Category Archives: Chicago 2016

New Book Tells Inside Story of No Games Chicago

Just in time for the one year mark before the start of the London 2012 games, “Dear Members of the International Olympic Committee” tells the inside story of the No Games Chicago campaign!

Click here or on the image to go to the online store for this FREE publication.


Chicago Tribune Joins No Games Chicago Coalition (Belatedly)

Should Chicago bid on the 2020 Olympics. No way, says the Chicago Tribune in a June 20 editorial. Here’s what they said:

An Olympic bid is an all-consuming exercise not only for a mayor but for corporate leaders and philanthropists. We backed the bid two years ago, but a lengthy bidding process now would hinder, not help, new mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s focus on reinventing government and promoting economic development. And let’s face it, there’s an Olympic-size sense in these parts of, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…” Anyway, it seemed like Chicagoans cooled to the Olympics as time went on. A bid from a U.S. city remains unlikely…A spokeswoman for Emanuel would not categorically rule out a bid, but said he is focused on short-term challenges, such as education and public safety. Good enough. Good luck, Rio. We’ve moved on.

What a riot! The Tribune was a huge supporter of the 2016 bid. The owner of the Tribune, Sam Zell, was listed as a contributor to the bid in the cash contributions of “$100,00 and over” and a unit of the Tribune empire, Chicago Magazine, was a pro bono contributor of services in the “Up to $100,000” category. The paper and its staff had access to the same mountain of research that we had access to – the evidence that showed the games lost host cities billions of dollars. So can we now add the Tribune Editorial Board to the small list of allies for No Games Chicago? Your old friends at No Games have moved on. Some of us are fighting TIF abuse at The TIF Report – and some are fighting the privatization of our public infrastructure, including the ever more likely sale of our water supply! See Some are supporting the parents at The Whittier School in Pilsen – see

Watch “The Battle for the Bid” on CAN-TV

The Battle for the Olympic Bid -
What Happened and What's Next

Organizers with No Games Chicago tell their story at 
The Experimental Station on how the battle for the Olympic bid
was won by a grassroots effort and what it holds in store
for Chicago's future Mayor.

Tom and Bob tell the story of the No Games fight and we
raise some questions about what it all meant...

Sunday, December 5 at 11:00 a.m. on CAN TV21 - 1 hr 30 min

Other times:

Wednesday, December 8th, 10:00 AM, Channel 19
Wednesday, December 15th, 2:00 PM, Channel 21

This is a Chicago public access channel and you have to
have cable in Chicago to see this. We will post the video
online in a while...

Jamie Kalven is the director of the Experimental Station, where the event took place.

No Games Story Told In Depth

Tom talked about the story and strategy behind the No Games campaign at the College of Complexes. This video is divided into three sections – the first part is the story and is about 45 minutes. The second is questions from the audience. The third is mostly unrelated to the No Games narrative.

No Games Chicago Story Told – Secrets Revealed!

All of 30 people made it to The Experimental Station Tuesday night to hear No Games organizers Bob Quellos and Tom Tresser reveal the story behind the “Battle for the Bid.” A conversation was at least started about what lessons for civic Chicago can be taken from the bid process and the opposition to it.

Jamie Kalven introduces Tom and Bob.

Listen to the story by clicking here and going to (49 minutes).

Coverage of the event:

“The Battle for the Bid – One Year Later”

THE EXPERIMENTAL STATION – 6100 S. BLACKSTONE  AVENUEOn October 2, 2010 Chicago lost its bid to produce and host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. For some, the decision was a shattering blow to the ego of the city and a monumental defeat for the city’s powerful, led by Mayor Daley. To others it was a triumph of grass roots community organizing in face of the most powerful people on the planet. On one side there was the 2016 Committee led by Pat Ryan, the founder of AON Insurance and… Lori Healey, the former Chief of Staff to Mayor Daley and behind them stood the entire Chicago business, media, academic, philanthropic and nonprofit communities.

The 2016 Committee had access to almost unlimited resources, raised $90 million and had the support of all elected officials in Illinois and the President of the United States. On the other side stood a organized group of concerned citizens called No Games Chicago who had virtually no resources, no office and less than a handful of allies. The “battle for the bid” has never been told publicly. It represents a major teaching moment in the life of the city. Even more so as Mayor Daley has announced his retirement.

Some say the loss of the Olympics was a factor in his decision. If this is the case, it’s very fitting to take some time at the one year anniversary of the decision by the International Olympic Committee to ask what happened, why and what does it portend for Chicago’s future?

The battle for the bid offers telling lessons on a number of fronts. This was a clash of two fundamentally different views of how to make a city prosperous. It was about local politics and who gets to decide the fate of neighborhoods. It was about Big Contracts and inside players. It was about privatization of public assets with no public debate. It was about wrestling with the question of “What is a city for?” and “How do we use the resources of a city to make opportunity happen?” It was about democracy, dissent and fear. It was about old school organizing and new school technologies. It was about nose counting and strategic messaging. Happening, ironically, during the one hundredth anniversary of the Burnham Plan, the battle for the bid engendered virtually no such discussion while it was in full swing.

Now, one year later, an examination of the battle will help set up just about every relevant issue that the city will be facing as it picks its next mayor.
Continue reading

Olympic Hype One Year Later!

NBC Chicago aired a “documentary” on the 2016 Olympic bid tonight, “Making Big Plans: The Story of Chicago’s Olympic Dreams.” The film was made by Mark Mitten, who was the Chief Brand Officer of the 2016 Committee, and Jim Schmidt, a creative director for Downtown Partners/Chicago – which did marketing work for the bid.


According to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lewis Lazare

“the documentary ends on a hopeful note with a chapter called “The Beginning or the End?” In this segment, Mitten and Schmidt present comments from several expert sources suggesting the city would be smart to go after the Olympics again. Though the bid failed, Patrick Sandusky, the chief spokesman for the Chicago 2016 committee, is seen at the end of the documentary noting it gave the city a massive amount of marketing exposure on a global scale that otherwise might have taken 30 or 40 years to get. And the bid has left as its legacy World Sport Chicago, a program to train Chicago athletes who just might compete in the Olympics when the Games finally do come to our city.”

Of course, these Olympic pitchmen didn’t check in with any of the No Games Chicago team. We could’ve told them the Other Sode of the “Olympic Dream.” We might’ve mentioned how the citizens of Vancouver lost hundreds of acres of old growth forest, of the violations of civil liberties, of the death of an athlete on the first day of competition and of the $1.5 BILLION DEBT THE CITIZENS OF VANCOUVER MUST NOW DEAL WITH. Oh, and we might’ve also mentioned that the 2013 London games are $10 BILLION OVER BUDGET.

Memo to candidates lining up to run for Mayor. No Games 2020.