can’t fight city hall.

can’t fight city hall. or can you?

For the first time in my life, I went to City Hall yesterday. I didn’t go there to vote, to weigh in on a proposition or to get married. I went there for something that truly mattered; I went there to support a sailboat race. San Francisco has been chosen as one of three cities in the world, and the only in the US, to host America’s Cup 34. Yesterday was the first public hearing with the city’s Board of Supervisors regarding land use and the renovation of San Francisco’s water front to be able to accommodate the America’s Cup. There was a push within the community to have sailors and other people in the local sailing industry show up at city hall, and show up we did. With a strong showing of public support and a Board of Supervisors that is largely in favor of bringing the America’s Cup to the Bay, it would appear that bringing the Cup here is a done deal, but as with any great story there has to be a villain, and in the early stages of
AC34, that villain is turning out to be District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly. Seriously, I don’t know who pissed in his Wheaties, but the man is opposed to pretty much everything. If you were to say the ground was down and the sky was up, he would probably engage you in a heated debate to say otherwise.

The hearing opened with Supervisor Daly asking a great number of questions, many of which were actually quite relevant. Upon completing his questions, he promptly left to go pick up his children instead of staying to fulfill his civil duty and listen to each and every one of his questions being answered. And with Supervisor Daly being the villain, every story needs a hero and in this one it’s Kyri McClellan, the Project Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Work Force Development. To be blunt, Ms. McClellan has her shit together. End of story. When and if the America’s Cup 34 does come to San Francisco, Kyri McClellan will have played no small role. Kudos to her. She opened up with a 15 minute presentation outlining what the next America’s Cup would look like to the City.

Major renovations of Piers 30 and 32 and nearby seawall to be used as an Amphitheater and event center, while Pier 50 would be renovated to house all of the teams and be
a base of racing operations. No AC fan in the house was anything less than impressed with Kyri’s presentation. McClellan was followed by a host of characters from various city agency’s weighing in to support the measure and the America’s Cup. With Supervisor Daly’s absence, as he was being a domestic servant and not a civil one, the Board of Supervisors seemed cautious and responsible, yet largely in favor of the AC. Supervisor Russ Mirkarimi is a Newport, R.I. native and lifelong sailor. As such, he is incredibly enthusiastic about The Cup and his infectious enthusiasm is clearly spreading within the Board and the city’s other elected officials. When it was the public’s turn to weigh in on AC34, literally a hundred people in the local sailing industry stood in line to address the Board, letting them know that the AC would allow them to expand their business, or talk about how the community would benefit from hosting the Cup.

With an
open-minded Board of Supervisors, a supportive Mayor, a huge show of public support and an organized team of professionals working to bring the cup here, I, for the first time, really believe the America’s Cup is going to happen in my back yard. But the good fight has not yet been won. Just as Paige said in her article a couple of days ago, we need to continue to stand up, let our voices be heard, and work to bring the AC to the Bay. The sport we love, San Francisco as a city, and a whole generation of sailors will benefit as a result.

-Ronnie Simpson