The debacle that is the U.S. Olympic Committee bid to bring the 2026 games to Boston, resulting in yesterday's announcement that the bid was abandoned, highlights the great work COAST did fifteen years ago to stop a massive waste of tax dollars before it got (very far) off the ground. Of course, many commentators point to the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens as significantly contributing to the insolvency of that Country, and the near-collapse of its economy.
It's now hard to believe, but in there was a group of do-gooders in the 1998-1999 timeframe who organized to bring the 2012 Olympic games to Cincinnati. Now, no one wants to question their motives and their positive intention to boost the City, and actually bring the leviathan event to our fair river city, but we did at that time question their funding proposal. They wanted two things from the public: (i) taxpayer money to fund the pitch for the boondoggle and (ii) even worse, they wanted taxpayer guarantees for any shortfall in funding for the games, an obligation that could have cost into the billions of dollars.
And, true to form as to how things work in Cincinnati, they got their taxpayer money -- simply by asking. And the local community activist lemmings lined up behind them just as the green balloon brigade for the Streetcar.
But there was one single organization -- only one -- who stood up and exposed the proposal (as well-intentioned as it may have been) for what it was: an absolute waste of limited money, taxpayer money. That organization was COAST.
For, until the Cincinnati 2012 Committee asked for taxpayer dollars, we were silent. If private donors want to throw their money down a rat hole, it was just fine with us. But when they went for tax dollars for their doomed proposal for the games, we spoke out, and estimated the true cost to the City and State to be in the billions, information the Cincinnati 2012 Committee underestimated.
In what was a somewhat amusing, but telling, episode, the State of Ohio did vote to fund the proposal-- and Governor Taft dutifully signed on, and within just a matter of days the International Olympic Committee eliminated Cincinnati in the first cut of cities from the list of contenders. Pants yanked down around ankles!
We love Cincinnati boosters, and community organizers. What we don't love is the further oppression of local taxpayers to fund their latest pipe dream. Pay for it yourself!