SBD/Issue 202/Olympics

Daley Hypes Olympics Economic Impact, Warns Against Negativity

Daley Portrays '16 Olympics As
Chicago's "Economic Salvation"
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley yesterday portrayed the '16 Olympics as the "economic salvation for Chicago, but warned that the city just might lose the Olympic sweepstakes 'if people keep throwing darts,'" according to Fran Spielman of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Daley: "In the next eight years of any city in America, tell me where the economic development is gonna come from. ... You tell me one economic program that anyone has offered -- both in the private sector or public sector. Every other city would love to have this -- when the federal government will spend billions of dollars on infrastructure and on security. Besides that, the national and global publicity we receive from the build-up all the way to 2016. This is the only economic engine." However, Daley added of Chicago's chances of landing the Games, "If people keep throwing darts at it, maybe they will not get it." When asked who he believes is "throwing darts," Daley said, "Did you read any headlines? You beat us up." Daley then "caught himself," and added, "I'm not gonna blame the media because then, you'll say, 'The mayor is fighting with the media. The mayor is always so arrogant. Then, he's fighting with the aldermen.' No. People can ask questions." Daley added that there was a "'misconception by the media' that [he] signed' an agreement making Chicago taxpayers the final back-stop against Olympic losses." Spielman notes support for Chicago's bid "has been hemorrhaging since last month," when Daley told the IOC that he "would sign a host-city contract that amounts to an open-ended guarantee from Chicago taxpayers." Daley said that he "understands that Chicagoans struggling to make ends meet after layoffs, pay cuts and retirement fund losses have legitimate concerns about the cost of the Olympics." Daley: "I would never bankrupt the city of Chicago" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/9).

COURTING PUBLIC OPINION: In Chicago, Kathy Bergen notes Chicago 2016 spokespersons said that there "has not been a decline in support since the uproar over the city's financial commitment erupted," and they are "cranking up their push for local support." A "fresh roster of community meetings was announced" yesterday, with the "goal of holding sessions for residents of all 50 wards prior" to the October 2 host-city selection by the IOC" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/8).

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