Political group launches campaign to oppose L.A.'s 2024 Olympic bid

With an Olympic delegation scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on Tuesday, representatives of a national political organization plan to launch a public campaign to oppose the city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

Members of the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America say they were inspired to take action after hearing concerns from residents and community groups.

“We want to challenge this idea that everyone in L.A. is excited about the Olympics,” DSA-LA member Jonny Coleman said.

The competition for 2024 has come down to Los Angeles and Paris, with other potential hosts withdrawing over cost concerns. The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to select a winner in September.

Olympic leaders have said they might take the unusual step of choosing both cities, giving 2024 to one and 2028 to the other.

Later this week, an IOC evaluation commission will spend three days hearing presentations from the privately funded LA 2024 bid committee and touring proposed venues such as the Coliseum and Staples Center.

LA 2024 has, so far, faced none of the public opposition that doomed a similar effort in Boston two years ago.

The local bid committee has touted opinion polls that show strong support for bringing the Olympics back to Southern California for a third time. It has also held a series of community meetings over the past year.

But DSA-LA contends that a broad range of residents has been left out of the process. Finances are only part of the concern.

LA 2024 has put forth a $5.3-billion budget, pledging to save billions by using existing venues and cover all costs through broadcasting rights, ticket sales and other revenue sources. The U.S. government would be expected to contribute more than $1 billion for security.

DSA-LA contends that even if organizers were to make good on the promise to break even, the effort and money required to stage the Games would divert assistance from issues such as homelessness and immigration.

“L.A. has a lot of other priorities,” member Anne Orchier said. “Our first goal is to start that conversation.”

Though the Los Angeles City Council has vowed to monitor planning and organizing if L.A. is selected, DSA-LA also worries that residents would have little input on how the Games are operated.

The DSA has become a more visible presence in recent months, its membership surging nationwide with people who supported U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential run.

The local chapter recently interrupted Mayor Eric Garcetti’s election night speech with an organized protest.

Chapter representatives said they will launch a website on Monday with information about their anti-Olympic campaign and are planning further action in coming weeks.

“We’re creating a platform for people, whatever your criticism,” Coleman said. “We want to show the mayor and City Council that people do care.”

david.wharton@latimes.com

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