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Everything posted by ToddSF

  1. Interesting that it was LA that contacted SF about the joint bid idea. I had thought this might happen, because LA has to realize that the government guarantee it needs could only come from the State, and not from a cash-strapped city government in California where most of the tax money goes to Sacramento. That was a main problem with Denver's 1976 bid. It was the State that had to pay, so activists put it on the ballot state-wide. Most people in Colorado don't live in Denver, so why should they pay? California is another state where it is easy to put things on the ballot. Any demand for State (or City) money is immediately going to generate a ballot initiative from people who don't want the Olympics. California's state government has the money to back it, but voters across the state would not approve that for LA. So it would almost have to be a statewide bid, or sellable as such, to get enough people to approve it. And even then, it's dicey of course.
  2. Boston actually ranks pretty high on various "global city" indices. Especially the Wealth Report's and the EIU's.
  3. I agree that there are good reasons to think the IOC would look favorably on Boston. The way I think it works in most committee votes is that there are some members who have a strong preference going in, based on their own personal ties, in this case to one or more of the cities that were being voted on. And there are other members who are more open to all the possibilities. In this case, it looked to me like there were strong local contingents from three of the cities. So in that scenario, I'd expect the more neutral members to steer the vote initially, narrowing down the options, and then when it becomes apparent that one of the "strong preference" groups is not going to win, they are likely to think strategically. At that point, the remaining options will each have strong arguments for them, so it becomes a coalitional game. Both SF and LA partisans would likely favor Boston if (a) Boston was one of the cities that made the initial cut and ( their own city was no longer in the mix. We don't know exactly how many there were from each group, though, because it is often hard to tell exactly where and how strong people's allegiances are just from their bio.
  4. I agree that the last minute oakland thing was not a smooth move. Or at least it didn't appear so to me. I thought the SF 2024 people must have gotten feedback that the pop up stadium idea was hurting the bid, but then the committee went with Boston which has a pop up stadium. So I don't know. As my earlier message showed, there appeared to be three main groups on the board: one that would be expected to favor Boston, one group for LA, and one group for SF. The Boston one must have included Ping, whom I had thought would have split loyalty, because she now works for Bain in boston, which funded most of their bid. So the contingents for those three cities were of roughly equal sizes (~4 members each), with only one member who would be expected to be a DC partisan. If we assume the board members have pretty strong perferences for their own cities, the LA people might have voted strategically. If it was between Boston and SF, the LA voters would probably be better off with Boston getting the nod over SF. This is high stakes for the medium term chances of other cities after 2024. If Boston loses the bid at the IOC, it will strengthen LA's argument next time that they are the only city that can do it. And if Boston wins at the IOC, an east coast Games will not preclude a return to the west coast of the US in 12 years or so after 2024. But if SF were to get the Games, it would knock LA out for a long time. A cynic might even say the LA people would side with Boston over SF because they think Boston has less of a chance of winning the Games than SF, improving LA's chances next time But I won't go that far. The same logic obviously applies to the SF contingent on the board. SF is certainly better off with Boston than with LA if it wants to host in the next 25-30 years. But the Boston group didn't really have a clear rival group in this vote, from what I could tell.
  5. Sure, but I figure I have a bit of time. Another incentive to live a clean life.
  6. Well, although I was disappointed SF didn't win, I can't feel too bad since the chosen city is Boston. It's like losing a race to your older brother, whom you've always looked up to. SF is kinda like boston west, so if they are successful, maybe we can one day follow in their footsteps. Plus the northeast coriidor has never hosted, and that seems not quite right given its importance in the world. I hope Boston wins the bid and puts on a great, cost effective Games. If they do, it will help other cities in the U.S., like San Francisco, convince everyone that we can do it too. In recent bid years every US city has had to deal with the idea that LA is the only city in the US that can host a successful Olympics. If Boston is successful, that argument will go out the window. Plus, at the very least, this gives Mitt Romney something to do. On the politics in boston: As I've tried to argue on the SF thread, organized opposition, especially early in the bid process, can be productive. That has been our experience with building pro sports venues in sf. It should help bring discipline to the process so Bostonians don't get taken to the cleaners. So many interests see dollar signs in the prospect of an Olympics - you have to have something to counteract that. Thank your activists, and join them when they need it. Congrats, beantown. Do us proud.
