Monday, March 23, 2009

Olympic Games Must Overcome Local Politics

Today WAYLA reports on local politics from Chicago.

According to, Chicago has moved into last place in likeliness to host the 2016 Olympic Games. The speculated frontrunners are Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro with Madrid and Chicago a little further behind.

But despite the weary outlook for Mayor Daley’s hopes to host the world’s most important sporting events, the public enthusiasm for the games does not have a very positive outlook either.

Several political groups in the city are taking a strong stand against the Olympics, going so far as to plan protests for an International Olympic Committee visit to the candidate city. The money to be spent on the games, some argue, could be better used for public needs. Others cite the potential harm the games would do to the local environment and architectural integrity.

From today’s Chicago Tribune:

"If [Daley] wants to air his dirty laundry to the world, that is entirely up to him," Denise Dixon, a member of a group pressing for contracts and housing for poor people and minorities, said at a City Hall news conference last week. "He doesn't want to see demonstrations in the street when they get here. He better come up with something."

…Asked about possible protests, Daley said…"First of all, we don't even have it. ... This is not a sure thing. Maybe people think it is, but you do not have it"

…Daley has said no city money would be used for the Games, despite a $500 million guarantee from the city against any operating deficit and a pledge that property-tax money would be used to help build the $1 billion athletes' village on the site of Michael Reese Hospital.

Daley also argued that support for the Olympics is strong in Chicago, with 77% of residents saying they backed the bid in an October survey.

But according to a poll conducted by the Tribune last month, while 64% of residents approved of Daley’s push for the Olympics, 75% were against the use of taxpayer funds to cover any private financial shortfalls, and 54% believed that private funding would not be able to fully cover the costs.

Ultimately, with these public perceptions, it should not be a surprise if support for the Olympics in Chicago continues to fall.

And while the IOC is used to protests on their visits, public support is a major factor for a bid. In order to get the games, Daley and Chicago 2016 need to better boost public approval.

No comments: