AC Priorities: View from Down Under

Howzabout a little guest editorial from someone who has made the rounds of America’s Cup. You should know the name Keith Taylor. If not, what’s below is self-explanatory. Keith’s missive arrived at San Francisco City Hall yesterday, in advance of today’s hearing before the Board of Supervisors – the hearing to decide the fate of an appeal to the America’s Cup Environmental Impact Review:

Supervisors . . .

I urge you to hew to the greater good when considering the challenges to the America’s Cup Environmental Impact Report. Yes, you should respect the environment, but that’s not a mandate to block progress.

My first-hand perspective on the America’s Cup stretches over 45 years. As a marine writer and editor I’ve covered every America’s Cup defense since Newport, RI, in 1967, with the exception of the two Cup defenses in Valencia, Spain.

In 1986-87, and subsequently, I witnessed first hand the transformation of Fremantle, Western Australia and the broad benefits that accrued to Perth and Fremantle from the America’s Cup there. In Auckland, New Zealand where I now live, I walked the rotting quaysides, explored derelict industrial buildings and watched the dredges as they began the transformation of the dirty and defunct Lighter Basin to the current Viaduct Basin, home to pleasure boats, a fishing fleet, excursion boats and megayachts. Today it’s the most vibrant part of the city. It’s a powerful case study for San Francisco as it comes to grips with its America’s Cup moment.

I was also on hand to see how San Diego failed to marshall the political will to do justice to its America’s Cup opportunities in ’92 and ’95.

The plan for the 34th America’s Cup offers San Francisco an unparalleled opportunity. We’re talking here about change that will last for lifetimes, balanced against temporary increased noise, congestion or blocked sightlines. From the perspective of this American citizen your duty is clear.

. . . Keith Taylor, Auckland, NZ


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