SAN FRANCISCO – It was all smiles Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, where the sometimes contentious panel voted 11-0 to give the city’s Olympic bid a vital green light – three years ahead of schedule.
“San Francisco is now poised to become the U.S. candidate city in November,” said a confident-sounding Anne Cribbs, a former Olympian who heads the Bay Area team seeking to bring the Summer Games to the region in 2012. After the U.S. Olympic Committee chooses between San Francisco and New York City in a couple weeks, the International Olympic Committee will make the final selection of the host city in 2005.
Tuesday’s vote grants power to – in fact, compels – the city mayor to sign a contract in that year should San Francisco eventually beat other contenders such as Paris. It also removes a clause in the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee’s agreement with the city that would allow San Francisco to withdraw in case of the committee’s default.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who heads the board’s Finance Committee, authored the measure and said he was satisfied that the city is protected by a series of enforceable agreements with the bid committee. A deputy city attorney explained that the committee has put together a $250 million insurance fund in addition to other contractual obligations to protect city tax payers.
Outside the board’s chambers at City Hall, Cribbs said her group has used conservative figures to come up with its $2.4 billion budget and anticipated $2.8 billion revenues. She pointed out that a key factor in keeping costs down is that the Bay Area already has 80 percent of the needed structures.
“When you get into trouble is when you build a lot of things like in Montreal (in 1976),” she said.
Cribbs said the U.S. Olympic Committee decision is due late in the day on Nov. 2 in Colorado Springs, Colo. She said Tuesday’s vote provides the committee “some level of comfort” that San Francisco would not back out of the deal if chosen, as Denver did several decades ago.