Predictable as its land-grabby nature is, Boston 2024’s Olympic plans are still an elitist stunner to finally see up-close. Booting great events from Franklin Park to tear up the golf course for horse-racing is just a small part of a plan that includes seizing a chunk of South Boston for a stadium and renaming it Midtown.
Not only has Boston 2024 still not discussed this with Franklin Park advocates; it openly boasts to its U.S. and International Olympic Committees masters that it will seek state legislation to grease and/or end-run the Gordian knot of approvals that regular folks would need if they were to tear up a historic park.
While Boston 2024 makes up its own rules, the utterly amazing Franklin Park Coalition is left to attempt to stage its own meeting and see if Boston 2024 shows up, just to figure out what any of this really means.
Despite—or because of—JP being a hotspot of Olympics protest activity, the City of Boston is not bringing its theatrical, insubstantial public meetings here until June. Mayor Walsh, whose general involvement in the Olympics bid is presented by Boston 2024 as its public accountability mechanism, has signed a bid contract with an outrageous clause requiring City employees to actively promote, and not criticize, the bid on the job. Denials that this contract does not mean what it says are unconvincing, and in any case, the deal makes it impossible to trust that City officials will speak frankly about the Olympics when meetings finally do get here.
Meanwhile, Boston 2024 has a new president: former MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey. Davey made the front page of the Gazette in 2012 by promising to fix the “trust issue” the public rightly had about the secretive Casey Arborway project under his watch. He has his trust-issue work cut out for him once again, and we’ll see if he follows through as thoroughly as he was pressured to do at MassDOT.
For now, it’s 2015, not 2024, yet Boston already has that sports pride and related national attention that the Olympics is selling itself with. We’ll be rooting this Sunday for a Super Bowl win by the Patriots—a team that plays in a stadium former Mayor Menino smartly fought to keep out of Southie.