  7. This just in: A KPIX 5 / SurveyUSA poll found overwhelming support for a Bay Area Olympic bid. In a survey of 500 adults across the Bay Area, 70 percent said they would like the games to be held here. Seven out of 10 also said hosting the 2024 games would be a huge boost for the local economy. The margin of error is 4.1 percent.
  8. Here's a breakdown of the USOC Board of Directors by ties to the four cities (those with ties to more than one of the cities are noted with an asterisk for each additional city, and counted at one half or one third, depending on the number of cities, in the totals): San Francisco (4.33) Probst (Redwood City), Bach (Stanford), Bowlsby (former Stanford A.D.), Lyons (SF), Ping** (Stanford) Los Angeles (3.83) DeFrantz (LA), Easton (LA, UCLA), Ruggiero (LA), Benson* (M.B.A. from USC), Ping** (formerly LA) Boston (2.83) Benson* (Boston), McCagg (Cambridge), Ogrean (Master's from BU), Ping** (Boston) Washington, D.C. (1) Hendricks (Silver Spring) None discernible (3) Burns, Kemppel, Marolt If you included ties to more distant places in the regions of these cities, you could possibly put Kemppel in the Boston group (went to Dartmouth) and Probst to D.C. (went to U. of Delaware), but I think those are too weak to include.
  9. Here's the story. I think this may be a response to similar discussions happening around the Rams owner's new stadium deal in LA.
  10. The Transbay Transit Center is short about $300M the last I read. Not chump change, but it will get covered. That is the kind of project that requires public funds. Fortunately (or not) we have a well connected member of congress and a governor who has made High Speed Rail his #1 pet project. I am not a big fan of the HSR project, BTW. 65 billion dollars spread across California cities could build several amazing local transit systems, and instead what we will get is a little competition for the airlines who fly the SFO-LA corridor.
  11. One thing in San Francisco s favor is that we have found ways to build state-of-the-art pro sports venues with all private money: AT&T Park and now (it appears) the new Warriors arena. We were the first city to build a Major League ballpark that way. It's the combination of abundant private funding and citizens' insistence on not using public money for these projects that has made this possible. I think these projects are a good model for the Olympics, because they have come with transit improvements and grew out of extensive review that generated eventual public buy-in. Our teams are doing pretty well on the field/court too, which obviously helps.
  12. As a long-time san francisco resident and close observer of the politics, I'm going to take the liberty here of speaking for what I think is the dominant sentiment that will prevail if SF gets the bid. Not the anti-Olympics people who exist in every city and are just a vocal minority ("What a bother! The traffic, the crowds! Yuck!"), but rather the vast majority who show up on parade day when the Giants win the World Series, and so on. Here goes: We are a city of very fit, outdoorsy people who like sports (especially when our team wins) and we love a good party. We are great fans for the SF Giants and 49ers (even though the latter sort-of left us), and the Warriors will be welcomed back enthusiastically into their new arena. Our stadiums and arenas get built well and usually sell out. We are happy to have a ballpark/arena/regatta/(and yes) Olympics in our city, as long as we don't have to pay for it. We know that the bay area is swimming in private money, which can easily cover the costs of these things. That's what we insist on, and if private money builds it, we will come, we will cheer, and we will have a great time. OTOH, try to dip your hands into our treasury and we get very cranky. We are needy, with lots of transit projects in the pipeline, homeless and disabled people, underfunded schools, a health program that is supposed to cover every resident who doesn't have their own insurance, and a housing shortage. Unlike New York City, we are barred by our state's laws from having our own income tax, and we live with a state and federal government that often appear hostile to us. So just realize that we have a lot on our plates and we need our public money for our own needs. But the truth is that we would love to have the Olympics if it can be done without hurting our finances, and we will be good volunteers and do a great job with it if we get it. Thanks.
