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- Category: Olympic Games
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Just a reminder:
NEXT PLANNING MEETING OF “STOP NUCLEAR TRAINS THROUGH OLYMPIC SITE”
July 2nd, 7pm at the CND office, 162 Holloway
Road N7 8DQ
David Higgins, the chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), tops
the list as the highest-earning boss of a taxpayer-funded Government guango with
an annual salary of Ł394,999 ($599,664), it was revealed today.
He is among nine senior executives at the ODA who earn more than the Prime
Minister David Cameron's annual salary of Ł142,500 ($216,335) with a further
four at the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC).
The figures, which include taxable benefits and allowances, have emerged as part
of pay packages for every employee of non-departmental public bodies earning
over Ł150,000 ($228,000) were put online today by the Cabinet Office as part of
a new Government transparency drive.
The high number of Ł200,000 ($304,000)-plus packages among executives working on
the London 2012 Olympics stood out on the Cabinet Office list.
Others listed at the ODA were Howard Shiplee, director of construction, who
earns up to Ł289,999 ($440,259); Dennis Hone, director of finance and corporate
services up to Ł269.999 ($409,897); John Armitt, chairman, up to
Ł254,999...Simon Wright...Alison Nimmo...Hugh Sumner...Ralph Luck...Godric
Smith...Andrew Altman...Malcolm Ross...Karen Webb...Jonathan Dutton...Jeremy
Beeston...David Goldstone...Jennie Price...Rona Chester...
ODA boss tops list of highest-earning quango employees
Friday, 02 July 2010
By Duncan Mackay
|"London Thames Gateway Development Corporation's vision for Hackney and Fish Island
an area directly adjacent to the Olympic Park is for a mixed use
sustainable community offering a unique place to live and work with
improved transport access and superior open space. With a blend of
new workspaces, housing, studios, galleries, cafes and shops
tomorrow's Hackney Wick would be a high energy, diverse and well
More at: Hackney Wick
Work to speed up trains on
the Northern Line will not be completed in time for the 2012 Olympics and planned work on the Piccadilly Line has been put off indefinitely, according to London Undergroundâs new managing director.
to the shallow, sub-surface lines that account for 40 per cent of the network are also being rescheduled so that some benefits may be felt as late as 2018.
Mike Brown was giving one of his first interviews since returning in March to run the worldâs largest metro system. A former LU chief operating officer, Mr Brown has spent the past two years running Heathrow Airport.
LU last weekend took over Tube Lines, the only remaining contractor under the London Underground public-private partnership agreement. The move brought responsibility for all maintenance and upgrade work back under LUâs direct control for the first time since the PPP started in 2003.
Brownâs revelation of the sweeping changes follows widespread speculation about how the 30-year programme would be affected by public spending constraints and London Undergroundâs takeover of all the
work. Tube Lines was
due to complete an upgrade of the Jubilee Line, intended to increase capacity by 30 per cent, by the end of 2009.
A similar upgrade of the Northern Line, the busiest, was due to finish by early 2012, while the Piccadilly Line was to be complete by the end of 2017.
Brown downplayed the extent to which the delays are the result of the coming public spending squeeze, although he said he was aware of current
economic realities. âWeâre going to ensure that we keep the momentum going but weâre cognisant of the realities.â
His âabsolute priorityâ, he said, was to devise a schedule for finishing the Jubilee Line, which Tube Lines had estimated would be completed by this autumn. The upgradeâs core is a
new signalling system. .
âWe have not yet got into the detail
of where we are on the programme and where its delivery schedule should
get it,â Mr Brown said.
Only half the work scheduled for the Northern Line had been carried out, he added. âIt will slip beyond the period of the Olympics, although I have to say that the Northern is running at its best ever operational performance,â Mr Brown said.
Piccadilly Line project would also be revisited to ensure its signalling worked with new systems on the District and Metropolitan lines. Tube Lines struggled to integrate new signalling on the Jubilee Line with existing systems where the line intersects with the Metropolitan.
Mr Brown declined to give a completion date for the Piccadilly. âYou could assume Iâm looking for all possible synergies but
itâs really all I can say,â he said.
The interlinked Metropolitan, District, Circle and Hammersmith & City sub-surface lines are the biggest single upgrade, with the project increasing capacity by 50 per cent. New, air-conditioned trains will start to replace the Metropolitan Lineâs 50-year-old units this summer.
the ÂŁ1bn contract to install new signals will not now be awarded until
the end of this year or early next.
Londoners need not âscream bloody murderâ about the changes, as Tim OâToole, Mr Brownâs predecessor, warned
they should in the event of delays or downgrades to the sub-surface project, Mr Brown said. The changes would simply reduce the risks of
the project going wrong.
âI would be the first in the queue to scream bloody murder,â Mr Brown said. âThis upgrade of the sub-surface is so vital itâs absolutely the core of our modernisation programme.â
Pressure is growing on the International Olympic Committee to kick out Saudi Arabia, who are likely to be the only major nation not to include women in their Olympic team for 2012.
Qatar have announced that their squad will feature a "small contingent" of women for the first time in London, a decision perhaps accelerated by the international spotlight on their World Cup bid. Only three countries â
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei, who rarely send any athletes to the Olympics
â among the IOC's 205 member nations have never been represented by female competitors since women made their debut in Paris 110 years ago. Now Anita DeFrantz, the former US Olympic rowing medallist who chairs the IOC's influential Women and Sports Commission, says patience is wearing thin
and it is time the Saudis changed their policy or face being barred from the Games. Should Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to play or watch sport in public, send a male-only team to London, we understand they will face protests from equal rights and women's groups which threaten to disrupt the Games. "We keep asking them why not," says the 58-year-old lawyer DeFrantz. "But I am hopeful that by 2012 every National Olympic
Committee will have competitive opportunities for women." Knowing the Saudi authorities, she would be unwise to bet on it.
