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.
A 28-year-old man died Wednesday after he was found shot in a car in San Diego's University Heights neighborhood, police said.
Calling all aspiring entomologists! You're invited to San Diego Botanic Garden’s Insect Festival this weekend!
Comic-Con International, again expected to draw a wide array of fans of the popular arts, will conduct its annual preview night at the San Diego Convention Center Wednesday night.
A 25-year-old man suffered a fractured femur today when he was shot in the right leg by a man in San Diego's Chollas View neighborhood, police said.
Lanes were closed Wednesday on Mission Gorge Road between Fanita Drive and Carlton Hills Boulevard because of a water main break, officials said.
Hundreds of friends and family on Tuesday gathered to celebrate the short but powerful life of a Chula Vista teen killed in a hit-and-run crash.
Denzel Washington returns to the big screen in 'The Equalizer 2' on Friday, July 20 at a theater near you!
A pedestrian was struck and killed Wednesday on northbound Interstate 805 near Imperial Avenue, according to California Highway Patrol.
Monsoonal moisture continues the chance for afternoon thunderstorms. Moisture will decrease Friday through the weekend, reducing but not eliminating the chances for thunderstorm activity.