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SAN FRANCISCO-The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted 11-0 to give the city’s Olympic bid a vital green light. This decision comes three years ahead of schedule.

“San Francisco is now poised to become the U.S. candidate city in November,” says Anne Cribbs, a former Olympian who heads the Bay Area team seeking to bring the Summer Games to the region in 2012.

The Bay Area’s proposal designated the Expo Center as the “credential center” for the 2012 games. As far as development goes, county facilities at the site would be upgraded, including Expo Hall and Fiesta Hall, and another 150,000-sf of temporary buildings would also be built on the grounds.

After the U.S. Olympic Committee chooses between San Francisco and New York City in a couple of weeks, the International Olympic Committee will make the final selection of the host city in 2005.

Yesterday’s vote grants power to 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 says 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 taxpayers.

Outside the board’s chambers at City Hall, Cribbs says 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.

Cribbs says the U.S. Olympic Committee decision is due late in the day on Nov. 2 in Colorado Springs, Colo. According to her, today’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.

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