LONDON â Plans to construct London's first cable car to carry visitors over the River Thames in time for the 2012 Olympic Games were unveiled by city officials on Sunday.
The 25-million-pound scheme,
which would be privately funded, would connect the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks in the Docklands area of east London.
If it goes ahead, the cable car would cut the journey time between the 02 arena -- previously known as the Millennium Dome -- and the ExCel exhibition centre, both Olympic venues, from over half an hour to about five minutes.
The cars would be able to carry around 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction and would travel around 50 metres above the river.
City transport officials said they were in talks with private companies which are interested in the project.
Mayor Boris Johnson said of the plan: "A cable car spanning the majestic Thames would not only provide a unique and pioneering addition to London's skyline, but also offer a serene and joyful journey across the river.
"Passengers would be able to drink in the truly spectacular
views of the Olympic Park and iconic London landmarks whilst shaving valuable minutes from their travelling time.
"It would also provide a much-needed enhancement of cross-river options to the east of the city."
To: International Olympics Committee
Dear International Olympics Committee (IOC)
We, the undersigned citizens of the world, call on the international Olympics Committee to rescind Israelâs participation in the London 2012 Olympics.
Israelâs attack on a humanitarian aid fleet on Monday 31 May 2010, its murder of 9 human rights activists in international waters, and wounding many more, demonstrate that Israel rejects the structural tenets of our shared humanity, manifested in a global moral consensus and international law.
Israel was established on the ruins of another country, Palestine. In 1948 more than half the population of Palestine were uprooted from their cities and villages, 400 of which were completely destroyed. The state of Israel has never allowed Palestinian refugees to
return and today their number has reached 7 million, many of whom are still stateless, living in refugee camps in Palestine and other Arab countries
Since its establishment the state of Israel has consistently violated international law. To date, it has defied 246 UN Security Council Resolutions. As a direct consequence, seven million Palestinians
are excluded from the right to live on land internationally acknowledged to be theirs; and increasingly, they are being excluded from their right to any future at all as a nation. The 4 million Palestinians in the occupied territories have endured over 40 years of brutal occupation and denied even the most basic Human rights. The 1.4 million who remain in Israel are second class citizens.
The daily brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank
continues; Palestinian land continues to be stolen, houses demolished and crops destroyed. For years now the state of Israel has been carrying
out a slow genocide in the Gaza Strip, maintaining a tight blockade over its inhabitants and repeated bombing raids all of which are contrary to International Laws which prohibit collective punishment.
The Israeli military used white phosphorus munitions in the 2008-2009 Gaza war. The IDF acknowledged itâs use after the war ended.
Several reports from human right groups during the war indicated that white phosphorus shells were being used by Israel in violation of international law. Human Rights Watch said shells exploded over populated civilian areas, including a crowded refugee camp, a UN compound where food was stored, and a United Nations school where civilians were seeking refuge.
Human Rights Watch said its experts in the region had witnessed the use of white phosphorus. Kenneth Roth, the organisationâs executive director, added: âThis is a chemical compound that burns structures and burns people. It should not be used in populated areas.â
Amnesty International said a fact-finding team found âindisputable evidence of the widespread use of white phosphorusâ in crowded residential areas of Gaza City and elsewhere in the territory. Donatella Rovera, the head of an Amnesty fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, said: âIsraeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of
international humanitarian law, including war crimes.â
âIsraelâs policy on settlements is not only unlawful, it also impacts severely on the human rights of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by the constructions taking place on occupied Palestinian land,â said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty Internationalâs Middle East and North
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other prominent South Africans have likened the situation of the Palestinians to apartheid for which South Africa were banned from international sporting events including the Olympic Games.
The challenge of apartheid was fought with the non-violent international response of a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions. Today Palestinian artists, trade unionists, teachers, writers, film-makers and non-governmental organisations have called for a
comparable boycott of Israel, as offering another path to a just peace,
saying, â At a time when the international movement to isolate Israel is gaining ground in response to the escalation of Israelâs violently colonial and racist policies, we respectfully urge conscientious organisations, sportsmen, academics, artists and intellectuals from around the world, including those who visit [or host Israeli's from] the
occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), to refrain from visiting [or hosting] Israel to participate in any event or encounter that is not explicitly dedicated to ending Israelâs illegal occupation and other forms of oppression. Regardless of intentions, such visits only contribute to the prolongation of injustice by normalizing and thereby legitimizing it, and inadvertently support Israelâs efforts to appear as
a ânormalâ participant in the âcivilizedâ world of sport, science, scholarship and art while at the same time practising a pernicious form of apartheid against Palestinians.â This call has been endorsed by some brave Israeli dissidents and many prominent international figures.
Boycott is a tactic which allows people, as distinct from their elected governments, to apply pressure on those wielding power in an unjust way. It is directed not against people but against oppressive and
unjust policies and regimes in order to bring about change. I would also remind you that Principle 2 of the Olympic Charter declares the principles of Olympism to âplace sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignityâ. Also principle 5 which states âAny form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion,
politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.â Clearly the acts of genocide against Palestinians and
the forcing out by the illegal expansion of the settlements is a violation of this principle. By your own words in Principle 6 âBelonging
to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC.â As Israel are not compliant how can they then participate under the current conditions that Palestinians are faced with? Particularly considering that âThe name of an NOC must reflect the territorial extent and tradition of its countryâŚâ However many Israelis are living on disputed land and therefore Israeli athletes
cannot be considered to be from the legitimate territorial extent of their country.
Contrary to Olympic Charter bye-laws stating âNo kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areasâ you will; by allowing Israel to participate and not taking a stand against their racist policies; be implicitly supporting war crimes, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and continued oppression of the Palestinian people, a people seeking to end the silence of the international community and achieve a just peace. The Israeli politicians and citizens see every visit to and from Israel as an act of support for their policies. Every cancellation is a reminder to them that all is not well and that there will be a price for the ongoing oppression and the indifference for rights of Palestinians.
