Unanswered Questions From Our Public Forum
What is the response to people who agree that the Olympics devastates host cities but do not feel motivated to force the games out of LA if such devastation is inevitable regardless of the location?
In other words, why should we oppose the Olympics coming to our city, if it inevitably means some other city will get stuck with them? This is a terrible conundrum that the IOC has presented us with, but we don’t have to accept it and allow them to hold us hostage. It’s a tactic that resembles union-busting - by pitting cities against each other and making us think that our interests are at odds, the IOC and bid committee can effectively divert our anger away from those in power (i.e., them). This is a big part of why NOlympics LA has emphasized national and international solidarity with other opposition movements around the world, and stands with all cities who have rejected or are working to reject the IOC. We have common goals and common interests, and fighting to keep the Olympics out of our cities builds camaraderie, not conflict.
According to a 2014 report, the City of LA will be in a crisis by 2029 for disposing of garbage and human waste. Why isn’t there any discussion on the impact of having to build waste treatment facilities and secure a new landfill?
This is speculative, but we don’t believe there is such a plan and that City Council has not fully had these conversations. We can only assume this isn’t a priority for them and that they’ll get to it when they get to it, regardless if that’s too late. We also believe that City Council should have delayed their vote and expanded deliberations to include robust studies around issues like this, which could have then been made widely available and been used to solicit public. Instead, City Council rushed through a vote on the controversial 2028 Host City Contract with limited public comment, so no one ever had a chance to raise the issue of waste in specific relation to a 2028 Games.
If you had a son or daughter in a public school in a neighborhood near and Olympic venue and he/she was offered an opportunity to perform in the Olympic ceremonies would you allow it?
Speaking only for myself, if it were my child and they wanted to participate of their own volition I would not stop them, though I would want to have a long discussion with them about the transformative negative impacts of the games. Keep in mind that many of the people who get to participate in the more high-profile volunteer roles for the Games (like performing in the opening ceremony) are chosen because of their connections - for example, 10 year old Casey Wasserman running in the torch relay in 1984. He was not randomly plucked from a public school classroom - he was chosen because of his family’s connections to the bid committee.
How will the city leverage the anxiety and uncertainty created by ICE raids and over/under-policing of immigrant communities to advance the Olympic agenda?
One way this could manifest itself is by increased rates of eviction (or self eviction) due to fear of tenants being displaced, which will benefit developers and the politicians who enable them.
Have there been conversations about building athlete housing that then becomes housing for the homeless post Olympics? If not, could we consider this?
To date, the bid committee is planning to house athletes in the student housing at UCLA and journalists in the student housing at USC. There have been no discussions of building any new housing for the games that would then be converted into low income/affordable housing or shelter for the homeless. Past Olympic games, specifically London, made promises to convert athlete village housing into affordable units but failed to deliver on that promise. Of course, like all claims made by the bid committee, none of these plans are binding and could change at any time. We encourage the construction of affordable, low income and public housing but feel strongly that providing housing for all unsheltered residents of Los Angeles should be its own priority and shouldn’t have to rely on the Olympic games to be provided.
What’s being done to resist AirBnB etc. as they move to corner the tourist accommodation industry and distort the rental market in the runup to the games?
There is currently a draft ordinance being considered by LA City Council to curb short term rental abuse. More information on that effort can be found at www.keepneighborhoodsfirst.org. Even if such an ordinance is passed, whether it will be adequately enforced remains to be seen. Many practices employed by AirBnB hosts in LA are already illegal yet they are rarely punished. Home sharing advocates have very strong and vocal lobbyists and contribute large sums to city officials. Much of Mayor Garcetti’s budget relies on taxes collected from AirBnB listings. We expect the Olympics to play a role in this debate as it continues and that city leaders need to be pressed by tenants rights groups to do the right thing.
Have you reached out to the county board of supervisors, specifically to the homeless assistance programs (being cut) having less funds to work with?
Not specifically to date as NOlympics per se, but many of our coalition partners have lobbied the county board of supervisors on issues such as this. The NOlympics campaign, however, is actively speaking with and reaching out to members of local government, and the board of supervisors is on our list.
What do you say to people who argue that at least since LA 2028 won’t need new structures that it will lead to less displacement than games in other cities?
As nothing in the bid book is binding, LA2028’s promise of “no new building” must be taken with a healthy amount of skepticism. We’ve already seen reports that Long Beach will need to rebuild its pier for the Olympics. And with the games 11 years out, new sports may be added that will require the building of new structures and existing structures will likely require upgrades and expansion. We are also already seeing interest from real estate investors eager to buy up property near the games venues to turn profit in the run up to 2028. Speculative investment will inevitably lead to the displacement of current residents. Less displacement is better than more, but any displacement should be unacceptable, especially as LA is already in the grips of a housing crisis.
What is the long term solution to hosting the Olympic games?
We are inclined to agree with what many have suggested: that the best path forward for the Olympic games is to designate permanent host sites. This is a workable solution to halt the travelling circus of devastation that the Olympics have become. We’d also consider supporting other reforms like the Olympics directly paying athletes a fair wage, but we’d need to create the circumstances for a negotiation first.