No Games Chicago
No Games Chicago
IOC Newsletter

May 5, 2009
Dear member of the International Olympic Committee:

We are the No Games Coalition. We met with a number of your Evaluation Commission members on April 7 and laid out our reasons why we feel Chicago is not an appropriate place to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

We have three major sets of reasons why you don't to grant Chicago the games:

(1) Financial - We are broke (our federal government, our state, our county, our city) and we won't be able to pay for the games.

(2) Infrastructure - Our city is falling apart and the mass transit system is not up to handling our daily needs, let alone your needs, and there is no plan for improving it.

(3) Corruption - It is entirely possible that many of the city officials you are dealing with, including the Mayor, may be indicted for fraud, corruption and other serious crimes.

If you can only read one document, may we suggest this open letter, written by one of Chicago's most respected investigative reporters:

"Just so you know from the outset, I hope you don't give us the games. I've been against it from the start, and I could fill a book with the reasons. But I'm not here to tell you how paying for the games would cripple my hometown-if you want that, see chicagoreader.com/2016_olympics. This letter is about your needs, not ours. I'm here to tell you some things about Chicago you'll never hear from Mayor Daley, who's acting like a used-car salesman, trying to sell you an old beater without letting you look under the hood.
 
Here's the fundamental problem: We can't afford the games. We're broke-and I mean damn near destitute. The public school system is about $475 million in the red and the city's facing its own deficit of at least $200 million. Just a few months ago Mayor Daley said he'd balanced the budget by raising fees and fines and slashing the city payroll, but already expenses have risen and revenues have dropped faster than anticipated. His aides have warned that more cuts could be on the way.
 
The Chicago Transit Authority, which runs our public transportation system, is busted too, in more ways than one. CTA officials are in the thick of their annual budget crisis, warning of fare hikes and service cuts that could affect traffic in every part of town. They don't have enough money to replace the old buses or repair the tracks that are falling apart.

I know it's not your concern if it takes ordinary Chicagoans ever more time and money to get to work, especially since the 2016 bid committee has made it clear that it won't depend on the CTA to shut."

The letter goes on and we believe it accurately summarizes our position. But here are other local reports that we feel you should review before you make your decision on October 2. We have stored these stories for you as PDF files on our web site.

Financial News

Mayor Daley will lay off 1,600 City of Chicago workers unless unions agree to givebacks

April 16, 2009, The Chicago Sun-Times
 
Unions were told that plummeting city revenues threaten to poke a $250 million hole in Daley's 2009 budget. And unless the $2.5 billion deal to privatize Midway Airport is revived this year, the shortfall would approach $300 million.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1529570,CST-NWS-layoff16.article

Chicago Broke but Finds $86 Million to buy Hospital and Tear it Down

April 19, 2009, The New York Times


The New York Times reports that although the city is $300 million in the red, it is proceeding with plans to purchase the Michael Reese Hospital site and tear it down for the Olympic Village.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/us/20olympic.html?_r=1&sq=Chicago%20hospital%20Olympics%20&st=cse&adxnnl=1&scp=1&adxnnlx=1240201200-kLlcHWSfv0hrxZvmwpC5gw
 
Chicago Economy in Trouble
 
April 20, 2009 Crain's Chicago Business

At least ten major Chicago area companies lost two-thirds of their market value in the first three months of 2009.   Yes, there were some winners too, but the downward trend is troubling.  Read more about this in "Nowhere to Hide"  on the following pages of this report.

Nowhere to hide
By: H. Lee Murphy April 20, 2009

At least 10 Chicago-area companies lost two-thirds of their market value or more in the first three months of the year in a sell-off that was remarkable for the breadth of its carnage. Companies ranging from menswear specialist Hartmarx Corp. and ethanol maker Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings Inc. to condominium lender Corus Bankshares Inc. and dot-com travel broker Orbitz Worldwide Inc. all saw massive slumps in their stock prices.

