OK, I promise this will be my last snarky post about Larry Ellison.
Well, for a while, anyway.
I'm usually a pretty mild-mannered blogger, in search of the sweeter lessons of life to be learned from sailing. I try to hold my snippier side in check, unless I'm egged on by a certain Rhode Island Laser sailor (you know how they can be sometimes).
So why am I so riled up by Larry Ellison when I should be ecstatic that the America's Cup is coming to San Francisco? Am I the only one who feels this way?
I guess his claim of bringing the Cup to SF just because 'it's the right thing to do for the sport of sailing' is so far from believable that others are starting to wince, too.
Others like sailing's normally sober and upbeat voice of reason - Scuttlebutt.
Scuttlebutt last week linked to an investigative piece by the SF Examiner that revealed details of Larry's final deal with the city to hold America's Cup 34 there. The Examiner, being a litigation-fearing newspaper, kept their headline safe, restrained, and business-like:
America's Cup deal was sweetened to bring race to San Francisco
Scuttlebutt, somewhat uncharacteristically, edged toward snarkiness in their own headline:
How The Rich Get Richer
I, of course, am neither sober, restrained, nor fearful of litigation (sometimes, writing a low-profile blog has its advantages). Having spent some time in New Jersey, I would probably write a headline that spoke more to the bargaining tactics of team Oracle - something like:
An Offer They Couldn't Refuse
The details of the deal highlight Larry's true zeal to bring the Cup to the magnificent natural amphitheater and iconic waterfront of San Francisco. Apparently, he loves that iconic waterfront so much that he already has plans to build iconic condominiums there.
And here is why Larry has become so successful. while I languish in relative obscurity.
In my first posts on this deal, about three months ago, I thought that Larry could cash in his long-term leases by charging people to park cars along our iconic waterfront. What was I thinking?
I knew that he would be smart enough to figure out something more profitable than that. Years of scrambling to the top of the heap in Silicon Valley's cutthroat software industry have taught him to think outside the box. It takes a true entrepreneurial genius to hit on the idea of building condos there!
You see, building waterfront condos with literally million-dollar views of the Bay Bridge not only lines Larry pockets, but it also gives back to sailing by providing space on the water for all sorts of community sailing programs.
No wait, I guess it doesn't do that.
I must have been dreaming that part. I must have just assumed that any sailor making a bundle from this deal would have included some sailing facility, especially considering how that sheltered part of the bay would be perfect for a sail training site. But I read the Examiner article three times and there's no mention of that at all.
So what exactly are the changes that, uh, 'sweeten' Larry's deal?
Well, you can read the details here. And as you do, maybe, with each one, the hairs will start rising on the back of your neck as mine did. But the one that really made my day, the one that finally proved to me that Larry is a sailor at heart just like you and me, is the one where the city wanted to retain just a small percentage of the sales that Larry would realize on those million-dollar condos. Just a few crumbs for the city from what is almost guaranteed to be a very juicy pie.
No way, Larry said. If you want any percentage of my condo profits at all, I'm taking the whole show on the road and heading for Rhode Island.
You can see what a soft spot he has in his heart for the sport of sailing and for our iconic waterfront.
The third richest man in America just got a little richer, while sailors and city fathers in both San Francisco and Rhode Island may be feeling more than a little used.
And that can make even the mildest-mannered blogger a little snarky.