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Blanket Guarantee For Chicago


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City Council Approves Public Olympic Backing

Taxpayers Would Be On The Hook If The Olympics Lost Money

By a vote of 49-0 Wednesday, the City Council approved a plan that would essentially have taxpayers handing over a blank check toward Chicago's Olympic bid in case of cost overruns.

The measure give Mayor Richard M. Daley free reign to sign the 2016 host city contract, which holds the city responsible if the games lose money. The vote was not 50-0 because the 36th Ward currently has no alderman, following the retirement of William J.P. Banks.

Before the vote, Daley called on aldermen to "vote your conscience," but said the Olympics would be "a great opportunity for the city."

The mayor also invoked the names of African-American Olympians Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe, who competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, despite facing racism both in Nazi Germany and back home in the U.S. Daley praised Owens and Metcalfe for "having the courage to go there, even though our country turned their backs on them."

All the other cities that are bidding for the Olympics – Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid – have all signed contracts guaranteeing public backing if they get the 2016 games. In a recent report, a commission from the International Olympic Committee identified Chicago's failure to provide a full public guarantee if the games lose money.

Aldermen say the move sends a message to the IOC that Chicago means business and wants the games. Mayor Daley has said there will be little risk to taxpayers because they have enough private financing.

Furthermore, no U.S. host city has ever lost money in the Olympics, and a recent report by the Civic Federation said Chicago could stay in budget for the 2016 Games.

Still, the use of taxpayers' money for the Olympics has been unpopular among many Chicagoans, and on Wednesday, they remained skeptical.

"Because taxpayers don't have enough money to be responsible, the Olympics have enough money," said Tosha Thomas. "Let them take care of their business. Let the city pay for it."

"They should find the funds without increasing taxes," said Mitchell Klein. When asked about the mayor's claim that private funding is sufficient, Klein said, "I'd like to see guarantees."

"I don't think taxpayers should be responsible, but I think the Olympics should come to Chicago," said Lyvette Irving



All 4 cities have the same financial guarantees now. Just for Chicago it's the city government, for the rest it's the national government.

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"All 4 cities have the same financial guarantees now. Just for Chicago it's the city government, for the rest it's the 'national' government."

And for any IOC member that wants to nit-pick, they could make that an issue for themselves & take their vote elsewhere. Although, the State of Illinois also pledged money, too. And with the insurance policy that the city took out as well, that should be suffient. But it's not really all the same as saying to the IOC, "here's a blank check to our national treasury, so have at it". But I guess we'll see it just 3-weeks.

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Yeah, but why would the other bids need an insurance policy when they have their national governments giving them financial carte blanche, which is what the IOC loves. The insurance policy would be redundant for them.

Chicago needs that insurance policy because they have no government monetary backing. And that's what I mean, all that Chicago has thus far as far as the guarantees 'should' be enough, but again for any IOC member that still wants to nit-pick, that it's still not a full 'government' guarantee, they could still place their vote elsewhere & that is something that could still be a concern for them.

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