Friday, October 2, 2009

Blame it on Rio.

First of all, I am PSYCHED that Chicago has not been picked for the Olympic games. Not a single city has made money on this. It took Montreal 30 years to pay it off. Chicago, with its horrible financial crises and its corruption the defies belief does not deserve the Olympics. Put another way: I'm already paying for bogus TIFS, the leasing of our parking meters at a loss, trumped-up parking tickets, a 10% sales tax; the list goes on. I'm not about to have my taxes go up AGAIN to fund some sporting event on steroids.

What amazes me is how shocked Chicagoans are that the city wasn't selected. This is what happens when you''e the only game in town (pardon the pun) for most of your region. Oprah was a big Olympics booster; Oprah LOVES THIS CITY.

Oprah doesn't ride the El.

A public-transportation system that is for all practical purposes handicapped INaccessible is not suitable for a world event. The El, while extensive, is ancient and is all stairs and narrow platforms. Sure, we have extensive buses; have you ever ridden a bus when it has to stop and have the ramp lowered, and have the wheelchair secured, and the ramp retracted, and off you go? I never begrudge anyone who needs this, but on an Olympic scale, it would bring everything to a standstill. I once took the twins on the El, thinking I'd do some errands. I had to have people help me carry the kids in the carriage up the steps at our departure station, down at our arrival station (and back up again). I overshot our home station so that I could go one station further, which was new and had an elevator. Olympic visitors with kids, the elderly or the generally infirm would not survive. They'd have to rely on the African taxi drivers, which is like Russian Roulette with a meter.

Chicago is a great city; great restaurants, theater, art. It's incredibly clean, and it has a gorgeous lakefront. It's a gorgeous city. But it's not ready for the Olympics. And even if it were, frankly, we have enough aggravation and congestion without inviting the world to come in and add to it.

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