Of course the easy answer is that it’s Los Angeles, but that’s not fair. If I remember correctly the 1984 LA Olympics was one of the only games to turn a profit, so the city has a history of Olympic success. (About the only city with one.) On the other hand this is today’s California we are talking about. The crony capitalism which will bloom (Perhaps “bloom” is the wrong word. Maybe “sprout.”) in the City of Angels if it actually hosts the games will be massive. It’ll be a feeding frenzy of big shots climbing over one another to get a piece of the graft. A crony bonanza. But that’s California for you these days.
Boston though, no stranger to graft in its own right it must be said, in a flash of collective lucidity earlier this year saw that throwing a giant party which was paid for largely by taxpayers probably wasn’t a good idea. Being saddled with debt and traffic didn’t seem like a step forward.
Maybe there is still some of the old “Yankee sense” left up that way.
In 2015, a rag-tag group of activists and young professionals organized against the 2024 bid in an extremely effective manner that put pressure on elected officials to stop the games and created a climate of intense negativity around Boston’s Olympic bid. It was a remarkable display of activism. It pitted the city’s captains of industry against a group of activists with little more than pennies to rub together and smartphones.
The group pushing the bid had their hands tied by various USOC decrees and limitations. They couldn’t respond quickly and effectively to their opponents and they committed all sorts of unforced errors that stoked the anti-Olympics sentiment: Property owners were caught off guard about venue locations, residents were not contacted before the plan was devised, and community stakeholders were only included in the process when it was all but too late. The bid’s biggest public supporter, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, was often forced to publicly chastise the USOC and bid organizers for not releasing information in a timely or transparent manner. For many, the announcement that former Governor Deval Patrick was being paid $7,500 a day as a consultant on the project was the straw that broke the camel’s back.