You’ve probably heard the news out of Denver, but in case you haven’t: today, the US Olympic Committee announced that Boston has been selected as the American nominee to host the 2024 summer Olympics.
Here’s hoping that this announcement marks the beginning of an inclusive, robust, and transparent process for determining what, exactly, we will propose to the IOC, and what we won’t. And for ascertaining that this is what the people of Boston actually want. Or that it isn’t.
To be frank, Boston 2024 hasn’t so far given me a lot of reason for optimism that that’s what we’ll see. But hope springs eternal. Let’s give them the chance to prove the skeptics (of which I’m one) wrong.
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Too cheap to put in proper curb cuts on Beacon Hill, too incompetent to keep bridges from falling down all over the city–but the Mayor’s found some rich people to put on a party for him.
He’s suing to keep the casino from being built on the pretext that Charlestown should be consulted. My question is –How many townies are on this Olympic thing?
HR's Kevin says
It seems to me that the Beacon Hill Civic Assocation has been acting like a bunch of self-entitled spoiled brats over this issue. All of the other historic neighborhoods accepted the City’s compromise proposal.
Kosta Demos says
“hoping that this announcement marks the beginning of an inclusive, robust, and transparent process for determining what, exactly, we will propose to the IOC” Oh, I can’t wait for this to tank.
It would have killed him. The new mayor getting everyone whipped up on a new Boston and now the OLYMPICS. Menino didn’t need this.
Much like the shit bum who gets arrested and relatives say, “Thank God his mother is dead.”
We’ve seen this movie before … and it wasn’t fun the first time. The sequel will be worse.
I much preferred the hulking interstate cutting through the heart of the city.
Indeed. It would have been especially nice after it started collapsing.
… that the Big Dig was a cure for the self-inflicted wound that was the Central Expressway: That is to say the Big Dig was, itself, a sequel to a movie few wanted to watch in the first place… And, people forget that, in fact even the Central Artery was passive aggressive little brother rivalry after Manhattan put up the West Side Highway (which was itself a disaster).
I won’t say that the Olympics won’t be itself a self inflicted wound… but it certainly isn’t going to be, like the Big Dig, a painful cure for a self-inflicted wound.
First, I don’t like the phrasing here: “Let’s give them the chance to prove the skeptics (of which I’m one) wrong.” It implies a passive approach of stepping back and letting the people who’ve shut you out of debate continue to shut you out of debate but “deliver their promise” (regardless of the merits of that promise). Transparency, public meetings, etc., should be demanded of them at the very least.
I would turn your attention to this excellent editorial by two people from the Mass ACLU about the rights violations that always come along with the Olympics.
The belief–common among far too many people–that the only way to get infrastructure spending is to dangle an international corporate spectacle in front of politicians’ faces is frankly just sad.
In terms of the “no public dollars” promise, history does not bear them out. Nor does the fact that Marty has said he would oppose a referendum to enshrine this promise in law. Nor does the fact that the Boston 2024 executive committee consists of a gaggle of corporate lobbyists, corporate consultants, and CEOs. These people do not have the interests of Boston, or its metro area, at heart.
I hope that this issue plays into the City Council elections we have this year in Boston. City Councillors have been largely ignoring the issue so far. I hope that Boston does not allow them to do so any longer.
Also, I’d recommend that anyone who wants to help ensure that this mess doesn’t come to Boston join the mailing list of No Boston Olympics.
I noticed some local clown over at my Google Plus page making the same toilet ethics argument.
Not much has changed to convince me it will happen. It’s still a 1% yokel cabal with stupid pipe dreams.
I think we are basically in agreement. My point is that, at this moment, I think the right strategy is to engage with Boston 2024 and, as you say, demand that it live up to its rhetoric, rather than to declare unalterable opposition and take the position that nothing that anyone says or does could change your view. If you take that stand, there is no reason to engage with you, so nobody will.
I absolutely agree with you on the civil liberties question – this has long been one of my biggest concerns. I very much hope that Mayor Walsh and other backers will make clear, from the very beginning, that free speech cages and similar nonsense will not be tolerated here.
Don’t bet on it David. Proponents of the bid argued the 2004 Convention as a positive reason to come to Boston, that we can handle big events and security.
And who is this nobody? You mean the claque that foisted this in the first place.
They don’t seem to be doing much engaging with anyone now.
I’m reasonably confident this won’t happen for intrinsic/systemic reasons like Masshole Culture, general infrastructure inadequacy and a host of ways to cock block it if it doesn’t collapse of its on weight early on.
Besides, you want them worry that you won’t engage them. If the opposition gets formidable enough, determined enough and ferocious enough, the 1 percent will be maneuvered into an untenable corner.
And the Beacon Hill and Boston City Attention Whore Brigades will pirouette nicely, as they do, if the whole thing becomes wildly unpopular.
There are plenty of other attention seeking options readily at hand.
Those would’ve surely blocked the USOC giving us the bid in the first place I thought. I also read that the marathon response and security apparatus really impressed the IOC members on the USOC, and that Kraft may have more international clout than we thought. Time will tell.
