City Hall Watch: Tempers flare during America’s Cup hearing

The City is hopeful in its race to host the America’s Cup despite failing to land the Olympics, the World Cup and seemingly, in four years, future 49ers games.

The BMW Oracle Racing team — backed by Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison — will select whether San Francisco, Spain or Italy will host the 2013 regatta.

The City improved its chances Tuesday after the Board of Supervisors, in a 9-2 vote, approved a nonbinding term sheet for hosting the competition. Supervisors John Avalos and Chris Daly opposed it.

However, it wasn’t the smoothest of sailing. Daly raised concerns about the financial impact of hosting the event and some suggested a postponement.

“The world is literally watching these deliberations today,” said Kyri McClellan, America’s Cup project manager for Mayor Gavin Newsom. “I can assure you [a postponement] would be to our detriment.”

And as the world watched, objections to the term sheet were made.

“I feel like we are jumping the gun on this to roll out the red carpet for one of the largest billionaires in the world,” Avalos said.

Other supervisors, however, voiced their commitment.

“Supervisor Daly has had clear reservations with this term sheet. I do not,” Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier said. “The impact will be great and it will be positive.”

The project could generate up to 9,000 jobs and inject $1.4 billion into the Bay Area economy, according to a study by The City. Terms include San Francisco raising $270 million in private donations and offering long-term use of Port of San Francisco property and development rights. In exchange, BMW Oracle would invest $150 million in ­rehabilitating piers.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said The City would be “lucky” to be selected and the proposal will evolve based on the input.

“We’ve got to act now. If we wait, this will not be a good sign to the America’s Cup team,” Chiu said.

Daly, who is termed out in January, vowed to fight against the event even as a private citizen.

“I will bring a white squall onto this race and I will do everything within my power to make sure that these boats never see that water,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee is expected to hold a hearing within three weeks on a financial analysis report on the proposal from The City.

IN OTHER ACTION

In a 10-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors confirmed Mayor Gavin Newsom’s appointment of R. James Slaughter to the Police Commission. Supervisor Chris Daly opposed it.

In an 11-0 vote, 1800 Market St., the LGBT Center, was rezoned to allow for a restaurant or entertainment business to help the organization generate revenue.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsGavin NewsomGovernment & PoliticsLocalPoliticsSan Francisco

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