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America’s Cup sails into a political storm

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

imageThe AP’s Paul Elias has a nice backgrounder on the hasty decision over the weekend to scale back San Francisco’s investment in the 2013 America’s Cup ahead of a contentious Board of Supervisors vote, now postponed. Plans have been scrapped to turn piers 30 and 32 into the “pit row” for racing competitors that Larry Ellison et al had wanted. Race organizers proposed spending $55 million on the piers in exchange for development rights there for 66 years—a deal that clearly wasn’t going to fly, AP says:

The agreement apparently fell through sometime Sunday. On Sunday afternoon, the mayor's office scheduled a tour and "round table discussion" of the piers Monday morning. But an hour before the tour was to begin the mayor's office called it off and hastily organized the news conference where the changes were announced.

"I don't think there was any one reason," said the mayor, who called the 20 hours of negotiations over the weekend "a sobering discussion."

Add: Plans for the racing village at Piers 27-29 are still on track, and Mayor Ed Lee is putting the best face on matters, insisting the snag isn’t a deal-breaker. But the retreat on the development deal speaks volumes about the depth of popular and political support, or lack thereof, for America’s Cup.

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