March 23, 2009

Yea or Nay to the Olympics?

“Friends of the Parks, a watchdog group, plans to unveil concerns during a forum April 9. Plans for Washington Park on the South Side are among those that rankle the group because they would permanently alter the historic park.

"We're not opposed to the Olympics—sports are appropriate for parks," said Erma Tranter, the group's president. "Our goal is to make sure they're creating facilities in appropriate parks and not doing harm to parks."

From the Chicago Tribune

Any readers have any opinions on the Olymics?


kyle said...

I know it is not a popular stance int he 49th ward, and i completely understand the potential for things to go wrong... but the olympics have the potential to be the big catalyst for real change in Chicago.

Do you see any other event that would drive the city, state and federal government to invest in this city and our transportation issues? Yeah I know our government with money and clout to go around... surely there are going to be some boondagles ...but we could actually find ourself with a working CTA..and that i will take the licks for.

Dan L said...

Of course I want the Olympics. There's a tremendous amount of money to be made for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Well, that, and the only people who are against the Olympics seems to be followers of the Reverends and red line liberals. Why validate those losers by getting behind their stupid way of thinking.

The North Coast said...

Mark me as completely and unalterably opposed to the Olympics.

London's leaders are already sorry they bid for the games, for the costs have already mounted to $20 Billion. The Bejing games cost $44 Billion.

Can we reasonably expect to get off any cheaper, and can we expect any large portion of the money to come from private sources? We are naive if we believe that private business concerns are going to pick up this tab, or any large portion thereof.

Vancouver's leaders are also beginning to doubt the wisdom of bidding.

We are being lied to when we are told that these games will cost only $2 Billion.

In addition, these games will divert money and resources from much more critical needs. So much water was diverted from the parched, poverty-stricken provinces to Bejing that farmers were unable to get sufficient water for crops, and famine ensued.

In our case, the games will mean that approximately ten thousand residents of the area surrounding Washington Park will have to relocate. This is a huge disruption, and it will effect every neighborhood in the city.

These games are bread&circuses on a massive scale. Can we really afford such a diversion of money and resources, with the attendant disruption and security risk, for an event that lasts a few weeks.

Atlanta's experience is instructive. Most businesses in that city experienced a net LOSS of revenue during the games and preparations for them, for, while the games created jobs and opportunity, those were taken by concerns from out of town that came to seize the opportunity. The community suffered a net loss as a result of the public expense, and loss of revenue to businesses outside the area close to the games.

It is doubtful that more than a handful of local business will realize benefits in keeping with the $40 Billion or so of mostly public money these games will most likely end up costing.

Sports venues in general are over-hyped and bring very small economic benefits, least of all decent jobs, relative to their drain on the public till. Tell me what the run of the public got in return for our massive subsidies to our local sports teams in the form of stadiums.

We have many better uses for the money, and we are financially challenged enough. The money would be far better spent on critical infrastructure and services.

Michael J. Harrington said...

Dan L, you wrote, "the only people who are against the Olympics seems to be followers of the Reverends and red line liberals."

Hey neighbor Dan, is that true? Please enlighten me on which Rev. should I be following? Moreover, you have no idea about either my liberal or conservative bent. You also can't possibly know anything that specific about those of us who are skeptical of or just plan against the Olympics.

There's no need to pre-judge us. Or, is does word prejudice fit?

The North Coast said...

As a Fiscal Conservative, I can't second the expenditure of tens of billions of $$ in public money on a temporary event that is mainly about our vanity and self-indulgence.

Earth to Chicago: Your city is almost bankrupt and your country is absolutely and completely bankrupt. You have the highest sales tax in the country, and you will be paying a substantial portion of your income taxes for the foreseeable future to paying down the biggest mountain of public AND private debt the world has ever seen.

Not only do we have more urgent needs as a city, but as a country. Americans at large seem to view the public till as a well they can go to in order to indulge any whim. They typical justification is that it will "make money".

Well, for whom? The Olympics will make money for SOME crony "entrepreneurs", at great cost to the citizenry of Chicago, and perhaps to the rest of the taxpayers in the country.

And for God's sake, why do we need an event like this to justify improving and expanding our once-excellent transit. When gasoline hit $4 a gallon, Metra trains were running so packed that they were oftentimes running past stops. CTA ridership is up about a third, and many of these people will become permanent riders as gasoline costs ratchet back up again.

Our mayor and other pols need to get over their vanity and get their monument-building urges under control.