B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘Olympic_Games’ tag

Rio Wins 2016 Olympic Games

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I’m with Andrew Huff of GapersBlock1, the Olympics games were not going to be a panacea for all the problems Chicago faces.

Went to Brazil

Not everyone was displeased. “My hope is that we’ll get back to paying attention to the problems that are facing the city on an ongoing basis,” said Andrew Huff, editor and publisher of Gaper’s Block, an independent Web site that covers local Chicago news. “We can concentrate on 2009 and 2010 instead of 2016. There are so many things we should be paying attention to rather than whether we’re going to host an event in the future.”

[Click to continue reading Rio Wins 2016 Olympic Games – WSJ.com]

Eric Zorn and Dennis Byrne expressed similar sentiments: funnel all the cash that would have been spent preparing for a two week event seven years from now into lasting improvements for the city right now.

Now that the U.S. Olympic Committee has killed Chicago’s fledgling bid for the 2016 Summer games, we’re free from all the fuss, headaches and financial risks of that event.

While Los Angeles stews and spends for the next 30 months until the International Olympic Committee choose a host city, Chicago can get on with the business of building and improving this region for people who live here rather than in preparation for a momentary burst of tourists, athletes and reporters nine summers from now.

an insider wrote into Talking Points Memo, one possible reason for Chicago not being chosen, the bad reputation the US Immigration policies have:

Id prefer to not have my name published if you post any of this, but I wanted to give you some inside perspective on the Olympic planning as I had the privilege to work and help with some of the architecture and planning proposal for Chicago’s Bid.
Mainly, this is just an email to say that regardless of the headline on Drudge, and your comment that the IOC might not enjoy being “big-footed” by Obama, that is not the case. In fact, it was probably helpful, even though we were voted out in the first round. Almost every other country has their leader making personal appearances in support of major international architecture and planning endeavors, but the American president. There have been a number of projects, New Mariinsky Theater in St Petersberg, Russia (for example), where all the finalists, were supported by the leader of their country in having a call placed to the committee, however, the US architect/planner never receives that level of support or interest from the President. So it can only be refreshing to have the President support its country in these types of selections.

A few months ago, (getting back to the Olympic selection) it was made clear to us that Chicago was going to have some difficulty in gaining the selection for a number of reasons including that we have had a large percentage of games hosted here, but most importantly, that we do not have the best international reputation at this time, and it is well known that it is a frustrating and difficult process compared to the other host countries for travelers to gain admittance into the US. There was not a lot that could be done with our planning about this, but it was still brought up as an unofficial “official” concern of the IOC. I think Obama’s visit was prob in some effort to help remove this concern from the selection committee. I would say from knowledge of work on this bid, as well as having produced work to assist with London’s planning effort for Foreign Office Architects in London (before starting my own practice in Chicago) that there was little chance that the decision would be able to be changed this late in the game, and that at this point (the last week), most of the IOC already knows their rankings, and are just discussing the top two. So, again, regardless of Obama’s influence (or lack of), at best, all he would have been able to do was help push over the top, or slightly hurt, but not much more. The decision was most likely already made that Chicago would not host it a few weeks ago by the IOC.

[Click to continue reading Not Their Kinda Town | Talking Points Memo]

Chicago 2016 Olympic

I hope Rio has a great Olympic games, I’ve always wanted to visit there actually.

  1. notice a link to them over on my sidebar? []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 2nd, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Mayor Daley Places Olympian Bet on Chicago 2016

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Mayor Daley has famously only lost four votes in the City Hall rubber-stamp room called the City Council, but the residents of Chicago are less sanguine about the economic benefits of hosting the Olympics.

Heart versus Head

The Second City is weary after months of recession and Illinois corruption scandals, and angry about everything from rising taxes to deepening potholes. The city is especially skeptical of Mr. Daley’s Olympic push: After pledging Chicago wouldn’t pay a cent should the Games lose money, the mayor later said Chicago would cover any potential shortfall.

Mr. Daley, re-elected in 2007 with more than 71% of the vote, now has a career-low approval rating of 35%, according to a recent Chicago Tribune poll. In public meetings, citizens rail that he has become isolated, thin-skinned and autocratic. Only 47% of Chicagoans support hosting the Games.

Mr. Daley, asked about his falling approval ratings and concerns over cost overruns and corruption, shakes his head.

“You have to have vision,” the 67-year-old mayor said in an interview this month as he shuttled between appearances in the back seat of his black sedan. “You can’t start second-guessing yourself.”

Mr. Daley says the Games will transform Chicago and update its international image from a meat-and-manufacturing hub to the Paris on the Prairie its planners envisioned. Chicago’s Olympic committee has said the Games will generate tens of thousands of jobs and a $13.7 billion economic boost for Chicago. Last week, Anderson Economic Group LLC estimated that spending in Chicago would be more modest, around $4.4 billion.

University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson is more skeptical still. “When you say the word ‘billions,’ special-interest groups start salivating,” he said. “This is Chicago, so yeah, I expect some cost overruns.”