If you require more information about the situation in Israel and
the Occupied Territories, organisations such as Amnesty International, the World Health Organisation and the Israeli human rights organisation BâTselem have published detailed reports.
We feel sure that, in the light of the information available, you
would not wish to lend support â however indirect and implicit â to Israelâs policies, by allowing them to attend and participate in such a high profile event that aims to be âa force for goodâ.
This is an abridged version of a post originally written for The Global Urbanist and published June 22nd. For a more in-depth analysis, read the full version here.
Throughout London there is talk of âregenerationâ - a buzz-word spun by building firms and government organisations attempting to persuade local communities that their area will be reborn, bringing new opportunities and the potential for affluence and prosperity all round. Whilst redevelopment schemes are being implemented throughout the capital, East
London is experiencing the biggest changes due to the impending arrival
of the 2012 Olympics.
The Improvement and Development Agency, (IDeA) a government agency supporting innovation in local councils, states that London was able to win the bid to host the Olympic Games based on âa commitment to regeneration and sustainable developmentâ.
But even Shaun McCarthy, Chair of Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, acknowledges the vagueness of this statement.
to IDeA, McCarthy called sustainability âone of those expressions thatâs actually unique to every single project,â a description that fails to commit the Olympics developments to a sufficiently broad interpretation of sustainability. Essentially, the opportunity to set a global standard for sustainable development within an event as notoriously unsustainable as the Olympic games is being lost.
content of the London 2012 website does a better job of defining âsustainabilityâ, with numerous articles that focus on carbon footprint,
land decontamination, and the recycling of demolition waste. In fact, the content of the site and the frequency of articles that highlight building practices show that sustainable construction methods are clearly the priority.
Comprehensive sustainability takes into consideration economic and social factors. Whilst it is too early to speculate about the economic sustainability of the 2012 Olympics, a recent report entitled Legacy Limited? by the London Assembly - an elected body that exists to scrutinise the Mayor of Londonâs decisions and spending - calls for assurances about the community-focus of the regeneration.
The approach taken with the London Olympics is reflective of a bigger problem with Londonâs planning and development. Affordable housing, environmental sustainability and community facilities are often highlighted within development proposals,
yet community involvement within the planning process and building design is rare.
London isnât famous for having a planning system that prioritises the needs of local communities, but there are examples where this approach has been successful, notably, the Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) in the central-London borough of Lambeth.
âa social enterprise and development trust which seeks to make Londonâs
South Bank a better place in which to live, to work and to visit,â CSCB
have spent the last 26 years turning a formerly derelict 13-acre site in Londonâs city centre into a vibrant mixed-use community in the form of shops, galleries, restaurants, and artists studios, to list but a few. Densely-built co-operative housing is provided, charging a âfair rentâ, with a management culture that encourages tenants to take ownership of the buildings they live in.
Current attitudes to urban development consider dense, walkable, mixed-use spaces to be highly sustainable, but this hasnât always been the case. In fact, the CSCBâs plans were initially met with resistance, mainly due to a now outdated belief that central London is not a desirable place to live. Thankfully, these doubts were overcome.
The CSCBâs attitude to regeneration should be applauded, and acts as an achievable standard for
future developments. Sadly, the design and construction of the Olympics
developments has progressed so far that community involvement in current constructions is no longer possible, but the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics remains adaptable. Individuals, organisations, and entire communities could feel real benefits from the changes going on in
East London, and itâs up to developers, local councils and policymakers
to ensure that the London Assemblyâs concerns are answered and that the
needs of our local communities are met.
Attached are the minutes of the Olympics demo meeting on 2nd
Note that with the demo in question taking place this
Saturday, 10th July, this will be the last meeting of this temporary
If you are not on the Nuclear Trains Action Group –
NTAG – mailing list (and thus aren’t sent our monthly newsletters, invitations
to and minutes of our monthly meetings) and would like to do so, please let me
Se you on Saturday?
1 of 1 File(s)
learned that the Olympic Park Legacy Company is looking at a figure of around 8,000 homes as it works up its masterplan for the Olympic Park - a
substantial reduction from the 10,000 to 12,000 proposed in the London Development Agency's original legacy master-plan framework - drawn up by
architects EDAW, KCAP and Allies & Morrison in early 2009.
That is no great surprise given the OPLC's stated focus on revising the original masterplan to focus much more on family housing.
The original LDA plans envisaged between 10,000 and 12,000 homes in six village developments with just one providing low-rise family homes.envisaged between 10,000 and 12,000 homes in six village developments with just one providing low-rise family homes.
The OPLC has publicly talked of around 10,000 homes so far.
But sources to the legacy body tell me: "There will be some high-rise
housing but only around transport nodes. These are exciting plans with a
focus on quality family housing and significantly reducing the number of units originally proposed."
It all makes a lot of a sense when you consider how ghostly the nearby Royal Docks is in the daytime after the area's commuters leave their high-rise blocks for work in central London or Canary Wharf.
Making less sense is the continued lack of clarity on the new government's attitude towards a deal transferring the Olympic Park from the LDA to the OPLC without the associated debt.
Standard writes that the mayor claims the review of the deal is threatening legacy.
Let's hope something can be tied up in time for the upcoming "two years to go celebrations" at the end of this month.
â˘ IOC president says he has assurances over post-Games use
â˘ Legacy company privately admits no decision has been made
Jacques Rogge today claimed he has been "assured" that the London Olympic Stadium would retain an athletics track after the 2012 Games. However, the Olympic Park Legacy Company, in whose hands the decision rests, has made no such pledge.
Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, is in London this week for his organisation's co-ordination commission visit to 2012 venues and is evaluating progress
of preparations for the event. "We are keen on having an athletics track to remain and I'm confident that they will find the right solution," he said. "We have been assured it will have an athletics track."
