Walsh: Boston will drop Olympic bid if USOC requires commitment today

Mayor Walsh said this morning he will not agree to sign the "host city contract" without assurances that Boston will not be liable for any possible cost overruns. And if the USOC says he has to agree to a contract today even though it won't be available until September, "then Boston is no longer pursuing the 2024 Olympic and paralympic games."

At a hastily called press conference this morning, Walsh said he still wants to see Olympic games here, but "I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away, I refuse to commit to cost overruns."

He said from what he has heard, the city could potentially be on the hook for the entire estimated $4.7-billion cost of the Olympics in the worst case.

He said Boston simply needs more time to ensure taxpayers are not left holding the bag - and that he feels there are ways, through insurance and guarantees, that Boston could be protected.

He said Boston is far ahead of any other potential host cities in the US in terms of its planning. And he said the Olympics and the development it would spur would mean a host of benefits to the city, including raising tax revenue from Widett Circle from $800,000 to as much as $150 million, as well as setting deadlines for getting the T fixed.

"We'll see what the USOC does," he said. USOC members are in Kuala Lumpur for a meeting today.

He continued he still discounts opposition to the games. "The opposition for the most part are about 10 people on Twitter" and the negative numbers in polls is not really "strong" opposition," he said.

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Comments

How does Baker explain this

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How does Baker explain this to his "beautiful people" friends? Lots of angry donors today.

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He doesn't have to.

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He doesn't have to.

They all donated to Coakley!

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The full checklist

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☑ Tu qouque
☑ Unnecessary bold and italic
☑ ...to make a zinger that is not actually a zinger
☑ Complete, willful lack of understanding of the alignment of modern political parties

That's one hell of an effort, anon. I dion't think I could check all those boxes in nine words. My hat is off to you.

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He has been very good thus

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He has been very good thus far, minus this (major) hiccup. And it appears as if he is more or less saying, You guys don't want it, so I won't pursue this further. Respectable if you ask me.

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Respectable?

No, more like this one's a loser fellas and if you still want my puppet ass in the big seat, find another way to fuck the citizens. You know they will.

Fundamentally spineless,corrupt, ineffectual and dumb as a fucking stump.

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Um..

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Why don't you run against him?

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usoc sad chapter

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I liked the mayor before this sad usoc chapter, and will conciously plan to totally reset my opinion on the mayor, once the usoc gets hit in the ass by the door.

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Um..

I want to hang on to what's left of my soul.

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Not sure what

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you are talking about, unless it is the chairs on City Hall Plaza.

He seems to have accomplished very little of what he says he will. And the word in City Hall is that he and his team are shockingly unintellegent and unaware of things like legislation and laws. So they just do stuff and the professional staff has to try to clean up the mess.

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If he campaigned saying we

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If he campaigned saying we was going to bring the Olympics to Boston, instead of promising we was going to replace the BRA, then Connolly would probably be mayor now.

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Insulting more than half of

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Insulting more than half of the people in Boston by calling them "10 people on twitter" isn't a good way to get votes.

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It will blow over

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I don't see it being a make or break issue if the bid falls through, regardless of his support. Enough of the no Olympics people are only moderately anti-Olympics and I really doubt this remark is going to carry any weight in a few years when he's up for re-election.

While I don't agree with how his moves to date, if Boston2024 falls apart then he should be judged for reelection by what he will have done for the city vs something he tried and failed to do to the city. Schools, budget, services, etc...

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Unfortunately, you're right

But for anyone who cares about Boston they should be shocked that this man signed away the entire region's budgets and planning purposes without reading what he was doing. Even worse, NO ONE at city hall read it, we now know.

That is incredibly worrisome and speaks to his management style.

He also called Olympic opponents "not real members of the community," and denigrated us as "10 people on Twitter" and nothing more. All while avoiding all but one meeting his own office planned where he might have actually heard some of the opposition, and the many different people voicing such.

His disregard for legitimate opposition is worrisome and speaks to his lack of accountability.