[Click to continue reading Mayor Places Olympian Bet on Chicago’s Bid for Games – WSJ.com]

The Olympics last for what, two weeks? But preparation has to start seven years in advance? Yikes.

Apparently, Chicago has integrated without much notice:

As other Midwestern cities emptied, Chicago grew. In the past 10 years, it added parks and trees, luxury residential skyscrapers and 36 million square feet of commercial development — nearly twice as much as Los Angeles. Between 1989 and 2008, Chicago’s median household income rose 2.7%, in 2008 dollars. Over the same period, incomes in Rust Belt cities Detroit, Cleveland and Indianapolis shrunk 11% or more.

By 2008, Chicago had become the eighth-most integrated global city in the world, according to Foreign Policy magazine, behind Singapore and ahead of Seoul.

Mind Detergent

And Obama is going to personally persuade IOC officials in Copenhagen after all, for some reason.

Less than two weeks ago, President Obama lamented that he was too busy to go to Denmark to lobby for Chicago’s bid to host the Olympics. “I would make the case in Copenhagen personally,” he said, “if I weren’t so firmly committed to making real the promise of quality, affordable health care for every American.”

Evidently, his commitment to health care is no longer quite so time consuming. Mr. Obama announced Monday that he would fly to Copenhagen this week after all to lobby the International Olympic Committee for the 2016 Summer Games.

Mr. Obama changed his mind and decided to take a gamble no other American president has taken at the urging of his close friend and senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, who has been deeply involved in promoting Chicago’s bid. He hopes to trump the presence in Copenhagen of his counterparts from rival countries seeking the games — Brazil, Japan and Spain — and duplicate the success that Tony Blair of Britain and Vladimir V. Putin of Russia have had in recent years by personally lobbying for their nations’ bids.

Moreover, aides noted that it would be a relatively small time investment. Mr. Obama will leave Thursday evening and fly overnight, arriving in Copenhagen just in time to join Chicago’s final presentation Friday morning, when he and the first lady will address the committee. He returns to Washington on Friday afternoon.

[Click to continue reading White House Memo – In Pitch for Games, a Gamble for Obama – NYTimes.com]

I don’t buy the argument that the President can only perform one task in a day. Maybe GWB was limited that way, but most modern politicians are adept enough to chew gum and walk at the same time. Still, I question whether the Olympic Games are worth wasting a President’s limited agenda upon.

Click here for some other posts discussing the 2016 games

Written by Seth Anderson

September 30th, 2009 at 8:17 am

Obama and the Chicago Olympics

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Notice Obama isn’t actually going to Copenhagen: the bid is not worth wasting the power of the presidency on. The Olympics might end up in Brazil, after all.

Gotta Support the Team!!

With 16 days left until the International Olympic Committee chooses a host city for the 2016 Olympics, President Barack Obama stood on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday and made a pitch for Chicago’s bid to win those Summer Games. He promised that if the I.O.C. chose Chicago, the city would make the United States — and the world — proud.

“Chicago is ready,” Obama said during an event featuring Olympians, Paralympians and local schoolchildren. “The American people are ready. We want these Games.”

“I promise you, we are fired up about this,” he said of the possibility of the Games being awarded to Chicago, where he lived for nearly 25 years before moving into the White House.

[Click to continue reading Obama Says Chicago Is ‘Ready’ to Win Bid to Hold 2016 Games – NYTimes.com]

Division Street Bridge
Here’s what the City of Chicago needs to spend money on instead: this is the Division Street Bridge, seemingly rusted nearly to collapse. Why don’t we spend money fixing our infrastructure and mass transit first?

Ms. Obama loves to publicly tease the President:

Michelle Obama, a lifelong Chicagoan, will lead the United States contingent at the meetings. On Wednesday, she showed the crowd charisma that just may win over some I.O.C. members.

After taking to the podium, she encouraged the audience to cheer and show its Olympic spirit. She then poked fun at her husband’s attempt at a few of the Olympic sports that were on hand, causing the crowd to roar with laughter.

“You should have seen the president in there fencing,” she said of her husband, who said he had always wanted to try the sport. “It was pathetic.”

and not sure how relevant the Chicago Cubs attendance records are to funding Olympics:

Michelle Obama said Chicago was the “ideal home for the 2016 Games,” not just for its landscape, infrastructure or resources, but also for its people and their love of sports.

“You know, you have to admit, even White Sox fans are impressed by the fact that even though the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in centuries, Cubs games sell out,” she said. “Everybody’s there. It doesn’t matter. Win or lose, we are going to watch the Cubs.”

because the White Sox don’t always sell out, just the Cubs.

I still haven’t heard anyone give a good reason as to why Chicago should even host the Olympics, much less fund the damn things.

Click here for some other posts discussing the 2016 games

Written by Seth Anderson

September 17th, 2009 at 7:57 am

Chicago Olympics = Unmitigated Disaster

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Ramsin Canon of GapersBlock on why Olympics 2016, if Chicago is unlucky enough to win it, will be a Mongolian clusterfuck1 of the worst kind.

