San Diego Citizens Initiative Launched to Require Tourists and Tourism Businesses to “Pay Their Own Way”

As Board members of San Diegans for Open Government, we have been proponents and advocates of moral and transparent government and try to keep alive a bold vision of open, responsible and creative uses of public resources.

While working on those basic ideas, we have had to learn about how the City of San Diego’s tourism industry works, how its infrastructure money is collected and spent, and who pays and who benefits.  The whole system appears to us to be redundant, fractured and unbalanced.

Local taxpayers continue to be the people paying, while the politically connected continue to be the ones benefiting from that money.  There are so many conflicting regulations that the city is going in all directions, while the residents have been left out of the decision-making process.

It is just wrong.

We shared our concerns and frustrations with our attorney, Cory Briggs.  We explained that we wanted to set out a ballot initiative that gave voters a chance to have their say on these matters, that rid the public of the redundancies and wasteful spending and dealt with the complex issues of tourism in a coherent way.  In other words, we wanted to create a comprehensive plan for how the city could move forward, improve our tourism industry, provide more income for city services, stop wasteful spending, and give real options for a convention center and football stadium — with the only tax increase being on tourists while keeping us competitive with other cities — and let the voters of San Diego make the final decision for themselves.

Mr. Briggs agreed to help us navigate through the process and he worked tirelessly to create something that met all the goals we set out.

Over time, we continued to meet, think, debate and enlarge our concern by trying to find the best comprehensive solution.

We are thankful that Mr. Briggs was not only able to work with everyone who would have to put this plan into action, but was also able to get their assurances this plan could work.

We at SanDOG have tried to say again and again that we are extraordinarily grateful to have the good fortune to work with such a creative, brilliant and persistent lawyer as Mr. Briggs.

We hope that people will take the time to understand what this initiative would do for our city.  We continue to hope that our work will inspire others to look for solutions that continue to make our city a better place for everyone.

Pedro Quiroz, Jr., and Rev. Richard Lawrence

Read the October 22, 2015 Media Advisory here: 2015-10-22_Media_Advisory.

Read the “Pay Their Own Way” Initiative here: Notice_of_Intent_TFID_FINAL_ADVANCE_RELEASE.

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