9th August, 2017
Los Angeles — Yesterday, Los Angeles City Council has announced the possibility of a vote to sign the Host City Contract (HCC) for the 2028 Summer Olympic bid this Friday morning, even though the bid has not been properly vetted, according to many citizens of LA and opposition group NOlympics LA.
The LA 2028 bid has hosted zero public meetings or forums to date about this brand new 2028 bid and contract. Representatives spoke last Friday at a City Council meeting in Van Nuys, but LA2028 has yet to host an event where members of the public can engage in a back and forth dialogue (not just one-minute public comments) in a meaningful manner, specifically the communities who are at the highest risk to be negatively affected — i.e. evicted, harassed, deported, and so on.
NOlympics LA — a coalition of over 25 groups based in California — believes that the bid committee and city leadership are not performing their due diligence with regards to the 2028 bid. They say attempting to rush through a decision (and possibly a vote) within City Council to accommodate the IOC’s timeline is “irresponsible at best, and potentially fatal to certain vulnerable communities.” The vetting of Olympic bid plans generally takes months or even years, but the bid committee is trying to rush this process — at the detriment of many communities in LA and without their input — to meet the IOC’s arbitrary September 13 deadline.
The bid committee has not even released a budget, which is unprecedented in modern Games. For this and other procedural corners the committee and council are cutting (like leaving Neighborhood Councils out of the participatory loop), the NOlympics coalition is calling for an immediate postponement of the 2028 vote.
The NOlympics LA coalition issued the following demands to City Council:
Delay the vote. Given that Los Angeles is the only city bidding for the 2028 Olympics and there is an unprecedented eleven-year gap between the bid and the Games themselves, Los Angeles is in an extremely favorable negotiating position and City Council should assert its own timeline for voting.
Conduct robust reviews of the new HCC and updated proposal from LA2028 with independent experts and publish the results widely and in multiple languages, including the potential impact of hosting the 2028 Games on city finances, housing costs, homelessness, and immigrants’ rights.
Hold extensive public hearings and solicit feedback from the public, especially communities who are most likely to experience the negative impacts of the Games. At a minimum, public hearings should be convened in neighborhoods and City Council districts: 1.) hosting prominent Olympic venues, 2.) whose populations include a high percentage of immigrants, and 3.) with a high homelessness rate or high eviction rate.
The coalition is hosting an open public forum on August 15 from 7-9 p.m. at SAJE (152 W 32nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90007) to discuss and illustrate why a 2028 plan would negatively affect thousands of lives and why city officials won’t even acknowledge that as a possibility.
Additionally, this Thursday, August 10, NOlympics will join Los Angeles-based artist Nancy Popp who will present Cinema na Vila Autódromo (Cinema of Vila Autodromo), a series of films produced by and about the supporters and residents of Vila Autódromo detailing their struggle against their village’s displacement by the developers of Rio de Janiero’s 2016 Olympic Village in Barra de Tijuca.
NOlympics LA is a campaign that categorically opposes the prospect of an LA Olympics and refuses to measure success in terms of profit. They believe, per their analysis, that “an Olympics in LA — regardless of how ‘successfully’ it is executed — will be disastrous for Angelenos across the city,” noting concerns ranging from heightened gentrification to police crackdowns and a diversion of resources from the issues facing LA, such as an affordable housing crisis and the highest rate of homeless people in the country.
NOlympics LA has recruited a diverse group of coalition partners representing communities set to be impacted by the Games, including Af3irm, Anti-Racist Action LA/People Against Racist Terror, Black Lives Matter LA, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America, Long Beach, Democratic Socialists of America, Sacramento, Democratic Socialists of America, South Bay, Ground Game LA, Iraq Veterans Against the War - Los Angeles, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), the Los Angeles Poverty Department, the LA Tenants Union, March and Rally LA, the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party, San Fernando Valley Greens, San Fernando Valley United, Skid Row Coffee, SoCal 350 Climate Action, Socialist Alternative LA, Solidarity LA, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), Union de Vecinos and Veterans For Peace LA.
NOlympics LA emerged out of the Housing and Homelessness committee of the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics.