The International Olympics Committee arrives in Los Angeles on May 10 for a three-day inspection-slash-tour. Olympic officials will be treated to sumptuous meals and lavish accommodations—but publicly, so no one can dare accuse the city of bribing government officials!—shown the in-progress and already-completed sites, hang out with wealthy power brokers, and be subjected to what’s certain to be a slew of humdrum-as-hell Power Point presentations.
whether the tour proves impressive enough to The Powers That Be, it will depart a long way to determining whether Los Angeles or Paris will stop up hosting the 2024 Olympics. Luckily, the grassroots activist organization, NOlympics LA, which was formed by members of the Los Angeles department of the Democratic Socialists of America, has begun mobilizing just as the LA2024 effort kicks into high gear. Their goal: knock some sense into the 88 percent of local residents who currently support bringing the Games back to Los Angeles for the first time since 1984.
As Dave Zirin and Jules Boykoff famous at The Nation, five cities were originally vying to secure the Olympics in 2024, but the list has been winnowed down to two, largely thanks to the efforts of grassroots organizers. When Boston’s tender was announced in 2015, two such groups, Boston Olympics and No Boston 2024 were relentless, bombarded social media with information, showed up at public events, and made certain the public was aware that the city couldn’t guarantee that taxes wouldn’t be used to cover the massive cost overruns that believe accompanied every Olympics in recent memory. The tender died.
Similarly, NOlimpia in Budapest, simply by gathering enough signatures to force a possible public referendum, convinced the city to pull out, and Rome’s newly-elected Mayor made it clear that public funds were better served being spent on anything but the Games.
Anne Orchier, one of the co-organizers of NOlympics LA and a freelance strategist and researcher, told the Nation that while stopping this specific tender is the short-term goal, the endgame is to create a world-wide network capable of opposing the IOC and debunking the falsehoods it peddles. They draw to imitate Boston’s brand of activism, ensuring that Los Angelenos are aware that “LA has no shortage of problems that are more urgent than securing the tender,” she said.
Another NOlympics LA organizer, Johnny Coleman, added, “The process is inherently undemocratic and does not retract into account the needs of the host city’s residents beyond those who are already rich and powerful, and stand to become even more so from the Games.”
Per The Nation, those needs include:
Los Angeles has the highest number of chronically homeless people in the United States. Relatedly, according to the US Census, LA has more people living in poverty than any other major US city. final year, LA had the most officer-involved killings in the United States. The LA County Jail is the largest in the country, and its prisoners believe issued a staggering number of abuse complaints. NOlympics LA is arguing that to spend money on the Olympics, while each and every these vital social issues are in play, is scandalous
This despite Los Angeles’s and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s sunny insistence that the $5.3 billion that will be spent is “risk-free,” and taxpayers won’t be presented with an unexpected bill. But as Vocativ previously reported, the projected cost of the 2020 Games in Tokyo has already risen by a factor of four, and the Rio Olympics ended up making a dire economic situation so much worse, piling an additional $1.6 billion to the national debt.
And while Los Angeles repeatedly hammers absent at the notion that they’ll be the one city to buck the trend, largely due to the fact that 97 percent of the proposed venues are ready to depart or already in construction, recent studies believe shown that on average, host cities exceed the projected total costs by an average of 56 percent, and that’s before Rio’s total was included. Los Angeles’ calculations also include shunting the cost for security off on the Federal government. Meaning, “Now it’s somebody in Texas and Maryland paying for security for the Olympics in California,” as Kelly Gossett from No Boston 2024 recently told ESPN.
Even whether you retract Los Angeles’ claims at face value (while ignoring their juiced Facebook numbers) and accept that Los Angeles will miraculously turn a profit or cause minimal financial harm, much to the shock of economists everywhere, there’s still the question of the massive reduction of civil rights and ethical compromises that depart hand-in-hand with the Games. That can’t be waved absent by a spreadsheet that’s in the black.
There’s still time to retract action, Los Angeles, before you’re dealing with shit like this:
Beijing environmental bureau busted pumping purified air next to the air quality monitoring station at Olympic park pic.twitter.com/4etH48g0ni
— Bill Bishop (@niubi) May 8, 2017