Just a thank-you note to the IOC

Update: In order to distance this commentary from all those “patriots” who are overjoyed that Chicago lost the 2016 Olympics — they claim, because of Obama — I have to tell you that what I’m about to say is based on actual events, not malicious fantasy.  I do not support Limbaugh or any of the idiots who agree with him.  If that includes you, too bad.  Go read someone else’s blog.

I’ll start by saying that I don’t put much stock in the Olympics.  I think it is nothing but an overblown multinational corporation picnic.  Lots of money and time are wasted on nothing of value; otherwise decent cities and even entire countries snipe at each other like children, and in the end, all that is served is pure ego.

Now I’ll get to the immediate point: I don’t live in Chicago but I live near enough to it to be affected by some of its excesses.  Its Olympic bid was one of them.  The fact is, Chicago couldn’t afford the Olympics, either in terms of money or in terms of physical space. 

The money problem, while Mayor Daley swore up and down that it wouldn’t affect taxpayers, was never going to be solved in any other way than raising taxes.

As for the the physical space problem, the fact is that Chicago is a land-locked swamp that has been draining the surrounding suburbs for its needs for decades.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Chicago kept trying to annex suburbs.  Much more recently, it destroyed part of one suburb to expand O’Hare Airport…and then didn’t expand the airport.  In between, it tried to tax suburban workers who worked for companies based within the city limits of Chicago.

Chicago’s famous public lakefront was to be decimated and privatized for the Olympics — locals would have lost any sight of the giant lake that sustains life around here, as well as providing beauty and more often than not, weather (some of the weather effects are welcome, some of them not).

Back to the suburban land-grab issue, a  lot of the suburbs Chicago has been irritating for years had been concerned over the Olympic bid because apparently as part of the bid, Chicago had simply named various sites in the suburbs as places it was going to use for Olympic events.  There didn’t seem to be a lot in the way of permissions obtained beforehand — at least, if there were, I can’t imagine why so many people were objecting. 

It didn’t help that the hopelessly crooked Todd Stroger (a.k.a. Mr. Nepotism), President of the Cook County Board and closely associated in many people’s minds with the city of Chicago — which is in Cook County — raised the county sales tax to an astounding 10%, supposedly  to support county services to Chicago (but mainly to support his many friends and relatives in well-paid county jobs).  No surprise that this action resulted in suburban talk of secession from Cook County, especially in light of the expected expense of the Olympics should Chicago be awarded the games.  Let’s put it this way: if it takes a 10% sales tax to support the Stoger regime, imagine what it would cost to support the Stroger regime plus the Olympics?  Frightening.

Considering all this, you should have guessed already that there was a small but growing anti-Olympics movement in the region.  But now it’s a moot point, thanks to the IOC.  And I thank the IOC.

For further comment, read Dave Zirin.  For a giggle (and some truthful observations about the wingnuts who tried to turn this into yet another tea party), see the Daily Show.

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