannot really afford an expansion at this time. I would argue that we can't afford NOT to have the expansion.

San Diego has a history of not planning ahead, and dragging their feet about any changes. Case in point; the rebuilding of the downtown library. That argument has been going on since I moved here in 1973!

It has been speculated that Comic Con brings in 60 million dollars to the local economy, can we really afford to lose that because we refused to plan ahead, once again?

Regards,
Carolyn Mitrovich

 
July 8, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

Questions for July 6
Mayor’s Convention Center Task Force Meeting

1. Does the latest project cost estimate include the cost of the Convention Center Corp. purchasing the Port lease currently held by the 5th Avenue Landing Group? Those negotiations are not even scheduled to begin until tomorrow morning at the Port District offices.

2. Does the latest project cost estimate include the cost of purchasing a portion of the leasehold currently held by the Hilton Convention Center Hotel group?

3. Does the latest project cost estimate include the cost of removing the existing toxic materials from beneath the land where the expansion would be built?

4. Has the Port of San Diego made any formal or informal commitments to the Task Force to allow a doubling of the size of the proposed Spinnaker Hotel from 250 to 500 rooms?

5. Has the Task Force received any commitments from the California Coastal Commission to allow a 500 room hotel to be built blocking the entrance to the South Embarcadero Park?

6. Since the latest cost estimate is based on assumptions related to the 5 issues listed above, does it make sense to make any recommendations to the Mayor and City Council without fully resolving them first?

Don Wood

 
June 26, 2009

I saw power point phase 3 expansion of SDCC, I believe the hotel project between sdcc and south embarcadero park is a LOUSY LOUSY idea it kills the view and the openness san diego citizens enjoy, I visit seaport village and park 2-3 times a week and walk up and down the promenade. The hotel should go to tailgate park or surrounding vicinity.

Sammy Tejani

 
June 22, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

In the Sunday Union-Tribune, the editorial espouses moving to a realistic funding plan. Let’s take a step backward first and look at the whole idea more realistically.

The editorial – and, indeed, the entire development proposal – is predicated on the falsehood that the expansion “…would be a boon to the hotel industry…” which would benefit from increased bookings generated by a larger Convention Center. The project proponents argue that "if we build it, they will come." But this is truly a belief with no hard evidence to back it up. There are only a few mega-conventions at the top of the pyramid; there are many more smaller conferences further down the scale.

The editorial continues to ignore the evidence of recent facts. Continued tech advances are diminishing the need for business travel; large convention attendance is sharply reduced; San Diego hotel bookings are down by about one-fourth; the W hotel has just gone into bankruptcy – when was the last time that happened, especially in San Diego? It is obvious that the very nature of the convention industry is changing; San Diego must adjust with it, not simply continue with outdated brick-and-mortar expansions.

Yes, San Diego voters have rejected hotel room tax increases. Not, as the UT editors persist in thinking, because of any perceived objection to paying for city workers’ pensions, but because we recognize the basic injustice of charging out-of-towners for our civic improvements. When San Diegans travel to other cities, we have to pay similar room taxes and we don’t like it. So, we don’t want to inflict that wrongness upon visitors to this city. Increasing the TOT to 14.5% would make San Diego’s rate higher than Las Vegas (13%), New York City (13.25%) or even LA (14%). Is that fair?

It is growing ever clearer that no viable market exists for an expanded convention center for the foreseeable future.

Michael-Leonard Creditor

 
June 21, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

Local hotels are experiencing a 24% drop-off in revenue from last year, and several downtown hotels are in or approaching foreclosure. It looks like the UT would rather bankrupt the rest of the local hotel industry than drop the idea another expansion of the convention center.

San Diego Union-Tribune -- Editorial

Political reality

Hoteliers must foot bill for convention center expansion

2:00 a.m. June 21, 2009

The proposed 400,000-square-foot expansion of the San Diego Convention Center would be a boon to the hotel industry, which would reap tremendous benefits from increased conventioneer bookings. This is why San Diego's< hoteliers should pay for the expansion and not try to fob the costs off on others.

So, let's take off the table right now such outlandish proposals as a 1 percent surcharge on all food and drinks sold in San Diego; a $2 levy on tickets to the zoo and SeaWorld; and a $10 car rental fee.