  13. Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, has published an op-ed about Agenda 2020. Embedded in it is this quote: "Each of the four cities being considered — San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washinton, D.C., and Boston — will no doubt present a strong bid." I find the order of cities there interesting. It's not alphabetical. And the timing of the op-ed, three days before the vote. Hmmm. Could this be Bach's signal to the USOC about his preference ordering over the four U.S. cities?
  14. The only figures I have seen coming from SF 2024 are $4.5B total and $350M for the stadium. Apparently all four cities gave the same budget total at the December meeting ($4.5B), which indicates that is an input to further calculations rather than an output, for at least three of the cities. It's possible one city added up costs and the other three just copied the total, but I I'm guessing the 4.5 figure came from the USOC or a common revenue assumption. Baron, do you know if these budgets include security? I would think so, but that's a huge component (over a billion I think, and it could easily be 2B). That part seems like it would have to come from the Feds. BTW the Exploratory Committee includes socialites with close ties to philanthropy (Goldman, the Shultzes, Wendt, Wilsey). Certainly not a naive bunch.
  15. Spencer Eccles gave about $18M to the Salt Lake Games, though his wealth was not in the same league as that of silicon valley billionaires. I don't know about Lake Placid. Their sponsors list was virtually all corporations, and doesn't differentiate by amounts. Both events were a long time ago given the way Olympic politics has changed. The IOC's reputation was not nearly as bad as it is now. I just found all this from Internet research, BTW. We don't disagree on the history, though, and I think we agree that the key issue for SF 2024 is whether they can attract unprecedented private money, in whatever form. Rich people give to all kinds of things - research, PBS, their own personal yachting teams. There can certainly be a memorial at the legacy park that lists their names, and there will of course be lots of exclusive champaigne parties with fancy cars and dresses, for years in the leadup. The key thing is not the specific form of the event, but whether (a) rich people value having it in their city, and ( the money can be raised without private donations. The answer has to be yes to a and no to b, and at that point, we will see the charity machine rev up. Not before. Of course they are not going to give money if they think the government and event revenues will cover the bill. In that case they are more likely to be recipients than givers. The Daly-led opposition campaign is useful for at least a couple of reasons: (1) The opposition is laying its cards on the table now, rather than waiting, so that the USOC and everyone can see what they won't accept and what they plan to do about it. That's better for SF 2024 than background uncertainty how what those activists might do. And, (2) They are providing the backing that the committee needs in seeking private money. "Look here: we can't get this from the government, so if you would like to see this happen, we need to raise it privately." But right, if they can't make that work, the Games won't happen in SF.
  16. You misunderstood, Baron. I was saying that it could be a NONprofit organization, so people could donate tax free. A for profit company is the other alternative, but if that is the model, it will mean, ex hypothesi, that investors will put money into it in order to share in the profit. It has to be one or the other, is what I am saying. A lot of things that used to be either for profit or government funded eventually became nonprofits that people donate to. That's the paradigm shift I think we might see. Opera companies are a good example. Originally they were just a business, then cities funded them, but that didn't suffice and wasn't popular with the public. So rich people give money to opera because it is the only way they can be funded. The wealthy people of the bay area give to SF Opera because they want to hear Anna Netrebko sing La Traviata for the first time in north america (I was THERE, man, and it was AWESOME!). And more pointedly they want SF to have a better opera company than LA (which is does, BTW ). If governments won't fund Olympics and they can't turn a profit purely as a business, that doesn't mean they will go away. It might just mean that havinig a great Olympics in your city will become a new status symbol for a city's elite, and that the Olympics will be honoring their donors in the "Dress Circle" just like the opera does. Maybe.
  17. The tax issue is easy, I think. The local games should be (are generally?) a nonprofit, 501c3 organization. They are not political advocacy, so that shouldn't be hard. The other option is to make them a profitable corporation. If that makes economic sense, the investment capital will certainly be there. I agree that the donations route has not been big in the past for Olympics, but I think it's viable. That's how we get opera houses and most university buildings. We will see.
