Monthly Archives: August 2009

Ryan Asserts Blank Check Will Be Signed – Working Hard “To The Very End”

As reported by ESPN.com:

From Berlin – Patrick Ryan has traveled tens of thousands of miles, crisscrossed time zones and wandered through countless hotel lobbies — all in search of support for Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

With six weeks before the International Olympic Committee vote in Copenhagen on Oct. 2, Ryan and leaders of the three other candidate cities have taken the roadshow to Berlin for the last major campaign stop of the race…

Another key challenge for Chicago is to convince IOC members — and taxpayers back home — of its budget plans and financial guarantees for the games. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has pledged to sign the IOC’s host city contract if Chicago gets the games, taking full financial responsibility for any deficit.

“I think the IOC has to be pleased that we have every intent of signing the host city contract,” Ryan said. “At that point you’re putting your city’s credit on the line. Chicago has a very strong credit rating. Then, for the protection of the taxpayers and for the comfort of the IOC, we’re putting an insurance package together.”

But that’s down the road. In a few weeks, the only numbers Ryan will be interested in are the IOC vote totals.

“I’ve learned three important lessons from IOC members,” Ryan said. “Don’t assume anything, stay humble, and work, work, work right up to the very end.”

Mr. Ryan and the rest of the 2016 team is criss-crossing the planet to sell the bid. They are working overtime to snooker the IOC and Chicago’s taxpayers. They will deliver their so-called insurance plan late next week. But it doesn’t matter what’s in the plan – the Mayor is going to sign the blank check. We at No Games Chicago want to keep up the pressure as well. Please come out to the final 2016 community meeting at the Palmer House, 17 E. Monroe, on Tuesday, August 25 at 6:00pm.

The Mayor Is Enthusiastic About Privatization

In case you were wondering…

Has The Mayor TOTALLY Lost It? City Approves $16 Billion Make Work Projects

As reported in The Chicago Sun-Times:

A guide for downtown growth through 2020 that calls for $15.6 billion in public works was endorsed Thursday by the Chicago Plan Commission.

The Chicago Central Area Action Plan would allocate most of the spending for transportation projects. The most expensive would be a $6 billion West Loop transit hub beneath Clinton Street with a multilevel connection between Metra and CTA service.

Other big-ticket items include $1.5 billion for CTA express train service to the airports and $500 million for a landscaped roof over the Kennedy Expy. from Monroe to Washington, around which new office buildings could be added.

A project budgeted at $377 million would move part of Lake Shore Drive east from Navy Pier to the Oak Street curve, creating space for bike and pedestrian paths. It also could make the road safer for motorists by straightening a sharp curve around Oak Street Beach.

$500 million for a roof over the Kennedy Expressway? You can't make this stuff up!

$500 million for a roof over the Kennedy Expressway? You can't make this stuff up!

Ladies and gentlemen, NO ONE is at home at City Hall. NO ONE with an ounce of sense is watching the store. With all the dire problems we are experiencing in our communities, with all the debt the state and city is facing and with the lay offs that are regularly announced by the city – THIS is what is passed with out broad public debate??

Taxpayers Watchdog Barking Over Olympic Blank Check

National Taxpayers United of Illinois issued this statement today:

Without liability protection, a Chicago 2016 Olympics will put Illinois taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars, according to the president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization.

“Chicago submitted its bid details to the International Olympic Committee in February ballyhooing its financial strength, with organizers saying they have at least a 1 billion dollar safety net if the games exceed the estimated $4.8 billion price tag. They didn’t mention that they were putting Illinois taxpayers at risk for many billions of dollars,” said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI).

“Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is pushing hard for the 2016 games and could end up pushing Illinois taxpayers over a cliff. He has stated that he will sign the standard Olympic host city contract, which includes the assumption of unlimited financial liability for the games.” Read the full press release

Founded in 1976, NTUI is the largest taxpayer organization in Illinois with over 30,000 members and affiliations with over 200 local taxpayer groups.

Mancow Hates Parking Meter Deal, Olympic Blank Check

No Games organizer Tom Tresser makes a brief appearance on the radio and and discovers new allies!

Listen, using Evoca recorder!

Canadians Bemoan 2010 Civil Rights Abuse – We Can’t Wait

The Council of Canadians is one of Canada’s largest public advocacy organizations. On July 21 they issued a statement on the 2010 Winter Games:

We are concerned that the civil liberties of local communities and those who have a critique of the Games are being undermined by an unnecessary security presence. The security budget for the games has ballooned to $1 billion, while security and law enforcement agencies have identified protest groups as the most significant threat to the Games. Over 4,500 Canadian military troops will be deployed to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics – twice the number Canada has in Afghanistan.

Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association have both raised serious concerns about the threat to fundamental rights to privacy and protest arising from the installation and introduction of new surveillance and security measures. Almost a year before the start of the Games surveillance cameras are being installed in Whistler and Vancouver and, according to several credible reports, harassment of protesters has begun.

Residents of Whistler, site of the nordic and downhill venues, are already living in what amounts to a “security zone,” which is only expected to escalate as the opening date approaches. Critics of the Games, including a Council of Canadians board member, have allegedly been placed under surveillance, while hikers and mountain bikers find favourite wilderness trails blocked by mysterious military operations. Download the complete statement.

So how do you think Chicago will fare if we get the games? With our long history of police spying, civil rights abuse, the courts stacked with Machine hacks, the installation of cameras on our streets and the Mayor’s short temper toward criticism – you’ve got the recipe for a civil liberties nightmare.