Today one OPLC official confirmed privately there had been
"no final decision" over whether to keep an athletics track beyond 2012. Though it hopes to honour all the legacy promises of the 2012 bid book, against which London was awarded the Olympics five years ago, its principal concern is to limit the burden on the public purse.
month the OPLC's deadline expired for "expressions of interest" in becoming the anchor tenant for the ÂŁ537m 2012 stadium. Among the submissions was one from West Ham United, who have lobbied hard for the stadium's primary use to be football. That could require the athletics track to be unusable for 10 months a year. West Ham can count on the strong support of Sir Robin Wales, the mayor of the local planning authority, Newham council. Wales, who is also an OPLC board member, has said: "London needs an athletics facility but there is no reason why it has to be at the Olympic Park."
An aide to Rogge said the president was not attempting to apply pressure on the OPLC and was referring to commitments he had received from Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. Yet The OPLC expects to take its decision over whom to award the stadium by March and, with Rogge keeping faith that the bid book promises will be honoured, it would evidently come as a shock to the IOC if the legacy company were to subordinate athletics in favour of Premier League football.
The commitment to athletics was seen as a crucial factor
in London defeating Paris and Madrid to become 2012 host city, because it atoned for the collapse of the 2005 World Athletics Championships which were scheduled to be held at Picketts Lock, a sole-use athletics facility that was never built.
The organisers of the 2012 London Olympics have been accused of making hollow
promises over the Games' capacity to regenerate the five boroughs it is based
in, some of the most deprived in the UK.
Andrew Boff, the London Assembly's Conservative group spokesman on the Games,
said that despite a budget of Ł9.3bn, there will be little benefit to those
living close to the site.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the games being awarded to the capital,
following a bid to the International Olympic Committee centred on an ambitious
But Boff accused Olympic organisers of `a massive exercise in smoke and
mirrors'. He said that if the main goal was reviving disadvantaged communities,
Ł9.3bn could have been spent more effectively...
Doubts cast on Olympics regeneration legacy
By David Williams
6 July 2010
In the early days of the London Olympic bid the bid team were quite angry with those who suggested that the only sort of jobs that local young unemployed people with few qualifications would get in 2012 would be as burger flippers.
The headline in todays Guardian suggests that they will not be in the running for even these jobs!
Class of 2010 told to consider flipping burgers or shelf stacking to build skills as they also compete with last year's graduates
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2010 4:01 PM
Subject: [gamesmonitor] Doubts cast on Olympics regeneration legacy
The organisers of the 2012 London Olympics have been accused of making hollow promises over the Games' capacity to regenerate the five boroughs it is based in, some of the most deprived in the UK.
Andrew Boff, the London Assembly's Conservative group spokesman on the Games, said that despite a budget of Ł9.3bn, there will be little benefit to those living close to the site.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the games being awarded to the capital, following a bid to the International Olympic Committee centred on an ambitious legacy project.
But Boff accused Olympic organisers of `a massive exercise in smoke and mirrors'. He said that if the main goal was reviving disadvantaged communities, Ł9.3bn could have been spent more effectively...
Doubts cast on Olympics regeneration legacy
By David Williams
6 July 2010
We can only hope that Mike Moran continues to rot in his deserved
As chief PR flak of the USOC and NYC2012, his job was to keep NYC
communities away from any issues related to the New York bid. I remember
speaking with him early in the bid process. We wanted to contact members
of the USOC to send them information on just how bad the notion of the
West Side (Olympic/Jets) stadium really was. Not only would he not
provide access so USOC members could make informed decisions, he was
utterly mean-spirited about it claiming that the only people the USOC
would listen to were Mayor Bloomberg and Dan Doctoroff.
He was a complete jerk. Perhaps he learned how to lie from NYC Executive
Director Jay Kriegel
http://insideseedyhall.com) who was almost almost indicted by the
Knapp Commission on Police Corruption in the 1970's, and is portrayed in
the book and film Serpico. Later Moran and Kriegel kept community groups
from meeting with IOC representatives, and -- not surprisingly - lied
about that. See
There were many reasons why the NYC Olympic Bid deserved to fail ...
impact on other neighborhoods, albeit not as much impact as on
Manhattan's West Side neighborhoods, a budget that was destined to
skyrocket and would by necessity cost the taxpayers billions of dollars,
almost complete apathy by NYC residents.
Moran's description of large crowds in NYC's Rockefeller Plaza on the
Singapore vote was complete fiction. The area was hardly packed. Newsday
reported, "Yesterday, it wasn't New York. When the announcement
arrived and the Olympic flame was effectively snuffed, a handful of
dreamers quietly left a staged area of Rockefeller Center. Many 9-to-5ers
simply walked by without the slightest glance, as New Yorkers tend to do
at the scene of an accident."
The Journal News estimated the "crowd" at a few hundred.
"Heck, you can gather a hundred people off the streets of Manhattan
any number of ways. Traffic accident. TV camera. A nut with a megaphone.
Any type of freebie. A red light." Noting that other Bid cities
Moscow, London and Paris had upwards of 10-20,000 people turned out to
watch the vote, the same article stated, "...New York is pretty much
over it already, because New York was never really behind it. New
Yorkers, by and large, were at best apathetic to the idea of hosting the
2012 Games, and at worst dead set against it."
"NYC2012 may have been doomed when the billionaire mayor, Michael
Bloomberg, and Olympic dreamer/schemer Daniel Doctoroff played their
slimy shell-game with the West Side stadium. Remember how Bloomberg and
Co. told everybody that Queens could not be an option for the Olympic
Stadium? That tune sure changed when the West Side stadium for which
the city and Gov. George Pataki were going to sell Manhattan's prized
piece of real estate to the lowest bidder was shot down. Imagine how
ugly that $1.3 billion bill would look now, with no Olympics, only the
Jets, going into that stadium."
Note Moron says that then Governor George Pataki was parked out of site
.... so he could be spared the embarrassment when NYC lost. People in
Times Square cheered when it was announced that NYC lost its
What the press failed to focus on was that Bloomberg and Doctoroff
refused to sign the required standard IOC city contract.
