Friday, October 2, 2009

Backing the Bid . . .

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you know that Chicago is a candidate city for the 2016 Olympics. If you're living in Chicago, like I am, then it's been impossible to escape this, especially this week.

The city has been greatly polarized by this too; there are fervant supporters of Chicago getting the Olympics, who feel it would stimulate the economy, create new jobs here, and a sense of civic pride (which Chicagoans have already had a good deal of anyway). Mayor Daley, who might as well just glue the mayor's chair to his butt he's been in it so long, has been nearly foaming at the mouth for more than a year to get the games hosted here. Now Oprah and the Obama's have joined him in Copenhagen, everybody wearing their "We Back the Bid" buttons, and chanting "Let Friendship Shine!"

But, it seems there are just as many if not more people who oppose the bid for the 2016 Olympics, saying it will be a huge drain on the city's resources, that we can't afford it (our government, unlike that of other candidate countries, has not pledged financial backing), and that the tax-payers of Chicago will end up picking up the tab. Then, there's the idea of hosting the games themselves, which would see an influx of people into this city the likes of which we probably haven't seen since the Columbian Exposition in the 1890's. Ask New Orleans about what it endures every year for Mardi Gras, and you'll begin to have an idea of what it will be like here, though their police and public works are at least prepared for the strain.

So, where do I stand? Well, I'm not really sure. Both sides have their points, but ultimately, the decision falls down to the voters in Copenhagen, and they will hand down their decision today, somewhere around noon Chicago time. One thing is certain: if we lose the bid, the craziness developing down in Daley Plaza right now is going to make us all look pretty stupid.

You don't need to adjust the color on your monitor; the fountain in Daley Plaza has indeed been dyed orange. Apparently that's the official bid color. I think it looks like orange Fanta. Ewww.

The press started arriving last night, and this morning they are all set up in the press bleachers, fortified no doubt with coffee, coats, and unbrellas in case it decides to pour once again on everyone.

When I arrived at 7:19, there was already a line. I have no idea what they're lining up for, but it might be for the orange t-shirts they're supposedly giving away. The festivities don't get started until 9am, so these people have quite a wait outside in the 50-degree wetness.

There were half this many vans parked on Clark when I left work last night. Today, the street is blocked off and they are two-deep all the way back to Randolph.

The view of the Plaza from my office, orange water, decked out Picasso and all. By 9, the plaza will probably be full of people, but for now, it looks fairly open.

Let's hope we get a favorable answer today, or it will be like the Bears gong to the Superbowl: all hype, no delivery.
This is how the Plaza looks at 10:30am:
Chicago was knocked out in the first of three rounds of voting. That's the way the cookie crumbles, I guess, but there are still hundreds of people in the Plaza below. Didn't anybody tell them?

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