LA residents concerned over city council’s decision on 2028 Olympics

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Hailing faded out after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a tentative agreement with International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host 2028 Olympic Games, new concerns rose in minds of the city officials as the city council is expected to set an urgent full council vote this week and the result could be “No.”

According to a “road map” accepted by all sides last month in Switzerland, even though reaching an agreement between IOC and L.A. government is a key step for the second largest city of the United States to lock the opportunity to be awarded the 2028 Summer Games, it is not the final line.

The agreement still needs at least two more steps to take effect, namely approval from L.A. City Council and the directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board by Aug. 18, then L.A., Paris and IOC will sign a three-party agreement, which must be approved by IOC meeting before IOC officially announce the host cities for 2024 and 2028 on Sept. 13 in Peru.

For conceding 2024 to Paris, IOC promised to provide a series of preferential policies to L.A. city and the bid committee. For example, L.A. Olympic committee will receive at least 2 billion U.S. dollars from IOC, compared to 1.7 billion U.S. dollars if hosted 2024 Games. Besides, IOC agreed to give 20 percent share of the 2028 Games surplus to L.A.

Mayor Garcetti, city officials and most of residents are quite optimistic to this agreement and presented their support, saying it is a very good deal for L.A. to acquire some favorable terms from IOC for only delaying four years to take the bonus.

“I believe either 2024 or 2028 is a good expectation for Los Angeles and the people here. On one hand, the city’s infrastructure will be greatly promoted and more public transportations will be completed. On the other hand, the Games will also bring some economic benefits to the city, such as tourism.” John Zhang who is Doctor of Public Policy in Claremont University told Xinhua Saturday.

However, when they calmed down, they found that they are facing a new problem — how to convince the council to approve the agreement without inspecting a budget plan for 2028 Olympic Games, which can not be worked out in two weeks definitely although some officials explained that there won’t be much difference on the budget between 2024 and 2028.

A risks analysis report was released by the offices of the city administrative and chief legislative analyst, concerning some uncertainties and risks for hosting the 2028 Games. The report pointed out that four years could bring more uncertainties, both political and economic. For example, the city needs a 250 million U.S dollars guarantee assurance from the state to cover the cost, meanwhile, 11 years would increase the amount because of inflation.

So far, not a single host city in history had accomplished the Games within their original budget, Los Angeles Times cited the report last Friday, warning that the costs of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games would exceed up to three or even four times of its initial plan.

“1984 L.A. Olympics was the first time in history that the host city made profit. It was also a milestone, which attracted many cities positively bid for the hosting rights. But now it seems the Games hit another period of stagnation.” Zhang told Xinhua, “I just hope this time L.A. won’t exceed its budget that much, and our taxpayer won’t pay for the costs.”

A group named “Nolympicsla” is launching a campaign to oppose to L.A. Olympics. The activists insist that no matter 2024 or 2028, it will be a disaster for Los Angeles people.
“The Olympics puts the interests of the mega-rich and corporate brands above the interests of athletes, fans, and working people in the cities it commandeers,” Nolympicsla.com posted, calling on supporters to call city council members and ask them to veto the agreement.

The organization listed major reasons why Angalinos should refuse 2028 Olympics, the first one is “all financial reporting and planning for an LA Olympics Games was for 2024. Adding four years to this process requires further study before City Council considers the host city contract.”

It also warned that staging the Olympics in the city would require local law enforcement to fully cooperate with Federal Security agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, which would put the immigrant communities at greater risk of deportation.

Caesar Harris, the senior media professional used to work in CBS, believed that the council would approve the Host City Contract with IOC since everybody knows local people really want the games back to the city for the third time after 1932 and 1984.
He also believed that the time would deal with many problems concerned.

“Wait for another four years means we have more time to solve the problems, now traffic and homeless are the major problems for L.A. city. It is a good chance for the government to seek the solution for homeless and develop more public transportations,” he told Xinhua.

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