SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Tourism Authority announced today it plans to lay off 31 employees -- or 40 percent of its workforce -- effective Tuesday.
The job losses, originally reported by U-T San Diego and confirmed to City News Service by Tourism Authority spokesman Darren Pudgil, stem from substantially lower revenues this year. The funding downturn was triggered by a lawsuit that challenges how the city collects funds to market San Diego as a vacation destination.
Leaders of the Tourism Authority -- which used to be known as the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau -- repeatedly warned city officials that layoffs would occur if an agreement on the funding mechanism wasn't worked out.
The remaining employees likely face pay cuts, according to the SDTA.
The lawsuit by open government advocate Cory Briggs challenges the legality of a 2 percent charge on hotel bills that comes on top of the city's regular room tax. The money collected by the 2 percent levy goes to the city's Tourism Marketing District, which funds the Tourism Authority.
Earlier this year, Mayor Bob Filner refused to release collected funds to the district until he received guarantees that the area's largest hotels would protect the city's general fund in case Briggs wins the court case.
A Briggs victory could force the 2 percent levy to be returned. But if that money is already spent on tourism promotion, it would have to come out of the city's general fund -- which pays for basic services like public safety and libraries.
The mayor brokered a deal in which tourism officials would receive a percentage of funding that corresponds to the amount collected from hotels who have agreed to indemnify the city. The newspaper reported that 34 out of 200 hotels have stepped up, or 16 percent.
The National Weather Service is predicting rain around San Diego County this week, potentially heavy rain on Thursday. People in unincorporated areas can get free sandbags at numerous locations to help them protect their homes, properties and communities.
Influenza deaths and cases went up last week and the number of emergency department visits due to influenza-like illness remained the same, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.
A hearing is underway Wednesday to determine if Tieray Jones will be re-tried in the case of a toddler who vanished 16 years ago.
A Pacific storm that promises to heavily douse much of Southern California this week will deliver a considerably less dramatic infusion of precipitation in the San Diego area, according to the National Weather Service.
The Kia Classic is back for the 9th year; this is the 6th year the tournament will be played at Aviara Golf Club.
An increased police presence is expected Wednesday at Serra High after a threatening message was written on a school wall.
Mexican Federal Police make a shocking discovery at the Tijuana Airport overnight. They were searching for drugs, when they found a tiger and black panther cub.
A Mexican woman in the U.S. illegally who was dragged away from her daughters by authorities in a widely viewed video was being released on her own recognizance Tuesday by an immigration judge in Southern California.
After a nearly three-hour public hearing, the City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to approve a facility that would allow homeless people to store their valuables.