"In the first quarter, investors were aggressively selling almost any company with poor fundamentals," says James Oberweis, president of Lisle-based Oberweis Asset Management Inc., whose own portfolio has shrunk to $600 million in assets from a high of $2.7 billion in late 2007. Local stocks fared worse than broader indexes, with the Crain's Chicago Index, a list of the top 134 area companies compiled by Bloomberg L.P., falling 14.4% in the quarter, compared with an 11% drop in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Some of the most troubled local companies sought refuge in Bankruptcy Court. Chicago's Hartmarx, whose stock dropped 87% in the quarter, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Jan. 25; Chicago-based Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., which lost 85.5%, filed for bankruptcy protection a day later. Pekin-based Aventine followed suit on April 8 after its shares fell to penny-stock range.  The weak economy was one of the main factors behind declines in some industrial stocks and the region's banks. Lincolnshire-based Sauer-Danfoss Inc. suffered a 72.1% drop in its stock value in the quarter as it forecasted a 30% to 40% drop in sales for the year. Its customers, such as Caterpillar Inc., are seeing demand for their products shrink, which means fewer orders forSauer-Danfoss . The company recently closed a valve plant in Oregon, resulting in 200 job losses, and reduced employment at a large factory inAmes, Iowa, to 850 from 1,150. "We don't think things will improve significantly until 2010," says Kenneth McCuskey, a vice-president at Sauer-Danfoss.

Shares of Chicago's Orbitz fell 66.8% in the quarter when rivals cut customer fees - a revenue stream that contributed about half of Orbitz's operating earnings. Along with Chicago-based Corus, whose shares lost almost 76% of their value in the quarter, stocks declined in banking concerns First Midwest Bancorp (-57%), Amcore Financial Inc. (-55.8%) and Wintrust Financial Corp. (-40%).

Surprisingly, several local manufacturers saw their stocks rise smartly in the first quarter. Warrenville-based truckmaker Navistar International Corp. was among the top performers, rising 56.5% on the back of improved prospects for its military contract work and demand for heavy-duty trucks.

Elgin-based Middleby Corp., which makes cooking equipment for restaurants, benefited from falling prices for steel, as well as a positive reaction to its Jan. 5 acquisition of Dallas-based rivalTurboChef Technologies Inc., a maker of high-speed ovens. Expansion efforts overseas, which account for 20% of sales, helped push the stock up 19% in the quarter.

Mr. Oberweis applauds Middleby's deal-making. TurboChef's ovens are used to heat breakfast sandwiches in coffee shops like Starbucks, he notes. "They're a good product, but TurboChef wasn't executing with it. That's likely to change now," Mr. Oberweis says. "Companies still producing profits are being rewarded in the stock market right now."

 
Chicago's potholes: Lack of funding leaves gaping holes

March 17, 2009, Chicago Tribune

City transportation officials said they have been unable to resurface other heavily traveled Chicago roads, citing a three-year drop-off in state funding for the resurfacing of arterial roads.  Instead of resurfacing heavily traveled streets, the city spends $12 million on repairs that last only days.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/mar/17/local/chi-potholes-resurfacing-17-mar17


Transportation and Infrastructure News

Chicago Tribune Documents repaving of roads in Washington Park for the IOC visit, while other parts of the city crumble

April 19, 2009, Chicago Tribune

While commuters dodged potholes on workhorse thoroughfares like Stony Island Avenue and 55th Street on Wednesday, just a few feet away on the less traveled lanes winding through Washington Park, the air was redolent with hot, fresh asphalt. When the IOC team arrives to scrutinize Chicago's suitability to host the 2016 Games, the officials will see smooth, pitch-black pavement ringing the Washington Park ball fields where Mayor Richard Daley wants to build an Olympic stadium.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/mar/19/local/chi-olympic-park-19-mar19

Legislators get a taste of the worst of transit system


April 18, 2009

A team of Illinois legislators recently touring Chicago Transit Authority facilities announced that these antiquated and decrepit stations and other facilities could render Chicago unworthy of hosting Olympic Games.    

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-ride-along-transit-18apr18,0,5347805.story

Chicago: Home to Two of the Worst Pieces of US Infrastructure We Must Fix Now
May 2008

Popular Mechanics Magazine Special Report "Rebuilding America"(http://www.popularmechanics.com/rebuildingamerica) names top ten pieces of American infrastructure we must fix now.  Chicago is the only city home to two: Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and a busy, congested Chicago highway interchange.

  Crime and Corruption News
 
Chicago School Board President Strongly Urges Principals to Push Olympic Bid

May 3, 2009, Chicago Tribune


"The school system plans to close Lathrop School near a planned Olympics site in Douglas Park, as well as a campus that includes multiple schools near the United Center, which also would be used if Chicago hosts the Games."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-olympics-schools-03-may03,0,4629179.story

Robberies on CTA trains, buses and L platforms rise sharply in 2009 

April 24, 2009 Sun-Times

Unemployment hit 9.3 percent Thursday in Illinois, the highest in 17 years. Meanwhile, public transit ridership is up 6 percent since 2006. Fuentes thinks the combination may have led to more crime.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/transportation/1542319,CST-NWS-CTA24.article

The Chicago Tribune now has a page dedicated to stories on Illinois corruption.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/corruption