Don't act surprised
Daley agrees that tax payer cash could fund 2016
06/24/2009 10:00 PM
The Daley Administration and its lackeys in the local Olympic organizing committee have repeatedly promised that no public money would be spent putting on a 2016 Olympiad here.
“Taxpayer money is not being used for the games,” John Murray, chief of bid operations for Chicago 2016, told us last year.
Well, no. That hasn’t been true for a while now. Shame on anyone for pretending otherwise.
Even before the mayor promised International Olympic Committee bigwigs that Chicago would sign the standard IOC contract, putting taxpayer money on the line for all cost overruns, the city council spent $86 million to buy the Michael Reese site for an Olympic Village and offered up $500 million in guarantees for operating overruns. TIF bucks are on the plate, too.
Why should anyone believe anything the mayor and Chicago 2016 have to say about the Olympics? They’re incapable of honestly laying out all the true costs and arguing for the project on its merits. They obfuscate and dissemble. They lie.
And that’s what’s not surprising. It is, however, pretty sad.
Similarly disappointing are the after-the-fact complaints from aldermen on the city council. Yes, as Ald. Fioretti has put it on more than one occasion, the council is marginalized. But council members marginalize themselves by rolling over whenever the mayor wiggles his finger. They had better not do it with this issue.
So much of Chicago’s bid for the Olympics has been about public relations, big dreams, pretty images and happy sound bites. It’s time to chuck this veneer and get real answers about the costs of the Olympics from the executive — king, even — who runs this town.