  18. The opposition was completely expected and has, for the most part, materialized in a productive way. If you read their letter and press announcements, you'll see that the language is "If you want the Olympics in San Francisco, we will go to the voters to propose that no public money be spent on them." But the SF 2024 Committee anticipated this and has consistently said there will be no public money spent on costs of the event, only on public infrastructure that will have lasting benefit, such as transit improvements. If they stick to this, they will be able to make the case, I think. I have watched Daly and Art Agnos for years, as well as the movements they have led, and the pattern is consistent: Be firm, drive a hard bargain, but don't stand in the way if the city will genuinely benefit. All of this is helping to move to a new paradigm for the Olympics which I think the IOC is going to have to accept eventually. Whether it will happen with 2024 remains to be seen, but I think that might be the year based on history. In 1976 you get the financial distster of Montreal, but in '84 LA works it out with commercial endorsements. In 2004 the disaster of Athens, but in 2012, London cuts costs with temporary venues. So far 2016 is being interpreted as evidence that the Olympics are risky for politicians. Any government that is really accountable to voters (and that includes every country in Europe) is going to face opposition and potential long-term problems if it tries to spend large amounts of public money on the transient costs of the Olympics. In a small country like Greece it can mean ruin, and even in a large country it can be a focal point for frustrations when the economy stagnates, a la Brazil. This is why we are not seeing european cities in the running for 2022. The people have awoken. In the bay area, it's crystal clear. Most of the money is going to have to come from private sources or there will be no Olympcs here. It's going to have to appeal to the vanity and local pride of our billionaires, as well as the bottom lines of corporate funders without a huge public subsidy. Even the guarantee may have to be private insurance instead of a government-backed one. The only way I see that changing is if the Federal Government makes having the Olympics in the U.S. a priority and commits Federal money to competing with foreign governments. But if other countries are moving in the opposite direction, I don't see them doing that, especially since we don't have just one city that is a symbol of national pride. What we can hope is that this will mean strategic public investment geared toward leveraging Olympics for public infrastructure, which does not include t&f or aquatics stadiums or more militarized police departments. If this is the paradigm outside of countries like China, then the bay area is in good position. If there is one thing we know how to grow here these days, it is billionaires.
  19. Yes, but the people who lead these opposition movements pay attention to the details and are generally rational. They just drive tough bargains, as they should. We have seen, time after time, how they can be won over just by doing the right things, getting support of neighborhoods through jobs, housing, and other local benefits, and then things go through: e.g. Art Agnos endorsing the increase in height limits for Pier 70; Chris Daily supporting the Transbay Tower and investments in Harding Park; the building of AT&T Park; the referendum on the football stadium and development (which of course didn't get built); Lowe's on Bayshore. I think the America's Cup actually illustrates my point. After the 2013 America's Cup, the City was willing to deal with Ellison again despite all the broken promises, tragedy, and general nonsense from round 1. It was Ellison who backed out for the next one because he thought he could get more of what he wanted elsewhere. Similarly with York - it wasn't SF that turned him down, he just wanted what he could get in Santa Clara. In this case, though, I don't think the people in the bay area with the purse strings are going to be pitting other cities against SF, which is the mechanism that creates these tensions. Baer and the people on the committee are aware of all the history. They know what to do with the politicians and the voters. It's the bigwigs who have the power and money who will determine whether this happens or not.
  20. I think the key to the SF bid is private financing. The local committee has made it clear that their funding model is all private for costs directly related to the Olympics (venues, and also I presume security and other event costs), with at most a small backstop from the State (not the City). Public money, which would include Federal funds for transit improvements, would only be used for durable infrastructure. If they pursue this strategy, then I like SF's chances. The venue plan is sensible, and the legacy parks will be appealing to locals. A referendum or revolt would likely only threaten the games if public money is at stake for event costs, and I think the SF organizers are savvy to this. There is enough private money in the bay area to do it, so I think that means it just depends on the ability of the SF committee to harness that. There's probably no better place to try to do that right now than the bay area.
