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.
Won't 2028 give LA more time to get its ducks in a row?
No. As the bid committee is fond of repeating, this is an unprecedented situation: no city has ever had eleven years between receiving the bid and hosting the Games. While it’s possible that we could “make a dent” in our housing and policing crises by 2028 (to quote our City Council), eleven years also exposes LA to untold amounts of new variables which no one seems to be able to account for. It is incredibly arrogant and cavalier to assume that LA does not need to plan diligently for how to deal with both unexpected and ongoing crises. So far, the worst case scenarios that our mayor and City Council have entertained include “if the earth falls apart” and “if the IOC suddenly awards LA the 2024 Games.” They have not considered the implications of events like a major earthquake or economic downturn.This doesn’t inspire any confidence and is irresponsible, especially after seeing what happened in Rio, where the city bid during an economic boom and then was left scrambling after the global recession hit. And unfortunately, once the Host City Contract is signed by Garcetti, there is no accountability mechanism which forces our local officials to further consult their constituents in the event that our city becomes even less equipped to host the Games for any reason. And to be clear, the IOC is not flexible about changing the terms of these contracts, regardless of how effectively the host city can demonstrate need. For example, when Rio requested help from the IOC in July with $40M in debt from the Games (which for context, has exacerbated a recession that has crippled the country and left many without jobs or homes), the IOC refused to release them from their Host City Contract or renegotiate the terms.
Can't we spend some of the Olympic profits on housing for homeless?
No. We legally cannot. The Host City Contract, as written by the IOC, stipulates where any profits would go. 20% goes to Olympic organizing bodies and the part that LA gets to keep can ONLY be used for youth sports initiatives—not affordable housing, homelessness, or a variety of other places we feel these potential (but not guaranteed by a long shot) surplus revenues could go. As written in the contract, there is no mechanism for the mayor, City Council, bid committee, and most importantly, the people of Los Angeles to weigh in on where any profits should go.
Didn't the 2028 bid committee negotiate a good deal?
No. The deal is only marginally better than one laid out in the prospective 2024 Host City Contract, or any of the previous executed Host City Contracts for other Games. Keep in mind that these contracts are written by the IOC, a notoriously undemocratic and unaccountable group, with the primary purpose of protecting and indemnifying the IOC. No IOC contract has ever favored the host city’s government or residents, and we don’t believe that the LA 2028 contract is any exception. The biggest concession the IOC has ever given a city was actually in 1984, when the residents of Los Angeles demanded that the taxpayer guarantee be removed and the IOC was forced to comply because no other cities were bidding. The LA 2028 contract still includes that guarantee, which places Los Angeles and the state of California on the hook for any cost overruns, despite being the only city bidding. The bid committee and mayor have oversold numerous aspects of the “deal” they got for 2028, including the $1.5B in contributions to the Organizing Committee (which is a typical figure) and the $160M for youth sports (which is an advance, not extra funds, and which LA would owe back to the IOC if they couldn’t host the Games according to the HCC). LA had a much stronger deal in 1984 because the LA taxpayer was not on the hook for anything. This 2028 deal is not nearly as good.
Who will be here to implement the 2028 plan?
No one knows, but it definitely won’t be Eric Garcetti nor any of key boosters on City Council. Who is going to be trusted to make sure all the delicate aspects of urban life which the Olympics essentially always disrupt won’t be catastrophic? Literally no one knows. The OGOC (Olympic Games Organizing Committee) is responsible for the planning and direct implementation of the Games, and usually that group is comprised of the same individuals on the bid committee. Residents of the city do not elect either group or have input on who gets to be in those key roles, and there are no mechanisms for accountability or recalls.
Didn't the 2028 bid committee have many community meetings?
No, they did not. LA2028 was hastily formed on the morning of July 31, 2017 by establishing a new URL and social media handles for the LA2024 bid. There were only two inaccessible early morning weekday meetings in August 2017 to discuss the 2028 bid and contract specifically, followed by an immediate vote in City Council that did not allow public comment. All other meetings pertained to the old (read: different) bid for 2024. 2028 doesn’t even have a budget.
How could City Council approve the 2028 bid without a budget?
We have no idea. But then again, the entire 2024/2028 bidding process has been an exercise in rich and powerful figures making up the rules as they go along. We’re equally baffled that State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon guaranteed unequivocal support for the 2028 bid without a budget or full proposal, given his notorious hesitations about adopting a bill that proposed creating a single-payer healthcare system in California because it was “woefully incomplete.” For reference, that bill (SB562) was 12 pages long (the same length as CA’s cap and trade bill) and had been the subject of several extensive financial studies. The proposal and budget for LA2028 that Anthony Rendon reviewed was zero pages (i.e., non-existent) and had never been the subject of an independent financial review.