Emirates Team New Zealand shown sailing past Oracle Team Racing in the 2013 America's Cup, a hidden disaster for San Francisco. (Image Source: Reuters)
Today, the 2013 America's Cup ended with comeback kid Oracle Team USA prevailing over early favorite Emirates Team New Zealand and will retain the "Auld Mug," as some call it. However, despite the excitement of this event, no doubt helped by Oracle Team Racing's Red-Sox-like come from behind efforts (which would have won them the competition already, had they not cheated in trial runs and been docked 2 wins for the competition), the race seems so detached. For there is already a loser in all this: San Francisco, a once-cultured city that, thanks to the malicious efforts of tech executives like Oracle's Larry Ellison and their techie underlings, has become stale and meaningless.
Larry Ellison, the leader of Oracle Team USA along with being CEO of Oracle, should be particularly noted for his efforts in transforming San Francisco into the stale, fake cesspool it is today. Rather than using existing infrastructure in San Francisco, or even setting up shop in the traditional home of the America's Cup in Newport, Rhode Island, Ellison sought to take over as much of the San Francisco waterfront as he could to turn the America's Cup, a quaint rich-folks sports competition, into a media spectacle.
To make this idea a reality, Larry Ellison successfully persuaded the business-friendly brown-noser Mayor Ed Lee, to take over several city-owned piers, using favorable terms that deprive San Francisco of money it desperately needs to maintain its infrastructure. Ellison brushed off the losses by claiming that the local economy will be boosted, bringing in money elsewhere, but the deals put in place were just too sweet.
Even though Oracle Team USA wins today, the fate of these piers, an important source of income for San Francisco, is likely to be bleak: Having no other use for them except these races, Larry Ellison's now privately owned piers will languish until the next America's Cup race. Had Oracle Team USA lost, and the likely subsequent lawsuit (remember, this is a rich people's sport) turned against them, the piers would languish even more, for it might take many years before American hands retake the America's Cup: It was 15 years between the last time the Oracle's victory in 2010 and the last time America held the Auld Mug.
In either case, the damage the America's Cup has done to San Francisco is endemic to the city's moral woe: Since the second tech boom became a permanent fixture, thousands of residents are being pushed out either subtly or overtly by techies and rich folks who support them. A clear victory for Oracle would grant the rich an even greater license to kick out long-time residents, many of whom cannot afford the Gilded-Age level of excess rents, and whom are or try to represent what little is left of the city's once-dominant art and music culture. In their place in San Francisco is a sterile, tech-friendly, homogenous, and overly white culture that favors excess in the form of receiving amazing perks at work in return for working 90 hours per week. Meanwhile, people are being pushed out for no fault of their own, either to Oakland or other parts of America outright. What we are witnessing is the birth of a cultural wasteland.