The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will pick the host of the 2016 Olympics in less than a month. With the bid process now entering the home stretch, it's been a busy week in Olympics-related news. Flores' Oversight Ordinance Back in June, Ald. Manny Flores ...
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will pick the host of the 2016 Olympics in less than a month. With the bid process now entering the home stretch, it's been a busy week in Olympics-related news.
Flores' Oversight Ordinance
Back in June, Ald. Manny Flores tried to pass an ordinance that prohibited the use of additional taxpayer dollars to pay for Olympics operating overruns beyond the $500 million guarantee that had already been approved. Mayor Daley effectively put the kibosh on that plan -- saying it would put the city out of the running for the games -- and Flores backed off. Now, the 1st Ward alderman has turned his attention to oversight, unveiling a measure Tuesday that would empower the city's inspector general to monitor the Olympic committee if Chicago hosts the games. Citing a Civic Federation report that concluded "a professional level of oversight ... is necessary" to ensure the city does not squander resources, Flores also wants to mandate comprehensive quarterly financial reporting from Chicago's Olympic Organizing Committee. Read the full bill here.
The ordinance will be introduced at the hearing of the Finance Committee next Tuesday. If it gets voted down, Flores told The Provocateur he would revive his $500 million caps plan.
Not to be outdone, Mayor Daley released his own Olympic ordinance Tuesday that would allow two aldermen to sit on the organizing committee if Chicago wins the bid. It also would require regular financial and operations reports to the finance committee. But it's far less comprehensive than even Flores' ordinance, which some critics of the bid see as a compromise at best. Check out this side-by-side comparison prepared by the alderman's office (click the button in the upper righthand corner to expand):
Disconcerting to say the least. The Reader's Ben Joravksy concludes that Daley just wants to railroad Flores' proposal. We'll have to see how hard the city council's independents push back next week. In the meantime, here's an ABC 7 report on the oversight debate:
Tribune: Support For Olympics Dwindling
Following the release of an IOC report showing that Chicago's chances of securing the Olympics are weakened by the city's transportation system and the lack of a federal financial guarantee for operating costs, a new Tribune/WGN poll released yesterday found public support for the event is weakening:
Nearly as many city residents oppose Mayor Richard Daley's Olympic plans, 45 percent, as support them, 47 percent. And residents increasingly and overwhelmingly oppose using tax dollars to cover any financial shortfalls for the Games, with 84 percent disapproving of the use of public money.
The new results show slippage from the 2-to-1 support found in a Tribune poll in February, and experts said the findings could hurt Chicago's chances.
On Wednesday, WTTW's Chicago Tonight hosted an Olympics roundtable featuring Ald. Flores, Chicago 2016 President Lori Healy, and No Games Chicago co-founder Bob Quellos. Near the end of the segment, Healy and Quellos debated the degree of opposition to the bid. Quellos pointed out that community groups and taxpayers have consistently spoken out out against the city's misplaced spending priorities during Chicago 2016's 50 ward meetings. Watch it (you can find the full segment here):
But is the public dissent intense enough to make a difference with the IOC? In a post yesterday, Mechanics' Ramsin Canon asks why institutional outrage over Daley's machinations has been so spotty:
Where are the progressives? The liberal activists? The progressive elected officials so beloved of the [Democracy for America] types? I honestly can't understand why anybody who calls themselves a leader on matters of social justice and human rights can put on the button and cheer along with the chorus. If any city government was going to break the Olympics' impressive streak of bank-busting debt and human rights abuses, do they think it'll be Chicago's?
What about the good government groups? The think tanks? Why aren't they out on the front lines opposing any Olympics not given proper oversight? Given the constant stream of contracting scandals that have come out of this administration, including those surrounding major projects like Millennium Park, why aren't they screaming foul?
Four weeks left to go ...