America's Cup: Everyone Lowers Their Expectations
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This supes probably would have approved the Cup's glitzy prior iteration, which could have cost the city up to $136 million and potentially would have had San Francisco reimbursing Larry Ellison's America's Cup Event Authority into the 22nd century. But Team Ellison backed out, and now the infrastructure costs stand at around one-seventh of that. The race organizers -- who have had their trouble with scaring up sponsorships -- recently sent large numbers of employees overboard.
History may be the judge, but one could argue San Francisco has dodged a bullet, despite its best efforts to be struck in the heart. Sometimes you just get lucky.
The deal before the supervisors is not without problematic details, however (you can read the Budget Analyst's latest on it here, if you're so inclined).
Here are two interesting sticking points:
- Some $3.6 million is identified by the Budget Analyst as "Event-Specific Costs with No Long-Term Benefit to the Port" yet is being paid by the port. One could be inclined to ask "why does this category exist?" Why would the port foot the bill for such costs -- including some $1.6 million in dredging costs that don't appear to be included in the latest America's Cup presentation to the Port Commission?
- Whether the city makes or loses millions appears to be largely based on if Mark Buell's America's Cup Organizing Committee can raise the $32 million some alarmingly malleable legal writing ties them to. As it stands, if the ACOC comes through and if the city picks up some $20 million in augmented hotel, payroll, sales, and parking taxes, then things should work out. That's not exactly money in the bank.
Former Board President Aaron Peskin, who is also a litigant against the city and America's Cup, offered backhanded praise for the current offer.
"In the beginning, the America's Cup and Larry Ellison tried to shoot the moon and stars. Later on, it was just the moon. Now they're just getting a good deal," he says. "Ellison is still not paying his fair share. I think he should be doing what Warren Hellman did. He said 'Help me with my permits in Golden Gate Park and I'll put on a show that'll bring tens of millions in revenue to the city and I'll pay for everything.' But Larry Ellison is no Warren Hellman.
"This is probably as good as this bad deal gets."
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