Bloomberg/Doctoroff tried to get around it, but they went to the
Singapore vote ceremony with no contract in hand. EVERY other Olympic
city has agreed to the IOC terms, which provides, among other things,
unlimited liability for the IOC.
Another Moran omission was how the NYC2012 committee reacted when the
West Side Stadium was killed. While Dan Doctoroff repeatedly said in
public that the West Side was the ONLY acceptable venue for the Olympics
and the Jets Football team, his lie was exposed when documents surfaced
(which we provided to the press) showing they had considered the Queens
site from the beginning as an alternative.
One comment to Moran's article, said:
NYC2012 misplayed badly by
failing to engage the communities of NYC BEFORE it developed its plan. If
they played smart, a plan with a new stadium adjacent to the then Shea
Stadium -- on the parking lot or at Willets Point, and better attuned to
the City (beach volleyball at one of the real beaches in the City or
perhaps Jones Beach or Long Beach on Long Island) and a city united for
real might just have prevailed.
And there'd be more benefits: Jets remaining in NYC and back in Queens. A
great anchor to develop Willets Point and platforms over the MTA bus
garage and LIRR and subway yards south of Roosevelt Avenue and north of
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, perhaps including a convention center that
makes sense at Willets Point as once proposed by the Queens Chamber of
Commerce, and the Jets remaining in their prior practice facilities at
Hofstra University or building a new one perhaps in College Point or
Willets Point or land that could have been made available at either the
St. Albans VA or Creedmoor Psychiatric Center (Bellerose).
Unfortunately, the NYC2012 plan reflected someone looking at a Hagstrom's
map. When it occurred I served as Executive VP of the Queens Civic
Congress and was only free to speak on the stadium issue (I wrote several
columns for daily and weekies that may be found at my CoreyBearak.com
website) and process. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the
possibilities afforded by Mr. Moran's commentary.
Mike Moran: The day New York City's Olympic dream
diedTuesday, 06 July 2010
It was five years ago today, July 6, 2005, but it seems like 20. More
than 4,000 people had jammed into a mini-stadium at Rockefeller Center in
New York City early on a muggy morning before 7am to watch on a pair of
giant screens as the International Olympic Committee selected the city
that would host the 2012 Olympic Games.
Othe night before, our small stadium setting was electric, with thousands
of spectators, music, Olympic athletes, food, and the NBC-televised
presentations from Singapore by the finalist cities - London, Paris,
Moscow, Madrid and New York.
It ended after midnight, and as the seats emptied and Rockefeller Center
quieted, I sat on the lip of the stage, drinking in the sights and sounds
of the majestic city.
It was clear that it was never going to be any bigger or better, and if
New York was eliminated the next morning, life commonplace to me and a
long career in the Olympic Movement would hit a wall, but, if the city
won, it would be the start of a seven-year magic carpet ride.
Aretirement from the USOC at the end of 2002, my next opportunity came
when NYC2012, the group leading the city's bid, selected me as its Senior
Communications Counselor, one of five senior advisors to the leadership
of the bid, headed by Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and Executive Director
Jay Kriegel, along with my former USOC boss, Harvey Schiller.
Over the next 30 months, it was inspiring to be part of a tremendous
endeavor that involved thousands of passionate New Yorkers bent on
bringing the Games to the greatest city in the world.
we knew from the start that it was going to be a battle for the Big Apple
because of factors that were inescapable.
Salt Lake City had just hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 2002, a
jolting Olympic bid scandal in 1998 centered around the leadership of the
Games in Utah, there was anti-American bias to deal with in the world,
and most of all, a contentious issue centering around the proposed $2.2
billion tab for a new West Side stadium, expansion of the Javits
Convention center, and the overall development of that part of the city,
a hot-button for the citizens and politicians for years.
The majority, 79 percent of New Yorkers, supported the bid, but not the
new stadium. The owners of Madison Square Garden not only opposed the new
stadium and development around it, but spent thousands of dollars in
advertising to try to kill it. And the powerful New York Times
opposed it editorially.
Yet, there were so many marvelous people involved, including 1,700
Olympic and Paralympic athletes from the USA and 45 nations around the
world in the NYC2012 Circle of Olympians and Paralympians. Muhammad Ali,
Bob Beamon, Mary Lou Retton, Nadia Comaneci, Michael Phelps, Jeff
Blatnick, Mia Hamm, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Bruce Jenner, Magic Johnson and
hundreds of others.
The inspiring "Nations of New York," thousands of men and women
from 400 organisations representing the city's rich, diverse
international population and neighborhoods, and a superb venue plan that
embraced the city's historic sports landmarks as proposed Olympic sites -
Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, National Tennis Center, Giants
Stadium, the historic 369th Regiment Arena in Harlem, Central Park, along
with many new or refurbished sites in what was called the "Olympic
X" configuration, plus a gorgeous, proposed Olympic Village for the
athletes on the East River in Queens West.
But there were challenges besides the West Side Stadium issue, including
a period of turmoil and dysfunction within the USOC that led to the
departure of chief executive Lloyd Ward in 2003 and the naming of interim
President Bill Martin as the organisation steered its way out of the
New York had been selected by the USOC on November 2, 2002, defeating San
Francisco by a vote of 132-91 among its Board of Directors at the
Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
The search for a candidate city began in 1999 under the leadership of
USOC President Bill Hybl, and the original roster of cities competing for
the nod included New York, Houston, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles,
Cincinnati, San Francisco and Tampa.
Doctoroff (pictured), a charismatic leader who first conceived the idea
of a New York Olympic Games while watching a FIFA World Cup match in 1994
at Giants Stadium, blew away the field with his dogged pursuit of USOC
officials, along with sidekick Kriegel, and once they had secured the
right to become America's candidate city, there was no looking back or
It was a costly bid, some $3.1 billion for the Games' budget, a guarantee
to the IOC of some $250 million, and $924 million alone in capital costs
In fact, the five finalist cities spent a reported $150 million on their
bids, $35 million alone by NYC2012. On May 18, 2004, at Bryant Park in
Manhattan, the announcement was made that New York would be a finalist in
the chase for the Games, and all of us who were part of the effort were
The event included Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Olympian Donna De Varona
to my left, along with Olympic and Paralympic athletes and more than
4,000 cheering New Yorkers.
