Saturday, August 1, 2015

No Olympics in Boston

It happened. We were able to put enough pressure to stop the bid to host the 2024 Olympics in our city. We did it, and it was terrific to celebrate with the No Boston Folks at the Beantown pub on Monday (the only place where you can drink a Sam Adams while looking at his grave... that's a bit dark). In spite of what might be said by some of the globe's editorial staff, I'm personally very relieved and proud of the grassroots efforts to stop this. 

Already, our city is becoming one in which it's more and more inaccessible. We are the third most expensive city to live in and almost half of renters are cost-burdened (paying more than 30% of their income to rent). Already, we have thousands of people from all over the world moving here for some of the best universities, an excellent job market and a walk-able, beautiful place to be. We never needed our profile to be raised. We can find more effective, equitable and reasonable ways to make the improvements to our city without ceding control to an entity of elites who would run the games. 

After the winter we had and considering the pernicious wealth gap that is growing in our country, the Olympic bid felt viscerally repulsive. It made many folks very willing to get involved, attend meetings, talk with their neighbors, and take part in a grass-roots effort to stop this from happening. What I'd hope is that all of us can now continue with this momentum to work towards making the improvements we need to make this city more functional and equitable.

Let's continue our work to make sure we have development without displacement and that we have affordable housing. Let's work to ensure that so many of our citizens aren't disconnected from being part of the world-class city we have. Let's make sure our MBTA works and works well and ensure that our universities can be attended without going into ten or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. I would be interested to see what  No Boston 2024 and NoBostonOlympics do next (a bit here and here). We've shown the power that grassroots activism can have. Let's keep it up.