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Is S.F. Kissing the America’s Cup Goodbye?

When BMW Oracle Racing brought the America’s Cup to City Hall for an introduction with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, all signs pointed toward the 34th match coming to the Bay . . .

BMW Oracle Racing
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

From the very beginning, we at Latitude suspected that the politicians in San Francisco didn’t have the capacity to keep the America’s Cup from getting away from San Francisco Bay, the stated venue of preference of BMW Oracle Racing’s Larry Ellison — the person who gets to choose. For awhile there was a bunch of happy talk from various politicians and officials that made things seem promising, but now, not so much so.

According to a report by Katie Worth of the Examiner, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has just been brought up to speed that they have until the end of September, not until the end of the year, to come up with the basic proposal for the event, with the draft due in about three weeks. Trying to get the mayor and the board to do anything in three weeks, particularly a mayor who is running for statewide office and a board that is just coming off vacation, is hoping for an awful lot.

Kyri McClellan, a very responsive project manager in Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office, called the BMW Oracle timeline "ambitious." When we fed ‘ambitious’ into our Google government-speak translator, it came up with "absolutely impossible."

We don’t know how accurate that translator is, and maybe Ellison is just trying to put the squeeze on the Board, but we fear our initial skepticism about local government being able to take care of business was all too valid. We hope they prove us wrong, but we’re not holding our breath. Of course, it’s not like the Board of Supervisors hasn’t been doing anything. They are currently considering legislation that would make it illegal for kids to get toys with their meals — unless those meals consist of tofu, raw cauliflower and pomegranate juice — and are passing a resolution denouncing the price of lettuce in the northwest corner of West Timor.

By some estimates, the America’s Cup is the world’s third biggest sporting event, topped only by the Olympics and the World Cup. If San Francisco can’t get off its duff, Valencia, Spain, which already has the facilities, and an unnamed city in Italy, which reportedly has offered big money for the chance to host the event, are reportedly eager to step up.

We hate to say it, but if we were gamblers — as opposed to being ‘buy and hold’ investors in U.S. equities — we’d put our money behind Italy. Unlike Americans, Italians love sailing as much as they love big and glamorous events, and they can do things with the kind of style billionaires seem to find agreeable.

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