The next 14 months became a whirlwind of effort and energy on the part of
the bid leadership, Mayor Bloomberg and the scores of young, talented men
and women on the NYC2012 staff. There was no time for sleep, deadlines
were everywhere, visitors to welcome every week.
My favorite junket was to take journalists and broadcasters from
international outlets on a carefully-crafted ferry tour on the water that
wound around Manhattan, showing them the spectacular views and venues of
the city, passing Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, with a
presentation now ingrained and the confidence of a tour guide. So, too
for treks to the top of an office building that looked down on the rail
yards on the West Side adjacent to what would be the site of the new
Olympic Stadium and the future home of the Jets.
In 2004, a series of conversations with new USOC President Peter
Ueberroth, the genius who made the 1984 Games in Los Angeles a smash
success, convinced him to come to New York and tell the city's tough
media why he thought New York could win. He spoke at a lunch at the posh
'21' Club and he was compelling. The next morning, the New York Times
carried a column by the estimable George Vecsey, who was not in
favour of the bid, that was extremely fair and positive, and the piece
was accompanied by a picture of Doctoroff watching Ueberroth speak, next
to a big NYC2012 sign on an easel that had been strategically placed for
optimum photo benefit.
The next day, at an NYC2012 Board meeting, Doctoroff held up a copy of
the Times' piece and he was glowing, and surprised. Later,
invitations were accepted by some 35 Olympic beat journalists and
broadcasters from across the country who came to New York and our
offices, where they got the full presentation from Doctoroff and the
staff, with positive followup and exposure for the bid.. a dinner that
evening at The Palm for the writers was a big success, and my memory
reminds me that the lobsters were very special that night..
Everything seemed to be rocking. The IOC Evaluation Commission made its
visit to New York in February, 2005, and the city responded as only New
York could. A full-scale advertising blitz met the IOC commission,
Olympic signs were posted on 13,000 taxis, 7,000 busses and 4,000 subway
cars. Storefronts at Times Square and Grand Central Terminal had 2012
Olympic window displays. So did windows at Saks, Bloomingdale's and
Macy's, and as the IOC leaders toured the 27 venue sites by bus,
thousands of New Yorkers greeted them along the routes.
On board with a busload of media tagging along, it was awesome to witness
this response, even with some if it staged. But, on June 6, just a month
before the IOC's decision in Singapore, two powerful politicians on the
state's Public Authorities Control Board, Joseph L. Bruno and Sheldon
Silver, jettisoned their support of the West Side Stadium project,
driving a dagger into the heart of the bid.
NYC2012 quickly trotted out a backup plan that included a new stadium for
the baseball Mets in Queens that would be the Olympic Stadium, but the
message made its way to the IOC Members who would vote, and it was not a
good one. So on that humid July 6 morning in Rockefeller Center, we
watched as Moscow was eliminated in the first round of voting. Moments
later, IOC President Jacques Rogge appeared after the second vote on the
big screen to announce that "New York will not move
The seats and stands at our venue emptied in seconds, and a car with the
Governor of New York parked nearby sped away in traffic. I remained to
face the scores of cameras, television lights and journalists with their
notebooks and recorders in an attempt to explain what happened, the only
senior bid executive not in Singapore that morning.
For next the next 12 hours, telling the story and the disappointment of
those who had worked so hard for this day, I went by car to radio shows,
TV shows and to the offices of newspapers, ending at midnight in Times
Square with a live piece on ESPN from its signature "ESPN
London had upset favoured Paris, 54-50, to win the Games, and the next
morning, 52 people died in the horrendous London train bombings.
Returning to my bedroom that night, there was a message from Singapore
that Doctoroff would host a party for the staff at his home on Monday
after the leaders returned from Singapore. But, on Sunday, after packing
up my clothing and personal things, and making one last visit to our
offices at One Liberty Plaza, just above the site of Ground Zero of
September 11, 2001, to grab my nameplate and some stationery, I took a
taxi to LaGuardia Airport and left.
Returning to Colorado Springs and a depressing, empty home, waking the
next morning without a job for the first time in my life and without a
plan for what would come next.
Postscript - A few weeks ago, in New York with my friend Ford McClave,
walking in Times Square before heading to see the hit new musical,
"American Idiot" at the St. James Theatre on 44th Street, we
decided to stop at the Swatch store and see some of its
I heard somebody say, "Hi, Mike," and turned around to see
Nadia Comaneci and husband and Olympic gold medalist Bart Conner They too
were going to see a show on Broadway, and we stood for a few moments and
made small talk about their son, Dylan, how much time had passed since
they were on the podium at the Games, and the events staged at Times
Square for NYC2012 and the dream shared of a New York Olympic Games.
When we parted and walked outside to the familiar din and crowds, I think
we shared a common thought. "What if?"
None of us will ever know.
Mike Moran was the chief communications officer of the USOC for
nearly 25 years before retiring in 2003. In 2002 he was awarded with the
USOC's highest award, the General Douglas MacArthur Award. He worked on
New York's unsuccessful bid to host the 2012 Olympics and is now director
of communications for the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.
Dave Hill has posted a summary of Paul Norman's latest updates on Legacy,
together with some hints emerging from the BBC about Baroness Ford's future
heading the Legacy Company beyong the Parliamentary Summer Hols.
Itchy the Bedbug was there, but Scratchy the Cockroach and Chewy the Rat were otherwise engaged.
With just one of three promised Olympic anti-mascots in tow, Vancouverâs activist Poverty Olympics crew ceremonially passed their faux-flame to a representative of the London Coalition Against Poverty, in preparation for London 2012 Olympic activism.
