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Politics

San Francisco Mayor Left In The Dark By Google Over Mystery Barge

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Sources told KPIX 5 that that Google is building a floating marketing center for Google Glass off Treasure Island. (CBS)

Google’s floating marketing center for Google Glass being built off Treasure Island. (CBS)

Allen-Martin_BIO-HEAD Allen Martin
Allen Martin anchors the KPIX 5 newscasts each weeknight at 5 and 6 pm...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other local officials said Google has left them in the dark about a massive barge off Treasure Island, days after KPIX 5 first reported on the mysterious project.

Google has not responded to requests for comment on what the barge, along with a sister vessel in Portland, Maine, will be used for.

KPIX 5 caught up with the mayor and asked him about his knowledge of the barge, and if there was any approval from the city’s Treasure Island Development Authority.

“No, they’ve kept a secret from me as well and I was trying to see what the Treasure Island people are saying and they say ‘no’, they haven’t told them as well,” the mayor said. “So they have done a lot of high level secrecy that even the mayor of San Francisco doesn’t know what’s going on. I’ll have to wait to see what happens.”

The barge at Treasure Island is hidden in plain view. It is built out of shipping containers four stories tall, 250 feet long and 70 feet wide.

When asked if he wanted to know what the project is about, Lee said, “I’m curious yeah, but they’re not forthcoming yet and I’ll have to just be patient, see how they comply.”

Also being patient is the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). The commission was established to minimize what is called “Bay fill.”

“The way we do that in part is by ensuring that a vessel that is moored at one place can’t be moored for an extended period of time, because that constitutes Bay fill,” Larry Goldzband, executive director of the BCDC told KPIX 5.

The BCDC may issue Google a permit if the tech giant could prove that the purpose of the floating structure could only be done on the water and not on land.

As KPIX 5 first reported on Friday, well-placed sources said the barge is going to be Google’s marketing and retail store for Google Glass, the tech giant’s wearable computer. The structure would be towed from Treasure Island to Fort Mason.

Since the project is out on the bay water, the U.S. Coast Guard should know what is going on. KPIX 5 has been asking them to respond to our requests for comment for the past five days.

We went to Coast Guard Island in Alameda looking for some answers because we have put in numerous requests asking for the Coast Guard’s inspection information on that barge. What we were told Tuesday is that the people who have the answers are all in meetings.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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