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Oct. 2 2009 - 1:27 pm | 14 views | 1 recommendation | 5 comments

Chicago’s Olympic loss a chance for Olympic sized reform

Mayor Daley at today's Olympics venue announcement (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

Mayor Daley at today's Olympics venue announcement (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

I’m breathing a sigh of relief  now that Chicago  won’t be hosting the 2016 Olympic games.

Thank you, International Olympic Committee. We could not have borne this burden, in spite of what the parade of officials and celebrities told you. I only wish the people of this city would now open their eyes to Chicago’s problems, roll up their sleeves, and get to work fixing them.

Thank you IOC,  for knocking Mayor Daley off his pedestal. For the past 20 years, Daley has done pretty much as he pleased with no repercussions. Your dismissal of Chicago’s bid will be a real blow to his ego, and I can only hope it forces him to take a good long look at the way he’s run this city.

It seems the Chicago Way isn’t viewed with as much benevolence Internationally as in the States. The IOC doesn’t think backroom deals, cronyism, graft and corruption is the way to put on an event like the Olympics. Apparently, having a well run, properly  maintained and safe public transit system is important for a host city. So is maintaining the runways at O’Hare, as opposed to what the FAA says Chicago has been doing. Maybe the IOC thinks getting visitors here alive and around town efficiently is an important part of hosting the Olympics. The IOC it seems, doesn’t roll over when Mayor Daley tries to dismiss safety reports. They just dismissed Chicago in the very first round of voting.

Thank you IOC, for recognizing that multi-billion dollar International events like the Olympics aren’t awarded to the biggest bully. They aren’t given to help knock a chip off Mayor Daley’s shoulder the size of a Second City. The Olympics are not to be hosted by cities so corrupt, a mention of Chicago conjures up the punchline about the dead voting.

Maybe the IOC’s message is that we ought to stop laughing at that joke, and actually change things.

Perhaps we will learn it’s not okay to run a city in such an undemocratic manner that naysayers are afraid of repercussions and deals concerning public funds are so secret, it takes federal investigations to pry them away from City Hall.  Maybe now  we can spend some of that Olympic budget on fixing things like the CTA, the sewers, the streets, and the police. How about giving the police department a contract finally, after two years of working without? Maybe save some money by saying goodbye to Superintendent Jody Weis, the former FBI agent many believe was hired as window dressing for the 2016 Olympic bid. He makes $310,000 a year while the bodies are piling up.

The IOC saw that video of Derrion Albert being beaten to death with a wooden board after school. They also saw this video of a similar incident on the city’s North side.

Sure Rio and Madrid have their own problems with violence and crime. But they didn’t lose the bid straight away. Chicago did.  Maybe we can learn from this.

Dear IOC, Chicago thanks you.


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  1. collapse expand

    Well while I don’t completely agree with your happiness, you are there and know the situation. However the idea that the IOC is offended by corruption is a bit odd…the International Olympic Committee has been the very definition of corruption and bribes.

  2. collapse expand

    Good piece, Heller. Mick Dumke at the Reader makes a good point too that the Mayor should keep the committee together and use it to fix the longstanding problems: http://is.gd/3STiY

    Me, I still think we lost it because of a bellowing Oprah Winfrey: 8 Reasons Chicago Lost the 2016 Olympics: http://bit.ly/2fzU9W

  3. collapse expand

    “The IOC doesn’t think backroom deals, cronyism, graft and corruption is the way to put on an event like the Olympics. ”

    Oh my….if you only knew!!!!

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    About Me

    I'm an introverted extrovert and disgruntled urban dweller who can't quite bring herself to leave the city. I'm a product of the Chicago public schools who can sometimes spell correctly without spell check, community rabble rouser, self-professed tech girl and retail reporter. Whew...

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