All of these levies would have to be approved by voters, in most cases by a two-thirds majority if the funds were earmarked for a specific project like the convention center expansion. Why should San Diegans raise their own taxes for the benefit of hotel owners?

More to the point, would San Diego voters actually approve these higher levies, especially by a two-thirds majority? The answer is an unequivocal No. So, forget it. Let's move on to a funding plan rooted in political reality.

Consultants estimate it will cost the city nearly $53 million a year to pay for 30-year construction bonds on the expansion. This is widely seen as a daunting figure, but in reality it is one that San Diego's robust hotel industry can readily absorb.

Here's how:

At present, hotels collect a special 2 percent room tax which they use exclusively for their own media campaigns to attract visitors to San Diego. This levy generates almost $30 million a year - more than half of what is needed to pay for the convention center expansion. So, let's begin by throwing this $30 million into the funding pot.

Next, consider that every 1 percent increase in the hotel room tax generates nearly $15 million a year. So, if the current base room tax of 10.5 percent is> raised to 12.5 percent, it would generate an additional $30 million. Now, combine the receipts generated by the tourism marketing levy and the 2 percentage point hike in the regular room tax. The result: $60 million a year in new revenues to pay for the convention center expansion.

Alternatively, if the hoteliers don't want to add their 2 percent marketing tax to the pot, a full 4 percentage point jump in the base room tax, to 14.5 percent, would also produce a $60 million windfall to finance the convention center initiative. A $2 taxi drop-off fee is also worth considering.

In recent years, San Diego voters have twice rejected an increase in the hotel tax, in part because the revenues inevitably would have been used to pay for the bloated pensions of city workers. But a modest hike in the room levy with every dollar dedicated to the convention center expansion would have a better chance of passage. It's also the fairest way to pay for the project.

Don Wood

 
June 5, 2009

Chairman Cushman:

I expect that the Port and/or the Convention Center and the City will be required to fully analyze the Ballpark Village Hotel exhibit space alternative later on, as part of the project EIR process, so I hope we will be seeing some more evidence that this project alternative was given more than a summary consideration and a cursory rejection by the design team at a later stage of this proceeding.

Except for the proposed skywalks and escalators connecting the 2nd and 3rd phase expansions, the proposed phase 3 expansion design put forward by the design team will be a new separate building too. It would be linked to, but not fully integrated into the rest of the center facilities.

Thank you.
Don Wood

Cochair Cushman:
Will the cost estimate Tucker Sadler has been directed to develop include the cost of the convention center corporation purchasing the leasehold of the 5th Avenue Landing partnership, and the cost of removing all toxics from underneath the phase 3 site currently being proposed by the design team? If cars and trucks are going to have to drive underneath the phase 3 building, all those toxics will have to be removed first.

Thank you.
Don Wood

 
May 29, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

Dear Sir: I am not sure if I had mailed this to the correct department, so I ask you to please pass this along to the correct authorities. My name is Gary McClure and I am a Poway resident north of San Diego. I am an avid Comic-Con fan and I always look forward to attending the Con every year as my vacation. However, as you are well aware, the Comic-Con has quickly outgrew the capacity of the center, literally turning away millions in revenue. Space and crowding issues have been a major concern in the past three years. Unfortunately, there is no option to expand the convention center northward, as the hotel Marriott is conveniently (or frustratingly, depending on who you talk to) placed right next to the building. Facing South, the new Hilton hotel with is parking structure prohibits any decent expansion on floor space. Of course, the building could always expand upwards, but as I understand, a California law has been enacted that a public building must incorporate "Art", which, basically, would cause more trouble than it is worth. Expanding the center to make it wider would also be challenging, as E Harbor Drive and Embarcadero Marina Park would prohibit any decent floor space. Taking all of these considerations above, expansion of the convention center will be a difficult challenge. Or will it? There is one other option to consider: removal of the parking lot below the center and creating a second floor space. While I understand there are will be many obstacles to overcome, perhaps this might be the best solution as it could almost nearly double the floor space. I am not a building designer, and I honestly do not know how complicated the task would be to turn the parking lot into a second showcase floor, but please consider my suggestion as an alternative. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Gary McClure

 
May 27, 2009

Attention: Steven Cushman & Cheryl Kendrick
RE: Downtown San Diego Partnership's Support of Phase III Convention Center Expansion

Downtown Partnership letter

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

I have followed the activities of the Mayor's Convention Center Task Force only thru email. Unfortunately I have been unable to attend any of the public meeting sessions. From the reading of the agendas and the Task Force minutes it appears to me that many of the presentations have been from individuals and organizations biased in favor of an expansion of the Convention Center. I for one recommend that additional individuals and organizations be identified who might take a more balanced position and be asked to present to the Task Force as well. This will create a much more transparent process in making a recommendatuion to the Mayor.

