Moving at an extraordinarily rapid pace for municipal government — and light speed for waterfront development — the Northern Waterfront Alternative became San Francisco's official bid for the Cup. It did so despite a snippy letter from Barclay, the Cup's negotiator, stating that the hastily assembled plan was "not acceptable." He further threatened that if the city went ahead with the plan rather than give away Pier 50, "San Francisco will not win the right to host the 34th America's Cup."

The city, of course, did move ahead with the plan, spurring a three-week America's Cup dalliance with Newport, R.I. Whether this was a serious attempt to move the Cup elsewhere or simple leveraging, on the last day of 2010San Francisco did indeed win the right to host the Cup.

Now the city must figure out exactly what it won.


Keeping Gavin Newsom from clambering into the spotlight is like restraining a dog when a steak hits the ground. Mayor Ed Lee didn't bother to try. With Newsom turning heads by standing at the back of the late January waterfront press conference at Pier 27, Lee invited him up on the podium. The lieutenant governor prefaced his remarks by stating he had nothing to say. He then said the most interesting thing anyone would utter all day. Regarding the America's Cup agreement, he said, "We made a lot of promises. A lot of them have been reported. Candidly, a lot of them have not."

Indeed, if the devil is in the details, he has room to luxuriate in San Francisco's Host City Agreement. Between its official submission in mid-December and the announcement of San Francisco's victory on the 31st, much negotiation took place between the mayor's office and race organizers — even after the signatures had been affixed to the document. A glance at the contract reveals that a full 16 pages have been "redlined" — that is, crossed out and replaced with new terms. The city's official bean-counters have had no chance to examine what we're on the hook for.

They will, Mirkarimi promises. He tells SF Weekly to expect "a string of budget analyst's reports." The "massaging of the deal after the mayor and board signed off still needs proper vetting and watchdogging" — and not just a "pep rally." Some manner of white squall may yet be brought upon the Cup. But not by Daly.

Watchdogging the city's books isn't in the cards. Daly now has other books to balance: his own. A pair of lily-white catamarans tear through the sea on the television perched over Daly's shoulder as he flips through time cards, quizzing an employee at his new bar in English and Spanish. Daly, to restate the painfully obvious, is hardly a yachting aficionado. But, serendipitously, a replay of the America's Cup bid-winning press conference is now screening for Daly, this reporter, and the one patron in the Buck Tavern at 4 p.m. on a recent Monday.

The city, Daly notes, "may have entered into a shitty deal anyway." But the prior plan "was a shittier deal. A much shittier deal."

With Daly relegated to pouring drinks, the board will, by default, be a more harmonious place. But whether congeniality is enough to put the kibosh on a bad deal riding on greased skids remains to be seen.

"There is," Daly says, "a utility in having someone who is not concerned about climbing the career ladder or what the Chronicle's editorial board thinks, or being invited to the mayor's house for some reception. If any of those things are your primary mover, you're not going to do what I did. I'm proud of being the designated asshole."

The former supe slowly swivels to watch the television just as Chiu, Newsom, and Ellison — his favorite people — walk down the City Hall steps toward the massive sailing trophy. "Oh, look," Daly says wearily. "It's the America's Cup."

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15 comments
kellog64
kellog64

A deal is a deal when it is done......kind of a stretch to credit Daly with anything in this context.

M Barcadero
M Barcadero

Joe's editor ripped off the "Captain Outrageous" title from the Sports Illustrated cover story about another America's Cup asshole, Ted Turner. But there is a difference between a mere asshole like Turner and and a douche-nozzle like Daley. He's referred to at our hangout as "The Nozz". He ought to keep that skipper's cap, however. Ahoy, Polloi

jorgenoe
jorgenoe

In short, San Francisco needed an asshole — and one with clout.

There seems to be no shortage.

Capn_jack
Capn_jack

The nonsense about the breakwaters is horseshit. That area had dozens of sailing ships a hundred years ago that were smaller than the Cup boats. People just pulled that out their asses to save face.

Matteo
Matteo

Any article that calls Chris Daly an "asshole" is OK with me!

marcos
marcos

Joe, this is a great article. I especially like the "Stolichnaya structures" line.

But this is of concern to me: "San Francisco regularly seals bad deals, and it could have done so again with the America's Cup — or made no deal, and lost the Cup."

If San Francisco regularly seals bad deals, then is that just a "dog bites man" story? I would assume so because SF Weekly seems to have ignored every other instance where Daly successfully went toe to toe with powerful interests, such as Rincon towers and Trinity Plaza, not to mention the countless other instances where city finances are pilfered by the already wealthy.

The piling on Daly for negotiating these deals with his constituents' best interests put first was universal. That politicians rarely do this should be front page news every day.

Will this piece and Matt Smith's passable piece on mayoral succession indicate now that Daly is termed out and the David Chiu/Willie Brown/Rose Pak nexus has decapitated progressives, that journalists feel safe to put the progressive case in a positive light? Might SFWeekly will do what the Guardian has not been able to, critically cover the machinations behind city politics that drain public resources so the wildly rich can have a good time, leaving the rest of us to hold the deteriorating bag?

-marc

Kimball Livingston
Kimball Livingston

You were doing fine until you got almost to the bottom, then turned to sweeping assumptions:

"The city, Daly notes, "may have entered into a shitty deal anyway." But the prior plan "was a shittier deal. A much shittier deal."

With Daly relegated to pouring drinks, the board will, by default, be a more harmonious place. But whether congeniality is enough to put the kibosh on a bad deal riding on greased skids remains to be seen.

Kinda jumped the rails here, eh?

phil
phil

Great article. Why am I not surprised that I'm reading this in the SFWeekly instead of the Chronicle or SFBG?

PatMonk
PatMonk

@Chris. Thanks for all you've done, and will continue to do.@Joe. Thanks for the addition to my vocabulary, "Manichean".Go Giants !

yahoo-EZ74DSBFLYRWI337PWLM7WX4ME
yahoo-EZ74DSBFLYRWI337PWLM7WX4ME

There is so much unknown about how the piers with be developed for the Cup and redeveloped afterwards that it's impossible to know if either deal is good or bad for San Francisco. Everybody is focusing on the potential $1.4B brought to the city by 2013; nobody is commenting on what happens to this prime real estate and its fiscal effects through 2085.

David Elliott Lewis
David Elliott Lewis

Like with many of Chris Daly's accomplishments, their true values can only be appreciated later on over time.

h. brown
h. brown

Joe,

Great piece. Once again the Weekly scoops the Guardian in Bruce's own back yard.

See you at Daly's Dive for Giants' games?

h.

sf citizen
sf citizen

Good first step, Sounds good that what is in writing is a better deal for SF - but one has to worry that it will actually be enforced by SF at the end of the day.

jamiewhitaker
jamiewhitaker

I am so happy that wise ass Tony Winnicker is no longer the Mayor's spokesman. Good riddance!

 
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