Frequently Asked Questions
Won’t the Olympics create more jobs?
While the Bid Committee’s Economic study paints a rosy picture of job growth caused by the games, even they admit these will be temporary gains. With a sharp decline in union construction and a potential influx of migratory, temporary labor, local workers will be thrust into a difficult negotiating position. By creating an additional category of workers, labor protections will be weakened and increase the likelihood of exploitation for all workers.
Won’t the Olympics improve public transit?
The historic record shows that transit expansion centered around the Olympic Games will only satisfy the needs of the Games and not the communities most in need. LA’s current transit expansion is no different. For instance, the badly needed Vermont Corridor Bus Rapid Transit line won’t break ground until 2024, while the Purple Line expansion servicing what would be the Olympic village has taken priority. Transit projects in recent games have also led to accelerated gentrification and displacement of existing residents, particularly low-income and immigrant residents.
Won't we save money on construction by using pre-existing facilities?
While Los Angeles wouldn’t have to erect any new stadiums from scratch, there will still be massive amounts of construction and renovation on existing structures and thus a considerable amount of risk for these projects to go over budget. If there are any weather or ecological issues in the lead up to the Games, we can almost certainly count on massive overages. No global mega-event is risk free. The Olympic games are no exception with average cost overruns of 156%.
Didn't LA make money from the last Olympics?
Who actually saw the profit from the ‘84 Games, and was any of that money used to better the community? Without demonstrable connection to improving the quality of life and equality in our city we cannot assume the Games truly benefitted the city and the people who live here. The ‘84 Games did not organize and protect workers, raise the minimum wage, or provide universal access to healthcare and education. They did not end the criminalization of poverty, rampant police violence, or the homelessness crisis in our city. In fact, police tactics that grew out of the ‘84 Games are inextricably linked to the ‘92 Uprising, resulting in $1 Billion in damages, not to mention the incalculable harm to the lives of South LA residents.
Why do you guys hate sports?
We don't hate sports. In fact, we think exercise and general health are great things. Also, sports are all about teamwork and camaraderie, which are near and dear to our democratic socialist hearts! But when money and sports get too intertwined, rampant commercialism ruins the idea of "the love of the game.” We love athletics and athletes, but the Olympic Games often exploits their talents for its own profits. That is fundamentally wrong.
But didn't the bid committee have a few dozen community meetings over the last couple years?
Technically, yes, but there is little evidence there was any substantive discussion of the negative consequences of the games. We don't believe these tough conversations with community organizations - especially in the most vulnerable communities - have taken place, and as our coalition grows we are finding that many Angelenos agree that the games are bad for our city. We welcome the opportunity for more direct public dialogue to have the concerns of the community properly addressed.
What about local sports fans? Won’t you be depriving them of the opportunity of a lifetime?
If the average sports fan wants the chance to attend the opening ceremonies, they would have to pay $1,800, more than a minimum wage earner would make in a month of full time work. The economic model of the Olympic Games themselves deprives the average sports fan of the ability to participate.
Won't the Olympics bring our country together in a time of national divide?
Unfortunately the Olympic Games have historically provided a platform for intense and destructive forms of nationalism, jingoism, and xenophobia, particularly for politicians and parties looking to consolidate or validate power. For example, Adolf Hitler used the 1936 Olympics in Berlin to promote his agenda of racial supremacy and domination, and highlight the supposed genetic superiority of the Aryans. Part of his effort to showcase national strength included building enormous stadiums and arenas to outdo the ones used in the 1932 Los Angeles games, serving as a reminder that Olympics-related construction is almost never based on what’s needed but what politicians think will look best.
We also anticipate that hosting the 2024 or 2028 Games in Los Angeles would have a particularly destructive effect on communities at all levels, due to the National Special Security Event designation that the mayor and bid committee are using to offload the security costs from the city to the federal government. This will put our local law enforcement under the control of federal agencies like The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, who have already shown a tendency to treat many communities like criminals, and by 2024, will likely have been funded and militarized at unprecedented levels by the Trump administration. All people within the NSSE zone — possibly all of LA County and Long Beach — could lose a host of constitutional rights, including the right to protest on public land and the right to not be searched or questioned.
Wasn't there a study showing that Los Angeles' economy will see an increased output of between $10.62 billion to $11.18 billion from a 2024 Olympics?
First, we don’t believe that any increased economic activity and output justifies putting anyone at risk of displacement, exploitation, or criminalization. Also, while the Olympics can bring in a certain amount of economic activity, it's all directed towards people who already have plenty of resources. So for example, real estate speculators and developers purchasing property near a newly rehabbed Olympic site would count as an economic boon for the city - but the only people who would actually profit are the property owners and the city, and the residents would become displaced or homeless. That kind of impact never makes it into these economic analyses, which are primarily concerned with measuring tax revenue and property values rather than the effect on people’s lives and overall wellbeing.
If the Olympics are in fact profitable for the city, can’t that revenue be used to address the problems that you claim are the most urgent, like homelessness?
There is no democratic or transparent system for the citizens of Los Angeles to influence where such funds would be allocated should there be a profit. After the ‘84 Olympics, a lot of the funding went to private institutions, like USC. So, no, we don’t have any reason to believe that Olympic revenue will go to “good” projects, nor has the public been invited to participate in any such conversations to date. Not to mention the fact that many of the pressing issues we’ve noted would not be resolved with additional funding - e.g., overcrowded and inhumane prisons, lack of accountability for police shootings and violence.
We also think that attempting to address the homelessness crisis through a process of bidding and planning and hosting over a period of 8-12 years feels like a really roundabout and time-consuming way to raise money for a problem that is so urgent right now. And since the primary cause of homelessness in Los Angeles is the lack of affordable housing, the Olympics will likely create a huge wave or spike in displacement and homelessness by accelerating gentrification and real estate speculation.
Don’t most Angelenos support the idea of the Olympics?
A poll conducted by researchers at LMU claims there is an 88% approval rating for the 2024 bid. Given the inaccuracies of polling data in the 2016 Presidential election, we don’t believe any single poll should be given too much weight or credit. We believe the public support for the Olympics is far weaker than the results of that poll, and we’ll be able to demonstrate as much in the coming weeks.