In the summer of 2007 Bob Quellos wrote this piece for CounterPunch. This was the first in-depth critique of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. He didn’t know it at the time, but this was the start of what would become No Games Chicago.
“In May 2006, proud leaders of the City of Chicago stood in front of the TV cameras to announce their plans to bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Their plan was ambitious. The city would build an immense new stadium in Washington Park on the South Side, and a sports complex at the former Meigs Field Airport, located on the edge of Lake Michigan, just outside Chicago’s downtown Loop district. Plus, there would be an Olympic Village to house 17,000 athletes and officials–built in the developing near South Side, at a cost of $1.1 billion.
But the hype surrounding the Olympics bid couldn’t hide the glaring contractions–at the same time as the city promised to spend tens of billions of dollars, severe budget restraints have been imposed on the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District.
As much as anything, the campaign for the 2016 Games has cast a light on an ongoing housing crisis for the city’s working majority–symbolized by the city’s gutting of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), the agency that runs the public housing system, and the stream of residents leaving Chicago as one of the most basic of necessities becomes harder and harder to afford.
But the Olympics bid has also brought to light the brewing anger with the politicians, corporate executives and wealthy investors who are causing the crisis–and it is opening the way for activists to tell the real story of Chicago’s “transformation” and organize for an alternative.”
Download the article->Pushing the Poor Out of House and Home-Quellos-7-18-07.
Tom Tresser – 312-804-3230 – email@example.com
Bob Quellos – 773-592-9657 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Joravsky, writing in the Chicago Reader on August 3, 2016 said this about opposing the 2016 bid:
Let’s face it, folks: When it came to Daley, everybody in Chicago was a rubber stamp.
Well, not everybody. At this point, I’d like to distribute some symbolic gold medals to the few intrepid souls who had the courage to tell the mayor the Olympics were a terrible idea—to tell the emperor he had no clothes.
Maybe by doing so I can encourage a few other brave dissenters to break from the ranks the next time another mayor proposes a really bad idea.
No Games Chicago: A coalition of activists, led by Tom Tresser and Bob Quellos, that questioned the city’s estimates and showed up at hearings to debate Daley’s boosters. The group even sent a delegation to Europe to petition the IOC to vote against Chicago’s bid.
I’m pretty sure no one in a position of power around here will ever credit the No Games crowd for turning the tide against the games—you wouldn’t want to encourage other citizens to think they could actually beat City Hall from time to time.
Allright now! That’s what we’re talkin’ about – a little love for No Games. Thanks, Ben, you were a lone voice in the media arena speaking out against the bid all those years ago.
Where were these guys in 2009?
Two more latecomers to the ranks of No Games Chicago!
Chicago Tribune sports reporter David Haugh writes “In retrospect…” David – we said ALL those things seven years ago. Where were you? Oh, yeah – you, like the paper you work for and the billionaire who owned it then (Sam Zell) were BIG boosters of the bid.
And Steven Malanga, writing in the City Journal, says “Chicago’s Olympic Escape – The City Should be Glad It Didn’t Get the 2016 Summer Games.” No shit, Sherlock. Where were YOU in in 2009.
Come on, guys, would it kill you to at least ACKNOWLEDGE there WAS a group of people – volunteers with no budget and no office – who DID see all this and more – ACTED on what they knew. Acted effectively and acted without regard to their careers or even personal safety.
You will NOT erase us from the pubic record.
From WBEZ-FM Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview program from July 19, 2016 (35 minutes):
A front page story from the Sunday, July 17 2016 issue of the Chicago Tribune complained about the “pricey legacy” of the 2016 Olympic bid. With two full pages of interior text – guess who was NOT included in the article? No Games Chicago. We were all over the sale of the Reese Hospital site, the costs of acquisition, demolition and securing the site – back in 2009. That was just one of MANY objections we had to the entire process that the Tribune then did not cover. Oh, and the owner of the Chicago Tribune at the time, Sam Zell, was listed as a major donor to the bid – giving at LEAST $100,000!
Tom Tresser was asked to weigh in on the ongoing costs of the 2016 Olympic bid. Mayor Daley demolished the Michael Reese Hospital site in 2009 in an effort to impress the IOC. That will end up costing us as much as $150 million!