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No financial updates at today’s Boston 2024 financial hearing

UPDATE: Boston 2024 says it will release its new plan at 10 a.m. on Monday.

We'll have to wait until next week to hear any new information about the financials for the proposed 2024 Olympics. The City Council Special Committee on the 2024 Olympics held a hearing today about venue selection and financing but it didn't get many answers.

Boston 2024 CEO Richard Davey said Boston 2024's "2.0 Plan" will be released next week, and will include specific financial information as well as updates about venue selection, transportation, zoning and infrastructure plans.

So with no financial information to present, Davey mainly spoked today about venue selection, citing existing facilities at Harvard, Northeastern, Boston College, the TD Garden and DCU Center in Worcester among others. Of the 33 venues chosen so far, almost half will need to be built. The majority of venues will be within 7 miles of Boston, making it one of the most walkable Olympics in recent history, he said.

City councilors were unimpressed, however, since they came ready to talk money, not arena locations. "I'm pretty disappointed today," Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay), said. "We had a very nice presentation on the venues but not a lot of information on the finances. As people that our constituents look to for answers, it's frustrating not to have those answers."

Davey kept reassuring councilors that the 2.0 Plan would be fiscally appropriate, privately funded and "in the black" but he would not give any specific numbers when asked.

At-large Councilor Michelle Wu noted that any financial guarantee involving the city would need to go through a City Council vote. "It would violate the city charter to write a blank check," she said. "We need to know the amount."

Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) repeatedly asked for a comprehensive, un-redacted version of the original Boston 2024 bid to be sent to City Council President Bill Linehan's office for review. Davey said he would speak with Linehan but urged Jackson to focus on Plan 2.0 coming out next week instead. "How are we supposed to focus on 2.0 when we don't know what 1.0 is?" Jackson asked.

At-large Councilor Steve Murphy spoke last and summarized many of his colleagues' concerns. "We need to see it," he said, referring to the demand for financial answers. "Are we being asked to pledge public funds for a private plan? Because if that's the case, then I just don't see an appetite here."

All but one person who rose to speak during the public-participation part of the hearing opposed the bid, citing concerns over displacement of residents, gentrification, potentional cost overflows and lack of transparency from Olympics backers.

State Represen Nick Collins (D–South Boston) rose to back the Boston 2024 Olympics, saying hosting the Olympics and Paralympics could serve as a catalyst to make Boston a fully handicap-accessible city.

Davey did not stay for the public comments.

The city will hold another public meeting on the Boston 2024 Olympics at English High School this Tuesday, June 30 at 6:30pm.

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Look at this great event bringing thousands of people to Boston, let's expand that to the entire Olympics! (please ignore cost exposures and probable loss of tax revenue through land rezoning and seizure).

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It's a SOP for people in the Boston2024 business (political hucksterism) to bury the release of something really smelly in a long holiday weekend. Then they follow that with: "We were transparent, we announced that on July 3rd when everyone was drunk and paying zero attention!

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I was glad to see city councilors engage Rich Davey in Q & A after his presentation.

They wanted financial information that they were told he would bring, indeed the reason the meeting was called-- and he did not have it. Moreover, within hours of the end of the meeting, Boston 2024 announced a meeting with Governor Baker Monday to present him with the information.

City counselors wanted to understand all aspects of the financial relationship between Boston 2024 and City of Boston and they-- Michelle Wu, Matt O'Malley, Tito Jackson, Josh Zakim -- pressed Rich Davies for answers, calmly and professionally and with determination. And while they got some answers, Rich Davies provided a lot of talking points hoping city councilors would be satisfied.You could see when counselors asking the question were not satisfied and went back to re-frame the question. I don't get it. Maybe Boston 2024 already has the votes it needs on city council or maybe they think the Mayor is the only vote they need.

Stephen Murphy gave a little speech about who appropriates all funding-- city council-- and that he observed there isn't an appetite for appropriating public money to a private purpose. I'd like to see the question called so we can press city councilors inclined to put Boston taxpayers on the hook for multibillion dollar cost overruns. The average cost overrun for the Olympics is 285%! If we're going to spend billions we should spend on schools, transit and housing not temporary stadiums, velodromes and aquatic centers.

This meeting was progress because our elected officials were asking for answers... and not liking the answers they were getting.

Clearly, there are city councilors who don't care about costs and financial liabilities and have already thrown in for Boston 2024. They have no interest in doing due diligence on the bid or Boston's financial relationship with Boston 2024. I think Linehan is in that group. Frankly, I think it's a disgrace that they're not more curious and circumspect about what this private enterprise is asking of Boston residents BEFORE they decide.

