This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly.
By Joe Eskenazi
News broke over the weekend that the America's Cup Organizing Committee, a private group tasked with fundraising to offset the race's public costs, is struggling mightily. Logically, public money not offset by private funds is simply public money expended -- in this case on a yacht race thrown by one of the world's wealthiest men.
Of course, as we noted earlier this week, this was the precise scenario warned of, repeatedly, by numerous budget-minded city officials not cheerleading the race. We noted this last year. We noted this three years ago. There's been no shortage of noting.
Now Supervisor John Avalos wants a hearing into how this circumstance, foretold repeatedly by the city's bean-counters and America's Cup contrarians, could have come to pass. And he's angry.
As noted this week, last year, the year before, and the year before that, the private fundraisers are contractually obliged only to "endeavor" to raise their $32 million goal. They are, supposedly, $18 million short of that -- but it's hard to say they haven't "endeavored" to do better. It's the thought that counts here, literally. But the city still makes up the difference.
"I've shouted publicly to the rooftops how ashamed I am that I see that language" -- the "endeavor" line -- "and not reading into what it said. I was fucking played. All the members of the Board of Supervisors were fucking played," Avalos says. "There was a full-court press on us from the America's Cup Organizing Committee to play us. Gavin Newsom, David Chiu, Ross Mirkarimi -- everyone was exuberant and this is what we get. I am totally fucking ashamed."
Avalos says he'd love to explore "any possibility we have to not put on the America's Cup" but concedes that the city is all but certainly contractually locked in by this point (the city must do better than "endeavor" to host the Cup). As far as extracting more funds from the ACOC, the supervisor says all he can do is "just keep pushing on them. I assume they will live up to their pledge."
ACOC members have certainly indicated they would do so, repeatedly, through the years. In a recent letter to the supes by Telegraph Hill Dwellers President Jon Golinger, he kindly aggregated a smattering of affirmations:
- "I have every confidence we will meet our obligations." -- America's Cup Organizing Committee Executive Director Kyri McClellan, 6/13/11
- "Yep, we are not running behind in the least bit." -- McClellan, 9/19/11
- "I am confident that all the money will be raised." -- ACOC Chair Mark Buell, 1/6/12
- "I'm busting my ass raising (money) for it." -- Buell, 2/7/12
- "...we are confident that the agreement we have with the (America's Cup) Event Authority coupled with our continued fundraising successes will ensure we meet our obligations to the city." -- Buell, 2/7/12
- "There is definitely more heavy lifting to be done, but we think we're well-positioned to do that." -- McClellan, 2/8/12
One can only wonder what amazing quotes will be generated during Avalos' forthcoming command performance.
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