Boston 2024 Is Now Officially Circling the Drain

April 4, 2015

From our Late to the Going-Away Party desk

Good Friday turned out to be Bad Friday for Store 2024.

As in, all news was bad news for the local machers mucking up the bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Start with yesterday’s Boston Globe (which has generally taken pity on the totally inept Boston 2024niks), where two – count ’em, two – columnists wrote MISTIA (More in Sorrow Than in Anger) pieces about the botched bid.

First, Shirley Leung on the Business front page:

Olympics bid needs a world-class PR save

In all the hand-wringing over the mess that is Boston’s Olympics bid, Doug Rubin has managed to escape scrutiny.

Until now.unnamed(42)

Boston 2024 is awash in problems — and none bigger is the group’s ability to get its message across that the Games can make Boston a better version of itself. The Olympics are supposed to be a feel-good event, but not here. Instead, the Games are toxic, as if organizers are proposing to build a nuclear waste dump on the Greenway.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, from Boston 2024 chairman John Fish to our naysaying selves. But Rubin and his firm Northwind Strategies are most responsible for making sure the public understands why hosting the Summer Games could be good for Boston.

 

Which the public assuredly does not.

Next, Scot Lehigh on the Globe’s op-ed page:

Taxpayer risk is Boston 2024’s highest hurdle

WHEN IT comes to hosting the Olympics here in 2024, I’m a skeptic. But now that everyone agrees that voters will get to decide the fate of the Olympics bid, I’m a skeptic in a wait-and-see mode.

The threshold question that Boston 2024 faces is crystal clear. Well before the public vote, the group will need to present a convincing plan showing how Boston (or Greater Boston) can host the 2024 Summer Games without putting taxpayers at risk.

So far, what we have are professions of good intentions. “Tax dollars will not be used to build venues or pay for the operation of the Games,” Boston 2024’s new briefing book asserts.

The reality, however, is that at some point, Boston will have to guarantee that the various Olympic venues will be ready. And that means the city could have to step to the plate if plans go seriously awry. Given the deep opposition to using public dollars for the Games, it’s difficult to see how Mayor Marty Walsh could put Boston in that position without an air-tight assurance that taxpayers won’t be left holding the bag.

 

Ah, yes, Marty Walsh.

Crosstown at the Marty Walsh Gazette (a.k.a. the Boston Herald), the marty local tabloid – which had been a sort of house organ for City Hall until being thrown under the buss on Thursday – was silent yesterday on all matters Olympic.

Which brings us to Friday’s New York Times drive-by hooting.

U.S.O.C. Misjudged Appetite for a Hot Potato

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After completing its long, complicated and anything but transparent process of choosing a city as its candidate to host the 2024 Summer Games, the United States Olympic Committee has found itself in an awkward position.

Boston, the city the committee chose to represent the United States, does not appear to want to host the Games at all.

Too expensive, some Bostonians say — the money used to host the Games should be dedicated to improving schools and social programs. Too many people, others say — Boston has terrible traffic, so why invite thousands more to further clog the streets?

Too unnecessary, say those personally hurt by the notion that the Olympics could improve Boston’s image worldwide: Why does Boston need the Olympics to validate it as a world-class city when Bostonians are perfectly happy with Boston as it is?

 

Except they’re not. Never really have been.

But Bostonians are even less happy with the Olympics. Then again, that’s just one of many problems with the town’s bid. And so, according to the Times, the endgame is near, in the form of the 2016 statewide referendum Boston 2024 has promised.

If recent history is any guide, that public vote will deal the fatal blow to Boston’s chances. Voters in Munich; St. Moritz/Davos, Switzerland; and Krakow, Poland, all batted away their bids for the 2022 Winter Games. Vienna retreated from its 2028 Summer Games bid after a vote, too.

 

Everyone under the sun has denied this week’s Wall Street Journal report that “the U.S. Olympic Committee may drop Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Games if local support doesn’t improve soon.”

But now comes today’s Boston Herald, which has apparently found a new go-to guy. “Boston 2024 should ‘clean house’ and install a ‘better team’ that can keep a shorter leash on Chairman John Fish and prevent more embarrassing gaffes — like questioning the patriotism of Olympic critics, U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch told the Herald yesterday.”

Oh, right – we had forgotten that one: Bostonians are unpatriotic if they don’t support this game of five-ring monte.

Please, someone, put these people out of our misery.

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Boston Dailies Engage in Olympic Gamesmanship

March 21, 2015

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

In the wake of the new WBUR poll that registers a knee-buckling 52% opposition to Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid, the major players have decided it’s time to buckle down. And to pick a local daily to get the word out.

