10-0 Vote But . . .

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night voted 10-0 to reject two appeals against the America’s Cup Environmental Impact Review.

Though not until the AC Event Authority agree do re-site its JumboTron from a barge anchored in Aquatic Park – where swim clubs argued it would stir up toxic silt – to a spot on land instead.

The vote does not preclude civil action, but I note that certain parties to the appeal, such as the Sierra Club, are on record as wanting the America’s Cup to be sailed on San Francisco Bay. Things need to get moving and keep moving.

The next hurdle is a February 8 vote on the development agreement for the piers of the Port of San Francisco that will be used for America’s Cup events and later leased to Larry Ellison’s assigns to recover the cost of overhauling those piers from their present derelict status. As of Tuesday night, Supervisors Avalos and Campos seemed bent on trying to improve the deal on behalf of the city and, OK, that’s their job.

But before the America’s Cup came to town there was no Plan A for our several crumbling piers (30-32 have at most a semi-useful life of six years) and now there is no Plan B. I figure Ellison will be lucky to break even on the deal he has now, so the Supes should not push their luck to the limit.

I had to be elsewhere during the Board hearing, but I have seen this from Paul Oliva:

“I was there for the hearing and of course talked to a few people. As was known going in, the greatest populist issue was placement of a JumboTron with a diesel generator on a barge in the middle of Aquatic Park, which is a sanctuary for swimmers and rowers (how many can there b,e you may ask? About 2200 members of the swimming/rowing clubs in the cove and swim events rivaling the larger yacht racing events on the bay). There were more swimmers than sailors at City Hall last night.

“When the Event Authority pledged to remove the JumboTron and work through the other issues, the Supervisors quickly chose to deny the appeal. It remains to be seen if the appellates will take this to the court system, which they may still do. There are many folks who want to subject any development to the “bottomless can of worms” that Kimball mentions.

“Now, recall this was a vote just on the environmental review. There was an undercurrent last night that will come to the peak in a couple weeks when the supervisors need to approve the financial side of the project, long term lease arrangements, and departmental plans (such as municipal transportation). Some Supes (especially Campos and Avalos) want to see if they can rejigger the deal to squeeze more money out of the event and get more leverage in the lease terms.

“It looks like there are enough votes on the board to keep things moving, though we will all need to keep support up to provide political cover.”

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