But, alas, by the next election cycle people will have forgotten these issues, unfortunately, and vote him back in. I, for one, wish I actually lived in the city so I could vote against him.

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Marty needs better staff and advisors

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Plain and simple, the Mayor needs better people around him. It is clear that the Olympic bid was a fiasco from the start. Worse than that is the seemingly oblivious nature at which his staff (5th floor and others) advise him. The Mayor has not surrounded himself with people who have the city's best interest at heart -- or the Mayor's.
The Mayor needs good people around him who know the neighborhoods and can advise him properly. The Walsh ship has holes in it and only Marty can plug them. He may be a nice guy and be reluctant to shake up his staff, but he must or he will be a one term mayor.

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Stupid statement...but accurate?

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I guess it depends on how you go about searching Twitter for "No Boston Olympics" tweets from people.

However, a search of #NoBoston2024 (one of the more used hashtags) returned just over 800 original tweets from the past week. Of those 800, about 600 (75%) came from just 10 accounts. The 10th highest had posted the hashtag about 20 times, which suggests that the remaining 200 tweets came from something like 40-80 more accounts (a rough estimate based on 200/10 if the tail of the distribution is perfectly linear, which it likely isn't so round up since there will be more accounts with just a single tweet than with 15-20 tweets).

So, Marty's probably being informed by someone who has done a much better exploration of Twitter than I did in about 5 minutes. He was probably told that most opposition on Twitter is limited to a few very vocal accounts and a bunch of others with limited input. 100 or even 1000 people isn't exactly moving the needle in a metro area of 3 million.

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it resounds?

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it resounds?

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One of the ten

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Hi, @nancy10272004 here. I don't know if I'm officially one of the ten but for Mayor Walsh to be brought to a screeching halt by a bunch of randos (as someone tweeted this morning) on twitter is pretty weak.

What about the real life polling numbers that show less than 50% support when the USOC wants us to be 67% or higher? What about the business owners (it's more than a Tow Lot, Pags) at Widett Circle who said they wouldn't sell their land to Boston 2024?

What about the fact that Boston 2024 couldn't find a place for a media center. A media center! But wait - there's more. There's nowhere to put a velodrome or the aquatic center.

I only became involved in this hot mess when they announced that they were moving beach volleyball to Marina Bay. Oh,hell no! I'm a NIMBY and proud of it.

So there you have it. Now let's get the Long Island Bridge rebuilt so we can restore the services our most vulnerable population lost when they were evacuated without warning and without anywhere to go.

And, Quincy, let's do something about that hole in the ground in the middle of Quincy Center.

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The highest group of pro

The highest group of pro olympics people are the college kids with no real responsibilities who are mad Boston isn't NYC or LA who will move back home to New York, CT and NJ when their four year vacation is over so they won't be around for 2024 anyway. They are also the ones who use twitter the most, so the pros outweigh the nays in that segment.

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Safe Move

He knows that if Boston won't be ready by Sept 15th there is no way LA will be. USOC can't move their bid at this point -- Boston might be flawed but if LA hasn't seriously begun that a lot to do in 6 weeks.

Walsh can look like a hero without any risk of losing the bid. The real question is if he signs the final bid in September.

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LA has less to do

They've hosted the Olympics twice before and have all of the needed venues from last time around. All they have to do is repeat what has already been shown to work.

LA's not going to sign a guarantee either. They successfully avoided doing so in 1984.

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Less to do? That was over 30

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Less to do? That was over 30 years ago. LA still has a lot of work to do. Perhaps less compared to Boston, but let's not understate the significance of LA's outdated infrastructure from its last go around.

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What are you doing?

Looks to me like you're about to discourage lots of people in LA with your talks of "a lot of work to do". We need a can do attitude to get this out of Boston.

So go LA!

Perhaps we can all start a collection to send LA a bunch of flowers or something for being stuck...err...being rewarded with this blessed honor.

