Saturday, July 25, 2015

Boston Olympics, Why Oppose

Update 7/27/15:
Boston’s Olympic bid is dead! 
Read more here:

This is what I had on this post before 7/27/15:

The excerpt below is from

The history of the Olympics is filled with cost overruns, unfulfilled promises, displacement of low-income communities, privatization of public spaces, and militarized policing. Hosting the Olympics would divert time and resources away from addressing the issues that face Boston: from an affordable housing crisis to underfunded schools to vulnerability to climate change.

I would thus urge you to oppose the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympics.

The excerpts below are from

Housing and Displacement:
Hosting the Olympics offers developers and landlords an opportunity to make significant profit at the expense of the city’s residents. Displacement, accordingly, has been one of the most pervasive negative impacts of the Olympics. According to a landmark 2007 study by the Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction (COHRE), over 2 million people had been displaced by the Olympic Games over the prior twenty years. The intersection of the Olympics and housing rights is multi-faceted. First, tenants who live on sites designated for Olympic venues or villages are often evicted, forced to leave the communities they call home. Second, the Olympic Games accelerate the process of gentrification, making neighborhoods increasingly unaffordable to their current residents. Third, landlords, seeking greater profits, often force out their current tenants in order to rent out space to Olympic tourists at exorbitant prices. The initial promises of affordable housing that cities make when selling their bid to the community frequently go unfulfilled.

Homelessness & Social Exclusion:
Although Olympic boosterism often utilizes rhetoric of social unity, the Olympic Games themselves have often exacerbated dynamics of social exclusion, particularly with regard to the homeless population. The desire to look like a “world-class city” on the international stage encourages cities to engage in a form of “social cleansing,” in which marginalized groups are treated as objects to be swept away. Housing displacement and overpolicing fuse in a toxic mix in this oft-ignored Olympic “legacy.”

The venue placement for Boston 2024 underscores this risk. Widett Circle and Franklin Park, designated locations for specific events, are near shelters and clinics for the city’s homeless population (Pine Street Inn, Boston Health Care for the Homeless, and Shattuck Shelter/Hospital). Moreover, the designated location for the shooting events—Long Island—was the home of the city’s largest homeless shelter until it was closed down last November.

The excerpt below is from

Our Commitments:
Unlike Boston 2024, we don’t have $25,000 on hand to spend on a full page ad in the Boston Globe. But we wanted to share our commitments, principles, and goals with you.

(1) That our city planning should be done for and by the people, not by unelected CEOs and the IOC
(2) That our infrastructure investments should be focused on the needs of those who live and work here, not the needs of the IOC
(3) That housing, health care, education, and environmental protection are what our elected officials should be focusing on and are how we build a truly world-class city
(4) That the people of Boston deserve good jobs and affordable housing today, not empty promises of what may come almost a decade away
(5) That Boston should not be turned into a police state for two-and-a-half weeks for a party for the international elite
(6) That our parks should remain public spaces, free for the enjoyment of all
(7) That our elected officials should work for the people they represent, not the people who line their pockets
(8) That the people of Boston and Massachusetts deserve a robust, open debate about whether Boston should host the Olympics, a debate Marty Walsh and Boston 2024 never let happen before submitting the initial bid
(9) That Boston 2024’s spin should never go unchallenged
(10) That people deserve to know each step of the IOC process and should have their voices heard well before the IOC casts its first vote in spring 2016

As of 7/27/15, the action below isn't needed anymore.  I am going to keep it here though in case we need to do something about 2030!

There are various ways you can take action...including writing letters to your State Senator/Representative.  There are some sample letters on that site we can use to get started. 

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