What's wrong with me?
I've been trying to write this post for a week.
By now, everyone knows that the San Francisco Board of Supes has voted to extend a formal invitation to Larry Ellison and his peeps to hold America's Cup 34 in the city.
What amazes me is that some folks think that's news. Did anyone really think the Board wouldn't approve the 'terms' of the proposal?
Like every other city in this country, SF is scratching, trying to figure out ways to just keep the lights on. Along comes a plum worth an estimated $1.2 billion and the supes are gonna say "no" to that?
I'm not exactly sure how they figured the Cup would bring in $1.2 billion - I guess all of those extra quarters in the parking meters are supposed to add up.
So why did it take me over a week to write this post - especially since I've been sitting on my duff for over a month since my last post?
I should have jumped on this 10 days ago when our local yot racing association sent out an e-mail urging its membership to lobby the supes to vote in favor of the 'terms' - the list of conditions that the city would commit to and those it would expect Ellison to meet. The YRA included a link to the list of terms, but didn't really expect anyone would actually read it. Look at it yourself, and you'll see why.
It's one of those interminable documents written in language no regular guy can understand - something like my blog posts, only even worse.
It's a document obviously written by lawyers who are trying to sneak something past us and don't want real people to be able to understand - like an application for a credit card, or the ingredients for Chicken McNuggets.
But I thought it was my civic duty as a Left Coast sailing blogger to at least read the darned thing. Ugh, big mistake.
It starts out in typical lawyerly fashion, with ugly language about parties of the first part and parties of the second part, herinafter referrred to as acronyms that no one in a partying mood can remember the meaning of. I wonder how many SF Supervisors actually waded through the legal gibberish on their way to the party.
Heck, this is about bringing in $1.2 billion.
So, where was I? Oh right, explaining that as a conscientious Left Coast sailing blogger, I actually tried to make sense of the sleazy legalese and fell asleep at least three times doing so. But each time, I sobered up, shook myself awake, and pressed on.
Until I got to some very confusing parts that didn't seem to have anything to do with sailing at all. And darned if those parts aren't buried all the way towards the end of that long document of legal mumbo jumbo.
And those would be the parts about the 66 years. And the 75 years.
Why the heck is it going to take between 66 and 75 years to hold the 34th America's Cup?
Well, it turns out it's not. No sailboats are that slow. Not even Catalina 30's.
But 66 and 75 years are the lengths of time that Larry will be given free leases on several acres of waterfront property on San Francisco Bay. It's just the city's way of saying, "Thank you, Larry." Just a small token of gratitude, actually.
Several acres - they don't really say how many, but it's just a few acres.
Of waterfront property.
In San Francisco.
For 75 years.
I mean how much money could Larry possibly make from the free use of several acres of waterfront property in San Francisco for the next 75 years? He probably won't even cover his expenses for the Cup out of that.
Of course, the supes are worried that their little token of gratitude won't be enough to hold Larry's interest. Apparently, city fathers in Spain and in Italy are making even better offers.
Besides getting involved in the America's Cup for the sheer love of sport that I'm sure has drawn him to it, it turns out Larry might actually make some money out of it, too.
Who would have guessed?