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Police, others to picket during IOC visit

Thursday, March 26, 2009
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As the Chicago bid team prepares to make its case for hosting the 2016 Olympic Games, some groups made plans to let their opposition to the bid be heard.

Chicago is just days away from a visit from the International Olympic Committee.

Members of the bid committee will sell the city at a key event in Denver. But here in Chicago, some protest plans are being firmed up.

As Chicago Mayor Richard Daley presents his 30 minute pitch for the 2016 Olympics to the IOC Thursday in Denver, there are plans in the works in Chicago that could not be good for those who want the Games here.

"We are going to march to Federal Plaza, past city hall and to the Aon Building where Chicago 2016 is headquartered," said Bob Quellos, No Games Chicago.

The group called No Games Chicago has a permit to march with about 2,000 people while the IOC makes its big evaluation visit here next Thursday

"There is crumbling schools, crumbling train system, crumbling streets. Why don't we just take the money that we're going to be putting into the Olympics and funnel it directly into those things? I don't understand why we have to take a chance," Quellos said.

And although the Fraternal Order of Police is not against the Olympics, president Mark Donahue says that police may also stage a rally because of disappointment with police leadership and sour contract talks.

"It's timely because of the fact that the negotiation process has taken a negative turn in the very recent past, and the membership feels that it's time that we get the mayor's attention," Donahue said.

As for the other debate over Olympic spending, it will cost the city about $4.8 billion, but the economic impact could generate $13.7 billion. Late Thursday morning at the Olympic committee headquarters, leaders talked about how the Olympics would help communities.

"We're pleased to be here today to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding designed to share the potential benefits with communities and neighborhoods throughout Chicago if Chicago is indeed honored with the right to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics Games," said Lori Healey, president, Chicago 2016.

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