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2015 != 1984

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The circumstances are considerably different here. In 1984, the games were on the verge of collapse. Nobody else was bidding to host, so LA just waltzed right in and saved the games. Of course the IOC was going to bend over backwards for it.

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Exactly

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I haven't been following the financial specifics too closely, and I don't know if they ever released details about LA's bid for 2024, but could it be that the difference between it and Boston is that the Boston crew has been touting a privately-funded scheme (as much as can be believed) whereas LA would have relied significantly more on state and federal subsidies?

If that is true, I could see the USOC sticking with Boston and relenting on the guarantee because the potential downside may be less than what LA would require upfront. I know each city was touting an economical games, but I get the sense that while LA does technically have venues, a lot of upgrades would need to occur anyway.

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For that matter, why does any

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For that matter, why does any city with a sizable college have to build any infrastructure at all to host the Olympics? BU, BC, UMass, Northeastern, Harvard, and MIT all host track & field, swimming, and gymnastic meets all the time.

These fancy new natatoriums are just monuments to vanity.

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LA Readiness

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A USOC board member was quoted in yesterday's Herald saying that LA could be ready within two years.

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The End

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This is the end. This is Walsh throwing the USOC under the bus to give himself a face-saving out politically because he can read a poll and he realizes he never should have gotten so far out in front of the public on this. The USOC will not relent on the guarantee and certainly won't want to work with a mayor that just was so pointed in his remarks against them. Walsh will say he did what he could, still believes the process was helpful planning-wise, but he won't risk taxpayer money. That's his narrative. Boston 2024 is done.

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Uh...

10 people on Twitter and not really "strong" opposition in the polls? I know he is trying to be positive but 50% of people statewide and 53% of Boston area residents surveyed said they were opposed as of this month. (http://www.wbur.org/2015/07/10/wbur-july-olympics-poll). I don't know what the definition of "strong" opposition is but half of those surveyed are definitely not in favor.

Really hoping we can get this out of the way and the USOC says they need a commitment today.

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Just wondering....

... if this bid falls through, will the Mayor and his pals simply redouble their efforts to seize Widett Circle in order to give it to a yet-to-be-named super-developer?

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Redeveloping Widett Circle is not necessarily a bad idea

IF:

- the businesses there actually want to move
- they receive fair market value for their land and property
- they aren't strong-armed out of the area via eminent domain
- they relocate to a place that works as well for them as their current location

That's a lot of IFs. But they have to be satisfied in order to do this in a fair manner. These are food businesses and therefore pretty essential to the local economy.

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Add to this

IF the developers don't require TIFs or any other tax revenue hanky panky to pay for it. No land seizures to get it and no corporate welfare to build it.

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Hey

you guys remember when Marty signed the original bid without reading it? Because I hope everyone will in 2017.

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Adam should specify

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They're in Kuala Lumpur for an *IOC* meeting today. They are our country's bid supervisors. Meeting with the IOC would be in their job description. They didn't pick the locale, the IOC did. It's also not all of the USOC that's there.

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It's the Baker ripple effect.

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After dismissing the veiled ultimatum with indications of agreement from the speaker and senate president, Baker left the USOC high and dry.

http://www.wbur.org/2015/07/24/baker-boston-2024-usoc-request

Walsh is the only avid pom pom waver for this mess with a few enthusiasts in Lowell.

The legislative branch has generally stayed out of this. They don't want to be seen as opposed to Mom, Apple Pie and the Olympics but they aren't about to do much to make it happen.

There does seem to be some kabuki in how the USOC poobah threw down this gauntlet. They should have known how a Governor would react to sovereignty impositions. So it gives them a way out where they can dump the whole toxic hare brained mess and move on.

With luck, it'll inoculate us from Olympic Fever for a fairly long time.

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USOC is in Kuala Lumpur...

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...because the IOC is about to select the 2022 Winter Olympics host, and that means immediately afterward, the full attention of the IOC is going to turn to the 2024 selection process.

