District 7: Roxbury
A Globe article on January 8, 2015 reported the following comment from Tito Jackson regarding the selection of Boston as the USOC candidate city: “The US Olympic Committee concurred with what we already know about how great the city of Boston is. This is a great opportunity for the international community to see the great things the city of Boston has to offer.”
At the city council hearing on March 6, 2015, Councilor Jackson expressed concerns about displacement and potential detriment to existing Boston nonprofits. He compared the USOC’s selection of Boston with the receipt of a college acceptance letter: an honor, but one with a lot of important questions about costs/financing.
Councilor Jackson did not respond to the JP Gazette’s request for comment for an article published on April 10, 2015. He did not respond to No Boston 2024’s request ten days later either.
A member of No Boston 2024 spoke briefly with Councilor Jackson at the Wake Up the Earth festival in Jamaica Plain on May 2, 2015 and asked his position on Boston 2024. Councilor Jackson said that he had made his position clear “over 20 times” in hearings and in the press. He reiterated his prior analogy to a college acceptance letter and noted his disappointment with the lack of an economic inclusion plan from Boston 2024.
At the City Council hearing on May 18, 2015, Councilor Jackson expressed discomfort with the fact that the Office of Olympic Planning was being funded by Boston 2024, noting that he views dollars “in terms of allegiance.” He said that the City should consider spending some of its own money for this evaluation process. He noted that people living or working in what Boston 2024 calls “Midtown” do not like seeing their community rebranded. He expressed concerns about gentrification and displacement and brought up the closure of Long Island. He stressed the importance of MBEs and WBEs in contracting and diversity in leadership.
At the June 26, 2015 City Council hearing on Olympic venues and financing, Councilor Jackson requested that a full, unredacted version of the bid submitted to the USOC, especially Chapters 5 and 6, be shared with all members of the Council, or at the very least the Council President, asking, “How do we focus on 2.0 when we don’t know what 1.0 is?” He was persistent in this request despite Rich Davey’s evasiveness and Council President Linehan’s attempt to play defense for Davey. He asked questions or voiced concerns on several other topics:
Financial Guarantee: He commended Councilor Wu’s questions about the financial guarantee, noting that the Council is being asked to sign onto something that is three times the budget the Council just approved. He noted that he is “very nervous” about the supposed “insurance policy” (said with such quotes) that would cover something that has a demonstrated history of overruns, and he reiterated Councilor Wu’s point that the city charter does not allow the Council to write blank checks.
Office of Olympic Planning: He reiterated his discomfort, expressed at the last hearing, with how the Office of Olympic Planning is paid for by Boston 2024 and housed in the BRA, and he believes that the city should be willing to pay in order to ensure that the office’s loyalties are with the city.
Widett Circle: He asked several questions about the proposed stadium: what would happen to the businesses currently in the Newmarket area, what the state of play regarding BRA-owned land in Widett Circle is, and who the developer in a “master developer” plan for Widett Circle would be.
On July 9, 2015, he tweeted an article from the Dorchester Reporter critical of Boston 2024's insuficient promises on affordable housing.
On July 14, 2015, Councilor Jackson sent a letter to Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey setting a deadline of that Friday for Boston 2024 to relese the full, unredacted version of the bid submitted to the USOC in December, as he had requested at the 6/26 City Council hearing.
On July 20, 2015, Councilor Jackson filed for a subpoena on Boston 2024 in order to obtain the full, unredacted version of Bid 1.0.
At the July 22, 2015 City Council meeting, when the subpoena order was brought up for consideration, Councilor Jackson affirmed, “We deserve to understand what was promised to be delivered by the taxpayers of the city of Boston without the consent, oversight, or even collaboration with the Boston City Council.” He stressed the risk of cost overruns (and how they could take away from other priorities) and the basic need from transparency, especially from an unelected group that is making commitments on the city’s behalf. He stressed the disrespect that Boston 2024 has shown the Council as a body in its lack of transparency.
Contact Councilor Jackson to tell him why you oppose the Boston 2024 Olympics bid.