It’s always been about the piers. These sorry dilapidated piers, anchored by a seawall constructed 150 years ago from cement and redwood, with little money or care sent its way over the years. The City has thrown her skirt over these gaps, and hoped no one noticed, passed over pleas from the Port of San Francisco for funding structural change, and instead approved money for other more worthy causes. Now here stands the City of San Francisco, her skirt lifted, the reality of her holy, rough hewn shoes standing boldly in the limelight thanks to our local boy done good, Larry Ellison.
As the question has been since February 15th, the day after he won the America’s Cup, ‘Can the City Do It?’ The answer today from the Port, was Yes, we will. But we kinda knew that.
The deal for the piers sweetened a bit as the venue plan rotated left a notch north and west from Pier 50 as the southern-most point, to now, Piers 30/32 being the overnight resting spot for the AC72s. Sweetened because Piers 27/29 are not red-tagged and would replace the piers 30/32 as the potential spectator viewing area and dock-outs, thus less expensive to improve. And because fewer tenants will have to be evicted to make this happen. Some interesting points were raised during the public comment, and in follow up comments from the city: The Jones Act waiver upsets, or perhaps it was grandstanding, the American union workers who don’t want any sort of work-waiver for foreign flagged vessels (which incidentally includes racing boats); the cruise ship terminal which is slated to eventually be built on those piers 27 and 29 could be accelerated with the AC construction; and general concern, if 50 is utilized, of the eviction and relocation of it’s current tenants.
Today’s standing room only turn out was impressive, and the speakers, informative and positive, even in their reservations. Many commentators echoed the sentiment we all feel – it should be in America, and it should be in San Francisco. This is The City’s best chance at a new pair of shoes, so to speak; as Commissioner Ann Lazarus put it in closing, there is "never a perfect solution to anything." But we are close, very close.
The last chance for those of you in the Bay Area to comment publicly, according to an email I’ve just gotten from Kyri McClellan, is 11am next Wednesday December 8, at the Budget and Finance Committee meeting at City Hall. So now’s your chance, y’all: Bring it. – Paige Brooks