One of the charges is:

  • To identify key issues related to public access, resource conservation and waterfront enhancement

To my knowledge this charge has not been addresses yet and will be one that many memebers of the public will be interested in. The existing CC and the subsequent expansion have done an outstanding job of walling off the waterfront from the City. Additional in today's climate of limited natural resources, water shortages and climate change, the way the Convention center positions itself will become extremely imporatnt. is it possible to have a LEED Platinum facility? What about a zero carbo footprint? How WILL the public access the waterfront?

In the recent Red Bull races citizens were removed from the Convention Center steps.Are we to expect more of the same?

What about traffic, parking, bus staging accomodation?

Any expansion of the CC must not cost the City. Subject any agreements to an independent analysis with public vetting.

Charles Kaminski

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

1. COMPOSITION OF THE TASK FORCE This group is supposed to represent diverse interests of San Diego. Taxpayers, the Convention Center’s fellow port tenants, the hospitality industry, organized labor, the business and economic development community are here. However, there is nobody to represent the fiscally conservative position of not expanding. Only one person on the panel possibly represents anti-development viewpoint – Ms. Takvorian. This lack of true representation has the effect of turning the panel into a virtual “kangaroo court,” totally biased in favor of expansion before even beginning its work.

2. VIABILITY OF SMALLER CONVENTION CENTER VS AUTOMATIC GROWTH Across the nation, convention centers (including our own) have been expanded unnecessarily and sit empty many days of the year. The project proponents argue that "if we build it, they will come." But this is truly a belief with no hard evidence to back it up. This feeds into the bias in favor of expansion that I mentioned. The CC board has been told by a few of the most lucrative clients that the existing facility is no longer large enough to accommodate them and they might take their convention business – and with it, the tax revenues they generate - elsewhere. This action would leave dates open for other conventions of the size that our current CC can handle. If and when those outgrow SDCC, others will come along to fill those holes. There are only a few mega-conventions at the top of the pyramid; there are many more smaller conferences further down the scale. Mayor Sanders cites a figure of $1 billion for this expansion, including a hotel and water taxi. That means we would need 11 years to make up the initial cost of this expansion alone. No market exists for an expanded convention center for the foreseeable future.

Michael-Leonard
Creditor

 
May 26, 2009

Attention: Chairman Steve Cushman

Subject: Privatizing Paradise: Comments to Convention Center Expansion Task Force

In 1974 Hamilton Marston, son of city father George Marston and Citizens Coordinate for Century 3, one of our region’s oldest and most respected urban planning organizations, invited nationally respected urban planners Kevin Lynch and Donald Appleyard to come to San Diego, evaluation then current urban development plans and existing development, then provide their insights on ways that San Diego could become a more beautiful and livable region over time.

Their observations are contained in a document titled Temporary Paradise? A look at the special landscape of the San Diego Region finalized in September, 1974.

What Lynch and Appleyard had to say about San Diego’s relationship to its waterfront is as valid today as it was 35 years ago. Among other observations, they said “This is the basic question: how much of the shore shall be accessible to whom, and by what means? For our part, we believe that the ocean shore should be the possession of all those who live in the region.” “Commercial, Industrial and military use should be on the water only when they make active use of it, and then not for long continuous reaches, this is a plea for open and equal access.”

Lynch and Appleyard also urged us to “Control the height and bulk of shoreline development – tall buildings and massive waterfront walls block the view and impair access.” They noted that “The people of San Diego will lay increasing emphasis on access to their Bay, and these uses hedge them out.” “What we criticize is any large single use, public or private, which excludes San Diegans from their Bay”.

