September 9, 2009

Moore votes to sustain our tradition of political corruption, favoratism, project cost over runs, and lack of oversight

Thank you, Mr. President.

I am going to cast my vote in support of this Olympic bid. I acknowledge the economic development potential that the Olympics bring, the real potential of tens of thousands of jobs and all of the economic spin off that will come from hosting the Olympics, the in-call can you label benefits of placing Chicago on the world map, of showcasing our beautiful lovely city to the rest of the world and all the tourist dollars that the Olympics will bring to our city, not only during the course of the Olympics themselves but also before and after the Olympics.

Our city has never made small plans. The Columbian Exposition, the Century of Progress, have left an indelible mark on our city's history. The Olympics and this day and age are the World's Fair of our time, and the hosting the Olympics gives the city of Chicago a real potential of becoming an even more world class city if you will. Having said all of that, I must say I did not come to this very easily. Even as early as this morning I did not know exactly how I was going to vote on this measure. While the Olympics have such great and wonderful potential for our city, I think we all have to acknowledge that there is a lot of anger in our community, communities, a lot of cynicism, and that anger and cynicism unfortunately is very well placed. While our city can boast a vibrant economy and a beautiful scenic lake front and a wonderful diverse culture, it also unfortunately bears the ugly stain of political corruption and favoritism and a history of project with cost over runs, so the public is right to be cynical. They have a right to be cynical about a legislative body that all too often is abdicated its responsibility as acting as a check on the executive branch, and all too often neglected to exercise its oversight powers. I comment my colleague Alderman Flores for bringing forth an ordinance and commend the administration, the Olympic committee for embracing most of it. I think there were a few key things left out of that unfortunately. I would like to have seen independent oversight for the Olympic bid and the Olympics from moving forward. However, the amount of information that will be made available as a result of this ordinance is unprecedented and my hope is that the public and the members of the press and perhaps, yes, even the members of this city council will be able to take that information and analyse it and make sure the Olympic bid remains on budget, that there are no cost over runs, and most importantly that the taxpayers are not left holding the bag. I think in the days and weeks and years ahead, I hope this council will take the oversight responsibility seriously, that there will be money set aside either from our budget or private foundations to really hire the kind of experts to make sure that the Olympic committee is doing its job. I will say I was quite heartened by the civic federation report. I think it highlights that not only is oversight and transparency good government, it is also good politics because this Olympic bid at least the support for it here locally was on the ropes because of the sudden about face shifts in our position about taxpayer liability. It was taking a third party, a respected independent agency, an organization to take a fresh look at the cost estimates and revenue estimates that gave me, and I believe others, the comfort to support this bid.

I will cast my vote in support of hope, in support of optimism, in support of what the Olympics can bring to our city, but with a wary eye cast on our city's ugly history of political corruption and -- the Olympics will light a new day, not only as the City of Chicago as a world-class city, but the way we conduct ourselves and spend the taxpayer's dollars.

Thank you very much.

Joe Moore
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2 comments:

Bill Morton said...

Alderman Joe Moore's "our city's ugly history of political corruption"

... isn't that the pot calling the kettle black.

The North Coast said...

I'm sick at my stomach, though I never expected another outcome.

Let's just hope another city is selected.

Notice that the main considerations are emotional. It's all about glamor and hope and optimism, not about dollars & sense and what this city really needs for economic development- which is a level playing field for all legitimate businesses, not just a protected playground for tax-subsidized crony businesses; a decent infrastructure including reliable transit with city wide coverage; not just a redundant express line to the airport; and city leadership dedicated to creating the conditions that will make life and profits possible for all business large and small.