The biggest fish - Page 5

The America's Cup would transform San Francisco's waterfront -- but is it a good deal for the city?

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The next world-famous sailing match could be held in San Francisco in 2013
PHOTO BY JEAN-BAPTISTE DANIEL

However, the veracity of those claims came into question in mid-November. Daly, incensed that the Mayor's Office never communicated with him about the Cup despite wanting to hold it in his sixth supervisorial district, launched his own personal investigation. He fired off an e-mail to Team Alinghi, a prior America's Cup winner, and began communicating with other European contacts until he got in touch with someone in Valencia's municipal government.

"I got a call back from a representative who basically said I should know something," Daly recounted. Valencia, his source said, never submitted a bid to host the Cup. At a Nov. 13 press conference, Valencia's mayor Rita Barbera confirmed this claim, according to a Spanish press report, expressing disappointment that the city had been eliminated from consideration as a host venue. "There was no formal bidding process," she charged. She also denied reports that any money had been offered.

Meanwhile, the Budget Analyst was unable to find any concrete evidence that other host city bids had been submitted. "We have nothing to confirm that other offers have been made," Fred Brousseau of the Budget Analyst's office told the Guardian.

In response to Guardian queries about whether the Mayor's Office had evidence that Italy had indeed submitted a bid, Project Manager Kyri McClellan of the OEWD forwarded a one-page resolution from the Italian prime minister assuring race organizers that there would be tax breaks, accelerated approvals, and other perks guaranteed if the Cup came to Italy. However, an Italian journalist who looked over the resolution told the Guardian that the document didn't appear to be a formal bid, merely a response to a query from race organizers.

Daly has his doubts that either Valencia or the Italian port were ever seriously considered. "I think they were phantom bids," he said, "created by either Larry Ellison or the Newsom administration ... to place pressure on the Board of Supervisors."

A representative from OEWD told the Guardian that officials have no reason to doubt that the European bids, and accompanying offers of money, were real. However, the city wasn't privy to race organizer's discussions about possible European venues. A final decision is expected before the end of the year.

Daly hasn't held back in voicing opposition to the America's Cup and blasted it at an Oct. 5 Board meeting. "This tacking around Sup. Daly will not get you in calmer waters," Daly said. "I told myself I was not going to make a yachting reference. But I will bring a white squall onto this race and onto this Cup, and I will do everything in my power starting on Jan. 8 to make sure these boats never see that water."

 

WIND IN WHOSE SAILS?

The America's Cup would undoubtedly bring economic benefit to the area and create work at a time when jobs are scarce. Police officers would get overtime. Restaurant servers would be scrambling to keep up with demand. Construction workers seeking temporary employment would get gigs. Hotels would rake it in. Pier 39 would be booming. However, the Budget Analyst report cautioned: "It is unlikely that any labor benefits would remain in the years after the America's Cup event is completed."

Certain small businesses would catch a windfall. John Caine, owner the Hi Dive bar at Pier 28, didn't hesitate when asked about his opinion on the city hosting the Cup. "Please come fix our piers. It's a shout-out to Larry Ellison," he said. Caine said he supports the America's Cup bid 100 percent, and is excited about the boost it could give his business. The Hi Dive would not be required to relocate under the proposal, he added.

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