Ten years after Temporary Paradise was published, the City and the Port began moving in the opposite direction. Construction of the original convention center was followed by the two giant Manchester Hotels, which originally proposed as tall towers, mutated into large podium structures that expanded to the property lines of their sites, effectively creating a multistory solid wall of tall, bulky buildings along downtown’s southern embarcadero. For most San Diegan’s to traverse this wall between the center of downtown to their bay, they have to pay the Convention Center, or Manchester and the Port for that access.

Having created a massive concrete wall on the south embarcadero, we proceeded to exacerbate the problem with the first center expansion in the early part of this decade. Now your task force, the convention center corporation and many private parties who stand to make money if the center is further expanded, propose to spread the malignancy by paving over and blocking off even more publicly owned tidelands on downtowns waterfront.

Once again, the public’s right to access its own downtown bayfront tidelands would be overridden by special interests seeking to cordon off public space for private gain. Eventually we will have paved over every square inch of the south embarcadero in the name of profits. Imagine if the City of San Diego were to fence off Balboa Park and charge citizens to go there. What you are doing is far worse then that, since downtown’s waterfront is a unique place. I know of no other waterfront city in the world that has worked so hard to wall off its bayfront from its own citizen’s to benefit private profit-making interests.

Ignoring Lynch and Appleyard’s farsighted recommendations, focusing on greed and making the almighty buck, we have privatized paradise along downtown’s south embarcadero, and now the Port, the Navy and Manchester seem determined to extend the wall of private commercial structures to the north embarcadero as well.

We must not sacrifice another square inch of our downtown bayfront tidelands to special interest commercial ventures. What few parcels of public tidelands open space that remain on our downtown bayfront should be kept in the public realm and developed as public parks and plazas for the enjoyment of future generations of San Diegans.

Don Wood

 
May 25, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

I am concerned that this task force and its staff are proving increasingly biased in favor of building a convention center expansion and are actively trying to skew the public discussion in order to promote the project, instead of carefully examining the pros and cons of the proposed concept and project alternatives.

The glaring pro-expansion bias of this task force is seriously undermining any credibility the mayor and this group may have hoped for with the voting public.

For example, I attended your May 5 task force meeting at SDSU and commented on my concerns over the proposal to further expand the convention center onto publicly owned tidelands. At that meeting I submitted a written copy of my comments to your staff and asked that they be included in the meeting minutes. Instead your meeting minutes simply list me as “opposed” with no reference to what I actually said or arguments put forward. This kind of truncated note taking does not help the public understand either the benefits or the pitfalls of this proposed project.

When contacted, your staff referred me to a page on your project website where members of the public could post comments and I posted my May 5 comments there. Yet a check of the website documents “public comments” section yesterday found only 12 comments listed, all of which praised the proposal and urged that the expansion be built. Members of the public checking out your project website are only being allowed to see one side of this public debate, once again undermining the credibility of any final recommendations issued by this body.

I urge you to direct staff to include all comments received from the public under the public comments section of your website, so that readers can see both the pros and cons associated with this project.

I was also informed by your staff that all public comments received between meetings would be provided to task force members before the next meeting for them to read. That claim is impossible to confirm since staff hasn’t posted task force reading materials for tonight’s meeting on the project website, meaning that the only way for the public to get copies of what is being provided to task force members is to physically come down to your meetings and pick them up.

I don’t think that this kind of closed deliberations and one sided website postings was what Mayor Sanders had in mind when he formed this task force. The public cannot engage in “a critical civic conversation” when it is being provided only half the story and bombarded with pro-expansion propaganda.

I also urge you to post all the comments you receive from the public on your website and post upcoming meeting reading materials on your website at last 48 hours before future meetings in order to allow the public to fully understand and participate in what the mayor calls this critical civic conversation.

I plan to attend tomorrow evenings task force meeting and will be interested to see if these comments are included in the package passed out to the task force members and the audience.

Thank you.

Don Wood

 
May 21, 2009

Attention: Laurie Peters, SDCCC

Dear Laurie,

I am writing today in support of further expansion to the San Diego Convention Center. The proposed expansion of the convention center benefits local businesses. Shops and restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter receive a tremendous amount of business from convention attendees.

Expanding the convention center will allow San Diego to stay competitive in the market by accommodating large groups. Without an expansion, large groups will have no choice but to book elsewhere.

