Mayor Garcetti: Allow Angelenos to Vote On the Olympics
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Regardless of how you feel about the Olympics, past Games around the world — from Rio to London and beyond — have cost taxpayers billions, displaced tenants and increased police militarization, yet the Los Angeles bid was pushed on the city by Mayor Garcetti without our input (or even a budget). There’s a reason Rome, Boston, Hamburg, Budapest, Krakow, Oslo, Stockholm, and other “smart cities” have recently dropped out of the Olympic running; they listened to grassroots pressure — i.e. the actual voices in their cities — and ultimately did the right thing.
The organization which owns the Olympic brand — the IOC — is a brazenly corrupt, unaccountable body that trashes the communities it commandeers and financially ruins entire nations, all so they can sell ad time at your expense. The historical evidence against the Olympics isn’t just overwhelming; it’s damning. Olympic bills have bankrupted Rio, Athens, Vancouver and countless other cities. The six Summer Olympics held between the 1988 Seoul Games and the 2008 Beijing Games forcibly evicted or otherwise displaced more than 2 million people. Even the so-called “successful” 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles (the only Olympics to ever turn a profit) helped militarize the LAPD and expanded Police Chief Daryl Gates’ infamous police gang sweeps, keeping entire areas of the city under conditions of military occupation that continued well beyond the Closing Ceremony and culminated in the 1992 LA Riots.
The 2024 bid process already featured a clear lack of transparency and focused primarily on the financial good the games would bring, ignoring potential problems revolving around human rights — specifically housing, homelessness, and detainment. Once the LA bid committee lost the 2024 bid to Paris, the committee and City Council hastily rushed a new, now controversial 2028 Memo of Understanding even though there was no budget included in the plan. The people in charge decided to gamble LA’s future on a project that doesn’t even have a properly vetted budget. How can they be trusted to handle any aspect of the implementation of a 2028 plan when they can’t even follow the basic rules of procedure and common decency? The truth is now apparent; they never wanted your feedback in the first place.
But it’s not too late to make our voices heard. The only reasonable conclusion — regardless of your political persuasion, personal affinity for the brand, or community which you represent — is that this decision should be up to the people. Not City Council, who hasn’t done a thorough job of vetting this project in good faith. Not Mayor Garcetti, who is acting out of self-interest. And certainly not the IOC, which is filled with millionaire and billionaire oligarchs who have no interest in sticking up for the best interests of Los Angeles. The Mayor, the developers, and billionaire CEOs behind this bid want you to think it’s a done deal, when really the conversation is just beginning.
NOlympics LA is a growing coalition of over 25 community groups across the state opposed to the prospect of an LA Olympics. The group is changing the conversation around the bid, emphasizing not only the lack of transparency and democracy in the process, but the way the Games will exacerbate issues already facing LA, such as a militarized police force, an affordable housing crisis and the highest rate of homeless people in the country. Support the organization's efforts by donating or buying a shirt.
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