SF Supes Move On AC Bid

Item 39: Affirmation of Support of San Francisco’s Bid for the 34th America’s Cup and Endorsement of Host City

9-2 in favor is the vote

San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, chair of the Land Use subcommittee, brought the city’s America’s Cup proposal to the full Board of Supervisors today, reporting “a robust hearing” on the matter and urging her fellow members of the Board to endorse the term sheet that advances the plan. “The work that our city staff has done is remarkable,” Maxwell said. “We don’t have a king, and we’re not a country, but we’re quite a city.”

Then my friend Chris Daly went off again.

Daly made some sense while he was arguing that spending to create infrastructure for an America’s Cup village carries an economic risk. But, what in life doesn’t carry risk? He made some sense as he demanded clearer delineations of cost and benefit. When he went off on the history of America’s Cup controversies as a reason not to go forward, he went off a cliff—

And when he started-in on being dissed by the mayor and not being consulted by the mayor’s office, even though most of the redevelopment will occur in the district that he represents for three more months, he worked himself up and worked himself up and wound up sounding like a spurned 15-year-old threatening to egg a former girlfriend’s house. And I wonder if, when he started, he even knew where he was going with this. I rather think not. He went from asking questions about where certain moneys would come from, and go, to full melt down. He declared that if the Board voted in favor of the measure:

“I will bring a white squall onto this race! You will no longer have the loyal opposition of this Supervisor! It’s a billionaire’s boat race! I will do everything within my power to make sure that these boats never see that water! And you know what, I’m relatively familiar with CEQA law from years of sitting in this CHAIR!

Whew. In case we were wondering how Chris came by his rep for being, kinda special.

I also heard Chris say, before he boiled over:

“The term sheet is a huge decision point. I really believe there is no turning back. Legally, there would be an opportunity before CEQA review [California Environmental Quality Act] is complete, but let’s be honest. If we pass this term sheet today, and if Mr. Ellison selects San Francisco this year, there would have to be, literally, an earthquake to force six members of this Board, or the Mayor, to reverse course.”



Most of what I heard from the people on my side of the equation was either familiar—the transformative event storyline; you’ve read it here and elsewhere—or addressing the need to flesh out the many portions of the term sheet that remain sketchy.

It went on for a while. To a thought that the question be continued to a future meeting, the project manager from the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development urged that it was time to call the question. That would be Kyri McClellan: “The world is watching.”

The time was 1640.

At 1641 Board Chairman Chiu stepped in: “I think we have to act now.”

I like this guy.

The vote: 9-2, Supervisors Avalos and Daly dissenting.

(Avalos, however, went negative only on the pace of the process, not the goal.)

And so we move on. Since February I have played the optimistic fool in a sea of pessimists telling me left and right, upside down and sideways, that San Francisco will never get its act together to host an America’s Cup. There’s still room for the pessimists to be right, as long as we have “pissimists” like Supervisor Daly.

But I’m looking forward to seeing the 2013 America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay.

I hope you’ll join me.

Suns New Jerseys