The first 20 years of business at the convention center have been hugely successful. In order to achieve the same success in the next 20 years an expansion is necessary.

With sincere regards,

Keiliki Rodriguez
Director of Museum Operations, Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation

 
May 10, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

It is VERY important that the extension of the Convention Center be approved.

Jan Borkum
Urban Kitchen Group

 
May 7, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

The staff, Management and Owners of Cafe coyote/Trophy Properties are in favor of the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. The expansion will allow for larger groups to come and spend their income in San Diego thus helping San Diego businesses to grow and prosper.

Thanks,
Laryssa Bentley
Café Coyote/ Trophy Properties

To the members of the Mayor's Task Force Convention Center Expansion Proposal

I object to the Convention Center Expansion Proposal because it will continue to the walling off of the bay and designate more of our public tidelands to private enterprise. The latest studies report that there is no need for convention expansion especially in this economic climate. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Cathy O'Leary Carey

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

1. COMPOSITION OF THE TASK FORCE
This group is supposed to represent diverse interests of San Diego. Taxpayers, the Convention Center’s fellow port tenants, the hospitality industry, organized labor, the business and economic development community are here. However, there is nobody to represent the fiscally conservative position of not expanding. Only one person on the panel possibly represents anti-development viewpoint – Ms. Takvorian.
This lack of true representation has the effect of turning the panel into a virtual “kangaroo court,” totally biased in favor of expansion before even beginning its work.

2. VIABILITY OF SMALLER CONVENTION CENTER VS AUTOMATIC GROWTH
Across the nation, convention centers (including our own) have been expanded unnecessarily and sit empty many days of the year. The project proponents argue that "if we build it, they will come." But this is truly a belief with no hard evidence to back it up. This feeds into the bias in favor of expansion that I mentioned. The CC board has been told by a few of the most lucrative clients that the existing facility is no longer large enough to accommodate them and they might take their convention business – and with it, the tax revenues they generate - elsewhere. This action would leave dates open for other conventions of the size that our current CC can handle. If and when those outgrow SDCC, others will come along to fill those holes.
There are only a few mega-conventions at the top of the pyramid; there are many more smaller conferences further down the scale. Mayor Sanders cites a figure of $1 billion including a hotel and water taxi. That means we would need 11 years to make up the initial cost. No market exists for an expanded convention center for the foreseeable future.

Michael-Leonard, Creditor

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

What would Barcelona do? Would the local cynics and Luddites control the debate and block progress?

Come on San Diego! Let's aim higher. Let's build a great city -- lively, pedestrian-friendly, dense, alive. An expanded convention center will move us that direction.

Bill Keller
Le TRAVEL STORE

 
May 6, 2009

Attention: Expansion Proposal Citizen’s Task Force

1. The project proposal would further reduce public access to publicly owned tidelands.

The Port of San Diego is required by its charter to manage our tidelands on behalf of the general public, which according to the California state constitution, owns those tidelands. The Port is charged with preserving managing and protecting these publicly owned tidelands for the benefit of all citizens.

Instead, for the last 25 years the San Diego Unified Port District has undermined the public interest by allowing various private special interests to pave over, fence and wall off our downtown waterfront tidelands, limiting access to those properties only to paying customers. Unfortunately, the Port District appears to have redefined the term “public” to consist primarily of conventioneers, hotel visitors and cruise line passengers.

The few remaining publicly accessible spots along our downtown bayfront are already hard to find and often taken over by private event sponsors, like the Symphony Pops concerts, rock concert events and this weekend’s Red Bull air races, that charge members of the public for going onto their own property.

The existing north and south embarcadero parks are already very difficult for the public to find, walled off as they are by the existing convention center and Hilton hotel complex. Expanding the convention center onto adjacent public tidelands would make them even less accessible to the public. It is time for the Port District to stop privatizing publicly owned tidelands for commercial special interests and begin preserving more of this public land for the ongoing use of the public. There has to be a better balance between preservation, protection and commercial development of these public lands.

2. No market exists for an expanded convention center for the foreseeable future.

Across the nation, convention centers (including our own) have been overbuilt and sit empty many days of the year. San Diego’s downtown hotels have been overbuilt and airlines are in serious trouble during this nationwide economic recession. Fewer and fewer companies are sending employees to remote conventions and conferences, preferring to use teleconferencing instead. I participated in two major national and statewide teleconferences last week without leaving my home office. The project proponents argue that "if we build it, they will come", but have provided no hard evidence to back up this theory.

