Celebrate, Citizens of Boston! You Will Not Be Hosting the Olympics!

Mayor unwilling to sign contract due to potential cost overruns.


All this could be yours! For $50 billion or so.
Credit: spcbrass / photo on flickr

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is the fiscal sanity hero of the day, possibly for the next month or so, for taking a hard line against using taxpayer dollars to prop up the sports entertainment industrial complex. Boston had been in the running for consideration for hosting the 2024 Olympics as America's nominee. The mayor, though, refused to sign an agreement that would have guaranteed that the International Olympics Committee would not be held liable for cost overruns. And with the Olympics, you know there are going to be cost overruns. So the United States Olympic Committee pulled the plug on Boston. From the New York Times:

The decision followed a bombshell announcement Monday morning by Mayor Martin J. Walsh that he would not sign a host city contract with the U.S.O.C. if it wanted him to do so by the end of the day.

"This is me letting the taxpayers of Boston know where we stand on the Olympic bid and where we stand on the guarantee – that I will not sign a document that puts one dollar of taxpayers' money on the line for one penny of overruns for the Olympics," the mayor said.

The host city contract includes a guarantee that the International Olympic Committee would not be held responsible for any cost overruns. The contract essentially moved that burden to the host city and state — a burden that the mayor said he was unwilling to assume, certainly not without a further examination of the bid's financials.

"I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away," the mayor added. "This is a commitment that I can't make without ensuring the city and its residents will be protected."

Good for the mayor! There isn't even any pretense that the Olympics would actually financially benefit Boston in some way. It's a terrible burden, and everybody knows it.

So that's it for that. Let one of the other countries bankroll this boondoggle.

Organizers now must decide whether to try to scramble a last-minute bid from Los Angeles … .

Well … crap.

Read Reason rant about the awfulness of Olympics and Olympics-related politics and security theater here.

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  1. OK, Mr. Mayor, unless you sell out at the last minute, you can consider yourself the hero of the hour.

    Fuck, let’s get a statue made of him.

    1. Will it include a lionizing inscription that can be interpreted differently 100 years from now?

      1. 100 years in the future:

        “HE LIKED DEEP-DISH!!”

        *mob pulls down mayor’s statue*

  2. Having foreign athletes of all colors come to America’s most racist city? That wasn’t a good idea on any level.

    1. Its *Boston*, not San Fransisco.


      1. From the link:

        The folks at Cato argue that the HUD’s preferred approach of promoting high-density housing actually makes the problem worse.

        Wut? I get the problem with zoning that limits growth, but all other things being equal, high-density housing is not more expense than low-density. In fact, it is the nimbyism in places like Greenwich Village that restricts the building of high-density housing in NYC that would help ease the perpetual housing crunch. I think what they meant to say was that promoting large areas of empty space actually makes the problem worse.

        1. I believe that they’re arguing that HUD’s approach is to focus on public housing, and apply their most stringent regulations only on public housing. It’s not ideal.

          However, I agree that it’s difficult to criticize HUD’s moves without moving into the standard complaints from NIMBYs (of the Left and Right) that HUD is attacking zoning in general, since zoning in general is an evil.

    2. So you’re saying they could host the winter olympics?

  3. This is surprising, but not that much so. Most of the reason cities want the Olympics is that their politicians think it will make them “world-class” and give them the prestige that their politicians so crave (because their identity is so wrapped up in the place they rule). And Boston has a fair amount of prestige as one of the biggest centers of higher education in the world and the capitol of New England and one of the premier northeast cities, and so doesn’t need more at a staggering cost.

    Which means that Seattle is sure to be considering this sometime soon. Because the retarded politicians here are on a “prestige” bender (first $15 minimum wage! Alaskan Way tunnel! Construction boom! Startup millionaires to bleed dry!) and it doesn’t look to let up any time soon.

    1. Alaskan Way tunnel!

      Which will cost more when the Alaskan Way tunnel is finished? The Big Dig or the Alaskan Way Tunnel?

      1. Wait… wut??? They’re going to build a tunnel from Washington to Alaska? And no one has to pay for it, right?

        1. What’s even more strange? According to the link from DEG, Washington is only 2 MILES to Alaska!

          1. Sarah Palin can see Seattle and Russia from her front porch!

      2. Big Dig II (Alaskan way tunnel). That’s my prediction. In straight dollars. I won’t make any predictions on adjustments for inflation.

        The project has been at a dead stop for months now, and won’t even start up until what, 2016?

        1. In straight dollars

          Ahem – how about int…..gay dollars?


          1. Now that we have marriage equality, ALL dollars are now on the table.

            1. “I get half!”

              /every ex-wife ever

          2. Oh jesus please don’t light the John signal.

    2. I thought we already copied Boston with The Big Dig II, The Big Dig Goes to Washington.

      That gives me hope that we’ll copy Boston again by rejecting the Olympics.

