Local officials skeptical of Olympic plan

March 6, 2015
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With Boston’s bid for the 2024 summer Olympics games preliminarily accepted by the U.S. Olympic committee, the Gazette reached out to Mission Hill’s elected officials to get their position on whether they support hosting the games.

City Councilor Josh Zakim told the Gazette last month that “it’s a testament to Boston that we won it. I’m not surprised we beat other cities, But it’s time to sit down as a city and think about the long term consequences…A lot of folks haven’t felt included in the process.”

Zakim has filed an order for four nonbinding ballot questions regarding the 2024 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games to appear on November’s ballots. They would ask voters whether they approve of hosting and financing the Games.

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz is seeking more information about the bid.

“I’m skeptical but open-minded,” she told the Gazette last month.

Noting that she holds a “high standard for protection of taxpayers,” she said her support would be dependent on the hiring of minority- and women-owned businesses and “very clearly-articulated bites of apple” as to expenditures.

“First and foremost,” she said, she wants to know that tax payers “won’t be on the hook for cost overruns.”

“I’m not ruling out the possibility that [private organizing committee] Boston 2024 or the U.S. Olympic Committee could meet those standards if they really want to, but the burden of proof is on them,” she said.

State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, meanwhile, declined to engage with the Olympic question at all.

“There are shootings in [Jamaica Plain’s public housing development] Bromley-Heath. We’re dealing with a drug epidemic. I’m trying to figure out what the world will look like with a new legislature,” he said. “My Olympics are what’s going in my community and how these big ideas affect those areas were we are having the biggest problems.”

“They just started the public process now. Let’s see what they [the organizers] have to say,” he added.

The proposed plan sees Northeastern’s dorms used as media accommodations for the Olympic and Paralympic games. Boston 2024 has suggested Olympic dates of July 19-Aug. 4, and Paralympic dates of Aug. 14-25.

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