Demands for a Democratic Process to Consider the LA 2028 Olympic Bid
The Olympics are a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar effort requiring enormous amounts of resources from local City and State officials. Thus far, only one public discussion has been held on 8/4 and no financial studies have been completed regarding the 2028 Olympic bid. There are significant community concerns regarding the impact of the Olympics on housing affordability, displacement, homelessness, sanctuary city status, and policing in Los Angeles. We shared these concerns with City Council at last week’s Ad Hoc Committee on the 2024 Summer Olympics and asked that City Council consider them in its next steps. Below, we have prepared a number of specific demands:
Delay the City Council vote regarding the revised MOU between the City, LA28, and the USOC, and the guarantee that the City will execute the Host City Contract (HCC) for the 2028 Games. Given that Los Angeles is the only city bidding for the 2028 Olympics and there is an unprecedented eleven-year gap between the bid and the Games themselves, Los Angeles is in an extremely favorable negotiating position. City Council has provided no acceptable reasons to rush a decision by August 18th, without the completion of financial studies, public forums, and a state guarantee for cost overruns, in order to meet the International Olympic Committee’s arbitrary deadline.
Conduct robust reviews of the new HCC and updated proposal from LA2028 with independent experts, including but not limited to financial studies, and publish the results widely and in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Korean, and Armenian. The completed reviews and analyses should include the following:
- Potential impact on rental/housing costs and housing supply and the subsequent potential impact on the number of displaced residents and rate of homelessness. This analysis should be completed with consideration to L.A.’s existing affordable housing and homelessness crisis, the conversion of existing housing units into short-term rental units, and the Olympics’ historical impact on rent acceleration, eviction, and displacement.
- Potential impact on the treatment of homeless individuals with consideration to the Olympics’ historical impact of exacerbating homelessness and increased criminalization of homelessness in host cities (including Los Angeles in 1984), and LA’s recent 23% spike in homelessness over the last year.
- Potential impact on undocumented immigrants and mixed citizenship status families in light of the likely NSSE designation of the 2028 Olympics. This review should document any direct conflicts between NSSE designation and City Council directives, L.A. County Board of Supervisors motions, and any current/upcoming immigration-related measures or bills prohibiting local law enforcement from cooperating with DHS and its branch agencies. It should also clearly indicate the number of individuals who are at an increased risk of deportation and the number of families that could be separated as a result.
- Potential impact on city finances. This should include which programs and/or services are most at risk of being cut or defunded should the Games incur cost overruns and require the taxpayer guarantee, as well as a detailed breakdown of where the taxpayer guarantee funds are expected to come from (e.g., existing City resources, new taxes, etc.).
It is critical to conduct these reviews alongside the updated proposal and budget from LA2028, as there may be a number of potential conflicts between the HCC terms and addressing the community concerns we have identified. For example, the NSSE puts all residents, particularly immigrants, at risk; however, adjusting or removing the designation under the current budget and HCC, if executed, would result in the taxpayer guarantee and an undue burden on local and state taxpayers. It is City Council’s responsibility to identify and rectify these potential conflicts and community concerns before authorizing Los Angeles to sign any contract with the International Olympic Committee.
Hold extensive public hearings and solicit feedback from the public, especially communities who are most likely to experience the negative impacts of the Games. At a minimum, public hearings should be convened in neighborhoods and City Council districts: 1) hosting prominent Olympic venues, 2) whose populations include a high percentage of immigrants (10% or more), and 3) with a high homelessness rate or high eviction rate. This should include, at minimum, Boyle Heights, Chinatown, Downtown Long Beach, Downtown Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Historic South Central, Inglewood, Lincoln Heights, and South Park.