How Green Is Your Olympics?
Re: The Works, February 26
The Olympics provide a platform that allows the city to showcase itself globally to billions of people (honestly, you can't put a price on that promotion... ask Barcelona). Not only will this help tourism, it most importantly will help attract regional, domestic and global businesses that will continue to fuel our economy which in turn will provide more money for the issues you raise (potholes, CTA issues, schools, police). Let's also not forget that the Olympics are a time for the country to shine as well. With that said, I would expect federal funding to increase and fast track a lot of infrastructure improvements projects throughout the city and the region. That's a huge 'long-term' benefit that normally would take decades to come to fruition.
Yes, your skepticism is warranted in some regards. However, in my opinion the positives outweigh the negatives of the bid (but your readers won't have a chance to evaluate on their own since you don't state them anywhere in this article).
The possible long-term benefits "Sloopin" (above) refers to—particularly improved infrastructure and the ongoing attraction of business to fuel the future economy—are the only sensible reasons to support Chicago's Olympics bid in this downward-spiraling economy. Yet there is no guarantee of either.
Even before the downturn, the risk of cost construction delays and overruns was a virtual certainty, and it's difficult to imagine, again given this economy, private-sector investment covering the costs projected for such benefactors so that the taxpayers aren't saddled in the long run. Surprise! (Would you really be?) Do people honestly believe these promises, and if so, based on what past experience?
I appreciate the pride that would be felt and the memorable spectacle Chicago is capable of putting on, but I'm afraid the temporary glow would quickly fade in the reality of paying the piper—when you think of it, not much different from the situation so many find themselves in because of financing a house they could ill afford. Let's not compound the problem by not learning the lesson that should be so fresh in our minds.
Sloopin, I couldn't agree more. The economic impact and long-term legacies on Chicago and the surrounding region will be huge. According to an independent study, the Olympics would generate around $22.5 billion of economic activity in Illinois ($13.5 billion in Chicago alone) with more than 300,000 new jobs (170,000+ would be created in Chicago).
The Olympics will serve as the ultimate Obama spending stimulus package for our city. In tough economic time how can you be against this?
Tim, why would anyone in their right mind trust Mayor Daley with billions of dollars of unaccounted-for stimulus and Olympic construction money? He hasn't invested in schools, transit, health care or other social programs to improve the outcomes of residents and neighborhoods for years. Don't let these people blind you or others about this bid; it's stupid and makes no sense, better yet, did he ask anyone on this blog about bidding for the Olympics? He is selfish and does what's best for him and his developers, not the residents of Chicago.
Seriously Sloopin, who are you trying to fool? When the Olympics go over budget, as they certainly will, politically connected developers will walk away with millions and ordinary Chicagoans will be stuck with the bill. What is going to happen to the neighborhoods on the south and west side that surround these stadiums? Is Englewood going to get a beautification program, lots of jobs, school improvement, etc? Or will Daley just tell tourists not to wander too far from the stadium area? Or maybe some other solution, like forcing people out of their communities. Just a thought.
When big businesses (like Boeing) get ready to relocate, do they shop for the place where they'll pump the most revenue possible into the local economy? No. They look for the place that's going to give them the most. They'll play cities against each other to get the most lucrative tax breaks and infrastructure giveaways in exchange for the ephemeral promise of "bringing in jobs." So mortgaging my grandkids' stake in my city's commons for a big to-do that's supposed to bring another blood-sucking corporation into town isn't my idea of a good investment.
Second, Sloopin, I wonder if you've traveled lately to a place where tourism is a leading source of revenue. Unless you're a wealthy retiree, I wouldn't recommend living there.
So Not the Future of Journalism?
Robb Montgomery suggests [Letters, February 26] that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) collect a "content fee" from subscribers. This not only misunderstands the service that ISPs provide, it feeds into a model that would make near monopoly access providers very happy and in the process destroy the Internet as we know it.
First, unlike cable TV providers, who control a closed network and provide only content to which they control, ISPs provide physical access to the Internet. The Internet is a network of networks that spans the globe and whose "content" is provided by many individual content providers. An ISP connects consumers' and businesses' locations to the Internet as well as connecting hosting servers that other entities use to provide content. In this open network environment the ISPs maintain a network neutrality as they facilitate access to any content on the Internet the end user wants to connect to.
If we were to adopt Montgomery's suggestion, then the ISPs become the gatekeeper of what we can see. As our options for Internet access, particularly broadband access, is increasingly limited to the one phone company or the one cable TV provider servicing our homes and businesses, the danger of no longer having an open network is ever-present.
Calling All Critics
Re: "When Bob Falls Calls" by Tony Adler at Onstage, February 26; see chicagoreader.com for the rest of this long and entertaining discussion
I've had a handful of artists call me at home over the years, attempting to unleash the sort of tirade Kelly [Kleiman] describes. My strategy has always been to cut them off and say, 'I encourage you to write a letter to the editor so that your views can be as widely read as my original review.' Oddly, none ever took the suggestion.
I got a call from Bob Falls a couple years ago after I panned a show he directed by Rebecca Gilman. The gist of his message was that I had been unfair to Gilman, that she was a better playwright than I had said in my review, and that I should give her another chance because she was a very talented playwright. At no time in the conversation, though, did he call me names or at any time undercut my street cred as a critic. He also did not call me a horse cock or any other part of an animal's body, unlike a certain Pulitzer Prize winner I could mention but won't because that was a long time ago and we have all put it behind us.
Jack, whatever you do, never put a horse's cock or any other animal part behind you.
Why on earth shouldn't a theatre director or artistic director of a theatre call one of us and give us an earful? We berate and mock and demean—I mean we review and criticize the work of these folks all the time. Big deal.
A few months ago, an artistic director "banned" me from their (way off Loop) theater after I panned a production there. (He's still sending me press releases though, which I must say I find a tad inconsistent. Or perhaps passive aggressive. Who can tell?)
Anyway, the ban (which came through my personal email and was amusingly rich in personal invective) was in my capacity as a critic for a specific publication. And wouldn't you know—I've JUST been assigned by a different publication to review their next show.
Oh, the dramz.
Curious about how many layers of protection are in place at the Goodman to keep Bob Falls from having to hear from disgruntled subscribers and audience members. If dialogue is so healthy, he should be more than willing to take those calls rather than keep them sequestered in the audience services department, yes?
I'm afraid I don't see why a call to a home phone is so over the line, particularly if your number is listed. I've had people call me at home to *thank* me for saying nice things about them, and I can't remember ever being tempted to say "This is completely inappropriate, regardless of the content of the communication."
And, speaking of inappropriate, I once complimented an actress for a good performance in a sleazy TV show, and she sent me a very lovely nude photo inscribed "Thanks for the review." Am I totally over the line myself for wishing this would become a trend?