Sing Along With Us…

Thanks to our friends at Chicago Clout

And the song has already made news!

Sing Along:

Same ol’ names makin’ headlines

Same ol’ crew stealin’ from the kitty

Slitherin’ snakes through departments of our city

Mayor Richie Daley tells us wrong from right

It’s hard to do when he’s on the next flight

He’s hangin’ out in Switzerland cuttin’ big deals

Too much funny business here, everyone steals

Chicago Clout, Little Richie’s getting richer

Chicago Clout, nothin’ stays the same

Chicago Clout, there’s never gonna be change

So, when you turn around a new scandal is brewin’

Daley knows nothin’, it’s none of his doin’

Now I have to move out, my taxes too high

Daley don’t care, “Let the middle class fry!”

And why should we change? Everything is so good

Who cares if kids are gettin’ shot in the ‘hood?

We’re cuttin’ deals for our family and our friends

2016 is when the world’s gonna end!

Chicago Clout, Little Richie’s gettin’ richer

Chicago Clout, nothin’ seems to change

Chicago Clout, it all stays the same

2016 Community Meetings Getting Uglier

As reported by the Provocateur:

Reporting from the 44th, 46th, and 48th Ward Olympics Community Meeting

Now, I went to another one of these a couple weeks back. The difference was that this particular “town hall” was put on entirely by the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. As such, this was something akin to a public propaganda campaign tour. The Olympic committee is holding one in each of the city’s 50 wards. The presentation was a big dog and pony show. It had two former Olympians, both now local college softball coaches, on the stage to describe the Olympic experience. They put on a quick power point presentation in which the committee assures the city that: there will be $22.5 billion in economic activity, 315,000 jobs created, and that the city would not pay one single dime t put on the games. It’s important to note that these numbers come from a study commissioned from the Olympic Committee itself.

The real fireworks started when the questions started. The questions were about 75-25 skeptical to supporting. The questions ranged from skeptical budgetary issues, displacement of the poor, transparency, to statements of support for how exciting it would be to have Chicago host the Olympics.

One questioner summed up the cynicism of the entire exercise. She wondered why these town halls were being held now a couple months before the bid is decided and not a year and two ago. The bid was officially kicked off in March of 2007. There was little media attention about, and the mayor even snuck in a commitment of $500 million from the city to pay for the games in 2007. (even though he continues to guarantee that the city will pay no money to host the games) The reason they’re doing these dog and pony shows now is because the bid has finally received some serious negative publicity in the last few months. First, the mayor sprung on the city the need to sign a host city contract in May which would hold the city liable for any and all expenses above and beyond that which the IOC would set aside in the beginning. Then, there was the revelation that Michael Scott, a major player in the Olympic Committee, secured a sweetheart land contract near Washington Park, where some of the events would be held. Finally, there have been a series of scandals and the debacle regarding the parking meter. As such, one could call these late scheduled town hall meetings a sort of damage control.  Continue reading…

NO-lympics for Don Rose

He hasn’t asked for it, but we are awarding long-time political consultant and commentator Don Rose an honorary No Games Chicago membership for his August 17 column for the Daily Observer.

A few weeks back an old friend called to say he could get me $25,000 from Very Important People if I would “blog in favor of the Olympics.”

For those of you who may have been comatose in Central Waziristan for the past year or two, bringing the 2016 games to Chicago is something Mayor Daley wants more than oxygen itself.

“I am still agnostic on the Olympics,” say I.

This friend is indeed close to the mayor, but rarely actually represents him in such dealings. He is also
close to many wealthy developers.

Through the years this friend, with whom I occasionally cooperate on a political project, has tried to lure me over to the Dark Side, suggesting that this Daley or the preceding one would welcome me with open arms if only I would endorse or work for such and such a candidate. My sense always is that he is free-lancing these offers of municipal largesse rather than being a direct emissary, but
I never know for sure because I never take him up on them.

“Rose,” says this friend, “forget agnostic. You are now old enough to sell out and nobody would blame you. I’m talking about $25,000 cash, which is way more than you get for a lousy column.”

“Is this a firm offer?” ask I.

“I’ll go to those people and get back to you before you leave for Paris,” says he.

Of course I never hear back. I am apparently not as saleable a commodity as I once may have been.

It is clear, however, that the mayor and his business confederates are spending a lot  of money as well as much political capital buying up the opposition–apparently even endorsing a sometimes reform
alderwoman for the presidency of the Cook County Board in exchange for her switching from anti- to pro-games.

This is one of the reasons my agnosticism has morphed to antagonism. Daley Inc. just wants
this thing too much, which is always a dangerous sign. (Whether a firm offer of that 25-large would have swayed me in the other direction is something strictly between my shrink and me.)
Continue reading

Chicago Closed Today – Saving for 2016

ClosedAs reported by CBS News Chicago:

If  you planned to check out a library book, visit a city clinic or have your garbage picked up on Monday, you’re out of luck.

The City of Chicago is basically closed for business on Aug. 17, a reduced-service day in which most city employees are off without pay. City Hall, public libraries, health clinics and most city offices will be closed.

Emergency service providers including police, firefighters and paramedics are working at full strength, but most services not directly related to public safety, including street sweeping, will not be provided.  That also includes garbage pickup. Residents who receive regular collection on Mondays should expect trash to be picked up on Tuesday. Some other customers may experience a one-day delay as collectors catch up.

The city is forecasting a $400 million deficit for 2010. What about the $1.4 billion in property taxes that the Mayor had stashed away at the end od 2008? Chicago, this Nero is fiddling while Rome is burning.