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Don’t Let Gaylord Get Away, Newspaper Ad Urges

A Chula Vista businessman spent nearly $5,000 on a full-page ad in the July 12 San Diego Union-Tribune, asking readers to contact leaders of a labor group and an environmental organization to return to the negotiating table with Gaylord Entertainment, the developer of a hotel/ convention center for that city’s bay front.

On July 6, Gaylord notified the city of Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego it was no longer pursuing the project because of unreasonable demands by local labor and environmental groups.

Kevin O’Neill, the owner of a local construction firm and a member of the city’s chamber of commerce, said the estimated $1 billion project that would create about 6,500 construction jobs and some 2,000 permanent jobs at the facility was too important to just walk away from without making every concerted effort to resurrect.

“I think this project is so important and will be so much of a benefit to the South Bay that we can’t afford to just shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Almost.’ I think it can be kept alive.”

The color ad that ran only in the paper’s South Bay editions touts the benefits of the project including new jobs, parks, hotel taxes, sales taxes and lease revenues to the port district.

O’Neill declined to say what the ad cost, saying it was ‘more than beer money,’ but a call to the paper for a similar ad returned a quote of $4,600.

The ad asks readers to call or e-mail two officials, Tom Lemmon with the San Diego County Building and Trades Council, and Diane Takvorian, executive director of the Environmental Health Coalition.

On July 10, the International Brotherhoood of Electrical Workers, Local 569 paid for a full-page ad in the Union-Tribune that explained why labor groups wouldn’t enter an agreement with Gaylord. The ad said because the project contained $300 million in public subsidies, Gaylord needed to make a legal commitment to hire local workers.

, Mike Allen

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