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Cup Race in San Diego?

January 18, 1987

OK, San Diego, it's time to show that our world-class city knows how to be a world-class winner. Let's demonstrate pride in Stars & Stripes, Dennis Conner and the other San Diegans who, by means of San Diego technology, San Diego sailing skill, San Diego financing and San Diego brute strength are on the verge of returning the America's Cup to where it belongs: America!

San Diego is where this Herculean effort was born and nurtured. We are entitled to feel pride in this accomplishment, which is not diminished one whit by the speculation that Conner may be forced to defend his victory in 1991 somewhere other than in San Diego.

Forced? Of course, forced! Does anyone seriously believe that Conner and the other principals behind his effort to win back America's Cup would want to hold the 1991 defense anywhere else but San Diego? Come on!

Unfortunately, the fact that we all love our city doesn't mean that we are ready to host the defense of an America's Cup. Think of what has been going on in Fremantle, Australia, these past months. More than two dozen syndicates, accompanied by hundreds of journalists and thousands of tourists, were involved in the process of racing or training for the America's Cup competitions. Each syndicate had a headquarters--a place to moor its boats, map strategy, and, in short, carry on a campaign as intricate as a military maneuver under simulated war conditions. Each syndicate had a measure of security that allowed it to protect its boats from the eyes of competitors.

There was plenty of room. Seaside property isn't at a premium in Freemantle the way it is here. Nevertheless, the Australians found themselves caught up in a feverish pace to complete the preparations, a task that had universal support in Australia.

All this activity has brought tremendous economic benefit to Fremantle, creating entry-level jobs in the tourist industry, filling hotels and restaurants, causing opportunity to ripple throughout Western Australia.

Now, imagine that scene shifting to San Diego. Where would we put these syndicates and their boats? Where would the crews train? How could we enable them to develop their campaign plans in relative security? Although it could bring an infusion of $1 billion to $2.5 billion to our local economy, we must face the facts.

We aren't ready to host an America's Cup defense. But, by 1990, we could be if we were united in our commitment.

A proposal to make a fundamental commitment to defend the America's Cup here will have some opposition, no doubt. Thus, given the certainty of controversy over our commitment and using public funds to make the necessary public improvements, who can blame Dennis Conner and his backers for their reluctance to say, absolutely, that San Diego will be the site of the 1991 defense? How could they without positive expressions of support from us?

Make no mistake; unless we commit ourselves--both as private individuals and as a city--to upgrade our facilities, San Diego will not be in proper condition to host this event.

The time for us to show our support for Dennis Conner and for a 1991 San Diego defense is now, when Dennis is within striking distance of bringing home the prize. Let's show him our support. Let's commit ourselves to making our city ready for the defense. Let's pull together.


San Diego City Council

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