I think we have to ask the critical questions and demand the most upfront answers to them. If we can keep doing that, perhaps as David suggests, we may be able to pull off a games we can be proud of without it being a disaster. Being blindly optimistic and ignoring history is a bad road to follow, but being overly obstinate or ideological about the opposition would put the No campaign in the same boat at the Yes on 3 folks.
And the IOC doesn’t strike me as being particularly astute about sites after the Sochi pick.
I figure it’ll be interesting booster kabuki. The local swells and backers have sugar plum fantasies about getting something for nothing that we should try to outgrow.
The IOC counter party no doubt has its something for nothing fantasies as well, that may come to be revealed in the course of the dance.
Will each parties something for nothing expectations gel or will they clash?
What was your sense of this in the Chicago process?
Someone here aptly noted that this is a quasi medieval city layout that is crowded and valuable. And then there is the process and approval aspect, lawsuit potential and so on. It would be interesting to see what the Conservation Law Foundation makes of it all. I see courts and lawyers in the future of this.
It’s not like we have anywhere adequate to bulldoze to fit an Olympic Glitz Monster into.
It could just as well mean that a US Olympics presence at that time won’t happen, period, it’s just a flirtation. And that is a pretty good outcome. The swells can do their ‘we wuz a contender’ dance. The IOC can look like it cares about the US.
And I wonder about comparisons with gambling repeal. While it is another something for nothing fantasy, I could see support due to the possibility of tax relief or whatever as a continuous revenue stream.
This is no such thing. Obstinate may be a fine way to go, particularly when we revisit the weaselly way the swells are already going about this.
There’s plenty to bulldoze to make way for an Olympic Glitz Monster — and all his little monster cousin venues, too.
Get ready for Franklin Park to go bye bye for horses, and huge swaths of the Boston Commons to be bulldozed for beach volleyball.
And the meat and fish packaging plant cooperatives to be bulldozed (again) to make way for the big stadium.
I’m sure that will just be the start of it.
Don’t forget — the city just asked for an extension to the powers that enabled them to bulldoze all of the West End and Scollay Square, and using those powers they can take almost anything for almost any reason with little recourse.
These powers, if extended, would conveniently last almost exactly until 2024.
to push through the kind of transparency necessary to understand what will happen to Boston and how much it will cost before it’s too late.
It’s the only way to force a vote, which the city absolutely deserves (as do other cities and towns asked to host venues).
If people aren’t loudly vocal about their opposition, none of those changes will happen — and Boston 2024 will get away with burying all the pertinent details, including which city blocks they intend to destroy and what parks they intend to carve up.
If we don’t know the truth and get a vote before the IOC makes its final selection, we never will and we’ll be stuck with whatever the billionaires pushing this thing want, with no concern to Boston neighborhoods or Massachusetts taxpayers.
…IFF you in fact vigorously oppose it.
Is _Boston_ going to host it? No – it would be a regional event. Boston, Worcester, Lowell, Foxboro, etc etc….
Why is Walsh – a mayor – spearheading this? He’s not responsible to all the constituents who would be affected.
Shouldn’t it be the Gov (Patrick, now Baker)? Someone who is responsible to all the affected communities? How is Lowell or Worcester (or pick your town) going to register their objections to Walsh? Why would Walsh care?
To my mind, a small claque are committing us to something the vast majority of affected people have had no say in. Could a petition drive to put it up to a state wide referendum vote help sway this?
HR's Kevin says
Why else do politicians jump on to these bandwagons. They crave the attention and glory it will bring them and there is an advantage to being one of the first to sign up.
Meanwhile Marty still has done little to clean up the utter mess he has made of the Long Island closure. You can bet there won’t be any homeless or drug treatment facilities anywhere near an Olympic site if he can help it.
I have a terrible feeling that the small abutting communities outside of Boston/Cambridge are going to get totally steamrolled in this process.
…but officially it is an individual city that bids.
I called for adding a representative of every municipality in the region to be added to the super select committee of grand pooh-bahs who are foisting this one us.
This may be a good opportunity for someone to file a Chapter 66 public records request with the Mayor’s office to obtain the official filing, as his office certainly has a copy. See:
While holding hands with Chuckie Baker.
…and have come to the realization that while it might be nice to know what’s going on I can’t get myself worked up about it. The bid committee is not a public body and not subject to the OML. If they want to bring an Olympics here more power to them, but as someone not involved I don’t have much reason to pay attention until the opening ceremonies, though I can see how I might care a bit more if I were a Bostonian.
Wow. It’s not like previous Olympics haven’t destroyed neighborhoods or parks to make way for stadiums, or driven the homeless away, or suspended constitutional rights, or arrested thousands upon thousands of people.
Nope, nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
If however, you have a reasonably good handle on the metro area, its culture, its strengths and weaknesses and its infrastructure realities, then it is something to address.
But you need a capacity to imagine others. If your reality is grounded in some version of “It’s my world and everyone else just lives in it” Then no, it’s all ducky, as is everything else.
With any luck I’ll be dead by 2024 or out living in some place like Fitchburg on the cheap. But I can’t help but escape the conclusion that the place is too half assed and it would be a huge and grotesque misallocation of resources and effort after we’ve had a few decades of neglect so Democrats cam mimic Republicans in some cowardice festival that has been going on way to long.
