It was announced on Wednesday that David Ortiz joined the revamped Board of Directors for Boston 2024. This comes after a bid process formulated and implemented by Boston’s power elites. Tellingly, the eventual bid that came from these economic elites was not released to the public until after the United States Olympic Committee selected Boston as their choice for 2024.
And that’s not it. Now that this bid faces inverted polling numbers and referenda efforts to put it, public funding, and Olympic use of eminent domain to the residents of Boston and the Commonwealth for a vote, Boston 2024 wasted little time in looking to rebrand and lock down a literal All-Star Board of Directors.
Big Papi? Check. If for some truly inexplicable reason he does not make your Boston heart swoon, then howzabout last year’s marathon winner, American Meb Keflezighi? On the Board. Tufts’ grad and everyone’s wish-she-won-gold figure skater Michelle Kwan? Got her. And what about true Celtic legend Larry Bird? Board worthy! Pesky empirical evidence of massive Olympic cost over runs be damned – we have Boston All-Stars! Indeed, if Boston 2024 can pull these names, then why not Ted Williams or Babe Ruth too…
As the Globe reported, other 2024 Board notables come from the elite echelons of business, commerce, and construction. Head of Suffolk Construction and chairman of Boston 2024, Jeff Fish, retains his seat as does the Celtics co-owner. Five Board members are from the USOC Board and building and trades are well represented.
Missing from this Board? Regular folks. That is the nosebleed ticket buyers to Papi and Larry Bird feats.
Mayor Marty Walsh and advocates of a Boston Games have recently cast their net towards the nosebleed, neighborhood crowds on a listening tour ostensibly to get feedback from residents and muster up support. Yet to date, not one citizen from these tours is on the Boston 2024 Board. Not a one. Surely they had some good ideas. But a listening tour is not real political inclusion or voice and the composition of Boston 2024’s new Board of Directors punctuates this point.
Judging by the list provided, individuals making the median wage in Boston are simply MIA from the Board. These are the individuals who live in work in the city in ways commiserate with most Bostonians – not construction millionaires or sports heroes. They know what Boston needs based on day-to-day experiences in traffic without drivers or in housing markets minus doormen.
And forget diversity of opinion -- opponents to a Boston Games are persona non grata. Not even one symbolic slot. Just like the 2024 bid process, the new Board is made up of the moneyed luxury box set.
So all this has me concluding: Boston 2024 is so 90210.
Athletes and connected rich kids are at the cool table where decisions get made. The Andrea Zuckerman’s of the world, ie the rest of us, are not included. We’ll just have to look on as Kelly, Dylan, Brenda, and the gang decide what is best for West Beverly – er, Boston and a Boston Olympics.
That is unless anti-Olympic mobilization continues and further solidifies. As Political Scientist Jules Boykoff has shown in his comprehensive study or the Olympics and activism, protest and local discontent dissuades the risk-adverse International Olympic Committee (IOC). Activism and opposition works with the IOC and has repeatedly affected the IOC’s decisions.
So the task is simple: Rise up, Andrea’s!