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.

 

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