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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Marty Walsh Tears the Sheets with Boston Herald

April 2, 2015

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the Boston Herald has been the house organ for City Hall in all things Olympic while the Boston Globe has been the preferred venue for the store 2024 set.

For instance, today’s stately local broadsheet includes only this from Walsh in Mark Arsenault’s piece about the come-to-Jesus atmosphere at Boston 2024.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in a statement from his office, said he had been discussing in recent weeks a plan to establish “an office of Olympic accountability at City Hall,” and “is pleased that [Boston 2024 chairman] John Fish is on board.”

 

But the Marty Walsh Gazette trumpets a very different story.

Walsh: Role change could save Hub bid

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh strongly suggested yesterday Boston 2024 chairman John Fish should accept a diminished role with the Olympic group and instead be an “ambassador” to help keep alive the bid to bring the Summer Games to the city.

“It’s an opportunity now — I wouldn’t say necessarily push him aside — but I think it’s time now to grow as a unit with 2024 and the USOC,” Walsh said. “I think he should be an ambassador and be involved with this.”

 

Except . . .

Unknown

STATEMENT OF MAYOR MARTIN J. WALSH IN RESPONSE TO BOSTON HERALD STORY

BOSTON – Thursday, April 2, 2015 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today issued the following statement:

“I said on Wednesday that John Fish should be an ambassador for Boston 2024, which is a position he holds now as Chairman. I want to be very clear, I did not call for John to step down from his role. John was one of the first people to carry a vision for the Olympic bid in Boston and I strongly believe that he should continue to be involved as we move forward.”

###

 

Huh.


Marty Walsh Channels Orwell on 5-Ring Referendum

March 24, 2015

(Previously . . . in the Marty Walsh Gazette . . . )

Today’s Boston Herald features more slop from City Hall on the Store 2024 rumpus.

A full page worth, in fact.

 

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From Matt Stout’s piece: “The ‘Team Walsh’ meeting [tonight] comes amid the increasing likelihood of a 2016 ballot initiative as both Attorney General Maura Healey and Gov. Charlie Baker threw their support behind a referendum yesterday.”

And Jaclyn Cashman writes in her column, “Walsh has even warmed up to a ballot question regarding bringing the games to the Bay State. He learned Bay Staters get furious when they feel their voices don’t matter.”

But . . .

Here’s the official statement City Hall released today:

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR WALSH ON OLYMPIC REFERENDUM

“Hosting the Olympic Games presents an opportunity to envision and build together the next chapter in Boston’s history. The success of our bid for the Olympics depends on the support of residents and we should only move forward in a way that will bring the greatest benefit to the City and its neighborhoods. Over the next year, I encourage residents to engage in a conversation to learn more about what the Olympics could mean for Boston and the entire Commonwealth, and to put forward any suggestions or concerns. The Olympics offers a catalyst to unlocking our full potential and only through collaboration can we take advantage of this chance to elevate Boston to new heights.”

 

Excellent! The Statement on the Olympic Referendum doesn’t actually mention the Olympic Referendum.

Then, several hours ago, this popped up on the Herald’s website:

Boston 2024 sets date for statewide referendum on Olympics bid

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The head of Boston 2024 today set a date for a binding statewide referendum on the Boston Olympics — and vowed to give voters in Boston veto power over the controversial project.

“We believe now is the time that 2024 would like to propose a referendum in 2016,” Boston 2024 chair John Fish told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “What that is saying is that: let the voters vote — not just the voters of Boston — but a referendum statewide. What we will commit to is if the statewide referendum passes but the voting bloc in Boston doesn’t want the Olympics, we won’t host the Olympics.”

 

There you go. Or there the Olympic bid goes.

Take your pick.


Boston 2024: The Grift That Keeps on Giving

March 13, 2015

From our Five-Ring Monte desk

Nice his ‘n’ her columns in today’s local dailies about the latest hijinks from the high-rolling Boston 2024 machers.

Ladies first. The Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung gives the 2024niks a front-page dopeslap for “acting like a private club.”

The secrets boomerang on Games organizers

The Boston Olympic movement hit a new low this week, and even ringleader John Fish would have a hard time arguing with that.

That would explain all the mea culpas.

“There were some mistakes in communication,” acknowledged Fish, the chief executive of Suffolk Construction, in a lengthy phone interview.

 

The mistake, of course, was not communicating, but why get technical about it.

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, Howie Carrtoon’s column gives the Boston 2024 boyos a much harder time.

Let hack Games begin at St. Pat’s feed

Will Boston 2024 set up a booth at Halitosis Hall on Sunday morning so that all the hacks can fill out their applications for gainful unemployment at the next Big Dig?

The St. Patrick’s Day breakfast — what better place to recruit yet more indolent dolts and layabouts who need no-heavy-lifting jobs Nancy Kerrigan Devin Logan, who won the silver medal in slopestyle in Sochi this pat February(as opposed to work)?

Come Sunday, John Fish, the unelected pooh-bah of this fiasco, can personally greet the payroll charlies as they stumble into the BCEC.

