Friday, October 02, 2009

The Olympic word from Chicago

Allow me to break from the Pitchfork-y-nessfor a moment of political discourse:

So, my fair city lost the Olympics, and I must say, I could not be happier. There has been much debate around these parts lately about the value of the Olympics, if we should have them and all that noise, but the fact is, this is a city in dire need of money for schools, public transportation, and numerous other infrastructure needs. The Olympics was a huge potential money-drain (HUGE) and, even if they would bring in more than they cost, and there’s no proof that they do, we can’t afford to rack up debt for 7 years with the hope of fixing it later. Students who are now in 5th grade will graduate high school in the time, and without some money going into CPS, the number of those students is going to dwindle. Many of the pro-Olympics crowd either argues that they will help the city financial or just fall into a “Hey that would be fun!” stance. The latter is not very well thought out, and the former has been argued a bunch lately. Read some articles on how Vancouver is getting completely screwed by the 2010 games and is in serious financial crisis because of them. As a whole, I’m not sure what the games offer a city, aside from the short-term prestige they bring to a mayor and his camp, and hope for Rio’s sake they have a strong plan in place.

Sorry for the rant, but I am a happy man over this news and felt the need to share.


drischord said...

I agree that the economic benefit of hosting the Olympics is unfairly weighted toward merchants and hoteliers.

In Chicago's case, the city should be investing in the school system and the CTA, two entities that would only see "trickle-down" money from an Olympics windfall.

So I agree with you, VC. Probably just as well that the city didn't get the games.

Quinapalus said...

Yeah dude, I felt the same way when New York lost out on the 2012 games...mostly, i just couldn't conceive of why in the world we would want to have them in the first place. New York seems like an almost singularly bad place to have an Olympics, but Chicago couldn't be far behind.

jayguevara said...

I was listening to NPR before the official selection came out, and they were analyzing the true cost vs. benefit of hosting the Olympic Games. It seems the only tangible net gain a city can hope for is "increased international trade" over the following decade. The NPR commentator was basically saying that Chicago had slipped a bit in the eyes of the world, and the Games would have been a way to raise its' profile...

For my part, I definetely agree with all of your sentiments (though perhaps my opinion is less valid, not having any personal connection to Chicago); that money would be better spent in the school system.