LA 2028: City Council gives green light to bring games to LA

Friday, August 11, 2017 04:18PM
The Los Angeles City Council has given the green light to bring 2028 Olympics to the city.


VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles City Council has given the green light to bring 2028 Olympics to the city.

The Council on Friday unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding as well as a host city contract. It's all part of one of the final hurdles needed to officially bring the Summer Olympics back to town.

"We negotiated the deal of a lifetime to bring the Games back to America, create a new Olympic legacy for the next generation, and deliver access to sports and fitness programs to every community in Los Angeles," Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. "Today's unanimous vote by the City Council is a resounding show of confidence in our fiscally responsible plan for 2028, and more evidence of Angelenos' passion to return the Games to L.A."

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The contract outlines Los Angeles' financial responsibility in hosting the Games, although a budget for the proposed 2028 Games has not been completed.

Before and after the unanimous vote, there were protests and impassioned pleas.

Former Olympians like Carl Lewis were at the meeting praising the City Council action.

"It is about athletes spending half of their adult lives going into communities, volunteering, using their brand and their image to make their areas better," said former Olympian Carl Lewis.

Critics sounded off about intense security that could put immigrants at risk and marginalize the homeless.

"It could potentially give the Department of Homeland Security a lot of access to the LAPD and could encourage collaboration with ICE in that it could really, really cripple any sanctuary status," said Anne Orchier of NOlympics LA.

Last week, the city announced an agreement with international Olympic leaders ceding the 2024 Games to Paris, while opening the way for Los Angeles to host the 2028 Games.

This agreement comes with millions of dollars of financial sweeteners for accepting the later date.

Analysts recommended the council approve the contract, which faced an Aug. 18 deadline, but also emphasized a revised budget for 2028 could take months to complete.

L.A. will need to recast financial guarantees approved by the city and state to cover potential shortfalls connected with the 2024 bid.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation last September that puts California taxpayers on the hook for up to $250 million if Los Angeles was awarded the 2024 Games and they ran over budget. The city had matched the amount.

Those reserve costs would apparently go up for 2028. City analysts say the question of state support might not be resolved until 2018, though legislative leaders have expressed support.

The Olympics have a notorious history of runaway costs, but city officials have argued their plan will stay in the black by relying on the region's many existing stadiums and arenas, including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Staples Center. State analysts previously concluded the 2024 plan carried relatively low risk, because it avoided major new construction projects.

The 2028 plan is expected to remain largely unchanged, without building any new, permanent venues.

The U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors must also approve the deal.

The International Olympic Committee vote is scheduled for September in Lima, Peru.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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