Climatology

Organizers Don’t Care That the 2028 Olympics Could Be on Fire

This week, the International Olympic Committee rolled into Los Angeles, host of the 2028 Summer Olympics, to hobnob with the city’s political elites. With IOC President Thomas Bach on hand, along with Nicole Hoevertsz, the IOC executive board member and former Olympic synchronized swimmer from Aruba who is chairing the Los Angeles 2028 IOC Coordination Commission, they announced the dates for the LA Olympics and Paralympics. Standing in front of a swimming stadium, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed his excitement. It was a set-piece spectacle under the California sun.

But if you scratch the Olympic surface and sniff, you’ll get a whiff of something very different: the distinct scent of false promises and very real evictions to make way for Olympic facilities. Eric Sheehan, an organizer with the anti-Olympics group NOlympics LA, managed to finagle his way into the press conference. He told us“My intent was to throw a wrench in the gears of this moment and to bring attention to the plight of the tenants across the street from the Coliseum at Flower Drive and the evictions they’re facing.”

Right before the photo-op that concluded the press conference, Sheehan sauntered up in front of the Olympic powerbrokers and unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a T-shirt that read “Fuck the Olympics.” As security guards approached him, “I started letting everyone know about the effects that the Olympics are going to have on this city,” he told us, “from the eviction of tenants to a massive increase in the police budget.” Security escorted Sheehan off the grounds, but he continued to call out the coming games from outside.

Angelenos—including the tenants from Flower Drive who are being evicted as the city prepares to host the Olympics—are right to be skeptical. Numerous promises from LA Olympic boosters are already wilting in the California sun.

When Garcetti appeared he Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2018, he stated, “I’m confident that by the time the Olympics come, we can end homelessness on the streets of LA.” Meanwhile, back in reality, homeless people are actually climbing throughout the region. The last point-in-time count, which was conducted in 2020, found that 66,436 people were experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. That’s a 13 percent increase from 2019. The City of Los Angeles saw its homeless numbers jump would be 14 percent. As police in Los Angeles have cracked down on the city’s unhoused residents, many have fled to the harsh surroundings of the Mojave Desert along the northern county border. Under Garcetti, the humanitarian crisis known as homelessness has only intensified.

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