Two quick things happened Tuesday on the Olympics front. The City Council voted to support the bid backed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and sports figure Casey Wasserman, and the U.S. Olympic Committee followed that up by designating Los Angeles as its official candidate for the 2024 Summer Olympics, replacing Boston. The USOC meeting was apparently the reason that Garcetti held his media op at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica. [Update: Nope. Pure staging, says 3 Wire Sports.]
The City Council vote was 15-0 — an almost ceremonial 15-zip in which each of the council members stood to have their say even though nothing was at stake. Some of the electeds wanted assurance that the city would not be on the hook for any major costs should the games come to LA, and afterward they were able to claim they felt that assurance — even with all of the details yet to be worked out. From the LA Times:
Council President Herb Wesson said the resolution approved by the council would ensure council members are able to influence the city’s Olympic bid as it advances over the next two years.
“In essence, we have bought the city time to properly negotiate,” Wesson said. “This is the engagement. It’s not the wedding. And now it’s time to work on the pre-nip.”
Garcetti said in his media appearances today that Los Angeles is well prepared to host the games because of the experiences and venues that remain from the 1984 (and 1932) games. He also vowed the city would be protected from losses, in part with guarantees from the state. But there was also a lot of wait and see commentary. From KPCC:
“There’s so much unknown,” said [former county supervisor Zev] Yaroslavsky. There is “not a penny for security, not a penny for transportation. Security in London cost $1.2 billion so to have that not appear in the budget is a red flag.”
Andrew Zimbalist, author of the new book, “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup,” is also concerned about vague bid details, including the proposed Olympic Village location.
“They talk about one site, as if it were already determined,” said Zimbalist, Professor of Economics at Smith College. “There are all sorts of issues with the Olympic village location, including that Union Pacific doesn’t have intentions of leaving.”
The railroad owns a key piece of land across the river from downtown that has been suggested as a site for the Olympic Village, and at least publicly Union Pacific insists it is staying.
LA may be the choice of the U.S, committee, but we don't sound like any kind of favorite internationally. From the New York Times:
Los Angeles is throwing itself into a contest — along with Paris; Rome; Budapest; and Hamburg, Germany — that some cities have grown increasingly hesitant to enter in recent years, as the financial pitfalls of hosting the Games have become more apparent.
Boston, the U.S.O.C.’s original choice to bid for the 2024 Games, backed out earlier this year when concerns about costs the city might incur eroded public support. A handful of European cities declined to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, citing similar concerns. And recent hosts like London found that the budget for putting on the Olympics outstripped initial projections by as much as three or four times.