  21. Well, I'm no expert. This is just an idea that others who are reading this, or that I might contact and who know much more, could explore if they are so inclined. But I should point out that treasure island, which is an artificial island, was actually built in order to host the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition, and was meant to accommodate 250,000 visitors per day to the fair in the early years of the Bay Bridge. So it wouldn't be at odds with the original vision for the island to have a huge event there. I do think that enhancing the access between TI and the bridge would need to happen in any case to accommodate the eventual development of the island, so it would make sense to include that in any overall plan to host events there.
  22. On the America's Cup, my understanding is that Lee thinks the City benefited from this year's Cup, despite the many obvious problems and the inflated estimates from AC backers when it was originally on the table. So he wants to do it again and thinks it will be better in 2017. Ellison hasn't covered the $5.5M spent by SF taxpayers. Lee says he is making calls to get it from private sources, and the BACEI says the AC brought in more than that in tax revenues. My reasoning is that Ellison might decide to make the Olympics his local sports legacy. He is much more interested in sports and big events than others in his wealth class, and he seems interested in the development of sf in particular. So it makes a certain kind of sense. I have no direct evidence of his interest in the Olympics, but he clearly sees the Cup and the Olympics as in the same category. See this story from August. My sense of Ellison is that he presents a tough exterior but that he cares about his legacy and is responsive to criticism, e.g. shifting to making the entry requirements more inclusive for the next AC. I don't really know what all this means though. On treasure island, it might be possible to fund a lot of what is needed through development. I would think sailing would be anchored at Marina Green, like the next America's Cup if it happens in sf. That and the waterfront adjacent to Crissy Field are the center of sailing in sf. You may have seen this, but Lee expressed considerable interest in the Olympics earlier this year, and at the recent USOC board meeting (in sf) they mentioned SF as a city they are talking to for 2024. I don't know if anyone in a position to matter is thinking about treasure island, but I think they should consider it. I like it in part because I think it could be done in a progressive way that would build housing and develop the area without displacing lots of people. Treasure island development plans have generally not drawn the same kind of opposition we usually see in sf from various consituencies.
  23. Baron, I respect your knowledge in general, but here are a few things I'd say in addition to the math in my post above: (1) There is no plan in place for TI any more as far as I know. See this story from last spring. This is the crux of why I think it might be feasible to center and Olympics there. The bay area is a great place for the Olympics, with the stadium issue being the main one that needs to be solved. (2) The bay area transportation system has tremendous capacity for overload. We have had days in sf alone when over a million people come to events - Gay Pride 2013, the day in October 2012 when the Giants, Fleet Week, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at GGP were all happening at the same time. Numbers in the range we are talking about for cross-bay traffic are not infeasible. If you play with my numbers and assume three or four people instead of two per private car, for instance, you get up in the 200-300K range per day to TI even without the extra ferries. (3) I agree that there is an issue with processing people on the island. But I don't see why it would be substantially harder there than at a place like Levi's Stadium. Screening everyone is just a huge pain, no matter where it is done. I'm guessing most of it would happen on the island itself, in lines heading into the venues. Maybe screening before people get onto the shuttle buses in addition or instead. There would be lots of security people watching everything - the bridges, transit hubs, etc. Same as at any other candidate venue. An island actually has advantages from a security standpoint because access is much easier to control. When I read these posts, in general, I feel you could conclude that most past venues were infeasible based on a priori capacity. Somehow they make it happen. No Olympics I know of has crashed because of transportation bottlenecks. Correct me if I am wrong there. If there is land available for building, the main issues are economic and political. In that department, the bay area may or may not be in good shape for an Olympics, I'm not really sure. There has been a lot of enthusiasm for big sporting events here over the last few years - US Open, America's Cup, Super Bowl L in 2016, etc., and we have the big money people who could make it all happen if they want to, is all I'm saying. Of course that doesn't mean it will happen.