LA is almost as ready to host an Olympics in nine years as Boston is; they're "behind" six or so months of planning and lobbying, that's all, and despite 1984 being 31 years ago, they would in fact pick up with a significant head start in terms of venues. For example, the primary stadium - the Coliseum - is already standing, and just needs a rehab which USC has already committed to doing even if L.A. doesn't bid, or bids and doesn't win.

Alan Abrahamson is L.A. based and has been a pretty sharp critic of the Boston "bid" thus far. Here's his entry today: http://www.3wiresports.com/2015/07/26/hey-boston-2024-its-not-usoc-its-you/

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From Abrahamson's blog

"Boston, meanwhile, has over the past six months proven to the world what most stereotypically consider its worst trait — coming off as an insulated, angry group of navel-gazing NIMBYs who don’t trust outsiders and don’t think there is anything in the world that is better or can be improved about the place."

How on earth does this guy and everyone like him who keeps on with the same meme forget that we pulled off the biggest highway project in history and reconstructed the whole of our downtown not too long ago?

Because that doesn't fit the narrative? That is lazy reporting.

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It is true...

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...that, with the exception of the "oh WHY can't we be a WORLD CLASS CITY???" pouters, the people of Boston seem to recognize that they can have the city they want, or they can have the city that other people want them to have, and vote for the former over the latter without a whole lot of angst about it. Personally, I regard that as mentally healthy.

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Actually it isn't lazy reporting

The rest of the piece fully explains in damning detail the out and out lies and incompetence by both Boston2024 and Marty Walsh as being one of the main reason this will thankfully not happen.

And when the seemingly inevitable larger tragedy than the previous one happens in that paean to greed that lies beneath the city, talk to me about what was really pulled off.

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He said from what he has

"He said from what he has heard, the city could potentially be on the hook for the entire estimated $4.7-billion cost of the Olympics in the worst case.

He said Boston simply needs more time to ensure taxpayers are not left holding the bag - and that he feels there are ways, through insurance and guarantees, that Boston could be protected."

Light dawns on Marblehead! - Maybe.

Perhaps coming after a very politically astute 27 year serving Mayor, Walsh looks incredibly tone deaf. From not doing any preparation, marginalizing the concerns of at least half of the citizens and not reigning in the thuggish, intimidating behavior of at community meetings shows that this is a "not ready for prime time" Mayor.

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If Boston 2024 is effectively

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If Boston 2024 is effectively cancelled, it's a great thing. I actually attended portions of two Olympics with my parents many years ago(Montreal '76 and Lake Placid '80). Back then, the Olympics had a captive audience on ABC broadcast TV, but nowadays, with the exception of hockey at the Winter Games, the Olympics no longer interest me. Boston simply does not need years of headaches for one lousy fortnight of fencing.

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Bingo

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I like the Olympics like I like the Patriots - on TV.

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I personally know at least 10

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I personally know at least 10 people opposed to the Olympics coming to Boston - who knew I was leading the movement? Sounds to me like an political maneuver to bow out of the bid because it is not supported by the majority of people here that would actually be impacted by hosting an Olympic games, without having to admit that he and the other fat cats at Boston 2024 were wrong about their ability to influence (read, fool) the public.

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ding dong

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Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is dead!

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Do you mean...

... the Herald has something that agrees with the Globe...

...or that the Herald is dying just like Boston's Olympic bid?

;-)

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Both!

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Both!

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Fenway Olympics: another dead homeless man

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Dear Mayor Walsh,
We have a spectacular city, but one with problems.

Please now let us turn our attention to another
deceased homeless person across the street from the Victory Gardens just two blocks from new luxury
$5,000 a month apartments.

Let's turn our backs on the potential Olympic
Boondoggle. Let's put our collective energy and
resources into reducing the drug needles in our parks, the guns and dead homeless on our streets.

Developers will develop, construction companies
will build, neighborhoods will change. We can do
all of this WITHOUT more nonsense of Olympic
diversions.

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