3. If you decide to pursue this project, please do so on a site off the public tidelands.

I believe that JMI Realty has indicated an interest in working with the convention center corporation to build a new privately financed convention expansion facility on property it controls just across Harbor Drive from the existing center.
JMI would finance and build the facility in return for a share of future convention center profits. While the convention center board would prefer to continue feeding at the public trough, and have taxpayers fund a new convention center expansion as they did the original convention center and the first expansion project, I would prefer that you recommend that the city explore JMI’s private public partnership approach, since it would avoid further loss of public tidelands to private commercial interests.

Don Wood

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

The expansion of our convention center is absolutely vital for San Diego hospitality industry; the visitors prefer our city to other venues but the lack of space is pushing that business to other cities with larger centers, the city is well aware of the tax revenues the convention center generates.
It is essential that the business community rallies behind the expansion of our convention center, it is so clear that it screams great economic sense.
Please support the expansion. Thank you.

Bertrand Hug
Mille Fleurs restaurant

 
May 5, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

Sorry that I am not able to attend this meeting tonight but felt it imperative to make my thoughts known to you.

San Diego is my home. I own property and conduct my business here.

I am in favor of expanding the convention center. More visitors mean more clean, green jobs, more income and more revenue for the city. All this seems to me leads to an improved quality of life for our community.

Please let me know how I can help.

Dorothy Surdi
Advisor
Sperry Van Ness

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

Phil's BBQ STRONGLY SUPPORTS the expansion of the convention center!!

The San Diego Convention Center is a miracle maker, producing a $17 billion economic impact since its 1989 opening!! Expansion means thousands of jobs and prosperity for business owners, especially small and independent businesses like ours. In the short term, there will be great opportunities for construction jobs. Over the long term, permanent employment for thousands of our hospitality industry members directly related to expanded convention attendance.

The convention industry is uniquely able to succeed despite economic downturns or other events that devastate most businesses. Unlike most corporate meetings and leisure travel, large conventions are planned years in advance. When today’s economic turmoil is past an expanded convention center can ride the next wave of growth resulting in higher revenue for the City and greater economic prosperity for the region for decades.

The expansion of San Diego's convention center will not only help keep some of the larger events we currently book, but will open new opportunities to attract larger conventions.

Phil's BBQ strongly recommends approving the expansion. Thank you for your consideration.

Fred Glick
VP of Operations
Phil's BBQ

 
May 4, 2009

Attention: Steven Cushman, Co-chair & Cheryl Kendrick, Co-chair
Citizen's Task Force on the Convention Center Project

The Pearl Hotel letter

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

I want to let the task force know that I completely support the expansion of
the Convention Center. Because of the last expansion my professional
organization, The Club Managers Association of America has now booked the
Center every three years for our conference. We bring over 50,000
participants to town and it the most popular venue for our group. In fact,
some have asked if we could come to San Diego every year, but that has not
been decided. I believe that further expansion will help the downtown area
prosper and will enable us to continue to attract the large groups, and even
keep some of those groups that are now beginning to outgrow our current
facility. We have prospered from the conventions even down in Chula Vista.
I believe that the expansion will be good for the city and the entire county of
San Diego. Thank you for your consideration.
David Morris, General Manager
San Diego Country Club

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

Numerous Downtown Restaurant Owners are seriously concerned about the
Convention Center taking aways its food and beverage revenue by the
Center holding its own banquets on site and at other locations.

Anil Popat, Manager
Monsoon Restaurant Group

 
April 22, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

Having recently held an event at the Convention Center, the news of this
task force makes me so happy! One of the most important things you should
consider is the parking situation. It was approximately 1 mile to walk from
parking to our conference room, which was at the very end of the
convention center. I cannot emphasize how much of an impact this had on
my participants. Many people commented on how long the walk was and
how unnecessary it was that we were put in a room at the far end of the
convention center. It became clear that there were other events going on
during the 2nd day that prevented us from being placed at a different
location.

