2016: Keep working while waiting

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The countdown has started for the 2016 Summer Olympics bid.

The countdown has started for the 2016 Summer Olympics bid.

On Oct. 2, the International Olympic Committee will make its choice for the host city for those games, and Chicago is a finalist.

Certainly, there is disagreement on exactly what benefits will arise from hosting the games. Chicago 2016 lists permanent venues and affordable apartments and increased tourist dollars.

But Mayor Richard Daley, while he also touts those things, tends to wax poetic about civic pride and international prestige. Daley wants Chicago to step up and wear the mantle of a world-class city – not a Second City – but a first tier city. He thinks that hosting the Olympics will establish the city founded by a Black man as one of the world’s greatest cities, a showplace for everything that is good about America.

Not everyone thinks that hosting the Olympics will bring all of these perks, and some do not want the games here at all. They point to the fact that affordable housing will have to be razed and residents moved to make way for the two-week celebration of international sports. They wonder how the city can afford to host the world while it is laying off workers and furloughing staff.

And they wonder how much this Olympic party is going to cost them, in taxes, since the city quietly agreed to cover the inevitable cost overruns.

That does not mean that they are bad public citizens, and, in fact, their objections have helped to focus the bid not on pie-in-the sky promises but tangible bricks and mortar benefits.

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