Bamboozled No More! Just say No Olympics in Boston

 

I am not in favor of bringing the Olympics to Boston. The idea scares me. I view the project as a quick fix for a city in need of long term solutions.

The advocates for bringing the Olympic to Boston present a very seductive scenario. They make promises of jobs and fast cash. Their “big talk” reminds me of Ponzi schemes, or worse, the recruiting techniques used by drug dealers and pimps.

The big question to ask amidst all the fast talk is “who really benefits?”

There is lots of talk about the Olympics in terms of job creation. But what kinds of jobs will be created? And equally important, who will be hired for these jobs? I doubt that the Olympics will have the power to eliminate the traditional barriers of class, race, gender, age, physical ability, appearance etc. Who and what industries will be creating these jobs? Am I the only one who has noticed the lack of diversity in the crews constructing affordable housing?

I once shared my observation about this lack of diversity with several local Massachusetts mayors during a panel discussion. I remember an awkward silence then one of panel members pushed the blame onto the unions. Wow! Nice come back! The ol’ pass the buck routine and the discussion moved on.

Sorry, I just don’t see the Olympics diversifying the face of our workforce. Cities change. In the ideal situation, people relocate because they want to move. In the real world, people don’t have that choice. Think about Boston’s West End community. My fear is that by 2024 Boston’s communities of color will disappear or be managed as tourist attractions.

This past winter has also showcased Boston’s need for infrastructure overhaul. You don’t need to be a Warren Buffett to know, that overhaul will be expensive. And who will pay for the renovations?

I love living in Boston. I want the best for the city and I am not convinced the Olympics is the way. I see Olympic Fever as a distraction, and distractions can be expensive. Remember, those who pay are not necessarily the same folks who will profit.

Which folk are you?

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column appears regularly in Oddball Magazine.

 

5 Comments

    1. thank you whoever you are. Nice to know people are reading the column. PS I always appreciate likes on FB or WordPress. Please share with others

  1. Hi Janet,
    I haven’t really heard much about it on the jobs front. Most of the argument I’ve heard in favor of it is along the lines of improving infrastructure quickly and with international money. Up here in Lowell where they’re talking about having the rowing competitions that would include among other things finally replacing a 30 year old temporary bridge which was only supposed to last ten years.

    1. Steve: Good to hear from you. The Olympics promoters are trying to win support by appealing to different interest groups. As you pointed out, the folks in Lowell have infrastructure concerns. Lowell may get some infrastructure improvements. But I suspect the improvements will be short term and low quality. And don’t be surprised if Lowell is left paying a big price.
      In Boston, the Olympics are being sold as source of jobs…or alluding to jobs . I don’t see the jobs as long term or offering good wages or other opportunities. What I find interesting is that promoters for the Olympics don’t have the power to create jobs thru infrastructure/construction. That power is really with the unions. The unions decide who works and who doesn’t . And the unions have historically ignored people of color and poor people. Also, I am seeing communities of color being displaced. The Olympics will speed that process up

      I would warn the folks in Lowell to be wary of promoters and politicians bearing gifts. The gifts will be beautifully wrapped but when you get beyond that, the contents will be turn to dust. Think in terms of the Big Dig…

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