Can Chicago turn an Olympic bid loss into a victory?
Are you happy, sad, or ambivalent that Chicago lost its Olympic bid for 2016?
Even though I was against Chicago's Olympic bid, I took no delight in my town's lost bid. I admire the hard work of the Chicago Olympic committee. I respect hard work.
I was against our Olympic bid because I find it difficult to purchase a shiny new car when the rest of my house needs repair. I knew that the City of Chicago went into the Olympic bid with a 50% high school drop out rate, twice as many homicides as a city twice as large (NYC), unemployment above 11% and budget deficits.
Chicago's Olympic bid committee might have countered my arguments with an Olympic solution. High tides raise all ships. A Chicago Olympics would have inspired high school students and reduced unemployment with pre-Olympic work. Maybe, we'll never know.
What I do know is that Chicago is a city of one incredibly scarce resource: decision making. Does anyone honestly think that independent decision making is encouraged in a political environment dominated by Mayor Daley? Most recently, our Chicago aldermen voted 49-0 to support the Olympic bid and cover any losses for the bid. Does anyone think the aldermen and alderwomen voted 49-0 because they thought Chicago's Olympic bid was a fantastically good idea? Or do we think the aldermen were hedging their patronage bets against the possibility a "no vote" would mean getting cut off from patronage projects if Chicago did win the Olympics?
Like I said, Chicago's most scarce resource is independent decision making.
The only person with power who can make independent decisions in this town is probably Mayor Daley.
So I ask you Mr. Mayor, what was your Plan B if Chicago's Olympic bid failed. Surely you had someone working on Plan B so you could utilize all the energy of the Chicago Olympic committee if the bid failed.
How will you reduce Chicago's abysmal high school drop out rate? How will you reduce homicides in Chicago? How will you increase jobs in Chicago for a workforce of declining educational skills?
I will not blame Mayor Daley for a city budget with deficits. All major cities are facing that problem.
But after a few days of processing the emotional loss of the Olympics, I ask Mayor Daley to lead and tell us what his Plan B was in case the Chicago Olympic bid failed. Give us a good plan for improving our city Mr. Mayor, and even your opponents will support you. I will.