In July 10’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, we posted the exciting news that former Vice President Al Gore had accepted Tom Perkins’ invitation to be the keynote speaker for this fall’s Leukemia Cup Regatta, hosted by San Francisco YC on September 19-20. Unfortunately, Gore’s office hadn’t given approval for the news to be released at that point, and when a former VP says "Take it down!", by golly, you take it down.
So now we’re happy to re-announce that Gore — who is also an environmental activist, author and Nobel Peace Prize winner — will be speaking at a VIP reception and dinner at San Francisco YC on September 19. The event is ‘invitation only’, with seats reserved for sponsors and top fundraisers who contribute or raise $1,000. Organizers are understandably expecting the talk to be a sell-out.
The San Francisco event is just one of 38 Leukemia Cup Regattas across the country — but it’s the one that rakes in the most donations. Last year, more than $663,000 was raised, beating out the next closest event by $371,000. Of course, competition shouldn’t be the primary goal when fundraising — but we are taking about racers here, and the end result is more money for a good cause.
As you’ve all heard, the great state of California now has a budget. Well, almost. The "kick the can down the road" budget — so called because it just postpones rather than solves the state’s inherent financial problems — still has to be approved by the state legislature tomorrow, and that’s no sure thing. For example, Assembly GOP leader Sam Blakeslee fumes that the early release of 27,000 prisoners wasn’t part of the deal, and if it is, it will kill the deal. It remains to be seen if this is just posturing or if he and the rest of his party will follow through with the threat. On the Democratic side, one local of the Service Employees International Union has mailed out strike authorization ballots to its 95,000 members, and many cities and counties, which will suffer devastating losses, are threatening to sue.
But assuming that the budget passes, there is at least a little bit of good news. First, the threatened mass closure of state parks isn’t going to happen. Yes, $8 million of the state funding to the parks will be cut, but that means Parks’ budget will only be cut by 12%. A lot of private companies, and employees of those companies, would love to have only had to take such a small hit. In any event, it looks likely that you’ll be able to enjoy Angel Island and most other parks as before.
While we haven’t been able to confirm it, it also appears that the California Department of Boating and Waterways will survive as a separate agency. There had been threats to combine it with two other state agencies to save money. Everyone in the state always licks their chops when looking at Cal Boating because it’s one of the few state agencies that actually funds itself.
As bad as everyone is willing to admit the budget is, it can’t be forgotten that it’s based on what are generally considered to be overly optimistic expectations of an economic recovery. California faces years of bashing to weather — and legislators may need to come up with another new budget in as little as six months. But hey, it looks like a great weekend to go sailing.
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Five California kids put their stamp on the Team Racing event at the US Optimist National Championships currently underway at Cabrillo Beach YC. Over the previous three days, the five grommets comprising team West Side — the Bay Area’s 11-year-old Romain Screve, Santa Barbara’s sibling combo of 14-year-old Dane and 12-year-old Quinn Wilson, plus San Diego’s 15-year-old Esteban Forrer and 12-year-old Kristopher Swanson — ran the table with an 18-0 final tally. Rotating the five skippers in the four-on-four event, the California kids earned the right to represent the U.S. in October’s Euro Opti Team Cup in Berlin.
"We were one of the teams that was constantly talking," Quinn Wilson said. "We had good tactical conversation."
This is the first time the US National Opti championships have been held in California — land of myriad varieties of Sabots. With 332 entries, geography doesn’t seem to be a barrier for the rest of US Opti nation, and neither will Angels’ Gate; today’s Girls’ Nationals wraps up the inside-the-breakwater racing and starting tomorrow, the rest of the racing will be in open water seaward of the L.A. breakwater.
Although they’ve got another regatta to try to win individually in the meantime, Forrer — the only one of the five to have been to Germany — has an idea of what challenges lie ahead of Screve, Swanson, and the Wilson brothers.
"I was very young," Forrer said of his first trip to the country. "I couldn’t read many of the signs."
The signs here say, "Check out West Coast colleges — you won’t get your big hair shorn as a condition of admittance." Oh, wait, we forgot, you’re not anywhere close to worrying about that . . . in kid years, anyway. In the meantime, at least you don’t have to worry about Oktoberfest impairing your ability to read German signs!