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Friday, March 18, 2011

America's Cup: Ball Is Now in City Attorney's Court

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 2:43 PM

click to enlarge The material everyone wants to have...
  • The material everyone wants to have...

What are "material changes"? The answer is not immaterial.

In tweaking the America's Cup agreement signed off by the Board of Supervisors, the mayor's office was entitled to make changes -- but not material changes.

After analyzing the revamped deal, the board's budget analyst, Harvey Rose, essentially said, "Them's some material changes right there!" The mayor's office's response: "Ain't no material changes -- no way, no how!"

Those positions were largely restated during the March 16 Budget and Finance Committee showdown. So, the relevant inquiry is, "What are material changes?"

Good question. No one thought to strictly define that before the city

formulated a massive real estate deal and then authorized its alteration

-- in the as-yet undefined manner.   

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi sits on the Budget and Finance Committee and assigned the budget analyst this latest report. He says the upshot of Wednesday's meeting will be the city attorney's pending determination of what, exactly, constitutes "material changes."

Is the mayor's office hammering out a per-foot rental price with yachting billionaire Larry Ellison's Event Authority -- instead of bringing in an independent third party as the Board of Supervisors expressly agreed to -- a material change? Is opting to charge no rent whatsoever for Piers 30-32 a material change? And is what Rose described as the Event Authority's now-"unilateral" right to rent Pier 29 material? We'll see.

When it comes to defining material changes, "the city attorney knows you can't not answer that question," says Mirkarimi.

A material answer is forthcoming.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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