An ongoing feud between San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and the city's hotel owners over the release of tourism marketing funds resumed Tuesday, little more than a week after an agreement was reached, according to a report from the Voice of San Diego.
Filner balked just as the City Council was about to approve the agreement saying that the proposed language leaves the city's general fund at great risk should the Tourism Marketing District be found illegal, the report said.
A 2% hotel room tax being used to finance tourism promotion is being challenged in three lawsuits filed against the city.
The council voted unanimously to continue the matter until Monday but vowed to make a decision then even if a consensus cannot be reached in the interim.
"We need all the parties, the city attorney, mayor and the TMD (Tourism Marketing District) to provide us with draft amendment language to see a way forward out of this mess - and make no mistake, this is a mess," Councilwoman Sherri Lightner told VOSD. "This is hurting everyone, most of all the taxpayers who have elected us to lead."
At stake is $30 million a year in marketing money that is generated by the hotelier-run district. The city's Tourism Authority, which relies on the funds for 80 percent of its budget, already has canceled more than $8 million in television advertising at a time when other major cities are promoting themselves for the summer traveling season.
The agency is also facing layoffs of nearly all its staff if funding does not become available by early May. Layoff notices already have been issued.