Not surprisingly, Mayor Marty Walsh has drifted toward the Boston Herald, while Boston 2024 gets a front-page boost from the Boston Globe.

Start with the latter:

Boston 2024 goes campaign-style

Bid committee uses political tactics and operatives

It was the ideal place to launch a grassroots movement: a Roxbury basketball tournament that drew a who’s who of political players, from the governor and mayor to city councilors and ward committee activists.

And right inside the entrance were three young people handing out Boston 2024 wristbands and urging anyone 1200_olympics_tlumackiwithin earshot to volunteer for the city’s Olympic bid.

“Whether you’re for or against, we want to hear your voice,” Willie Bodrick II proclaimed as he pitched the Games to a local lawyer and nonprofit executive.

Bodrick, a 27-year-old pastor who worked on Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial bid, is part of a sophisticated campaign-style operation that the local Olympic organizing group has built to persuade skeptical Bostonians to embrace efforts to land the 2024 Summer Games.

 

Michael Levenson’s piece continues, “the organization now looks much like a well-funded candidate’s operation, with digital media strategists, field teams, fund-raisers, liaisons to clergy and to ethnic media, and consultants who have worked on the biggest races in Massachusetts politics.”

And they all get trotted out here, from uber-consultants Doug Rubin and Will Keyser to “voter-mobilization guru” John Walsh to the ubiquitous Rev. Jeffrey Brown.

Crosstown, the Boston Herald channels Marty Walsh in Richard Weir’s piece.

Walsh hits reset button in quest for Olympic gold

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh, amid nosediving public support for Boston’s Olympics bid, is looking to hit the “reset button” in hopes of restoring confidence in the push to host the 2024 Summer Games and cutting his own political losses, according to City Hall insiders and observers.

Walsh called out former Gov. Deval Patrick Thursday over his controversial $7,500-a-day lobbying fee for the group behind the bid, Boston 2024, just hours before Patrick finally relented and said he would forgo pay for his work.

“Mayor Walsh has hit the reset button on the Olympic effort given that this is his city and he has the most to lose politically,” said one insider close to the Walsh administration.

 

Yeah – especially since he told WGBH’s Boston Public Radio last month that he’d consider 70% support for the Boston Olympics “satisfactory.” We’re a long way from that, Mistah Mayah, and headed in the wrong direction.

(Cheek by jowl with Weir’s piece is a Joe Battenfeld column calling for Mitt Romney to take over the whole mess, and a Joe Fitzgerald rumination on Deval Patrick’s $7500-a-day hubris.)

This could get interesting if the Globe becomes the preferred conduit for the Boston 2024 machers, and the Herald generally serves as the unofficial newsletter of the Walsh administration.

We shall see, eh?


Five-Ring Monte: Boston Herald Is on the Money in Olympic Salary Flap

March 10, 2015

The local dailies are currently on Boston 2024, the high-rolling Olympic wannabe outfit, like Brown on Williamson – especially in the matter of who’s getting paid what.

Today Boston hits the Dailies Double, with both papers front-paging the buckraking at the Olympic trough.

Boston Globe:

Olympic bid panel offers salary data

Patrick to earn $7,500 per day during travels

Former governor Deval Patrick will earn $7,500 a day for occasional travel as a global ambassador for Boston’s Olympic bid, selling the city and its vision for the Games to the International Olympic Committee, according to salary data released Monday by local 0109patrickOlympic planners, who say they do not know how often Patrick would be on the job.

The local Olympic bid committee, Boston 2024, which is funded by private donations, is also paying $1,390,500 in annual staff salary, with six of 10 salaried employees making more than $100,000 a year. Chief executive Rich Davey topped the list at $300,000.

 

Mark Arsenault’s piece features other hauls as well: “Boston 2024 is paying $44,000 a month to communications consultants, including $15,000 each to Northwind Strategies — overseen by former Patrick aide Doug Rubin — and Keyser Public Strategies, whose president, Will Keyser, was a key strategist in Governor Charlie Baker’s winning campaign.”

And: “The committee also has monthly contracts, for $10,000 each, with William Coyne Jr. and Jack Hart — well-connected lobbyists with South Boston ties.”

And: “Nikko Mendoza, who was Patrick’s director of operations, is vice president for engagement and external affairs, making $120,000 a year, according to Boston 2024.”

That’s a lotta dough-re-mi, eh?

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, it gets even worse.

 

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Inside, the fiscally local tabloid features this handy clip ‘n’ save pay sheet:

 

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Do we see a pattern emerging here? Boston 2024 operates clandestinely, local media force the issue on some issue, Boston 2024 forks over some information. Time to stock up on crowbars.