Members of the Olympic evaluation committee arriving in town for a few days may not get a chance to pick up a Chicago Reader, but if they want a full picture of our city's financial condition and feelings about the Games possibly coming here in 2016, they can always go online and read Ben Joravsky's Open Letter - addressed to them. If only for their own good.
"This letter is about your needs, not ours," Joravsky writes. "I’m here to tell you some things about Chicago you’ll never hear from Mayor Daley, who’s acting like a used-car salesman, trying to sell you an old beater without letting you look under the hood."
Joravsky makes no secret of the fact that he's against bringing the Games here, but his view is informed by having done the city's closest reporting of the bid.
"[A]nd I could fill a book with the reasons," Joravsky writes.
(We're not going to include the Chicago police union's threatened picket of City Hall today timed to the IOC visit as Olympic opposition because FOP president Mark Donahue himself acknowledges they are only exploiting the visit and they aren't taking a position on the Games.)
But it's Joravsky who makes the most cogent argument against the bid.
"I know it's not your problem if the city is selling off public assets or keeping two sets of books," Joravsky writes to the IOC. "But I do think you'll want to keep these things in mind as you consider whether the bid committee's financial guarantees are worth the paper they're written on ... People around here are going to be very, very displeased if they are asked to cover the mayor's enormous bet."
I'm not sure if the IOC cares. But history suggests that Chicago taxpayers prepare to pony up.
Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, where you can read more about today's protest and see video of a community coalition director negotiating with the city over Olympic benefits call the mayor "out of control."