Ground Game LA / General Jeff Page, Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee / Hollywood Local, LA Tenants Union / Hamid Khan, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition / Damien Goodmon, Crenshaw Subway Coalition / Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror / Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) / Young Democratic Socialists of America at USC
Ground Game LA
GroundGameLA enthusiastically supports the efforts of NOlympicsLA, an extension of the Housing and Homelessness committee of the Los Angeles chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. We have partnered with NOlympicsLA to assist in their mission to prevent either a 2024 or 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles.
We agree with NOlympicsLA’s assessment of the impact the Olympic Games would have on the city, particularly with respect to affordable housing, homelessness, and increased federal interference in local policies.
The Olympic Games represent ideals of national pride, good-natured competition, and individual athletic excellence in the abstract, but in practice the Olympic Games and the International Olympics Commission (IOC) embody the worst excesses of predatory development and international corruption.
Construction and renovation projects associated with the Olympic Games will artificially raise already inflated real estate values in Los Angeles, exacerbating current gentrification trends. The Olympic Games will also present an opportunity for Airbnb and other corporate home-sharing schemes to continue their assault on the available housing stock in the city. The effects on rent and housing prices in the city will be disastrous for low and moderate income residents. Our infrastructure will also suffer, as public transportation development will prioritize the short-term logistics of the games while ignoring the long-term needs of the city and its residents. This will delay the projects our city needs, while leaving us with useless rail lines that will affect the course of urban development for decades.
Our homeless brothers and sisters will not be sheltered if the Olympic Games come to LA, but instead viewed as a blight on the city’s image and dealt with accordingly. For example, in 2008 Beijing managed its air pollution crisis by shutting down factories in the area for the two weeks of the games. On television Beijing appeared pollution-free, but this public relations trick did nothing for the long term health, safety, or quality of life of residents. Similarly, we fear that Los Angeles will take a similar “out of sight, out of mind” approach to the homelessness crisis, and use the Olympic Games as a pretense for increased raids on encampments and incarceration.
The Olympic Games are designated a National Special Security Event, which gives the federal government nearly free reign in our city. We cannot know what Washington D.C. will look like in 2024 or 2028, but given the divisiveness of our national politics, ongoing ICE overreach under Democratic and Republican administrations, and the possibility of a reactionary government like the one we see now, it is insane to abdicate local sovereignty and invite a more robust federal presence into our city.
For these reasons among others, GroundGameLA joins NOlympicsLA in rejecting any effort to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. More information is available on NOlympicsLA’s website, and you can follow their Twitter account for updates.
General Jeff Page, Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee
With there not being enough time to build low-income housing for 30K individuals and families, there is NO DOUBT that homelessness will be present in 2024. The question then becomes, "Will the City of Los Angeles choose to criminalize homelessness and arrest homeless people and trash their belongings at an alarming rate as a way to sweep homelessness under the proverbial rug?"
With the 2017 Homeless Count numbers being released next month (May) by Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), an increase is anticipated. But with data that shows a constant rise in homelessness, comes the fears and concerns of being arrested in mass sweeps which is common in many cities hosting the Olympics while struggling with homelessness (Vancouver, Salt Lake City, Utah and most recently Brazil instantly come to mind).
And the worse thing this negative action breeds is a "quest for freedom and survival" amongst homeless people who then are not interested in accepting services and instead hide in the nooks and crannies to avoid being arrested. This should not be a reality, but it is.
Further, when homeless persons hide from law enforcement, it is virtually impossible for us activists to help them. The entire homeless industry is subsequently brought to a complete halt!
The City of Los Angeles needs to finalize a HUMANE strategy and quickly begin meeting with the non-profit's, social service providers, activists, advocates and all others who can all be in concert with how Los Angeles will behave during, leading up to and also following a favorable 2024 Summer Olympics selection.
I could offer more, but no one from the LA2024 organization has contacted me.
I am waiting with baited breath to see how this matter involving tens of thousands of Human Beings and affecting tens of millions more, with serious implications and outcomes is handled by the City of Los Angeles.
The world is watching also.
Hollywood Local, LA Tenants Union
The Hollywood Local of the Los Angeles Tenants Union firmly opposes the Los Angeles Olympic Bid for 2024/28 for several reasons. The largest reason for our opposition is that we have no data to know how our historic housing crisis will be affected by such a large event. Los Angeles is presently in the throes of a mass displacement crisis caused by the erosion of rent control, run-away luxury development, an epidemic of Ellis Act evictions, abuses of cash for keys scams, and the conversion of affordable rental housing into short-term vacation housing for tourists (i.e. Air BnB). Meanwhile homelessness rates continue to soar as more and more people are evicted from their apartments. Outside of Downtown, nowhere in Los Angeles is the collision between run away luxury development, displacement, and homelessness more acute than in our neighborhood, Hollywood. For city officials to welcome an event of such magnitude as the International Olympics while choosing to ignore how it will negatively impact access to housing for residents is irresponsible and extremely dangerous. City government should not be making such a unilateral decision based only on perceived positive PR and bragging rights. Our city should be placing its residents, the security of their homes, and their quality of life first.
