A group called No Games Chicago met Saturday and made the argument that Chicago should not compete for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. No Games Chicago is made up of members of many other groups with gripes about everything from access to affordable housing, to education and mass transit, reports ABC. The meeting was a recruitment drive for Chicago’s “anti-Olympic” team.
The group claims Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s quest for the Olympics diverts money and manpower from solving Chicago’s other problems.
A speaker at the meeting said, “we don’t want to be displaced. We don’t want to be gentrified”.
No Games Chicago spokesman Bob Quellos said, “the general consensus is we want the IOC to know that people in Chicago don’t want the Olympics. We have other priorities in this city”.
There were about 175 people at the meeting made up of affordable housing activists, critics of the mayor’s reform efforts in the Chicago Public Schools, and others who say the city’s mass transit system is an international embarrassment.
They’re asking that with these problems why should Chicago’s attention – and potentially money – be diverted to the Olympic Games.
ABC reports author and Olympic opponent Christopher became so disgusted with Vancouver’s efforts to host the 2010 Winter Games that he wrote a book about what he sees as the myths and realities for the Olympic Games. He said, “basically, they’re telling you how to run your city, and they’re doing it at your expense. Groups were told they’d get goodies, union jobs and money would flow from heaven. There’d be no environmental destruction, the greenest games ever. We’d make money, not lose money. Those things, it’s become obvious, are untrue”.
Chicago 2016’s Arnold Randall said “clearly people have their concerns”. Randall is a former city commissioner who now works on Chicago’s 2016 bid committee. He and other Olympic supporters were there to show Chicago’s bid team is listening.
He said, “2016 is concerned about those issues. We support affordable housing and all the issues being raised, but 2016 is not the entity that’s going to make those things happen”.