The setting for the tongue-in-cheek relay was Vancouverâs new Olympic Cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza on Wednesday, as workers polished the giant torch holder and bemused tourists snapped cellphone pictures of the whole spectacle.
It was the latest media
event for the anti-Olympic activists, who held a provincewide â2010 Poverty Olympicsâ tour and the â2010 Poverty Olympicsâ in Vancouverâs Downtown Eastside, before the Olympic Games in February.
The idea is to use humour to spur the province to implement a poverty-reduction strategy and highlight problems in B.C., including a nation-leading rate
in child poverty and a lack of social housing, said event organizer Rider Cooey.
Vancouverâs Robert Bonner handed the poverty torch to
Elizabeth Hogg, 86, of Manchester. In an interview, Hogg said construction of Olympic venues in London has already displaced poor people.
âI shall take this torch to London and pass it to the next
generation, who hopefully will make poverty history,â Hogg proclaimed.
said the media stunts of the Poverty Olympics group have been successful.
âI believe because of some of the actions weâve done, weâve got a mayor in Vancouver that has listened and got some [social] housing started.â
According to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, the number of people without a permanent home has increased six per cent
in each of the past two years. Results from a census taken in late March show there are 1,762 homeless in the city, up from 1,576 in 2008. But the number living on the street has been cut in half â from 811 in 2008, to 428 in 2010, largely due to additional shelter spaces established by the city with the help of the provincial government.
the ceremony on Wednesday, a listless Itchy the Bedbug, wearing bug-eye
goggles and a black trench coat, seemed out of his element in the hot sun.
Asked what he thought about the symbolic meaning of the international faux-flame exchange, Itchy, who refused to give his real name, said: âI really havenât thought about it much.â
Chewy and Scratchy were no shows â likely because not enough volunteer models were
available, Itchy said.
Shanghai residents say forced out for Disneyland
Thu Jul 8, 2010 2:50pm IST
By Farah Master and Emma Graham Harrison
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Hiding in the back of a taxi, Wang Yuchen is too
scared to be seen near the sea of mud and rubble that until weeks ago
was his home village and is now set to be a building site for Walt
Disney Co's theme park.
The engineer son of farmer parents, he is one of a growing number of
China's emerging middle class to find themselves suddenly on the
wrong side of the ruling Communist Party, over the hot issue of land seizures.
A Chinese construction company is razing his home village, a bucolic
enclave on the outskirts of China's frenetic financial capital, and
the empty land will be handed over to the U.S. entertainment giant,
demolition workers and state media say.
Both Disney and the Shanghai city government declined comment on
whether evictions were to make way for the theme park.
"Disney and the Shanghai government are still working together to
finalise the terms of the final deal. It would be premature to
comment on specifics until those discussions are complete," a
Shanghai-based Disney spokeswoman told Reuters.
"All relocation queries are best directed to the Shanghai Municipal
Government," she added.
Wang says he doesn't object to moving but has not been offered
adequate compensation for the two storey villa-style home into which
the family had poured their life savings.
"The country has to develop and this is a good project for Shanghai.
But an amusement park for people to enjoy themselves should not be
built on the ruins of our happiness," the quiet, intense Wang told
Reuters in a quiet corner of a Shanghai cafe, leafing through photos,
eviction notices and legal challenges.
The developers have offered up to three flats to replace his
property, but they are the tiny size of most homes in overcrowded
Shanghai, altogether barely half the size of his villa. His parents,
who have little income, will have no land to grow food.
The apartments are allocated based on the number of people in a
relocated family, not the value of their old house, and evictees have
to contribute sizeable downpayments.
"It is actually a good deal for people who had never spent much on
their homes," said Wang. "But for us, it is a huge loss."
Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Chinese are evicted each year, to
make way for real estate developments and infrastructure projects.
The transfers have become a leading cause of discontent in a country
seething over a widening rich-poor gap.
Rights groups say China risks growing instability and violence, as
people who lose their homes and fields are better educated, more
confident and better connected -- thanks to the internet -- than even
a decade ago.
"The demolishing process is not transparent. It is not public, fair
or just," said Wang, who has turned to journalists to publicise his
case after it was turned down by the courts.
Fearing for his safety, Wang lay low in the back of a taxi as he
showed Reuters the site. He says thugs have threatened his elderly
parents and physically assaulted him.
The challenge of finding land for major developments in China's
packed cities means that controversial land grabs have marred some of
the country's most prestigious projects, from the 2008 Beijing
Olympics to this year's Shanghai Expo.
Rights groups repeatedly criticised Beijing Olympic organisers for
evicting people to make way for the Games, despite strenuous denials
from the government that anybody was forced to make way for the event.
Shanghai's Disneyland, which received the green light from Chinese
authorities last November, is expected to cover a relatively small 4
sq km (1.5 sq mile) at a cost of $3.6 billion.
The site has not been formally announced, but the official China
Daily, and other state media, pinpointed Zhaohang and the surrounding
area as the park's site, citing a local official.
The village authorities declined comment when contacted by Reuters,
but demolition workers told reporters the area -- still a patchwork
of fields and small canals peppered with duck farms -- is due to be
handed over to the U.S.-based company this month.
And Shanghai's savvy real estate developers also seem sure of the
park's new location. Barely two hours after Disney's announcement, a
plot of nearby land sold at auction for more than two times its
forecast price, the China Daily reported.
Villagers say that compensation should not be an issue given the
park's hefty budget, and they have the law on their side -- Beijing
recently unveiled new rules protecting residents' rights during
But often in China money designated for compensation for a move
vanishes into the pockets of middlemen, and the regulations appear to
have had little impact on the ground so far.
The development company said they did not have any significant
disputes with residents in the area.
"Ninety five percent of the houses have already been torn down. Any
remaining conflicts are being resolved," a spokeswoman at the
company's headquarters said.
