Bauder  T180Okay, you Comic-Con Kremlinologists will like this. Don Bauder, a columnist for the San Diego Reader, looks at the proposed $700 mil+ SD con center expansion and cries shenanigans:

In other cities, convention centers are financed through taxes on restaurant meals, auto rentals, and airport departures; hotel and sales taxes; special tourist development district taxes, and the like. San Diego has an aversion to taxes. So San Diego may well try to build a taxpayer-financed hotel and claim that revenues from it will pay for the expansion, says Sanders. “They will find anything to make it work,” he scoffs. (Denver, Phoenix, Houston, and several other cities have built taxpayer-financed hotels to support sagging convention centers. The fact that downtown San Diego’s posh Hotel W is going into default may not even drown the ludicrous idea.)

The comment section provides a good glimpse of local politics re SDCC before spinning off into other topics like the Chargers and City of Industry, but there’s much to chew on about hotel occupancy and convention attendance nationwide and the like. BTW, that’s Bauder’s picture up above there, so if you want to file this under “Cotton Hill, Separated at Birth” you can.

Expect this topic to be much discussed in the watering holes of this year’s con.


  1. Interesting point: how much of nearby hotel convention space and ballrooms can be used for SDCC programming? Or is it exhibition space which is required?

    Also, can the Convention Center find more anchors like Comic Con? Events which are held each year in the same locale, much like BEA is anchored in New York?

  2. Isn’t San Diego one of the most corrupt cities in the US or something in recent history? It is the home of Randy “Duke” Cunningham after all. That virtually guarantees the expansion will go ahead. Too many great opportunities for bribes and kickbacks.

  3. Until the SDCC folks actually decide to attempt to relocate Comic-Con — and generate bigger revenues — elsewhere because future con sellouts could happen in hours, not weeks, nothing will change.

    Besides, all the SDCC management folks live in SD and really want nothing to do with moving “their little show” out of their home base to LA or LV. Who can blame them?

    It made sense to consider other venues long before these sellouts starting happening. And, if the city of SD won’t pony up for a new Chargers’ stadium, as Don Bauder says, the revenue generated by 125,000 comic nerds won’t matter either.

  4. Barbara Warden wrote a 06/28/09 piece supporting a Convention Center expansion:

    In order to retain and expand our share of the top-tier conventions that generate the biggest returns for our city, the San Diego Convention Center must be expanded. In 2008, San Diego lost the equivalent of 705,000 hotel room nights because of conventions that wanted to come to San Diego but could no longer be accommodated in the existing convention center. These room nights represent approximately one year’s worth of business, or to put it in perspective, about $25 million in tax revenues the city will never see.

    In addition, it is projected an expanded San Diego Convention Center could attract new, larger conventions totaling an additional 574,000 room nights worth over $19 million in transient occupancy (hotel room) taxes – taxes which go directly into the city’s general fund to support neighborhood services.

    If lack of floor space is the direct cause of particular conventions not coming to San Diego, the problem should be addressed, shouldn’t it?