What is “is” in Olympicspeak?

Well, now, this is a fine kettle of fish, as Laurel and Hardy would say. And it’s beginning to smell.

The Boston 2024 people have said repeatedly and publicly that this will be a privately-funded Olympic Games with no reliance on public dollars save for security and previously planned infrastructure upgrades. The key word there is “publicly.” What they’ve said privately appears to be open to interpretation.

The Boston Business Journal, which obtained previously undisclosed documents through a public records request, reports that, despite vows to put on a completely privately-funded Olympics, Boston’s winning bid to be the US entry relied on “rosy assumptions and the promise of public funding to win the US Olympic Committee’s backing to potentially host the 2024 Summer Games.”

The release of the bid book, which includes previously undisclosed information, is certain to fuel the NIMBY choir from the nattering nabobs of negativity here in our provincial burg. It should also tick off even some of the more ardent supporters.

Among the revelations:

  • “Initially, a public authority (e.g., City of Boston affiliated Industrial Development Authority) will fund land acquisition and infrastructure costs…”
  • “We have determined that the [organizing committee] budget will finance approximately 33% ($173M) of cost of the stadium… The additional $345M (67%) needed for land acquisition and infrastructure upgrades will use tax increment financing bonds secured by new tax revenues.”
  • The bid book says the temporary stadium would be built where the New Boston Food Market currently sits, saying the cooperative is for sale. That’s news to the folks who work and own businesses there.
  • The organizers are (were) counting on an expanded Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, now scuttled by Gov. Charlie Baker, for some indoor Games, parking, and media headquarters.

Boston magazine also obtained a copy of the bid book through a public records request to UMass. The magazine points out the differences between several previously undisclosed nuggets and, like BBJ, what appears to be contradictions between what was said what is proposed. The magazine points out, for instance, statements earlier this month on WEEI by Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey that public money would only be needed for security appear to contradict what the bid book says the public responsibility will be.

And while Boston Mayor Martin Walsh told the Dorchester Reporter last month that taxpayer funds would “absolutely” be required for infrastructure, no one had gone on the record to say the full faith and credit of the city or a state agency/authority would be required to buy land. Though Boston 2024 says a private source would be found to pay the debt service on the land purchases, taxpayers would be left holding the bag if that private funding source falls through.

Boston 2024 officials, who were in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday, talking with International Olympic Committee officials about their bid, also seemed to be a tad misleading to USOC folks who decided who would carry the torch for the US. Under the section titled “Transport Challenges,” the organizers said the biggest hurdles will be moving people around the city during the construction and adapting the rail system for climate change. No mention of the myriad of MBTA and commuter rail problems. Think that might have earned at least a footnote or a rewrite after this winter?

Boston 2024 spokeswoman Erin Murphy Rafferty says the withholding of information came at the behest of the USOC, which asked Boston officials to not release “a limited amount of proprietary information… because they believe it will put Boston and the United States at a competitive disadvantage.” Perhaps they need to be a little more concerned about the disadvantage they face at home. Their bid book certainly recognizes the problem.

“Given recent media reports about large-scale sporting events and the financial impacts on their host communities, people in Massachusetts and Boston are in need of a realistic education about the costs of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” they wrote.

Yes, they are.




The MBTA’s main employee union is vowing to fight a key provision of Gov. Charlie Baker‘s T reform plan, saying it might petition the federal government to cut off millions of dollars in transportation aid to the system if the state goes through with the proposed change in contract arbitration procedures. (Boston Globe)

Must-see TV: Former House speaker Thomas Finneran debates the new Senate budget with Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz. (Greater Boston)

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg says there’s no reason the state budget can’t be finished on time. (State House News)


A break in a 100-year-old water main in Brockton sent the city into a state of emergency, shutting down schools, forcing the cancellation of surgeries at area hospitals, and affecting nearby towns as well. (The Enterprise)

Amy Ryan, the president of the Boston Public Library, is pledging to up beef up security in the wake of revelations that more than $600,000 worth of artwork at the main Copley Square branch has gone missing. (Boston Globe)  The Herald reports that the BPL gave away a rare 1800 pamphlet to be sold at a local book fair but got it back when it was recognized to be a valuable part of its holdings.

Boston will be on the hook to make roadway and other upgrades to accommodate the Grand Prix racing that is scheduled to land in the Seaport district annually for five years beginning in September 2016. (Boston Herald)

Hinsdale town meeting voted to hire a town administrator, which may help the community shed a reputation that has made it a “Berkshire laughingstock,” according to a Berkshire Eagle editorial.

Getting the 311: Teen develops smartphone app for Holliston news and information. (MetroWest Daily News)


The Pentagon has launched an investigation into how a military facility in Utah mistakenly mailed live anthrax spores to nine states. (U.S. News & World Report)


Long-time Worcester City Councilor Frederick Rushton abruptly withdraws from a race for reelection, saying he wants to spend more time with his family. (Telegram & Gazette)

Dianne Williamson says Scott Walker’s pride in Wisconsin legislation requiring ultrasounds for people seeking abortions is definitely not cool. (Telegram & Gazette)


Gerald Chan, the billionaire who has already bought a big chunk of Harvard Square real estate and donated $350 million to the university, has scooped up a two-acre parcel in Dorchester for $5.25 million. (Boston Globe)

A Fall River chemical company has agreed to buy emergency response equipment for the city’s fire department and pay a fine in a settlement with the EPA over a violation of the Clean Air Act. (Herald News)

Boston youth protest the lack of money for summer and year-round jobs. (Bay State Banner)

A new study shows that 86 percent of wealthy adults think giving back to society is part of a well-lived life. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)


Jay Lang, the deputy superintendent of the Lowell schools, is taking the top job in Chelmsford. (Lowell Sun)

The Christian Science Monitor profiles a Malden reading program that produces impressive results in young, low-income student populations.


Opposition in Salem to double-yellow lines forces city officials to backtrack. (Salem News)


May could be Boston’s driest month on record. (WBUR)

Houston reels from unprecedented floods. (Time)

More severe hurricanes may hit the Northeast in the coming decades. (Cape Cod Times)

Cape Wind isn’t giving up yet. (Cape Cod Times)


Boston area criminal defense attorney Timothy Flaherty is facing federal witness tampering charges, as prosecutors allege he paid the alleged victim of his client $2,500 not to testify in the hate-crime case. (Boston Globe) Lawyers, including a member of the Governor’s Council, are defending Flaherty, the son of former House speaker Charlie Flaherty, saying what he did was not criminal but common legal practice. “Criminal defense lawyers offer settlements to accusers every day,” writes the Herald‘s Bob McGovern.

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello details his new drug policy, which has officers steering people who acknowledge a problem and turn in their drugs into treatment instead of jail. “Police officers are here to help you, not judge you,” he says. (Gloucester Times)

Prosecutors seek seven years for the Boston Marathon bomber’s friend. (Associated Press)

The 23-year-old accomplice to the man who shot to death Woburn police officer John Maguire in 2010 was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder. (Boston Globe)

With Nebraska repealing the death penalty over a gubernatorial veto, the American Spectator says it’s easy to see many of the other remaining states that allow capital punishment, especially conservative ones like Nebraska, following suit.

The Brockton City Council approved funds to expand the city’s ShotSpotter system that identifies where guns are fired within seconds. (The Enterprise)


Internet analyst Mary Meeker offers up a slide that sums up the negative situation for print media. (Fortune)

The documentary The Market Basket Effect is expected to hit theaters this summer. (Eagle-Tribune)