Unfortunately I do not live in San Diego and will not be able to attend one of
these task force meetings, however I hope that you will consider this point
during your discussions! Please do not hesitate to contact me with further
questions!

Thanks!
Tamara Karakashian, Project Coordinator
California Institute on Human Services, Inc

 
April 4, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

I have seen the effect the convention center had in developing a beautiful
and vibrant downtown. It is a great contributor to San Diego's economy
and it's expansion will position San Diego as a great attraction in the global
market.

Michael Million

 
March 28, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Stephen Cushman

Destination Services San Diego, a local DMC supports this important
expansion project.

Kurt Bjorkman
Destination Services San Diego

 
March 27, 2009

Attention: Laurie Peters
Hi Laurie,

Liz and I fully support the expansion of the convention center.

Regards,
Phil and Liz Paccione

 
March 26, 2009

Attention: Laurie Peters
Laurie,

I completely support the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.
This project would help increase business downtown.
Thank you for you time.

Christopher Herbert
San Diego Wine & Culinary Center
General Manager

Attention: Laurie Peters
To whom this may concern,

I am supporting for Expansion of the Convention Center.

Best regards,
Behrooz Farahani
Bandar Restaurant

Attention: Laurie Peters
Expansion of current convention center
Laurie,

I strongly support the expansion of the convention center in order to keep
the conventions we have in San Diego, as well as, the ability to attract larger
conventions that can add significant sums of money into the San Diego area,
as well as the tax base to the city and state.

Jack Berdy

Attention: Laurie Peters
Support expansion of current convention center
Dear Ms Peters,

The Food & Beverage Association San Diego County has since 1945 represented the interests of hospitality businesses in our region. At every juncture in the history of the current convention centers history we have supported the kind of facility our region must have to remain competitive, marketing San Diego as a destination for conventions and events.

Even in the midst of current economic challenges we realize these engines that run our local economy, the Convention Center, must keep up with demand for adequate space.

We are at that juncture in time, given the lag time needed to bring an expansion project to completion all stakeholders must commit, now, to expanding the current convention center.

We are fully committed to seeing expansion plans approved and construction commence ASAP.

Stephen A Zolezzi
Executive VP, CEO
Food & Beverage Association San Diego County

 
March 24, 2009

Attention: Steven Cushman, Co-chair & Cheryl Kendrick, Co-chair
Mayor’s Task Force on the Convention Center Project
Honorable Co-chairs and Members of the Task Force:

I regret that travel prevents my attendance at the next two Task Force Meetings. During my absence, the group may have a preliminary vote on whether or not to proceed with further study. I urge that we move forward.

As a member of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors since 2006 I offer the following evidence-based observations:

  1. The convention industry is uniquely able to succeed despite economic downturns or other events that devastate most businesses. Unlike most corporate meetings and leisure travel, large conventions are planned years in advance. When today’s economic turmoil is past an expanded convention center can ride the next wave of growth resulting in higher revenue for the City and greater economic prosperity for the region for decades.

  2. Expansion means thousands of jobs and prosperity for business owners, especially small and independent businesses. In the short term, great opportunities for construction jobs; in the long term, permanent employment for thousands directly related to expanded convention attendance.

  3. If we build it, they will come. Annual review of market share among the West Coast competitive set shows that San Diego wins a disproportionate share of the market for the most lucrative conventions. Part of that is due to the excellence of our staff. But weather, excellent headquarter hotel facilities adjacent or near the Convention Center, the proximity to the Gaslamp Quarter – and perhaps most importantly, the unique bayside setting – make our sales story a hard one to beat.

  4. SDCCC has proven to be a capable steward of the public trust. Since its inception, San Diego Convention Center Corporation has exceeded expectations: more revenue for the City, more prosperity for businesses, more jobs for working people than projected. Although the Corporation is governed by persons appointed by the Mayor and City Council, professional management operates with sophisticated business policies and procedures appropriate to an entrepreneurial business venture. The result has been outstanding labor relations, an excellent reputation in the community, good corporate citizenship as an environmental leader, and solid return on investment for taxpayers. Under SDCCC’s unique public-private model, we can anticipate similar excellence in the future.

  5. There is a cost to doing nothing, as some of our best clients will (and some already have) left for larger facilities elsewhere. Additionally, several very attractive conventions have never used San Diego due to our limited size. The expansion will help us keep what we have and attract new business we would not otherwise get.

