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No Games Chicago Update
30 Days To Decision
Daily News

September 1, 2009
The People Speak

Olympic Ticket Prices Outrageous

When it all started, I was all in favor of the city of Chicago bidding for the 2016 Olympics. The idea, I thought, was to participate in the spirit of the Olympics to bring friendship and sportsmanship as well as the financial rewards to the city and bring us into the world scheme of things.
That was my idea until I read the article "2016 tickets would be as high as $1645"
This, to say the least, is outrageous.
With the economy as it is, and who knows how it will be in 2016, it would seem to me that in order to garner support of the people, who are afraid that their taxes will be used to pay for these games, that it would be good to get full participation of all the spectators who would like to see the games, not by reserving them for a select few who can pay that fee.
I have always wanted to see an Olympic game, as have I am sure other people in this city, but if I and others are to be excluded by these outlandish prices and higher fares for transportation, Mayor Daley can forget about support from me and and others like me.

John Ibes,
Portage Park

Letter to the Editor
Chicago Sun-Times
August 31, 2009

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Open letter
to the IOC
"Why you don't want to give the Olympics to Chicago"

Dear Member of the International Olympic Committee:

David Greising, the chief business reporter for the Chicago Tribune, continues to criticize the 2016 Committee on its lack of candor, transparency and believability with regard to preventing corruption and incompetence inside the operation of the Chicago olympic effort.


Chicago 2016 bid committee still short of finish line on public disclosure

Bid leader Pat Ryan says rules will solve disclosure problems -- but rules alone rarely are enough to stop corruption

David Greising - September 1, 2009

Chicago 2016 is making commitments to disclose all kinds of information about the way money, clout and contracts would flow leading up to the Olympic Games the city hopes to host.

The salaries of top executives, contributions made by individuals and companies that get Olympics contracts, the organizing committee's revenue and spending totals: All would be subject to disclosure, Chicago 2016 says.

And how will anyone test whether there are no conflicts of interest? Simple, said Chicago 2016 chief executive Pat Ryan in a visit to the Tribune editorial board in advance of a City Council appearance Tuesday.

"We test it by having the rule that we won't do that," Ryan said.

Now there is an approach Chicago has never thought of before: Just make the right rules. Everyone will follow them, and we'll all live cloutlessly ever after.

Had the rules just been clearer, no one would have turned the city's Hired Truck program into a symbol of graft.

Tougher rules against patronage, and the Shakman decree would not have been necessary. When Shakman did not work, even better rules would have erased the need to hire an independent monitor to enforce the decree the city was ignoring in the first place.

Better rules, and city pension funds would never have granted lucrative insurance business to a firm founded by Mayor Richard Daley's nephew.

At a hearing Tuesday, the City Council is expected to focus mainly on the question of whether Chicago 2016 has presented a sound economic plan for the Games. A mostly adulatory Civic Federation report late last month largely made that question moot. And Chicago 2016 took a step further last week, redrawing its insurance lines to give more financial protection to taxpayers.

Anyone who has watched Ryan and his team in action knows financial soundness is not the core issue. This group can shoot straight. They have the right mix of business acumen and Olympics know-how.

But this is, after all, the bid committee from clout city. Whenever the words "Chicago" and "bid" come together, something regrettable often results, and with the Olympics there will be billions and billions of dollars in contracts for bid. Rules alone do not kill clout. Many not-so-good citizens of Chicago seem to have trouble following such rules.

That is where the Freedom of Information Act comes in. It enables the public to learn who is following the rules and who is not.

Though Chicago 2016 has taken strides to open itself to scrutiny, it is not yet going far enough. For starters, the organizing committee is both writer and enforcer of its own disclosure rules. That is problematic, to say the least.

The bid committee is releasing names and salaries of only top officials -- those making more than $200,000. That hardly is the full-fledged list that might help the public trace the connections that show how clout affects who gets hired, who gets contracts and how much they are paid.

If construction costs get out of control, Chicago's Olympics organizers will know, but the public will not. And without Freedom of Information, the public would never be able to trace the internal communications that might reveal what went wrong.

What business does the public have in any of this? After all, Chicago 2016 is a private entity. The Chicago Olympic organizing committee would be, too, if Chicago wins the Games on Oct. 2.

But the Chicago Olympic committee wants the public to guarantee it will cover any shortfall from the Games. That guarantee will make or break Chicago's bid. Even Chicago 2016 should know that, in this town, no one gets something for nothing.

The Games could and likely would be good for Chicago. But not at any price. The best way to keep costs -- and clout -- under control is to provide the public the same access it has to information about any other entity with that much power over the city's purse.


Jack Higgins political cartoon, "Grab-a-lot"
 Jack Higgins' political cartoon from today's Chicago Sun-Times sums up how people feel about Mayor Daley and his 2016 Olympic Committee.