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City Council Unanimously Approves Olympics Host City Contract

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Sep 9, 2009 9:20PM

2009_09_08_2016.jpg In a move that surprised no one, the City Council today voted 49-0 to approve the host city contract for the 2016 Summer Olympics that Mayor Daley will now sign, putting the city on the hook for the cost of the Games, though officials insist taxpayers are well-insulated in the case of a financial disaster thanks, in part, to insurance policies. Said Mayor Daley moments before the vote, "This is not about Richard M. Daley's legacy. This is about the city of Chicago.This is a journey. A journey requires all of us being committed." Daley's earlier refusal to sign the contract was seen as a hurdle for the city's bid; the other three candidate cities - Rio, Tokyo, and Madrid - had all signed the contract and a signed contract was an IOC preference though not a requirement. It was telling that an IOC member was present for today's vote. Perhaps just as telling was this line from the Trib's report: "Afterward, aldermen and Mayor Richard Daley gave themselves a standing ovation."

Reactions from aldermen were generally positive (quotes from the S-T and Trib).

  • Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th): "I am really, really proud of the wonderful work that has been done by these individuals and our mayor."
  • Ald. Ed Burke (14th): "[Mayor Daley showed] courage and fortitude"
  • Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th): "Fear can't paralyze you. Fear of the unseen cannot stop you from taking risk."
  • Ald. Bernard Stone (50th): "I am a cheerleader and I have been a cheerleader and I'm proud to say that ... I believe in what's been told to me."
  • Ald. Joe Moore (49th), who voted in favor of the ordinance: "The public is right to be cynical."
  • Ald. Richard Mell (33rd): "Today is a great day for Chicago...We have an opportunity to set the tone for the next 20 or 30 years."

And what of Ald. Manny Flores (1st), who's responsible for a big push on Olympic oversight? He issued a statement, saying:

"Like the TIF Sunshine and Asset Lease Disclosure ordinances, the Olympics Oversight legislation will require the continued attention of every City Council member to ensure that it is properly implemented. I will continue to be a vocal advocate to ensure that the Games are managed responsibly and in a fiscally responsible manner that will protect Chicago taxpayers."

Ald. Flores also released a document showing a side-by-side comparison of his original oversight plan, Chicago 2016's oversight plan, and the final compromise plan, which you can view after the jump.

Olympics Side by Side