Chicago says "No Games!"
No Games Chicago Update
22 Days To Decision
Daily News

September 9, 2009
The People Speak

"Daley's buddies are already positioning themselves to get rich off this thing. The debt will be huge and the daley family will make out like bandits again. Those people are nothing but crooks."


" One part of me, the part that enjoys watching car wrecks, is for this. The rational part of me loathes it. My great grandchildren will be on the hook for this mess. As will everyone else's."

Comments online following Mr. Telander's column.

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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: 

Today the Chicago City Council voted to approve the signing of the Host City Contract and the Mayor's pledge to you that city taxpayers will cover all expenses of the 2016 games as needed.

However, in today's Chicago Sun-Times, sports writer Rick Telander expresses what most people think.

We will pay to get 2016 Olympics

All of us will have to cough up whatever it takes to host Olympics

RICK TELANDER Sun-Times Columnist  - September 9, 2009

I believe now, as I have from the beginning, that the battle for the 2016 Summer Olympics is a two-city fight. And maybe not even that.

Candidate Tokyo has had an Olympics before (1964), and the 2008 Summer Games were just held in Beijing. China may be as separate from Japan as a dog from a cat, but it's still in Asia. (The International Olympics Committee, a fairy godmother with a wand, likes to move her clout around.)
Candidate Madrid may be one of the few major European capitals that hasn't been awarded the Olympics, but fellow Spanish city Barcelona hosted them in 1992, and that's close enough.

If the IOC truly wants to award the Games to an entire continent that has never hosted them -- South America -- then Rio de Janeiro is the spot. But Rio has offered itself four previous times -- for the 1936, 1940, 2004 and 2012 Games -- and never advanced to the elite candidate realm. And there are certain things, like crime and poverty, that tend to discourage tuxedo-wearing international committee members.

Thus, Chicago.

I think we have it. I think it's in the bag.

With the bagmen, I suppose.

Our city's aldermen -- once red-faced and concerned about things like cost overruns and limited public input -- have swiftly been brought to the other -- Pat Ryan's and Duh Mare's -- side. Note, I didn't say bought to the other side. But if there has ever been something that wasn't for sale in Chicago, I'm not aware of it.

On Tuesday the City Council's Finance Committee authorized Mayor Daley to sign a host-city contract with the IOC. That contract no doubt will be rubber-stamped today by the Council, and off we go.

What the contract means is that Chicago will pay whatever is necessary to put on the Games, and swallow whatever losses come about because of them. And Chicago is not a thing, but you the taxpayers are.
Not that there will be losses.

But there could be. And if you don't know the words ''cost overrun,'' then you have never heard phrases like ''city hall'' and ''Cook County.''

Perhaps the largest part of the Olympics -- which is itself a gigantic, spotlight-throwing, global money-making entity even more than it is sporting contest, is the philosophy and involvement of the citizenry in the host area.

In slightly more than three weeks, the IOC will decide who gets the 2016 Games, and if it is Chicago -- which I strongly suspect -- our civic leaders and connected real estate guys and union bosses and favors-winners will rejoice.

The people will suffer

But it is the people of Chicago who will bear the brunt of the construction, dislocation and wheeling-dealing that will ensue.

ESPN just announced that it will enter the mammoth bidding war for broadcast rights to the 2016 Games. And the 30-year-old network ain't joking around. Like Diddy dropping a dime, ESPN recently outbid Fox by more than $100 million for four years of college's Bowl Championship Series.

Oh, the money will be flying for this one!

And are you aware that Chicago Olympics execs will be making, in some cases, over $500,000 a year salaries?
If you have any Chicago in you, you should now be asking, ''Where's mine?''

I doubt you've ever been to an Olympics. I've been to five. On three continents.

In Sydney, the people were very friendly, seemingly happy that visitors from thousands of miles away had come Down Under, regardless of the mayhem in their city.
In Los Angeles, nobody cared a fig.

In Athens, many of the citizens kissed their city and its congestion goodbye, heading for the Greek Isles and calm.
In Salt Lake City, a lot of visitors checked out the Mormon headquarters, as did I, and thought ... These are pretty mountains, but I'm not coming back.

No shortage of problems

Then there was Atlanta. Chicago is 50 times the city Atlanta was, is, or ever shall be. But we have -- and will have -- major budget problems, and school issues, and so much else -- and the Olympics are like a big party that rich folks enjoy and the underlings simply observe.

Chicago's Opening Ceremonies tickets? Nearly $1,800, tax included. Now. And the price has already risen.

The thing that is most troubling about this is Chicago's history of corruption, and the fact it is now perceived as somehow unpatriotic, even small-minded and inhumane, to be against the city's bid.

A hugely expensive Chicago 2016 ad in multiple media outlets Tuesday was written by Martin Luther King III and essentially stated that to be against Chicago's bid is to be against his famous grandfather's ''dream.''


King III cites Atlanta's 1996 Games as having been some kind of boon and nirvana wrapped into one.

What I recall was a park bombing, steroid-cheating and more T-shirt sellers than in Fort Lauderdale and Miami combined.

But I was there. And I guess reality isn't the issue.