Last Friday, August 11, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to sign the Host City Contract (HCC) for the 2028 Summer Olympic bid to little surprise from opposition group NOlympics LA. That the bid committee was already setting up a press event outside City Hall hours before the meeting speaks volumes to the certainty that this process would not be transparent or democratic, and that City Council was eager to rubber stamp the 2028 Games with no complete budget, no independent analysis and limited public input.
As a response, the NOlympics LA coalition is hosting an open public forum on August 15 from 7-9 p.m. at SAJE (152 W 32nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90007) — the first of its kind for the 2024 or 2028 bid process — to discuss and illustrate why a 2028 plan would negatively affect thousands of lives and why city officials won’t even acknowledge that as a possibility. The event will be bilingual, free and open to the public.
Scheduled panelists include*:
Housing and Displacement Panel
Nancy Popp (LA Tenants Union)
Damien Goodmon (Crenshaw Subway Coalition)
Joe Donlin (SAJE)
Marques Vestal (Department of History, UCLA)
Policing and Militarization Panel
Melina Abdullah (Black Lives Matter - LA)
Michael Novick (Anti-Racist Action LA)
Ace Katano (Ground Game LA)
David Stein (Departments of History and African American Studies, UCLA)
Angelica Duenas (San Fernando Valley Greens)
John Motter (Iraq Veterans Against the War)
Accountability and Oversight Panel
Jason Schadewald (March and Rally LA)
Sam Forman (DSA-LA Healthcare)
Valeria Espinosa (AF3IRM)
CC Carroll (Socialist Alternative)
Angel Orellana (San Fernando Valley United)
Ernesto Ayala (La Raza Unida)
* Speaker line-up subject to change
Regarding the City Council vote and the future of the campaign, NOlympics LA released the following statement:
"We stand resolved in our opposition to LA hosting the Games and do not feel that Friday’s proceedings in any way alleviated our concerns that an Olympics in Los Angeles will result in further displacement of poor and low-income people and an increased militarization of our police force, and that our city and state will be vulnerable to the inevitable cost overruns that have plagued all modern games.
In Friday’s meeting, City Council demonstrated that they fundamentally misunderstand our concerns, asserting that the Olympics are not designed to alleviate poverty or homelessness. We have never suggested the Olympic Games are capable of such transformative positive change. The Olympic Games are capable — time and time again — of transformative negative change, exacerbating poverty, homelessness, displacement and other issues. That is our concern. We have no illusions that the IOC has a remote interest in the issues that millions of Angelenos face, and we do not hold the Games responsible for resolving them. We leave that up to our elected officials, who have shown us today and throughout that they are more interested in assuring the goodwill of the IOC than the confidence of their constituents.
Furthermore, the Council did not allow for public comment, even though we engaged in an active call-in campaign to Herb Wesson’s office last week, demanding that he allow us to speak during the full City Council meeting — not just the earlier committee meeting. Despite Council President Wesson’s comments as he denied public comment, City Council has not held "countless meetings" on the 2028 bid. The Ad Hoc Committee on the 2024 Summer Olympics (which has yet to be renamed in the haste around voting) has only heard public comment on the 2028 bid twice. The full City Council has never heard public comment specifically related to the 2028 bid. One council member, Monica Rodriguez, has never heard public comment on either the 2024 or 2028 bid, since she was elected into office after the 2024 bid passed. This reaffirms our assertion that the Olympic Games are inherently undemocratic and do not take into account the needs of the host city’s residents beyond those who are already rich and powerful.
We will continue our campaign despite the vote, pushing the conversation forward and demanding that our leaders be held accountable for their role in this process. Herb Wesson admitted that the members of LA City Council won't be here in 2028, but we will be."
NOlympics LA — a coalition of over 25 groups based in California — believes that the bid committee and city leadership are not performing their due diligence with regards to the 2028 bid. They say rushing through a decision within City Council to accommodate the IOC’s timeline is "irresponsible at best, and potentially fatal to certain vulnerable communities." The vetting of Olympic bid plans generally takes months or even years, but the bid committee is trying to rush this process — at the detriment of many communities in LA and without their input — to meet the IOC’s arbitrary September 13 deadline.
NOlympics LA is a campaign that categorically opposes the prospect of an LA Olympics and refuses to measure success in terms of profit. They believe, per their analysis, that "an Olympics in LA — regardless of how ‘successfully’ it is executed — will be disastrous for Angelenos across the city," noting concerns ranging from heightened gentrification to police crackdowns and a diversion of resources from the issues facing LA, such as an affordable housing crisis and the highest rate of homeless people in the country.
NOlympics LA has recruited a diverse group of coalition partners representing communities set to be impacted by the Games, including Af3irm, Anti-Racist Action LA/People Against Racist Terror, Black Lives Matter LA, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America, Long Beach, Democratic Socialists of America, Sacramento, Democratic Socialists of America, South Bay, Ground Game LA, Iraq Veterans Against the War - Los Angeles, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), the Los Angeles Poverty Department, the LA Tenants Union, March and Rally LA, the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party, San Fernando Valley Greens, San Fernando Valley United, Skid Row Coffee, SoCal 350 Climate Action, Socialist Alternative LA, Solidarity LA, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), Union de Vecinos and Veterans For Peace LA.
NOlympics LA emerged out of the Housing and Homelessness committee of the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics.
For more information, please contact:
Tel: call 213.369.1125
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