America's Cup, Feds Squabble Over Alcatraz

America's Cup wanted to borrow Alcatraz Island from the feds, who said, "heck, no."

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Dec 15, 2011  |  Updated 11:59 AM PDT
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America's Cup, Feds Squabble Over Alcatraz

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The America's Cup organizers thought that Alcatraz would have made a fine VIP viewing box for their yacht race, an idea they didn't share with the island's federal overseers.

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From warehouse for America's most dangerous to grandstand for America's most wealthiest, Alcatraz Island has come a long way.

But not if the federal government has its way over the America's Cup organizing committee.

The feds operate the National Park Service, which welcomes visitors to The Rock for one of San Francisco's most iconic tours. That icon will be off-limits for the public and reserved exclusively for VIP viewing of the America's Cup boat race, under the organizing committee's plan, which was approved and sent to the feds by the city -- and that's got Uncle Sam stomping mad, the San Francisco Examiner observes.

To the city's ideas to use Fort Baker near the Golden Gate Bridge as well as Alcatraz as VIP viewing stations, the feds replied, "All lands and facilities in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including Alcatraz and Fort Baker, will remain open to the public throughout the entire period of the races," the Examiner reported.

Alcatraz's federal overseers also politely asked the race organizers how they plan to have the massively-expensive sailboats avoid the ferry traffic that goes to and from Alcatraz Island every 30 minutes. To that, there is no response as of yet, according to the newspaper.

So the race organizers dropped Alcatraz from the scheme, but the incident shows a lack of coordination between race organizers and the fed -- who, remember, control much of the coastline in the Bay Area. How well the race is pulled off in 2013 -- and whether or not SF will get the billions of dollars and thousands of jobs the race organizers promised -- will depend on these two entities playing nice now, the newspaper opined.
 

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