Hamid Khan, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
A 2015 lawsuit by residents of Salt Lake City and its former mayor Rocky Anderson against the NSA for engaging in mass surveillance during the 2002 Winter Olympics is a stark reminder of surveillance, spying and infiltration during sporting events. The Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have built massive architectures of surveillance and intelligence gathering including human and electronic technology based programs. If Los Angeles hosts the 2024 Olympics, we can be assured these police departments will be on the frontlines of surveillance and infiltration before, during and after the Olympics.
Damien Goodmon, Crenshaw Subway Coalition
As a former decorated athlete, I love the concept of bringing the world's best athletes together to compete. But the Olympics would come at great cost to Los Angeles, both in taxpayer dollars and misdirected focus of our local governments. We are living with the nation's worst housing, homelessness and traffic crises and can ill-afford to lose several years and billions of dollars prioritizing the needs of the corporate-sponsored Olympic sporting games. Let's get our homeless off the streets, find ways to make housing more affordable and fix our traffic nightmare first. Now is simply not the time for L.A.
Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror
Anti-Racist Action Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror (ARA-LA/PART) was formed in 1987, in the wake of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the increase in repression, police militarization and racism that was taking place in L.A. at that time, due in no small part to the Olympics. We tracked the failure of LA law enforcement and prosecutors to deal with white supremacists who had burned three crosses in the San Fernando Valley in 1983 (and later went on to form the neo-Nazi underground, "The Order") while they instead devoted resources to criminalizing and incarcerating or brutalizing poor Black and Mexicano/indigenous/Meso-American youth.
In our publication, Turning The Tide, we have over the years printed exposes of the racism and repression attendant on the 1984 LA Olympics, the 1996 Atlanta "Centennial" Olympics, the Vancouver Olympics and the connection of the security for such events and the 2000 Democratic National Convention here in L.A. spilling over into permanent counter-insurgency policing, the architecture of surveillance, and the repression of dissent and difference. In 2010, we participated in the LA Housing & Hunger Crisis Conference, working with LA CAN, the American Indian Movement and others to challenge the worsening conditions of homelessness, foreclosures, evictions, food deserts and food and water insecurity plaguing poor and working people, especially of color, in Los Angeles.
We joined the NOLympicsLA coalition as soon as we learned of its existence and wholeheartedly endorse its call and its critique of the negative impact of the proposed Olympics, whether in 2024 or 2028, on democratic rights, labor standards, community stability and empowerment. We oppose the inevitable gentrification, displacement, privatization of public spaces, and police harassment that the Olympics would bring. We look forward to helping to build a broad, deep and creative people's movement that can envision a much different Los Angeles by that date, one dedicated to meeting human needs, not satisfying corporate greed or offering "bread and circuses" to distract people from economic, racial and political inequities and iniquities. We intend to be PART of the solution.
Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE)
Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) is a nonprofit that has been working for twenty years in South Los Angeles. SAJE works with extremely low-income residents, many of whom are immigrants. We focus on tenant rights, healthy housing, and equitable development, and we are opposed to hosting the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Given the detriments of the Olympics on recent host cities along with the, often, unacknowledged negative effects of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, we anticipate that the Games would have adverse impacts on the community that we serve. The residents we work with live in some of the most overcrowded housing in the United States, sandwiched between the University of Southern California and a rapidly gentrifying downtown. They are already cost-burdened by housing and extremely vulnerable to displacement. The Olympics are a known cause of gentrification and displacement and are likely to exacerbate an acute housing crisis. Additionally, if Los Angeles hosts the Olympic games, federal security forces, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), will play a large role in the security measures taken. These security measures would also include heightened police presence and surveillance. We believe this will put immigrant communities and other vulnerable populations at increased risk of harassment, criminalization, and deportation via the problematic immigration policies being promulgated by the current presidential administration. Given our profound concerns about negative impacts on the South Los Angeles community, we oppose hosting the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
YOUNG DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA AT USC
The University of Southern California’s proposed partnership with the Olympic Games’ use of student housing and athletic fields will further the institution’s complicity with the banishment of the homeless and perpetuation of economic instability faced by the surrounding working-class community and the working-class population of Los Angeles at large. The University’s reputation as a gentrifier has resonated with student activists and non-activists alike, and as such we have a duty to resist our school’s collaboration with the Olympic Committee. But beyond just influencing the school’s position, we, as students and democratic socialists, oppose on principle the material consequences that will come with the Olympics: the displacement of people tied to their homes by generations of history, the increased militarization of a police force which is already the most murderous in the United States, and the all around brutalization of the poor for being poor. We are proud to stand against the Olympic Games as part of the NOlympics coalition.