If you “work” at the MBTA, boys, no need to fill out any of these intrusive forms. Your bona fides are in order. Have you lads been to visit your Uncle Whitey lately?

 

You can probably fill in the rest of the hacky local tabloid rant. Of course if you want some facts about the Boston 2024 payroll patriots, you’ll have to look elsewhere. The hardreading staff recommends Adam Vaccaro’s piece at Boston.com that compares local Olympic spending to previous bids by Chicago and New York. The numbers are very instructive. Not to get technical about it.


Globe Runs Five-Ring Circles Around Herald

December 17, 2014

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

The Yes Boston Olympics group (not its real name) made its 2024 Summer Games pitch to the US Olympic Committee yesterday and got very different receptions in the local dailies.

Boston Globe Page One:

Boston still in hunt for 2024 Summer Olympics

US panel votes to submit bid for Summer Games, will select from field of four cities next month

The US Olympic Committee’s board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday to submit a bid for the 2024 boston-cutSummer Games and next month will choose one candidate from among Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., to join what is expected to be a crowded international field.

The committee gave no indication of a favorite among the four cities. USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said the contenders were in “a four-way tie.’’

 

Boston mayor Marty Walsh added that “it shows you that this puts Boston on a stage. Whether or not we get the Olympics, to be able to be in the same conversation with other cities around I think says an awful lot about the strength of the city of Boston.”

Or its business community anyway.

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, the bid got significantly less play. Like page 21 play.

 

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Can we made Dirt Digging an official Olympic event? That’ll jumpstart the fizzy local tabloid, eh?

 

 

 


On Mayoral Race, Local Dailies Get into Business Together

July 24, 2013

Well, the Boston mayoral candidates released their campaign finance reports for the second quarter and darned if the local dailies didn’t notice the same thing: No bucks yet from the big-bucks set.

Boston Herald:

Jack Connors for the Shattuck AwardBusiness elite wait for the herd to thin

From businessman Jack Connors to developer John Fish to Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and concessionaire Joseph O’Donnell, many of the city’s top power brokers are playing it safe in the mayor’s race — but leaving the crowded field of candidates hanging in the balance at a crucial time in the election.

A Herald review of the latest campaign finance reports found that Connors, Fish, Lucchino, Kraft and O’Donnell have yet to contribute to any of the dozen candidates running to replace Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Also sitting on the sidelines so far are Putnam Investments CEO Robert Reynolds, Hill Holliday CEO Karen Kaplan, State Street Bank’s Jay Hooley, Suffolk Downs chief Richard Fields, Celtics owner and venture capitalist Stephen Pagliuca, Red Sox co-owner John Henry and former John Hancock Insurance CEO David D’Alessandro.

 

As the feisty local tabloid points out, all of the above are subject to the $500 maximum contribution per candidate, “but they also boast the extensive contacts to organize fundraisers that can bundle tens of thousands of dollars in donations at a single pop.”

Popping crosstown to the Boson Globe, newly minted Business columnist Shirley Leung devotes her maiden voyage to the same topic – and pretty much the same names.

leung_colorBusinesses watching mayoral race from sidelines

If you are a serious candidate for mayor, you have driven past the scrubby warehouses of Newmarket Square, to the headquarters of Suffolk Construction, for an audience with CEO John Fish.

And when you arrive, expect a surprise. Fish, an unofficial kingmaker in Boston, told me he’s in no rush to support anyone — not with his time, not with his money. Will he ever? “Time will tell,” Fish explained.

He’s not the only one disappointing candidates this season.

Many of Boston’s business elites are sitting on the sidelines in the first truly open mayoral election in 30 years. It would be unfair to call them apathetic. Their doors are open to candidates and they’re following the issues, but their wallets are closed and their BMWs are free of bumper stickers.

 

(Wait – 30 years? What happened to the eight-way donnybrook in 1993?)

What sets Leung’s piece apart, though, is her inclusion of some bigwigs who have ponied up at this stage:

Not everyone is abstaining, even if they are not exactly revealing their support. Boston developer Ronald Druker is doing his best impression of a high roller at a Vegas roulette table, betting the maximum $500 each on Felix Arroyo, Dan Conley, John Connolly, Rob Consalvo, and Mike Ross, according to state campaign filings.

“I may ultimately give to some more,” said Druker.

Developer Joseph Fallon, who is building out the Fan Pier office and condo complex in the Seaport District, gave $500 in May to Conley, the Suffolk district attorney, and raised another $30,000 for him. Fallon also contributed $500 to Consalvo’s campaign this month and has given to Marty Walsh’s run.

 

One final note: Both papers also mention  the Vault, a “cabal of executives” who engaged in a very high level of backroom politics for decades. The Vault was to mayoral elections in the ’50s and ’60s what the money primary is now. May the best (financed) man or woman win!

UPDATE: The hardreading staff didn’t read hard enough. The Herald also mentioned the developers who have coughed up dough to several candidates.

 

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Apologies all around.