Democrats lose at the local level for Legislative elections, not because there is much ideological disagreement, but because the people left behind by the yuppie explosion in metro Boston have no reason to support people who are so oblivious and self absorbed.
They’ll vote for Scott Brown just as a form of entertainment.
And the shenanigans of the DeLeo Ward Heeler Faction don’t exactly inspire confidence.
…in response to a comment I made about process. IF those things come to pass they will be cause for concern, but I’m happy to wait for proposals (not to be confused with faits accompli) to be announced before going nuts.
That said, it happens that someone who has been involved in the bid spoke at a meeting I attended this morning. He said that now that Boston is the official US bid there will be in fact several neighborhood fora around Boston to explain the current ideas and solicit feedback, He said that in being selected the USOC looked favorably upon pre-existing facilities, and the current IOC is inclined to as well, rather than building the traditional Olympic Village or brand-new stadia that may never be used again. He said that the IOC will not select a city that does not enjoy at least 60% popular support for the bid, but noted that Boston might have a built in advantage over its competitors (Paris, Berlin, Rome, and Doha) because it might be seen as America’s “turn” to host in the summer again. Even if we don’t get chosen, the prodding to get our infrastructure in order sooner rather than later is still a plus.
As for the homeless I think Boston can figure out how to accomdate them, and I for one fully expect and probably want the Olympics to be a very secure perimeter.
HR's Kevin says
Meetings intended to sell us on the idea and solicit feedback is not the same as transparency. If Marty Walsh wants to prove that he means what he says, he should immediately publish the full proposal document on cityofboston.gov and promise to similarly publish any future such document.
Re the homeless, Walsh has so far fallen flat on his face. He made a total mess of the Long Island closure, and has yet to replace the beds for the homeless and addiction services, and there is no sign that he will ever have a plan to fully replace the lost facilities.
of democracy in the form of a so-called leader of the Democratic Party. I am underwhelmed.
At least under your current handle you haven’t been here very long (You’ve said you previously posted under a different name, but have not as far as I know divulged what that name is.) and this is the second time you’ve quickly gotten personal with me. This is not a state party issue and I am respectfully asking you disagree without being disagreeable.
means being a Democrat and maybe even one that believes in democracy. Your willingness to roll over and play dead for the IOC says otherwise. My comments about you are not personal, just a reaction to a person who claims a leadership role in the Party and then says “As for the homeless I think Boston can figure out how to accommodate them… ” Nice, real nice.
I am actually not the biggest fan of small-d democracy and I am, for better or worse, inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt. I suspect on the latter point other BMGers will vouch that I have been fairly consistent, even when we disagree on the substance of an issue.
HR's Kevin says
Really, his comment is pretty tame. I don’t know what you are complaining about. I am sure it was not your intention, but you are coming off as the one with a “chip on the shoulder”.
but I have lost all patience with party apparatchiks who think that “As for the homeless I think Boston can figure out how to accommodate them… ”
I have been homeless. Wanna-be politicos who think issues like this just resolve themselves on their own are deluded and when they tell the rest of us to shut up and wait, they lose me. If he cannot stand the heat he should get out of the kitchen. Or at least cede the party position to someone who will lead.
HR's Kevin says
my “overreaction” comment was actually directed at Christopher.
I sort of realized that after I wrote. I hope that my words were not offensive to you. I actually do pull my punches on occasion. LOL
Of course homelessness does not solve itself. In fact I believe that in the richest society in the world we tolerate it way too much and are more than capable of collectively making other choices that would truly address the problem. What I was trying to express was my optimism that Boston, possibly with state help, could in fact figure out a way to tackle this issue both short and long term without just shoving them aside for the sake of the Olympics. Hearing that you have been homeless helps me understand that the issue is personal to you. That is more than understandable, but I honestly did not intend to offend you. My thoughts on the process angle are just different from yours it seems.
…as if somehow I am the problem rather than the issue being the problem. Sarcastically referring to me as a “so called leader” does not advance the discussion. Previously he told me to “be a man” and introduce a resolution to the DSC implying that disagreement constituted a character flaw.
HR's Kevin says
Sorry, Christopher, but you come off as thinner skinned with every additional comment.
To that I plead guilty as charged, but I think I do pretty well upholding my end of that bargain.
I disagree with Christopher on the Olympics, and in a variety of minor areas, but he tends to be one of our most astute and civil commentators and has been fairly transparent about informing the wider grassroots community about his activity at the DSC. I honestly see that position having no bearing on this Olympic debate.
I think the Olympic bid is the least ideological or partisan issue I can think of. It either makes money for the host city or loses it, it either benefits the host city or hurts it, and it either spurs positive growth or it doesn’t. With the exception of Atlanta-all of the modern games have lost money, left white elephants behind, and hurt the host city.
Let’s all agree that this bid should be open and transparent and have realistic cost assessments and goals, and then a public discussion and even a vote in whether or not the real risks are worth the expected rewards. It’s about as non-ideological as you can get in my book.