SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A push by area arts leaders for greater financial backing from the city of San Diego gained tentative support from the City Council Wednesday, though votes on the issue will come later.
Representatives of the city's Commission on Arts and Culture said at a review hearing on Mayor Jerry Sanders' proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year that they want an increase that keeps pace with projected growth in their primary funding source -- hotel room tax revenue.
Sanders projects that room tax income will go up by 5 percent in the fiscal year that begins July 1, and proposes hiking funding for the city's Commission on Arts & Culture by $135,000 over the current fiscal year.
Representatives of the commission, which distributes money to nearly 70 local arts groups, want an additional $310,000, to bring total funding to $7.742 million.
"I am really supportive of doing that, in particular for organizations that have applied (for funding) for the first time," Councilman David Alvarez said.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf proposed developing a three- to five-year strategic plan to gradually increase financial backing for arts to an even greater level.
"We have a return on investment (in the arts) that's pretty significant," Zapf said.
According to the commission, the arts attracted two million visitors and $170 million of spending to San Diego in fiscal year 2011, employing around 6,000 people. Its statistics also showed that the out-of-town guests who come for arts events stay an average of two days longer and part with twice as much cash as the average tourist.
Councilmen Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer also supported a funding increase, but urged caution because of uncertainty brought about by changes to redevelopment. They fear the state could mandate that debt service for the convention center and Petco Park be picked up by the city's general fund, which would reduce money for basic services.
Jay Goldstone, the city's chief operating officer, said the newfound money from the projected 5 percent increase in room tax revenues has already been allocated. If new figures due at the end of this week show an even greater gain, the mayor's office would not object to increasing arts funding, he said.
The council members did not actually vote on the issue.
Sanders is scheduled to issue revisions to his budget proposal in two weeks, and the council will take its votes next month.
Police are searching for two suspects after an argument resulted in a deadly shooting in the parking lot of Burlington Coat Factory in La Mesa on Thursday.
Comic-Con International opened Thursday to Halle Barry chugging whisky, reminiscences from the cast of "Teen Wolf" and relatively light crowds in the San Diego Convention Center's major ballrooms.
There are typically a lot of Batmen at Comic-Con, but only one was the subject of a star-filled tribute.
Imagine "End of Watch" but with orcs and fairies and magic. That's the vibe of Will Smith's big budget Netflix film "Bright," which unveiled its first full trailer Thursday in a presentation at Comic-Con.
Comic-Con visitors are getting more than an early look at anticipated movies and shows. They're going inside them with virtual reality.
The water off our coastline is teeming with life and that includes one of the fiercest predators in the ocean - the great white shark. Some boaters got an up-close look at one of the sharks off Mission Bay. News 8's Marcella Lee reports on the incredible video.
A 20-year-old woman who had consumed alcohol before she struck and killed a teenage boy in Tierrasanta, then fled the scene, was sentenced Thursday to four years in state prison.
Protesters gathering outside Representative Darrell Issa's office in Vista has become a weekly occurrence. But News 8 has obtained copies of a message left by the local congressman asking the City of Vista to take action against the demonstrators.
O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel-room heist, successfully making his case for freedom in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.