Monthly Archives: August 2009

Tribune’s Greising: 2016 Secrecy Smells

As reported in Progress Illinois and WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight”:

This month, Tribune business columnist David Greising has written two pieces urging more disclosure on the part of Chicago’s Olympic bid committee and, in doing so, spurred a lengthy editorial from his paper on the topic.  On Friday, he appeared on Chicago Tonight’s “Week in Review” show to discuss the games and continued to push back against the committee’s assurances that they are being “open and transparent.”  Watch it (full video here):

GRIESING: It’s interesting. I’ve talked to people at the Olympic committee — Chicago 2016 — and they all believe that they’ve been the most open and transparent group that has ever been seen in the face of the Olympic movement.

And yet, a few weeks away, 40-some days away from the October 2 vote, we still don’t know who these insurance companies are that are supposed to be backing — guaranteeing the bid.  We have no idea who any of the developers are of the Olympic Village.  The guarantee they’re looking for — the unlimited guarantee from the city — we don’t know much about.  We’ve had a little bit of corruption — not corruption, conflicts of interest pop up with this Michael Scott — this Olympic committee member who is involved in a development near the village.

It’s just all kind of stirring around and it doesn’t smell very good to longtime Chicagoans.

Whew! What’s that we’re smellin’? Could it be the rot of corruption, the sweltering stench of lies and – oh, never mind, you get it. If the Tribune, which is still pro-2016, can smell the mess – it MUST be powerful awful!

2016 Economic Benefit Claims Are “Crazy” Says Scholar

As reported in today’s Crain’s Chicago Business:

Chicago’s business weekly dumps cold water on the over-inflated and unsupported claims of Olympic economic benefits. As noted local economist Allen Sanderson says, “It’s a party, not an economic investment.”

Watch the Crain’s Chicago video news report.

More lies from the 2016 Committee!

More lies from the 2016 Committee!

Mayor Richard M. Daley’s prediction that the 2016 Olympics would give Chicago’s economy a $22.5-billion boost vastly overstates the likely benefits of hosting the games, experts say.”That’s crazy,” says Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts who has studied the economic impact of the Olympics. “Anyone using this $22.5-billion number as justification to vote for the Olympics is being led down the garden path.”

The figure far exceeds estimated benefits in forecasts prepared by other cities that have sought the games. Atlanta, for example, figured the games it hosted in 1996 would produce an economic jolt of just $7 billion in 2009 dollars.

Similarly, the Chicago Olympics bid committee’s prediction that the 2016 games would create 315,000 jobs over 11 years is more than four times the jobs estimate for Atlanta.

No Games is well aware of Prof. Matheson’s work and we posted material about him on March 2 of this year. His report, “Mega-Events: The effect of the world’s biggest sporting events onlocal, regional, and national economies” is available for download as a PDF file from the Box.net widget on the lower right side of our home page. This report concludes with this statement:

The most important piece of advice that a local government can take regarding megaevents, however, is simply to view with caution any economic impact estimates provided by entities with a incentive to provide inflated benefit figures. While most sports boosters claim that mega-events provide host cites with large economic returns, these same boosters present these figures as justification for receiving substantial public subsidies for hosting the games. The vast majority of independent academic studies of mega-events show the benefits to be a fraction of those claimed by event organizers.

Selling the Games One Ward At A Time

As reported in the Chicago Sun-Times:

No_Games_signs@Wright_College

Say, who brought the protest signs? We did!

As it has at times in recent weeks, a community meeting about Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics soon veered off into a heated discussion about other things.

Affordable housing. Jobs. Crime.

An upset Mark Carter, 35, stood in the audience and demanded that Mayor Daley’s Olympic bid team, assembled on the dais, set aside some of the projected 310,000 jobs — some temporary, others permanent — expected to be created by the Olympic Games for North Lawndale residents. He also asserted that the beleaguered West Side community wasn’t getting the help it needed because “the alderman sold us out.”

First-term Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon (24th), standing next to the audience, didn’t hold back.

“Shut up,” she told Carter, who ran against her in the last election. “I’m an alderman, not a miracle worker.”

“SHUT UP” – that’s about what we’re supposed to do. Shut up and sit back as the Mayor SIGNS THE BLANK check to the IOC using OUR money while the spineless aldermen watch from the sidelines.

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.