      1. What ever happened to that alien spaceship that they ran into while digging that? Was the government actually able to cover that up? I bet they moved it to inside the hollow moon so that the lizards can figure out how it works.

        1. It’s actually a sleeping dragon.

      2. Can you honestly see the current city council turning down the Olympics? I can’t. It’s like the exact kind of financially suicidal thing that’s right up their alley. Along with the tunnel. And trying to implement a tax on millionaires. And a $15 minimum wage. And refashioning all the road lanes for bikers and thereby making the traffic even worse.

        I could go on, but you get the point.

        1. I can see them doing it on an ironic twist of progressive infighting. Kashama Sawant, the most powerful and respected member of the panel might declare the Olympics racist, and refuse to vote in favor of bringing them here until Global Homelessness, the Wage Gap, and International Social Justice issues are solved. In eagerness to out-Stalin each other, the rest of the council will trip over themselves to denounce the Olympics as a Koch Brothers Conspiracy being foisted upon us by Jewish Bankers, accidentally saving the city (read: Paul) billions of taxpayer dollars.

          1. I thought you were supposed to be the pessimistic one. Because that sounds way too optimistic to me.

            1. Oh they’ll kill it in exchange for Democracy Vouchers and turning my livingroom into “affordable housing”. Trust me, we’re all going to the camps. It’s just HOW we get there that will differ.

    3. I get the Chicago Way, but what is the Alaskan Way?

      Do you send one of theirs to the freezer?

      1. I get the Chicago Way, but what is the Alaskan Way?

        You dig a huge hole and pour money into it. When that gets clogged, you dig another hole to get to the first hole to clear the first hole of the clog, but then run into problems while digging the repair hole that’s supposed to fix the real hole. Fill both holes with money the entire time.

        Repeat. A lot.

    4. first $15 minimum wage!

      It *would* be hilarious to watch them squirm as they try to justify the minimum wage waiver they signed (a rider in the ‘mortgage the city so the IOC doesn’t have to bear any risks, only collect the profits’ contract) because the IOC isn’t about to lose money on concession licenses.

    5. Alaskan Way Tunnel?

      Does that mean you have to blast through Native lands in Canada?

  4. Is it Backwards Day?

    1. Global markets are actually up?

  5. Wow, you know what, now I don’t even want to visit Boston. Ok, I didn’t want to visit Boston to start with.

  6. Shouldn’t Boston change its name to not other non-Christians?

  7. I wish cities would stop with this “Such and Such an event will give us international prestige. Now many Philadelphians are wishing the Pope would have stayed away as it looks like 2 million people will clog the transportation systems and regular folks aren’t going to be able to get to work and only a limited number of businesses will benefit. [One wonders why the Pope hasn’t cancelled this affair, seeing as how there will be millions of gallons of fossil fuel burned just so people can see his august presence.] Somehow I doubt a tv viewer in Peoria or Wichita is going to say “Let’s go to Philly on vacation” after seeing the god-awful girdlock that the Pope’s visit produces.

    1. Bitch, bitch, bitch!

      You wanna make an omelet see a pope, you gotta break some eggs take a couple traffic jams for the privilege!

  8. Didn’t Denver lose the 1976 Winter Olympic because of a referendum to pay for it was defeated? And that was the winter Olympics back in the 1970s.

    1. You mean before the Russians inflated it into a 51-billion-dollar extravaganza?

  9. I like the picture of handcuffs – very appropriate, since Politicians have many hands in the cookie jar!

  10. Organizers now must decide whether to try to scramble a last-minute bid from Los Angeles
    I heard LA has already started building a couple of stadiums*.
    *Vadis ad infernum.

  11. For one day, Boston Strong means something.

  12. Walsh made the right decision in my view. The project screamed ‘scam’ from the start. Problem is, he’ll revert back to his progressive instincts I’m sure.

  13. Boston’s Mayor Walsh (who gets a lot of support from construction unions) was originally in favor of the Olympics bid, but grass-roots reaction, from both Right and Left, has been relentlessly negative. It was clear that the voting public would *not* forgive him when the inevitable cost overruns started to appear. Apart from general public skepticism, Boston voters remembered Big Dig cost overruns. Some aspects of Boston are “World-class,” but civil engineering is not one of them.

  14. Detroit should co-host it with their Windsor. You could open up the border for the Olympics and wall off Detroit under the premise of providing better security. When the Olympics were done Canada could close the border again and we’d still have the wall.

    1. I suppose it would be too much to hope we could convince Canada to keep Detroit.

      We could throw in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

  15. Does that mean the gag order has been lifted?

  16. I think he’s just playing hardball. The IOC must not have put enough into a personal slush fund for Mr. Mayor.

    I’m sure that they will come back and add some more under the table money and the mayor will “compromise”.

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