Friday, October 2, 2009

Chicago can blame it's own arrogance and corruption for 2016 Olympics bid failure

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Mayor Daley and AON's Patrick Ryan are trying to dodge their failed bid in Copenhagen. Aids are spinning the excuse that Chicago lost embarassingly during the first round of voting (with only 18 votes) because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the US Olympic Committee (USOC) have been feuding over a broadcast contract.

If that were true, Chicago never would have made it to the finals.

But it sure sounds better than the reality that the Chicago 2016 bid lost the public confidence and without ghost voters, voter corruption, vote fraud, sweetheart deals, clout and cronyism, it's impossible for the Machine to win anything other than a Rubber Stamped City Council vote or a citywide election run by its Machine precinct captains.

Why did Chicago lose? Because the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee failed to win over the hearts and minds of the public. Despite the powerful appearance of President Barack Obama, the Chicago 2016 Committee presentation was "lackluster" -- that's How FOX Chicago News  anchor Jeff Goldblatt described it during an appearance this morning on my Radio Chicagoland program (

Chicagoans and the public in general were lied to. Everyone knew the city would have to promise to put taxpayers on the line for cost overruns and revenue shortfalls that could have reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars. But they thought they could be coy and deny it until the very end when they finally shoved it down the throats of the sheep, I mean, Aldermen, in the Rubber Stamp, I mean City Council.

Worse, the Chicago 2016 pitch was focused on making over the inner-city neighborhoods that have deteriorated over the years because of City hall neglect. Hey, cover them up with some expensive flags, banners and throw in a couple of celebrities like Oprah, Obama and some Hollywood types and people might forget how terrible some neighborhoods have become because of city neglect.

The city's transportation system is a disaster. I would never ride on the CTA unless I had a body guard and body odor. And, if I didn't have to worry about getting to work on time. Everyone knows that Chicago's public transportation system is no better than it's city services. The fact is the CTA is so bad most Chicago aldermen wouldn't be caught dead, or alive, on a CTA bus or train, unless it is the week before their re-election and they want to provide a TV sound bite pretending like they care about the public.

Worse was the public relations disaster, the fiasco, of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. The fact is the city wasted millions on PR that went into the pockets of their pals, cronies and relatives. This wasn't about empowerment of the public or the city, but rather fattening the political buddies and contractors and lobbyists like foie gras.

And, even worse was the absence of any Olympic plans for the suburban areas of Cook County which pay the bulk of the taxes in this pathetic system called Crook County Politics. A bike path. A soccer game. That was it.

With four contenders among the 101 or more votes, you had to get at least 20 to win. You can read my column on how the Arab World abandoned Chicago, and questions about the boast about how much Chicago has done for "its" Arabs. Yet the facts show otherwise that the city has ignored the American Arab community as it has done many other ethnic minority groups. (Click to read the column?)

Instead impressing the world, we made a mockery of ourselves. A shameful plunder of public funds that could have been better used to shore up Chicago's ailing school system. Did we need foreign commentators to tell us the city's CTA was a disaster and could not handle the influx of anticipated tourists, let alone being unable to service Chicago's over-taxed residents.

Plagued by scandal, corruption and battles over taxation, Chicago lost not because of some fluffed up IOC-USOC feud but because Chicago put more emphasis on clout, cronyism and contract sweetheart deals rather than on substance.

Isn't that the Chicago way?

-- Ray Hanania


Jodi said...

Body guard and body odor. Good one!

Ray said...

That was a reference to john kass' column from several weeks back about the anticipated problem of so many people on the CTA : ) ... I should have linked it ...