One citizen's take on the Dick that makes Chicago tick.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


A great idea from Tribune columnist David Greising via Progress Illinois - Subject Olympic Committee to FOIA:

If Chicago's taxpayers are to offer an indispensable guarantee, they should get more than the world's biggest swim and track meet. They should get, in fact, a tool that will provide a close-up view into the wheeling, the dealing, the high jinks and palm greasing that will make the 2016 Games uniquely Chicago [...]

In other words, the City Council should insist -- and Chicago 2016 should agree -- that the organizing committee become subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act [...]

Chicago 2016's demand that it needs an unlimited financial guarantee, not to mention $500 million from the city and $250 million from the state, makes organizing a Chicago Olympics a very public matter [...]

Openness should be the price of putting taxpayers on the hook for the 2016 Games.

That whole FOIA thing might work out great when deals like this pop up. Speaking of Michael Scott, get a load of this:
Mayor Daley’s Chicago 2016 panel has no problem with committee member Michael Scott’s role developing a for-profit real estate project near a planned Olympic venue, according to a statement the organization released Tuesday night.
So Mayor Daley's panel has no problem with Mayor Daley's crony profiting from Mayor Daley's Olympics. Sounds about right.

And one last thing - check out two great posts by Community Media Workshop on the potential effects of the 2016 Olympic Games on Chicago's parks and architecture.

Part One - Olympic Legacies: Give or Take:
In selling the games to Chicago's residents, meanwhile, promises of park enhancements and sports programs for kids, as well as affordable housing, have been featured alongside visions of jobs and boom times.

But current plans put great burdens on parks, and they involve the imminent demolition of a major responsitory of the city's historic architecture (see part two).

In many cases promised "legacy" facilities seem designed not to meet actual needs of current park users but to accommodate the requirements of Olympic planners. In many cases they involve taking away existing resources while promising residual benefits sometime in the future.

In some cases they involve taking away facilities that have been only recently built.
And I thought this was very interesting:
Chicago 2016 did not respond to repeated requests for information regarding the source of funding for restoring Washington Park, relocating pools from the aquatic center to other parks, restoring Jackson Park's $500,000 track, or converting the open-air velodrome in Douglas Park into a year-round recreation center. Those costs don't seem to be included in projected construction costs; $400 million for the stadium is obviously a low-ball figure.
I haven't heard too much about this subject, but I am definitely curous about these costs and who is going to pay them. Anyone heard anything?

Be sure to take a look at part two of the series -
Architectural Legacy Threatened.

And, for more on these topics, check out Olympics 2016: Cementing Chicago's Future or Steamrolling its History? and A Promise Made to Be Broken.

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