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City Hall's assurance to taxpayers on the Olympics: 'Trust us'

City Hall's assurance to taxpayers on the Olympics: 'Trust us'
Competitors run in the men's 5,000 meters at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. (Associated Press)

To the editor: The Times is correct to point out the financial risks that Los Angeles might face if it ends up hosting the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. With no numbers for the public to analyze, it's as if City Hall is saying, by agreeing to cover any revenue shortfall from the Games, "Trust us, we're politicians." ("Can L.A. afford the Olympics?," editorial, Aug. 16)

But independent economists who have studied past Games internationally remind us that bids always overestimate each event's economic benefits and underestimate the costs.

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Also, it's not a certainty that the Games would significantly boost the local economy. The Games' boosters are sure to once again ignore the reality that the area's hotel rooms are normally filled nearly to capacity with summertime visitors who don't require a billion-dollar security force to protect them.

And the rosy build-to-suit economic projections usually don't calculate the economic loss from non-Olympic Games tourists who will avoid the city and locals who will leave town to avoid the disruptions.

Greg Nelson, Mission Viejo

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To the editor: The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles are held up as an example of financial success. I feel obligated to mention that the profit made in 1984 was primarily due to the brilliant leadership of budget-minded Peter Ueberroth, who organized the Games, and because 32,000 Southern Californians rallied to staff the events as volunteers.

The volunteers may not have generated revenue, but their dedication and monumental performance distinctly and positively impacted the costs of the events. The volunteers, of diverse backgrounds and ethnicity, were united in their pride of contributing to the elevation of Los Angeles and the Southern California sports community to a breathtaking, stellar level.

The volunteers and the entire Southern California region can still stand proud because of this. Garcetti ought to include the costs of personnel in his vision as well as revenue potential.

Vilma Pallette, Santa Clara

The writer was manager of volunteer services at the 1984 Summer Games.

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