I believe there is every reason to continue studying the possibilities, and no reason to stop unless the project proves financially or operationally infeasible. Thank you for your consideration.

Bob Nelson Vice Chair, Board of Directors
San Diego Convention Center Corporation

 
March 13, 2009

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Steve Cushman
Dear Cheryl and Steve,

I just wanted to send you an email to let you know how sorry both Bertrand and I are that we cannot attend the meeting tonight regarding the Convention Center expansion. Certainly this is something we support wholeheartedly. The Convention center and it's staff have been so important to our business since opening Mister A's in 2000 and prior to that sending us business at our Mille Fleurs location. Your staff is so wonderful to work with and we can't wait to have an even bigger crowd to draw from with the expanded Convention center. We truly believe the Convention Center is the heart and soul of our city and will be happy to help however we can with the expansion efforts.

Very sincerely,
Penny Payton Director of Operations
Bertrand at Mister A's
Mille Fleurs

 
March 12, 2009

Attention: Steve Cushman & Cheryl Kendrick
To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this letter in support on the San Diego Convention Center expansion project. I am employed by MRG, Inc, a Southern California restaurant group that has operated five locations throughout San Diego County for over 20 years. The Moose Restaurant Group is grateful for the revenue that has been generated by the San Diego Convention Center and our entire corporate staff would concur that due to the Convention Center, our business has enjoyed double digit sales increases over the past 20 years. We are in full support of any expansion of the Convention Center and believe that this expansion will not only benefit San Diego by increasing sales and tax revenues; moreover, it will surely expand employment opportunities as well. Should you need any further verification of our support from any of the managing partners at the Moose Restaurant Group, please feel free to contact Ken Lovi or myself, Marilyn Long. Contact information is listed below.

Sincerely,
Marilyn Long, Regional Director
Ken Lovi, Managing Partner/Vice President of Operations
Moose Restaurant Group Inc.

Attention: Cheryl Kendrick & Steve Cushman

I am sorry that I will not be available this evening to help support the much needed Convention Center expansion. For the past 7 years I have closely worked with you and the convention center and the SDCVB. As a member of the SDCVB marketing committee I am well aware of the importance of the convention center to this great city. I know that we are now getting more competitive with some of the other important convention cities and are in need of more space to accommodate the growing demand.

As a much desired tourist destination, with the best all year round weather, we are in a position to handle convention business all year not just during specific seasons. I am certain that you will have success in getting this done as the importance and need are indisputable.

Charles T. Rosen
Executive Director Marketing/Sales
Maderas Golf Club

Dear Task Force Members:

I’ve published a weekly newspaper for the community of Rancho Bernardo, served on the San Diego City Council representing the 5th Council District, and most recently served as president of the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

In all those roles, I came to fully understand and appreciate the tremendous contribution made by the Convention Center to the economic well-being of our city.

The regional economic impacts of the Convention Center have been well documented. They are felt from downtown all the way to Rancho Bernardo in the form of increased visitor spending. The convention Center has also helped provide a customer base for restaurants, shops and cultural amenities that are enjoyed by San Diegans.

But I want to focus your attention on the neighborhood-specific benefits of the Convention Center in the form of over $300 million in city tax revenues that have been generated by Convention Center visitors. Although the bulk of those revenues come from sales and room taxes that occur downtown, the revenues are expended throughout the city to support basic city services in Rancho Bernardo, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch and other neighborhoods.

Our city is facing significant financial challenges right now. Part of the solution to overcoming those challenges is to grow tax revenues from visitors, and the Convention Center has proved over the years it is the best, most cost-effective way of expanding those revenues.

Convention Center expansion is not a downtown issue. It’s a citywide quality of life issue. As your Task Force considers the purpose and need of this expansion, I hope you will take into account the positive impacts of your decision on our North City neighborhoods, and indeed the positive impacts on every neighborhood in our city.

Sincerely,
Barbara Warden

All meeting documents, including public comment letters received between meetings, are distributed at meetings and posted online the following day.

-Mayor's Citizen Task Force on the San Diego Convention Center Project-
www.sandiego.gov  •  www.visitsandiego.com  •  www.portofsandiego.org
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