But Wang says that the only efforts to "resolve" their conflict have
been by thugs.
Tang Jianzhong, 28, a neighbour and fellow engineer, said his power
and water were cut off, forcing the family to move.
"(They are) not only making us leave against our will but also
lowering our living standards, using all kinds of unjust measures to
pressure us," said Tang.
There is no confirmation from police that scare tactics have been
used in Zhaohang, but they are common in land disputes. The high
stakes have led to dramatic showdowns, including self-immolation.
Development companies often also threaten to cut the compensation
given to hold-out families. Wang's parents have urged him to give in
and sign away the property in case they are left with even less than
they are being offered now.
But like many others of the increasingly confident middle-class that
is worrying stability obsessed mandarins in Beijing, Wang is
determined to keep on fighting.
"My parents spent their life savings and blood to build this house
... I just want to reach a fair agreement," he said.
(Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)
(For more news on Reuters India, click in.reuters.com)
Moscow? There is a rising clamor in Russia for the head of Sports Minister
Vitaly Mutko, who has been accused of squandering taxpayer's money while the
country's Vancouver Olympics team went down to defeat last winter in Vancouver.
Mr. Mutko, who was rated as Russia's second-most unpopular government minister
in a recent poll, says he won't quit over a report by the parliament's Audit
Chamber that alleges he spent 12 times his official limit for hotel expenses
during the Vancouver Games, or a whopping $32,400 over 20 days.
During the same time, the report says, Russian taxpayers forked over $4,500 for
his breakfasts alone...
July 5 - John Coates, the architect behind Sydney's successful bid to host the 2000 Olympics, has warned that the Australian
media have been manipulated by "sinister forces" into trying to undermine the country's campaign to stage the 2022 World Cup.
Coates, the President of the Australian Olympic Committee and a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, has offered his backing to the World Cup bid after they were cleared by the Government of any financial irregularities following a series of allegations in newspapers
owned by the Fairfax group, including the Sydney Morning Herald
and The Age
Coates, who overcame the odds when he led Sydney's bid to stage the 2000
Olympics to victory over hot favourites Beijing in 1993, has a unique understanding of how major international campaigns to stage mega-events work.
He said: "All of these events are massive international sporting events and it requires an all-out effort to win the right to host them.
"There are very clear rules of engagement which must be observed, but you must also execute the campaign with enthusiasm.
"Australia is up against very fierce competitors and we can't enter these contests with a timid approach.
"There will always be sinister forces trying to undermine the bid and the Australian media should not be so naive as to play into their hands.
"And now that the Government has re-affirmed its satisfaction with FFA's
(Football Federation Australia) financial and accounting practices, it's time the whole country got behind the bid."
Australia is one of the favourites to host the 2022 World Cup, along with the United States, but also faces strong competition from Qatar, who are bidding to become the first Middle East country to stage the tournament.
Coates said: "This is not a game of marbles.
"It's played for big stakes by some very tough competitors.
"There are no quarters asked, and none given, and FFA has to stick to its guns if it wants to win."
For written answer:
Radioactive Land (1)
Question No: 2395 / 2010
On how many occasions has work with radioactively contaminated land in the
Olympic Park commenced before the ODAâs Planning Decisions Team had approved
Radioactive Land (2)
Question No: 2396 / 2010
When radioactive material was encountered during excavation work on the Olympic
Park, did the ODA use radioactive roundels as warning signs around the
contaminated areas? If not, did the ODA have authorisation from the Health and
Safety Executive not to display the radioactive roundels?
Radioactive Land (3)
Question No: 2397 / 2010
Please can you investigate why the ODA sent me a document that had been altered
from its original state when I submitted an FoI request for all communication
between the ODA and Environment Agency related to the Radioactivity and the
Radioactive Substances Act 1993?
Radioactive Land (4)
Question No: 2398 / 2010
Are you aware that the ODAâs Health Validation Report for Construction Zone 4
notes that the Olympic Park will remain classified as brownfield land even after
the remediation work, and that any further material excavated from the site
should be treated as contaminated unless proved otherwise?
Radioactive Land (5)
Question No: 2399 / 2010
A member of the public who has contacted me would like to know whether the ODA
informed the London Borough of Tower Hamlets that over 7,000 tonnes of
radioactive material, which was excavated in the London Borough of Newham, has
been buried in Tower Hamlets?
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia paid $925-million to help host the Vancouver Olympics, significantly more than provincial officials had pledged in bidding for the event, according to figures released Friday.
officials defended the spending, saying the success of the February Games gave the western Canadian province extensive international media exposure that can be used to promote future economic development.
Vancouverâs bid to the International Olympic Committee to host the 2010
Winter Games, the provincial governmentâs share was estimated at $600-million â a figure that government officials repeatedly defended.
$925-million tally included money for venue construction, promotional efforts, and special funding to help the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) deal with the impact of the international economic turmoil in 2009.
The figures released Friday do not include money spent on a major highway upgrade between Vancouver and the resort community of Whistler where many of the skiing events were held. The province argued the highway reconstruction was not a Games-related expense because it needed to be done anyway.
VANOC has said it expects its $1.7-billion operating budget will be balanced when the final figures are tallied later this year.
The federal government paid for half of the $585-million venue construction budget and most of the $900-million security budget, but Ottawa has not yet released a final report on its Olympics costs.
The city of Vancouver said in April it spent $554-million on the Olympics, but that did not include $500 in loans to bail out the private builder of the athletesâ village after it ran into financial troubles.
The games have yet to start but they already have many losers: the slum dwellers
whose communities are being destroyed
The government bulldozers came to the school at 11am, after yoga and before
English and Hindi lessons. The children and their teachers had three hours to
clear the classrooms. By mid-afternoon, the Yamuna Riverbank school was rubble.
"They told us we were a security risk, so we had to go...
'Shining India' makes its poor pay price of hosting Commonwealth Games
* Jason Burke, Delhi
* guardian.co.uk, Sunday 11 July 2010