Boston 2024 Opponents Meet With Mayor

Chris Dempsey is one of the leaders of "No Boston Olympics", the group that is trying to educate and persuade city leaders that the 2024 Summer Olympic games would be a bad deal for Boston and Massachusetts.

Hours before the group had its first official meeting with Mayor Marty Walsh at City Hall late Friday afternoon, Dempsey explained its plan.

"We're going to talk a lot about the financial risk to the city," said Dempsey. "We know that the mayor has that fiduciary responsibility and has respect for that and for protecting taxpayers."

The meeting with Mayor Walsh came one day after the city sponsored its first of nine open community meetings to discuss the 2024 Olympic bid. Held in Downtown Boston, the event drew more than 300 people, some in support, many in opposition.

Mayor Walsh said the meeting was good and that everyone got a chance to voice their concerns or offer their support.

Walsh says he heard two major concerns from opponents, first and foremost being cost - and who is going to pay.

Walsh says the city will not be responsible for cost overruns and will not use public money investing in venues, adding that's one message that has to be clear.

"The Boosters in London and Vancouver were made the same promises about the Olympic Villages, and those cities not requiring taxpayer dollars," said Dempsey. "Once the bids were awarded, the developers backed away from those promises and the public was left on the hook."

Walsh says the second concern he heard deals with perception and what the added value would be to the city.

"I think bringing the Olympics to the city or having the dialogue about the Olympics is a tremendous benefit for Boston on so many fronts," said Walsh. "On economic development, about marketing our city, around tourism and other areas."

"It's hard to believe, but economists who've studied the issue believe that cities aren't better off economically after hosting the Games," said Dempsey. "Tourism in London actually dropped during the Games because it scared away all of the tourists who normally come."

The conversation will continue Monday as London Mayor Boris Johnson will be in Boston. He will visit to promote London business relationships, but will also meet with Boston leaders about the benefits of hosting the Summer Games as London did in 2012.

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