  24. I was thinking just the stadium would go on treasure island, plus the Olympic Village. The housing piece fits with development plans for TI, and regular transit options that would be put in place for residents would handle the athletes coming and going. So I'm going to go with 200,000 extra people per day coming onto the island, beyond what will happen after the Olympics. Let's see how we could do that: (1) A parking lot for 20,000 cars on the island (to be grassed over for parkland, or redeveloped after the Olympics). This is 5,000 fewer than will be at the new Levi's Stadium in santa clara, and about 2000 more than are at Candlestick. The Bay Bridge carries 240,000 cars on average per day (again, about half coming from the east and half coming from the west). Let's assume 40,000 additional private cars coming onto the island each day (not all would park in the new lot), carrying 2 people each on average. That's 80,000 people coming to the island in private cars each day. This is not infeasible for the bridge. It would be like days when there are big sporting events on both sides of the bay. But I'm assuming, as happens typically during the Olympics, that non-Olympic traffic would be reduced. Many people would take BART instead of driving for their everyday transit during the Olympics, as happens routinely during other big events. (2) A hundred buses running all day, spread over three public transit hubs: the West Oakland BART station for people coming from the east bay, Embarcadero near the Ferry Building (for BART and Muni metro in sf), and the Transbay Terminal (for Caltrain and buses). Assume a 15 minute trip each way to the island from each of these convergence spots, and buses carrying 50 people at a time, with people arriving over an eight hour span each day. Figure 5 minutes loading on each end for each bus, so each bus takes a trip every 40 minutes to the island. That's 12 trips to the island for each bus each day. 12 x 100 x 50 = 72,000 people coming onto the island by bus. (3) Ferry boats average about 500 passengers per trip. (For example, Blue and Gold Fleet, in san francisco, has nine boats with capacities between 300 and 787 according to their website.) Ferry ride to treasure Island takes 10 minutes from the Ferry Building in sf, 18 minutes from berkeley, and 23 minutes from oakland according to http://www.watertransit.org/proposedRoutes/treasure_overview.aspx. Assume 15 minutes loading time for each boat so each boat is taking one trip to the island and back per hour on average (more from Ferry Building, less from Oakland obviously). We need to get 48,000 people onto the island by ferry over 8 hours each day to get to the 200,000 total. We get 8 x 500 = 4000 from each ferry, so we need 12 ferries to get to 48,000, spread over the three points of embarcation. So that's a way to get 200,000 extra people per day onto the island for the two weeks of the Olympics. The transportation system in the bay area is used to short term shocks. We have had long periods when the entire Bay Bridge was down for repairs, days when BART was not running due to strikes, etc. Those are far worse than the surge that would happen during an Olympics, and again, I'd expect people to adjust plans over that two weeks as they did in london and elsewhere. This does not look infeasible.
  25. Baron might be right about NYC's bid. But I don't think the idea of ferries supplementing the Bay Bridge to get people to and from Treasure Island is infeasible. The bridge enters the island from two sides (east and west), and has 5 lanes coming from each direction. With special purpose buses, ferries, and cars, I'm pretty sure it's feasible. When the US Open was held at Olympic Club in 2012, they sold 33,500 tickets per day, plus press and USGA, the golfers, commerce tents, probably brought it to around 40,000. This was for a venue with no public parking, where every spectator who drove had to park at the Candlestick parking lot and take a shuttle bus, and the public transit option also involved running shuttles from the Colma BART station. I went and it worked fine, without a huge number of buses, despite the roundabout route you had to take to get to the course. A freeway running to the venue with five lanes coming from both directions and on-site parking would have added a lot of capacity (which a golf club could not handle, of course). I would say that, for something that lasts only a couple of weeks, the constraints that would apply to building a permanent venue like Levi's Stadium do not need to apply. Assembling buses, ferries, and parking lots on a short term basis makes a lot of sense to me, and the IOC should be flexible about that. If the IOC would go for a partly temporary stadiium, I think Treasure Island is a feasible idea. There are lots of other big ifs of course, mainly economic, that are harder for me to reason about. But if the money were there from the likes of Larry Ellison and/or other local billionaires, and cooperation from Lennar, I can imagine it happening.
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