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I went to a community meeting this past week in Dorchester led by Joe Rull, Chief Administrative Officer of Boston 2024.

http://www.universalhub.com/2015/top-walsh-aide-quits-olympic-group

I might have been distracted by him calling me a troll because I was tweeting during the meeting but I could swear he said that Boston 2024 was surprised to learn about the challenges of Morrissey Boulevard's frequent flooding during the planning of a 17,000 bed Olympic Village near UMass Boston.

My impression is that this is not a group of people who have a firm grasp on the situation. Everything is in the planning stages and there are no real answers yet. One thing he was absolutely, positive about is that I was a troll.

I'm not kidding. He refused to answer a question about whether or not Boston 2024 is a non-profit because there was a troll in the room.

FYI Joe - I work for a non-profit myself and I certainly don't make $175k/year trying to convince people that temporary stadiums are the best thing since sliced bread. I'm currently designing some software that will help pay claims for MassHealth members more efficiently. EDIT: I realize that this makes me sound noble and kind and a bit like a jackass. My point is that he was generally dismissive of anyone who didn't say something like "Well I think it will be fun to bring my kids to watch the Olympics!"

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Good, I'm glad you did that.

I went to one meeting.. that was enough. Sure it was an early on meeting, but it seemed like they only wanted to hear what they wanted to hear and nothing else. And it seemed like the meetings were more for a show to show the public they were trying to do something. I never said anything, I wanted too.. but I knew, like you (and from watching other people speaking), I would be shut up very quickly.

I honestly think they had no clue how much backlash they would get and how it's getting worse. (read any article from the FOIA about the emails from city hall). They really don't like anyone who is against the Olympics and will try to shut them up as much as possible (I'm surprised Chris Dempsey hasn't had contract put out on him yet)

And I agree, I think the more and more time goes on, we're going to see (if not already) how very poorly planned and thought out this is. I really think a group of them sat in a room and decided on all of this without really putting much thought into this or the logistics about certain sites and what not.And honestly, not surprising they have no idea about finances, because I don't think they really know. I think they expect the tax payers to just support this without some thought, and they'd just stick the tax payers with the overruns (because of said poor planning). (and now are in a very rude awakening)

More and more this really is becoming a boondoggle we really don't want and need.

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This is not widely known outside select political circles, but Boston 2024 has been hosting unpublicized "community meetings" with people in various parts of the city for at least a couple weeks now. Maybe that's what you were at? Attendees tend to be active neighborhood and political people. Many work for the city and are "invited" to the meetings; others are non-city workers who are asked to come hear out the group. These are not closed meetings but you won't see them listed anywhere. Whoever is there that night from Boston 2024 doesn't do a full public presentation but does a little overview then explains why the opponents are misguided and even acting with bad intentions. The Boston 2024 person explains how they're going to run this like a political campaign from now until next fall's vote. There is a not very subtle hint made that people should fall in line and get on board, especially city workers. Then some questions are answered, t-shirts handed out, and everyone goes home.

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It was "by invitation only" at the McKeon Post in Neponset. I was invited by someone I know online. Everyone knew everyone else and Joe Rull knew several of them by name.

I had a lot of questions and didn't want to ask any of them because I was only born in Neponset, baptized there and raised there until my parents moved out to the 'burbs. I'm not one of them.

After the meeting, the organizer had a couple of words for me - not mean but not exactly welcoming - and wanted to know how I found out about it. She was not hospitable.

In any event, there is a community meeting in Quincy on July 9th. I am doing some research this weekend so I have questions, facts and opinions from my neighbors. I will ask questions all night if I feel like it.

It's especially important for the people of Quincy to make their voices heard now that Boston 2024 wants to "share" (a word that actually came out of Joe Rull's mouth) a venue with us.

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because I was tweeting during the meeting

In two simple words - totally disrespectful. No sympathy here.

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It's a thing.

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I love live tweeting.. I can be at work and follow things without attending. Learn so much that way.

Many people do it, like our own Adam G. And I'm grateful for that.

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Joe Rull reminds me of Wisconsin's Senator Joe McCarthy. He accuses citizens of being a spy or traitor. I wouldn't be surprised if he starts passing out loyalty oaths for Bostonians to sign. I really hope he doesn't return to City Hall. He should take a few years to see how the real world functions and expects of those who earn as much money as he does.

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To be fair to Boston 2024 Joe, he's gotta pay for that house in Norwell somehow and it's not going to be on a Regular Joe's salary.

I thought there was some flap about him working for Mayor Walsh but not living in Boston right before he left to join Boston 2024. I'm not sure.

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Gee thanks Davey.

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Just let it go. It isn't going to happen. Davey is the Baghdad Bob of Boston 2024.

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It made me laugh literally out loud though.

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Davey did not stay to hear public comment.

That about sums up how Boston 2024 feels about the people they are trying to take money and land from.

