By Evan Falchuk
I wasn't going to say anything about this, but for the second time in the last couple of weeks, the Boston Globe is peddling a strange alt-history version of what happened with the Olympics.
In their version, the Olympics saga was a wonderful exercise in civic engagement, in which well-meaning business and political leaders tried to drag parochial Boston into conversations where it could be mentioned "in the same breath with Paris and Rome."
In this alternative universe, the "collective hand-wringing" of voters wrecked this opportunity, driven by a public that was "unwilling to spend big. . . . even if it meant spurning the promise of big long-term benefits."
This isn't what happened, at all.
Here's the actual history:
Olympic organizers submitted a bid in secret to the US Olympic Committee, and right up until the end, fought to hide what they had proposed. They refused to answer basic questions about their plans, and lied, for months, about whether they needed money from taxpayers.
The Olympics died because voters weren't willing to "spend big?" That can't be it: Olympics organizers said, from the beginning, that taxpayers wouldn't have to "spend big," or even at all.
No, the Olympic bid died because Olympic organizers - and their enablers in our government - acted with disdain for democracy and transparency. What broke the back of the Olympics was the fact that we had organized a coalition of citizens to get a binding referendum on the Olympics, and organizers knew their plans couldn't survive the light of day.
I get it. A group of prominent people were badly embarrassed by this failure, and their friends in the media want to help rehabilitate their images. Re-writing history to do it is shameful, and those of us who know what really happened have an obligation to call them on it.