Never-mind what type of yacht it will be…
The hoops that Oracle are going to have to jump through to get their home venue are monumental when you read this…
But of course that will all get smoothed over with some serious $$$$$$$'s thrown in the pot… Just look at the numbers Europe is willing to pay!
At least we know which direction they want to take the cup.
Here is the extract:
San Francisco officials are moving quickly to acquire an exemption to state environmental law in time for a deadline to submit a proposal on hosting the next America’s Cup, The Chronicle has learned.
“Without this legislative action, it is likely that San Francisco will not be selected and the regatta will be held overseas,” said a recent memo from Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office that was used to brief environmentalists on the proposal, which would cover shoreside facilities for yachts, gear and support services.
Some environmental groups, while appreciative that city officials sought their input, warn that an exemption would open the floodgates for wealthy interests to circumvent state-required environmental review.
“We’re not going to sit by idly and let that happen,” said Tina Andolina, legislative director for the Planning and Conservation League, an environmental lobbying group.
But Andolina said she is optimistic a legislative compromise can be struck that incorporates environmentalists’ concerns.
“The devil is in the details,” she said, “but there’s a world of difference between asking for a flat-out exemption and when the community feels it’s going to be included.”
City officials say they are doing just that, providing information to environmental groups and seeking their support in securing sailing’s premier race.
“We are pursuing a number of parallel courses,” said Michael Cohen, head of the mayor’s economic development office, “but we want to keep all the options open.”
Deadline in six weeks
The city has six weeks to present a formal proposal to host the storied series of yacht races, which carries with it the promise of $1.4 billion in economic stimulus for the Bay Area, and almost 9,000 jobs.
Software billionaire Larry Ellison, whose BMW Oracle Racing team captured the cup in February in races off the coast of Valencia, Spain, has said he would enjoy defending it in his home waters of San Francisco Bay.
Ellison’s team, sponsored by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, gets to decide the location, timing and rules for the next cup. Spain and Italy are also vying to host the event. But Ellison’s team wants a guarantee that San Francisco will have facilities for teams to train and prepare in time for the next cup in 2013 or 2014, city officials said. A state environmental review could take months.
“The big issue is certainty,” Newsom said in an interview.
Newsom’s administration is keen to provide that assurance and is trying to get the state Legislature to approve some type of exemption before its session ends in two weeks.
Newsom said he understands environmentalists’ concerns, but described it as a unique situation. He noted that two of the three piers under consideration, Piers 30 and 32, underwent a thorough environmental review in 2002 for a defunct cruise-ship terminal project and said the proposed exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) would be tailored to apply only in this instance.
“There’s just a lot at stake,” said Newsom, whose green credentials are a central part of his campaign for lieutenant governor. “You could sit there with a dilapidated pier…or you could create … $1 billion in economic activity.”
Despite the urgent tone of the memo, city officials said they are hopeful that even if their controversial legislative effort fails, San Francisco will still have a shot at hosting the 34th America’s Cup.
Valencia is vying to keep the races, offering a “generous financial bid,” and a group in Rome is rumored to have offered about $645 million to host the cup at an undisclosed Italian port, the memo said.
San Francisco, the only U.S. city in the running, is not offering cash but the use of city-owned bayfront property, with the rights for future development and a long-term lease.
City officials point out that even if they get a state environmental exemption, the project will still need approvals from at least 10 local, regional, state and federal entities.
Some environmental advocates are awaiting specifics before taking a position.
“It’s very difficult to ask for a CEQA exemption for a project that hasn’t been described in detail,” said David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay.
Lewis, while excited about the possibility of weeks of races on the bay, said it was misguided to hinge San Francisco’s bid on the Legislature exempting the project from 1970’s landmark law, which required developers to file public reports on the environmental impact of their projects and address legitimate concerns.
Other environmental leaders say they will oppose a blanket exemption because it will continue a dangerous precedent begun last year, when the Legislature at the last minute approved a bill that waived some provisions of the law for a developer to build a football stadium in City of Industry in Los Angeles County.
The bill, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed in October, was presented as a one-time exemption.
“The floodgates are open,” Andolina said. “They made the decision to grant an exemption to the City of Industry and got nothing for it other than a bunch of other billionaires coming to the capital saying they want one, too.”
Michael Endicott, an official with the Sierra Club California, was skeptical his group would back a legislative fix for San Francisco.
“It would be very difficult to see how we could be supportive of such a proposal, particularly here at the last minute,” Endicott said.
Any legislation for this session would require parliamentary maneuvers, and its prospects for passage are unclear.
Assembly Speaker John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, while in San Francisco last week, said he discussed with Newsom “figuring out the ways the state can be helpful in the efforts to bring the cup here.”
But Pérez’s staff said the speaker had not been given any specific proposals.
Schwarzenegger, while also supportive of the cup coming to San Francisco, “hasn’t taken a position on anything specific to CEQA,” spokeswoman Rachel Arrezola said.
City Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, a former Green Party member and fan of the cup races since childhood, said getting a legislative exemption in just weeks is “an extraordinarily complex and ambitious endeavor.”
“San Francisco is the perfect place to host the America’s Cup,” Mirkarimi said via e-mail, “but the mayor needs to amplify why an exemption is needed and how concerns or potential pitfalls will be addressed.”
E-mail John Coté at email@example.com.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/18/MNJD1EUS0G.DTL#ixzz0xDDFwjej