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That if the Boston City Council can't get information out of Davey, then we're doomed. These folks SHOULD get the answers for the tax payers.

I honestly think Davey has no fucking clue anyways.. he's just the front man. You know, like those people they send out after a big disaster that was caused by a company or org to speak about it. They never can answer any questions, just give canned response.

This is Boston2024..

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In about 6 months, Boston2024 will start doling out bribes. I don't mean the envelopes being slid under the table, I mean "community enhancement money".

New T-Station, parks, sidewalks, and tennis courts for Allston? Done. BOOM, Allston is in. (Similar peace offerings will be made to other neighborhoods).

Handicapped ramp upgrades in places where Beacon Hill stuff hasn't caught up yet? BOOM, Disability advocates will sign up.

Road improvements and commercial development in Franklin County, and maybe a permanent whitewater park, where the stretch of the Deerfield River being discussed for canoe/kayak is mostly woods with just a few restaurants. Done. Franklin County needs the money. (Similar projects for other non-Boston counties. BOOM, Areas outside 495 are in.

Unions will definitely be in. Not just construction, but think of the police OT. For years and years and years of construction details, then traffic and security for the games themselves. Local and State Construction and police unions are in, BIG TIME.

I'm sure every city councilor has a pet project. Roads, clinics, what have you. Many of them are honorable, too. So, Boston2024 finds money for a homeless shelter, a school playground, and fixing up some rotaries. And oh yeah, they keep hiring people from city hall to the Boston2024 staff, at higher salaries than they make now. BOOM, Boston City Council will be in.

Colleges? Renting out dorms and sports facilities. BOOM. They're in.

Some of Boston's inner-city communities have a lot of valid concerns about the Olympic bid. But I can see Boston2024 promising X contracts to minority firms, and Y hiring of staff. Z internships and youth summer jobs, and fixing up Franklin Park following the games in ways the community prefers. For good measure, hire a community leader as Chairman of the Park revitalization (for, oh, maybe $114,000/yr). BOOM, minority leaders who are currently skeptical become OLYMPIC SUPPORTERS.

On the bright side, the games are fun if you can afford tickets, and anyone living near a T station will be able to rent their home for big $. (Just remind the City Council not to ban AirBnB).

Have fun at the Olympics!

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The trick is that first they have to convince the USOC not to pull the bid, then they have to convince the IOC to choose Boston. Given that Socchi was clearly a bad choice and Tashkent or Beijing is going to be worse, I can't see that the IOC is that choosey but clearly Paris has more cachet than here.

I think that if the USOC and the IOC select Boston, then yes, it will be rammed through with judicious doling out of money to the right people and at some point the general public will start to feel that enough money has already been spent that it would be a waste somehow not to have the games, ignoring that the money spent to date was private, but that the final tab will certainly including many millions of public money.

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another public space has Olympic venue possibility. The council doesn't do much anyway so why not vacate for a few weeks and let the chamber be used for some Olympic fencing or Judo matches? This would save taxpayer funds and allow for both City Council and Olympic seals on future Council proclamations which are the lions share of council actions. Here here...hurrumph..hurrumph..

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Note how uncomfortable the Council Chamber arrangement is for folks visiting to observe the Boston City Council. Seating for visitors is too hard on the body.

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because of the nature of the oratory being witnessed. It's a place of a religious revival nature where standing ovations are constant. Thus seat comfort is a non factor.

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Boston City Council could have public meetings around the neighborhoods. It's that there aren't skilled, talented staffers among the 100 Council staff with enough advanced knowledge of modern technologies/software to work out logistics!

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Any financial numbers as to the costs of Boston 2024 are pure speculation as are the venue concepts that are being leaked while we await the BID 2.0

I wonder if continuing to ask for the financials provides false credibility to numbers that are no more real than Monopoly money? Based on plain old common sense and the bid process itself, nothing that is offered by Boston2024 in 2015 is set in stone.

What Zakim and the other Councilors need to ask is what Matt O'Malley asked of Rich Davey. Will Boston 2024 endorse refusing to sign the guarantee required by the IOC? Rich Davey said no. End of story.

Zakim seems to be pretending he can't base a yes or no to hosting until he has pretend facts and pretend cost projections. He and the other Councilors have what they need to know. Boston must agree now to covering unknown costs in 2024. So, which is it - Boston City Council? Yes or No? Hopefully these pols can be relieved of the stress of having to express an opinion in this election year by Boston being dropped as a potential USA host.

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They might as well get a sponsorship... from Keolis & Kayak.com

Because at this rate, you'll need a commuter rail ride to get to the venue, and probably book a hotel room at the venue if you want to have any fun.

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It will all be revealed on Monday in the NEW, ready-for-Taxpayer Consumption plan.

Gov. Baker: please save us. Tell the private Olympic mongers to *just-go-away.*

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