Homes Not Games

We’re going to get the watered down [Olympic Oversight] ordinance2, because our Aldermen are afraid of their own shadows. We’re going to get the Olympics. Mayor Daley will get re-elected. There will be massive cost-overruns; historic displacement of working class black families from the South and West side*; abuse of the homeless and indigent**; brutal police crackdowns; privatized security armies on the streets of Chicago; an unceasing stream of conflict-of-interest and contracting scandals; there will be gigantic budget shortfalls that will force more layoffs, more shutting down of social services like the mental health centers, more labor disputes.

We know why the Mayor and his people are pursuing this: it’s a distraction from the problems in the city, it wipes clean what is now approaching a decade of scandals and bad news for the Mayor, and pumps enormous sums of money into the pinstripe and identity politics patronage that has protected the status quo for a generation. Or, have we become so credulous, and ungenerous, that we believe that the Mayor honestly believes the Olympics are the only way to invest in our neighborhoods, and that he sincerely understands “being a world class city” as “getting on television”?

[Click to continue reading Gapers Block : Mechanics : Chicago Politics – No Cap on Public Money + No Oversight = Unmitigated Disaster]

Chicago 2016 Olympic City

I read somewhere today that one of the other four finalists, Tokyo, only has 56 percent of its population supporting their bid, while Chicago’s populace allegedly is 67 percent gung-ho. Ha, if only 33 percent of us oppose 2016, we sure are vocal. In fact, in my own informal surveys, I have yet to meet a single person who thinks the Olympics won’t be a disaster for Chicago. My sample size is under 100, but 73-03 is pretty compelling evidence, if not exactly statistically valid.

Click here for some other posts discussing the 2016 games

  1. phrase allegedly coined by Ed Sanders of The Fugs []
  2. an oversight ordinance introduced by Ald. Manny Flores, and a “substitute” ordinance backed by Mayor Daley. Alderman Flores’ staff sent out a side-by-side comparison a few hours later. Guess what? The Mayor’s version sucks []
  3. estimated []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 3rd, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Fifty Million Dollars Just to Sit At the Table

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From my vantage point, $50,000,000 is a lot of cheese just to be one of the four finalists for the 2016 Olympic Games. Especially if this money was provided by the City of Chicago, and not private largesse1

One of these Things is Not Like the Other

[Anti-Olympic Fever! Catch It!2 ]

After spending $50 million showing off Chicago and circling the globe to hobnob with the world’s sporting potentates, civic boosters pursuing the 2016 Olympic Games are fretting over one last detail: Will Chicago’s First Citizen, President Barack Obama, travel to Europe next month to make the final pitch to the International Olympic Committee?

Chicago’s rivals plan to send their own heavyweights to Copenhagen for the Oct. 2 vote: President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for Rio de Janeiro; King Juan Carlos for Madrid; and Japan’s crown prince and princess for Tokyo.

Mayor Richard Daley has led Chicago’s charge for 2016, but an appearance by Mr. Obama in Copenhagen would be the trump card. The White House “certainly knows that we would like him to come,” says Patrick Ryan, founder of Aon Corp. and leader of the bid committee.

[Click to continue reading For 2016 Olympic Contenders, the Games Have Now Begun – WSJ.com]

previous bids have been derailed by blabbing politicians:

In the weeks leading up to the decision, Paris was the presumed favorite over London and New York City. But [Prime Minister Tony] Blair arrived for the final IOC session in Singapore three days early, and proceeded to receive a phalanx of IOC members. [French President Jacques] Chirac arrived fashionably late.…

London won by four votes over Paris; New York was eliminated in an earlier round. The voting is secret, but a number of IOC members later said Mr. Blair’s lobbying was likely decisive.

Mr. Chirac also might have lost votes when, in the company of fellow world leaders, he took a Gallic swipe at British cuisine: “After Finland,” he said, “it’s the country with the worst food.”

Finland had two members on the IOC during that host city election — perhaps the votes that pushed London over the top.

Loose lips also might have damaged Toronto’s pitch to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. Toronto was thought to be a robust candidate for the Games, until the city’s mayor, speaking before a trip to Africa, said he feared ending up in a pot of boiling water, surrounded by dancing natives. Instead, he was likely scalded by the IOC’s African members, who often provide swing votes in host-city elections, as the continent itself rarely puts forth a bid.

Chicago 2016 Olympic

I have decidedly mixed feelings about Chicago’s bid to host the Games. I suspect a lot of debt will be incurred in the name of taxpayers, and for what? Crowds of international tourists, above and beyond the crowds of international tourists we already have? Money not spent on parks, bridges and schools, but instead spent building infrequently used sport stadiums, on land owned by friends of Mayor Daley? Of course, we, the citizens of Chicago, have decidedly not been asked our opinion, because we are skeptical of the actual practical benefits of being an Olympic City.

Update: Click here for some other posts discussing the 2016 games

  1. I actually don’t know the answer to this question: is this money taxpayer dollars? or private? []
  2. the guy’s sign reads No Money; No Jobs; No Green Games; No Community Benefit; No Pride; They Play You Pay []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 2nd, 2009 at 8:27 pm