Friday, October 2, 2009

We Win!

Posted By on 10.02.09 at 03:20 PM

After spending hours in and around Washington Park, I finally found a resident who'd really, really wanted the Olympics to come to Chicago.

He'd just bought a building on South Michigan Avenue and was hoping to rent it out to wealthy visitors at godforsaken prices in 2016.

I was really nice to him. Didn't gloat. Told him I felt his pain and everything.

Other than that it was pretty much happy smiling faces everywhere I went on the south side.

No surprise here. The connection between Mayor Daley's Olympic plans and anything resembling a tangible benefit to ordinary Chicagoans was so minute as to be nearly non-existent. Despite all the manufactured hype of the 2016 committee, the mayor's office, and the mainstream media, the Olympics promises never really took hold here. There just wasn't a lot of grassroots support for bringing the games here, and the International Olympic Committee had to know it.

Earlier this morning the president and Michelle Obama told the IOC how hosting the Olympics would make them proud of their hometown.

Well, I sort of feel the same way today.

It's not as though Chicagoans actually did anything, with the notable exception of the No Games Chicago folks (take a bow, wherever you are). It's more the opposite—what we didn't do. We didn't jump on the bandwagon.

I know it's not much of a triumph. But some of us in this city are desperate for signs of independent thought, and you take what you can get.

By the way, not to rain on the parade, but we're still not out of the woods. Thanks to the mayor, we're the proud owners of the old Michael Reese Hospital campus, a huge white elephant that will probably take years and millions and millions of TIF dollars to develop, if it gets developed at all.

But that's a sad story for another day.

For the moment, let's keep it upbeat. Stand tall, Chicago. By losing, you won.

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