BOSTON (CBS) – Did you think Boston was an outlier when the city turned its back on the effort to bring the 2024 Summer Olympic Games here?
Better think again.
The mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, made good on her campaign pledge Wednesday to oppose risking billions on hosting the games in a city where they can’t even pick up the trash properly. “This city is unlivable,” she said. “We need to focus on that. We want to give back to citizens a city that is as worthy as any other European capital.”
Imagine that – prioritizing the long-term needs of the people who live in a city over the short-term buzz and high-roller adulation that comes with hosting the games. It’s especially ironic coming from the city that created the concept of appeasing the public with circuses more than 1,900 years ago.
Mayor Raggi’s caution is fully justified by the historic track record of contemporary Olympic Games, a horror show of cost-overruns and lingering, crippling debt.
The budget for the 2020 Tokyo games has already soared to six times the original estimate. They’re looking at a shortfall of close to $12 billion. Guess who’ll wind up picking up that tab?
This is the third contender to pull out of the running, and there’s a lesson here for all political candidates this fall.
People aren’t buying the Olympic hype anymore, for two main reasons – they don’t believe diving into the red to host the games will solve any of their chronic problems, and they’re getting tired of waiting for real progress on fixing those problems to begin with.